Training for athletic performance is all about specificity. Unlike general fitness, feeling and looking good is not enough to develop raw athleticism, although these qualities are often enjoyed by athletes participating in a robust and consistent strength and conditioning program. Performance training often looks to build athletic qualities such as strength, speed, power, agility, cardiovascular fitness or movement efficiency. Unfortunately simply feeling faster or stronger isn’t enough. You must know that you are, and this is why testing athletic qualities are a must for athletes who are serious about their development.
I know, I know, testing can sometimes be disheartening, numbers have no feelings. But at my gym, the Boost Performance Center we have a saying, Grind Hard, & Stay Solid. That means work as hard as possible, and stay grounded (or 10 toes down). You gotta be real with yourself if you ever want to make real progress. That means accepting where you’re at and having the willingness to improve from there. Having no numbers is like driving blindfolded, there’s no way of knowing which direction you need to go. And if you’re training with no direction, you’re simply burning calories. You train no different than your mom or dad who stay fit for a healthy lifestyle (which is also great). Do you need to get stronger? is your acceleration lacking? How about your ability to change direction? If you don’t know where your weaknesses are you’ll never build them into potential strengths.
Another very important reason testing matters is that it helps you know if you’re putting your best foot forward when it comes to showcasing your skills. Too often I see athletes going to camps or combines when they aren’t quite ready. This can have a significant impact on your athletic career at an early age. Once it’s out in the open what your numbers are, you are out in the open. Those numbers have been recorded, and you’ve been put on paper. Why not show your best self? Why run a 60 yard dash at a baseball camp if you don’t feel confident, better yet know that you’re going to run your very best? And yes you may spend the next few months building whatever quality you were lacking at that camp, but in the hectic over-crowded environment that is youth sports showcasing the best version of yourself is always critical.
How you test is just as important! The environment from the first testing date needs to be replicated as much as possible in subsequent tests and the equipment you use needs to be accurate. The days of hand held stopwatches just won’t cut it anymore. Any serious athlete can tell you that there is a huge difference between stopwatch and laser timing. Here at the Boost Performance Center we’ve partnered with Zybek sports to become an official SAT (standardized athlete test) site delivering the same testing as the NFL & MLB. Allowing athletes to know exactly where they are now, and where they should be in comparison to thousands of other athletes across the country.
Numbers aren’t the end all be all, and they certainly don’t measure how well you perform the specific skill of your sport, but they measure raw athleticism. So know where you’re going because if you’re not testin, your guessin! (shout out to big Pete Bommarito)
Owner, Boost Training Systems
Level 1 & 2 Coach Bommarito Performance