Typically in fitness testing, measurements are kept on an individual basis and single players are held accountable for their current levels, their hopeful progressions, and their maintenance of athleticism, strength, and cardio levels over time. I want to suggest a similar but alternate lens to look at this testing and measuring process through.
In considering motivation on an extrinsic and intrinsic level, I am openly wondering if instead of measuring individual players; that getting standards for the whole group may be more effective. A very applicable and basic example of this would be in-terms of the Yo-yo or Beep Test. In going from individual scores to group scores you would go from firmly considering only single player scores to a group total score. This score could be obtained by considering an early season total score, and then re-evaluating at different points throughout the season, or after significant breaks (after final exam break, or in post-off season). In this example if you wanted an average beep test score of 10.0, and you have 12 players, your group total score would be 120. Rather than only worrying about themselves and their own scores players now would have a greater cause to work towards which is the total group score.
My way of testing this year before our extended break for first semester exams was a timed sprinting series. I have been seeking testing which is more game-like and to this point I think this drill I learned from Alan Stein at Pure Sweat is the best I have come across. For our test we run lengths in three groups. One length of the court is considered "1." In three even groups we run 1-3-5-7-9 sprints continuously. Group 1 runs 1, then Group 2, then Group 3....after completing the first sprint, Group 1 runs 3, then Group 2 runs 3 sprints......and so on. The next group cannot leave until the final member of the running group has crossed the line, and we time the total it takes to complete. This is a great running drill and lends itself to all sorts of alterations such as making it a true pyramid and working your way back down to 1 sprint, or as Alan Stein does and move the same running drill into and half and then a quarter court iteration after the full sprints are completed. I have the total time, and will be re-evaluating in the first practice after the Christmas Break. It is a little bit of action research to see if perhaps group pressures are more effective then just individual pressures for performance. We shall see!
I would love to know other basketball specific aerobic/anaerobic testing coaches do, if you feel so inclined leave some ideas in the comments below, or contact me via social media!
Coach Matt - Father, Coach, Life Long Learner, Basketball Addict