Conditioning tests, although common place in today’s world of athletics can vary from sport to sport and even team to team. Some organizations will use a specific test that has been passed down over the years as a tradition and some may not find the value in doing one at all. Conducting a conditioning test with no purpose, plan, or specific intent is not wise and will lead to nothing more than injury potential and typically non-specific energy system stress. However, a well thought-out and organized conditioning test can show you more than just an athlete’s current state of aerobic/anaerobic capacity, but also the mental toughness and effort that any given athlete is capable of.
Tests range anywhere from timed distance runs to multiple shuttle runs that must be completed in a predetermined time. It is always in the athlete’s best interest to understand what and if there is a conditioning test when joining a new team so that they can take the appropriate steps to prepare for whatever will be required of them at the start of their season. Nothing is more disappointing to coaches and strength coaches than an athlete who cannot meet the initial requirements for beginning the season. These athletes are typically always trying to “catch up” with the other athletes and often times playing time will be restricted until the athlete is considered ready by the staff.
We use long shuttle variations to evaluate our players when they report to Spring Training. All the players are informed of the requirements to pass the test and a detailed off-season lifting and conditioning program is given to each athlete to help them prepare for Spring Training, the upcoming season, and the conditioning test. We test all of our players within the first 3 days of Spring Training and any player that cannot complete the test in the required time are then subject to extra, early conditioning everyday for the remainder of Spring Training. We want our players to report to Spring Training with the mindset of being ready to take the field and compete for a team. We do not want them to come to Spring Training to get into shape. So no matter the sport, or level of competition, you may find a conditioning test waiting for you. Will you be ready?
Donovan T. Santas CSCS,RSCC
Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club