Measuring success can be the catalyst in turning a losing program into a winner.
By Greg Shepard
Published: Spring 1999
Measuring success can create so many positive actions in an athletic program. It can certainly be the catalyst in turning a losing program into a winner. Measuring success can provide incentive for a year-in and year-out dominant all-sports program. It can significantly increase the numbers in all athletic programs. Measuring success can help large numbers of athletes reach their athletic potential but most of all, it makes the whole process of participating in sports so much more fun and meaningful.
Measuring records takes time and effort. To make this process easier BFS has available Set-Rep Log Books or Record Cards, many charts, two computer programs and a number of devices to accurately measure jumping power, speed, flexibility, strength, body fat, etc. Many coaches have student aides who keep track of all these measurements. Aides, in many schools, can receive credit.
I have also seen handicapped students jump at the chance to help the school's athletic program. Measuring success can give true positive reinforcement on a continual and even weekly basis. For some athletes, this is desperately needed but even the best and most well adjusted athlete enjoys and even thrives on seeing improvement. Are you getting better as an individual, team or school? The only way to find out is to measure progress. But, do more than that: Measure for success!
Many athletes only measure the one-rep max or a 3-5 rep max. Some do this only once a year but it can be done individually without class or training interruption once a month with the BFS Set-Rep System. How about getting a class average? Team or position average? Compare one year to the next. Will this year be the best in history? Top five or ten in any category. Other ideas include: charts, bulletin boards, or pictures; announcing achievements over the intercom or get media coverage; T-shirt awards, or individual certificates (the 300-pound club, for example.)
Is speed improvement more important than Bench Press improvement? If it is, measure it at least once a month. Record all times. Time forty-yard speed and during the winter you can time 20-yard speed indoors. Use all applicable ideas given in measuring strength.
Select one to three agility drills to measure but no more. The BFS Dot Drill is great because we have national standards. Your goal should be to let as many athletes as possible shine. A weak kid may be agile or vice-versa. Measuring many areas gives everyone a chance to feel important and be a real contributor to the team.
Test the Vertical Jump and the Standing Long Jump at least once a month. You may have told the athletes that Squats, Power Cleans and Stretching will help your jumping abilities. Prove it! Test them. The more you can show them how they are improving, the harder they will work. The more they believe, the more they will increase. The Just Jump device can accurately measure the Vertical Jump of 50 athletes several times in only 15 minutes. The Standing Long Jump can be measured with one or three jumps. A super great athlete can get 30 feet on three jumps.
The Sit and Reach test is the most common flexibility test. It measures hamstring flexibility. The more you improve hamstring flexibility, the faster you will be and the higher you will jump. Measuring the Sit and Reach will send a message that stretching is important. Is it? It is interesting to note that weak athletes are sometimes the most flexible. Praise their flexibility but also help them increase strength.
Breaking Set-Rep Records
If you use the BFS Set-Rep Log Books and/or the Record Cards, your athletes will have a place to record all of the above measurements. They will break at least eight personal records every week. Every athlete records and measures himself every day. A coach could record/measure the total number of records broken per class, per week or year and then compare all kinds of different groups.
There are many easy and fun ways to measure progress: Height, weight, body fat, grades, and body-girth measurements. The Tanita Body Fat Scale even makes testing body fat easy and quick. As athletes receive concrete proof of improvement, individually and as a team, the result will be an avalanche of positive attitudes. True Champions are built brick by brick, step by step, layer by layer!