Developing A Comprehensive Player Profile (Adapted For Our High School Team)

Soccer-Specific

Performance Testing of

Fitness and Athleticism:

The Development of a

Comprehensive Player

Profile

John R. Cone, PhD, CSCS

Athletes’ Research Institute, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

S U M M A R Y

THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE IS

TO ADDRESS THE USE OF FIELD

TESTS OF PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE

AND ATHLETICISM IN ELITE

OUTFIELD SOCCER PLAYERS (E.G.,

COLLEGIATE, PROFESSIONAL, AND

INTERNATIONAL) THROUGH THE

DEVELOPMENT OF A COMPREHENSIVE

PLAYER PROFILING SYSTEM.

A SECONDARY PURPOSE IS

TO ADDRESS THE USE OF DATA TO

QUANTIFY A PLAYER’S PHYSICAL

ATTRIBUTES, LIMB ASYMMETRY,

TIME-RELATED CHANGES, AND

RETURN TO PLAY AFTER INJURY.

INTRODUCTION

The development of sport performance

testing assessing an

athlete’s physical abilities presents

a unique challenge for the sports

scientist, strength and conditioning

coach, athletic trainer, and sportspecific

coach. This challenge increases

with sport complexity, where perhaps

the greatest challenge is presented by

highly dynamic, field-based sports,

such as soccer, requiring a diverse

mixture of skill, athleticism, and fitness.

In particular, the need to gather sufficient

information to effectively characterize

physical performance with the

amount of time allotted for testing is

inherently challenging. A key component

to achieving this balance requires

limiting the redundancy of information

between tests. Additionally, physical

testing has been proposed to serve

multiple purposes (5); these are as

follows:

1. Examine training effects

2. Athlete motivation

3. Objective feedback for the athlete

4. Increase an athlete’s awareness of

training goals

5. Evaluation of an athlete’s ability or

readiness to compete

6. Evaluation of an athlete during and

returning from rehabilitation

7. Development and planning of

programs

8. Exercise prescription and identification

of potential weaknesses.

Observationally, the above purposes

are prioritized differently according

to an individual’s role within a team

(e.g., strength and conditioning coach,

sport-specific coach, athletic trainer,

physical therapist, and sports scientist).

To thoroughly address the aforementioned,

a systematic approach to testing

may be proposed regardless of the

sport: (a) test selection, (b) test administration,

(c) use of testing information,

(d) retesting for the assessment of

performance increases resulting from

training, (e) testing for return-to-play

assessment, and (f ) data presentation

(Table). The purpose of this article is to

use this approach to develop a soccerspecific

player profiling system that

allows for a more complete assessment,

comparison, and diagnosis of players’

physical attributes.

PERFORMANCE TEST SELECTION:

GENERALIZABILITY AND VALIDITY

Test selection begins with an assessment

of sport-specific demands (physiological

and biomechanical), followed by selection

of tests. Matching of demands with

testing begins with an understanding of

KEY WORDS:

performance testing; lower extremity

rehabilitation; limb asymmetry; return

from injury; return to play; return to

competition; field-based testing

Copyright _ National Strength and Conditioning Association Strength and Conditioning Journal | www.nsca-scj.com 11

the available tests and their associated

validity and reliability. Specifically, how

well the test reflects component(s)

related to actual sport performance

(20), how accurately the test assesses

the physical attribute it is intended to

measure (20), and finally, the reliability,

or reproducibility, of the test must be

considered (26).Ultimately, test reliability

is highly dependent on the consistency of

test administration. A short list of the

primary factors that must be controlled

for are as follows: environment (e.g.,

ambient temperature, testing surface, and

motivation), time of day, warm-up,

exercise sequence, and athletes’ condition

at the time of testing (e.g., maximal

recovery from the previous training,

hydration, and nutritional status) (14).

Based on its metabolic demands, soccer

has been characterized as an intermittent

endurance sport (3) where fatigue is

observed in primarily 2 manners. The

first is in the middle of a match after

bouts of sprint and high-intensity work.

This is reflected in the observation that

sprints greater than 30 m result in

greater recovery time than those of

shorter duration (4) and that the 5-

minute interval containing the greatest

amount of high-intensity work was

followed by a 5-minute segment at

a lower than match average intensity

(4,42). The second is as a function of

soccer match duration. This is reflected

in the observation that players cover

less total distance and perform less

sprinting in the second half compared

with the first half (42) and that both

running distance and intensity

are decreased in the final 15 minutes

relative to all previous intervals (43).

The result is that physiological fitness

testing must integrate 2 components.

The first is the intermittent anaerobic

endurance targeting the assessment of

the ability to resist and recover from

transient fatigue. The second is the

aerobic endurance targeting the assessment

of the ability to resist fatigue as

a function of match duration.

Soccer’s multidirectional and dynamic

nature, incorporating as many as

1,346 changes (43), speculatively requires

an individual to possess diverse

characteristics of athleticism. For this

reason, multiple characteristics are considered

in test selection. Foremost, focus

is placed on the physical attributes:

sprinting, agility, power, and balance

that characterize the actions most frequently

contributing to noncontact injury

in soccer (i.e., running, twisting or

turning, jumping, and landing (24)).

Because of moderate-to-high correlations

between tests of strength, power,

and sprint speed (52), limiting test

redundancy is an important consideration.

As these relationships have been

linked to both movement specificity (37)

and the duration of an action (52), great

emphasis is placed on selecting ecologically

valid tasks. Finally, unilateral

testing is prioritized for the following

reasons: (a) the highly unilateral nature

in which soccer is played (12); (b) the

dominant versus nondominant limb

imbalances observed to increase with

soccer playing experience (27,29,51); (c)

the observation that limb asymmetry

greater than 15% is associated with

lower extremity injury (33,44); (d) the

majority of injuries in sport affect a single

limb; (e) finally, unilateral testing allows

for the more effective development of

return-to-play criteria via either comparison

of injured and noninjured limbs,

and/or comparison of preinjury to

postrehabilitative performance.

Combined the outlined components of

fitness and athleticism result in priority

being placed on the following physical

characteristics: intermittent endurance

capacity, and where applicable unilateral

testing of lower extremity strength,

power, agility, and sprint speed.

PERFORMANCE TESTING:

FITNESS

There are a number of tests that characterize

anaerobic and aerobic capacity

or power. The inclusion of an intermittent

component simultaneously limits

the available tests and is problematic

because of the interplay between the

aerobic and anaerobic systems. Specifically,

the large contribution of the

aerobic system to recovery from intermittent

high-intensity bouts (21) makes

isolation of aerobic and anaerobic

characteristics difficult. The result is that

emphasis is placed on selecting tests

related to match performance where

emphasis is placed on repeated highintensity

and/or sprint performance.

A primary means for analyzing

the intermittent high-intensity

Table

Proposed systematic approach to performance testing

1 Test selection Assess validity and reliability of testing to optimize testing battery

2 Test administration Maximize test-retest reliability via consistent application of testing

3 Use of testing information Maximize data collected to ensure that all purposes of testing are

addressed, and needs of staff are met

4 Retesting for performance increases Maximize data collected to monitor training response and exercise

prescription

5 Testing for return to play Maximize data collection to monitor progression from rehabilitation

to return to training and competition

6 Data presentation Maximize data analysis and exhibit information in a usable manner for

all staff members

12 VOLUME 34 | NUMBER 5 | OCTOBER 2012

Soccer-Specific Performance Testing

performance has been tests of repeated

sprint ability. These tests are appealing

because they provide 2 quantitative

indicators of performance: (a) total

sprint time (i.e., the cumulative time

required to complete all sprints) and (b)

fatigue index (i.e., the decrement in

performance from the first to last sprint)

(2). However, these tests are accompanied

by practical difficulties that make

their use problematic. First, the decrement

in repeated sprint performance is

seldomlinear with an increase or plateau

observed with the increasing sprint trials

(53). Second, reliability and validity of

the test are at times challenged by the

player. Specifically, where a maximal

effort during each subsequent sprint

interval is required, players also understand

that they are being assessed on

their performance decrement. This may

result in greater inconsistency as players

pace themselves. Third, regardless of the

test selection (dependent on the test

selected, either running distance or

sprint time is measured), test administration

may be logistically challenging in

a team setting. Thus, where distance

is the primary measure, a large number

of testers are required to score performance,

and when sprint time is measured,

the number of players who

may be effectively tested at one time is

limited.

Themajority of these shortcomings and

practical problems are circumvented by

the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery level 1

(YYIR1) and level 2 (YYIR2) tests.

These tests consist of 20-m shuttle

running performed at progressive running

speeds, integrating a 10-second

active recovery period between each

consecutive shuttle run, with the pace

controlled by a digital metronome (34).

This allows for the effective application

of testing in a team setting with relative

ease and time efficiency. Additionally,

research has confirmed the strength of

the YYIR tests’ reliability and validity.

Specifically, the distance run in the

YYIR1 and YYIR2 tests have demonstrated

a coefficient of variation of 4.9%

(34) and 9.6% (36), respectively. Compared

with maximal graded treadmill

tests, they have been shown to elicit

maximal heart rates (HR) of 99 6 1% in

YYIR1 (34) and 9861% in YYIR2 (36).

This is a key element in the development

and use of HR as a means for

quantifying training load and exercise

prescription. The YYIR1 has been

correlated with physical match performance.

In male professionals, it highly

correlated with high-intensity running

distance (r = 0.71), moderately correlated

with combined high-intensity and

sprint running distance (r = 0.58), and

total distance run (r = 0.53) (34). In

female professionals, it highly correlated

with high-intensity running distance

(r = 0.76) and high-intensity

running distance during the final 15

minutes of each half (r = 0.83), and

moderately correlated with total distance

run (r = 0.56) (35). Finally, both

tests are sensitive enough to detect

differences between professional players

of different levels and positions (42),

as well as seasonal changes in fitness

level corresponding to physical match

performance (36). As the YYIR2 is

formatted in a manner identical to the

YYIR1, but uses a more rapid increase

in running speeds, it is speculated that

strong correlations to match performance

would persist. Additionally, this

difference allows for a maximal effort

to be achieved by highly fit players

more rapidly during the YYIR2, in line

with the suggestions for maximal

testing (7). For these reasons, the

YYIR1 and YYIR2 tests are currently

the most effective tests for assessing

soccer-specific metabolic performance.

PERFORMANCE TESTING:

ATHLETICISM

Prioritization of testing in soccer is

placed on the lower extremity, with

emphasis on characterizing the aforementioned

components of athleticism:

strength, power, agility, and sprint

speed. Refinement of testing focuses

on the following: (a) ecological validity,

(b) limited redundancy among tests, (c)

ability to assess return to play after injury

or time off, and (d) ability to detect

lower limb performance asymmetry.

Beginning with lower extremity

strength, greatest emphasis is placed

on selecting a test that is both relevant

to soccer and unilateral in nature. The

star excursion balance test (SEBT) is

proposed for the following reasons.

First, a large number of the technical

movements in soccer involve multiplaner

movements performed in a single-

limb stance (i.e., passing, receiving,

shooting). The finding that different

SEBT reach directions result in differences

in movement (47) and muscle

activation of the hip and thigh (17)

increases its appeal. Second, the SEBT

has been shown to be sensitive to

previous ankle injury (25), which is an

important attribute as injury to the ankle

in soccer contributes to 17–24% (1,24)

of time loss injuries. Third, it is capable

of detecting asymmetries that may

contribute to future injury (44). Finally,

the SEBT has demonstrated an intraclass

correlation coefficient (ICC) as

high as 0.95 when scoring is averaged

across the 3 best performances (32).

The SEBT consists of the player standing

in a single-leg stance at the center of

an 8-pointed star (see Figure 1) with

performance measured by the reach

distance of the contralateral limb in the

respective directions (32). Analyses of

the SEBT have determined that performance

is most effectively quantified by

measuring reach distance in 3 directions:

(a) anteromedial, (b) posteromedial, and

(c) medial, with the hands placed on the

hips, and following 4 practice trials in

each direction (46). Although the SEBT

may be categorized as a test of dynamic

balance, observationally, the test is an

amalgamation of balance, unilateral

strength, coordination, and flexibility.

Selection of power tests is similarly

focused, with emphasis placed on unilateral

high-velocity movements. This

leads to the possible selection of singleleg

hop tests grouped as follows: (a)

single-leg hop for distance, (b) timed

single-leg hops, and (c) timed multiplaner

single-leg hops. Although it may

be suggested that vertical tests of power

are more applicable in a sport involving

jumping, this suggestion may be countered

by findings that the number of

jumping actions during a match is

relatively small (3,6). Additionally, given

Strength and Conditioning Journal | www.nsca-scj.com 13

the moderate-high correlation between

tests of horizontal and vertical power

(r2 = 0.695) (23), the tests appear to

examine similar characteristics of lower

extremity power. Power may be seen as

being expressed specific to muscle

action: (a) those incorporating stretchshortening

cycle (SSC) work (often

termed reactive power), and (b) those

incorporating concentric work (18). The

ability to test both types of power

provides insight into an athlete’s ability

to express power (39) and assists in

training design by allowing for a more

tailored approach (18).

Two unilateral tests of power are

proposed. For reactive power, the

triple hop for horizontal distance

(Figure 2) is proposed because of its

high test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.97;

standard error of the mean [SEM] =

11.17 cm) relative to crossover hopping

for distance (ICC = 0.93; SEM =

17.74) and 6-m hopping for time (ICC

= 0.92; SEM = 0.06 seconds) (47). For

concentric power, a single-leg hop for

distance performed in a concentric

manner, as outlined by Booher et al.

(9), is proposed (ICC = 0.97; SEM =

5.93 cm). Specifically, the athlete

begins in a static single-leg squat

position and performs a single maximal

horizontal hop.

Sprinting comprises a relatively small

amount of a soccer match. This is

reflected by a number of observations

that sprinting contributes to less than

2.5% of the total distance run (15). Less

than 1% of the total match duration is

spent sprinting (6). The total number of

sprints is relatively small and ranges

from 3 to 40 bouts (15). Although

sprinting reflects a relatively small

amount of the work performed, observationally,

sprinting is frequently incorporated

in the most decisive action

of a match and is therefore of paramount

importance. As the majority of

sprints in soccer are relatively short in

duration and distance (1.7 to 2.1 seconds

(6) and 19.3 63.2 m (15), respectively),

this should be reflected in testing.

Additionally, given the aforementioned

number of changes that occur during

a match, emphasis is placed on the

capacity for testing to discriminate

between the different qualities of speed.

Thus, if possible, testing should allow for

the assessment of (a) starting speed (0–

10 m), (b) acceleration speed (10–20 m),

and (c) composite speed (0–20 m)

(Figure 3) (22).

The role of agility in soccer is evident

in the 608 to 822 changes in direction

that are observed in a match (8).

Recently defined as ‘‘a rapid wholebody

movement with change of velocity

or direction in response to a stimulus

(48),’’ the addition of cognitive components

may be problematic when trying

to assess the purely physical components.

For the purpose of the current

article, agility will be defined exclusive

of the proposed cognitive components.

The existence of agility as a discrete

athletic attribute is evident in consistent

low correlations with performance tests

of speed, strength, and power

(11,19,38,48). Examination of multiple

agility tests resulted in the observation

that agility persists as a ‘‘complex motor

ability (49).’’ Furthermore, the incorporation

of complex changes inmovement

is demonstrated by the finding that

a ‘‘general agility factor (49)’’ is characterizedmost

highly in tests requiring the

largest changes in direction. The isolation

of agility performance is suggested

to decrease when a large number

of changes in direction are included

(16). This is demonstrated through

increasing correlation among tests incorporating

multiple cutting actions

with sprint performance: 1) the Illinois

agility test, which incorporates 7 cutting

actions and covers a total distance of

36.6m (9.1 m: r = 0.61; 18.3 m: r = 0.68;

27.4 m: r = 0.71; 36.6 m: r = 0.59), 2) the

proagility test, which incorporates 2 cutting

movements and covers a total

distance of 18.3 m (9.1 m: r = 0.59;

18.3 m: r = 0.65; 27.4m: r = 0.66; 36.6m:

r = 0.59) (50), and 3) L-run, which

Figure 1. Star excursion balance test. Modified with permission from Hertel et al (25).

Figure 2. Triple-hop test of unilateral power. Data attained from Hamilton et al. (23).

14 VOLUME 34 | NUMBER 5 | OCTOBER 2012

Soccer-Specific Performance Testing

incorporates 3 cutting actions and

covers a distance of 20 m (5 m: r =

0.57; 10 m: r = 0.64; 20 m: r = 0.73) (19).

In contrast, the 505 test, which incorporates

a single unilateral cutting

action performed in 15-m shuttle run

fashion (Figure 4), has demonstrated

no correlation (16) to low correlations

with sprint speed (5 m: r = 0.52; 10 m=

0.57; 20m = 0.58) (19). Consistent with

tests of strength and power, the

unilateral nature of the 505 allows for

the more effective assessment of return

to play and existence of limb asymmetry.

This is of particular importance

given the aforementioned contribution

of turning and twisting actions to

noncontact injury in soccer (24).

The final component of the testing

battery is the use of qualitative assessments

of movement. Bridging the gap

between subjective (qualitative) and

objective (quantitative) testing is the

functional movement screen (FMS).

Proposed as an assessment of fundamental

movement abilities (41), the

FMS consists of 7 tests: 1) deep squat,

2) hurdle step, 3) in-line lunge, 4)

shoulder mobility, 5) active straight leg

raise, 6) push-up, and 7) rotary stability;

it uses a 3-point scoring system

(41). Although discussion of the testing

protocol and corresponding basis for

the point system is beyond the scope of

the current article, it is clear that the

scoring criteria allows for the development

of an objective measure of

movement ability. In this regard,

FMS scoring has shown strong interrater

reliability, with agreement between

‘‘novice’’ and ‘‘expert’’ raters

excellent in 14 of the 17 criteria

examined during testing (41).

The FMS has demonstrated an ability to

predict potential injury in football, where

a preseason score of less than 14 was

associated with an 11-fold increase in

the likelihood of injury (31), as well as its

sensitivity to training intervention (30).

Although research is limited to the deep

squat assessment, the FMS scoring

system appears to effectively capture

the biomechanical differences that exist

between scoring groups in comparison

with 3-dimensional analyses (10). The

unilateral nature of 5 of the 7 tests and

subsequent ability to capture limb asymmetry

further enhances the appeal of the

FMS. An additional strength of the

testing is the potential subjective analyses

that, when combined with an understanding

of the anatomical relationships

to movement, may allow for potential

tailoring of exercise prescription.

DATA ANALYSIS AND

PRESENTATION

This section will address maximizing

the use of data to better informpotential

decisions of the sports scientist, strength

and conditioning coach, athletic trainer,

and sport-specific coach. The primary

purpose is to discuss how to use and

display data to characterize the individual

player within the team and by

position, to identify potential limb

asymmetry, and to monitor changes

over time. For this reason theoretical

data was developed to illustrate the

different manners that information may

be displayed to exemplify potential

differences within an individual, group

of players, and a team.

Analysis of team performance begins

with the tabling of results, general

analysis, and, if possible, comparison

of test results with research. Thereafter,

analysis within the team continues via

calculation of standardized scores both

within the team and/or positional

groups. This allows for the following

group comparisons to be made: (a)

overall performance or ranking of the

individual within the team (Figure 5)

and (b) comparison of individual players

by position (Figure 6). In the first,

a player’s position relative to their

teammates is immediately evident. In

the second, comparison by position

may highlight physical characteristics

between players, which may otherwise

go unnoticed.

A theoretical comparison of central

midfielders available on a team (see

Figure 6) shows that player 13 is the

most highly fit but has diminished

speed, SSC power, and agility relative

to players 9 and 10. A comparison of

players 9 and 10 reveals that player 9

performed more highly in acceleration

and total sprint performance (sprint

and maximal), and SSC power. However,

player 10 demonstrated the greatest

starting speed, agility, and unilateral

strength and balance. In this manner,

analysis of the individual by team or

position may highlight a player’s weaknesses

and strengths relative to their

teammates. Although these interpretations

must be made in light of a player’s

Figure 3. Sprint performance testing. Data attained from Gore (22).

Figure 4. 505 test of horizontal agility. Data attained from Draper and Lancaster (16).

Strength and Conditioning Journal | www.nsca-scj.com 15

other soccer-specific qualities, they

may have implications for personnel

selection and potentially team tactics.

Ultimately, the use of test results in this

manner provides an objective measure

to what may otherwise remain subjective

observation(s).

Analysis of the individual player focuses

on 1) examining limb asymmetry, 2)

information to more effectively prescribe

training, and 3) examining longitudinal

change. Calculation of limb

asymmetry may be done via the

following equation:

limb asymmetry ¼

ðstronger _ weakerÞ=stronger3100;

followed by the assignment of a negative

sign to the value if the player’s

nondominant limb is stronger and

a positive sign if the dominant limb is

stronger (28). The result is that limb

asymmetries in strength, power, agility,

and FMS score are expressed as

percentage difference and readily expressed

graphically (see Figure 7). The

diagnosis of differences in this manner

allows for a more discriminating look

at a player’s physical attributes. For

instance, specific to Figure 7, the player

demonstrates a consistent, low-level,

dominant limb asymmetry, except for

in triple-hop performance (SSC_

POWER_asymm) where the nondominant

limb performed to a higher level.

This type of discrepancy may highlight

the need for further examination via

medical personnel to determine if

a potential problem exists.

Several tests allow for more discriminative

analyses that potentially

enhance exercise prescription and

more effective monitoring of training

effects. Regarding the metabolic testing,

YYIR1/YYIR2 may be used to

establish maximal HR via the use of

HR monitors, allowing for refined

monitoring and prescription of training

load. Additionally, maximal running

speed may be effectively used to prescribe

running intensities relative to

soccer match performance (13). Two

tests of unilateral power were proposed,

each focusing on the expression

of power relative to specific muscle

actions (SSC versus concentric).

Although the field basis of these tests

does not allow for the direct calculation

of reactive strength index (39), the

difference between SSC and concentric

power may be estimated as follows:

percentage difference ¼

ðtriple hop=3 _ single leg hopÞ=

ðtriple hop=3Þ3100

Calculations of reactive strength index

testing may be compared with previous

research, where the mean difference

observed is 12.1% (40). Additionally,

comparison over time may provide

insight into training adaptation(s) and

enhance training prescription abilities

and diagnosis. Finally, although discussion

of the FMS has thus far pertained

mainly to its use as a scoring system, the

subjective observations made when

testing may be used to further tailor

Figure 5. Theoretical comparison of player performance using a standardized score.

Figure 6. Theoretical comparison of players by position (central midfielders).

16 VOLUME 34 | NUMBER 5 | OCTOBER 2012

Soccer-Specific Performance Testing

movement training. The effective use of

the FMS in this manner is reflected by

the effectiveness of a ‘‘standardized’’

program in increasing FMS score (30).

A discriminative approach to return

to play after injury is inherent in

the proposed player profiling system.

Specifically, the following traits are

addressed to allow for the progressive

assessment of recovery during the latter

stages of injury rehabilitation: 1) muscle

action, 2) movement plane, and 3)

movement velocity. A phasic approach

to the assessment of player recovery

may thus be proposed. Initial application

of testing is performed as a player

recovers and consists of movement

(FMS) and balance (SEBT) tests. Similarly,

each of these tests may be

progressed across the lower extremity;

FMS testing progressing from bilateral

(deep squat) to split (in-line lunge) to

single-leg (hurdle step), and SEBT by

movement plane (injury-dependent)

from anteromedial to medial and posteromedial.

Increasing recovery is accompanied

by increasing test demand.

This progression may begin with the

integration of the single-leg hop test for

distance, followed by sprint and triplehop

testing, and finally 505 agility

testing as it incorporates multiplanar

movement performed at maximal velocity.

A theoretical model of this

progressive approach may be seen in

Figure 8, where tests of increasing

demand are incorporated as the individual

recovers. Ultimately, the progression

and timing of testing relative to

injury is dependent on the individual

injury and must be addressed by and in

cooperation with the medical staff.

The ability to capture and analyze

longitudinal change at the individual

level and team level is of paramount

importance: first, to assess return to

play after injury and second, to assess

the effects of training. Longitudinal

change may be expressed as the

percent change relative to any testing

interval (e.g., baseline, peak). Applying

this to the development of return-toplay

criteria, physical performance

during the rehabilitation phase may

be quantified relative to a player’s

performance at any previous testing

interval. The theoretical model presented

in Figure 8 allows for a quantitative

and progressive assessment of

the player’s recovery from injury. For

instance, there is a progressive increase

in the performance in selected measures

from weeks 6 through 10, with the

final phase of testing (week 11) being

characterized by performance values in

excess of 90% of baseline. Ultimately,

what is an acceptable level of performance

for return to play is unknown

Figure 7. Theoretical asymmetry score for an individual player.

Figure 8. Theoretical data showing return to play after unilateral ankle injury.

Strength and Conditioning Journal | www.nsca-scj.com 17

and likely needs to be judged on an

individual basis. A benefit of the proposed

testing profile is the ability to

track a spectrum of physical characteristics

of increasing demand (i.e., muscle

action, movement plane, movement

velocity) allowing for a more educated

assessment of player function and

therein the likelihood of reinjury.

Finally, as a key element of testing is

to assess training effects, longitudinal

performance may be displayed as

percentage change between the testing

periods:

percentage difference ¼

time2 _ time1 _ __time13100

Alternately, longitudinal change may

be expressed graphically in the same

manner, as previously discussed in

Figure 6 or Figure 8.

CONCLUSION

The primary purpose of this article was

to develop a comprehensive testing

system for soccer. Strong emphasis has

been placed on selecting discriminative

and progressive tests focusing on

physical performance, exercise prescription,

limb asymmetry, and return-

to-play criteria. A secondary

focus has been on maximizing testing

information and subsequent use of

information to effectively integrate

the disciplines within sports science.

Specifically, the varying roles of

a team’s staff (coach, strength and

conditioning coach, athletic trainer,

and physical therapist) have been

addressed. The level of integration

proposed addressed the following key

factors relative to each person’s role:

(a) player comparison(s), (b) timerelated

changes in performance, (c)

exercise prescription, (d) potentially

problematic limb asymmetries, and

(e) return-to-play criteria after injury.

John R. Cone

owns and runs

Athlete’s Research

Institute Inc, a performance

fitness

and consulting

company.

REFERENCES

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Marshall SW. Descriptive epidemiology of

collegiate men’s soccer injuries: National

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