Testing to Evaluate Player Ability and Development

As a coach I'm always evaluating my players but mostly on a subjective level. I do some 1v1 and 2v2 statistical evaluations that I wrote about in a previous post but that's the only objective information I've used to in the past.

This spring our club has implemented the SoccerFIT Game Speed Assessment for all of our teams. The test looks at three specific categories - Speed/Agility, Soccer Fitness and Technical Skill. The ideal situation is to see a balance between these unique areas but in most cases players will be stronger in one or two and weaker in the others. Here's an example of a report that you would receive after entering your data from the tests:

There are 15 different test that the players take. It's best to take them all within one training session but they can be divided up and completed over the course of two or three sessions.

Here is a list of the specific tests:

Soccer FITness Interval
Toe Taps
Step Overs
Inside-Outside Right Foot
Inside-Outside Left Foot
Inside-Outside Both Feet
5 Cone Dribbling
Passing-Checking to Backpedal
Passing-4 Cone Looping
Speed-25 yds Down and Back
Agility-Down 10-Back 5 (25 yds)
Agility with a Ball-Down 10-Back 5 (25 yds)
Soccer FITness Interval with a Ball

The testing material includes an explanation of each test how to set up the field to make testing quick and easy even for the youngest players. Most of the tests are done in pairs so that one player is counting while the other one is testing. This also provides recovery time between each test.

Once the testing is completed the scores and times are entered into the Soccer FIT site compares the individual player's scores to everyone else that has taken the test and assigns a score for each area. The scoring system is similar to the Olympic Decathlon where the best score is assigned 1000 points and the lowest score receives no points. This method of scoring allows a player to track their score over time regardless of their age.

Entering the data for an entire team will give you an overview of the team that can be compared to other teams or compared to their team score from a previous season.

I think this information will be valuable for me, the player, the club and the parents. It will show us the areas that need extra attention and testing again at the end of the spring will show the progress of the individual players and the whole team.Tracking a players scores over several years will also show strengths and weakness in our curriculum that can then be addressed.

There are coaches that would argue that soccer can't be broken down into statistics; that it is more art than science. There are intangibles that some players possess that make them better than the test might show. I agree that this type of testing should not be used as the final determine factor in any decision making process but as a tool to add to the total picture of player development.

You can receive the testing package for free by clicking on this link. Everything is free including the entering of your data and generation of results.

What do you use to evaluate your players objectively?

Have a great day!


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