What is this fuss about Yo Yo Test? Let’s take a closer look today.
YO YO Test
A ghost for Indian Cricket Team?
Playing sports is generally a fantastic way to improve your fitness and health. But a sport when played on a professional level requires physical and mental fitness of the highest order. Fitness plays the most important part in an athlete’s career and even with the skills, he/she cannot give good results continuously without good fitness.
Team management and coaches use various tests and techniques as a way to help players to optimize training and improve endurance and also for selection purposes.
Yo Yo endurance test is such a test which was developed by Dr Jens Bangsho, a Denmark-based sports scientist and former assistant coach of Juventus FC and the Danish national team.
What is the Yo Yo test?
Before the Yo Yo test, there was a beep test since 2009. The beep test used to record the fitness of a player without the intervals which are used in Yo Yo test.
The Yo Yo test is meant to test the running aerobic fitness of a player. Aerobic capacity – a good parameter to test the fitness is how much time he/she takes to recover after players run a certain distance. Over a prolonged period of time, the test evaluates an athlete’s ability to perform at intervals repeatedly.
Yo Yo test mirrors the sports conditions better where a player is not expected to run continuously, particularly for athletes from sports such as football, cricket, tennis, team handball, basketball and rugby.
Yo Yo test method
A yo-yo test involves a player shuttling between that are set 20 metres apart, for ease of explanation. The whole exercise is controlled by pre-recorded beeps.
After the first beep, the player starts running at full pace from cone B towards the Cone C and should reach the cone C before the second beep and then returns to the starting point cone B before the third beep. This is one shuttle.
Once the player is back at cone B, he/she has to walk towards cone A and come back towards cone B within the stipulated time for the next shuttle. The distance between cone B and cone A is 5 meters and gives the player recovery time before the next run. A player gets 10 seconds between each shuttle for recovery.
Speed level 5-10 has one shuttle each, level 11 has 2, level 12 has 3, level 13 has 4
From level 14-23, each level has 8 shuttles, level 23 being the highest speed level.
With each shuttle, the time available to complete reduces as the athlete moves up the levels which means he needs to be even quicker to reach the next cone before the beep.
When the test starts, the player has approximately 14.4 seconds to cover the 40-meter distance running between B and C and then has a ten-second recovery time before his next shuttle. If he reaches at stage 21, he’ll just have eight seconds to run 40 meters and will be expected to run at a speed of 18 KPH if he needs to reach the cones in time.
3 warnings point to the end of the test. If the player couldn’t reach the cone at any point, he gets the first warning.
Different teams have different levels as qualifying marks. For example Indian cricket team has qualifying mark as 16.1, which means a player should at least finish the first shuttle in level 16. New Zealand has 20.1 and West Indies has 19.
The yo-yo test isn't easy!
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— StumpMic Cricket (@stumpmic_) July 29, 2018
Issues with Yo-Yo Test
During the test, the player is required to hit the line and not required to cross it during his run. According to the analysis, during player’s shuttle, if he crosses the line by about 50 centimetres from both ends, the test becomes five per cent harder to complete.
The second crucial issue of this test is the turning technique. If the player takes too much width for a U-turn instead of coming right back, it adds up the additional distance that the player will be forced to cover within the given time.
Should only fitness be criteria for selection?
Fitness vs Skill
Skill and mental capabilities are very important in a particular sport. There should be a basic fitness level for players to execute their skills well.
With cricket becoming a game of margins, it is crucial that players maintain peak fitness. Yo-Yo test has been made mandatory for the Indian cricket team selection to pass.
Now the question arises whether the skill set of the player and form should be prioritized instead of the test he has passed or failed? what’s the use if a player is so fit and is not in a proper form?
Recently, shockingly Rayudu who was in a terrific form with the bat and also on the field failed the test. Even big players like Raina and Yuvraj had also failed in Yo Yo test. Similarly, Washington Sundar has failed the test. He was exceptional since IPL with runs and wickets in domestic cricket and the Tamil Nadu Premier League.
What former cricketers say?
As per Kapil Dev, a legendary cricketer – “A bowler can perhaps clear the Yo-Yo test easily than a batsman. But this isn’t the ultimate test to judge a player. It comes down to your performances on the field. Cricketers should be judged only on the basis of their on-field performances.”
When asked that former Indian players would have cleared the yo-yo test, Kapil said: “Sunil Gavaskar may not have enjoyed running more than 15 minutes as a part of his fitness drill but he could bat for three days. Even the likes of Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly may or may not have cleared this version of the Yo-Yo test but they turned out to be some of the best players India has produced.”
Yo-Yo test is mandatory to get into the national cricket team. But, Rahul Dravid, Chief coach of U19 Indian cricket team has decided to omit it for the junior players. The focus will instead be on improving skills.
Even Dr Jens Bangsho, the inventor of the Yo-Yo test, introduced the technique as a way to help his players optimise training and improve endurance. This should not be the sole part for selection purposes.
“You have to be careful about using this as the sole test for selection. You have to be always careful in using it as a selection criterion in sports like cricket as there are other qualities that one seeks in a sportsman.” Dr Bangsho said in an interview with the Indian Express. Meanwhile, the women India team took the test as well.