Creator of Yo-Yo test: Cannot select players based on a single test

Dr Jens Bangsbo also disagrees with the belief in Indian cricket that there has to be a uniform parameter for different roles in the sport.

The Yo-Yo test has divided the Indian cricket fraternity.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Ravi Shastri, the coach of the Indian national team, has made it clear that every player needs to clear the Yo-Yo test to be eligible for selection. And he has the backing of the captain, Virat Kohli, who is also of the opinion that passing the endurance test with a qualifying speed level of 16.1 is a must to break into the national side.

While this has divided the Indian cricket fraternity, noted Danish soccer physiologist Dr Jens Bangsbo – who developed the Yo-Yo test in late 1990s – believes that it is not possible to select players on the basis of just one 'single test'. However, he finds the mark set by the Indian team management ‘okay’.

“The question here is clear – you cannot select players based on a single test,” Bangsbo tells Sportstar, while answering a question on whether the actual game skills can be relegated and the parameters can be followed for selection into the team. “A single test cannot determine the exact performance in a game,” he adds.

“The question is clear – you cannot select players based on a single test,” Bangsbo tells Sportstar, while answering a question on whether the actual game skills can be relegated and the parameters can be followed for selection into the team.

A professor of human physiology and exercise physiology and head of the Copenhagen Centre for Team Sports and Health, Bangsbo is a UEFA pro-license coach and also a UEFA, FIFA and Asian Football Confederation instructor. Between 1999 and 2001, he was an assistant to coach Carlo Ancelotti at Juventus. Bangsbo was then assistant coach under Marcello Lippi at the Italian club between 2001 and 2004, when it won two Italian Championships and two Super Cups, and reached the 2003 Champions League final.

ALSO READ: Yo-Yo test is just one part of a fitness drill, says former India trainer

Bangsbo’s long association with football helped him come up with the Yo-Yo test. “The tests were developed in the early 1991, as I felt that the sports with intermittent exercise patterns were lacking appropriate tests,” he says.

Jens Bangsbo was an assistant to coach Carlo Ancelotti at Juventus.   -  Twitter/ Maldives FA

 

At a time when every Indian cricketer dreads the Yo-Yo test, what are the ideal parameters to clear it?

“The performance is assessed as the distance covered in the test. Between each shuttle, there is a 5- or 10-second rest period and the participant finishes the test when he or she twice has not been able to complete the shuttle within the given time (as the speed progressively increases). A sub-maximal where the participant runs for five minutes and the heart rate is measured is also a very useful test to see the development,” he says.

Bangsbo, however, makes it clear that no tweaking can be done to the parameters.

“The tests are applicable for most sports with intermittent exercise,” he says, pointing out that the Yo-Yo test is convenient for a sport like cricket, even though it started off primarily for football. “There are benchmark values for a number of sports,” he adds.

Bangsbo also disagrees with the belief on the Indian cricketing circuit that there has to be a uniform parameter for different roles in the sport. “Things depend on the type of Yo-Yo tests. There are six different types, so…," he noted.

While there could be debate on whether the parameters set by Indian team management are higher than required, he makes it clear that it is important to follow the process and not tweak the parameters.

Having been in the international sporting arena for years, that’s experience talking.