Seeking simplicity to improve efficacy
“Until now, we didn’t have a field test that allowed us to evaluate training,” comments García Fresneda. “We used lab tests, but these take a lot of time to carry out, and also the results are not direct but have to be extrapolated.” What the authors were looking for was the wheelchair equivalent of the well-known Bosco test, which evaluates the characteristics and capabilities of muscle fibers in the legs through the use of vertical jumps.
The working hypothesis was that both the “push-start” or “first push” (IMPRP: Initial Maximum Push-Rim Propulsion) and the 12-meter sprint capability, could serve as indicators of the physical condition of athletes. The 12-meter sprint capability test had been studied in basketball players, but the reliability of the test had not yet been determined. To do so, they studied 16 wheelchair rugby players who were subjected to two types of tests. On the one hand, the mechanical parameters of the push-start were studied using an encoder, a sort of rope that continually measures velocity, force, and the power exerted. On the other hand, sprint capability at 3, 5, and 12 meters was studied using a radar. The variability between repetitions was calculated in order to study the reliability of each test, and the correlation between the initial push-off and the sprint was investigated, on the logical assumption that one would depend largely on the other.
Variability measurements were consistently low, which suggests that it is a reliable test and that for each repetition, the values obtained are qualitatively similar. Furthermore, the first push accounted for between 60% and 80% of sprint capability, especially at 3 and 5 meters, “which are the distances that are repeated most often during the game,” underlines García Fresneda.