Teaching/Coaching: Skill Test Sheets

Teaching/Coaching: Skill Test Sheets

Dick Moss, Editor, PE Update.com

   This article provides a reproducible sheet you can use to record skill-test results for your students. It also discusses a strategy for using skill testing to motivate varsity athletes into wanting to perform skill drills.
How to Use for Skill Testing in Class
    Divide the sport you're testing into the skills you feel are most important and can be easily tested.
    Then devise tests for these skills. If you're testing badminton skills, you could easily measure accuracy in serving short, serving long, smashing, driving, clearing and dropping. For example, establish a target area on the floor, allow a maximum number of attempts for each test (i.e., 10 attempts) and award a point each time your student hits a bird within the target area. The idea is to make the tests challenging but achievable.
    Use the reproducible sheets to record the results.
Using the Sheets to Motivate Varsity Athletes
    You can also use the score sheets as a practice motivator for your varsity athletes. In most sports, athletes love to play full-fledged games but quickly become bored with the drills they need to develop their skills.
    A skill-testing strategy will make your players want to perform their drills by employing frequent “tests” or “contests” that measure their abilities in specific skills.  The test results are posted publicly, which will motivate your athletes to practice their drills in order to improve their test scores.
    Here's how you can apply this strategy in any sport requiring skill development.
How to Implement
         Have your students perform the tests and ask them to record their own scores on the reproducible score sheets that you post on a wall.
    Ask players to perform the tests on a regular basis (i.e., once every week or two), either at a scheduled practice or when the athlete is practising alone. Since they'll be able to do many of the tests by themselves, this strategy will encourage them athletes to perform extra practice.
Applicable to Many Sports
    This system can apply to almost any sport in which skills can be easily measured.  For example basketball could measure foul-shots, jump shots, hook shots and tip-ups.  Hockey, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey could measure shooting and passing accuracy using different shooting techniques.
    A regional badminton youth team in New Zealand used this strategy and experienced the following results:

  • When the tests were first discussed, the players thought they'd be so easy that they weren't worthwhile performing. However, after completing the tests they were surprised at how poorly they had performed.
  • This poor performance motivated them to improve their skills before the next test. Many players began to practice the skills independently and to ask for extra information about technique—behavior that had not occurred before the tests were implemented.
  • Because test scores were posted, all players were very aware of their teammates scores—this was also highly motivating.
  • Some top-ranked players received a shock when they found that lower-ranked players performed better on some skills.
  • The posting of results also gave less skilled players an indication of why their higher-ranked teammates were more successful during competition.
  • All players became highly motivated to improve their scores and to ultimately make a perfect score on each test.

How to Download the Reproducible Test Score Sheet
   To access the reproducible test score sheet, download the PDF version of this article at the bottom of this page.

Reference:  Bevin C. Grant (Senior P.E. Lecturer, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand), Sports Coach, October-December 1989. 

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