My Off-Season Training w/ Cooper Kupp (Part2)

My Off-Season Training w/ Cooper Kupp (Part2)

The 6 Tests To Build Our Athlete Profile

In Part 1 of this series we covered the goals and the plan of Cooper Kupp’s off-season training process leading into his Triple Crown, Offensive POY,  Super Bowl Winning and Super Bowl MVP season. If you haven't read Part 1 you can do so here:

Read Part 1

In Part 2 of this series will dive deeper into what an athlete profile is, the specific athlete profiling tests we use and the what/how/why of each test. As a reminder about our thought process… In an era where data is abundant, it is vital to appreciate that; if everything is “important” then nothing is important. To the same degree… if everything is a KPI then nothing is a KPI. Measure what matters and don’t get lost in big data. This concept allows us to stay focused, keep the goal wand not develop paralysis by analysis.

The Profile & Tests

Simply put, an athlete profile is a culmination of relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that help build a better context of who the athlete is and their strengths and weaknesses. As I mentioned previously, the goal of the athlete profile is to “take a look under the hood” and gather objective information on Kupp’s current ability levels. The complete athlete profile gives us a robust look at the meaningful bio-motor qualities that support elite performance and below I will dig deeper into each test.

Man with running posture

1.Health: RHR or HRV

What: Resting Heart Rate (RHR) is the amount of beats per minute your heart beats while typically lying down. Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies a more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is literally the variance in time between the beats of your heart. So, if your heart rate is 60 beats per minute, it's not actually beating once every second. The variance between beats demonstrates your nervous system attunement to react to stimuli and so a higher variance is better.

How: Both of these metrics can be measured with variance devices, but for us, we like to use a polar heart rate chest strap. We also like to assess these metrics while athletes are asleep as it leads to more accurate and less noise data.

Why: These metrics are number one for a reason. Assessing an athletes resting heart rate or heart rate variability is a good measurement for an athlete's current baseline physiological health and nervous system status. A lower RHR and higher HRV means the athlete and their nervous system is in a good place to handle training/life stress to make positive performance adaptations.

2.Speed: Speed & Load-Velocity Profile

What: Speed is obviously an important quality and for us, we assess 5 different sprints. 10yd Dash to look at early acceleration, 20yd Dash to look at late acceleration, Flying 10yd to look at Max Velocity and a Moderate & Heavy Resisted 20 yd Dash to build out a Load-Velocity profile.

How: For us we typically do our testing on 2 separate days. One day focused of acceleration and the Load-Velocity profile and the second day focused on assessing Max Velocity via Fly 10yd  

Why: These numbers give us an overall picture of an athlete's speed abilities. Since acceleration is a submaximal component of Max Velocity we determine whether an athlete is an efficient accelerator or if their Max Velocity is the limiting factor to their overall speed. We can also identify the specific resisted sprint loads an athlete needs to run with to facilitate the desired adaptations. These metrics allow us to build out an individualized speed program for each athlete.

Speed chart

3.Jumps: Power-Elasticity Profile

What: Our Power-Elasticity profile is a combination of 3 different types of jumps to identify if an athlete is more power or elastic dominant. The 3 jumps include a Non-Countermovement Broad Jump (3sec pause at bottom), Countermovement Broad Jump (normal jump) and a Depth Broad Jump (stepping off a box and reactively jumping out).

How: We perform these jumps all on the same day. An athlete will get 2 attempts at each of the three types of jumps and we will measure to the nearest ½ inch.

Why: Based on each individual jump distance and also the ratio of the jumps compared to each other we determine an athlete’s dominance and also which types of jumps an athlete will be performing in their program.

4.Strength: Force-Velocity Profile

What: The strength Force-Velocity profile gives us the opportunity to look at two things. One it allows us to determine an athlete's 1 rep max without requiring them to work up to a 1 rep max (which is extremely taxing, especially in early off-season). Two it allows you to see what an athlete’s existing force and velocity production capabilities look like. Once graphed, this information roughly translates to how quickly your athlete produces force at various percentages of their max and determines whether their force or velocity dominate.

How: To test this we first determine which upper body and lower body lift we’re going to use our KPIs. For us with Kupp we used Bench Press and the Trap Bar Deadlift. From there we athletes do 5-8 sets of 2 reps at ever increasing, but submaximal loads. We then plot these on a graph using a linear regression equation to get their profile.  

Why: Again in doing this we can determine max strength and whether an athlete is more force or velocity dominant. This helps us better program the specific type of power and strength training protocols and loads to individualize the training process to do for each athlete.

5.Fitness: Aerobic Capacity or HRR

What: In basic terms Aerobic Capacity is your body’s ability to provide and sustain energy that is provided predominantly via oxygen, with efforts below your anaerobic threshold. Heart rate recovery (HHR) measures how quickly your heart returns to its normal resting rate or how quickly it lowers in a set amount of time after exercise.  

How: We test Aerobic Capacity and HRR with an in-house developed intermittent conditioning test. The test is a spin-off of the YMCA 3 min Step Test, which has been shown to have good correlations to V02 Max and Aerobic Capacity. Our test been adjusted to increase its intensity, having athletes perform alternating box switches at a set cadence, work:rest intervals and rounds. After completing we look at their max heart rate achieved and their 30 sec and 1 min HRR. If an athlete's fitness is improving, their max heart rate should be lower and their HRR should be larger doing the same fixed amount of work.    

Why: With football being an Alactic-Aerobic sport, having a high aerobic capacity will support your ability to keep up with game demands. HRR is an extremely valuable metric as it can show us how efficient an athlete is at recovering between bouts of exercises. So having an athlete with a greater Aerobic Capacity and HRR means they will sustain and recover from outputs more efficiently, which will translate to lower fatigue and greater outputs play to play.

Heart rate recovery after one minute go test chart

6. Skill: Film Review & Grading

What: Lastly we like to get an idea of how an athlete grades out their play over the previous season and where they feel their biggest strengths and weaknesses are.

How: This is typically done by the athlete themselves or in combination with their position coach, coordinator and/or private skill coach. They dissect every aspect of their game to better understand who they are as a player.  

Why: This helps us relate how the improvement in the above tests can support the improvement of on field performance. It also allows us to help build out individual skill development plans rooted in motor learning and skill acquisition principles to support maximize transfer.  

3 apple monitor with charts

These 6 tests set the foundation for how I go about building the individual off-season program tailored to the exact needs of each athlete. Depending on the metric, we reassess these as frequently as every other day or as infrequently as every 6 weeks.

The next blog in this series we will identify and address the key stakeholders that have a hand in the holistic development of a fully functioning off-season training process.

If you’re an athlete of any age looking to take their game to the next level sign up for a drop-in session to try out our training at one of our three facilities (Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie)

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