Applying the 30-15IFT in international hockey: improving the scoring and practical applications

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Mark Mullineaux with Alastair Eustace, Henry Davies, Jamie Knight and Andrew Roberts

This is an article about data. It takes a test familiar to many strength and conditioning (S&C) practitioners (the 30–15IFT) and demonstrates the processes that the S&C coaches at Hockey Wales undertook to extract greater meaning and insight from the data generated by the scoring system. Beginning with a largely descriptive element (the layout, procedure and scoring of the test, as well as its stated applications), the article then focuses tightly on the scoring system of the test and how it might be ameliorated. Subjecting the scoring system to Realistic Evaluation6 and reviewing it through the lens of a model of argumentation reveal why amelioration of the scoring system might be both beneficial and necessary. The article then considers how we went about this process, from practically setting the boundaries of speed on the test to scaling the scores and, ultimately, providing scores in percentages. The final element of the article considers the practical applications of the process. These applications we found to be both numerous and insightful. Since its inception, the 30–15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30–15IFT) has become a staple of S&C programmes not just in field hockey, but across numerous sports including handball, rugby league and association football.8 Used extensively as a fitness assessment tool, as well as a guide to providing individualised, targeted metabolic conditioning, the 30–15IFT represents a versatile component of the strength and conditioning coach’s armoury. Rather than focus on these applications, however, this article tightly focuses on one key area of the 30–15IFT: the scoring system. Following a summary of the test protocol, scoring system and the stated applications of the 30–15IFT, the primary aim is to demonstrate how the discriminative capacity of the scores might be ameliorated. By doing so, the article aims to demonstrate the test’s key benefits: that of gaining a truer indication of an athlete’s metabolic fitness qualities and, linked to this, the application of this enhanced insight to goal setting and, potentially, squad selection.

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