Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 09:26

Take the time

Evaluate your trainingsprogram regularly. Do you need to adjust your goals? Use the actual matches for this, you can focus on the aspect you developed in your evaluation. Of course many other things might go wrong in the games, try not to worry too much about this. I know some coaches who plan "problem fixing sessions", this is for a quick fix and also will make players (parents?) feel like you address issues. 

Make the evaluation as individual as possible. Re-visit the estimates you made on how much time you wanted to spent developing certain aspects. This will help to develop your understanding of the time it takes for your players to absorb new aspects of our game.

This is also were you will learn if the goals you have set were SMART enough.....

Related pages

but video but test
but links but free but credits

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 16:43

The Shuttle Run Test

The Shuttle Run determines the maximum aerobic endurance of a player. The test was first published by Leger and Lambert (1982).

  • Leger, L.A. & Lambert, J. (1982) "A maximal multistage 20m shuttle run test to predict VO2 max", European Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol 49, p1-5.

There are many alternative names now for the shuttle run fitness test, including Beep Test, Bleep Test, YoYo Test and the Pacer test. With this test the participants run back and forth across the gym or training pitch between two lines/markers set twenty meters apart until the players fails to reach the mark at the 'beep' on three consecutive laps or shuttles. The test is usually performed indoor and the speed of the participants is determined by the interval between the audio beeps played on a CD player, cassette or laptop.

James Bickerton (Bitworks Engineering) wrote a piece of software in July 2004 to transform your laptop into a beep test machine. James also gave it to me to put it on my website - hundreds of downloads since! He has focused on the timing accuracy - 'in test on our slowest machine (400MHz Pentium II) we achieved 2 hundredths of a second accuracy on the beep timing, check your test.txt after running the application'. James wants to know if you would like any modifications, ie. new test, extra features or maybe your team colours on the graphics, for a free ticket! You can email james at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

There is now a Team Beep Test version (May 2008) that allows you to run a test for the team and log/view the results very quickly as the test is completed. The Team version has been jointly developed by Rugbycoach.com and Bitworks. Each player's score is logged, with a single button press and can be saved to a file, team performance can be viewed on a chart to show fitness over the season. Have a look or download the free application.

Background information on the beep test

The starting speed is 8 km/h and each minute the speed is increased by decreasing the interval between the beeps, see the table below for ‘beep’ interval times for each one minute stage.













Players should pivot on the line at the moment of the beep (not quicker or slower). The test result is expressed in stages, you can score between 1/2 or 1 stage.

When to perfrom the bleeptest, frequency

This test leaves players completely exhausted so there is an important motivational aspect with this test but players can enjoy the challenge. Also this type of maximum testing takes up a lot of valuable training time and have to carefully planned in the season.

Short-term improvement to individual player fitness may not be readily apparent. Progress is influenced by changes in the workload, number of matches, recovery from injuries, sickness and more. So regular monthly testing is not to be advised.


Timing is critical so it is important for the CD/MP3 or older audio cassette plays at the correct speed. We have found that CD players can be affected by pitch controls (set these at neural or off), MP3 playback speed can be affected by mismatch on CODEC sample rates.

Check the playback with the 1 min. test period at the start of the tape. If not possible to adjust for errors in playback speed you will have to work with the shuttle length using this table:













Check the beep stage timing with a stopwatch. Tapes have a tendancy to stretch, ruining your timing!

You can use the beep test to:

  • track how players progress in time
  • compare players with others
  • compute the aerobic ability of the player using this table

It takes about 90 minutes to administer the test for a whole team.

My experience with the Beep Test

Just to give you an idea what we used to set as goals for the Dutch U21 selection when we tested them in the gym:

Front Row: 9 -11 stages
2nd Row: 10-11
Back Row: 11-13
Half backs: 12
Backs: 12-13

Here is a sample result from a test. I plotted it against the percentage of body fat.

bleeptest scores

It is a bit of an overstatement but you see that players with a lower fat percentage score better on the beep test. This is explained by the mobility aspect of the test. It helped us to create a better awareness amongst the players about their diet.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 16:43

The Shuttle Run or Beep / Bleep / Pacer / YoYo Test determines the maximum aerobic endurance of a player. It is a very accurate and popular fitness test and one you can do very easily now: with the Bitworks Team Beeptest software you can turn your laptop or computer into a beeptest machine!

The team beep test is very accurate (200th of a second) - even compared to the mp3/CD versions you now can buy on the internet. The Team Beeptest version has the added value of easy gathering and display of the players beep test scores over the season and makes the test very easy to administer. Simply click on the player button and the software will automatically record the stage. On overview of the software features:

  • You can record the beep test scores of individual players while you run the test, when a player is "out" you only have to click the named button with to record their score to a text file database. This allows you to focus on the proper execution of the test.
  • VO2 Max figures are updated on the main test screen in real time.
  • View the team fitness on a chart, see screen shots below or direct view of the players text file.
  • Everything now resides on one system: your test and the results.
  • You can put together your own test, specify stages, intervals and rest times. There are coaches who setup a waterpolo and wheel chair versions of the test.
  • Print the players scores directly to give the players immediate feedback.
  • Convert the player.txt file to excel and have even more freedom for further analysis (something you want to do anyway, even with using an audio version.....)
  • Or of course the other way around: once you have an imported players.txt in Excel and you can easily cut and paste your players names into a text file, save it as players.txt and you are ready to test.

This is a website for rugbycoaches but the Team Beeptest software can of course be used for all sports! This fitness test is particularly suitable for players of team sports which require stop-start movements and constant changes of direction.

How to buy Team Beeptest?

We use Paypal - secure payment and privacy guaranteed. This is how it works:

  1. If you would like to use the software then please purchase the Team Beeptest by clicking on the Paypal button below, the cost is 25 Euro, about 30 U.S. Dollar but your currency is automatically converted by PayPal.
  2. Once your payment is processed, Paypal will inform rugbycoach.com giving me your name and email address (nothing else, not your credit card details!)
  3. I will sent you the software. Simply unzip the file and your ready to run (literally !! - no further installation is required). The software runs on Windows only.
  4. Then simply register the software with Bitworks (please see the readme.txt file in the zip download), they will provide the activation code and email/telephone support.

Please note: you do not need a Paypal account to purchase Team BeepTest, you can also make a secure, no charge payment on your credit card through Paypal. Look for the credit card payment link down on the left after you have clicked through to the PayPal page.


Team BeepTest screen shots

The main screen:


This how the team stats look like:

beeptest statistics

How to edit the players file:


How the imported players.txt. looks in Excel

shuttle run test

Related material


Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 09:42

Intro on performance profiling for rugby

Performance profiling in rugby helps players to measure their progress towards set goals. Performance profiling or feedback is part of the whole goal setting program.

Players are motivated if they see their performance improves towards the standard they have set. Again, communication with your players is the key: everybody should know why they play rugby, what they want to achieve.

Why Profiling?

Here are some reasons:

  • measure and judge performance
  • assess the goals that have been set
  • provide feedback
  • identify those key elements or characteristics to improve
  • relate the individual performance against that of the team
  • create awareness of own responsibility, own role as part of the development of the team

You see that goal setting has little effect without the feedback provided by performance profiling.

Performance Analysis

Performance Analysis should give you and the player an object view on the performance of their skills. You should break-down everything in such details that systematic observations will give you good feedback on the progress made.

Two different approaches are possible:

  • notational/match analysis, which uses means to record aspects of team performance;
  • biomechanics, which revolves around the sporting impact of body movements.

I use the first one, scribbling away on a notepad and experimenting with a video analyses program. Focus on taking notes on those performance parameters that quantify the progress of a skill.


There are several ways to provide feedback on the goalsetting program but most of all remember that the performance goals set by the players are already quantified in terms of Technical -, Tactical -, Mental -, Fitness - and Strength characteristics and perhaps other relevant issues. In the goalsetting program described earlier you identified for each characteristic the achievers/what to do.

Example: improve my goal kicking:

  • Goal: 75% of all my penalties will be a score by Xmas this year.
  • Technical: improve body position at the kick, follow through after the kick
  • Tactical: -
  • Mental: improve concentration, develop a performance routine
  • Fitness: -
  • Strength: develop explosive power in my kicking leg

A performance profile can now easily be made using the above characteristics.

Another example

I found some profile sheets more based on functional roles that can help you get some ideas. An excerpt below:

Performance profile Backs and Defence

  • Alignment: deep / flat
  • Contest: Man-on / Drift / One out
  • Tackle: effective / Correct
  • Cover / Support:
  • etc.

How to gather the data

This is of course the big thing: record keeping, processing the info and finding time to evaluate with the player(s). Again al lot of organisational skills required. Think about:

  • Match analysts (spectators, injured players, retired players you might want to bring as coach anyway, your assistant coaches)
  • Video Analysis (this requires some processing too..)
  • But most of all involve the players themselves in the Game Analysis


I think that this goal setting process is an excellent way to discuss with your players how you all are going to work together. It gives you an opportunity to discuss with the players what you think is needed for the team to progress.

All in all valuable time spent inside! Good luck, hope that reading this page helps you!

Reference material

  • Goalsetting, how to organise this.
  • Two books are the basis for a lot of my work, "Winning, the Mental Way" by Karen Sugarman and "Coaching the Inner Edge" by Robin Vealy. Look at my booksection for the review.
  • Functional Roles in a team, this might help you with identifying individual characteristics.
  • Goalsetting and Performance Profiling is an important part in improving "team cohesion" or teambuilding
  • You can download the forms I used from the Free Download Page
  • Performance and outcome goals, on the Coaching Youth Sports page 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 16:44

This test has been set up for hockey and is later used for soccer too. It measures the speed, agility and ball control. This page is based on an article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, 38, 138-142.

I ran into this test when I visited the talent program of the F.C. Heereveen where the Rijks Universiteit Groningen conducted a series of tests. I have used the test in rugby several times now.

The Field Hockey background of the test

Competitive field hockey matches place heavy aerobic demands on players and require them to expend energy at relatively high levels. High-intensity activities such as cruising, sprinting, and activities in which the player is directly involved with the ball (for example, dribbling) have been shown to represent between 17.5 - 30% of the competition time and are considered critical to the outcome of the game. Furthermore, in field hockey, high and low intensity activities alternate by a ratio ranging from about 1:4 to 1:8. Consequently, as well as maximal performance on individual high intensity activities, the ability to produce high intensity efforts is crucial for top level field hockey players.


Field hockey is a multiple high intensity activity sport with a multidirectional nature. The ability to change direction rapidly while maintaining balance without loss of speed – that is, agility - is therefore an important physical component necessary for successful performance in field hockey. Elite field hockey players also need high level technical skills such as being able to dribble without losing running speed. For a technically good player, dribbling is essentially an automatic process, and the better players distinguish themselves by their running speed while dribbling the ball.

Coaches, trainers, and players are continually searching for effective methods of identifying and developing those characteristics in a player that may enhance performance.

There are a variety of field tests with which to measure the physiological and technical characteristics of players in team games like soccer, rugby, and handball. However, there was no single test to measure both physiological and technical characteristics in field hockey
players and for this reason Lemmink, Elferink-Gemser and Visscher developed the Shuttle Sprint and Dribble Test (Shuttle SDT) to measure shuttle sprint and dribble performance. Based on tests for agility the Slalom Sprint and Dribble Test (Slalom SDT) was developed to measure slalom sprint and dribble performance.

The relevance to Rugby

From an fitness perspective, the demands on rugby players are very similar to those of hockey players. Of course the dribble aspect is not present with rugby, I substituted this with ball carrying. My intention was to look if players improved after being trained using SAQ methods.

Background information on the Slalom Sprint & Dribble Test

Slalom sprint performance was measured by using the Slalom Sprint and Dribble Test (Slalom SDT; Lemmink et al., 2004a) (see Figure below). In this field hockey specific test, players have to sprint 30 m in a zigzag fashion with twelve 120-degree turns around cones placed 2 m apart while carrying a hockey stick.

I have my rugby players perform the test twice, with- and without carrying the ball.

slalom test

When to perform the test, frequency

This test does not leave players completely exhausted like the Shuttle Run Test, so this can be done more often. Players see this as just another SAQ circuit run which makes it more fun to do.


The test requires markers, a stopwatch and a tape measure. I have made a rope with knots a the 2 meter spacing to mark out the spacing quickly.

Check the beep stage timing with a stopwatch. Tapes have a tendency to stretch, ruining your timing! You can use the beep test to:

  • track how players progress in time
  • compare players with others
  • compare a players fitness level after his return from injury

It takes about 20 minutes to administer the test for a whole team.

My rugby experience with the Slalom Sprint and Dribble Test

I used this test when working on my final written exam for my SAQ i-Diploma. Neat test, but the run with and without carrying a ball showed practically the same results

Related Documents


Page 1 of 3

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 Next > End >>