Keeping the benchmarks at hindsight, the current Indian Cricket team’s minimum Yo-Yo mark set at 16.1 is considered extremely low by the inventor himself. Yet some don’t seem to be making it through.
If Honey Singh wasn’t enough to keep us entertained, there comes another yo-yo to add some more meat. ‘Yuvraj Singh out of the Indian Squad after failing the fitness test’, ‘Ambati Rayudu fails to make the cut’ and many more such headlines continue to flash on the news bulletin making the audience wonder as to what is the hullabaloo about this test that is keeping some of the best (if not the fittest) players at bay. The said test is known by the name ‘yo-yo’ and if your mind has subconsciously visualised a spinning toy already then you aren’t being foolish, as the test indeed is designed to work on similar lines.
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What is Yo-Yo Fitness Test?
The Yo-Yo Fitness Test was invented by a Danish football physiologist Dr Jens Bangsbo back in the 90s. It was designed to work as a protocol to determine the fitness levels of footballers, not only to evaluate their speed and agility but also to keep a check on endurance without getting them to run long distance. For the ones who don’t know how this works, there is a designated 20 meter setting along with a five-meter resting space, between which the player runs shuttle- to and fro. It starts off with a beep at a progressive slow pace and goes on to increase gradually. The idea is to reach the mark before the beep. If the player fails to reach the mark before the beep for the third time, he is considered to be out of the test and the last level of the shuttle he ran will be counted as his score.
While the highest score is 23, there are further variations with regards to the levels. A score of anywhere between 16 to 19 is considered satisfactory but elite footballers aim to reach at 20 or beyond. Keeping the benchmarks at hindsight, the current Indian Cricket team’s minimum mark set at 16.1 is considered extremely low by the inventor himself. Yet some don’t seem to be making it through.
Yo-Yo was introduced to Indian cricket by the national team’s strength and conditioning coach Shankar Basu under Anil Kumble’s mentorship. News of the yo-yo test used as a parameter to test the fitness levels of Indian cricketers surfaced when high profile players like Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh failed to get past the desired score in 2016-17. But did you know? This isn’t the first and the only time that an Indian team has fallen back on the intermittent test to evaluate fitness. In fact, it was Hockey that enjoyed the first bite with their average score being around 21, although just like everything else, the concept came under the spotlight only after cricket made a huge cry about it, or rather the media.
Two contrasting scenarios and outcomes
When Ambati Rayudu failed to get past the 16.1 mark to ascertain his fitness level, he was left out of the Indian ODI and T20 squad for England, despite having had a fantastic IPL season. Inversely, midfielder Sumit, who not only kept up with Hockey India’s minimum mark but also topped the scoreboard was shown the door after a non-satisfactory performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Two extremely contrasting scenarios and ironic outcomes.
While Yo-Yo is a great parameter to ascertain the standard of fitness of the team, it must be noted that it is and should be treated as just one of the factors for consideration instead of it being the gospel truth. Hockey India seem to have gained tremendous success lately by following the pattern under team’s scientific advisor Robin Arkell, who seeks a combination of trap and stop, skills, tactics, game sense, dribbling, strength, et al with overall fitness than by simply keeping yo-yo as the first step in the hurdle.
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