India’s reliance on the yo-yo test as a selection criterion for the national cricket team might not be the brightest ideas, if an expert in fitness analytics is to be believed. Stressing that even big-time basketball at the highest level – the NBA teams, have refrained from using the advanced version of the beep test, Boden Westover, the Director of Marketing at Catapult Sports, said that the yo-yo wasn’t an accurate marker ahead of selection in cricket.
Catapult makes GPS devices that are used by over a 1000 teams across the world for advanced running analysis, but Westover insisted that both his device as well as the yo-yo parameters aren’t the best grounds to deny selection. “We encourage teams to not compare athletes’ numbers based on these tests. Even basketball and NBA with its back and forth runs doesn’t use yo-yo, because you can’t compare two athletes,” he explained.
Westover reckons that for starters different athletes respond differently based on their body metabolism and lung capacities. Moreover, he believes that because cricket is a game of varied skills – hand-eye coordination, body balance, footwork, head position and reflexes – the yo-yo test might not be a sufficient indicator of a player’s readiness to last a match.
“It’s good for generic movement analysis. But it is not for measuring fitness or performance,” Westover said. NBA and Collegiate basketball which witnesses similar post-to-post runs, had long realised the futility of the yo-yo to determine selection. The yo-yo test is under scrutiny because the Indian management has turned it into a hard and fast eligibility criterion.