Lessons from GAIN 2015 – Randy Ballard on Trainability Assessment

Randy Ballard is an ATC who works with Volleyball and Track & Field at University of Illinois. Over the past three years Randy has taken elements of Kelvin Giles PCA (Physical Competency Assessment) and combined into a trainability assessment he calls I-FACTS – Illinois Foundational Athletic Competency System. It is a trainability assessment because it is designed to do just that, determine the athlete’s ability to train – where on a continuum of progression will you find kinks in the amour and adjust training accordingly. It is a reference to determine an entry point for programming training.

randy_ballardA statement that Randy made in his presentation really struck home with me: “Once overspecialized, always overspecialized.” The implications of that statement are wide ranging. The athlete will be at University of Illinois for four years, they are expected to compete and achieve at a high level, but so much time is spent in damage control that was done before college that is presents a real dilemma.

The whole I-FACTS is process oriented. Randy stressed that the “Data does not give you answers, rather it helps you ask better questions.” The process consists of the ATC, S&C, and sport coach all working to together to answer the questions and keep asking smarter more pointed questions.

ifactsBecause it is process orientated it is not a “one-off” testathon with the results filed away and forgotten. It is a living working part of the athletes training to constantly improve their athleticism. It is a vehicle to open and maintain lines of communication between the whole performance team working with the athlete. To get the athlete performing at their optimum requires cooperation and communication. It is important to emphasize that Randy has worked hard to involve the sport coach in this process; because of this the buy in has been significant.

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