Sprint or speed tests can be performed over varying distances, depending on the factors being tested and the relevance to the sport. The 20 Meter Dash is part of the SPARQ rating system for Basketball and Soccer, and their protocol is listed here.
purpose: The aim of this test is to determine acceleration, and also a reliable indicator of speed, agility and quickness.
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Measure and mark out the test area. Perform an appropriate warm up. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: The test involves running a single maximum sprint over 20 meters, with the time recorded. A thorough warm up should be given, including some practice starts and accelerations. Start from a stationary position, with one foot in front of the other. The front foot must be on or behind the starting line. This starting position should be held for 2 seconds prior to starting, and no rocking movements are allowed. The tester should provide hints to maximizing speed (such as keeping low, driving hard with the arms and legs) and encouraged to continue running hard past the finish line.
results: Two trials are allowed, and the best time is recorded to the nearest 2 decimal places. The timing starts from the first movement (if using a stopwatch) or when the timing system is triggered, and finishes when the chest crosses the finish line and/or the finishing timing gate is triggered. See some 20m sprint test results.
target population: basketball other sports in which speed over a similar distance is important.
reliability: Reliability is greatly improved if timing gates are used. Also weather conditions and the running surface can affect the results, and these conditions should be recorded with the results. If possible, set up the track with a crosswind to minimize the effect of wind.
The Test in Action
- The cricket 17.68m sprint, over a similar distance.
- See some 20m sprint test results.
- General information about Sprint or Speed Testing
- training for speed
- Videos of Speed Testing
- The SPARQ rating system for basketball and Soccer
- About the SPARQ rating system
- warming up for sprint testing
- Other anaerobic tests and about anaerobic testing
- All about timing gates
- Sprint Test Results
- World Records for Speed tests