Coaching Management, 14.11, November 2006, http://www.momentummedia.com/articles/cm/cm1411/bbiq.htm
Imagine coaching at a small-town high school. You have a group of good-sized, well-rounded players, including a few you think could play at the college level. But how would a college coach hear about those athletes, and would anyone really be interested in recruiting them?
Now imagine being a small-college coach who has no recruiting budget to speak of. You’re looking for great athletes, but it’s hard to gauge talent from a distance.
With an eye on these dilemmas, a Massachusetts-based company called Athletic IQ is attempting to bridge the gap between those promoting low-profile athletes and those recruiting them. This summer, Athletic IQ began traveling to high schools around the country testing athletes in nine areas: height, weight, body fat, upper-body power, lower-body power, core flexibility, agility, speed, and hand-eye reaction time.
Athletes’ physical test results, along with their SAT scores, are entered into a database that college coaches can search using specific criteria such as an athlete’s state of residence, position, and SAT score. “We’re trying to create equal exposure for all kids,” says Keith Kenyon, Vice President of Athletic IQ and former Athletic Director at North Kingstown (R.I.) High School. “SAT scores level the playing field academically, but nothing provided objective, quantitative athletic measurements—until now.”
Masspike Volleyball Camps, run by Director Karyn Altman, the former Head Coach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offered Athletic IQ testing this past August. “For the kids, it’s a great way to see how they measure up against others their age,” she says. “And for coaches, especially at the NCAA Division III level, having this information together in one package can be very valuable. Even at the Division I level, searching the database could be a good starting point before going out to see a high schooler play.
“One advantage Athletic IQ has is that it uses state-of-the-art equipment with no room for human error,” Altman continues. “The speed test is measured with a radar gun, and athletes aren’t told when to start—they start on their own whenever they’re ready, and the gun starts clocking. A coach using a stopwatch could be off by a second or two, which can end up being very misleading for the athlete and any coach who is recruiting her.”
Athletic IQ is currently traveling around the country administering tests and training coaches to become certified test monitors. The entire test takes less than an hour and a half for an athlete to complete. Access to the database will be free to colleges for at least the first year of operation.
For more information on Athletic IQ, visit: www.athleticiq.com.