Tests at 11 to look for budding sport stars

29th May 1998 at 01:00
JUMPING, catching and sprinting could be surprise new areas for testing 11 and 12-year-olds under Scottish Sports Council plans to spot talented athletes.

The council believes many sports are missing out on young people with ability and many young people are missing their best sport.

Testing pupils in skills and physical activity could direct them to sports they might not have considered, according to Lawrie Randak, research and developments officer with the lottery sports fund.

Two pilot projects, costing pound;100,000 over four years, are likely to begin in the autumn with the backing of local authorities and governing bodies of sport.

Schools and clubs will be invited to sign up for a package aimed at upper primary and secondary. Pupils will feed test results into a computer which will assess their abilities and potential.

The battery of tests will measure physical build, skill and coordination, physiological abilities such as endurance and individuals' own sporting preferences. Teachers, coaches and sports' coordinators could test in PE lessons or after school. All pupils would be eligible.

Mr Randak said the Sports Search in Scotland programme would analyse scores in each test and channel pupils to local clubs and facilities. This is a fun activity and the read-outs are positively worded, he said.

He believes present means of choosing a sport are unsystematic. "People often come into sport late and say, 'why didn't I try that earlier?' The governing bodies could be missing a lot of young people and young people missing sports opportunities," he said.

The tests build on the Eurofit tests, already used by some Scottish schools, and draw on similar Australian tests currently applied in 600 high schools. It is far removed from any East German model of selection, Mr Randak asserted.

Sports Extra, pages 18-19

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