Monday, January 24, 2011

Underthinking Beep Test

On Saturday I was watching a beep test, this was the first time I had seen one in many a year, in high school we were forced to do them annually in PE.
Now for elite athletes and for certain professions (e.g fireman, police etc.) this test make sense to see how fit the people are so that they can do the tasks that are set for them.

If the criminal decides to run, Frank ain't stopping them

 But for the average high school student the amount of fitness you need to get through school would be more accurately measured by getting the student to walk 30 metres, the average distance from bus to class, then sitting down for 50 minutes, walking 20 metres to next class, sitting down for another 50 minutes, and then repeat 6-7 times. Maybe getting them to raise their hand sporadically, just to simulate question asking. But  High school is not exactly a highly physical time in a persons life.

For some Students that 50 minutes is necessary recovery time.
I am aware there are sports at high school, that students need to be quite fit for but surely thats up to the individual sport to administer to its participants.
For those of you unfamiliar with the beep test, it is a torture of the physical and mental kind. The test is set up with two sets of cones 20 metres apart the idea is to get to the other side and back before the beep. They start out by giving you a false belief with the initial beeps being so far apart, you could stroll the distance.

"This beep test thing is easy."

But slowly but surely they increase the pace of the beeps, so it gets harder and harder to make the distance. This is how the torture works best, you think you are doing fine for a long time due to the gradual increase, but all the sudden you have to be sprinting at full pace just to make the distance.
The other issue I have is with that sadistic monotone voice that announces the increase in level (the next time increment between the beeps), giving no indictation that the level is any harder than the last, he is really far too blase about the whole thing.
It would be far better if as the difficultly increases his enthusium increases to a crescendo

BEGIN  LEVEL 12!

Then when you start reaching unobtainable levels this voice starts to have sheer disbelief you are still alive in it.

Begin level 18??

The key to the physical torture is by the time you reach the levels where you are sprinting, you have already travelled a couple of kilometres, and no matter how slowly you did them this effort takes its toll on the body.

The Beep Test causing grown men to cry since 1988.
This slow but sure persistance torture is reminscent of Chinese water torture. In fact I think perhaps the beep test originated in a POW camp of some description to break the spirits of the captured soliders.

I am pretty sure the Beep test is explicitly mentioned.

 Now at high school we never knew what the top level of the beep test was, because no one ever made it that far. I assume it just keep going forever, until actually making the distance in the required time is physically impossible and even getting close would result in instant death.

Patrick Jones the man who ALMOST beat the beep test.

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