The United States Sports Academy, in cooperation with the Supreme Council for Youth and Sport, presents the Arab world with its own International Physical Fitness Test Manual based on norms collected and processed on Arab youth, ages 9 to 19. This fitness test is one of the few developed outside the Western world and is believed to be the only such test battery that measures the basic components of all physical activity, i.e. speed, strength, suppleness, and stamina.
This test was introduced to 199 physical education teachers by Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich on 15 January 1977 in Manama. This test was initially developed by the International Committee for Physical Fitness Testing in Tokyo in 1964 at which time Dr. Rosandich served that committee as its first secretary.
On January 16, this two-day test battery, made up of the 50-meter sprint, standing long jump, grip strength, 1000-meter run, 30-second sit-up, pull-up, 10-meter shuttle run, and trunk flexion, was administered to 500 boys of the Manama Secondary School. The test was coordinated by Dr. Bob Grueninger, Director of Fitness and Research and administered by him and Dr. Bob Ford, Dr. Lawrence Bestmann, Vic Godfrey, James Kampen, Bruce Mitchell, and Larry Nosse, along with their counterparts, the inspectors and teachers of the Ministry of Education.
The Academy faculty and its counterparts eventually tested over 20,000 boys and girls, but not before the components of the test were re-evaluated and modified to better reflect the environment in which it was delivered. The initial test information was presented by Dr. Rosandich and Dr. Grueninger at the First Middle East Sports Science Symposium (MESS I) in April of 1977. The physical performance tables were developed in coordination with the Academy team in Bahrain and the Chairman of Fitness and Research at the Academy’s home office in Mobile, Alabama, then located on the campus of the University of South Alabama. Instrumental in developing these tables were two computer experts, Dr. George Uhlig and Dr. Bill Gilley, both members of the Academy’s National Faculty.
During MESS II, in April of 1978, the Academy did a special study to evaluate the I.C.P.F.T. battery for possible revision. The Academy coaching team in Bahrain was joined by Dr. Richard Berger, Temple University, and Dr. Bob Stauffer, United States Military Academy, both members of the Untied States Sports Academy’s National Faculty. This combined team tested the Bahrain Defense Force personnel and reached the following conclusions, which in essence are reflected in this test manual.
1. The test battery was changed from a two-day test battery to a one-day battery for purposes of efficiency and because the test administered over two days in the heat of the Middle East impacted severely upon the individual students and their second-day performances.
2. The test battery was reduced from eight components to five components that reflected effectively those components needed in sport and eliminated costly equipment such as the hand dynamometer, that often malfunctioned in field testing.
The test battery is as follows:
1. 50-meter test, relative power, speed
2. Pull-up, relative strength, strength
3. 10-meter shuttle run, relative power, speed and suppleness
4. Back throw, absolute power, speed and suppleness
5. 1,000-meter run, aerobic/anaerobic capacity, stamina
The above test was coordinated by Dr. Grueninger and Dr. Gary Hunter with over 20,000 Bahraini children tested. The results of this test are found in this manual and were presented for the first time internationally by Dr. Rosandich during the Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand, in December of 1978. Subsequently, the test battery was adopted in more than 21 nations. Since the initial presentation, the test has been modified by replacing the pull-up with the flexed-arm hang based on data collected in neighboring Saudi Arabia.
During MESS III, in April of 1979, the leadership of the International Committee for Physical Fitness Research, including the organization’s president, Dr. Ladislav Novak, and members, Dr. Leonard Larson (USA), Dr. Roy Shepherd (Canada), and Dr. Ishiko (Japan), attended the symposium, as observers of Bahrain’s leadership role in physical fitness, research and sport medicine. Bahrain, under the leadership of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sport, developed not only the finest sport medicine and research centers found in the Middle East but also programs reflecting research, such as this Physical Fitness Test Manual. Thus, the I.C.P.F.T. named Bahrain its research center for the Middle East. Subsequently, the Arab Sport Medicine Council moved its headquarters from Tunisia to Bahrain, which is yet another indication of Bahrain’s leadership in fitness and research.
The Academy has been privileged to work with the Supreme Council for Youth and Sport — now known as the General Organization of Youth and Sport — and its many constituencies, e.g. the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Defense, in the development of this International Physical Fitness Test, which in fact is a major contribution to the world of sport education.