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Does design affect performance?

This is an excerpt from Assessments for Sport and Athletic Performance.

A simple example of this potential issue is a handgrip strength device, which was one of my first purchases as a new exercise science researcher. This particular model allowed me to record force production over time, and with my background in combat sports, particularly judo, I was excited to set it up in the lab. I had not considered the potential need for adjustability, and the design of the device (shaped sort of like the handle of a baseball bat) did not allow for it. What if I wanted to test youth athletes with small hands or elite basketball players with much larger hands? In the context of judo, the question I had to ask myself was, “Do the athletes get to pick and choose the size of their opponents and the specific design of their uniforms?” Ultimately, we decided that, for the purpose of assessment, we did not want hand size to dictate our results. Interestingly, the available options for handgrip devices with the specific capabilities that I was looking for at the time were somewhat limited. Luckily, most of the standard handgrip strength devices that would be used in the field are adjustable…but they still might be too large for children! Coaches and fitness professionals must determine if a one-size-fits-all device is appropriate or if any alternatives, either individual sizes or adjustable options, are available.