I’m curious as to what kind of initial client/athlete assessments (if any) people are performing. Is anybody doing anything with Gray Cook’s functional assessment or the BodyMap being marketed by NASM?

I use the functional movement screen and many other tests depending upon the individual I am working with. Testing and assessment are funny things. I find that with less experienced athletes testing won’t tell you a hell of a lot because they all pretty much suck at everything. So I just focus training on improving their abilities and not testing them. With more experienced athletes testing can tell you more but you still have to improve what’s wrong. Some people get so caught up in assessment you wonder when they actually do the training.

Agreed. It is that particular trend that stimulated this thread. I would still like to hear what others are doing in this area. Thanks for your response.

As SpeedKills said, assessments are typically less important for the less experienced athlete as they need to improve on everything.
For the more experienced athlete I believe the best assessment is to video them playing the sport and then break down their movements frame-by-frame while looking for deficiencies. This is not something just anyone can do, as you need a good biomechanics background. However, I think it is the best way to go about doing things.
Anytime we use some type of assessment outside of the sport skill itself we have to ask if the athlete is really improving at the sport, or if he is just getting better at the test (just look at the NFL combines). Using tests that are highly correlated to the sport skill is of primary importance in my opinion.

I have problems with assessment protocols that place an emphasis on posture and compensation patterns, the measures of which is often interpreted by the tester as weak, deficiencies, imbalances, inhibitions, over-facilitations, compensations, and a battery of other ego-killing descriptions. Most often, “improper movement patterns” are nothing more than a lack of technique. As a coach, show them.

I prefer performance measures such as strength, speed, agility, vertical jump, etc.

Most of the time corrective exercise fixes a weak or tight area…when you have great programs you will improve that.

NASM- Yes I am getting the PES since much of it is handy but never be a clone of someone. Much too much emphasis on posture is dangerous when you are charging 75 dollars a session. Many times someone’s budget can’t get past the first 6 weeks!

Cook’s stuff is good and I use that as well…little bits here and there.

Soooo true. Try telling someone you’re going to spend 6 weeks on their posture and they’ll tell you they’re spending 1500 dollars to be better. If you don’t make them better, kiss their next 1500 dollars goodbye.

Thanks Clemson. I got my SFS (Sports Fitness Specialist) through NASM. As I understand it, the curriculum is identical to PES but is made available to people with a bachelors degree in something other than the exercise sciences. Do I understand your post to mean corrective exercise is unnecessary as long as a more “traditional” program is balanced and well designed?

Your budget will deterimine your speed in corrective exercise. Not to toot my own horn but I do know some things about recovery and rehabilitation and I have sent my own athletes to Toronto to work with Charlie. If you have the funds and time go up and work with his crew and find yourself impressed with rapid change. I can fly up a sprinter and get 4 or 5 weeks of results in 3 days with that option since he has elite therapists. Weakness with elite people is most likely injury…you are telling me that someone who can squat 450 pounds has weak glutes?

I hear you. Awhile back I watched Rod Korn and Lenny Parracino from NASM assess an athlete with lower cross. This kid weighed about 190 with a parallel squat in the neighborhood of 500 lbs. His ass cheeks looked like a couple of cannon balls, but these guys could’nt get over his excessive lordosis.

Isn’t testing going on all the time?

I believe Mel Siff said that there were plenty of athletes with less than ideal posture who stood on the podium to receive their gold medals.

Good points Powerband and Clemson. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve oftened wondered about the whole monster band walk routine and how it addresses glute medius weakness better than full squats, various deadlifts, lunges, etc…


Do you prefer a particular video method? What are your typical requirements to accurately use video as an evaluation tool?

I fully agree. I have worked with athletes of various classification, who at first ‘assessment’ migh exhibit the motor control of a drunk on a particular drill (slight exaggeration). However, after receiving both practical and verbal cues they will exhibit an immediate improvement. Surely, this does not encompass the totality of the population we are discussing, however, we must not (in my view) be too presumptous with the biomechanical analysis.

It is one thing to possess a high degree of coordination and motor control and simply not have ever learned a particular technique. It is another thing to have never developed this level of prepardness in the first place.

Assessments are a highly valuable tool. The key, however, must be to appropriately assess the traits which are relative to the desired goal.

Before we speak of assessments we must first specify who, what, and why we are assessing.

The main thing is the frame rate. For something like sprinting then 100 frames per second is adequate. For things like a baseball swing 500-1000 frames per second is more appropriate.

I’m interested in doing more in the area of film review, but I’m not sure how to approach it. I guess like anything else you’ve just got to jump in the water.

It’s an absolutely essential tool in my opinion. You definitely need to know what to look for initially, but watching hours and hours of video is the best teacher.
Don’t forget though, the film analysis is only the assessment. Pretty useless if don’t know how to correct the problems you identify.

Tony what program/hardware in particular have you found to be most useful. Landon has told me about the Dartfish set up, other than that I am unfamiliar with many of the other systems on the market.

Believe it or not, I have managed to get a way with using the window media player 9 frame by frame feature thus far. This has been ‘adequate’ for many of my applications.

For those of you on a budget, you will find the media player play speed settings to be quite useful for analysis. As Tony stated, however, some movements require more frames per second than others to accurately assess.

What do you think of dartfish james?

I have not personally used it. I only know what my friend Landon at Illinois State has told me. According to him, it is the dealio in state of the art technology.

There are a variety of video editing programs that will suffice. I personally use Adobe Premiere because it offers a wide variety of options. But there are cheaper programs as well. As long as you are able to go frame-by-frame then you will be fine.
Dartfish will work, but I don’t feel it offers any real advantage over other programs for the coach. If you are planning on publishing and want to have videos with professional looking effects then something like Dartfish or Adobe Premiere would be beneficial.