Movement Screening

I got a question this past weekend from an athletic trainer on my article he saw in the December 2010 Training and Conditioning Magazine. 

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I read the article that you wrote in December of 2010 about the screening process and conditioning routines that you put your pitchers through throughout the year. We utilize a similar process that I started this past year. I also utilize Gray Cook’s FM screening, but I read that you have modified it and changed the order to fit more specific needs of a pitcher. Is there anyway that you can send me a basic outline of your program so I can compare it to what I have come up with and share more information with our pitching coach to try to improve our performance and technique. Thanks for your time and help. Good luck for the rest of your season.

Thanks for your question.  I include tests for lat length, pec minor length, scapular stability, ankle mobilty, and the Thomas test for psoas and rectus length.  We measure internal and external rotation at the hips and shoulders.  On top of this I do breakout sessions which are dependent upon score.   Often times a perfect score on certain parts of the screen will negate the need to search for more issues.  If an athlete scores poor we will go deeper with a breakout seession, as Gray Cook calls them I believe, and look for a more specific issue.  All in all it depends on the athlete as to how much we look at and how deep we probe.  

Remember we’re always looking for dysfunction in movement patterns.  If there isn’t a gross dysfunction don’t go searching for problems.  I get asked often as to why I measured one athletes ankle mobility but didn’t measure another.  Its most likely due to the fact that the other athlete didn’t have a dysfunctional movement pattern that could be caused by an ankle restriction.  They may in fact have a restriction or limitation if we dug deep enough but since it doesn’t affect their movement, we really have no reason. 

A lot of the shoulder portion of the screening is determined by the athlete’s injury history, and / or pain.  We do a fairly thorough evaluation for internal and primary impingement is there is has been or was a recent problem. 

If you do a lot with movement screening, Gray Cook has a new book out titled Movement: Functional Movement Systems: Screening, Assessment, and Corrective Strategies.   It deals a lot with his breakout sessions and where to go when a certain pattern produces a dysfuction.  I’m still working on it but I’ve heard great things about the material within.

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2011 CSCCa Conference Review

The CSCCa National Conference was this past week in Kansas City.  Our staff had a good time and it was a much-needed break from the grind of the semester.

I spoke on the topic of Training Considerations for Rotational Athletes.  I thought it went great and received some great feedback as well.  I enjoyed the opportunity and had a fairly large crowd for the time slot I received.   Those that are interested, the CSCCa is putting all the lectures on DVD.  I don’t know when they will be available or the price, but its a question I’ve been asked several times today.   I posted a link to some of the concepts I spoke about this weekend.  There are obviously a lot more on here than than sprinkling but its just what I came up with in a quick search. 

Rotational Movement Series

The best speaker of the weekend was easily Lee Taft.  His topic was Coaching Linear and Mult-Directional Speed.  I had never heard of Lee but one of our other coaches had and liked a lot of his methods.  I didn’t have that high of expectations but was definitely blown away.  I don’t feel like there are many people who have a strong grasp on speed, change of direction, deceleration training, but Lee definitely does.  He has some great progressions to teaching multi directional movement.   We actually have and use a lot of the same techniques, and methods. 

He extensively broke down the “false step” during his presentation.  The false step is the quick jab step backwards to get the body going forward from an athletic stance.  His take on it was right on. 

The false step is somewhat required to get going quick.  It creates the positive shin angle that creates the platform for acceleration.  So for those of you who try to eliminate that step, you may want to think again. 

Coach Taft went over the crossover step, retreating acceleration, the shuffle vs. the lateral running.  All in all it was a great talk.  One of the better ones I have seen at the CSCCa Conference. 

Another highlight of the conference was the chance to listen and visit with legendary Bulgarian Weightlifting Coach Ivan Abadjiev.  For those that don’t know, Coach Abadjiev basically created the most successful weightlifting program in the history of the sport and did that by essentially creating the true Max Effort Method. 

Coach Abadjiev basically scrapped the Soviets program when he took over the Bulgarian National team.  The Soviets at the time utilized sub-maximal percentages, lots of assistance / special exercises and around 2.5-4 tons loading / day as quoted by I.A.  He eliminated all the assistance exercises and began only performing the competition movements, nothing else.  He also took the loading from 2.5-4 tons / day to 20-60 tons per day.  They did this by spreading out the training over several small blocks throughout the day.  They were professional athletes at the time so all they did was train. 

The best part of the afternoon was actually the chance to meet and talk with Coach Abadjiev after most everyone had left.  Mind you he doesn’t speak English so everything was through a translator.  One of my questions was if they utilized the assistance exercises when teaching younger less advanced athletes.  His reply was they never used anything but the competition exercises, and said it was actually easier to teach the full lifts to youngsters as they hadn’t developed large technical problems yet.  His analogy was animals in the wild teach their young exactly what they need to know to survive, not a bunch of extra stuff.  Then that’s what he will do is teach athletes exactly what they need and not confuse them with extra. 

All in all it was a great week to be away from the office and with “family away from home.”