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Assessing The Athlete

I was recently reading the article titled “Athletic ability assessment: A movement assessment protocol for athletes” that was published by Ian McKeown, Kristie Taylor-McKeown, Carl Woods and Nick Ball in The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy in December 2014 and thought I would highlight some of the key take home messages from the article.

As health professionals we always assessing our clients and for those with an interest in movement assessment, the functional movement screen (Functional Movement Systems), selective functional movement assessment (Functional Movement Systems), 3DMaps (Gray Institute) and other movement screening tools by coaches Kelvin Giles, Vern Gambetta and Mike Boyle give the practitioner (osteopath, physiotherapist, chiropractor, exercise physiologist, personal trainer) many different options to further study and develop their approach to movement assessment of the individual.

The main take home messages from the article for health professionals and those working in sport are:

  • Foundation movements such as the squat, lunge, jump, push, pull and brace are all very important when it comes to developing an individuals athletic development and athletic qualities.
  • Many movement screens will typically look to identify dysfunctional movement patterns with an aim to identify if an individual is safe to exercise.
  • McKeown reports in his article that there is a need for assessing the demands of the sport and movement under load for athletes in sport.  This includes total body control under increasing load, single leg jumping and landing abilities and other complex movement challenges that underpin sport performance.
  • The Athletic Ability Assessment (AAA) has been designed to assess an athletes movement competency under load and under greater levels of movement complexity.  McKeown reports that the AAA selects exercises to assess functional movement that are more closely aligned with the foundation movement skills underpinning sports performance.
  • The AAA examines key components such as trunk control, range of motion, lower body alignment across a range of exercises, commonalities of dysfunction to help guide ones program prescription and coaching.
  • Athletes are assessed in sequential order the following exercises:  prone hold, side hold (left), side hold (right), overhead squat, single leg squat (left), single leg squat (right) (from box), walking lunge (BB on shoulders), hop (left), hop (right), bound (left) and bound (right), push ups and chin ups.
  • Each exercise movement involves the assessment of the trunk stability, hip, knee, ankle alignment, squat or lunge ability and the ability to jump and land correctly.
  • Each exercise movement is assessed using scoring criteria consisting of three main assessment points per exercise.    The scoring criteria involves 1 = poor, unable to perform specific task 2 = inconsistent performance of specific task or slight deviation from idea 3 = perfect performance of specific task.    The sum of the three assessmetn points comprises the score for each individual exercise.  Maximum score per each movement is 9.  Separate scores are given for exercises performed unilaterally and the total of all the tests gives the individual a composite score out of 117.

From my perspective it is a great that there is a push towards creating a movement screen that looks to objectively measure ones movement abilities to further develop their movement competency and athletic ability.  What I like about what Ian McKeown AAA is that he has developed a screen that closely aligns with key fundamental movements of many sports and has developed a scoring criteria for each of the exercise movements so that this assessment could be carried out on individuals or larger sporting groups relatively easily and quickly once individuals have been trained up in the system.

For those of you who would like to read the article other published research by Ian McKeown, please click the following link https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ian_Mckeown3.

This blog post was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD leading Osteopathy clinics. At the clinic we treat a wide range of clients, ranging from the office worker, exercise enthusiast to athlete. We have 3 experienced osteopaths working across both of the clinics.

The Melbourne City CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place (basement), close to the corner of Elizabeth St and Little Bourke in the Melbourne City CBD. Our premises adjoin the Jon Weller Personal Training Studio, a fully-equipped training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

The Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St (Ground Floor), beneath the Channel 9 building near the walkway from Southern Cross Train Station to Etihad Stadium. Our premises adjoin Pilates on Bourke, a fully-equipped pilates and yoga training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials, pilates or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

To speak to an Osteopath or book an appointment at Principle Four Osteopathy, please book online or call 03 9670 9290.