When Do You Stop Assessing?

To piggyback this article off of the previous one, “Is the FMS Accurate for Rotational Athletes,” I’ve been led to the question:  should we just skip the FMS altogether?  Won’t there be things that you miss if you eliminate it?  When do you stop assessing?  Let me answer this quickly: the FMS is great- use it or use a similar screen that works for you, but NEVER stop assessing!  I firmly believe that if you never stop assessing, it doesn’t matter what screen you use.

This does not mean using the FMS weekly, but what it does mean is that you’re always aware and making mental notes on how players move.  I would argue that following this protocol would actually be more beneficial than any screen or formal assessment anyway.  Sure there may be some things initially missed, but each and every workout adds to your assessment.  Observing areas of tightness, weakness, and dysfunctional movement of your athletes is a screen in and of itself.  Obviously the dysfunctional movement pattern has the possibility of changing immediately on the spot (if it’s simply an incorrectly grooved pattern), but it may also be due to tightness/weakness issues.  This is why if an athlete can perform the “screen” correctly even if it means a few coaching cues, I am fine with it….because if the workout is part of your assessment*, you’ll be coaching them anyway!  Not to mention that when they come back to the screen for post-testing, they’ll have been coached on many of these movements already.  If they can perform it correctly, you know that it’s not a tightness/weakness issue, but simply a dysfunctional movement pattern.   Now we just need to reinforce that correct movement every single time.  If that’s the case, make note of it and include it in this player’s corrective work or group work.

*It goes without saying here that we’re being smart and not jumping right into deadlifts or power cleans on the first day.  Even if the screen is informal, stick to bodyweight or light weight workouts.  This shouldn’t be a problem since your season is still half a year away.

Watch players’ foot positions, watch their running form every day (do they get little to no scap involvement?  Do they have a large anterior pelvic tilt?), watch their movement patterns in the weight room, and you are getting more valuable information than one day of just screening.  I am not downplaying the importance of formal assessments- again I am a big proponent of having a plan.  But we all know there is no golden standard, so as long as you’re assessing correctly, you can get the majority of your information from watching the players move, and use this to drive your programming/corrective work.


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