By: Dan SchuckSports Performance SpecialistSpectrum Sports Performance

It is the first week of preseason for Orlando City, and as their sports performance provider one of the most important things I want to do is assess them. I don’t want to see how fast they are, or how high they can jump, or even how fit they are. What do I care about in this first week? How their bodies move, what type of movement pattern compensations they have, where they lack mobility and stability; these are the areas that I want more information about. So the first introduction many of the players had with me during preseason was going through a Functional Movement Screen. This is a series of 7 tests that are designed to analyze all of those areas I listed above. Gray Cook, Lee Burton, and Keith Fields designed this screening tool to help fitness professionals identify inefficient fundamental movement patterns, areas of tightness and weakness, and areas where there is poor stability. At a basic level, if we have poor movement patterns, our bodies will find a way to compensate for those imbalances and figure out a way around them. An easy way to think about this is the body will rob Peter to pay Paul. If your body is too tight in one area to do what it needs to do, it will borrow from another muscle or joint to allow that movement to take place. This is often much less efficient and it can set the body up for injury, prevent the athlete from being as good as they could be if they didn’t have these limitations or imbalances.

I went to the fields and took videos of each player going through the 7 different tests. After getting each player on video, I analyzed their movement patterns and graded each player on each test. Every single person who participated received a results sheet that showed them how they performed, what areas were the most important for them to address, and a list of training tools they could use to improve these areas. If we do much of this work early on and minimize or eliminate some of these imbalances, tightness, and instability, we will help reduce the potential for injury and it might help them perform at a more efficient level.

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