To screen or not to screen?
So, after spending the last week in Texas for the NSCA coaches conference, I had the opportunity to meet with and listen to a lot of top level college and professional strength coaches talk about their experiences with athletes.
One topic that was constantly brought to my attention was screening their athletes. For those who are unsure, a screen is to assess an athlete’s movement patterns and prescribe progressions or regressions based on the athlete’s inabilities or competence.
The overall gist is that coaches and trainers do not have time to complete a sufficient screen. Some coaches even mentioned that a screen is unnecessary and if they are healthy enough to compete, they are competent. SO, this begs the question, is a screen necessary? and if so, what is the most efficient screen taking lack of time into account?
HERE’S MY TAKE:
I certainly believe that a REGULAR screen is necessary. A screen done prior to programming is essential to set a bench mark for the athlete, and can also give you an idea of immobile joints and fascial dysfunctions. These issues need to be attended to during the initial corrective phase!! However, I believe that an extensive screen is also necessary in the corrective phase. Something like the FMS (by Boyle) or a standard competency test is perfect for an initial screen. This will help you dictate what is necessary for that individual.
Going forward, a short screen can be done regularly in combination with a dynamic warm up. For example, I prescribe a joint-by-joint dynamic warm up to all athletes, regardless of sport. It is essential to watch the athlete’s movement and critique them based on the prior screen. More specifically, if you noticed a lack of thoracic mobility in the initial screen, a lunge with multiple trunk rotations will give you an indication of progress in the athlete as well as preparing their body for training. The same procedure can be done across all joints. ALL progress points should be noticed and recorded. This is a great, short way to ensure the athlete is making progress and a good chance to screen them on a regular basis. (Will also help with future programming as you won’t progress too early). THUS, keeping the athlete healthy!
This is my take on it, and this is based on coaches with time constraints. Obviously, if you are working in a setting with greater time available, the approach may be different.
I could continue going into depth on this, but I’ll keep it short today!
Would love to hear some suggestions and thoughts!