Movement screens – measurable or functional


The movement screen developed by Gray Cook has become the newest screen of choice. I admire the hard work he put into developing the screen, but I question the value of the screen. Just because it is measureable does not make it functional. The tests in the screen do not give much information that I can translate to actual athletic movements. They all seem to be ends unto themselves. I know many people are putting a lot of stock in this, but I want to ask the obvious question, What are you doing with the information that you derive from the tests? How can you interpret that information and take the identified deficiencies and derive a truly functional conditioning or prevention program? I am tired of hearing about red flags. Why is something a red flag? Watch what happens when the athlete gets up and actually moves, it is amazing how many of the red flags disappear. If you feel you have to look for red flags do so when the athlete is actual moving. Chances are if there is a deficiency it will scream out at you. A truly functional movement screen will have the body in postures that are similar to the postures in actual performance, executing movements that work with or against gravity. It must give some information on how the athlete uses the ground and how they reduce force and dynamically stabilize. There is no universal screen. I believe that you must have a screen that is specific to the sport or at the very least for categories of sports. For example a movement screen for throwing sports would be appropriate. Incorporate movements like bending, extending, reaching, pulling, and pushing. This will give you information you can then translate into the training and performance environment.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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