Movement Screening


How can you call something a functional movement screen when most of the movements are in positions that are at low levels of function for any athletic body? We need to always keep in mind that we have three movement constants the body, the ground, and gravity. In movement assessment we want to see the effect of gravity on the body and how the body effectively uses the ground to be able to stabilize, produce, and reduce force. Screening using artificial movements in a sterile environment is of little or no value.

As a coach I want to know what an athlete can do, where I can start them on a progression on a continuum of function in their training. Every athlete at every level has “deficiencies,” are those really deficiencies or are they in the eye of the beholder. The perceived deficiencies must be evaluated in the context of the athletes training background, development age and the actual sport. Each athlete has a movement signature, a fingerprint that defines him or her as an individual in regard to their movement patterns, to change that is very difficult and of questionable necessity. We also need to remember when we are screening movement that the body is asymmetrical, to seek symmetry is unrealistic. Proportionality right to left and front to back is a more realistic and practical goal.

I have different movements that I use to evaluate my athletes depending on the sport and their developmental age. No seven tests will fit all athletes; one size does not fit all. Also remember that Testing = Training and Training = Testing. Every training session includes fundamental movements that I use for ongoing evaluation against a baseline. The bottom line is to develop a screen that works for you in your situation that gives you actionable information that you can translate into an improved training program.

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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