Now that the dust has settled on another Valentine’s day and we’re all romanced out, let’s bring ourselves back to the reality of daily life. Was yesterday just for show? An annual one-off? It turns out that screening athletes has much more in common with good old Valentine’s day than you may have realised.
What About The Other 364.25 Days?
I saw many a Facebook status and Twitter update raise this point yesterday, and in the most part I agree. If the only times you show your appreciation for that someone special are birthdays and Valentine’s then you’ve got a problem. It’s what you do every day of the year that reflects who you are. It’s exactly the same thing with screening. Every rep of every set of every session is an assessment. If you’re not constantly assessing as a coach or a trainer then you’re damn well not doing your job properly.
It’s In the Calendar
I’m not against Valentine’s day, particularly as my net spend this year was £0 (that’s roughly $0 if you’re reading this in the States). This is for the same reasons I believe having a formalised assessment protocol is a good thing. Formalised assessment reduces the risk of complacency; it forces you to critically evaluate an athlete’s competencies. It also enables you to standard an assessment process and make sure that you’re ticking all the boxes you need to. For example, you may not pick up problems like a lack of shoulder internal rotation during training.
Valentine’s day is time where couples will inevitably reflect on the journey they’ve made together and look forward to what the future may have in store for them. If you formalise an assessment well, you’ll end up with pretty good snapshot of an athletes’ competencies at that given point in time. If you strategically periodise assessment days into the calendar, viola! You can see where you’ve been and where you need to get to. This breeds goals, a focus and an action plan.
Surely it’s the thought that counts, right? You don’t need to spend money to show somebody how much they mean to you. Likewise, you don’t need to spend on a few bits of plastic to assess somebody’s movement (FMS anyone?). Gifts can’t hide a lack of affection, kits can’t hide a lack of skill when it comes to assessing. The best they can do is gloss over the cracks. The bottom line is that assessment comes down to basic anatomic and biomechanical knowledge applied with a skilful eye. Learn it and practice it.
Everything you do with your athlete should be an assessment, doesn’t matter whether it’s a 1RM squat or a chat before training; remember that mental assessment is every bit as important. Formalising an assessment process ensures that you’re assessing all you need to and allows you to monitor progress. Both are crucial to your coaching.