Screening Young Athletes

Young Athletes Assessments

Gray Cook is arguably the most well-known and respected man in the fitness industry today.

His ‘Functional Movement Screen’ has literally developed a cult following the world over.

He presents seminars throughout North America, Europe and beyond.

His FMS Certification is one of the most popular in existence.

He is sought after by every major fitness and sport organization as a consultant or keynote educator.

Gray Cook is the Brad Pitt of our industry.

And not too long from now, he and I will be creating something absolutely transforming.

Here’s the summary of what we talked about –

  • Screening young athletes to decide if further assessments are necessary is an important step in reducing the irrelevant nature of corrective exercise but also in determining injury potential properly and effectively.
  • Some coaches and trainers have very instinctive ‘eyes’ when it comes to seeing movement dysfunction, but many don’t. Creating a simple but effective screen allows every trainer or coach to ascertain movement irregularities and determine follow-up action.
  • Every IYCA Member must have access to this screen – it is the building block of the work we do with kids and young athletes.
  • Once you understand how to screen, you also must be able to assess and provide the right sort of exercise stimulus necessary to evoke change and help reduce the chance of injury if required.

Long story short…

Gray and I are about to create a young athletes specific screening process and subsequent Functional Movement Screen.

Not sure yet when the roll out will be, but I can tell you that all IYCA Members will have access.

I’ll keep you posted on everything as it develops.


10 Responses

  1. susan says:

    Hey Brian! How are you?

    I just had to add my two cents here. I have spent the past several years working and training with some of the top junior golfers in the world from many different countries (hundreds of them at a time). What an eye opening experience and tremendous learning opportunity for me.

    Regarding assessments, I personally performed individual asessments on every single player quarterly so we could see performance differences or atleast have something to reference from point A to point B.

    I agree with you that it is easy to be overly critical with assessments and corrections because growth changes will correct themselves in many ways as kids develop.

    However, I strand firmly behind assessments as invaluable information to help kids understand their bodies and how this impacts their performance. It is very typical to see young teenage boys with very tight hips who end up with largely upper body swings and no hip rotation. Swing instructors are thinking it is a swing flaw, but we know better. Helping to educate swing instructors as well as the kids as to typical growth pattern restrictions and how this is affecting their performance is really helpful information and a great opportunity to educate, if nothing else.

  2. drconroy says:

    I’ve told parents for years the only thing children will outgrow is their clothes. There is no such thing as “growing pains” as it shouldn’t hurt to grow older.

    As a practicing chiropractor for 22 years, youth wrestling coach for ten, youth baseball for 9 I’ve seen numerous dysfunctions that parents ignored or pain they wanted to hide with tylenol that later turned out to become serious problems.

    In my opinion you must exercise great care and professional judgment working with youth athletes.

    Today’s youth as a whole present with more serious structural problems ie. postural imbalance, movement and muscular asymmetry, foot imbalance, loss of normal spinal dynamics etc. which are merely amplified in the sport environment.

    I remain critical of the lack of proper screening and appropriate correction of problems prior to or in concert with youth training and sport programs.

    You only see a minority of teams incorporating some form of warm-up or movement prep prior to training, practice or games. (This in itself will provide, at least, a clue to a dysfunctional athlete.)

    Ignorance runs rampant in youth sports.

    So for the sake of today’s athletes, tomorrows leaders and the health of the next generation those working with youth athletes have a responsibility to educate themselves in screening their kids.

  3. Carlo says:

    I’m intrigued by the new youth screening. For the last several years, I have been performing the Functional Movement Screening with all of our athletes. The most important finding is that the majority of our young athletes have pretty much the same weaknesses. Tight upper and low backs, weak abdominals, unbalanced hips, and tight calves.

    All this data made me wonder, why should we try to lift our incoming high school freshman athletes in the weightroom, when the majority of them won’t perform the movements efficiently and don’t have the strength necessary to make significant gains without getting injured?

    So I decided to call Brian. After our discussion, we modified the training progression of all of our young athletes. Now we focus on assessing a few key parameters that will allow us to develop programs that systematically develop our athletes based on assessment scores and realistic progressions. Not that the assessment alone will give us all the answers, but it gives us a guide that we can explain to our athletes as to any major issues.

    The assessment allowed us to divide the training sessions into distinctive and systematic exercises that will help the athletes improve their weaknesses. At the same time working on stability, mobility, strength. agility. flexibility components within the training session.

    Our whole thought process on the development of our freshman athletes changed due to that conversation with Brian. So I have to say that I’m intrigued by the IYCA Assessment.

  4. I have to say with each update I receive from you — whether educational or motivational — has REALLY been a breath of fresh air! I’m excited FOR you Brian and look forward to seeing how your vision/mission continues to grow… Rock On!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have been using Gray’s FMS for the past five years. It is by far the best screening tool to determine current and / or the potential for faulty movement patterns. I train with adult and youth populations and have been instrumental in bringing screening and follow-up movment prep progrmas to the youth and adults in my area (Vancouver, BC). The success of these programs speaks volumes when you watch clients transition from faulty to perfect.
    It is wonderful that you and Gray are formally putting a youth screening program together!

    Yeah for Youth!

  6. Brian P says:

    If you’re not assessing…you’re guessing.

  7. nancy says:

    Hi Brian..
    As a parent of 2 student multi-sport
    athletes I am hugely concerned with the
    lack of correct conditioning and pre-game
    prep that occurs on my kids teams..how do
    I find a trainer in our area that I can
    be confident is knowlegable and can develop a program to help them acheive
    their greatest potential?

  8. Nancy, where do you live? find an IYCA affiliated coach……..nothing but the best! Especially for YOUR kids right??

  9. Waldo says:

    Brian, this is a great idea.
    aspecially if it take the development of kids in consideration ,maybe even motorskill levels or touchpoints to help adress short comings in that regard(idea I am currently looking at).

  10. Kerry Niemann says:

    My daughter’s soccer trainer has this gift. To see it in action amazes me. An opportunity to gain this knowledge would be an incredible gift.

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