17 December, 2015

Functional Movement – The Base for Excellence – Part 1

Functional Movement – The Base for Excellence – Part 1

I talk about functional movement a lot. It is what I have built my Athletic Performance Framework around – athletes being excellent at the basics – like functional movement. But what is this in a bit more depth?

A functional movement is one that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. We use these movements every day to squat, lunge, push, pull, brace, rotate and hinge for example.

This all relates to another blog I have written on developing physical literacy for life.

So how do these relate to sport? Many sports involve the need to run, produce force to fend athletes, pass a ball, stand on one leg to kick, jump for a basket. These are technical skills. And functional movements are the basis of these skills. For example, the squat is a functional movement. You have to be able to squat well to produce enough force to jump high. You need to jump high for many sport skills like a ruckman in AFL, a goal defender in netball or jumping for rebounds in basketball. If you have a look at a technical skill you can find functional movements that are the basis.

The ability to do these functional movements well is a critical part of the athlete development process and coaches need to be aware and able to coach these skills. We are asking our athletes to perform a range of technical skills, but some athletes lack the physical competence to conduct them. As a society we are seeing children who can’t do a push up, lack core strength, or are unable to squat properly due to poor flexibility. This then leads to either the coach or athlete getting frustrated or worse the athlete getting injured.

So as coaches, look for deficiencies in movement and address them. If you can coach sport specific movements then you can coach functional movements. Coach and demand correct movements to get performance enhancement and injury reduction. An added bonus is all round athleticism.

© 2019 Paul Mead