Softball Training – Functional Testing Gives You a Competitive Edge

Today was an interesting experience. I took my entire 16U team  to a sports training  facility in downtown Montreal to be assessed  and screened by certified athletic trainers.

It was not your traditional fitness testing.

It was what we call a “functional assessment”.

They are basically testing and screening the body to see if the body functions properly from an athletic perspective.

They tested for muscular imbalances, postural and alignment problems,  stability and flexibility issues, faulty recruitment patterns, etc.

Each athlete spent a total of 80 minutes individually with a therapist who completed a thorough functional assessment on each of them.

What is the idea behind a functional assessment?

The purpose of this kind of screening is to identify various issues and factors that can lead of overuse injuries (you know the nagging injuries like shoulder and arm tendonitis or knee and back pain that just doesn’t go away) or affect performance because the muscles are not functioning optimally.

Bottom line – prevent injuries and optimize performance.

You can compare elite athletes to race cars. To ensure optimum performance and avoid potential breakdowns during competition, a lot of time is spent inspecting the car and tweaking it.

What we did today was the inspection and testing of the car to find  what out what needs to be fixed, adjusted and tweaked to prevent breakdowns and optimize performance.

In 2005, when I took the responsibility of strength and conditioning coach with the Canadian Women’s National Team Program, there was a ton of injuries within the group of athletes, most of them were overuse injuries.

After talking to the main team therapist, we agreed that completing a thorough functional assessment on our athletes would be really  helpful to design customized programs with corrective exercises to rectify the situation.

All of our athletes went through a functional assessment and within a year, the number of injuries was drastically reduced to the point that within the last 2 years prior to the Olympics, there was almost no overuse injuries.

Now, not everybody can complete these kinds of assessments. Only highly trained therapists or trainers can perform these.

However, if you are serious about your game, I strongly encourage you to invest in such an assessment. Then, work with the therapist to design a customized corrective exercise program to help you prevent long-term overuse injuries and optimize your performance.

I know – it’s never very attractive to invest in prevention.

However, in a sport where we do so many repetitions of the same movement, it’s definitely worth it.

Elite athletes and coaches are always looking for the edge over their opponents.

Here’s your chance to do something that 99.5% of elite softball players don’t do.

That will give you a competitive edge over your opponents and make you a better athlete.

In my case, I know it will make my athletes better, healthier, more dominant performers on the softball field.

I also know that none of our opponents are doing this. And this give us a competitive edge.

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