Are Detailed Assessments Really Necessary?
Last week I was assessing a high school athlete mainly focused on soccer. After taking him through our science-based assessment that we at ASP have worked hard to perfect over the past 8 years…I sent him off with some wise final remarks: “Make sure to focus on getting plenty of air and water!”
As I said it, I laughed, but it was a perfect launch point for him to begin his training at ASP without giving too much homework!
At ASP we hone in on the details in our initial assessment gathering as much information we possibly can in order to adjust the respective assessment to gather relevant data and eventually create a customized program for that individual. Some insight into our process:
- Subjective data provided by the client — general health intake, what they feel, want, and need in their own words from their own experience. After all…they have known themselves the longest.
- Objective data gathered by our staff — through detailed osteokinematic, arthrokinematic testing, and musculoskeletal injury intake we can mesh what we find with what they are looking for in a program for best results.
- Injury prevention screening protocols we have developed over the years.
- Customized strength testing as it displays relevance to the particular athlete and sport.
- Customized energy system (cardiac output) testing as it displays relevance in this case to soccer.
- Then we create a customized program!
While any “dodo” can tell you to drink water and breathe, it is the physiological and functional reasoning and results that we are looking for in order to enhance peak performance levels, and the methods we implement to successfully catalyze success.
At ASP we use many of the Postural Restoration Institute’s core philosophies. One aspect of proper/elite performance that we found lacking in this particular assessment was tidal volume. The athlete was using about 1/3 of his lung capacity. Related symptoms we recognized in our assessment:
- ROM limitations in the upper body
- Energy system testing limitations in cardiac and systemic fatigue
- Lack of core strength
These were only a few of the related issues, but the point is that we could work all day on ROM exercises, kill him in cardiac output circuits, and adding core strength and stability exercises with no end, but until his respiratory patterns are refined, those issues will not fully be resolved.
Here are a couple exercises we use to address general and sport related respiration once we educate the athlete on proper respiratory practice:
It’s common knowledge that water makes up 50%-70% of the body’s weight, and our lean tissue contains about 73% water. Water is involved in almost all metabolic processes in the body: circulation, hormone and nutrient transportation, and finally growth, repair, and maintenance of cells that we damage and strain through exercise.
We expect this particular athlete to have water compose the higher side of total body weight as he has a lean composition. Fat only holds 20% water which would skew the lower norm of 50%.
Our assessment numbers revealed far below normal water consumption for even the average person, and relatively poor cardiac output performance. This athlete participates in high levels of activity daily which means intake should be higher than the average person. Simply increasing the average daily water intake can have a profound affect on overall performance. With the help of our nutritional charting and meal options we set the athlete down a path of sustainable change but probably the most responsible part of sustainable change comes from a simple shopping list that provides plenty of healthy food options that can be put together in infinite combinations.
Detailed assessments allow for a quality plan of action and programming. While sometimes the findings of a quality assessment can be simple, those simple tweaks if diagnosed and addressed properly can have profound impact on general health and wellness and overall athletic performance.