The movement screen

The 5-test screen that is introduced here is really a series of commonly executed movements that all children will do at some stage during any given day. They are derived from the earlier rudimentary basic movements. Also, each of these movements is common in most team sports. The movements challenge the alternating patterns of joint mobility and stability within the child's body. The movements challenge the mobility of the ankle resting on a stable foot. They challenge a stable knee supporting a mobile hip. They challenge a stable lower back and pelvis supporting a relatively mobile upper back spine (the thoracic spine). Finally, they challenge the shoulder to be mobile while the shoulder blades should be stable. As a result, the 5-test screen can be seen as a child friendly, comprehensive assessment of joint stability and mobility throughout movement. The movements that make up the functional screen are as follows:

  1. Overhead Squat
  2. Toe Touch
  3. Standing Back Arch
  4. Single Leg Balance
  5. Lunge

The screen is not intended for athletic evaluation or risk of injury. It is merely a screen to assess the movement competencies of the child. The coach can then make interventions based on the results to help improve or maintain good movement patterns. A scoring system for the screen will also be provided but the coach should not get overly concerned with scoring of the screen, rather using the screen as a guide to develop good movement patterns in their players. It is not recommended to single-out children while completing the screen. Once the children are in a line the coach can observe the team as a group performing each screen. The coach is really making a mental note as to what patterns are most poorly completed. This then informs the coach of the type of exercise that can be used to address these poorly executed patterns of movement. If a particular test is seen to be poorly executed by several children then it may become a useful exercise to use in the warm-up for example.