elite athlete performance network


As with all effective programming a thorough screening of the athlete must form the starting point so that their status can be assessed. This is particularly the case with young athletes as the principles of maturation guide us to the fact that all children will present at differing stages of development within a certain training stage. Just because a group of children are chronologically of the same age doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all at the same stage of maturation.


The first part of the assessment should be that of physical competence. By completing an athletic and functional assessment and combining this with a clinical physiotherapy screening the two can provide the coach and athlete with valuable information on each athlete’s limitations.


The physical competence screening acts to highlights the technical flaws seen in the thoracic, lumbar, hip, knee and ankle chain during the following exercises:


  • Bodyweight Squat
  • Overhead Squat
  • Single Leg Squat
  • Forward & Lateral Hop and Stick routines
  • Push Up series
  • Lunge series
  • Trunk Extension endurance
  • Trunk Flexion endurance
  • Horizontal Bridging
  • Step Up series
  • Static and dynamic balance activities  


The listed exercises can be associated with the sports specific skills that are being taught and it is likely that skill development will be limited if a lack of physical competence is present. Running, jumping and kicking activities, for example, will be impeded if the physical limitations are allowed to influence learning.


The eradication of all limitations to future elite performance should always take place. Many lower limb injuries / disorders can be reduced / controlled by a sound functional development program.



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