Overview Of Assessments In Sports
Assessments are the first tools an
instructor, coach or healthcare professional has to analyze an athlete.
These assessments can be physical movement, balance, visual,
psychological, memory, learning, flexibility and conditioning.
Physical assessments are the most basic
and incorporate such measures as height, weight, range of motion, general
flexibility and body type, as well as specific assessments of biomechanics
that are required for success of the specific sport.
assessments help define the abilities, but more importantly, the
weaknesses for performing athletic activity. These problems when
recognized become the roadmap for correction with the goal of fixing the
problem, which then in turn improves athletic performance.
Injury identification is also important in
physical assessment screens. Certain injuries are common within each
sport. In golf, the low back rates as the number one cause of injury;
whereas, the shoulder and upper arm injuries are second. Injury screens
identify the variations between the male and female physiques as well as
other particular variations in anatomy.
The age of the individual is also
important in injury identifications as flexibility and conditioning are
compromised for an older individual and the prevalence and incidents of
injuries do change based on age.
All injuries need to be evaluated for
they compromise movement above and below the level of the injury.
Additionally, surgical techniques have greatly advanced to correct trauma
but create adhesions and limitations in movement, which then affects the
overall biomechanics of athletic performance.
Joint surgeries for
orthopedics have a dramatic effect of performance but more importantly the
proper rehabilitation and balanced conditioning is critical for them to
return back to that activity.
The instructor coach needs to be well
educated in the limitations or changes biomechanically that will result as
a direct result of successful injury management or surgery. These
modifications need to be instructional yet supportive for the athlete to
return to athletic performance.
Finally, the learning memory mental
preparedness is critical to one’s ability to have success in instruction.
Any frustration or anxiety will limit the learning process. Frequently,
methods of yoga and meditation have been used to help facilitate learning
as well as performance. Similarly some herbal medications have shown to
reduce anxiety and optimize motor learning.
Those individuals who develop
physical symptoms of shakiness, nausea, a fast heart rate or arrhythmias
may also benefit from medications—beta blockers
that are prescribed by physicians to help control these symptoms of
Visual learning is critical for activities that require good
eye-hand coordination. Visual learning with proper motor learning helps
facilitate quicker muscle memory and minimizes variations in athletic
technique. Mental preparation for the athlete is critical for performance.
Practice to the point of proper muscle memory and proper execution are
the best preparation to eliminate anxiety and fear.
techniques such as alcohol consumption and elicit drug use have been tried
to help calm the nerves and reduce anxiety; however, these destructive
habits have also caused a demise in athletic performance over the long run
as well as damage to reputations.
Assessment of children has been done
specific to sports. X-rays can help identify skeletal growth maturation of
the bones to predict height. Variations in skeletal growth maturation
explain athletic ability differences in adolescence. Age versus ability
analysis can be best illustrated in little league baseball where you have
12-year-olds with skeletal growth maturation of a 14-year-old
These 12-year-olds with growth maturity of 14-year-olds
excel and create a championship team. However, at the age of 18 when both
athletes have matured in their skeletal growth, the premature growth
maturing athletes that were successful at age 12 do not show that
Additionally, other measures of children physical
assessments and psychological assessments need to be carefully weighed
since the maturation process accelerates and varies between the ages of 10
and 16 on the musculoskeletal, hormonal and psychological determinates.
Should you have any further questions
regarding this article, please direct your questions or comments to "Ask
the Doctor" section.
Copyright © 2004 - 2012Taras V.
Kochno, M.D. All Rights Reserved
Board Certified in
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation