By David Hare director of Functional Training Ireland;
Now I have to be very careful writing this as it’s a sensitive topic, and before I go on I want to be 100% clear, I Love the FMS as a tool, I think it is a very clever invention, When I was starting out it literally opened my eyes to the way people move and why they get injured etc. I can still remember reading Bill Foran’s Book high performance sports conditioning years ago and trying out the self-screens and ordering my first FMS kit, it’s just in a real world IRISH sporting context I think it’s getting over used and over sold. Only recently I heard of an Intercounty team that struggles to get players for collective training dedicating a sizable chunk of training time to do just correctives! That to me is madness.
The truth about the FMS is this; say you get a player who scores a 3 left and 1 right in the hurdle step, bad right? The truth is he or she will still play the next game for his or her club, will still run for the bus when late, and will still play 5 side soccer on some astro pitch with his mates etc., no matter how many times you tell an athlete NOT to do something they invariable will still do it, it’s human nature, so you won’t let them lift weights? Is there nothing they can do in the gym? Again I will say it, why can’t a large portion of what you do in any given session be mostly corrective in its nature? Strength training applied properly maybe the best corrective of them all.
The way I approach training a team that is time poor (and most Irish teams are) is this, and it has served me well, assume ALL the players have the key problems, ankles that don’t move, poor glutes, poor core, tight T-spine, tight hips, tight pecs and so on and actively fix all those issues in every session. With this scenario some players will be wasting their time a little but more often you’ll be preventing and fixing issues before they arise. My coaching philosophy is that if players are bored and disinterested no matter how good or state of the art what you are doing is you won’t get much benefits. Boredom to me is one thing I will try and make all my sessions steer clear of especially with your typical team sport athlete, any time you step in front of them they will have the “bluffer radar” on, you better get them engaged, moving and enjoying what you are doing with them or you will lose them very quick.
My main advice to everyone is to interview all your players strictly, be like Colombo, players will always lie about injuries, and no one wants to admit they ever had surgeries/injuries in the past. I have seen coaches (including myself) beat themselves about injuries in their squad and then question their methods, but, when you really do some research you will often be shocked about what your players will do on their own. Through my detective work I have found out some players were doing sit-ups, crossfit, long distance running, beach weights, and mad plyometric programs or simply just drinking a lot and never recovering. They are injured not because you didn’t FMS them but because they did some dumb shit.
When would I use the FMS? I would use it in personal training small group setting or I would use it if I was involved with a professional team because time is of no concern. It’s a great tool, dabble with it but don’t FMS your teams to death, get them strong.