How to Incorporate Functional Movement Screenings in Pre-Season Assessments for Ice Hockey Teams?

As the new ice hockey season draws near, coaches and trainers are looking for effective strategies to keep their athletes healthy, fit, and performance-ready. One proven method that’s drawing significant attention in the sports medicine community is the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). Let’s delve into this tool, how it’s being used in pre-season assessments, and how it can be incorporated into your team’s strategy.

Understanding the Functional Movement Screen (FMS)

The FMS is an innovative evaluation tool designed to assess movement patterns and asymmetries, which could potentially lead to sports-related injuries. It is a system created to promote optimal physical performance and resilience among athletes. It involves seven movement tests that challenge an athlete’s ability to perform basic movement patterns. The results, typically known as scores, are then used to identify compensatory movement patterns that might raise the risk of injury.

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Research on this tool is readily available on platforms like Google Scholar and PubMed, offering valuable insights. The findings of a study published in the PMC indicate that higher FMS scores correspond to a reduced likelihood of injuries. Another study found a significant correlation between lower FMS scores and increased injury risk among professional football players.

How FMS Works in Athletics

FMS is used as a pre-season screening tool across a variety of sports, including ice hockey. During these screenings, athletes perform specific movements, which are then scored on a scale from 0 to 3. The movements test the strength, flexibility, stability, and balance of the athletes, giving a comprehensive view of their functional movement capabilities.

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Not only does the FMS help identify weaknesses that could lead to injury, but it also provides insights into how to tailor training programs for each athlete. This personalized approach helps to improve performance, enhance safety, and facilitate the development of athletes.

Incorporating FMS into Pre-Season Assessments for Ice Hockey Teams

For ice hockey teams, the FMS can be a game-changer in pre-season assessments. Here’s how you can incorporate it into your evaluation process.

Pre-Season Screening

The FMS should be conducted during the pre-season to identify any movement compensations or restrictions that may predispose players to injuries. This process involves a trained professional observing and scoring the athletes as they perform the seven tests. The results should then be recorded and used as a benchmark for improvements throughout the season.

Individualized Training Programs

Based on the FMS scores, coaches and trainers can design individualized training programs to address any movement deficiencies detected. These programs should focus on improving mobility, stability, and balance, all critical aspects of ice hockey performance.

Monitoring Progress

Once the season begins, regular FMS assessments should be conducted to monitor the progress of the athletes. This allows for adjustments to training programs as necessary, ensuring that the athletes continue to improve and reduce their risk of injuries.

FMS and Injury Prevention

While the FMS is a valuable tool for performance enhancement and personalized training program design, it’s perhaps most valuable as a predictor and preventer of sports-related injuries. By identifying functional limitations and asymmetries, it helps to highlight potential areas of concern before they lead to injuries.

It’s important to remember that preventing injuries isn’t simply about avoiding immediate harm. Injuries can set back an athlete’s progress, affect team performance, and lead to long-term health problems. By incorporating the FMS into your pre-season assessments, you’re giving your team the best possible chance of staying healthy and performing at their peak throughout the season.

The Future of FMS in Ice Hockey

The potential of the FMS in ice hockey is vast. As more teams incorporate it into their pre-season assessments, we’ll likely see a decrease in the rate of injuries and an improvement in overall team performance. Moreover, the data gathered through these assessments will contribute to the growing body of research on the effectiveness of FMS, further refining its application and impact on sports performance and injury prevention.

By embracing the FMS, you can ensure that your athletes are ready to hit the ice and perform at their very best. It’s a smart, proactive approach that aligns with the forward-thinking, evidence-based strategies the best sports teams are known for.

FMS and Performance Optimization in Ice Hockey

Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is not only a tool for injury prevention, but it also contributes significantly to performance optimization in ice hockey. The FMS helps identify specific areas for skill enhancement based on the individuals’ strength, flexibility, stability, and balance. These four areas are critical in ice hockey, a sport requiring quick directional changes, agility, and strength.

A study available on Google Scholar and PubMed, highlighted the FMS’s impact on shoulder mobility, a crucial aspect for hockey players. This study demonstrates that a tailored training program, based on the FMS score, improved shoulder mobility and strength significantly. This improvement directly translates into better stickhandling, shooting, and checking skills, thereby enhancing overall performance.

Moreover, the FMS’s role in assessing spinal posture is crucial in a sport like ice hockey, where athletes frequently adopt a hunched posture. Regular monitoring and corrective exercises can lead to better posture, improving the player’s skating efficiency and reducing lower back discomfort.

As is evident from the above, incorporating FMS into the pre-season assessments is not just about reducing the risk of injury, but also about honing each player’s skills based on their individual strengths and weaknesses. It is a holistic approach to boosting team performance and individual player development.

Conclusion: Making FMS an Integral Part of Pre-Season Assessments

In summary, the Functional Movement Screen is a valuable tool in the arsenal of sports medicine, offering a proactive and evidence-based approach to athlete readiness. Its utility in pre-season assessments for ice hockey teams is multi-faceted. It aids in identifying movement patterns that could lead to injuries, thus reducing injury risk. However, beyond injury prevention, it also offers a personalized roadmap to enhance each player’s performance.

In the fast-paced, competitive world of ice hockey, the pressure to deliver results can sometimes overshadow the importance of athlete health and longevity. By incorporating FMS into pre-season assessments, teams can strike a balance between performance and injury prevention. They can ensure that their athletes are not only ready for the coming season but also for the many seasons ahead.

As the use of FMS continues to grow within the ice hockey community, we should see a decline in injury rates and an overall improvement in team performance. Furthermore, the data collected will contribute to the ongoing research on FMS, sharpening its effectiveness and impact on injury prevention and sports performance.

The future of FMS in ice hockey is promising. It is an investment that pays off not just in the form of lower injury risk but also in enhanced, individualized performance. As such, FMS should be a cornerstone in the pre-season assessments of all ice hockey teams.