Assess Don’t Assume
I was fortunate last week to swing by and watch my friend Mike Voight teach the SFMA in Boston. I met Mike’s co-instructors Josh Satterlee and Brandon Gilliam and was impressed with the course. I have been SFMA certified for some time but I wanted to hear Mike’s take on the system.
I wanted to share with everyone a key theme that was presented that I thought was worth expanding on and sharing. During one of the introductory presentations, Josh talked about how important the assessment process was and without it, we are just guessing. This goes along with what I always say, “assess, don’t assume.” [Click to Tweet]
One of the points that was made was that sometimes we get lucky.
Perhaps your client can’t touch their toes and you instruct them to stretch their hamstrings. Now this person can easily touch their toes. Take a guess what you are probably going to tell the next 50 people that can’t touch their toes to do? Probably stretch their hamstrings, because it worked so well on that first person!
We have all been guilty of getting stuck in our box of techniques. Every time we go to a new seminar or learn something new on the internet, we try it on everyone. Perhaps we get lucky and hit a bullseye on a few of those people.
We all know there are dozens of reasons why you may not be able to touch your toes, and realistically, hamstring flexibility is not often the reason! You can’t recommend hamstring stretching unless you have identified that this is the specific reason why your client can not touch their toes.
Don’t be guilty of being stuck in your box of techniques. Just because it works on one person, doesn’t mean it will work on the next person. Everyone is unique and has unique needs.
Don’t get stuck in your ways. As Josh said, chiropractors are great at mobilizing already mobile people and physical therapists are great at stabilizing already stable patients. I thought that was hilariously accurate! It really comes back down to your assessment. I do use the SFMA but also many other assessments techniques (you can see some of them in my Functional Stability Training system). They help guide me towards what my client needs, I’m not satisfied with being lucky, neither should you.