How many athletes can you movement screen in one day in 2014?

It was 8.30pm in the evening in 2014 and I had just finished carrying out the rotary stability test from the FMS movement screen with the 42nd young player that I had tested that day. I was working for Pro Football Support at Sheffield Wednesday FC in their indoor centre and I looked around at the number of academy players that we were both movement screening and fitness testing. My colleague James in the area next to me was carrying out the core stability tests with the u14 age group players that I had undertaken the FMS testing with earlier in the day as we started the testing session at 2pm. Sheffield Wednesday contracted us (Pro Football Support) to carry out their movement screening and fitness testing with all their academy players on a 6 weekly basis.

Further over in the corner of the facility was another of my colleagues doing the hip extension test on the physio bed with a group of u10 players. As a company (Pro Football Support) we had developed a very comprehensive movement screening protocol which included lots of tests and provided good detail but was so time consuming to carry out and far too subjective in its assessment. That evening which was the 4th day of testing that week at SWFC with their academy players from 2pm-9pm I drove home thinking my passion for helping young players improve their athletic potential was seriously starting to wain.

I knew the next day would not be easy either as I would be looking at the results of the movement screening testing and then trying to create individual training plans for each athlete from the results of their FMS screening process and other mobility, stability & flexibility tests that they had undertaken.

The rain was pouring down outside in a typical British day & I was writing the individualised training plan for the 12th player that we had tested yesterday. Each of the FMS scores were so similar for each player especially at a young age. Also visually as I had kept thinking during testing they all seemed to move in the same way. This 12th individualised training plan was practically the same as the previous 11 I had just written and surely this should not be the case.

I was struggling to concentrate on these training plans as the rain was lashing the windows and my thoughts continued to be that there must be a better way of screening athletes which was far less time consuming & a way to make it easier to create an individualised training programmes which would not be factored around an FMS score of 14 to 16. I had been using variations of this process for the past 14 years. I told myself things had to change

Passion for Sport

AMAT – Vision

For passionate sports people who want to understand movement characteristics and coach athletes to maximise their potential

Do you have a passion for sport and if so where did your sporting passion originate from? Guy Parkin – AMAT’s founder describes the reason for his sporting passion below:

The year was 1979 and I was playing in an u10 football game for a club called Hunsworth. My love of football had originated from being 7 years old in 1976 when my uncle took me to watch Manchester United play Derby County at Old Trafford. This was my first experience of a professional football match and an experience I can still remember vividly to this day in 2018, 42 years later. The excitement, apprehension, noise and passion of the fans within the ground and the absolute euphoria when Pearson scored for United was incredible.

As I finished this u10 game for Hunsworth I looked across the pitch and walking towards me in a caliper was my younger brother who had recently been diagnosed with Perthes disease, which back in 1979 meant that he needed to have a caliper fitted to stop the movement of his hip. When I saw him I was absolutely distraught and started to cry. How was this fair that a young boy of 7 years old who loved being active and playing sport would have to wear this type of caliper for 2 years.

When I think back to this terrible situation that my brother encountered at 7 years old it was the real driver that gave me a passion for sport. I was the lucky one out of the pair of us who was still able to play sport.

From this moment on I think the love of football had been instilled in me by my uncle taking me to Old Trafford in 1976 but what gave me my real passion & determination to work hard in sport came from my brothers terrible experience regarding his caliper.

Hence my passion for sport and my enthusiasum & inspiration to work with people who have a similar passion for sport


AMAT Research Blog 1


Welcome to our new research blog! In a series of fortnightly posts, we’ll be using this forum to bring you the latest research and news from AMAT Performance. This blog will include regular updates on our ongoing research with the Athletic Movement Analysis Tool (AMAT), as well as discussions on the concepts underpinning the AMAT and its applications in athletic development.

What is the AMAT and where did it come from?

 The AMAT is a unique motion tracking technology system developed to improve movement quality in athletes through testing, analysis and training. Our system uses 3D motion tracking to assess both performance and movement quality in a range of tests. The AMAT concept and development has been in progress for over half a decade.

As a company we have provided sports science support to 46 out of the 92 professional football clubs in the UK. After collating experiences from the field, we were keen to develop a method of movement analysis which was objective, accurate, fast and portable. Our vision is to provide a practical solution for monitoring, evaluating and prescribing training designed to improve neuromuscular control, strength and power. Take a look here to see how the AMAT works:

 Why is research important to the AMAT?

 Establishing the measurement properties of any technology or equipment is important for ensuring accurate and trustworthy data for end users. Two properties that we consider fundamental to the AMAT are reliability—the extent to which consistent results are produced—and validity—how well does it measure what it claims to measure. Assessing the validity and reliability of athletic performance and movement quality is no straightforward task, however, because these are complex constructs that are not directly measurable. This is why we feel research is fundamental to the system.

Our research team are working hard to ensure we provide objective data to understanding how well the AMAT matches up to industry standards and expectations. We want to give practitioners, clinicians and researchers confidence in using the AMAT system to assess physical performance and movement quality. Our recently developed research framework has identified key areas for which we wish to develop a base of evidence to support the AMAT.

What’s in store for the AMAT: the research framework?

 Phase one of our research plan involves assessing the accuracy of the system. Here, we’ll look to put its validity and reliability to the test under highly controlled conditions in the lab. Up next in phase two, we’re aiming to develop evidence-based guidelines for using the system. This will include recommendations on the number of trials that need to be performed for each test, and establishing targets based on meaningful improvements, to name a couple.

In phase three, we want to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the AMAT in aiding youth athlete development. Using both quantitative (e.g. randomised controlled trials) and qualitative methods (e.g. Delphi method), the research in this phase aims to evaluate and refine our training recommendations for physical performance and movement quality. We also believe in the holistic development of young athletes, including their knowledge of anatomy and training principles. That’s why we’ll also be assessing the educational capabilities of our mobile application, which provides educational content on these topics as part of the feedback strategy.

Of course, the works mentioned above are not an exhaustive list. Rather, these are our primary research for the immediate future. We have several other project with various collaborators in store. Keep an eye pealed for updates on these in future blog posts!

Shaun McLaren

Shaun is a sport scientist currently based in the North East of England, where he is completing a PhD under Dr Matthew Weston at Teesside University. He has experience in the physical preparation and development of football players, along with other intermittent, filed-based team sports. Prior to joining Pro Football Support, Shaun was Head of Sport Science and Medicine at Hartlepool United Football Club. He has also held positions as a sport scientist with Nottingham Rugby and Newcastle Falcons, and as strength and conditioning coach with Tees Valley Future Champions, the FA Girls’ Regional Talent Club, and Teesside University’s Elite Athlete Scheme. Shaun is an Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach with the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association and a probationary Sport and Exercise Scientist with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. He regularly publishes, presents and reviews research in the field of applied sport science, with primary interests in team sports, training load, ratings of perceived exertion, and athlete monitoring/evaluation.

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