"Just because they can move well, doesn't mean they will."
But does that mean you shouldn't?
In the last 4 months, I have had the privilege of seeing Dr. Stuart McGill speak twice on low back health and performance. On both occasions he stated the above quote with respect to screening movement. My interpretation on said quote is that:
...with the various tasks athletes perform on an everyday basis..
And I agree.
But if an athlete has requisite mobility and stability yet still does not move well, I believe that is more of a coaching problem rather than a "screening" problem. You simply cannot expect the screening system to do the work for you.
For example, if an athlete is showing approximately 45 degrees when actively lifting his or her leg off a table, would it not be prudent to improve this finding? It is naive to think that inadequate ranges of motion do not correlate with possible risk of injury.
This is why we have goniometers in orthopaedics in the first place.
Now I am not suggesting that you must only strive for full mobility and flexibility. Because once we achieve our desired range, we must lock it in. We must lock it in with the most challenging and relevant exercise the athlete can do well. Use whichever progression along the exercise continuum for that particular joint complex and respective movement plane you wish. Just make sure you create meaningful changes for the individual. And call it whatever you want: Motor learning. Neuroplasticity. Whatever,
Screening systems are not be-alls, end-alls. They simply provide baseline measures. We must not forget that there are many other aspects of fitness to consider. It is known that fatigue, both aerobic and neuromuscular, plays a role in injury risk and therefore should be at the top of our list of priorities. Without question, an athlete who screens well but posseses poor aerobic capacity will be at more risk of injury in the third period. Of course the screen will not be sensitive to this. But we must not fault the screening system. We must look at our testing protocols...or lack thereof.
Perhaps it might be wise to perform the screen under fatigued states?
But if an athlete screens well yet continues to perform athletic movements with suboptimal form, perhaps the finger should be pointed elsewhere.
Even if you are in close vicinity to a mirror..