The ALTIS Assessment Protocol

MLB Baseball assessment example - consulting - sports - speed. ALTIS Assessment Protocol. Movement. Speed.
Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan


Assessing speed and movement

We are often called in to work with professional teams who bring us in to consult on specific movement or speed-related issues. 

In the next 2-minutes we share our Assessment Protocol, which is our first port of call for triaging what matters, and what actions to take. 

Example assessment - Baseball

Our assessment process follows four key steps:

  1. Performing a global assessment to identify what ‘jumps out’ (i.e. any asymmetry, or technical aberration)
  2. Asking whether whatever jumps out is a problem or not
  3. Figuring out what the driver to this problem is
  4. Strategizing on solutions to the problem

Here’s part of an example from a recent consultation we did with a MLB team:

The first step in the assessment is fairly simple for everyone.

The second step — identifying whether ‘what jumps out’ is a problem or not — is difficult [as we discussed last week] in at least three important ways:

  1. We have to remember that what we see are the symptoms of potential problems — not necessarily the problems themselves
  2. What we see might be the athlete’s ‘typical’ movement strategy — i.e. the way they move ‘most-naturally’
  3. We tends to do well at identifying ‘paths’ of the body that may look funny, and make a value-judgment on that part — forgetting that the part interacts and interrelated with all of the other parts in the body in complex ways

Considering context

The key — as it so often is — is understanding the context.  

Let's consider how we might deal with issues with a 17 year old, compared with a 25 year old...  

If an athlete you are working with has significant asymmetry, is this a problem?

Maybe, right?

But maybe not!

If the athlete is in her mid-30s, and has been moving this way for over a decade, is performing well, and is relatively injury-free, then chances are – this ‘problem of asymmetry’ is not a problem at all!  

And if this is the case, we’d do best to leave it well-alone!

But what if the athlete is 17?  And is performing poorly?  And is often injured?  And, through reviewing her history, this asymmetry is a fairly new thing.  

Is it a problem now?

Almost certainly, right!

What if the athlete is 25? Mid-career? Performing well, but you know there’s room for more?  Generally pretty healthy, with occasional issues always seeming to pop up, but is currently healthy? 

You notice a significant asymmetry that you haven't seen before – and hasn’t presented itself on any of your testing.  

Is it a problem?

Now the water begins to become a little cloudy.

It may well be a problem, but we are going to have to tread carefully with our intervention here, as this problem hasn’t yet manifested itself as reduced performance or injury [yet].

Is it really a problem?

As you can see from above graphic, context also can include where we rank it within the list of other problems. 

The player we were asked to consult with on this particular occasion had really poor sprint technique — but does that mean it’s a problem?   

Well — probably!  

But in the grand scheme of things — at this particular point in time — he had much bigger fish to fry!  And so we recommended they address it — but not make it a priority. 

This is a really important step — as, if we don’t make a hierarchical list of KIPIs, we can easily get overwhelmed. 

And if we are overwhelmed, guess how the player is feeling!

The take-home?

Understanding WHY something is happening is crucial to implementing any strategy designed to change what is happening — pick your battles!

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