The Ability to Move…


Movement is a skill, an ability. Are you able to move well? Do you move often? Yes, I’m referring to Gray Cook’s famous quote, “move well, move often.” However, I wanted to touch on something that most people don’t really discuss. That is, not just having the movement capability, or possessing the ability to move well in certain planes and axes, but also having the confidence to do so.

Movement Ability

In my mind, most likely very different from yours ;), possessing the ability to move can mean many things. It can involve all movements, or just a few, but it means that one is able to move well a certain way. Following me up to this point? So, if you are able to move well, your potential for increasing physical characteristics (strength, power, etc.) and athletic development (sport skill) is not as limited as someone who does not possess that ability, or may be restricted in certain key movements.

Now, let’s come at this from a different angle. Some athletes move horribly, but have no care in the world about it. They have the utmost confidence in their abilities, including movement on the field or court. Some of these athletes are naturally gifted and play well, no matter how horrible their movement. These are the athletes that are indifferent and don’t think very much; they just dominate their sport. Call it subconscious awareness, if you will, but if they really put time into thinking about their movement, they would soon realize they shouldn’t be THAT good at their sport. And if that happens, movement confidence decreases.

Spidey is a rare case of confidence and ability

Movement Confidence

Confidence in anything will lead to greater success. That is no different in this circumstance where movement is very influential to success. Athletes can certainly possess horrible movement, as discussed, and have great confidence in that lack of ability to move. Even if they have no right to that confidence.

The same can be said of the opposite occurrence. Some athletes have fantastic movement, but have no confidence in their ability to move. They may be able to move throughout the whole range of motion in certain movements, but just don’t feel comfortable in doing so. An example would be squatting deep, beyond parallel. Most people never go beyond parallel and, when they do, it is like a whole new universe opens up. The more they squat to that greater depth, the more comfortable they become.

This lack of confidence could also be unrelated to movement itself; and more related to a lack of strength and stability. We see it all the time; the young athlete who has all the mobility they could ever need, but no strength/stability to support the end ranges of motion.

The Role of the Strength Coach

I believe that strength coaches have to figure out what the individual athlete’s capabilities for movement are and then see what their confidence is like. If they lack confidence, but have the ability to move, it is the coach’s duty to help that athlete increase their confidence. That is the easy scenario because that athlete ALREADY HAS THE MOVEMENT DOWN! The harder scenario is if you have the athlete with too much confidence and very little movement. That is going to take more work on the part of the coach.

Well, that’s my thought; what’s yours?


The ideas, comments and materials presented herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion or otherwise.

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