Historically a hundred years ago or so, better physical education programs focused on the restorative content area “first” before sports. Sports were not used to get people in shape—a form of restorative or even “medical” gymnastics was used quite often. There were different systems of course, but the idea was to create good quality movement right up front. ALL sports create imbalances, so the idea was to fix imbalances before sports or fix them after sports created them.
Fast forward to WWII and they dug out the old stuff to get fit enough to win the war. Those soldiers did not use sports to get fit—they used body weight and calisthenics for the most part. Despite a valiant effort to get as fit as during WWI, we still fell short even though winning. President Eisenhower said we lost 20% more troops in WWII just due to lack of fitness—moving well is important to soldiers, but also everyone else too, so let’s think about the fitness required for the moment of truth whether in war or civilian. Interestingly, the WWII soldiers also prioritized crawling, rolling, jumping, climbing, and throwing—fundamental movement skills—except they threw 400 pound logs back and forth for fitness preparation not baseballs.
Bring it up to January 2014 and the American College of Sports Medicine “Utility of Functional Movement Assessment in Identifying Musculoskeletal Risk” article which has a graphic embedded called the “Iceberg Effect.” You don’t have to read the whole article, but at least look at the picture (Figure 1, bottom of third page). You will see the same philosophy emerging to create quality movement first before adding competition, excessive load that cannot be controlled safely, and speed. This article also references the FMS-Functional Movement Screen used by many today in the NFL, collegiate sports, physical therapy, athletic training, and fitness conditioning professions.
If you compare the Iceberg Effect graphic to the WWII “Physical Readiness” graphic, you will see both emphasize functional and quality movements. The new Iceberg Graphic is focused on the physical while the military graphic also includes the mental health required, but you get the idea.
Build a clean house of movement by moving well because if you add excessive speed and load to a faulty foundation—you are more likely to crash and burn.