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Assessments Help Develop Superior Athletic Performance

This is an excerpt from Athletic Movement Skills by Clive Brewer.

Squat Assessment

Start Position

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and feet facing forward. Initially, place hands to the sides of the head with elbows pointing laterally. Then progress to arms overhead with elbows extended.


Lower into a squat position as far as possible while under control.


  • Heels must stay in contact with the floor at all times.
  • The athlete maintains lumbar lordosis through the full range. Watch for pivoting at the lumbosacral and lumbothoracic junction.
  • Knees are aligned over second toes. Watch for overpronation, knee moving medially and hip rotating medially.
  • Ascent and descent should be fluid and continuous.
  • The player is observed through the following continuum unless competency compromised:
    • Squat to parallel (90-degree knee flexion)
    • Full squat (hips below the level of the knee)
    • Squat to parallel (90-degree knee flexion) with arms overhead
    • Full squat with arms overhead


In-Line Lunge Assessment

Start Position



Place the hands beside the head with elbows flexed and pointing laterally. Step forward with the lead thigh parallel to the floor. Keeping the head and chest up, place the lead foot on the floor with the front knee over the front foot. The back knee touches the ground immediately behind the heel of the front foot. Hold for 2 seconds and then push back to standing. Repeat on the other leg.


  • Knee remains in line with second toe, and hips are square. The trunk retains lumbar and thoracic integrity.
  • The player is observed through the following continuum unless competency compromised:
    • Front leg to 90 degrees and back knee to ground
    • Front leg to 90 degrees, back knee to ground and return to standing
    • Level 2 plus rotation over front leg


Linear and Lateral Jump or Hop Over Small Hurdle Assessment

Start position

Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms relaxed by sides.


Jump or hop in the prescribed direction over four minihurdles and stick the landings.


  • The athlete maintains hip, knee and ankle alignment on landing. Hips are square, and trunk is stable with no loss of lumbar or thoracic integrity. The landing is quiet on a flat foot.
  • Player is observed through the following continuum unless competency compromised:
    • Two-foot jump, two-foot land
    • Two-foot jump, one-foot land
    • One-foot jump, one-foot land
    • One-foot hop with hip drive to 90 degrees, one-foot land


Single-Leg Dip Assessment

Start Position

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart before going into a single-leg stand. Arms are relaxed by sides.


Maintaining flat-foot contact, perform three single-leg dips under control. Repeat on the other leg.


  • The athlete’s knee remains in line with the second toe, and the hips are square.
  • Spinal alignment is maintained. No drop into anterior pelvic tilt or lumbar spine extension occurs.
  • Foot position is maintained. No overpronation or early eversion occurs.
  • Pelvis stays level. No dropping occurs to the left or right.
  • Shoulders and trunk are in line with the lower body. Control is constant and consistent throughout the movement.
  • The player achieves the following:
    • Dip to 60 degrees
    • Dip to 90 degrees
    • Dip to 120 degrees
    • Full pistol squat


Press-Up Assessment

Start Position

See description for each level.


Maintain a straight-line position through a full press-up - elbows fully extended to elbows fully flexed, chest to 7.5 centimetres from the floor.


  • Shoulders stay in neutral. No hitching occurs with trapezius.
  • Scapulae stay in neutral. No winging occurs.
  • Thoracic and lumbar spine stays in correct alignment.
  • Pelvis is maintained in neutral throughout the movement. No anterior tilt and no dropping to one side occur.
  • The player is observed through the following continuum unless competency compromised:
    • Wall press with feet placed away from the wall 1.5 times the distance of the tibial tuberosity to the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, forehead dipped to wall
    • Inclined press-up on plinth or table
    • Inclined push-up on 20-centimetre block
    • Floor push-up
    • Decline floor push-up (feet on 20-centimetre block)


Four-Point Kneeling

Start Position

Begin on all fours with feet hip-width apart and knees under hips. Hands should be shoulder-width apart and aligned under shoulders. Weight should be evenly distributed throughout the four points of contact.


Perform the following sequence. The aim is to maintain a level shoulder and hip position, with no change in lumbar - pelvic orientation and no obvious weight redistribution during the movement.

  • Level 1: Lift one arm until it points forwards and is aligned with the trunk. Hold and return to the start position. Repeat with the other arm.
  • Level 2: Lift one leg until it is extended behind the body and the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are aligned. Hold and return to the start position. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Level 3: Lift one arm and one leg on opposite sides.
  • Level 4: Lift one arm and one leg on the same side.


  • Shoulders and hips stay level and in alignment.
  • No rotation occurs through the trunk.
  • No extension of the trunk occurs; the athlete does not drop in lumbar or thoracic extension as the limb is lifted.
  • Pelvis stays level and neutral; no dropping occurs to either side or into anterior tilt.
  • No hitching or winging of the scapula occurs.

Learn more about Athletic Movement Skills.

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Athletic Movement Skills

Athletic Movement Skills

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