Functional Anatomy for Coaches and Trainers

The language of anatomy textbooks is a million miles from coaching, which leaves us with a conundrum… 

Anatomy and physiology is something that we are all familiar with.  As trainers and coaches, we go beyond the basic level, to understand better how the body functions as a unit. I always found this part quite disjointed in my journey as a coach and continue to do so.


Functional anatomy of strength and conditioning

Having a better, deeper knowledge of functional anatomy of strength and conditioning is undoubtedly a desirable thing – understanding movement efficiency and how to assess it competently, taking the text and theory to readily apply it to performance and coaching.

I admit to really struggling to absorb the technical talk and the way in which it was taught and communicated – in a language a million miles from my coaching environment.

The process of learning and applying the knowledge seemed very lonely and isolated and I then had the struggle of trying to communicate some of my ideas and programming justification to athletes and support teams who weren’t speaking that same language (physio’s aside).

I learnt about anatomy with a scalpel, in which each organ, muscle and bone is carefully separated and segmented – far from reality where the body is an entwined mass of a collection of organs and tissues, all interlinked, much like one building with lots of connected compartments.

Doing a Sports massage therapy qualification helped me, at a basic level to locate and find bones and muscles and to palpate and experience what different muscle tone felt like. I also learnt a great deal from studying in a group environment when learning anatomy, as I personally feel social learning is more powerful when trying to absorb this content more quickly.

Being able to gain other perspectives, bounce ideas off a group and catch up and confer when consolidating learning was invaluable for me. I only wish that a course had been available where I could learn in a group environment from someone working in high performance sport, where the end goal went further that getting someone on their feet again!