In part I, part II, and part III, we covered the differences between the SFMA, PRI, and FRC. Much like the class at Maverick and Goose’s inbrief at the Fighter Weapons School in Miramar, California, you’re probably wondering who’s the best.
Actually, I was just looking for a reason to embed a Top Gun video.
If the first three parts of this series didn’t demonstrate the futility of that question, I’ll quit blogging and get into the airborne rubber dogshit cargo industry. There are simply too many variables influencing performance for any one commercial movement assessment model to reign supreme. Moreover, while the principles from each of the aforementioned systems are far reaching, none of them explicitly addresses running, jumping, change of direction, movement under load, bioenergetics, sleep, nutrition, genetics, tactical preparation, programming, and the list goes on… No single continuing education course accounts for all the factors that impact performance. It’s up to individual practitioners to learn the relevant information that falls within their scope of practice and connect the dots. We live in an age of convenience where everyone is trying to hack something. Clinical and coaching proficiency cannot be hacked. There are no algorithms, formulas, or certifications that ensure success. We will always have to think, make deductive leaps, and have the courage to fail. We will never be able to separate the art from the science.
I use components of the SFMA, PRI, and FRC with every patient I encounter. There are surely professionals who achieve superior outcomes than me who practice in a completely different fashion. Certain aspects of these courses just happened to resonate with me and shape how I approach clinical problems. While the SFMA, PRI, and FRC instructors were forthcoming about the limitations of their particular models, beware of devout course attendees who publicly criticize that which they don’t do for emotional reasons. This kind of blind allegiance to the tribe can occur with any commercial or academic affiliation, not just the ones mentioned here. Foundational science, current evidence, and logic devoid of personal biases should be the filter through which we evaluate clinical tools. Nobody achieves successful outcomes with every patient or athlete. While this concept may seem obvious, social media has created a culture whereby anybody can pass him/herself off as an authority. Just be very skeptical of dogmatic people who speak in absolutes.
Determining best practice in medicine or physical preparation isn’t as quantifiable as the Top Gun trophy. The real clinical and performance world is too humbling and unpredictable to yield many certainties. We can rig the rules of the game on social media to portray ourselves as infallible. Nobody sees our failures. Fear of failure is arguably the greatest impediment to growth. Certainty and intransigence shield us from vulnerability. The quest for knowledge can be lonely. To be open-minded can often mean separating oneself from the tribe. However, very often lack of affiliation is the best practice around. And remember, always look eye!