Gray Cook: Foreword to The Business of Movement

Gray Cook

This is an excerpt from The Business of Movement

▶ Are you ready to question your personal and professional actions
when movement obstacles are in your way?
▶ Are you ready to learn and use new tools to see what you’re missing
in movement?
▶ Are you ready to change your movement culture?

These may not be easy questions to get behind, but if you work in the movement environment—whether clinician, coach or trainer—you know we as a profession must be better.

In 2003, I published my first book, Athletic Body in Balance, forecasting the problems I saw coming in human movement. That same year a (real) author named Michael Lewis wrote a book that fueled my perspective and made me want to build an even better case for overhauling movement. His book was called Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

Baseball at that time had turned into a statistical payroll game. The teams with the biggest payrolls had most of the success and those with the lowest payrolls had the least success. End of story. America’s game was nothing but another financial institution that fixed problems with money instead of through human physical and character development, grit, and better competitive strategies. In this wonderful game’s sad evolution, Goliath kept beating David, and it was getting boring to watch…until the Oakland A’s changed everything. They focused on the overlooked statistics that truly mattered and changed the culture of the game. To me, Lewis’s book wasn’t about baseball; it was about becoming significantly more effective using the same resources.

And that was exactly what we were doing with movement.

My partners and our instructors have been teaching and implementing our Functional Movement Systems around the world. We get paid to talk and then answer questions. Some call that education, but our real value is when we get to ask the questions.

When we get to audit you, your team, your intakes, your process, and your outcomes, we usually expose unnecessary assumptions, upstream issues, and poor use of basic feedback loops. It’s how we mentored each other and it’s how we developed the systems that improved our businesses and can improve yours as well.

Good business systematically develops and redevelops a product or service to stay valuable, relevant, and sustainable. The central key to systematic development in business is measurement because what gets measured gets done.

Most financial superpowers of the last 40 years seem to agree in word and action that for sustained success, we must first protect the downside.

Reality check: The business of human movement is statistically one of the poorest examples of failed management of a downside. In the past 40 years, we’ve allowed the physical culture of much of the world to measurably erode while we managed our profit margins, delivering the illusion of rehabilitation, fitness, and sports performance.

On our watch, the physically healthy and fit majority has become the minority. Physical education has no standard of learning, military physical standards have been systematically lowered, and sports have become profit centers that no longer generate life lessons or character development.

Under it all lies a health and physical rehabilitation model that amounts to whatever insurance will pay for regardless of outcomes.

These trends cannot continue, which is why we’re so driven to teach our systems. There were early adopters who leaned in and helped us become an international brand through their command of the information and their subsequent actions. Many of their stories are in this book. We’ve learned, through our work and theirs, that we don’t rise to the level of our education; we fall to the level of our training.

This book will ask many questions. Those questions are best answered with information, action and reflection because the entirety of the system isn’t about proprietary movement patterns. It’s about using feedback effectively and efficiently. It’s about learning to listen to what movement is telling you before you take action…and having confidence in the response you provide.

Gray Cook