The Performance Matrix

The story of TPM


Working as the powerhouse behind the scenes of the TPM Pro system, Head of Movement Performance Solutions, Sarah Mottram, states her desire is to place movement at the heart of all therapists’ patient and client management strategies. Her role as international educator, clinician and researcher initially allowed Sarah to share this ambition through the Kinetic Control education framework, in addition to her ongoing and acclaimed work on the scapular. However, more recently the TPM Pro movement management system has supplied new audience movement message. TPM Pro is the culmination of more than two decades of development, in which Sarah and renowned clinician Mark Comerford have aimed to perfect a clinic and client-friendly tool to systemise the evaluation and retraining of movement. The tool is designed to be used by all levels of fitness and all ages, allowing clinicians to assess the ‘Movement Health’ of any individual who may step through the door of their clinic and, ultimately, as Sarah identifies, get their clients to, ‘move better, feel better and do more.’ In the world of TPM, patients can become clients, and pain managementvolve into performance, prevention and participation goals. Here we dig in to the story behind TPM.

The origins of TPM:

Since the mid-1990s, the concepts and courses of Kinetic Control have taken the ‘Movement Health’ message around the world, proclaiming that movement quality matters with respect to the management of pain, pathology and compromised function. Here in 2018, a large body of evidence supports the notion that people in pain ‘move differently’; but in the past, this approach remained only a clinical perspective, and one that lacked consensus. By 2012, the publication of the now essential clinical text, ‘Kinetic Control- The Management of Uncontrolled Movement' (Comerford & Mottram, 2012) illustrated just how far the systemised assessment and retraining of movement had come, as it became ever more apparent movement could help address symptoms and restore quality of life. But Sarah and Mark believed movement was bigger than pain, that movement assessment and retraining could change performance and that individuals could limit injury occurrence rather than just deal with symptoms. Therefore, in 2005 when an NBA Basketball team wanted a movement assessment tool to match the calibre of their world class players, The Performance Matrix (TPM) was born. TPM was soon introduced in the academic literature (Mottram & Comerford, 2008) as the tool for the assessment of movement for performance enhancement and injury risk reduction was ever refined. Reliability for the tool was published in 2015.

Where is TPM right now:

Since 2010, the testing system has been available online and has subsequently integrated alongside an exercise catalogue, streamlining the assessment, risk highlighting and retraining process into a clinic friendly tool. Although used by increasing number of professional athletes in football, tennis, golf, track and field and other sports, TPM is indeed certainly no longer the preserve of elite performers on million-dollar contracts. The system is expanding into private practice around the globe, allowing everyone to benefit from its accuracy and insight. Skillsets are also being expanded; the system comes with routes of education which combine sports medicine excellence with strength and conditioning principles allowing movement therapists to work with an increasing range of clients and goals.  

Where is TPM going:

The message that movement is medicine is ever clearer; the acceptance that movement is fundamental to not only quality of performance but also to quality of life continues to build. TPM remains the state of the art system to ensure ‘Movement Health’ is attained and maintained. As movement quality becomes an undeniable feature of any clinical or performance intervention, TPM will continue to enter new clinics and gyms around the world, changing both mindsets and skillsets, alike. More research will emerge that supports each step of the process and movement assessment and retraining will be as commonplace as dental check-ups and brushing twice a day.      

Greatest TPM achievements:

With the hindsight of 2018, many of the key principles first delivered back in the mid-1990s are still robust keystones to the TPM process, increasingly supported by evidence and flourishing in clinics from New York to Taiwan, from Helsinki to Cape Town. Indeed, our most recent publication (Dingenen et al., 2018) sees these concepts hold their own alongside biomechanical testing procedures, difficult to perform within a clinical setting. This paper also highlights TPM can be used alongside other methods to build an ever more complete approach to sustaining long-term Movement Health. Perhaps, TPM’s greatest achievement is supplying such a structured framework to manage the complexity that is human movement.


Join the TPM PRO network
Watch the Video & Find out More
Join the TPM ACTIVE network