Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fundamentals of Movement

There is no debate that adults and children who are physically active on a regular basis are healthier than those who are not active. However, an adult who never learned to throw a ball or swing a bat is unlikely to participate in an activity like baseball or softball. For these reasons it is important to expose children at an early age to physical development. Boys between the ages of 6 and 9 and girls between the ages of 6-8 are at a great stage to be introduced into the fundamentals of movement stage of Long Term Athlete Development. They teach the basic skills of movements by developing locomotive skills, object control skills, and stability.

Fundamental movement skills involve running, balance, throwing, jumping, hopping, skipping, catching, striking and fielding. Learning all these skills allows a child to be exposed to all sort of activities to instill a passion and knowledge for a variety of sports. This in turn allows them to explore and develop other attributes such as the ability to follow instructions, listen, work as a part  of a team, play and interact with their peers. A child in a fundamental of movement class compared to a child who is playing a specific sport, is able to learn the basic skills of all sports as opposed to only one sport.

Children who can throw are able to participate in baseball, softball, goalball, rugby and bowling. If they  can run they can take part in soccer, basketball, squash, tennis and track and field. Down the road, if the child decides to concentrate on one sport, they have a multitude of options and past experiences to draw upon. Even if they decide to play sports recreationally, they have learned the basics of all types of sports, and are able to enjoy them as they choose.

When coaching fundamental movement skills to children, it is important to develop a lesson plan. A lesson plan allows the instructor or coach to set out a direction, know what equipment is needed, and move sequentially towards achieving the intended outcome.

It is important to ensure that the class involves:
  • An instruction component
  • A demonstration component to build a mental image  
  • An exploration component 
  • A practice 
  • An application component 
For example, a running lesson plan could involve explaining a drill, such as marching A walks, and then a demonstration of how to do a marching A. The children can then try it out, be corrected of any mistakes, and finally play a game that emphasize the marching A action.

As an instructor, dealing with children in the fundamentals of movement stage requires a patient and supportive attitude. These children are not professional athletes and in this regard, encouraging them goes a long way. Also keep in mind that children learn and develop differently. Nurturing life long active Canadians is as important as nurturing future Canadian sports stars.

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Bailey R, Cope E, Pearce G. Why do children take part in, and remain involved in sport? A literature review and discussion of implications for sports coaches. International Journal Of Coaching Science. January 2013;7(1):56-75.
2. Ebbets R. FUNDAMENTALS. Track Coach. Summer2010 2010;(192):6120-6148.
3. Gimenez R, Lustosa De Oliveira D, De J. Manoel E, Dantas L, Marques I. INTEGRATING FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS IN LATE CHILDHOOD. Perceptual & Motor Skills. April 2012;114(2):563-583. Hands B. How fundamental are fundamental movement skills?. ACHPER Active & Healthy Magazine. April 2012;19(1):14-17.
4. Sheehan D, Katz L. Using Interactive Fitness and Exergames to Develop Physical Literacy. Physical & Health Education Journal. Spring2010 2010;76(1):12-19.
5. Williams M, Saunders J, Maschette W, Wilson C. Outcome and Process in Motor Performance: A Comparison of Jumping by Typically Developing Children and Those with Low Motor Proficiency. Measurement In Physical Education & Exercise Science. April 2013;17(2):135-149.
6. Zuvela F, Bozanic A, Miletic D. POLYGON—A new fundamental movement skills test for 8 year old children: construction and validation. Journal Of Sports Science & Medicine.

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