It is often perceived that we are born with a sporting ability or we aren’t. The idea that if you aren’t naturally sporty then there is no hope of a sporty, active lifestyle. This is far from the truth, with the strong foundations and building blocks, every child has the ability to achieve their full potential. This can be achieved at an early age and can play a large role in the development of a child, both physically and mentally.
The building blocks to an active lifestyle begin with physical literacy; the ability for a child to move competently and confidently in all types of environments. The key components of physical literacy are the three fundamental movement skills:
Fundamental movement skills are vital in the physical development of a child. When a child is confident with these skills, they can develop sport-specific and complex movement skills that allow them to enjoy sport and physical activity in the future.
Alternatively, children with poor fundamental movement skills are more likely to drop out from organised sport because they cannot perform the skills well enough to play the game confidently.
Children who develop confidence with their fundamental movement skills are more likely to enjoy many benefits such as high self- esteem, improved health, good social skills and are more likely to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.
Balance is a multi-sensory activity, and to improve balance, several systems of the body have to work together. The vestibular system in the brain has to work in close connection with the visual system, the motor system and the positioning system. By improving balance and sensory processing skills, children with healthy vestibular systems can excel both physically and mentally.
Balance is an essential skill and children must learn to balance before they can progress to higher level skills such as cycling, hopping, galloping or skipping. Balance skills are essential before coordination and agility can be practiced.
Coordination is a child’s ability to get their body to work together in a coordinated, efficient way. Getting their hands and feet working in conjunction with their brain! Whether playing games, taking part in sport or doing schoolwork, coordination skills are vital for child development and will provide a base for future success.
Hand-eye coordination is a key player in a child’s coordination. This is the ability of the eyes to guide the hands in movement. Children will use this skill all day, every day; writing, catching, throwing and drawing are obvious examples, but also, skills such as handwriting and typing will be improved.
Agility is the ability to change the direction of the body in an efficient and effective manner. To achieve this, it requires a combination of balance, speed, strength and coordination. Agility helps performance in activities that require you to change direction quickly whilst keeping balance, strength, speed and body control.
We have put together a range of games for each of the fundamental movement skills. By practicing each of the skills and introducing these to children, they will begin to build and develop their physical literacy and be prepared for future sport and physical activity.