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More about the FUNdamental stage
The FUNdamental stage is the second of the three LTAD stages that are critical to the development of physical literacy. If children fail to develop physical literacy prior to the growth spurt in puberty, they will have limited ability to develop sport-specific skills at older ages and stages of training and development.
Obviously, this will significantly impact their desire to continue in lifelong physical activity and limit their opportunities to develop as an athlete.
Children in the FUNdamental stage are motivated primarily by the desire to have FUN. While they may participate in competitive sports where points are scored, they are far less concerned with competitive results than they are with having fun, being with friends and developing a strong self-esteem.
Children in the FUNdamental stage improve their fundamental movement skills through well-structured programs. Skill development should happen through a combination of unstructured play in safe and challenging environments and quality instruction from knowledgeable teachers/leaders/coaches in structured programs at schools, community recreation centres and minor sport programs.
Children this age should not specialize in a single sport, unless they are participating in one of the few recognized early-specialization sports (e.g. gymnastics, figure skating, diving).
If they have a preferred sport, they may take part in it two or three times a week, but they should participate in other sports and physical activities at least three to four times per week.
Children this age have a strong sense of what is “fair” and should be introduced to the simple rules and ethics of sports. Basic rules, tactics, decision making and ethics of sport can be introduced.
Things to Think About
- Hand and foot speed can be developed especially well by boys and girls during this stage. If this sensitive period of accelerated adaptation to develop speed is missed, body speed later in life may be significantly compromised.
- This is a great age for children to take part in a wide range of sports. They should be encouraged to take part in land-based, water-based and ice/snow based activities at different times of the year.
- It is important that all children, including those with disabilities, master fundamental movement skills before sport specific skills are introduced.
- Strength, endurance and flexibility need to be developed, but through games and fun activities rather than a training regimen.
Children need to learn to “read” the movements going on around them and make sound decisions during games.
>> Learn about the next stage of LTAD: Learn to Train
- Athletes with Disabilities
- Health Practitioners
- Recreation Professionals