Physical literacy is the combination of mastering fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills. This allows children to see, understand and react to movements going on around them. Most skills require a series of developmental stages, which can be detrimental if missed.
Once children have mastered fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills, they have achieved physical literacy!
For children to have success in sport – either for recreation or competition – it is important they master movement skills before learning sport skills, and fundamental sport skills before specific techniques. Learning fundamental sport skills before mastering the related fundamental movement skills actually reduces performance ability later.
For almost every skill, children need to go through a series of developmental stages. The challenge is to help them learn the next level of the skill rather than pushing them to perform like an adult.
Children usually learn their fundamental movement skills in the same sequence and go through the same phases. There is a time when children can learn a skill, a time when they are ready to learn a skill and an optimum time to learn a skill.
If a child goes too long without learning a skill, remedial work can be done. Parents also play an important role in skill development.
Running, jumping, catching, kicking, throwing, swinging and hitting are the basic fundamental sport skills. They allow children to play several sports with ease. Missing out on them can lead to a lifelong disconnect from recreation and sport.
Learning to throw a softball using a pitching motion – and aiming over home plate – represents the shift from learning a fundamental movement skill to learning a fundamental sport skill.
Learn more about fundamental skills.
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