Gross Motor Skills or Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) are a range of movement patterns that involve different parts of the body. They include skills like running, catching and balancing and are the foundation movements to life. They are also the precursor to more specialised and complex skills that are used in play, sport, active learning and outdoor recreation. It’s vital for the physical development of children that these skills are developed from a young age.
FMS are broken up into 3 categories.
Body management skills – key for having a balanced body both in stillness and in movement.
Locomotor skills – enable the body to move freely from one point to another.
Object control skills – allow the body to interact and have control of objects and implements.
Importance for sport
As mentioned, FMS are the platform from which the skills in sports come from. A good FMS base is imperative for your child’s physical development and being able to competently participate in sports. Children that are proficient movers are more willing to participate in sport leading to higher self-esteem and self-confidence. This allows children to get greater enjoyment out of sport and make it a lifelong hobby. Studies have shown that low Fundamental Movement Skills are a major barrier for participating in sport and one of the main reason’s children quit organised sport.
Is sport the only thing FMS are good for
Fundamental Movement Skills are so much more then just the building blocks of sport, they are the key to an active and healthy life. They are the basis for every movement we do every day. They allow children to build a positive relationship with sports and exercise. This leads to a healthier lifestyle with a higher involvement in activity, a lower risk of heart disease and some cancers, reduced stress and anxiety levels and an improves self-worth.
When should you learn FMS
You can learn FMS at any age, however the optimal time for learning these skills is when you are a young child. This is due to young children having a lower level of self-consciousness, embarrassment and fear of injury. It is also easier for young children to unlearn any bad habits. Finally, it’s important for these skills to be learnt at a young age so that a child can more freely participate in sport and physical activity throughout their childhood.
Developing Fundamental Movement Skills are the key to being able to enjoy any sport or physical activity. Having a strong FMS base gives children a first step to a happier, healthier, more active and enjoyable life.