Fundamental Movement Skills

Why We Teach Them

Research suggests that the development of children’s Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) is a significant step towards establishing a lifelong positive relationship with physical and mental wellbeing. FMS are the required building blocks for movement. Without proficiency in skills like throwing, catching, kicking, leaping and balancing, children are less likely to explore the range of options available to them to establish and maintain active lifestyles.

Research suggests that children who are competent in FMS are more likely to enjoy sport and activities and to develop a lifelong commitment to physical activity. Research also suggests that children who do not master FMS are more likely to drop out of physical activity in later life.

Children who have achieved proficiency in FMS have been found to have better self-esteem, socialisation skills and a more positive attitude towards physical activity. Research indicates that the improvement in self-esteem and confidence in performance FMS has a follow-on effect to other areas of a child’s education. For example, improvement in confidence in physical coordination has been found to help develop proficiency in reading and writing.

FMS can be categorised under three headings:

  • Locomotion
  • Stabilisation skills
  • Object manipulation

Examples of these skills are shown below:

Locomotion

Stabilisation

Object Manipulation

Walking

Turning

Catching

Running

Twisting

Pushing

Bounding

Bending

Pulling

Hopping

Landing

Dribbling

Leaping

Stretching

Carrying

Jumping

Stopping

Bouncing

Rolling

Squatting

Trapping

Climbing

Extending

Kicking

Sliding

Flexing

Striking

Skipping

Balancing

Collecting

Crawling

Bracing

Stopping

Swinging

Rotating

Throwing

Dodging

Tucking

Rolling an object

Mastery of these skills is not just the ability to perform a given movement, but the ability to perform the movement in a proficient and controlled manner (often at speed and / or under pressure).

They are the skills which all children need to participate successfully in all types of games, physical activities and sports. The development of movement skills occurs sequentially, with proficiency in FMS forming the basis for the development of more advanced sport-specific skills.

Enjoy Sport (up to age of 6)

Having conducted a needs analysis of the game of tennis we have identified 15 FMS that we consider to be essential if our players are going to successfully participate in competition level tennis.

These FMS are:

  1. Transfer of weight (development of power in shots)
  2. Sprint run (chase down balls)
  3. Back peddling (run around BH to hit FH)
  4. Jump (contact moves)
  5. Spin / Pivot (contact moves)
  6. Shuffle (repositioning)
  7. One-hand strike (serve, FH, BH, vollies, overhead)
  8. Two-hand strike (BH)
  9. Over and underarm throw (serve)
  10. Lunging (hitting stances)
  11. Rotating (development of power in shots)
  12. Hopping (contact moves)
  13. Leaping (serve and contact moves)
  14. Sliding (stopping)
  15. Balancing (dynamic and static)

It takes between 4-10 hours of instruction time on average to become proficient in one FMS, so 60-150 hours for 15 FMS. To put that in real world terms, a player practicing twice a week (1 hour sessions) during school term time could take up to 18 months to become capable in the listed FMS.

Through the teaching of FMS from an early age we aim to:

  • Enable all young people to develop confidence in their basic movement skills and experience a wide variety of sports at an early age
  • To better prepare them for lifelong participation in sport, because their self-perception of their sporting ability is more positive
  • To better prepare them to achieve their full potential due to the learning of transferable skills