Help Kids Develop Fundamentals to Boost Confidence and Enjoyment in Sport

"It's a beach play day for Charly and his girls..." 🏐🏝❤️

Kids who play do better period.

They experience greater health benefits, do better socially, have higher grade point averages, higher graduation rates and more college acceptances.

Children’s participation in sports is so important that schools, municipalities and government agencies have devoted entire campaigns to its promotion. But where does it start?

Children do not automatically become proficient at sports.

Some will be naturally more adept than others, but they all need to be taught fundamental motor skills and given the opportunity to progress through appropriate development stages to be successful.

Motor skills are voluntary, learned movements made by the human body to achieve a task, such as a child twisting their body and moving their arm to throw a ball. By mastering fundamental motor skills such as a basic sprint, vertical jump, side step or leap, children will have the basic skills needed to participate in sport.

As a parent or guardian, aim to incorporate skills such as running, side-stepping, jumping, catching, throwing and hitting a ball into a child’s playtime.

Create simple games that incorporate these motor skills, such as tying a ribbon around a higher item and seeing if the children can jump and touch it.

Turning the activities into games will encourage greater enthusiasm and participation than simply getting them to run back and forth over a distance.

When teaching skills, take care to start simple and gradually progress. Sports often feature lots of moving elements and multi-tasking that can be overwhelming for a child. Help them get comfortable with the basic motor skills first, then progress to more complicated movements.

This progression not only enhances development; it can also help a child’s self- esteem by matching their abilities to the task.

When teaching a child a new skill:

  • Keep instructions to a minimum to avoid information overload.
  • Focus feedback on the key elements taught, not on performance outcomes.
  • Clearly explain how to correct errors.
  • Provide lots of encouragement and keep it fun.
  • Keep the environment as neutral as possible.
  • Observe the child for signs of fatigue and respond appropriately.

When you can see that the child no longer needs to think about every facet of the movement, and they are performing it with more fluidity, they are in the ‘associative stage’ of motor skill learning and development can progress. You can start to;

  • Incorporate goal and performance-oriented games, such as challenging them to see how many times they can throw a ball through a hoop
  • Encourage them to incorporate their own unique style of movement, as long as it doesn’t put them at risk of injury.

By incorporating fun games that encourage running, side-stepping, jumping, catching, throwing and hitting, you can help your kids develop their fundamental motor skills, increase their confidence and gain greater enjoyment from sports and physical activity.

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