Fundamental Movement Skills

What are fundamental movement skills?

Fundamental movement skills (FMS) are gross motor action patterns which incorporate the movements of different body parts such as the legs, arms trunk and head, and include such skills as running, hopping, catching throwing, striking and balancing. They are the foundation movements or precursor patterns to more specialised, complex skills in games, sports, dance gymnastics and physical recreation activities.

FMS can be classified into three categories of skill.

Body management skills involve controlling the balance of the body in still ness and motion. e.g. low-level balances, high level-balances, balance (one foot), rolling stopping, landing, dodging, bending, stretching, twisting, turning, swinging

Locomotor skills are those in which the body is transported in any direction from one point to another.
e.g. crawling walking, sprint running, hopping, leaping, humping for distance, jumping for height, side-galloping, skipping, climbing

Object control skills require the handling of implements, such as bats, racquets or hoops, or objects such as balls, either by hand or foot.
e.g. underhand throwing, overhand throwing, catching, lofted kicking, punt kicking, two-handed striking, bouncing, dribbling, rolling, one-handed striking, trapping.

Who Has Problems
Based on motor proficiency tests, estimate of the proportion of children with movement problems in Australian schools range up to 15%. The practical implication of this is that in any class the teacher might expect to have several children whose movement skills are not developmentally appropriate. These children are generally described by parents and teachers as clumsy or awkward. Doctors and physiotherapists refer to them as dyspraxic, a term that suggests that they have problems with thinking about, planning and performing movements. A recently-accepted term for these movement problems is “developmental coordination disorder” (DCD).

Implication for the child
The child with movement problems often withdraws from physical activity and this has implications for growth and development, general fitness and self concept. The development of strong bones and muscles is limited, as is the development of the fitness of the heart and lungs (which would normally facilitate the development of endurance and assist coordination). In addition, a lack of physical activity may contribute to a weight problem.

Problems with motor coordination can also have a negative effect in the classroom. Activities which involve body management or manipulation can disadvantage children with poor coordination. For children with good cognitive skills, the motor problem can lead to frustration and the addition of a motor impairment for a child who has a cognitive learning disability means further disadvantage.

From the social perspective, games are a means by which children make friends. Children may withdraw because movement is so difficult for them or they may be excluded from playground activities by their classmates because they cannot throw, catch, run or skip. Research shows that unless these problems are identified early, they can interfere with normal development and persist into later life.