A summary of how children’s skills typically emerge over time and where the development of fundamental motor skills fits in. Why it is a critical building block for children to be able to participate in all sports later on in life.
If children skip one of the stages, in particular the early development stages 2-4, they will greatly limit their potential down the line. Keep in mind that the age ranges (hence the titles) are overlapping which depends greatly on children’s development so far.
Even at a very young age children's speed of development can be up to 18 months apart.
By about 12 months of age baby’s strength and balance have improved to the point where they are able to walk.
From the age of 1 to 3 years children’s increasing mobility skills make way for them to have experiences that develop simple fundamental motor skills (throwing away, tumbling, climbing up..).
From the age of 3 to 7, children can have developed a high level of competence in all their fundamental motor skills with the goal to successfully play and learn any sport with confidence. It is the best window in life to learn and improve motor skills and our focus.
From the age of 7 to 10, children tend to try a number of different sports. This further develops their general coordination as well as their sport-specific skills.
As children sample sports and start to like some sports over others, they start to also get exposed to competition and ideally play more than one sport which advances motor skill development further.
This is when children get a real sense of what sport they may be motivated to play more regularly.
Children in this age mostly fall into two categories.
1. Sport for fun with mostly deliberate play experiences improving their skills through a game based approach.
This is where kids engage in fun play experiences in the sports they have tried and enjoy. This increases in complexity the more skillful they become.
2. Introduction to practice and training in deliberate ways to improve specific skills in technique, tactics or physical and mental ability.
Children decide on their passion and motivation for a specific or several sports.
They can enjoy sports for life as a healthy and fun lifestyle or if skillful and motivated enough pursue a professional career as athlete or coach.