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UK Coaching Participation Team
Children Improving Physical Ability

Understanding Movement Competency

When coaching fundamental movement skills, the movement competency of children should be a key priority

Fundamental movement skills are the bedrock of childhood development, and awareness and understanding of these can enable coaches to aid the developmental pathways of physical, cognitive, psychological, social and emotional development.

The early, targeted development of these areas can serve as a support to children’s ongoing engagement, enjoyment and success within sport and physical activity.

As a coach, you need to know what competent movement looks like. How should the child be moving during a task?

Here are some pointers to help you answer those questions and give you the assurance that children are executing fundamental movement skills and sport specific skills correctly for their optimal development.

Coaching Tips

  1. If a child struggles with a movement, you should see if additional cueing can help.
  2. External cues tend to work better than internal cues with children (eg ‘Look at something in the distance,’ rather than ‘Keep your head up' if trying to correct head position).
  3. If a child still struggles, regress the task and make it simpler, and if needed, introduce simple complementary exercises to help correct movement issues.
  4. If a child demonstrates good competency, progress the task and make it more complex.
  5. Be inventive: As children start to progress, put sequences of movements together; let children come up with their own sequence of movements.
  6. Engage children – ask them how and why this movement might be useful for sport.

Learn More

To gain a full understanding of how to include fundamental movement skills in your coaching sessions attend the UK Coaching workshop 'How to Coach the Fundamentals of Movement'.

Attend the Workshop Today!

Related Resources

  • The Importance of Coaching Fundamental Movement Skills

  • Boing Kids: Using Fun Games to Coach Movement Skills

  • Highlights from the Youth Physical Development Model


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UK Coaching Participation Team