The Development Of Fundamental Movement Skills

The Development on Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) during childhood is important for the development of that child as well as them being successful in sport, so they can learn other life skills. (Okely & Booth 2004)

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To understand when Children should start to learn FMS is to understand the long term development model (LTD), knowing this will help indentify when children need to learn which skill by which age. (Balyi, 2004).

During the first stage of the LTD is the FUNdametal stage which focuses on children aged 6-9. During this stage the children starts to learn the basic Fundamental movement patterns. Learning these skills is important as they are the building blocks to sport specific, for example kicking is a base in a number of skills in football, If a Child learns these skills it will contribute significantly their future athletic achievements (Balyi, 2004).

Once the Child reaches 9 and 11 it is the most important periods of skills development, during this period they are developed enough to learn and complete general overall sports skills (Balyi, 2004). It has been recommended that all Children should of mastered all the basic FMS by the age of 8 (Gallahue and Ozmun, 2006)

Jess et al (2004) also reported the importance of FMS stating that they allow children to pass through a ‘proficiency barrier’ to allow the development of skills in the future. Booth et al (2004) reported that in a random sample of Year 4, Year 6, Year 8 and Year 10 children that less than 40% had mastered all the skills using subjective measures, suggesting that when the children should be learning FMS skills they are not developing them in the correct way

There have been a number of studies that have looked on how to measure FMS mastery. The 2 main methods reported are objective and subjective. Objective measures are the result of the skill, i.e. the time taken to run 10 meters or the number of catches.

The advantage of using objective measures is it allows a high level inter and intra and Inter-rater reliability over attempts and measurers (Spray 1987).

Another important is the tester does not need a high level of knowledge about the skill (Hands & Larkin, 1998).

The second way to measure FMS is using subjective measures. This is done by using a checklist for each FMS that identifies coaching points that the subject needs to do while completing the skill. Knudson and Morrison (1997) defined

subjective measures or qualitative analysis as the ‘systematic observation and introspective judgment of movement and skills for the purpose of improving that skill’. The checklist which will be used in this study is The New South Wales Fundamental Movement Skills (NSWFMS) guidelines (2000), this is a resource for primary school children. The advantage of using subjective measures is that it can help identify one point in the skill that is weak. That information can then lead to trying to develop that weakness (Hands, 2000). However the criteria can be read and identified differently by different assessors.

In terms of research in the area of what affects FMS movement skills there has been a lot reported in what factors affect FMS ability. It has been reported that Physical Activity level (Fisher et al 2004) has an effect on FMS ability with Children who take part in more physical activity have better FMS skills. There has also been mixed views on the effect of gender on FMS skills, Fisher et al (2004) reported no difference in fundamental scores between boys and girls, however. Okley and Booth (2004) reported that boys did better than girls in the sprinting and the object control skills, which in this study would be the throw and catch, the girls performed better in the rest of the locomoter skills which in this case is the balance. The reason for this difference could be done to what reported that FMS are affected more by the activities done by boys while girls are affected by psychosocial or environmental factors (Cliff 2009).

There has been however a small majority of research looking at how age effects FMS. Okely & Booth (2004) did one such study looking at using subjective measures and found for certain parts on FMS Skills, Year 3 Children had mastered the skill better than Year 1 Children.

For Example only 1.5% of the year 1 boys and 0% of girls completed the hips then shoulders rotate forward coaching point for the throw compared to 13.5% of year 1 boys and 1.7% of year 3 girls.

It is also important to note with regards to age that even Children in the same year can be further developed, meaning their body can do more and they may be able to process the FMS in formation easier. It is important to understand this when the analysing results as one Year 6 child could be biologically more developed than another and therefore be able to perform the skill better. (Gallahue and Ozmun 2006).

This paper will therefore look at age and specifically the difference between year 1 and 6 children due the lack of research looking at Year 6 Children and the fact it has been reported that all Children should have mastered FMS by Year 8. The study will also use subjective and objective to get a better idea of which children have mastered the skills.

The results can be used to see what areas of each skill children are failing to master and then interventions can be designed to improve them as it has been reported that a well-planned and implemented fundamental movement skill intervention in has an effect on children’s motor skills, physical activity levels and will keep the child interested in Physical Education.


Aim The Aim of the study is to assess Fundamental Movement Skill (FMS) mastery in primary school children, to examine if there is a relationship between subjective and objective for FMS and to compare mastery of these skills by children in Year 1 and Year 6.


To measure Fundamental Movement Skills in Year 1 and Year 6 children

To analysis the skills using the New South Wales Criteria

To study the relationship between year groups and the subjective and objective measures

Hypothesis The Year 6 children will have high objective and subjective measures for all the FMS than the Year 1 children.


The Children will be tested for 2 hours in a normal PE lesson for 2 separate weeks. Each Child will be asked to wear suitable kit and footwear. The school sports hall where normal PE lessons take place will be used as the testing site once a risk assessment form was completing and checking the sports hall is suitable to complete the testing. These checks will be done before each testing session. Also ethical approval will need to be given before any testing can take place. Also before testing each child will undertake a warm up overseen by a PE Specialist.

Subject Population

A sample of 30 Children aged 10-11 (year 6) and 30 children ages 5-6 years (year 1) will be recruited for this study from a local primary school in Coventry. Informed consent from the parents will be obtained as well as agreement from the Child as each participant is under the age of 18.

Fundamental Movement Skill Measurements Both subjective and objective measures will be measured, with the subjective being taken while the child performs one of the skill trails. The subjective measures will be analysed using The New South Wales Fundamental Movement Skills (NSWFMS) guidelines (2000) (see appendix for criteria).

Using Qunitic Software each video will be watched 5 times and notational analysis will be used to measure how many of the skill components have been achieved. This will give an overall percentage of how that Child has mastered the skill. That will compare to the actual result for that skill.

The criteria will also be used during the demonstration to allow the children to know all the points that make up the skill, also no feedback will be given after each attempt.

Fundamental Movement Skills

Each Child will complete 5 fundamental movement skills, (Balance, Kicking, Catching, Throwing and sprinting). A description of what each test involves is shown below.

FMS Test


Subjective Measures

For the subjective measures the children will be asked to Stand on their dominant leg, children will be asked to stay as upright and still as possible keeping eyes forwards for 20 seconds, with their other leg bent.

Objective Measures

The objective measures will involve the children balancing for 20 seconds on a balance board device (Tunturi by MFT, Germany) connected to a laptop, The percentage of time spent on either side (left/right) will be used as the measurement. Each Child will have a practice before being called up/ inputted into the laptop system.


Subjective Measures

The Children will move their body to become in line with the travelling path of a soft tennis sized ball, a thrown by the researcher and PE specialist in a measured square area of 1m by 1m.

Objective Measures

The number of successful catches the children make out of 3 will be recorded.


Subjective Measures

The Children will be asked to start with knees bent and then using their arms for momentum, jump up as high as possible into the air.

Objective Measures

The Children’s jump height of the jump will measured using Quintic Biomechanics software (Quintic Biomechanics v17 software, Coventry, UK) and recorded in meters.


Subjective Measures

The Children will throw a small soft ball over-arm, towards a target placed on the sports hall wall.

Objective Measures

Points will be awarded to determine the precision of the throw. There were three sections, each with different amounts to justify the accuracy of the throw.


Subjective Measures

Children will be asked to ran as fast as they could along the 10 m measured track and then joined the back of the queue. The time will be recorded as use as the measure.

Objective Measures

Children will be ask to sprint as fast as they could down a 10m track, split times will be recorded at 5m and 10m using the SMARTSPEED timing gate system (SMARTSPEED, UK).

Any children will also be able to withdraw their assent and not take part even if their parents/guardian has given informed consent, at any time during the testing.

Statistical analysis

A combination of correlations and ANOVAs’ will be used to examine the relationship between the objective measures and the subjective measures but also each of the two year groups. Microsoft Excel will be used to produce the graphs and SPSS will be sued for the statistical analysis.

Action to be completed before deadline

6th December 2010

Complete and hand in Project Proposal

10th – 24th January 2011

Go to schools and collect data ready for analysis

27th January – 4th February 2011

Complete data collection, produce table of results and complete graphs

4th- 8th February 2011

Complete data analysis

10th- 20th February 2011

Write discussion and put in info from proposal such as Introduction and Methods.

21st February 2011

Check final project with supervisor and compile lab file

23rd- 1st March 2011

Check for any errors in project and print out 2 copies ready for binding

11th March 2011

Hand in 2 copies of the thesis and lab file.

12th March 2011 – 5th April

Revise for Viva Seminar

Section Five: REFERANCES

Balyi I., Hamilton A. (2004) Long-Term Athlete Development: Trainability in Childhood and Adolescence. Windows of Opportunity. Optimal Trainability.Victoria: National Coaching Institute British Columbia & Advanced Training and Performance Ltd.

Booth M, Macaskill, P, McLellan L. (1997) NSW Schools Fitness and Physical Activity Survey. Sydney. NSW Department of School Education.

Cliff, D, P., Okely, A.D,. Smith, L.M and McKeen, K. ‘Relationships Between Fundamental Movement Skills and Objectively Measured Physical Activity in Preschool Children.’ Pediatric Exercise Science, 2009, 21, 436-449

Fisher, A., Reilly J.J., Kelly, L.A., Montgomery, C., Williamson, A., Payton, J.Y., Grant, S., (2004) ‘Fundamental Movement Skills and Habitual Physical Activity in Young Children’ Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. 684-688.

Gallahue, D, L and Ozmun, J,C. (2006) 6th edn. Understanding Motor Development: Infants, Children, Adolescents, Adults, USA: McGraw Hill

Hands, B. (2000) “How can we best measure fundamental movement skills?” Health Sciences Conference Papers. Paper 5.

Hands, B., & Larkin, D. (1998). Australian tests of motor proficiency: What do we have and what do we need? The ACHPER Healthy Lifestyles Journal, 45(4),10-16.

Hands, B. & Martin, M (2003) ‘Implementing a Fundamental Movement Skill program in an early childhood setting: The children’s perspectives’ Health Sciences Papers and Journal Articles

Jess, M., Dewar, K. and Fraser, G. (2004) ‘Basic moves: developing a foundation for lifelong physical activity’, British Journal of Teaching in Physical Education 35 (2): 23-7.

New South Wales (2000) Move It, Groove It – Physical Activity in Primary Schools’ Summary Report. A NSW Health Physical Activity Demonstration Project (DP 98/1)

Okely, A.D & Booth, M,L. (2004) ‘Mastery of fundamental movement skills among children in New South Wales: prevalence and sociodemographic

distribution’ Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 7 (3) 358-372.

Spray, J. A. (1987). Recent developments in measurement and possible applications to the measurement of psychomotor behavior. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 58, 203-209.

Section 6: APPENDIX