Why FMS (FUNdamental Movement Skills)

Fundamental movement skills (FMS) provide the foundation for all athletic maturity and are seen as the building blocks from which sports-specific skills are developed. For any young and talented athlete, the journey towards athletic excellence starts with the establishment of fundamental movement competency.

Essentially, FMS are common motor activities with specific and observable movement patterns. They have been described by some practitioners as the ABCs of Athleticism; agility, balance, coordination and speed. When coupled with basic skill development, they are said to produce a level of physical literacy. A well-rounded movement vocabulary provides the best preparation for the acquisition of more advanced and complex skills.

The Importance of FMS

Children who possess inadequate motor skills are often relegated to a life of exclusion from the organised and free play experiences of their peers, and subsequently, to a lifetime of inactivity because of their frustrations in early movement behaviour.

Seefeldt, Haubenstricker & Reuchlien 1979, cited in Graham, Holt, Hale & Parker 200

Fundamental Movement Skills

Jess (2004) states that the establishment of a fundamental movement competence cannot be overemphasised as it allows children to pass through a ‘proficiency barrier’ when attempting to develop the simple activities of early childhood to the more complex activities of later years. If FMS are mastered, they not only provide the optimal environment for this skill transition to occur, but also lay the foundation for a lifelong commitment to physical activity.
Research has shown that negative self-perceptions of motor-skill ability are often cited by children as a major barrier to participation in physical activity and sport as they feel they cannot perform the basic skills necessary to achieve any degree of success. This can lead to the rejection of future participation opportunities, lower self-esteem, reduced fitness and a decrease in social competence.
Alternately, children competent in FMS are more likely to enjoy and have a positive attitude towards sport and physical activity. Aside from the obvious health benefits (e.g. lower risk of obesity/cardiovascular disease), research successfully performing FMS can have a beneficial knock-on effect to other areas of their education e.g. proficiency in reading and writing.

Those with positive expectations about their ability are more willing to take risks, are popular playmates in the school ground, and are more likely to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle

Department of Education, Western Australia 200