What are ABC’s and what are their importance to a young person’s development?
We’re definitely not talking about the alphabet here but developing ABCs are vital to develop the physical literacy of a child. To be able to develop this physical literacy, a child should first be able to execute fundamental movement skills.
Physical literacy is defined as mastering the fundamental movement and sport skills that allow a child to read their environment and make appropriate decisions, moving confidently and with control in a wide range of sporting situations.
The ABCs which make up the fundamentals required stand for agility, balance, co-ordination and speed.
The focus for a coach to develop these ABC’s especially at a younger age are key and coaches use lots of different activities and games during their sessions that engage, emphasise and develop these actions.
We can group these movement skills into three categories, Locomotor skills, Object skills and Body Control skills.
Locomotor Skills: involve the body moving any direction from one point to another, e.g. walking, running, skipping, hopping, jumping.
Body/Stability Skills: involves the body balancing either in one place (static) or while in motion (dynamic).
Object Skills: involve handling and controlling objects with the hand, foot or an implement (stick, bat, racquet) and include throwing, catching, striking (hands, feet).
As coaches and teachers, we must understand that fundamental movement skills must be learned before fundamental sport skills as each sport has its own particular set of traits.
When playing basketball, the skills needed may include stance, footwork, dribbling, passing, shooting and making good decisions on the court and this will differ to playing tennis or any other sport.
There is now even more emphasis on developing ABC’s during PE lessons and extended day clubs as it has been found that when children get older, their ability to execute such movements are still limited. Children who lack the fundamental movement skills are likely to experience frustration and difficulty learning more advanced skills, reducing their enjoyment of sport and physical activity.
Our Elms Sport in Schools curriculum has been carefully designed to work with children of all ages where our coaches specifically focus part of their session on developing these movements which are also further emphasised during the sport that they are teaching.
Our aim is to encourage all young people to continue to be active and play sport confidently and enjoy it for the rest of their lives and these fundamental skills are just the foundations of their learning.