Physical Literacy

“Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.” International Physical Literacy Association, 2014

The early years are an important time for a child’s growth and development. Most people think that children naturally learn the fundamental movement skills, but this is not always true. In the same way that children need to learn their ABCs to read and write, children need to develop fundamental movement skills that will give them the foundation to develop and master more sport-specific skills. When children have the skills to be physically active, it gives them the confidence and motivation to participate in physical activities, games and sports.

Basic movement skills, such as throwing, catching and running form the building blocks of physical literacy. When children feel confident at performing these skills, they will be more likely to participate in activities that require these skills when they’re older.

For example:

  • If children are able to throw, they are more likely to participate in activities such as baseball, basketball, tennis, football, etc.
  • If children are able to swim, they are more likely to participate in activities such as diving, water skiing or canoeing

During the early years, the focus should be on having fun, and helping children learn the ABC’s of Physical Literacy: Agility, Balance, Coordination & Speed

“Without physical literacy, research shows many children and youth withdraw from physical activity and sport. Children report that not having the skills to play is one major reason they drop out.” Sport For Life


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