Effective athletic development is based upon the principle of the development of fundamental movement skill before specific sport skill. In generations past this was something that everyone took for granted because the demands of everyday living took care of fundamental movement. People at all ages were very active. Children grew up moving, free play was a major part of daily activity. It was natural to crawl, jump, hop, run, reach, lift, throw, etc; it was all done in a spontaneous playful environment. Even in the adult world there were less “conveniences” than today. People walked instead of rode. Physical labor was part of society. People generally participated rather than watched. As short a time as thirty years ago there was mandatory physical education from kindergarten through twelfth grade in every state in the nation.
The athletic realm does not exist independent of the rest of society; athletes are a product of the society they grow up in. There is no longer mandatory physical education to provide a foundation of movement skills. There is less free play, more organized sport activity and earlier speacialization. The net effect of all of this is a significant decline in fundamental movement skills and general physical fitness. A sound athletic development program is founded on the basic locomotor skills developed to their highest level. These fundamental skills must be incorporated on a daily basis into the athlete’s training program regardless of the level of development. Obviously as the athletes progresses in training age and skill development fundamental skills should assume proportionally less of the training time but they should always be there. It is ironic that in my work with high level professional athletes that I have to spend a good portion of their training on fundamental movements because they never acquired these skills as part of their foundation. Instead they specialized early and refined their specific sport skills.
Build a strong foundation of pulling, pushing, bending ,extending, running, jumping, and throwing before a major emphasis on sport skill. The FUNdamentals of athletic success are built on a foundation of movement skills.