Movement Competence: Skills, Concepts, and Strategies

The Movement Competence strand helps children & youth develop the movement competence needed to participate in physical activities through the development of movement skills and the related application of movement concepts and movement strategies. The development of fundamental movement skills in association with the application of movement concepts and principles provides the basic foundation for physical literacy.

An understanding of fundamental skills and concepts is essential both to an individual’s development of effective motor skills and to the application of these skills in a wide variety of physical activities. The focus of the learning in this strand is on transferable skills, with the goal of having children & youth understand how skills, concepts, and strategies learned in one activity can apply to other activities.

Children & youth will be introduced to movement principles in developmentally appropriate ways. These principles are indicated in the expectations through examples and leader prompts that illustrate how skills can be applied at different ages and stages. As children & youth grow and develop, the focus of learning shifts, but the key concepts remain connected at every stage. When children are younger or less experienced, the emphasis is on developing basic skills and applying them in situations involving the use of simple strategies and tactics. When children & youth are more mature and experienced, more time can be spent on the application of skills in games and activities involving more complex strategies and tactics.

Movement Skills and Concepts

Movement competence requires the development of fundamental movement skills and the application of movement concepts and principles.

Movement Skills:

  • Stability skills are those in which the body maintains a desired shape in a stationary position, and also includes those in which children & youth use core strength to maintain balance and control of their body while moving through space.
  • Locomotion skills are those used to move the body from one point to another in various ways.
  • Manipulation skills involve giving force to objects or receiving force from objects as one sends, receives, or retains objects.

Movement Concepts

  • Body awareness – What body parts move and in what way?
  • Spatial awareness – Where does the body move?
  • Effort awareness – How does the body move?
  • Relationship – With whom or with what does the body move?

Movement skills must be explicitly taught; they are not acquired simply through participating in activities of various sorts. However, these skills should not be taught in isolation from the context in which they will be applied. Instead, they should be taught in a way that demonstrates how they will be used within and across a variety of physical activities, so that children & youth can apply and transfer their skills to specific activities.

Movement Strategies

When participating in an activity, children & youth will have an ultimate goal or objective. To accomplish that goal, children & youth may choose from a number of strategies that are similar within particular categories of games and physical activities. The actions that children & youth do in order to accomplish the strategy are called tactics. The ability to devise and apply strategies and tactics requires an understanding of how games and activities are structured and how they work. This in turn requires an understanding of the components and other features that characterize individual games and activities.

Games can be grouped into broad categories on the basis of common features and similarities, and children & youth can learn how to transfer strategies, tactics, and skills from one game or activity to another in the same category. By encouraging children & youth to think strategically, analyze game and activity structures, and make connections between different games and game components, the movement strategy expectations give them an opportunity to exercise their critical and creative thinking skills, build confidence, and increase their ability to participate successfully in a wide range of games and other activities.