Sport associations are embracing physical literacy training

    Sport associations around the world are beginning to see the value of physical literacy and how it can help improve athletic performance. Physical literacy training is gradually becoming a part of sport association programming worldwide. They're finding that youngsters who learn fundamental movement skills are not only more active but eventually become better athletes and suffer fewer injuries.

    Incorporating physical literacy skills into a normal sport practice can be done easily but needs to be deliberately planned into the practice. Physical literacy is important at all ages but is more easily learned if done when young. Like language, physical skills have a 'window' of opportunity -- from 6 to 11 years of age -- where it's just easier to learn them.

    Recently the New York Road Runners (NYRR) announced that they are adding youth programs that teach fitness skills rather than just focusing on performance, according to Rachel Pratt, senior vice president of youth and community services of NYRR.

    “We’re focusing on movement, balance, and some object transfer,” Pratt said. “And we’re trying to build those fundamental skills. Runners can get injured -- this helps to build lateral movement so there’s less likelihood of injury.”

    NYRR isn't the only group who has gotten the message though. Physical literacy classes are popping up in gyms and fitness centers. People are beginning to realize that their physical skills may not be as good as they thought, that the reason they get so many injuries may be that they simply don't know how to move properly.

    Agility training is also appearing in classes by itself apart from any specific sport. Physical literacy and agility, though not the same, share a similar function: They help people move better. As fitness gyms and other kinds of training centers note the efficacy of physical literacy training for health and sport performance, state and national sport associations are also hopping on board the physical literacy bandwagon. Might these programs be coming to Malaysia soon?

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    Bill Price (price@sportkid.asia) is the owner and Chief Data Scientist at Sportkid Metrics.

     

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