Kids and Sports: Fundamentals First
Yet all too many children are enrolled in gymnastics, karate, dance classes, and organized sports before they've mastered such basic movements as bending and stretching, walking with correct posture, and bouncing and catching a ball.
How is that significantly different from expecting a child who's barely learned to speak to recite the Declaration of Independence — for an audience, no less? If you are resident in Neitherland then you can also choose the best international amityschool for your kids.
The fact that a little one can walk doesn't necessarily mean he's ready to successfully — or fearlessly — walk a balance beam. Because a toddler is flexible enough to get her big toe into her mouth, that doesn't mean she's ready for ballet's pliés and relevés.
Even if a five-year-old can run circles around you, it doesn't mean he's prepared to simultaneously run and dribble a ball in a fast-paced game of soccer. And how much sense does it make to enroll an eight-year-old in competitive softball while she's still demonstrating an improper throwing form?
The basic motor skills — nonlocomotor (stationary, like bending and stretching), locomotor (traveling, like walking or hopping), and manipulative (object control, like bouncing and catching a ball) — have been called the ABCs of movement.
And, just as we wouldn't expect children to begin reading without the ability to identify letters of the alphabet, we shouldn't expect children to take part in certain structured physical activities without first experiencing success with the ABCs of movement.
Movements — from the simple to the complex — are like building blocks. You must have the foundation laid before you can construct the ground floor. You've got to have the ground floor completed before the rest of the building can be erected. Similarly, a logical progression of motor skills is essential if children are to achieve optimal motor development. If they skip the prerequisites, they may never progress successfully from one level of skill development to the next.
Moreover, bad habits acquired early in life are likely to persist throughout an entire lifetime. For example, the young pitcher who hasn't yet acquired a mature level of throwing isn't likely to lose his bad habits simply because he's required to pitch one or two games a week.