Below is a great article from skillsforkids.com about Fundamental Perceptual Motor Skills.

  • Fundamental perceptual motor skills are the building blocks of sport including – locomotion and balance, catching and interception, throwing and striking and kicking and punting
  • Early purposeful play experiences lead to FPMS and an opportunity for children to participate and develop in sport

Every parent, teacher, coach and caretaker needs to understand Fundamental Perceptual Motor Skills (FPMS). They are the building blocks of sport and physical activity. They don’t develop automatically. Children without FPMS are severely disadvantaged when it comes to the sport and physical and psychological experiences they will enjoy during a lifetime. Through early purposeful play experiences, children will develop the sensory and movement abilities to locomote and balance, catch and intercept, throw and strike, kick and punt and therefore every opportunity to develop a love of sport and health and fitness.

Fundamental perceptual motor skills

The easiest way to understand fundamental perceptual motor skills is to understand the different parts.

  • Fundamental – the foundation, base or essential component of a structure or system
  • Perceptual – the recognition and interpretation of sensory stimuli
  • Motor – referring to motion or movement
  • Skill – proficiency that is acquired through training or experience

Fundamental perceptual motor skills can therefore be summarized as the foundation skills of being able to use sensory information to accurately carry out purposeful movements.

An example of this would be a young girl running to catch a beach ball. She received sensory information from her eyes about where the ball was thrown to and as she runs, she is still receiving sensory information about where she is in relation to the ball. It is this information that is directing her movement. As she runs and nears the ball, she will move her hands into position to ready herself for the catch and as the ball arrives she will wrap her arms around the ball to catch it.

Can you see how the sensory information relates to the movement produced? Exactly the same thing will be happening but at a much more efficient and automatic level in a running back trying to catch the American football for a touchdown.

Classification

Fundamental perceptual motor skills can be broken into four categories

  1. Locomotion and Balance – Locomotion is the ability to move from one position to another and these can take many forms such as crawling, walking, running or hopping. Balance refers to the ability to maintain a state of bodily equilibrium or the desired static position or position during movement.
  2. Catching and Interception – Catching is stopping a moving object in the hands or arms. Interception is stopping an object like a ball without actually holding it. For example, heading the ball or blocking a ball with the chest in football.
  3. Throwing and Striking – Throwing is to propel an object through the air with the motion of the arm or hand and this can be in the form of underarm, sidearm or overarm. Striking is the act of contacting an object either stationary or moving, with either the hand or implement in a hand or hands such as a bat.
  4. Kicking and Punting – Kicking is to propel an object such as a ball which is stationary or oncoming through the air with the motion of the foot or leg and punting is the same motion with the ball being dropped from the hands.

Although they are not separate, because to kick, you need to be able to intercept it and to intercept it, you need to be able locomote. But it does make it easier to think of fundamental perceptual motor skills in these categories.

You can find a huge amount of information and activities relating to these categories on skillforkids.com.

How do they relate to sport?

Fundamental perceptual motor skills are effectively the building blocks of sport. If a child has developed these skills, they will be able to participate in sport, build on these skills and begin to develop sport specific skills.

For more information click here.

How can FPMS be developed?

It is important to note that they absolutely do not just develop. Many unfortunate kids never have the opportunity to participate and enjoy sport because they have never learnt to throw, catch or strike.

Through physical educators, in particular parents, facilitating appropriate purposeful play experiences for babies, infants and young children, fundamental perceptual motor skills will begin to emerge. Ongoing play experiences will help them develop further so that they can be performed more accurately, with less time, more automatically and within specific sporting situations.