Athletic motor skill competencies

While FMS are the building blocks of the more advanced rugby specific skills, it has been suggested that more athletic motor skill competencies should be developed alongside the FMS if children are to progress and develop optimally for sports performance (Joyce and Lewindon, 2014). According to Lloyd and Oliver (2013), athletic motor skill competencies that could be integrated as part of young players’ training programmes include;

  • Jumping, landing and rebounding technique
  • Core exercises for bracing and to resist rotation
  • Upper-body pushing (e.g. press-ups)
  • Upper-body pulling (e.g. pull-ups)
  • Lower-body movements on two legs (e.g. the squat)
  • Lower-body movements on a single leg (e.g. step-ups onto a box)

These athletic motor skills add to the FMS with the aim of not only developing basic movement patterns for a healthy active life, but also giving a child a good start in terms of developing for sports and as a rugby player. All of these athletic motor skills will transfer very well to the game of rugby and would provide an ideal base for building rugby skills and physical capacities needed to play the game. It should still be highlighted that at this stage even though the coach is trying to develop more athletic movement in the players, the emphasis of the training should still be about fun and enjoyment for the children. It is up to the coach to design activities and games that can develop the desired movement skills in their players whilst they are still having fun. Some exercise for these athletic motor skill competencies are shown in the following videos.

Squat walk

Upper body pushing and pulling with core bracing