This is a stage that was not proposed in the original LTAD model but the importance of beginning physical activity at as young an age as possible, led to its inclusion in updated versions. This stage consists of the age range 0-6 for males and females. The main objective of this stage is for the child to learn fundamental movements and to link them together in play (Canada Sport Institute, 2014).
This stage is key for the motor development of the child. Rudimentary movement patterns such as crawling and rolling build and strengthen connections between the brain and the muscles. These rudimentary movements provide the foundation for fundamental movement skills and eventually athletic movement skills. By encouraging children to take part in physical activity and play from this young age the coach is building self-esteem and laying the groundwork for a physically active life for the child. From a physical development standpoint developing the brain/muscle connections, gross motor skills, coordination, posture and balance through play and physical activity is a great start for a child’s sporting life. As this stage is mainly about play and developing gross motor skills, formal training is not the best option. Coaches, or more likely parents, should just provide opportunities for their children to be physically active and engage in activities that will challenge their movement skills. Rugby skills and games could be included in this physical activity to introduce the child to the sport and its movements but the key is to let the child learn through play.