Accompanying your child through the journey of a lifetime is one of the most satisfying things you will have ever done. When you watch your child stand up and fall on that well-matted butt, you may not believe the adage that time flies. But it won’t be long. Soon you’ll eat popcorn on the sidelines and your superstar scores a goal at Soccer Buddies.
The six components of motor skills related to physical health are agility, balance, coordination, reaction time, speed and strength. Motor skills are related to muscle activity. When your brain, nervous system, and muscles work together to move parts of your body in large or small movements, you can develop motor skills. Motor skills improve with play, and all components determine your level of physical ability. A well-balanced individual strives to develop each of the skills equally.
Agility is the ability to move quickly with ease. To change direction when in motion and to control the body positioning. Changing the route while running to hit a tennis ball is an example of agility. Sports coaches usually include a simple left-right sidestep run to test agility.
Balance is the ability to stabilize the body by standing still or maintaining movement. Skating, skiing, and cycling are all sports where balance is critical. There is static balance and dynamic balance. Static balance refers to standing upright, such as standing on one leg. Dynamic balance is responsible for the stability of movement. Test your balance by staying still as long as possible after moving, without shaking.
Coordination describes the synchronization of your senses and body parts to improve motor skills. Playing table tennis is an example of hand-eye coordination. Various tests measure coordination, including juggling or hitting the ball.
Speed is a function that makes your body move quickly. Speed is often related to running, but other exercises, such as throwing or kicking a ball, rely on moving your arms or legs quickly. Some sports coaches use 40-yard runs to measure speed.
Power is a combination of speed and muscle power. A soccer linebacker used his power to cut through a line of people. Gymnasts use force when performing on rings and uneven bars. Measure your strength by throwing heavy objects or lifting weights.
Reaction time measures how quickly you explain and react to anticipated and unexpected events that occur around you. An example of a reaction time to an anticipated event is the transition time between hearing the starting gun and starting to run. Your reaction time to unexpected events, such as a bicycle collision in front of you during a race, depends on how quickly you can understand the event and decide how to respond.
Some examples of how to develop grand motor skills include:
- Hopscotch and jumping
- Playing musical instruments
- Trampoline jumping
Most of the large motor skills develop early and, as mentioned above, only involve large muscle groups. Once your child has mastered these skills, you can add other levels of skills such as coordination, muscle development, balance and posture.