Mastery of fundamental motor skills among New South Wales school students: Prevalence and sociodemographic distribution
Mastery of fundamental motor skills among children and adolescents is a potentially important contribution to satisfying participation in sports, games and other physical activities and may enhance the development of an active lifestyle. However, few attempts have been made to determine the prevalence of fundamental motor skill mastery among young Australians. The NSW Schools Fitness and Physical Activity Survey, 1997 (N=5518) randomly selected schools proportionally from all three education sectors and selected students in Years 4, 6, 8 and 10. Performance on six fundamental motor skills (run, vertical jump, catch, overhand throw, forehand strike and kick) was assessed qualitatively. The prevalence of mastery and near mastery of each skill and mastery of each skill component is reported for boys and girls in each school year. The findings indicate that the prevalence of mastery and near mastery of each of the fundamental motor skills was generally low. There were no differences between students from urban or rural schools and the prevalence of skill mastery was directly associated with socioeconomic status more consistently among girls than among boys. Greater curriculum time and resourcing and training of teachers is required to increase the proportion of students who have mastered the skills fundamental to common sports, games and other physical activities.