Fundamental movement skills and fundamental games skills are complementary pairs…

and should be taught in complementary ways at all stages of skill development 

In this recent discussion piece published in Sport, Education and Society (2014), Wayne Smith from the University of Auckland, New Zealand argues against the following notions…
  1. The binary logic that separates techniques from tactics, technique from skill, and tactics from skill
  2. The assumption that good technique will emerge as a natural process of adaptive play while playing games
  3. Children need fundamental movement skills before developing fundamental games skills
To argue against these notions, Smith (2014) draws on concepts from complexity theory and complimentary pairs theory. Basically, FMS and FGS should be viewed as having a complimentary relationship and both game-centred learning and technical teaching approaches need to be employed at all stages of skill development.
When we view skill in the traditional sense, we observe and focus on the actual movements of the athlete. But this is only one part of skill. Smith (2014) suggests we see skill as an expression of relational dynamics that emerge from non-linear, self-organising interacting parts. Skill is dependent on the inextricbale interactive dynamics of multiple interactions between physical, psychological, social, ideational factors acting at all levels, over multiple time frames. Simply, skill is highly complex and dynamic, and not just an individual’s physical actions. (Side note, we touched on how social influences may relate to skill in a previous article).
For teaching and coaching, Smith (2014) has broken down skill to 3 primary levels.
  1. Intrinsic – internal co-ordination patterns or techniques (repetition)
  2. Individual – immediate goal-directed tasks (drills)
  3. Interactive – Broader goal directed dynamics at the environmental level e.g. (small-sided games)
Although these levels can be taught separately, they are related, and each level should be coached equally at all ages or stages of development.
Agree or disagree?

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