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honing specific fundamental movement skills such as lateral move- ment, open steps, cross overs, and back pedalling, which along with the full inventory of movement skills, become linked together and expressed as multi-directional movement and agility. Often these fundamental primal patterns and specific movement


skills are just assumed rather than taught and trained. Kids who have not developed them often avoid situations like physical education classes and sports teams because their confidence is low and they do not want to embarrass themselves. Adults begin stepping away from participating in sports and athletic activities as their physical abilities deteriorate to the point the body cannot produce such pat- terns and skills effectively or efficiently. Twist education and training philosophies are based on purpose-


Stability, mobility, and balance—all three cornerstones of physical literacy trained simultaneously by this athlete at Twist Whitby.


fully coaching athleticism so every client may reach new levels of performance success at any age. Physical literacy is not only for the young, aged, deconditioned or less athletic. Even programs designed for professional athletes intended to maximize athletic development begin and end with primal movement patterns and fundamental movement skills, because the performance goals of elite athletes in all sports is focused on movement excellence. Balance, movement efficiency, and coordination are best taught with a neuromuscular focus rather than the traditional muscle based approach. This codi- fies athletic flow into software programming used to operate the human system. Through this model, we can teach any person to move efficiently and become “athletic.” Imagine a society in which the majority of people felt confident and competent with regards to participation in physical activity?


"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." –Albert Einstein


How many times in your life have you heard someone say, "it’s


Physical literacy can be regained and obtained at any point in an athlete’s life, as shown by Adam and his client at Twist Whitby.


skills and trained in the physical ingredients the human vehicle needs to output those skills. Margaret Whitehead, in 2001 defined physical literacy as “the


motivation, confidence, physical competence, understanding and knowledge to maintain physical activity at an individually appropri- ate level throughout life.” Physical activity is about more than just doing, we cannot forget that there is a piece that needs to be taught and reinforced. If this piece is missing, we may feel incompetent and lose the joy of movement, leading to the loss of a healthy lifestyle with it. It is natural to avoid situations in which they feel they will not be successful or at risk of injury. It is important to cultivate confidence which can then become an “I can do it” mindset in terms of being physically able. Educating people is a key part of effective coaching. Becoming more physically literate starts by teaching a base of primal movement patterns with actions such as jumping, running, skipping, throwing and catching. This base of essential human motion is refined by


just like riding a bike"? The concept is simple, once you learn how to do something, the skill stays with you. When it comes to athletic skill in any sport this can be a blessing and a curse. If an athlete learns bad habits or develops poor movement mechanics or inef- ficiencies along the way it can have the same negative effect as an injury. Receiving quality performance coaching early on develops the right foundation of physical literacy. Moving well when young is a memory deconditioned adults can regain simply by improving the physical tools required to express movement skillfulness. The skills do not go away. It is the self-degradation of the body which hides such skillfulness and only when the full physical arsenal is trained back up can these known skills be expressed again. From a pro athlete perspective you will often hear scouts and development people say that once an athlete learns a skill he/she, “owns” that skill. This means that we know that they have mastered the motor patterns of that skill, or become “physically literate.” Now their focus is on continuing to fine tune and enhance this skill development by maximizing the athletic foundations of balance, movement and strength. It is taking the training pillars of balance, movement, and strength to new heights that enables the physics needed to demonstrate these skills at new speeds and higher per- formance levels. The same philosophy is applied to all clients that we draw from


to teach children fundamental skills at an early age. As coaches and trainers we all strive to help our athletes and clients attain their goals, and if we can help everyone learn, implement, and live a more active lifestyle they will reach and exceed their goals. If we can inspire more people to focus on their movement first and foremost, we can have a massive impact on their physical literacy and set them up to be more successful in sports, activities, and life. Being able to participate in what they are passionate about sets them up to enjoy and embrace life on a whole different level. The confidence and long-term success of making even small changes in physical literacy can be a game changer for the lives of so many kids and many more adults. To think that education systems are still strug- gling to decide if this is as important as the “three R’s” is Ridiculous.


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013 canfitpro 27


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