This week’s SportID column: “How do children develop good motor skills?”

Every week, a SportID Nieuwegein employee writes a column at De Digitale Nieuwegeiner and on pen.nl. As is possible and permitted in the column, the employee can, without chopping his mouth, give his or her opinion (whether full or not) about what stands out, making you happy or bothering you.

You probably know them, the neighborhood sports coaches and sports park manager in Nieuwegein, posing in their orange and black tracksuits and always trying to entice every Nieuwegein resident to move. From 0 to 100 years old!

This week’s honor is given to Frock Kleijn, biology coach: “How do children develop good motor skills?” This week is Motor Skills Week, and this year it is under the theme “Young people learn to grow old”.

Fruc: For a long time it was believed that training as much as possible automatically made you a better athlete. this is not true. Research based on the Mathematical Skills Model (ASM) shows that children become more mobile when they play more sports at the same time, also known as ‘multi-sports’. Children become members of a sports club at a younger and younger age. This is fine, but there is a risk that children will focus on a particular sport early on. When a child is active in a particular sport, his free time is used more and more. In some sports, training twice a week plus playing a game soon became the norm. Because of increasingly intense sports practice, there is little time for other forms of sports and exercise. In addition, children are more likely to suffer from sports injuries. After the age of 14, many of these children stop playing sports due to injuries or years of not being able to enjoy it.

According to Geert Savelsberg (Professor of Human Movement Sciences) and René Wurmodt (physiotherapist and coach of the Dutch national team), the following applies: The more exercise experiences children gain, the better. Based on the sports skills model, sports clubs and physical education are helped to turn children into good motors again. ASM is a model that simulates children’s extensive motor development. For babies to move properly again, they must handle all basic forms of movement. Babies have a natural desire to move, but they often lack the basic forms to do it properly, such as running, climbing, jumping, hunting or balancing. ASM stimulates and develops these skills, for example through an early introduction to various sports and the use of different forms of play and sports activities. ASM also directly addresses common issues with overload and failure. As a result, children are trained in a wide and versatile way, so that they do not always perform the same movements during training and competitions.

Therefore, getting enough varied exercise from a young age is essential for healthy growth. Varied movement enhances children’s motor skills. Motor skills mean: “the ability to move.” It is important for children to develop the fine motor skills that form the basis of daily movements. Moreover, playing sports has a positive effect on the social and cognitive development of the child.

Children’s motor skills have declined sharply in recent years. Young children with motor delays have reduced mobility in late childhood and adulthood and are at increased risk of obesity.

Testing the child’s motor skills has already been done in many schools using MQ Scans. During the MQ scan, a pressurized exercise track is used, created according to specific instructions and using standard materials from the gym. The time it takes a child to complete a pathway indicates whether the child has average, above or below average motor skills for his or her age. Therefore, an MQ survey is a quick and easy way to map children’s motor status at the individual, classroom, school, municipal, and national level. By observing this, it is possible to know where the bottlenecks lie and actions can be taken in a timely manner.

In Nieuwegein, eight schools will undergo a free MQ survey by our neighborhood sports coaches this school year. In this way we support these schools in developing the students’ motor skills. In addition, we think it is very important to bet on Multisport. With a showcase of after school and holiday activities, we offer a variety of sports and multi-sport activities in which different basic forms of exercise are reflected.

If you have any questions about this topic, please contact Frouke Kleijn at f.kleijn@merwestein.nl.

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