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Movement Experiences for Children
KIN 366
Instructor: Dr. Shannon S.D. Bredin
Office Hours:
Class Schedule:
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion


Kicking is a fundamental movement skill, basic building blocks of physical activity, in which a child strikes an object with their foot. This skill can be performed in many different environments with the most common game form being soccer.

Stages of Fundamental Movement Skill Development

There are 3 stages of FMS skill development in which you can categorize a child based on their current level of skill.


The initial stage is where a child is first starting to learn the skill, and as an observer we can see the child thinking about the movement which results in a slowed down effort (Wilson, 2013) [1]


The emerging stage requires less attention to perform however there are still some limitations to the movement [1].


The final stage is the proficient stage. This is where the child is able to perform the skill which the proper sequence of steps [1] A benefit of becoming proficient at any fundamental movement skill with relation to sports is that the athlete is able to think about tactics during the game instead of how to perform the skill itself.

FMS Development for Kicking

We can use these 3 categories of FMS development to create learning stages for kicking:

Initial Emerging Proficient
  • Body movements are restricted during the kick and the trunk remains erect
  • Arms are used to maintain balance
  • Little backswing in the kicking leg
  • Forward swing is short with little follow through
  • Child kicks at the ball rather than maintaining contact
  • Shuffle step approach to ball or stands while kicking
  • Failure to step forward with the non kicking leg
  • Preparatory backswing is centered at the knee
  • Kicking leg tends to remain bent during the kick
  • Follow through is limited to forward movement of the knee
  • One or more deliberate steps are taken towards the ball
  • Contact is often made with the toe
  • Arms swing in opposition to each other during the kicking action
  • One or more steps forward prior to contact
  • Movement of the kicking leg is initiated at the hip
  • Support leg bends slightly on contact
  • Trunk bends at the waist during follow through
  • Length of leg swing increases
  • Follow through is high and in direction of target; support foot rises to toes or leaves surface entirely
  • Head looks down and eyes are on the ball
(Wilson, 2013). [2]

Progressions and Cue Words

Initial to Emerging

The child needs to move towards the ball to start the kick instead of standing right behind it. The kicking leg's knee needs to bend back and the child needs to watch the ball. For the purpose of this stage you will want to observe the child making contact with the toe (NCCP, 2011). [3]

Cue Words
  • Bend the knee
  • Toe on ball
  • Eyes on the ball
Emerging to Proficient

The ball should start off to the side instead of right in front of the child. You want to have the child place their non kicking foot to the side of the ball with a stride towards the ball. The hips and knees should be drawn back and when striking the ball, it should make contact with the lace area of the foot. The follow through should be in the direction in which the child wants the ball to travel. [3]

Cue Words
  • Foot by ball
  • Backswing hips and knee
  • Follow through

How to Teach the Skill

There are 6 steps to follow, as an instructor or coach, when trying to teach any skill to a child [3]

  1. Identify: Can the skill be improved?
  2. Analyze: Is it an immature skill or a poorly executed mature skill?
  3. Generate: Identify what needs to change, and discuss ways to change it.
  4. Plan: Identify EXACTLY what to do (activity and instructions).
  5. Implement: Implement the plan and observe the new outcome.
  6. Assess: Assess the skill, compare it again to the reference model and start again.

Where to Observe From

As an observer we want to place ourselves in a spot in which we can have the best view of the movement without impeding our safety. The best place to observe a child performing a kick in order to be able to follow the ‘How to Teach Skills’ steps and provide the most effective feedback is on the kicking leg side of the kicker and slightly ahead of the kicker. This is because our main focus is on the kicking leg and we want to be able to view this without the body being in the way. Also, if the kick is mishits the ball then we will ensure that we are out of the way [3].

Modifications for a Person with a Disability

If, as an instructor or coach, you are working with a child with a disability, you need to be aware of the language and modifications that are used. Inclusion is of utmost importance when coaching or teaching and by implementing and being aware of the three broad types of disabilities, instructors will be able to create developmentally appropriate activities for each student. Below are the three types of disabilities as well as adaptations for kicking activities in order for each individual to be successful.

Locomotor Disability

Impairment of the musculoskeletal or nervous system that prevents the individual in performing activities associated with moving oneself and objects from place to place. An example of this is an individual in a wheelchair [3].

  • Use a larger sized ball to kick with
  • Use commands as when to kick the ball (countdown)

Sensory Disability

A disability that affects how people gather and process information. An example of this is an individual that may be blind or deaf [3].

  • Have a ball with a bell in it so that the individual knows where and when the ball is coming towards them
  • Stationary movements
  • Have the individual beside the ball to start
  • Use bright colored balls depending on the level of blindness

Intellectual Disability

If an individual has an intellectual disability, also known as a developmental disability, they have difficulties adapting to their surroundings and learning environment. The most common form in Canada is one in where the individual’s disability is present at birth. It may also be acquired later in life, for example a brain injury. Other examples of intellectual disabilities include down syndrome and autism [3].

  • Keep the skill simple and use few rules
  • Use a variety of visual models

Small VS Tall

Some people might argue that because of the mechanical advantage taller children have with their longer legs they will be able to kick the ball a further distance at the proficient stage of the movement. However, one can also argue that this is not the case with a mathematical equation relating to the velocity placed on the ball in relation to the velocity of the leg.

VBall = (VLeg)(MLeg/MTotal)(1+e) (Branzico, 1985). [4]


  • VBall=Velocity of the ball
  • VLeg=Velocity of the leg
  • MLeg=Mass of the kicking leg
  • MTotal=Mass of the kicking leg + mass of the ball
  • e=coefficient of restitution; at what speed does the ball bounce up at compared to the speed it hits the ground with


(For both examples we will use a constant e of 0.7, retained by finding the ratio of a standing height drop to how high the ball bounced back up, mass of the soccer ball m=0.4kg, and leg velocity of 10m/s.)

Child 1: Suppose child 1 has a mass of 40kg and the mass of the leg is 4kg

VBall = (10)(4/4.4)(1+0.7)
VBall = 15.45m/s

Child 2: Suppose child 2 has a mass of 50kg and the mass of the leg is 5kg

VBall = (10)(5/5.4)(1+0.7)
VBall = 15.74m/s

What we can conclude from these two examples is that the velocity on the ball is very close even though child 2 weighs 10kg more than child 1. Therefore; just because a child is taller they may not necessarily be able to kick the ball a further distance if the smaller child has a greater leg velocity.

Creating Games for Kids

When creating games for kids, the basic rule of thumb is to just keep is simple. There shouldn’t be too many rules associated with the game and most importantly it should be developmentally appropriate in relation to the stages of development in which the children are at. As an instructor, providing evaluative and prescriptive feedback to students is also important, and by having an understanding of the movement itself the instructor will be able to do so. This will also help with the use of learning cues in games. Another important aspect of games is to maximize participation for everyone by limiting big line ups of kids waiting to play and by steering clear of elimination games. By keeping the environment safe and fun, and by providing optimal challenge for each student when creating games, each individual will be able to experience success which is of utmost importance for lifelong physical activity.

Examples of Kicking Games

1. Pin Bowl

Split students up into 2 teams, with the center line of the gym or field as the boundaries. Set up 3 or 4 cones in the back three-quarters of the gym on either side. By using lightweight balls, or foam, students must kick a ball at the cones in order to knock them all down before the other team does so first. Reinforce that the ball must stay on the ground and that they should be aiming at the pins at not at other people.

2. Rounders

This game is a modification of baseball in which there will be one ‘fielding’ team and one ‘at bat’ team. There will be multiple bases set up around the gym, depending on how many students are fielding, use at least 1 or 2 more bases then students, as well as 3 bases for the at bat team to run around. The at bat team will have the ball rolled to them and they will kick it into the outfield. The job of the fielding team is to retrieve the ball, with their feet, and all the students will move to a base. The ball must be kicked from base to base until the ball has touched all of the bases in the outfield. Once this happens, the last person with the ball may pick it up and run to the ‘safe zone’, a designated area to the side. The job of the at bat team is to run around the bases before the fielding team has time to do so. The students in line of the at bat team will have a ball also, and their job is to have a shuttle of students kicking the ball back and forth collecting points. Therefore, there are ways of scoring when fielding and when at bat. Once all students have had a turn kicking then the 2 teams will switch.

3. Space Walk

When playing team games you want to minimize the number of decisions a child has in order for the game to become easier. Therefore, this game is great in a sense that you can either create zones of play for the students making it easier, or have a full game, making it harder. Students will be divided into 2 teams of 6. There will be sideline areas of play in which only 1 member from each team may be in at a time. The other 4 players will be in the main area of play, which is about one-quarter gym size, or smaller depending on the number of students. In order for the team with possession to score, they must pass to each of their sideline players and each member of the team must touch the ball before they can attempt to score. There will be no goal keepers used for this game. As an instructor you can also implement different rules to promote off ball movement, such as the person with possession of the ball cannot move with it and/or they can only have it for 3 seconds before having to pass. Limit the amount of physical contact by saying you can’t check a person with the ball and can only intercept the pass. This kind of game is great because there are so many different modifications that can be made to it in order for it to become simpler or more difficult which will highlight each developmental stage a child is at.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wilson, Gail.(2013). Stages of FMS Development [Lecture Notes]. Retrieved from
  2. Wilson, Gail.(2013).Phases of Fundamental Movement Skills [Class Handout]. School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 (2011). NCCP Fundamental Movement Skills. Coach Workbook. Retrieved from:
  4. Branzico, PJ.(1985).The Physics Teacher. The Physics of Kicking a Football, 403-409