Motor

What are motor skills?

‘Motor skills’ describes our ability to control and coordinate movements. This can include fine motor control (e.g., small movements of the fingers and hands) and gross motor control (e.g., large and coordinated movements of the trunk, arms, and legs).

Some neurological and developmental disorders can make learning and mastering new motor skills more challenging. For example, kids with cerebral palsy and acquired brain injury (e.g. following a stroke) might find it challenging to control and coordinate both fine and gross motor skills. Kids with autism spectrum disorder can be clumsy and could find it challenging to coordinate complex movements such as handballing, and kicking while running.

What might be some challenges on the footy field?

  • Kids with motor concerns may appear to be clumsy and uncoordinated.
  • They may find it challenging to coordinate movements together, like running and kicking the ball, or handballing on the run. It might take them longer to learn new skills.

Think about the way you communicate and teach new skills

  • Slow things down: Speak slowly, model how to do the skill slowly, and allow more time for kids to learn
  • Repeat and simplify instructions: Some kids might need instructions to be made simpler and to be repeated multiple times. You may need to limit the amount of information given at once, so that only to 1-2 steps are explained at a time.
  • Use extra repetitions when learning skills: Some kids might need extra practice for skills. Allow them to do more repetitions than other kids to learn the skill if needed.
  • Use visual instructions: Some kids might need visual instructions to learn a skill. Consider using a flip chart to show the visual instructions when teaching.
  • Allow more time to learn skills: Some kids might not be able to kick, catch or run as well as other kids and may need more time to learn these skills.
  • Use footy stories: A footy story might be needed to teach a kid a new football skill or to help them play.

Think about the activity

  • Allow alternate ways to play: If a child can’t do a drop punt, let them kick the ball off the ground, or practice kicking it off a stand.
  • Modify activities so everyone can play: Adapt the size of the target used or the distance the child is from it. For example, you can use a bigger target for handball drills or allow the child to be closer to it.
  • Allow kids to carry the ball: If a child with struggles kicking or handballing consider allowing them to carry the ball between two points.
  • Modify equipment so everyone can play: Consider using a different type of ball such as a soccer ball, bean bag, balloon, tennis ball or beach ball rather than a football depending on the activity.
  • Use delayed defence: Consider using a delayed defence rule, in which kids can choose three, five or 10 seconds of delay before a defender can approach them in a game.
  • Consider different roles: Consider different roles: Game play may sometimes be difficult for some kids. Kids can do other roles (e.g. umpire).

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