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Moving Well-Being Well: Investigating the maturation of fundamental movement skill proficiency across sex in Irish children aged five to twelve


Stephen Behan, Sarahjane Belton, Cameron Peers, Noel O'Connor, Johann Issartel

Publication Type: 
Refereed Original Article
Fundamental movement skills (FMS) are the basic building blocks of more advanced, complex movements required to participate in physical activity. This study examined FMS proficiency across the full range of Irish primary school children (n = 2098, 47% girls, age range 5–12 years). Participants were assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development, 3rd edition (TGMD-3), Victorian Fundamental Movement skills manual, and the balance subtest from the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency 2 (BOT-2). Independent sample t-tests and a one way between groups ANOVA with planned comparisons were used analyse sex and age differences. Mastery or near mastery of skills ranged from 16% for overhand throw, to 75.3% for run. Girls scored significantly higher than boys in the locomotor and balance subtests with the boys outperforming the girls in object control skills. Improvements in ability can be seen over time (F(8,1968) = 70.18, p < 0.001), with significant increases in FMS proficiency seen up to the age of 10, after which proficiency begins to decline. The findings demonstrate the low levels of FMS proficiency amongst Irish primary school children, the differences between sex that exist, and highlights the need for more programmes that focus on developing these FMS at an early age.
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): 
Publication Status: 
Date Accepted for Publication: 
Tuesday, 16 July, 2019
Publication Date: 
Journal of Sports Sciences
Research Group: 
Dublin City University (DCU)
Open access repository: