What are Multi skills?
On this picture:
Lorrae Gascoyne (Merrimac Director Sunkids Children's Centres)
Christa Bell (Gold Coast Hospital)
Adem Poric (Total Football Academy)
Photography (Casey Brewer) Casey Lee Photography
Multi Skills is a concept that derives from the work done by Istvan Balyi in his Long Term Athlete Development model first proposed in 1990. In this model it is outlined that an athlete’s development follows a long term pathway that begins in the early years of childhood (years 0-5) up to the later years of adulthood. There are six distinctive phases an athlete will pass through on their journey through this pathway; Early Fundamentals, Learning to Train, Training to Train, Training to Compete, Training to Win and Retirement/Retainment.
With this in mind, Multi Skills are essentially the fundamental, transferable core skills required to play sports, the running, jumping, catching, throwing, and changing direction skills that form the basis of most modern day sports. They are most recognisable as being within the Early Fundamentals stage of development and are typically categorised as being; fun, non-sport specific and non-competitive.
By teaching and practicing Multi Skills, it provides children with a sound grounding in physical literacy and encourages them to encounter a range of activities that assist them to improve their basic movement and fundamental sport skills. It is hoped this will then lead to the development of confident, competent children who find sport fun and exhilarating and who will therefore find participation easier and more enjoyable and will be more likely to play sport for the duration of their lives.
This said, it should be acknowledged that not every child will play sport for the duration of their lives and sport is not for every child. One shoe does not fit all. However, participation in multi skills should still be encouraged for all children in the early years. Participation can be associated with further benefits away from the sporting ones outlined. Social, mental and life skills have been accredited as improving through participation in a good multi skills program, Cognitive (mental) and academic performances have been shown to increase due to the nature of the exercises used and aggression and anxiety level in children that suffer slightly raised levels has been improved through participation in the program’s various games and challenges. Children will also develop a more positive attitude towards general physical activity meaning they are more likely to carry on being active throughout their lives which carries obvious health benefits.