Sports Medicine

, Volume 47, Issue 9, pp 1795–1819 | Cite as

Pedagogical Approaches to and Effects of Fundamental Movement Skill Interventions on Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review

  • Claire Tompsett
  • Ross Sanders
  • Caitlin Taylor
  • Stephen Cobley
Systematic Review



Fundamental movement skills (FMS) are assumed to be the basic prerequisite motor movements underpinning coordination of more integrated and advanced movement capabilities. FMS development and interventions have been associated with several beneficial health outcomes in individual studies.


The primary aim of this review was to identify FMS intervention characteristics that could be optimised to attain beneficial outcomes in children and adolescents, while the secondary aim was to update the evidence as to the efficacy of FMS interventions on physiological, psychological and behavioural health outcomes.


A systematic search [adhering to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines] was conducted in seven databases. Studies were included if they conducted an FMS intervention and targeted at least one physiological, behavioural or psychological outcome in school-aged children (5–18 years).


Twenty-nine studies examining the effect of FMS interventions relative to controls were identified. Specialist-led interventions, taught in conjunction with at-home practice and parent involvement, appeared more efficacious in enhancing FMS proficiency than school physical education alone. Intervention environments encouraging psychological autonomy were likely to enhance perceived and actual competence in FMS alongside physical activity. FMS interventions had little influence on overweight/obesity reduction, strength or flexibility. In 93% of studies, evidence indicated interventions improved FMS motor proficiency. Favourable specific physiological, psychological and behavioural outcomes were also identified across a variety of interventions.


With reference to clinical and normative school-age populations, future studies should be directed toward determining validated standard FMS assessments to enable accurate effect estimates, permit intervention comparisons and improve the efficacy of FMS development.


Physical Activity Physical Education Habitual Physical Activity Fundamental Movement Skill Athletic Competence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No funding supporting the preparation of this submission was received.

Conflict of interest

Claire Tompsett, Ross Sanders, Caitlin Taylor and Stephen Cobley declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health Sciences, Exercise and Sport SciencesThe University of SydneyLidcombeAustralia

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