Introduction. Fundamental motor skills (FMS) are a critical component of success in various sports and lifelong physical activity (PA). This study aimed to evaluate and compare the FMS proficiency levels of 7-9-year-old children from Poland and Latvia, providing insights into the current state of motor competence in these populations.
Material and Methods. A cross-sectional study design was utilized, incorporating a sample of 163 boys and girls. The FUS test (Fundamental Motor Skills in Sport), a comprehensive, qualitative, and process-oriented assessment tool was used to assess FMS. The FUS test encompassed a range of movement tasks, including hurdles, jumping rope, forward roll, ball bouncing, ball throwing and catching, and kicking and stopping a ball that allows for a thorough evaluation of FMS proficiency.
Results. The study revealed alarmingly low FMS proficiency levels in both countries, with 93.3% of students displaying ‘insufficient FMS proficiency’. The Mann-Whitney U test showed that Latvian boys outperformed their Polish peers in jumping rope and forward roll (p < 0.05), while Polish boys exhibited superior results in kicking and stopping a ball (p < 0.05). In contrast, Polish girls achieved significantly higher scores in hurdles and kicking and stopping a ball (p < 0.05) compared to Latvian girls, who scored higher in jumping rope (p < 0.05).
Conclusions. These findings highlight the urgent need for effective, evidence-based interventions to improve motor competence in both countries, emphasizing the importance of incorporating FMS development into physical education curricula and promoting regular PA for children.