Wooden Balance Beam

What are the building blocks necessary to develop balance and coordination?

1. Attention and concentration: The ability to maintain attention to a specific task for an extended period of time as the core strength is not challenged.

2. Body Awareness: Knowing body parts and understanding the body’s movement in space in relation to other limbs and objects for negotiating the environment or ball and bike skills.

3. Bilateral integration: Using two hands together with one hand leading: e.g. holding a tennis racquet with the non-dominant hand with the ‘helping’ non-dominant hand holding and stabilising only between hits.

4. Crossing Mid-line: The ability to cross the imaginary line running from the child’s nose to pelvis that divides the body into left and right sides, which also influences hand dominance.

5. Hand eye coordination: The ability to process information received from the eyes to control, guide and direct the hands in the performance of a given task such as handwriting or catching a ball.

6. Hand Dominance: The consistent use of one (usually the same) hand for task performance which is necessary to allow refined skills to develop.

7. Muscular strength: A muscles ability to exert force against resistance (e.g when climbing a tree to push or pull up).

8. Muscular endurance: The ability of a singular muscle or group of muscles to exert force repeatedly against resistance to allow sustained physical task engagement.

9. Self regulation: The ability to obtain, maintain and change alertness level appropriate for a task or situation which then allows better attention to the task.

10. Postural Control: The ability to stabilize the trunk and neck to enable coordination of the limbs for controlled task performance.

11. Body Awareness (Proprioception): The information that the brain receives from the muscles and joints to make us aware of body position and body movement which in turn allows skills to become ‘automatic’.

12. Sensory processing: The accurate processing of sensory stimulation in the environment as well as in our own body for quick and physically appropriate responses to movement.
Isolated movement: The ability to move an arm or leg while keeping the remainder of the body still needed for refined movement (e.g. throwing a ball on handed or swimming freestyle)