Let me formally introduce Grace Dafoe as Move2Thrive's newest "Movement Ambassador Athlete". Grace understands athletic development at the highest level, but she also understands that at the foundation of any athlete are fundamental movement skills that are essential for long term resiliency and increases in performance. Grace is a perfect example of the importance of establishing physical literacy at a young age. Please read her unique perspective on this subject!
When I entered in to my first year of my degree, I remember vividly the day I heard the phrase “physical literacy”. At this point, I also realized how lacking my fundamental movement skills were and I often feel like I am a part of the lost generation that missed out on the proper physical education that we know children need today. At the same time, I was making the transition out of competitive figure skating. I realized I had no idea how to remain “active for life” after competitive sports. I remember walking off the ice to take my skates off, just like so many times before, and realizing this would be the last day of this chapter in my life. I spent seven months feeling lost, trying to find my place in the world. I had no idea how to define myself, as I was no longer an athlete.
By chance, I found skeleton, went to a testing camp and survived the 3-day school learning how to slide. My first testing camp was fresh off of no training or sports for almost a year. I ran slowly for the required 30-meter sprint test and various other fitness tests. I still wonder why they recruited me, but I’m grateful they gave me a chance to this day! My first year was anything but a dream. I had no self-confidence and I lacked a lot of the skills required for the athletic push at the beginning of each of our runs down the ice track.
At the end of my second year of sliding, I found an amazing strength and conditioning coach named Morgan Alexander. From the get go, the training was unlike anything I’d done before, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t doubt the process slightly at the beginning. I often felt silly going back to these fundamental movement skills, but mostly because I was extremely incompetent at them. Over time, with his expertise and my hard work, we have worked out the majority of my muscle imbalances and I feel like my body moves well for the first time since I can remember. I am in the best shape of my life and now I can focus on getting stronger and faster for skeleton specifically.
I truly see the value in going back to square one and working on your fundamental movement skills in order to become a world-class athlete (which is still a work in progress). Better than that, I have been provided with the movement re-education in order to remain active for life when I decide to retire from skeleton. Specializing early as a child did hinder my athletic performance and ability to be active for life for a long time. It was a roundabout way to becoming physically literate. I’m excited to spread the word and be an ambassador for physical literacy, as I understand the value of it in life and in sports. Move2Thrive is a great initiative that I wish was around when I was in that critical period of motor development, and now I’m ready to change the future of the youth today!
Canadian Skeleton Athlete
Physical Literacy Major