Stage Stats

Stage Start
Age 6
(Approx age: Age 6)
Stage End
Age 9 (boys), Age 8 (girls)
(Approx age: Age 9 (boys), Age 8 (girls))


FUNdamentals is a critical stage for the development of physical literacy. It is during this time that the foundations of many advanced skills are laid down.

Children need to participate in a variety of well-structured activities that develop basic skills. Activities and programs need to maintain a focus on fun, and formal competition should only be introduced minimally.

Skill development for children this age is best achieved by combining unstructured play in a safe and challenging environment, with quality instruction from knowledgeable teachers/leaders/coaches in community recreation activities, schools, and minor sports programs.

This is generally a good age for kids to enrol in fun orienteering programs.

From a technical skills perspective, children at this stage should be getting used to reading maps (of all kinds) to find controls in parks and easy forest environments. Map and navigation activities should be simple and fun. Children do not need to be using compasses or reading control descriptions.

Participant Characteristics

The following is a list of key characteristics and habits of athletes in the FUNdamentals stage to keep in mind when working with these athletes. Remember that each athlete is an individual and will not have all of these characteristics / habits. Group dynamics can also play a big factor in which of these characteristics come out in a group.

Major Features

Social Characteristics

Physical Characteristics

Learning Emphasis

Preferred Games



Navigation skills are those skills related to map reading and compass use independent of any physical components related to moving through the terrain. Skills otherwise related to the technical rules of the sport such as checking control codes to confirm you are at the right control are also considered navigation skills in this context. These skills span the complete range from holding a map 'properly' in one hand to micro-optimization of route choices and similar tactical navigational decisions. 

Navigation Skills at the FUNdamentals stage:

  1. Develop basic familiarity with equipment [Control Flow] [Fundamental Orienteering Knowledge and Skills]
  2. Knowing the key elements of an orienteering map. [Map understanding and interpretation] [Fundamental Orienteering Knowledge and Skills]
  3. Know how the start, finish, and controls are marked on the map [Fundamental Orienteering Knowledge and Skills] [Map understanding and interpretation]
  4. Holding map in one hand [Map Holding and Folding]
  5. Learn what the basic map colours represent [Map understanding and interpretation]
  6. Learn what some common orienteering features are and be able to identify them in the terrain [Terrain and Feature Understanding]
  7. Learn some common map symbols and what they mean [Map understanding and interpretation]
  8. Identify basic features in the terrain and then locate them on the map [Map understanding and interpretation] [Terrain and Feature Understanding]
  9. Practicing running along linear features [Linear Features]
  10. Orient the map using major linear features [Map Holding and Folding]
  11. Orient the map using multiple point features [Map Holding and Folding]
  12. Figure out what direction to travel [Map Holding and Folding] [Compass Skills]
  13. Understand that controls are always beside a feature in the terrain [Control Flow]
  14. Verify that you're at the right control by matching the map control code to the punch code [Control Flow] [Fundamental Orienteering Knowledge and Skills]
  15. Taking the time to stop and figure out next steps at each control [Continuous Map Reading and Route Planning] [Route Choice]

Running skills are those skills related to running economy or form, including travelling on trails, through various types of terrain, and going over, under, and around various obstacles. Skills developed in early stages such as agility, balance, and coordination are also considered here as they lead directly into more obvious running skills. The physical capacities (endurance, speed, power, etc.) involved in running are not considered here.

Running Skills at the FUNdamentals stage:

  1. Wears / carries timing chip correctly [Punching Technique]
  2. Know about punch confirmation indicators [Punching Technique]
  3. Climbing up onto (low) rocks and fallen trees, etc. [Getting Over Obstacles]
  4. Climbing over fallen trees and other low obstacles [Getting Over Obstacles]
  5. Jumping or hopping down off of (low) rocks and fallen trees, etc. [Getting Over Obstacles]
  6. Participating in normal vision screen and get glasses or contact lenses as prescribed by a vision specialist [Visual Acuity]

The physical and training practices in this domain have been framed in terms of best practices to apply at each of the LTAD stages. Practices include workout types and training frequencies to use at different stages as well as the underlying knowledge and skills required to train as a competitive athlete - tapering, recovery and regeneration, etc. 

Physical and Training Practices at the FUNdamentals stage:

  1. Participating in multiple sports/physical activities year round [Aerobic Cross Training] [Periodization of Training]
  2. Getting adequate sleep of 10-11 hrs/night plus 30 min nap between 2-4pm [Sleep]
  3. Establishing a pre-bedtime routine that includes avoiding screen time [Sleep]
  4. Establishing predictable meal times and routines [Sleep]
  5. Avoiding caffeine intake [Sleep]

Psychological skills are those mental skills related to staying positive, focused, and motived in training and competition. These skills include goal setting, visualization, emotional and distraction control and more.

No skills at the FUNdamentals stage have been added in the Psychological Skills and Practices domain yet.

Life skills are those other skills not directly related to an athlete's training and competition that nonetheless can have a large impact on their performance as well as their overall health and well-being. These skills include a variety of sport-life balance, relationships, travel skills, media savvy, nutrition and hydration, time-management and more. Many people dismiss the importance of life skills, yet they can have an immense impact on an athlete's ability to perform to their capacity. 

No skills at the FUNdamentals stage have been added in the Life Skills and Practices domain yet.