Children’s Throwing and Striking: A Longitudinal Study

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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Object control skills (OCS) provide children the means to be physically active. However, gender equality in some OCS remains elusive. Particularly troublesome is the basic throwing pattern and, by extension, the striking pattern, both of which rely on forceful, rapid rotation of the pelvis, trunk, and shoulders. Some scholars argue that sex differences in throwing and striking are rooted in human evolution. The purpose of this study was to examine development of throwing and striking at the fundamental movement level. The design was multi-cohort sequential: 280 boys and girls grades K–8 (ages 4–15) were tested up to three times per year for 5 years on the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD-2). Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was applied to analyze individual growth curves. As anticipated, significant (p < .001) age-related gains were found for throwing and striking. In terms of sex (biology) or gender (sociocultural) differences, boys performed better longitudinally at throwing (p < .05) and striking (p < .05). These results reinforce theories that girls may be disadvantaged in achieving proficiency in throwing and striking. Interventions designed to enhance development of these skills should be in place long before grade 4, when most physical education curricula transitions to games and sports.

Angell is with St. Joseph’s College, Standish, ME. Butterfield, Tu, Mason, and Nightingale are with the University of Maine, Orono, ME. Loovis is with Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH.

Address author correspondence to Chris J. Nightingale at christopher.nightingale@maine.edu.
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