The Influence of Guided Practice on Overhand Throwing Competence in Preschool Children in a Mastery Motivational Climate

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which guided throwing practice volume influenced gains in throwing competency in young children during exposure to a mastery motivational climate physical play program. Fifty-four preschool children attended 13 biweekly 30-minute motor skill sessions over 7 weeks. Pre- and post-test throwing competency was measured in three ways (Test of Gross and Motor Development–Third Edition [TGMD-3], developmental sequence for throwing, and throwing velocity). Throwing practice behaviors (visits, time, and trials) were then coded for each participant using video recordings. Paired-samples t-tests revealed significant gains in throwing proficiency by the children from pre- to post-test on all three measures. Results from multiple hierarchical linear regressions highlighted that pre-test scores and guided throwing practice volume (a principle component analysis of throwing visits, time, and trials) accounted for 19% (TGMD), 52% (developmental sequence), and 60% (velocity) of the explained variance of post-test throwing competency, respectively. Results also revealed that although boys spent more time practicing throwing than girls, gender only appeared to be a significant predictor in the TGMD regression model. These findings provide empirical evidence of the importance of guided practice during mastery climate programs.

The authors are with the School of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL.

Johnson (jlj0042@auburn.edu) is corresponding author.
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