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This study examined variability in throwing speed and spatial error to test the prediction of an inverted-U function (i.e., impulse-variability [IV] theory) and the speed-accuracy trade-off. Forty-five 9- to 11-year-old children were instructed to throw at a specified percentage of maximum speed (45%, 65%, 85%, and 100%) and hit the wall target. Results indicated no statistically significant differences in variable error across the target conditions (p = .72), failing to support the inverted-U hypothesis. Spatial accuracy results indicated no statistically significant differences with mean radial error (p = .18), centroid radial error (p = .13), and bivariate variable error (p = .08) also failing to support the speed-accuracy trade-off in overarm throwing. As neither throwing performance variability nor accuracy changed across percentages of maximum speed in this sample of children as well as in a previous adult sample, current policy and practices of practitioners may need to be reevaluated.
Molina is with the Dept. of Health, Physical Education & Recreation, Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, MO. Stodden is with the Dept. of Physical Education and Athletic Training, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.