The Influence of Familiarization on Physical Fitness Test Results in Primary School-Aged Children

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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  • 1 Industrial School Sisak
  • 2 University of Zagreb
  • 3 University of Novi Sad
  • 4 Lithuanian Sport University
  • 5 University of Nis
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Purpose:

The number of familiarization sessions in fitness assessments seems to be critical and inconsistent. Therefore, the primary aim of this research was to determine the number of familiarization attempts that stabilize the results in particular physical fitness tests. The secondary aim was to establish the test reliability through familiarization sessions.

Methods:

Thirty-nine primary school children participated in this research (age: 10.8 years, body mass: 40.6 ± 8.9 kg, and body height: 145.3 ± 7.2 cm). During six sessions, with one session every third day, participants performed the following tests to assess explosive strength (vertical jump and standing long jump), coordination (polygon backward and polygon with turn) and flexibility (toe touch).

Results:

The results of repeated analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that there were significant increases (p < .05) in the polygon backward and polygon with turn performances from the first to third familiarization session. The standard error of measurement decreased as sessions progressed, indicating little within subject variation between the coordination test results following a familiarization period. Statistically significant differences were identified in the vertical jump test from the fourth test session compared with the first session. On the other hand, statistically significant differences for the standing long jump test were only found in the final session compared with the initial session. In the toe touch test, there were no significant increases from the first to the final familiarization session. All tests showed high a reliability coefficients, ranging from 0.979 to 0.991.

Conclusion:

Polygon backward and polygon with turn performance may be a practical, reliable method to assess coordination in primary school-aged children. However, completion of at least 3 practice sessions is suggested for participants to obtain a stable score. In addition, both jump tests are feasible for assessing skill-related fitness in young children, although the scientific reliability of the two tests should be questioned and the tests should be tailored to fit the age group of the children.

Vrbik is with the Industrial School Sisak, Sisak, Croatia. Sporiš and Štefan are with the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, Croatia. Madić and Trajković are with the Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Novi Sad, Serbia. Valantine is with the Lithuanian Sport University, Kaunas, Lithuania. Milanović is with the Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Nis, Serbia.

Address author correspondence to Nebojša Trajković at nele_trajce@yahoo.com.