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What are Fundamental Motor Skills and What is Fundamental About Them?

Karl M. Newell

A review and synthesis of the literature on the learning and development of motor skills supports the postulation that whether a motor skill can be deemed fundamental is dependent on the collective presence of three conditions: (i) uniqueness to the movement pattern and/or outcome; (ii) near universality of the functional outcome in the healthy population; (iii) capacity to act as an antecedent influence supporting generalization to a large and broad set of perceptual-motor skills. Within this framework, it is proposed that the infant motor development sequence underpinning upright posture (e.g., sitting, bipedal standing), locomotion (e.g., walking, running), and object-interaction (e.g., grasping) represents the minimum set of fundamental motor skills from which all other skills evolve with over the lifespan. This position is in contrast to the views of many students of motor development and learning who describe numerous skills that typically emerge in the ∼2- to 18-year-old range as fundamental but do not meet the criteria outlined here to be fundamental. It is proposed that these be labeled as core developmental activities having a more restricted but still practically relevant influence on the acquisition of and generalization to other motor skills.

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The Role of Anthropometric Parameters on Single-Leg Balance Performance in Young Sub-Elite Soccer Players

Dirk Krombholz, Luca Daniel, Peter Leinen, Thomas Muehlbauer, and Stefan Panzer

The main purpose of this study was to determine the covariation of anthropometric parameters and the center of pressure (CoP) of young soccer players. Sub-elite young male players between 16 and 17 years (N = 42) were instructed to perform single-leg balance tasks under different conditions: static and dynamic balance on firm and foam ground. Single-leg balance was measured with a Kistler force plate. The measures of postural control were the CoP displacement in anterior-posterior and medio-lateral directions. Further, the following anthropometric variables were assessed: body height, body weight, foot length, and foot width. Results indicated only two small-sized correlations between body height/weight and the CoP measures. The covariation between body height, body weight, and the CoP measures for the single-leg stance in young male sub-elite soccer players was less than 10%.

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Motor Skill Development and Youth Physical Activity: A Social Psychological Perspective

Maureen R. Weiss

Children and youth participate in physical activities to develop and demonstrate physical competence, attain social acceptance and approval, and experience enjoyment. Satisfying these motives enhances interest in sustaining physical activity, which contributes to improved motor skills, self-confidence, social relationships, and other positive outcomes. My essay explores motor skill development and youth physical activity through a social psychological lens and the benefits of integrating scientific knowledge from our respective fields to inform research and professional practice. Motor development and sport psychology researchers can collaborate to address critical issues related to motor and perceived competence and physical activity. I recommend five ways for integrating knowledge: (1) applying social psychological theory to guide research questions, (2) using more longitudinal designs, (3) using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, (4) designing studies on physical literacy, and (5) employing a positive youth development (PYD) approach for improving motor and social-emotional skills. These efforts can assist teachers, coaches, and parents in creating opportunities for youth to learn and improve fundamental motor and sport skills and to achieve feelings of competence, autonomy, relatedness, and joy for motivating a lifetime of physical activity.

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A Longitudinal Examination of the Accuracy of Perceived Physical Competence in Middle Childhood

Stephanie Field, Jeff Crane, Patti-Jean Naylor, and Viviene Temple

Children who underestimate their physical abilities have lower motivation, higher anxiety, and lack of understanding as to why they may be succeeding or struggling in sports settings, which can result in withdrawal from physical activities. Theoretically, middle childhood is a time when perceptions of physical competence (PPC) become more accurate as children develop the cognitive capacity to interpret new sources of feedback and develop a realistic sense of their physical abilities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which accuracy of PPC changed from grade 2 to grade 4. Participants were 238 boys and girls (M age = 7.8 yrs) from eight participating elementary schools in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The Test of Gross Motor Development–Second Edition was used to assess motor skills. PPC were assessed using the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children (for grade 2) and the Self-Perception Profile for Children (for grades 3 and 4). Results revealed that participants who underestimated or overestimated their physical competence in grade 2 saw an improvement in accuracy, and, by grade 4, had similar accuracy scores to their peers who were considered ‘accurate’ estimators. These results reinforce theory that suggests PPC become more accurate in middle childhood.

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Introduction: Object Processing and Motor Development

Gudrun Schwarzer, Bianca Jovanovic, Claudia Kubicek, and Mathias Hegele

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Erratum: Zimmer et al. (2016)

The DOI for the article “Fundamental Movement Skills in Children With and Without Movement Difficulties, by Chantelle Zimmer, Kerri L. Staples, and William James Harvey, in the Journal of Motor Learning and Development 4(2), was incorrectly printed. The correct DOI for this article is http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jmld.2016-0001. The online version of this article has been corrected.

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Do Children Have the Same Capacity to Perceive Affordances as Adults? An Investigation of Tool Selection and Use

Sara M. Scharoun, Pamela J. Bryden, Michael E. Cinelli, David A. Gonzalez, and Eric A. Roy

This study investigated whether 5- to 11-year-old children perceive affordances in the same way as adults (M age = 22.93, SD = 2.16) when presented with a task and four tools (nail in a block of wood and a hammer, rock, wrench, and comb; bucket of sand and a shovel, wooden block, rake, and tweezers; and a screw in a block of wood and a screwdriver, knife, dime, and crayon). Participants were asked to select the best tool and act on an object until all four assigned tools had been selected. No explicit instructions were provided because we were interested in how task perception would influence tool selection and action. Results support the notion that the capacity to perceive affordances increases with age. Furthermore, differences in the way in which 5-year-olds acted on the screw in a block of wood demonstrated that the ability to detect some affordances takes longer to refine. Findings help to further the understanding of the development of perception-action coupling.

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Erratum: Urbin, Stodden, & Fleisig (2013)

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The Time is Now! Altering Trajectories of Motor Skill Learning Across the Lifespan

Gabriele Wulf