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Soccer Skill Performance and Retention Following an 8-Week Adapted Soccer Intervention in Adults With Disabilities

Danielle M. Lang, Emily E. Munn, Claire E. Tielke, Mary G. Nix Caden, Tessa M. Evans, and Melissa M. Pangelinan

This study evaluated the efficacy of an 8-week (two sessions/week; 60 min/session) adapted soccer intervention on skill performance and retention in 30 adults (18 men and 12 women) ages 17–40 years with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, and intellectual disability. Of these 30 participants, 18 completed a 1-month retention test. The program included behavior supports and adaptations for participants with varying levels of behavioral needs. Dribbling, kicking a moving ball, kicking a stationary ball, throw-ins, trapping, and a composite skill score were examined. Linear mixed-effect regression revealed a significant time main effect with improvements from pretest to posttest and pretest to retention for all skills. In addition, modest offline gains (i.e., posttest < retention) were observed for throw-ins, kicking a moving ball, and the composite skill score. A significant main effect of diagnosis was observed such that participants with autism spectrum disorder had better performance on kicking a moving ball than those with Down syndrome and intellectual disability. Finally, a significant main effect of level of function was observed. This program enabled adults with various disabilities to acquire fundamental soccer skills that may lead to meaningful participation in community soccer programs.

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Erratum. SKIPping With PAX: Evaluating the Effects of a Dual-Component Intervention on Gross Motor Skill and Social–Emotional Development

Journal of Motor Learning and Development

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Autonomy-Supportive, External-Focus Instructions Optimize Children’s Motor Learning in Physical Education

Thomas Simpson, Mitchell Finlay, Victoria Simpson, Ayoub Asadi, Paul Ellison, Evelyn Carnegie, and David Marchant

An external focus of attention and autonomy support are identified as key factors to optimize motor learning; however, research in children is limited. Moreover, research has failed to examine these factors in ecologically valid motor learning settings, like physical education. Therefore, the present study examined the effects of external focus of attention when delivered using autonomy-supportive or controlling instructional language on children’s motor learning. Thirty-three novice participants (10.30 ± 0.52 years) practiced a land-based curling task under supportive (external-focus instructions delivered with supportive language), controlling (external-focus instructions delivered with controlling language), or neutral (external instructions embedded in the task aim) conditions before completing a retention and transfer test. The supportive group produced higher positive affect after practice and greater accuracy in the retention test compared with the other groups. The findings provide support for the OPTIMAL (optimizing performance through intrinsic motivation and attention for learning) theory of motor learning that combining an external focus and autonomy support conditions improves motor learning.

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The Handwriting Legibility Scale: A Language and Age Extension for Students With and Without Specific Learning Difficulties

Nichola Stuart, Stefania Zoia, Marina Biancotto, and Anna L. Barnett

Handwriting is a useful skill through education, yet handwriting difficulties are common in students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD), including Developmental Coordination Disorder. There are few practical tools to assess legibility, among these the Handwriting Legibility Scale (HLS) shows good reliability and validity for 9- to 14-year-olds in the United Kingdom. The aims of the current study were to investigate applicability of the HLS in students with and without SpLD in (a) another language and (b) older age groups. First, the HLS was translated and applied to writing scripts of 193 9- to 14-year-olds in Italy. Findings support previous work on reliability and validity. A principal component analysis confirmed a single component for the HLS at this age and there was differentiation between scripts from students with and without SpLD. Second, the HLS was applied to writing scripts of 80 15- to 16-year-olds and 120 17- to 25-year-olds in the United Kingdom. Results showed good reliability and differentiation between scripts from students with and without SpLD. A principal component analysis revealed two components for the HLS in the older age groups. Language and age differences in the use of the HLS are discussed, alongside other considerations when applying the tool to help identify handwriting difficulties in students.

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Nature-Based or Traditional Kindergarten to Develop Fundamental Motor Skills? A Pilot Study

Charlotte Skau Pawlowski, Anne Vibild Lammert, Jasper Schipperijn, and Mette Toftager

Environmental characteristics of kindergartens are important for the development of kindergarten-aged children. However, knowledge of the role of kindergarten play environments in developing children’s fundamental movement skills is limited. A pilot study was carried out to compare the fundamental movement skills of 3.5- to 5-year-old children in two kindergarten groups. One group had access to a traditional playground, an indoor room for active play, and had weekly trips. The other group had access to a nature-based playground. Fundamental movement skills were measured using the short form of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, second edition test. In total, 28 children participated—11 children attended the kindergarten group with the traditional playground, and 17 children attended the kindergarten group with the nature-based playground. The total test score was 14.64 for children with access to a traditional playground and 16.71 for children with access to a nature-based playground. However, no statistically significant difference between the groups in total test score and the individual tests was found. It might be that space and diversity of features are more important than exposure to nature. In future research, more robust longitudinal studies with larger samples are required to investigate different kindergarten playground designs and environmental features related to motor skill development.

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Ability of Adjusting Grip Strength From Childhood to Adulthood

Chiaki Ohtaka and Motoko Fujiwara

Purpose: This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the ability to adjust grip strength by comparing the characteristics of force generation and relaxation from childhood to adulthood. Method: This study included 225 participants aged 6, 11, 17, and 19–23 years (adults) who performed isometric hand-grip force as follows: maximum, half generation, and half relaxation. The force was recorded, and relative values and errors were calculated for half tasks. Results: The maximum task values increased with age, but there was no significant age difference between 17-year-olds and adults. The difference between sexes was significant; males were stronger than females in both 17-year-olds and adults. Both sexes in all age groups had greater errors in half relaxation than in half generation tasks. Females had negatively greater constant error than males in half tasks. The errors of 6-year-olds were greater than the other age groups in half tasks. Conclusion: There is a developmental trend for producing maximal strength that is similar across sexes until adolescence when males are stronger and females plateau. The ability of force relaxation was more difficult to accurately control than force generation for all age groups and was adult-like by middle childhood.

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Does Knowledge of Results Affect Motor Skill Learning and Adaptation in Interception-Like Tasks?

Cláudio Manoel Ferreira Leite, Herbert Ugrinowitsch, and Crislaine Rangel Couto

Knowledge of results (KR), particularly its informational role, has often been regarded as redundant for learning interception-like tasks, such as coincidence–anticipation timing tasks. However, it is possible that the KR’s guiding effect might be detrimental to motor adaptation, instead of only redundant, leading to a dependency on KR and steering the sensorimotor system away from relevant information of the task. In this study, we aimed to investigate KR’s effect on learning a coincidence–anticipation timing tasks and on the adaptation to unpredictable perturbations. Two groups of participants practiced a coincidence–anticipation timing tasks with or without KR on 1 day and underwent testing the next day for learning (Retention test) and for adaptation to unpredictable perturbations (Exposure phase). Both groups exhibited similar learning results but failed to adapt to the perturbations, contradicting the assumption of negative guidance effects of KR and the positive effects of relying solely on intrinsic information (no KR). These findings suggest that motor adaptation may require specific information during the acquisition process, highlighting for more systematic analyses to understand this phenomenon better. Such insights could have practical implications in contexts like sports and rehabilitation, by providing learners with appropriate information for acquiring adaptive internal representations of tasks.

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Erratum. Do Fundamental Movement Skill Domains in Early Childhood Predict Engagement in Physical Activity of Varied Intensities Later at School Age? A 3-Year Longitudinal Study

Journal of Motor Learning and Development

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Correlates of Fundamental Motor Skills in the Early Years (0–4 Years): A Systematic Review

Sanne L.C. Veldman, Jessica S. Gubbels, Amika S. Singh, Johan M. Koedijker, Mai J.M. Chinapaw, and Teatske M. Altenburg

Aim: This systematic review aims to summarize evidence on correlates of fundamental motor skills in typically developing children aged 0–4 years. Methods: A literature search (PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, and SPORTDiscus) was performed from 2000 till 23 May 2022. Inclusion criteria was cross-sectional and prospective studies examining associations between a potential correlate and fundamental motor skills in typically developing, apparently healthy children aged 0–4 years. Two independent reviewers performed screening and methodological quality assessment. Results: Eighty-three studies met eligibility criteria and were included. Thirteen studies were of high methodological quality. In children aged <1 year, we found no evidence for family income, breastfeeding-related, sleep-related, home environment, and socioeconomic variables. In children aged 1–2 years, we found no evidence for sex, growth-related variables, singleton birth, and family income. In children aged 2–4 years, we found no evidence for screen behavior, toxicity, parental education, family income, socioeconomic variables, and maternal depression/anxiety and moderate evidence for a positive association with early childhood education and care setting type. For other examined correlates, we found insufficient evidence (inconsistent findings or only one study available). Conclusions: We found insufficient evidence for over half of examined potential correlates of fundamental motor skills. We recommend investing in better research methodologies and improved reporting.

Open access

Dynamic Lower Limb Alignment During Jumping in Preschool Children: Normative Profiles and Sex Differences

Steen Harsted, Lise Hestbæk, Anders Holsgaard-Larsen, and Henrik Hein Lauridsen

The natural development of static lower limb varus/valgus alignments during early childhood is well understood. However, our understanding of dynamic lower limb frontal plane alignments is limited, and we lack normative descriptions of this phenomenon for both boys and girls. This study investigated dynamic lower limb alignment during jump-landings in preschool children, focusing on associations with sex, age, and motor performance. Dynamic lower limb alignment was measured as the Knee-to-Ankle Separation Ratio (KASR) in 605 children aged 3–6 years using markerless motion capture. Based on KASR measurements, we categorized the children into three kinematic groups: Valgus, Intermediate, and Varus. Median KASR scores were 0.86 (0.80–0.96) overall, 0.89 (0.81–0.98) for boys, and 0.85 (0.78–0.92) for girls. Over 75% of the children exhibited some level of dynamic knee valgus during jump-landings (KASR < 1). However, roughly two-thirds of the children in the Valgus group were girls. Age-adjusted differences in motor performance were small and only statistically significant for jump height and length in girls. These findings suggest that dynamic knee valgus during jump-landings is a common occurrence in preschool children, especially among girls. The potential relationship between dynamic lower limb alignment and age and motor performance warrants further investigation.