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A Holistic Focus of Attention Increases Torque Production and Electromyography Activity in an Isokinetic Elbow Flexion

Kevin A. Becker and Marco A. Avalos

Recent research suggests that both a holistic focus of attention (i.e., focusing on the general feeling of a movement) and an external focus of attention improve motor performance relative to an internal focus of attention. The purpose of this study was to determine how a holistic, internal, and external focus impacts torque production and electromyography (EMG) activity in the biceps brachii during an isokinetic elbow flexion task. Twenty-four young adults completed five repetitions of an isokinetic elbow flexion task in internal, external, and holistic focus conditions. Peak torque, integrated torque, peak EMG amplitude, integrated EMG, and neuromuscular efficiency were averaged across trials in each condition. Peak torque, integrated torque, peak EMG amplitude, and integrated EMG were all significantly higher with a holistic focus than an internal or external focus. Internal and external focus conditions did not differ from each other in any variable. No differences due to focus were observed for neuromuscular efficiency. The present results suggest that using a holistic focus of attention can be a useful strategy for motor tasks requiring peak force production. However, it does not appear that this benefit is related to increased neuromuscular efficiency, as we hypothesized.

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Construct Validity and Reliability of the Affordances for Motor Behavior of Schoolchildren in South India

Vinuta Deshpande, Pratiksha Kalgutkar, Ana Filipa Silva, and Fábio Saraiva Flôres

The Affordances for Motor Behavior of Schoolchildren (AMBS) is a standardized self-reporting tool comprising 73 questions, organized into seven sections aiming to assess affordances in children’s regular contexts. This investigation aims to establish the reliability and validity of the results obtained from the AMBS in South Indian children. The AMBS reliability and construct validity were evaluated in 393 Indian families whose children were aged between 6 and 10 years old. The internal consistency of the AMBS was evaluated by retesting the tool in a subsample of 30 families following a 14-day interval between assessments (intraclass correlation coefficient), showing a reliability level of .933. The validity of the scale was evaluated using the confirmatory factor analysis. The model that was tested indicated a very good fit, and the structural model presented significant loading coefficients from the identified variables to the theoretically specified latent factors. Positively significant correlation values were found between factors: home and materials (r = .78), home and school (r = .55), and materials and school (r = .77). Our findings suggest that AMBS is a reliable assessment tool and can evaluate the affordances provided to South Indian children. This information can be used to develop interventions to improve the physical activity levels of these children.

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Impacts of Developmental Coordination Disorder on Postural Control Mechanisms in Children and Early Adolescents

Sirine Guetiti, Geneviève Cadoret, Félix Chénier, and Mariève Blanchet

Several studies have demonstrated balance impairments in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). However, a recent meta-analysis reports that none of the existing studies investigated the entire construct of balance across the same postural task. It is unclear whether anticipatory postural adjustments before voluntary unperturbed leaning tasks are altered in DCD. Anticipatory postural adjustment’s impact on postural control and limits of stability as well as the contribution of proprioception in these mechanisms are also unknown. This study compared the center of pressure displacements of participants with DCD (n = 30) to typically developing participants (n = 20) (9–12 years old). Standing on an AMTI force plate, participants were asked to lean as far as possible forward, backward, rightward, and leftward in both natural and with eyes closed + foam conditions (eight separated trials). The statistical analysis revealed that the DCD group had larger anticipatory postural adjustments, maximal center of pressure excursion, and greater postural instabilities than the control group. The proprioceptive condition does not systematically influence postural performance in DCD. These deficits are, however, increased in mediolateral directions. These impairments could interfere with children’s performance during daily and physical activities and even negatively impact social inclusion.

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Essential Motor Skills and Evidence-Based Activities for Enhancing Child Motor Skill Development During Out-of-School Time Programming: An Expert Consensus Study

Peter Stoepker, Duke Biber, Brian Dauenhauer, Leah E. Robinson, and David A. Dzewaltowski

Background: Locomotor and object control skills are considered essential skills for children to learn due to their potential impact in aiding in future health-enhancing physical activity. Evidence indicates that out-of-school time programs (OST) can provide meaningful movement opportunities for children. It has been found that leaders of OST programs are not equipped with the proper training to improve children’s motor skills. The purpose of this study was to gather expert consensus on the essential motor skills that should be practiced and evidence-based activities that should be integrated during OST programming. Methods: A three-round Delphi method was used to establish expert consensus on essential motor skills that children (5–10 years of age) should practice and evidence-based activities that should be integrated during OST programming to enhance child motor skill development. Results: Seven experts completed three rounds, and consensus was established (>70% agreement). Five essential motor skills were identified: overhand throwing, kicking, catching, jumping, and striking. Six evidence-based activities were agreed upon: team sport play, racket sports, swimming, resistance training, jogging/walking, and game-based approaches. Conclusion: Results from this study provide specific motor skills and evidence-based activities that program leaders could integrate during OST programming to enhance child motor skill development.

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Do Parental Beliefs and Support Predict the Motor Competence of Youth With Visual Impairments?

Alexandra Stribing, Emily N. Gilbert, Lauren J. Lieberman, and Ali Brian

Parents tend to play a vital role in their child’s motor competence for youth with visual impairments. However, little research has explored parental mindsets and support (e.g., transportation) surrounding their child’s motor skills and how it may predict motor competence. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which parents’ mindset items along with parental support may predict their children’s actual motor competence. Parents of youth with visual impairments (N = 92; mothers = 69.5%, fathers = 18.1%; M age = 42.91 years, SD = 8.08 years) completed the modified parents’ perception questionnaire. Youth with visual impairments ages 9–19 years (N = 95; M age = 153.35 months, SD = 27.58 months, girls = 37.1%, boys = 53.3%, 9.6% missing) completed the Test of Gross Motor Development-third edition. Results from a backward linear regression convey parental beliefs (i.e., growth mindsets) and support variables (e.g., providing transportation) significantly predicted their child’s actual motor competence, F(6, 84) = 9.77, p < .001, adj. R 2 = .37. Results could inform parents on their importance toward supporting and believing in developing their child’s motor competence.

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Volume 12 (2024): Issue 1 (Apr 2024)

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

Ali Brian, Emily E. Munn, T. Cade Abrams, Layne Case, Sally Taunton Miedema, Alexandra Stribing, Unjong Lee, and Stephen Griffin

Improving the development of the social, emotional, and physical domains during early childhood impacts the overall trajectory of a child’s well-being. However, researchers often address these independently, leaving a gap for a more integrated approach to promoting development. This study explores the effects of a dual-component intervention on changes in preschool-aged boys’ and girls’ gross motor and social–emotional skills. Preschoolers (N = 475; girls = 220 and boys = 255) ages 3–6 years completed the 9-month dual-component intervention and were randomized into control (n = 148) or intervention (n = 327) groups by classroom. Significant improvements were observed in social skills, locomotor, and total Test of Gross Motor Development-3. Additionally, boys and girls improved at the same rate in ball skills, locomotor, and total Test of Gross Motor Development-3. These results suggest that the dual-component intervention can improve preschoolers’ social skills and motor skills with no differential effects.

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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.