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Mireille Mostaert, Pieter Vansteenkiste, Felien Laureys, Nikki Rommers, Johan Pion, Frederik J.A. Deconinck, and Matthieu Lenoir

Purpose: To evaluate the predictive value of a (non-)sport-specific test battery on the future success of young cyclists, test scores were compared with competition performances 2–3 years later. Methods: Three motor coordination, 5 physical performance, and 2 cycling-specific measurements were collected in 111 U15 (13.0–14.9 y) and 67 U17 (15.0–16.9 y) male road cyclists. In addition, maturity status, relative age, and competition history were assessed. National and provincial competition results 2–3 years later, in the U17year2 and U19year2 categories, were submitted to 2 separate 4-stage hierarchical regressions. Results: The results of the model of the U15 group revealed that maturity, relative age, competition history, motor coordination, physical performance, and cycling-specific performance accounted for 22.6% of the variance in competitive success. For the U15 category, only maturity and motor coordination were significant predictors of competitive success in the U17year2 category. Maturity and motor coordination each uniquely explained ±5% of the variance. However, for the U17 group—neither motor coordination, physical performance, nor cycling-specific performance could predict competitive success in the U19year2 category. Conclusions: The current study underlines the importance of general motor coordination as a building block necessary for optimal development in youth cycling. However, considering the lack of predictive value from the U17 category onward, other features may determine further development of youth athletes. Nevertheless, it is questioned why athletes need to possess a minimum level of all physical, motor coordination, and cycling-specific characteristics to experience success and enjoyment in their sport.

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Philip W. Fink, Sarah P. Shultz, Eva D’Hondt, Matthieu Lenoir, and Andrew P. Hills

Multifractal analyses have been used in recent years as a way of studying balance, with the goal of understanding the patterns of movement of the center of pressure at different spatial scales. A multifractal detrended fluctuation analysis was used to compare obese and nonobese children to investigate the cause of previously demonstrated deficiencies in balance for obese children. Twenty-two children (11 obese and 11 nonobese), aged 8–15 years, performed 30-s trials of bilateral static balance on a plantar pressure distribution measuring device. Both the obese and nonobese groups demonstrated greater persistence for small fluctuations, but the effect was greater in the obese group. This was particularly evident with the eyes closed, where significant differences between the obese and nonobese were observed for small fluctuations. These results demonstrate that balance deficiencies in obese children may be the result of decreased proprioceptive abilities in obese children.

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Pieter Tijtgat, Jos Vanrenterghem, Simon J. Bennett, Dirk De Clercq, Geert J.P. Savelsbergh, and Matthieu Lenoir

The purpose of this study was to investigate postural adjustments in one-handed ball catching. Specifically, the functional role of anticipatory postural adjustments (APA) during the initial arm raising and subsequent postural adjustments (SPA) for equilibrium control and ball-hand impact were scrutinized. Full-body kinematics and kinetics allowed an analysis of the mechanical consequences of raising up the arm and preparing for ball-hand impact. APA for catching were suggested to be for segment stabilization. SPA had a functional role for equilibrium control by an inverted pendulum mechanism but were also involved in preparing for the impact of the ball on the hand, which was illustrated by an increased postural response at the end of the movement. These results were compared with raising up the arm in a well-studied reaction-time task, for which an additional counter rotation equilibrium mechanism was observed. Together, our findings demonstrate that postural adjustments should be investigated in relation to their specific functional task constraints, rather than generalizing the functional role of these postural adjustments over different tasks.

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Ali Brian, Farid Bardid, Lisa M. Barnett, Frederik J.A. Deconinck, Matthieu Lenoir, and Jacqueline D. Goodway

Purpose: The present study examined the motor competence of preschool children from Belgium and the United States (US), and the influence of perceived motor competence on actual motor competence. A secondary objective was to compare the levels of motor competence of Belgian and US children using the US norms of the Test of Gross Motor Development, Second Edition (TGMD-2). Methods : All participants (N = 326; ages 4–5 years) completed the TGMD-2 and the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Movement Skill Competence for Young Children. Results : Belgian children performed significantly higher on actual object control and locomotor skills than US children. However, both Belgian and US children scored significantly worse on the TGMD-2 when compared to the US norm group from 1997–1998. Furthermore, perceived motor competence was significantly related to actual object control skills but not locomotor skills. Conclusion : The present study showed cross-cultural differences in actual motor competence in young children. The findings also indicate a secular downward trend in childhood competence levels, possibly due to a decrease in physical activity and increase in sedentary behavior. Future research should consider conducting an in-depth exploration of physical activity contexts such as physical education to better understand cross-cultural differences in motor competence.

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Dieter Deprez, Joao Valente-dos-Santos, Manuel Coelho e Silva, Matthieu Lenoir, Renaat M. Philippaerts, and Roel Vaeyens


To model the development of soccer-specific aerobic performance, assessed by the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 in 162 elite pubertal soccer players, age 11–14 y at baseline.


Longitudinal multilevel modeling analyses comprised predictors related to growth (chronological age, body size [height and weight] and composition [fat mass, fat-free mass]), and motor coordination [3 Körperkoordination Test für Kinder subtests: jumping sideways, moving sideways, backward balancing] and estimated biological-maturation groups (earliest [>percentile 33] and latest maturers [>percentile 66]).


The best-fitting model on soccer-specific aerobic performance could be expressed as –3639.76 + 369.86 × age + 21.38 × age2 + 9.12 × height – 29.04 × fat mass + 0.06 × backward balance. Maturity groups had a negligible effect on soccer-specific aerobic performance (–45.32 ± 66.28; P > .05).


The current study showed that the development of aerobic performance in elite youth soccer is related to growth and muscularity and emphasized the importance of motor coordination in the talentidentification and -development process. Note that biological maturation was excluded from the model, which might endorse the homogeneity in estimated biological-maturation status in the current elite pubertal soccer sample.

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Joric B. Vandendriessche, Barbara F.R. Vandorpe, Roel Vaeyens, Robert M. Malina, Johan Lefevre, Matthieu Lenoir, and Renaat M. Philippaerts

Socioeconomic status (SES) is often indicated as a factor that influences physical activity and associated health outcomes. This study examined the relationship between SES and sport participation, morphology, fitness and motor coordination in a sample of 1955 Flemish children 6–11 years of age. Gender, age and SES-specific values for morphologic dimensions, amount and type of sport participation and fitness and motor coordination tests were compared. SES was positively and significantly associated with sport participation and sports club membership in both sexes. Although differences were not consistently significant, morphologic dimensions and tests of fitness and motor coordination showed a trend in favor of children from higher SES. The results suggest that public and local authorities should consider providing equal opportunities for children in all social strata and especially those in the lower SES to experience the beneficial effects of sport participation through which they can enhance levels of physical fitness and motor coordination.

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Frederik J. A. Deconinck, Dirk De Clercq, Geert J. P. Savelsbergh, Rudy Van Coster, Ann Oostra, Griet Dewitte, and Matthieu Lenoir

In the present study the walking pattern of 10 children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) was investigated and compared to that of 10 typically developing, matched control children. All children walked at a similar velocity that was scaled to the length of the leg on a motor-driven treadmill. Three-dimensional kinematics were recorded with a motion capture digital camera system. The spatiotemporal parameters of the gait pattern revealed that children with DCD walked with shorter steps and at a higher frequency than the typically developing children. In addition, the children with DCD exhibited a body configuration that demonstrated increased trunk inclination during the entire gait cycle and enhanced during the entire gait cycle. At toe-off a less pronounced plantar flexion of the ankle was observed in children with DCD. In conclusion, it appeared that children with DCD make adaptations to their gait pattern on a treadmill to compensate for problems with neuromuscular and/or balance control. These adaptations seem to result in a safer walking strategy where the compromise between equilibrium and propulsion is different compared to typically developing children.

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Annemarie de Witte, Joris Hoeboer, Eline Coppens, Matthieu Lenoir, Sebastiaan Platvoet, Mark de Niet, Sanne de Vries, and An de Meester

Purpose: To study the relationship between actual motor competence (AMC) and perceived motor competence (PMC) in a large sample of 6- to 12-year-old children. Method: The AMC and PMC were measured (N = 1,669, 55% boys) with the Athletic Skills Track and the Physical Self-Confidence Scale, respectively. A variable-centered approach was applied to examine the AMC–PMC association by means of correlation coefficients and Fisher’s z tests. Cluster analyses were used to identify profiles of children from a person-centered perspective. Results: The AMC–PMC correlation strengthened with increasing age (r = .084 in 6- to 7-year-olds to r = .416 in 10- to 11-year-olds). The person-centered approach revealed two profiles with corresponding levels of AMC and PMC, and two profiles with divergent levels. Discussion: In addition to clarifying the age-related increase in the association between AMC and PMC, the profiles from the person-centered approach result in new gateways for tailoring interventions to the needs of children with different AMC–PMC profiles.

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Job Fransen, Dieter Deprez, Johan Pion, Isabel B Tallir, Eva D’Hondt, Roel Vaeyens, Matthieu Lenoir, and Renaat M. Philippaerts

The goal of this study was to investigate differences in physical fitness and sports participation over 2 years in children with relatively high, average, and low motor competence. Physical fitness and gross motor coordination of 501 children between 6–10 years were measured at baseline and baseline+2 years. The sample compromised 2 age cohorts: 6.00–7.99 and 8.00–9.99 years. An age and sex-specific motor quotient at baseline testing was used to subdivide these children into low (MQ < P33), average (P33 ≤ MQ < P66) and high (MQ ≥ P66) motor competence groups. Measures of sports participation were obtained through a physical activity questionnaire in 278 of the same children. Repeated Measures MANCOVA and two separate ANOVAs were used to analyze differences in changes in physical fitness and measures of sports participation respectively. Children with high motor competence scored better on physical fitness tests and participated in sports more often. Since physical fitness levels between groups changed similarly over time, low motor competent children might be at risk for being less physically fit throughout their life. Furthermore, since low motor competent children participate less in sports, they have fewer opportunities of developing motor abilities and physical fitness and this may further prevent them from catching up with their peers with an average or high motor competence.

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Frederik J.A. Deconinck, Dirk De Clercq, Geert J.P. Savelsbergh, Rudy Van Coster, Ann Oostra, Griet Dewitte, and Matthieu Lenoir

One-handed catching behavior was studied in nine 6- to 8-year-old boys with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and nine matched typically developing boys. The participants performed a catching task under two conditions. In the first condition, one ball speed was used while three ball speeds were randomly presented in the second condition. Boys with DCD showed a significantly smaller maximal hand aperture and a lower maximal closing velocity in both the first and the second condition; however, the temporal structure of the catch as well as the adaptations to the varying ball speeds did not differ between groups. This leads to the suggestion that the motor problems of boys with DCD in one-handed catching are not primarily due to debilitated visuo-perceptual or planning processes but are more likely caused by problems at the execution level.