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Elly van Hyfte, Sien Vercruysse, Griet Warlop, and Matthieu Lenoir

Purpose: To investigate the effect of an obstacle course based physical education program, designed according to contemporary insights on motor learning, on motor competence (MC) of 6- to 7-year-old Flemish children. Method: Pupils from 16 primary schools were randomly allocated to either control (n = 173, 50.3% boys) or intervention group (n = 182, 54.9% boys). MC, assessed with the Körperkoordinationtest für Kinder (KTK), was analyzed with a 2 (Gender, girls vs. boys) × 2 (Group: INT vs. CON) × 3 (Time: pre vs. inter vs. post) Repeated Measures ANOVA. Results: The MC in the intervention group improved more compared with the control group (Time × Group interaction, p < .001). Moreover, a shift to a more favorable MC classification is seen for all children in intervention group. Conclusion: The results underline the potential value of an obstacle course based PE program based and provide a gateway for optimization of the current PE programs.

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Eva D’Hondt, Benedicte Deforche, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, and Matthieu Lenoir

The purpose of this study was to investigate gross and fine motor skill in overweight and obese children compared with normal-weight peers. According to international cut-off points for Body Mass Index (BMI) from Cole et al. (2000), all 117 participants (5–10 year) were classified as being normal-weight, overweight, or obese. Level of motor skill was assessed using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC). Scores for balance (p < .01) and ball skills (p < .05) were significantly better in normal-weight and overweight children as compared with their obese counterparts. A similar trend was found for manual dexterity (p < .10). This study demonstrates that general motor skill level is lower in obese children than in normal-weight and overweight peers.

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Farid Bardid, Floris Huyben, Frederik J.A. Deconinck, Kristine De Martelaer, Jan Seghers, and Matthieu Lenoir

The aim of this study was to investigate the convergent and divergent validity between the Body Coordination Test for Children (KTK) and the Motor Proficiency Test for 4- to 6-Year-Old Children (MOT 4-6). A total of 638 children (5–6 yr old) took part in the study. The results showed a moderately positive association between the total scores of both tests (r s = .63). Moreover, the KTK total score correlated more highly with the MOT 4-6 gross motor score than with the MOT 4-6 fine motor score (r s = .62 vs. .32). Levels of agreement were moderate when identifying children with moderate or severe motor problems and low at best when detecting children with higher motor-competence levels. This study provides evidence of convergent and divergent validity between the KTK and MOT 4-6. However, given the moderate to low levels of agreement, either measurement may lead to possible categorization errors. Therefore, it is recommended that children’s motor competence not be judged based on the result of a single test.

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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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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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Johanna E.A. Brocken, John van der Kamp, Rene Wormhoudt, Matthieu L. Lenoir, and Geert J.P. Savelsbergh

Purpose: The aim of this study is to measure the concurrent validity of the Athletic Skills Track (AST) by examining whether its outcome score correlates with the holistic judgments of experts about the quality of movement. Method: Video recordings of children performing the AST were shown to physical education teachers who independently gave a holistic rating of the movement quality of each child. Results: Both intra- and interrater reliability of the teachers’ ratings were moderate to good. The holistic judgments on movement quality were significantly correlated with AST time, showing that higher ratings were associated with less time required to complete the track. Next, hierarchical stepwise regression indicated that in addition to the holistic rating, also age, but not gender, explained part of the variance in AST time. Conclusion: The findings show that the AST has good concurrent validity and provides a fast, indirect indication for quality of movement.

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

Purpose:

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.

Methods:

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]).

Results:

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).

Conclusion:

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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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.

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

This study examined and compared the control of posture during bilateral stance in ten boys with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) of 6-8 years old and ten matched typically developing boys in four sensory conditions (with or without vision, on a firm or complaint surface). In all conditions mean postural sway velocity was larger for the boys with DCD, in spite of a normal score on the balance items of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children. A Group X Condition interaction revealed a larger dependency on vision in the boys with DCD when standing on a firm surface. These results suggest that in this specific subgroup of boys with DCD with predominantly problems in fine motor and ball skills postural control problems may still be prevalent and may possibly be associated with difficulties to re-weight sensory information in response to environmental demands.

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Lisa M. Barnett, David Stodden, Kristen E. Cohen, Jordan J. Smith, David Revalds Lubans, Matthieu Lenoir, Susanna Iivonen, Andrew D. Miller, Arto Laukkanen, Dean Dudley, Natalie J. Lander, Helen Brown, and Philip J. Morgan

Purpose:

Recent international conference presentations have critiqued the promotion of fundamental movement skills (FMS) as a primary pedagogical focus. Presenters have called for a debate about the importance of, and rationale for teaching FMS, and this letter is a response to that call. The authors of this letter are academics who actively engage in FMS research.

Method:

We have answered a series of contentions about the promotion of FMS using the peer reviewed literature to support our perspective.

Results:

We define what we mean by FMS, discuss the context of what skills can be considered fundamental, discuss how the development of these skills is related to broader developmental health contexts, and recommend the use of different pedagogical approaches when teaching FMS.

Conclusions:

We conclude the promotion of FMS is an important focus in Physical Education (PE) and sport and provide future research questions for investigation.