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Ali Brian, Sally Taunton Miedema, Jerraco L. Johnson, and Isabel Chica

Fundamental motor skills (FMS) are an underlying mechanism driving physical activity behavior and promoting positive developmental trajectories for health. However, little is known about FMS of preschool-aged children with visual impairments (VI). The purpose of this study was to examine the FMS of preschool-aged children (N = 25) with (n = 10) and without (n = 15) VI as measured using the Test of Gross Motor Development-3. Children without VI performed significantly higher than their peers for locomotor (M = +11.87, p = .014, η2 = .31) and ball skills (M = +13.69, p < .001, η2 = .56). Regardless of the presence of a VI, many participants struggled with developing FMS, with the greatest disparity resting within ball skills. These findings help to clarify the FMS levels of preschool-aged children with VI. Thus, there is a need for both further inquiry and intervention for all children.

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Jerraco L. Johnson, Mary E. Rudisill, Peter A. Hastie, and Julia Sassi

The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which guided throwing practice volume influenced gains in throwing competency in young children during exposure to a mastery motivational climate physical play program. Fifty-four preschool children attended 13 biweekly 30-minute motor skill sessions over 7 weeks. Pre- and post-test throwing competency was measured in three ways (Test of Gross and Motor Development–Third Edition [TGMD-3], developmental sequence for throwing, and throwing velocity). Throwing practice behaviors (visits, time, and trials) were then coded for each participant using video recordings. Paired-samples t-tests revealed significant gains in throwing proficiency by the children from pre- to post-test on all three measures. Results from multiple hierarchical linear regressions highlighted that pre-test scores and guided throwing practice volume (a principle component analysis of throwing visits, time, and trials) accounted for 19% (TGMD), 52% (developmental sequence), and 60% (velocity) of the explained variance of post-test throwing competency, respectively. Results also revealed that although boys spent more time practicing throwing than girls, gender only appeared to be a significant predictor in the TGMD regression model. These findings provide empirical evidence of the importance of guided practice during mastery climate programs.

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Jerraco L. Johnson, Peter A. Hastie, Mary E. Rudisill, and Danielle Wadsworth

The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which preschool boys’ and girls’ gender and skill level relate to their throwing practice behaviors during a mastery motivational climate intervention. Fifty-four preschool children (24 boys, 30 girls) participated in a 7-week FMS intervention. Children’s practice behaviors (number of visits, total time, and total trials) at the overhand throwing station were video recorded during each session. A series of unpaired Welch assessments were run to determine if there were differences in practice behaviors across the intervention based on gender and initial skill level. Results indicated significant differences in practice time and trials based on gender and skill level, but no differences in the number of visits. It appears that throwing gender stereotypes perhaps may be related to practice behaviors for young children. Interventions should consider ways to make throwing more enticing for young girls and less skilled children to encourage practice and enhance learning.