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Laura J. Petranek, Nicole D. Bolter and Ken Bell

Purpose: External attentional focused instructions and feedback have shown to enhance motor performance among adults, adolescents, and older children. This study examined type and frequency of instructions and feedback among younger children performing an overhand throw. Method: First graders (N = 65) were provided external or internal focused instructions at high- or low-frequency rates resulting in four experimental groups (External-High, External-Low, Internal-High, and Internal-Low). Results: Internal focused groups performed significantly better than external focused groups during retention–transfer, and children who received feedback that is more frequent performed better. External-Low performed better than External-High at the end of acquisition and retention–transfer, whereas Internal-High performed better than Internal-Low throughout acquisition. Conclusion: Data support previous research indicating children need more feedback when learning a motor skill but did not support prior studies regarding attentional focus. More work is needed to understand how and why young children respond differently to attentional focused instructions and feedback.

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George Graham, Ken Bell, Natalie Doering, Eloise Elliott, Jim Krouscas, Mark Manross, Starla McCollum, Kim Oliver, Todd Pennington, Linda Person, Jon Poole and Sarah Westfall