Aquatic experiences including structured instructional programs for young children have become extremely popular over the past two decades despite opposition and controversy. Surprisingly, this popularity and controversy have not given rise to extensive or sustained research efforts by exercise scientists or aquatic professionals. Most information available for assessing risks and benefits of aquatic experiences for young children must be gleaned from ancillary sources in medical and educational literature. This paper reviews important issues and questions in the medical, developmental, and pedagogical areas of early childhood aquatics. The need for basic and applied research efforts by teams of exercise scientists from physiologic, psychologic, medical, and aquatic backgrounds is apparent.
David F. Stodden, Zan Gao, Jacqueline D. Goodway and Stephen J. Langendorfer
This cross-sectional study examined associations among motor skill competence (MSC) and health-related fitness (HRF) in youth. A convenient sample of 253 boys and 203 girls (aged 4–13 years) participated in the study. Associations among measures of MSC (throwing and kicking speed and standing long jump distance) and a composite measure of HRF (push-ups, curl-ups, grip strength and PACER test) across five age groups (4–5, 6–7, 8–9, 10–11 and 12–13 yrs.) were assessed using hierarchical regression modeling. When including all children, throwing and jumping were significantly associated with the composite HRF factor for both boys and girls (throw, t = 5.33; jump, t = 4.49) beyond the significant age effect (t = 4.98) with kicking approaching significance (t = 1.73, p = .08). Associations between throwing and kicking speed and HRF appeared to increase from early to middle to late childhood age ranges. Associations between jumping and HRF were variable across age groups. These results support the notion that the relationship between MSC and HRF performance are dynamic and may change across childhood. These data suggest that the development of object control skills in childhood may be important for the development and maintenance of HRF across childhood and into adolescence.
A. Paige Lane, Sergio L. Molina, DaShae A. Tolleson, Stephen J. Langendorfer, Jacqueline D. Goodway and David F. Stodden
Examining the underlying processes that contribute to fundamental movement pattern development and their relationship to performance outcomes is essential to effectively promote competence and mastery. However, few studies have examined the associations between process-oriented movement assessments and performance. The purpose of this study was to hypothesize component developmental sequences for the landing phase of the standing long jump and test them via a pre-longitudinal screen with cross-sectional data from children and young adults. Component levels of the standing long jump landing were identified for shank, foot, and arm action on 347 children ages 4–12 years and 48 adults ages 18–25 years. Modal profile curves were plotted for each component across age groups. In addition, modal sequences, height, and mass were regressed against jump distance as a secondary method of developmental validation. Component level trajectories indicated sufficient evidence for developmental trends of each component. Explained variance in jump distance by sequences, height, and mass varied across age groups and sex. Our findings indicate the proposed component sequences for landing may demonstrate adequate developmental validity; however, longitudinal validation is needed. Landing patterns play an important role in standing long jump performance and warrant more attention in motor development research.