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Roberta L. Pohlman and Larry D. Isaacs

This preliminary investigation examined the potential effects of low birth weight on motor performance in children. Seventeen pairs of children were matched by age and placed in one of five age groups (5-9 years). One of each pair weighed 2,200 grams or less at birth (low birth weight, LBW) and the other weighed more than 2,200 grams at birth (normal birth weight, NBW). Three types of data were collected: motor development data, reaction time data, and anthropometric data. Nine paired t tests were performed. To control for alpha level inflation, the Bonferroni technique was employed. The two groups did not differ significantly in present body weight. Tests of gross motor development found the NBW group to be more advanced in both locomotor skills and object control skills. With regard to triceps skinfold, again the NBW group was found to have greater values. No other between-group measurements of body composition were significant. In addition, girls were significantly higher than boys in percent body fat. These preliminary results suggest the LBW children lag behind their NBW peers in the development of the basic fundamental motor skills.

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Gisela Kobberling, Louis W. Jankowski and Luc Leger

The oxygen consumption (VO2) of 30 (10 females, 20 males) legally blind adolescents and their sighted controls were compared for treadmill walking (3 mph, 4.8 km/h) and running (6 mph, 9.6 km/h). The VO2 of the visually impaired subjects averaged 24.4% and 10.8% higher than those of their same-sex age-matched controls, and 42.8% and 11.2% higher than the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) norms for walking (p<.01) and running (p<.05), respectively. The normal association between aerobic capacity and locomotor energy costs was evident among the sighted controls (r= .44, p<.05) but insignificant (r=.35, p>.05) for the visually impaired subjects. The energy costs of both walking and running were highest among the totally blind subjects, and decreased toward normal as a function of residual vision among the legally blind subjects. The energy costs of walking and running for blind adolescents are higher than both those of sighted controls and the ACSM norm values.

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Emily Cole, Terry M. Wood and John M. Dunn

Tests constructed using item response theory (IRT) produce invariant item and test parameters, making it possible to construct tests and test items useful over many populations. This paper heuristically and empirically compares the utility of classical test theory (CTT) and IRT using psychomotor skill data. Data from the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD) (Ulrich, 1985) were used to assess the feasibility of fitting existing IRT models to dichotomously scored psychomotor skill data. As expected, CTT and IRT analyses yielded parallel interpretations of item and subtest difficulty and discrimination. However, IRT provided significant additional analysis of the error associated with estimating examinee ability. The IRT two-parameter logistic model provided a superior model fit to the one-parameter logistic model. Although both TGMD subtests estimated ability for examinees of low to average ability, the object control subtest estimated examinee ability more precisely at higher difficulty levels than the locomotor subtest. The results suggest that IRT is particularly well suited to construct tests that can meet the challenging measurement demands of adapted physical education.

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Jebb G. Remelius, Joseph Hamill, Jane Kent-Braun and Richard E.A. Van Emmerik

Individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) often have poor balance control that is especially apparent during dynamic tasks such as gait initiation (GI). The purpose of this study was to investigate how balance symptoms due to MS alter spatiotemporal variables, coordination, and temporal margins within the stability boundary during gait initiation. Twelve women with MS (Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS] mean = 4.0, SD = 1.4) and 12 women without MS (control group) initiated gait at their preferred speed. MS participants attained a slower anterior velocity because of smaller anterior center of mass displacements and took longer to complete the initiation of gait than the control group. MS participants exhibited a smaller posterior shift in center of pressure during GI and stepped with a longer dual support time than the control group. However, these changes may be due to differences in initiation velocity. Relative timing analysis showed invariance in postural and locomotor phases of gait initiation between groups. The MS group showed different coordination between anterior-posterior and medio-lateral center of pressure components while increasing temporal margins to the posterior and lateral stability boundaries in comparison with the control group. Overall, during gait initiation at their preferred speed the MS participants adopted a functional strategy that produces lower speed and reduced proximity to the stability boundaries prior to stepping.

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Judith Jiménez, Maria Morera, Walter Salazar and Carl Gabbard

Purpose:

Motor skill competence has been associated with physical activity level, fitness, and other relevant health-related characteristics. Recent research has focused on understanding these relationships in children and adolescents, but little is known about subsequent years. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between fundamental motor skill (FMS) ability and body mass index (BMI) in young adults.

Method:

Participants, 40 men and 40 women (M age = 19.25 yr, SD = 2.48), were assessed for BMI and motor competence with 10 fundamental motor skills (FMSs) using the Test for Fundamental Motor Skills in Adults (TFMSA).

Results:

BMI was negatively associated with total motor ability (r = –.257; p = .02) and object control skills (r = –.251; p = .02); the relationship with locomotor skills was marginally insignificant (r = –.204; p = .07). In regard to individual skills, a significant negative association was found for running, jumping, striking, and kicking (ps < .05). Multiple regression analysis indicated that BMI and gender predicted 42% of the variance in total FMS score; gender was the only significant predictor.

Conclusion:

Overall, these preliminary findings suggest that young adults with higher FMS ability are more likely to have lower BMI scores.

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Ted Polglaze, Brian Dawson, Daniel J. Hiscock and Peter Peeling

Purpose:

To determine the relationship between distance covered and player load (PL: sum of accelerations in all 3 planes of movement) in hockey training and competition.

Methods:

Elite male hockey players (N = 24) wore player-tracking devices in 7 international matches and 7 training sessions. Players were arranged in 4 positional groups (strikers, attacking midfielders, defensive midfielders, defenders) in competition but had generic roles in training. Relationships between distance and PL were assessed in both absolute (m, AU) and relative (m/min, AU/min) terms and were compared between matches and training and between positions within matches, using the Fisher Z test.

Results:

In competition, the absolute distance–PL relationship was very large overall (r = .868), with no differences between positions. The relative distance–PL relationship was moderate overall (r = .486) and weaker in strikers than in defensive midfielders (Z = 1.785, P = .037) and defenders (Z = 1.690, P = .045). In training, the absolute distance–PL relationship was very large (r = .742), and large (r = .633) in relative terms. The relationship was stronger in competition than training for absolute values (Z = 2.824, P = .005) but not different for relative values.

Conclusions:

The strong relationship between these variables suggests that PL in hockey is mostly accumulated through running and other locomotor actions, such that PL is not effective in quantifying other activities (evasion, low stance) that contribute to physiological demands, particularly in training.

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Peggy M. Roswal, Claudine Sherrill and Glenn M. Roswal

This study compared the effectiveness of data based and creative dance pedagogies in relation to motor skill performance and self-concept of mentally retarded students. Subjects (N=35) were moderately mentally retarded males and females, ages 11 to 16 years, in special education classes. Their mean age was 12.88 years in the data based group and 13.47 years in the creative dance group. Excluding testing, the study lasted 8 weeks. Each group received 40 lessons of 30 minutes each. Data based pedagogy was based on the work of Dunn, Morehouse, and Dalke (1979), and creative dance pedagogy was based primarily on the work of Riordan (Fitt & Riordan, 1980). Pretest and posttest data were collected through administration of the Data Based Dance Skills Placement Test, selected subtests of the Cratty Six-Category Gross Motor Test, and the Martinek-Zaichkowsky Self-Concept Scale. Multivariate analysis of covariance revealed no difference between pedagogies. The group means indicated improvement in dance skill performance but not in self-concept or body perception, balance, and gross and locomotor agility.

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Amelia Mays Woods, Kim Graber and David Daum

The benefits of recess can be reaped by all students regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or gender and at relatively little cost. The purpose of this study was to examine physical activity (PA) variables related to the recess PA patterns of third and fourth grade children and the social preferences and individuals influencing their PA (friends and parents). Data were collected on students (N = 115) utilizing the System of Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play (SOCARP) instrument. In addition, each child was interviewed during the recess period in which SOCARP was completed. Results found that boys spent significantly more time being very active (t (95.64) = 3.252, d = .62, p < .008) than girls and preferred sport activities (t = (73.62) 5.64, d = 1.14, p < .0125) in large groups (t (69.34) = 4.036, d = .83, p < .0125). Meanwhile, girls preferred locomotor activities (t (113) = 3.19, d = .60, p < .0125), sedentary activities (t (113) = 2.829, d = .53, p < .0125) and smaller groups (t (112.63) = 4.259, d = .79, p < .0125). All 115 participants indicated that they wanted to spend time with their friends during recess.

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Joseph F. Seay, Jeffery M. Haddad, Richard E.A. van Emmerik and Joseph Hamill

Increases in movement variability have previously been observed to be a hallmark property of cooraination changes between coupled oscillators that occur as movement frequency is scaled. Prior research on the walk-run transition in human locomotion has also demonstrated increases in variability around the transition region, supporting predictions of nonequilibrium phase transitions (Diedrich & Warren, 1995). The current study examined the coordinative patterns of both intra- and inter-limb couplings around the walk-run transition using two different temporal manipulations of locomotor velocity as a control parameter in healthy young participants (N = 11). Coordination variability did not increase before the transition. The nature of the change in continuous relative phase variability between gait modes was coupling-specific, and varying the time spent at each velocity did not have an overall effect on gait transition dynamics. Lower extremity inter-limb coordination dynamics were more sensitive to changes in treadmill velocity than intra-limb coordination. The results demonstrate the complexity of segmental coordination change in human locomotion, and question the applicability of dynamical bimanual coordination models to human gait transitions.

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David I. Anderson, Audun Dahl, Joseph J. Campos, Kiren Chand, Minxuan He and Ichiro Uchiyama

This report describes a novel test of the prediction that locomotion-induced changes in an infant’s functional utilization of peripheral lamellar optic flow (PLOF) for postural stability contributes to avoidance of the deep side of a visual cliff. To test the prediction, a corridor, with either low-textured or high-textured walls, was constructed to run the length of a visual cliff. The infants, 9.5-month-olds with varying amounts of hands-and-knees crawling experience, were randomly assigned to the low-texture (n = 30) or the high-texture condition (n = 32). Consistent with predictions, the findings revealed significant interactions between crawling experience and texture condition for the probability of crossing and the latency to venture onto the deep side of the cliff. Most notably, more experienced crawlers, but not less experienced crawlers, were significantly more likely to cross the visual cliff to the parents and ventured onto the cliff faster in the high-texture condition than in the low-texture condition. The availability of PLOF thus had an effect on infants’ crossing behavior on the visual cliff. We interpret these findings as evidence for a three-step process in which locomotor-induced changes in visual proprioception play a central role in the development of wariness of heights.