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Nadia C. Valentini and Mary E. Rudisill

Two studies were conducted to examine the effects of motivational climate on motor-skill development and perceived physical competence in kindergarten children with developmental delays. In Experiment 1, two intervention groups were exposed to environments with either high (mastery climate) or low autonomy for 12 weeks. Results showed that the mastery-climate group demonstrated significantly better locomotor performance and higher perceived physical competence postintervention than did the low-autonomy group, although both groups improved in locomotor and object-control skill performance. The second investigation extended the findings of the first by determining that the intervention effects were present 6 months later. In summary, the mastery-climate group showed positive changes in skill development and perceived physical competence, and this positive pattern of change was maintained over time.

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Christina Evaggelinou, Nikolaos Tsigilis and Areti Papa

This study was designed to examine the underlying structure of the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD) in Ulrich (1985). The TGMD was administered to 644 children who were randomly divided into two groups (calibration group and validation group). The calibration group (n = 324) included 150 boys and 174 girls, and the validation group included 160 boys and 160 girls, ranging from 3 to 10 years. A two-factor model was postulated and supported. According to the model, seven variables measuring children’s ability for moving into space loaded on one factor (locomotor skills), while five variables measuring children’s ability for controlling objects loaded on the other factor (object control skills). In addition, the proposed model was found to be invariant across the two groups. Good cross-generalizability of the TGMD appears to support its validity. Physical educators working with young children may use it with confidence when assessing and planning physical education programs involving locomotor and object control skills.

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Paul S. Bradley and Jason D. Vescovi

There is no methodological standardization of velocity thresholds for the quantification of distances covered in various locomotor activities for women’s soccer matches, especially for high-speed running and sprinting. Applying velocity thresholds used for motion analysis of men’s soccer has likely created skewed observations about high-intensity movement demands for the women’s game because these thresholds do not accurately reflect the capabilities of elite female players. Subsequently, a cohesive view of the locomotor characteristics of women’s soccer does not yet exist. The aim of this commentary is to provide suggestions for standardizing high-speed running and sprint velocity thresholds specific to women’s soccer. The authors also comment on using generic vs individualized thresholds, as well as age-related considerations, to establish velocity thresholds.

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Nadia C. Valentini, Larissa W. Zanella and E. Kipling Webster

The Test of Gross Motor Development is used to identify children’s level of motor proficiency, specifically to detect motor delays. This study aimed to translate the TGMD-3 items and assess reliability and content and construct validity for the TGMD-3 in Brazil. A cross-cultural translation was used to generate a Brazilian Portuguese version of the TGMD-3. The validation process involved 33 professionals and 597 Brazilian children (ages 3–10) from the five main geographic regions of Brazil. The results confirmed language clarity and pertinence, as well as face validity of the TGMD-3. High intrarater (.60 to .90) and interrater (.85 to .99) reliability was evident, and test-retest temporal stability was confirmed (locomotor .93; ball skills .81). Adequate internal consistency was present for the skills-to-test and subtests correlations (TGMD-3-BR: α .74; locomotor skills: α .63; ball skills: α .76) and performance-criteria-to-test and -subtest correlations (TGMD-3: α .93; locomotor skills: .90; ball skills: .88). Confirmatory factor analysis supported the construct validity of a two-factor model (RMSEA = .04, 90% confidence interval: .03 to .05; CFI = .94; NFI = .91; TLI = .92; GFI = .94; AGFI = .92). The TGMD-3 is a valid and reliable instrument for Brazilian children.

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Pauli Olavi Rintala, Arja Kaarina Sääkslahti and Susanna Iivonen

This study examined the intrarater and interrater reliability of the Test of Gross Motor Development—3rd Edition (TGMD-3). Participants were 60 Finnish children aged between 3 and 9 years, divided into three separate samples of 20. Two samples of 20 were used to examine the intrarater reliability of two different assessors, and the third sample of 20 was used to establish interrater reliability. Children’s TGMD-3 performances were video-recorded and later assessed using an intraclass correlation coefficient, a kappa statistic, and a percent agreement calculation. The intrarater reliability of the locomotor subtest, ball skills subtest, and gross motor total score ranged from 0.69 to 0.77, and percent agreement ranged from 87 to 91%. The interrater reliability of the locomotor subtest, ball skills subtest, and gross motor total score ranged from 0.56 to 0.64. Percent agreement of 83% was observed for locomotor skills, ball skills, and total skills, respectively. Hop, horizontal jump, and two-hand strike assessments showed the most difference between the assessors. These results show acceptable reliability for the TGMD-3 to analyze children’s gross motor skills.

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Rangasamy Suresh Babu, P. Anand, Mathew Jeraud, P. Periasamy and A. Namasivayam

Experimental studies concerning the analysis of locomotor behavior in spinal cord injury research are widely performed in rodent models. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively evaluate the degree of functional recovery in reflex components and bipedal locomotor behavior of bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata) after spinal contusive injury. Six monkeys were tested for various reflex components (grasping, righting, hopping, extension withdrawal) and were trained preoperatively to walk in bipedal fashion on the simple and complex locomotor runways (narrow beam, grid, inclined plane, treadmill) of this investigation. The overall performance of the animals’ motor behavior and the functional status of limb movements during bipedal locomotion were graded by the Combined Behavioral Score (CBS) system. Using the simple Allen weight-drop technique, a contusive injury was produced by dropping a 13-g weight from a height of 30 cm to the exposed spinal cord at the T12-L1 vertebral level of the trained monkeys. All the monkeys showed significant impairments in every reflex activity and in walking behavior during the early part of the postoperative period. In subsequent periods, the animals displayed mild alterations in certain reflex responses, such as grasping, extension withdrawal, and placing reflexes, which persisted through a 1-year follow-up. The contused animals traversed locomotor runways—narrow beam, incline plane, and grid runways—with more steps and few errors, as evaluated with the CBS system. Eventually, the behavioral performance of all spinal-contused monkeys recovered to near-preoperative level by the fifth postoperative month. The findings of this study reveal the recovery time course of various reflex components and bipedal locomotor behavior of spinal-contused macaques on runways for a postoperative period of up to 1 year. Our spinal cord research in primates is advantageous in understanding the characteristics of hind limb functions only, which possibly mimic the human motor behavior. This study may be also useful in detecting the beneficial effect of various donor tissue–neuroprotective drugs on the repair of impaired functions in a bipedal primate model of spinal injury.

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Jason D. Vescovi and Terence G. Favero

Purpose:

To quantify the locomotor demands of college female soccer matches and compare the relative proportion of distances in specified velocity bands between players completing an entire half with substitutes.

Methods:

College female soccer players (n = 113) were assessed during a regular-season match using global positioning system technology. An ANCOVA was used to compare the locomotor characteristics for positions and substitutes, adjusting for duration played. Paired t tests compared the proportion of distances for players substituted out and back into the second half.

Results:

Defenders covered less total absolute distance than midfielders (first half) and midfielders and forwards (second half) with concomitantly lower work rates. Moderate- and high-intensity running were similar between positions within each half. Midfielders substituted into the match had a lower proportion of moderate-intensity running than those substituted out (15% ± 1.8% vs 19% ± 0.9%), and defenders completing an entire first half had a lower proportion of high-intensity running than defenders substituted in or out (6% ± 1.0% vs 11% ± 1.0% and 16% ± 2.8%). There were no differences in the proportion of distances covered within each velocity band for any position in the second half or for the players substituted out and then back in during the second half.

Conclusions:

The current findings provide novel insight linking the developmental progression between youth and high-level matches for overall demands and work rates. Moderate- and high-intensity distances cumulatively range from 2100 to 2600 m (26–28% total distance) in female college matches. The high amount of consistency observed for the proportions of distance covered suggest that substitution patterns have little impact on locomotor distribution.

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Philip W. Scruggs, Sandy K. Beveridge and Doris L. Watson

Fifth-grade students’ physical activity levels were examined via heart rate telemetry and pedometry during school fitness and recess breaks. Twenty-seven students with a mean age of 11.03 (-.32) years participated in morning recess (MR), lunch recess (LR), and fitness breaks (FB) for three days. Structured FB’s consisted of students engaging in locomotor and nonlocomotor activities within an obstacle course framework, while recess breaks followed a traditional model. Results from repeated measures ANOVAs indicated students engaged in significantly more physical activity during FB than MR and LR. Fitness breaks provided a viable method for increasing children’s school time activity levels.

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Johan Simons, Daniel Daly, Fani Theodorou, Cindy Caron, Joke Simons and Elena Andoniadou

The purpose of this study was to assess validity and reliability of the TGMD-2 on Flemish children with intellectual disability. The total sample consisted of 99 children aged 7-10 years of which 67 were boys and 32 were girls. A factor analysis supported a two factor model of the TGMD-2. A low significant age effect was also found for the object control skill but not for locomotor ability. Furthermore, a significant difference was observed between the results of the children of the United States without intellectual disability and Flemish children with mild intellectual disability.

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Gerda Jimmy, Roland Seiler and Urs Maeder

Background:

Accelerometry has been established as an objective method that can be used to assess physical activity behavior in large groups. The purpose of the current study was to provide a validated equation to translate accelerometer counts of the triaxial GT3X into energy expenditure in young children.

Methods:

Thirty-two children aged 5–9 years performed locomotor and play activities that are typical for their age group. Children wore a GT3X accelerometer and their energy expenditure was measured with indirect calorimetry. Twenty-one children were randomly selected to serve as development group. A cubic 2-regression model involving separate equations for locomotor and play activities was developed on the basis of model fit. It was then validated using data of the remaining children and compared with a linear 2-regression model and a linear 1-regression model.

Results:

All 3 regression models produced strong correlations between predicted and measured MET values. Agreement was acceptable for the cubic model and good for both linear regression approaches.

Conclusions:

The current linear 1-regression model provides valid estimates of energy expenditure for ActiGraph GT3X data for 5- to 9-year-old children and shows equal or better predictive validity than a cubic or a linear 2-regression model.