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Is There an Optimal Age for Learning to Swim?

David I. Anderson and Alicia Rodriguez

Longitudinal records were examined for 272 children who started formal swimming lessons at 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 years of age. The groups of children were compared on the number of lessons and number of months required to reach three levels of swimming proficiency and the ages at which these levels were reached. Significant differences were found in the ages at which each proficiency level was attained. The younger the age at which children started lessons, the younger they were when they attained Level 1 proficiency. In contrast, the ages at which Level 2 and Level 3 proficiency were attained were more similar, particularly for the younger starters. Significant differences were found for the number of lessons and number of months required to reach Level 1 proficiency and to progress from Level 1 to Level 2 proficiency. The younger the starting age the more lessons and months required to reach each proficiency level. The pattern of findings suggests that the optimum age to begin formal swimming lessons is between 5 and 7 years of age. The findings are discussed relative to the literature on readiness and sensitive periods for learning.

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A Skill Acquisition Perspective on Early Specialization in Sport

David I. Anderson and Anthony M. Mayo

This paper examines the costs and benefits of early specialization in sport from a skill acquisition perspective. The focus is on whether early specialization in a single sport is the best way to facilitate the acquisition of skill in that sport. The paper is organized relative to the two major conceptual frameworks that have motivated much of the discussion about early specialization in sport: the theory of deliberate practice and the Developmental Model of Sport Participation. Our analysis reveals that while early specialization in sport is one way to reach elite status, it is not the only way. Considerable evidence shows that many elite athletes specialized in their sport late, following diversified experiences with other sports. These findings raise a number of exciting questions about the long-term development of skill in sport.

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Mediolateral Postural Control Mechanisms and Proprioception Improve With Kicking Sports Training During Adolescence

Mariève Blanchet and François Prince

sensory and motor functions as well as the central integration of sensory information ( 53 ), especially during the sensitive periods of development ( 2 , 23 , 24 , 26 , 29 , 30 , 51 ). This neuronal plasticity allows the central nervous system to learn skills and remember information to reorganize

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The Development of Bilateral Skill Symmetry: Insights From Gaelic Football Players and Coaches

Karol Dillon, Paul Kinnerk, Ian Sherwin, and Philip E. Kearney

timing of interventions within a player’s long-term development; Anderson & Mayo, 2017 ). Sensitive periods are defined as time periods when the effect of experience on development is particularly strong ( Anderson & Mayo, 2017 ). While research in domains such as music has demonstrated support for the

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Relevance of Life Course Epidemiology for Research on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior

Gregore Iven Mielke

sensitive periods can be used to explore how biological and social transitions during life stages may have more impact on behavior adoption and risk of disease than other times. These life course models are well placed to explore how physical activity during specific trimesters of gestation impacts early

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An Excellent Adventure on Some Roads Less Traveled

David I. Anderson

from one activity to another, and the second is the issue of whether sensitive periods, or windows of opportunity, exist during which skills are easier to acquire than at other times during the lifespan. A number of questions intrigued me as a child and adolescent and ultimately helped to shape my

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Motor Unit Firing Properties During Force Control Task and Associations With Neurological Tests in Children

Masamichi Okudaira, Ryosuke Takeda, Tetsuya Hirono, Taichi Nishikawa, Shun Kunugi, and Kohei Watanabe

is compressed but variability is unaltered for motor units in a hand muscle of old adults . J Neurophysiol . 2007 ; 97 ( 5 ): 3206 – 18 . PubMed ID: 17360826 doi: 10.1152/jn.01280.2006 3. Bateson P . The Interpretation of Sensitive Periods . Springer ; 1983 . 4. Berkes J , Raikes A

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Comparing Developmental Trajectories of Elite Able-Bodied and Wheelchair Basketball Players

Nima Dehghansai, Daniel Spedale, Melissa J. Wilson, and Joseph Baker

age/readiness while sensitive periods called windows of opportunity are proposed as phases where development in a specific area could be maximized (e.g., speed and agility before puberty; Balyi & Hamilton, 2004 ). Similarly, the FTEM model ( Gulbin et al., 2013 ) represents an athlete development

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TGMD-2 Short Version: Evidence of Validity and Associations With Sex, Age, and BMI in Preschool Children

Paulo Felipe Ribeiro Bandeira, Michael Duncan, Maria Luiza Pessoa, Ívina Soares, Larissa da Silva, Jorge Mota, and Clarice Martins

promote their interventions and also for the comparison of FMS in different countries. Our results from the networking analysis emphasized strong positive associations between age and slide and hop skills. Even considering there are sensitive periods when the impact of age on FMS is stronger, this should

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Risk for Depression and Psychological Well-Being in German National and State Team Athletes—Associations With Age, Gender, and Performance Level

Johanna Belz, Jens Kleinert, Jeannine Ohlert, Thea Rau, and Marc Allroggen

.L. , & Teicher , M.H. ( 2008 ). Stress, sensitive periods and maturational events in adolescent depression . Trends in Neurosciences, 31 ( 4 ), 183 – 191 . PubMed doi:10.1016/j.tins.2008.01.004 10.1016/j.tins.2008.01.004 Angst , J. , Gamma , A. , Gastpar , M. , Lepine , J.P. , Mendlewicz , J