Developmental pathways of motor competence: The pitfall of the ‘average child’

Eline Coppens, Farid Bardid, F. Deconinck, L. Haerens, David Stodden, Eva D'Hondt, M. Lenoir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperResearch

Abstract

Motor competence reflects the degree of proficient performance in various motor skills as well as the underlying mechanisms such as motor coordination, and plays an important role in children’s health. The development of motor competence in children is generally thought to be a gradual and age-related process. However, numerous factors can induce significant variance in children’s developmental pathway. For instance, Rodrigues et al. (2016) showed that a significant number of children do not follow the ‘average’ positive developmental trajectory in physical fitness. However, the developmental pathways in motor competence remain substantially unexplored.Therefore, the current longitudinal study evaluated the motor competence of 664 children aged 6-9 years (age = 8.2  1.1 years; 51.7% boys) by means of the Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder (KTK; Kiphard & Schilling, 2007) across three time points with one-year intervals. Body Mass Index (BMI, kg/m²) and Cardio Respiratory Fitness (CRF, measured with the 20m Pacer at baseline) were included as potential covariates. Latent growth curve analyses revealed a significant positive linear change in motor competence over time (p < 0.001), although a significant variance in this change was observed (p < 0.001). Children with higher baseline scores experienced more linear growth in their motor competence levels than children with lower baseline scores (p = 0.009). Children with a lower baseline BMI had more linear growth in their motor competence than children with a higher BMI (p < 0.001). There was no significant association between CRF at baseline and change in motor competence over time (p = 0.7). These findings strongly underline that the development of motor competence is not a naturally emerging process for all children. As expected, BMI is a negative correlate of this process, while CRF does not seem to affect the developmental pathway in motor competence. These novel results call for a shift towards a developmental approach in understanding motor competence over time, and developing targeted intervention programs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHAL 2018 programme HEALTH ACROSS LIFESPAN
Subtitle of host publicationInterantional conference on healthiness and fitness across the lifespan
Pages70
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2018
EventInternational conference on healthiness and fitness across the lifespan - Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany
Duration: 12 Sep 201815 Sep 2018

Conference

ConferenceInternational conference on healthiness and fitness across the lifespan
Abbreviated titleHealth across lifespan (HAL)
CountryGermany
CityMagdeburg
Period12/09/1815/09/18

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