Teaching Balance Training to Improve Stability and Cognition for Children

By Shim, Andrew L.; Norman, Shannon P. et al. | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, October 2013 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Teaching Balance Training to Improve Stability and Cognition for Children

Shim, Andrew L., Norman, Shannon P., Kim, Young Ae, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance

Falls are the leading cause of injuries in children, especially among those who are under the age of 10. Physical education professionals must be reminded that these children are still developing their central nervous system, which dictates their mobility and coordination. According to Tinsworth and McDonald (2001), the types of injuries caused by falls in children range from simple scrapes to fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations. Approximately 8,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries on a daily basis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Over the past few decades, the number of studies on falls in children and on the prevention thereof has been very limited (Phelan, Khoury, Kalkwarf, & Lanphear, 2001; Suecoff, Avner, Chou, & Crain, 1999; Tinsworth & McDonald, (2001).There has also been no true curricular approach toward preventing this issue, especially in physical education programs nationwide.

The Use of Balance Boards

There are many benefits to having young children train or practice on balance boards.The physical education setting allows educators to provide opportunities for youth to develop essential fitness skills that can be transferred into other life experiences.Training or regular practice sessions on balance boards can help young children to improve their balance, coordination, leg strength, upper-body strength, and core development. A recommended teaching strategy for using balance boards is to set up a balance-board station during a fitness unit. Fitness stations can be enhanced with learning cards that include pictures and descriptions for each activity. For the activities to be effective and safe for children, physical educators must demonstrate and teach proper skill progressions for each activity. The learning process for children involves learning the least challenging components of an activity first and then proceeding to the most challenging through a natural progression. Of course, not all children will learn at the same rate (Pangrazi & Beighle, 2010). Physical educators can present young children with a variety of activity progressions and encourage and motivate them to advance to more challenging activities when ready. The following sections describe some basic teaching tips for using balance boards and provide examples for exercises and activities that physical educators can use when introducing balance boards in the physical education environment.

Exercise Progressions for Younger Children

When introducing balance-board activities to young children it is important to start with basic exercises and progress to more challenging ones. First, have the child step onto the board and stand on it with feet shoulder-width a part. The child should try to balance on the board for a designated amount of time while trying to keep the edges of the board from coming into contact with the floor. Each time the child attempts this exercise the physical educator can encourage the child to set goals such as exceeding the balance time from the previous attempt. The body position should indicate a slight bend at the knee and an upright upper body to engage the core muscles and to enhance good posture.

Once the child is stable with the basic balance exercise he or she can progress to the next level of movement, which involves balancing on the board from side to side, front to back, or in a circular motion. This will develop leg strength and core stability as the child continues to focus on keeping good posture (upright upper body and looking straight ahead). Progressions to this exercise would include having the child move his or her feet closer to the center of the board or staggering them on the board while trying to maintain balance while performing the same side-to-side, front-to-back, or circular motions. After some time and observable improvement of a child's balance and stability, instruct the child to practice the same beginning-level exercises with eyes closed.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Teaching Balance Training to Improve Stability and Cognition for Children


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?