Measurement in Physical Education

By Donald K. Mathews; Nancy Allison Close | Go to book overview
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chapter 6
general motor ability

Have you ever seen a deer effortlessly bounding across the fields? A dancer rhythmically executing intricate patterns of movement? Or a skier sailing down a mountain side through fresh, powdered snow, performing beautiful Christiana turns? These are examples of a highly trained body functioning at the epitome of movement. Think for a moment of the numerous and varied factors such as balance, flexibility, power, timing, and coordination, each contributing interdependently to the perfection of the total movement. Almost like the independent notes of a musical masterpiece, these specific factors combine to produce a symphony in movement.

The immediate capacity of an individual to perform in many varied stunts or athletic events is referred to as general motor ability; the term is used synonymously with general athletic ability. Although much work has been done in this area of measurement, it can be seen that a single test that adequately reflects all aspects of motor ability would be difficult to develop.

Motor ability factors. We know there are many factors that contribute to successful performance in athletic skills. For example, in reviewing some twenty-eight factor analysis studies dealing with motor ability tests, the following factors appeared most frequently; strength, velocity, and muscular coordination. Other important factors identified were motor educability, body size, height, weight, force, endurance, balance, and agility.

Also, in a preliminary study related to the learning of motor skills, McCloy lists some of the most important factors as: muscular strength, dynamic energy, ability to change direction, flexibility, agility, peripheral vision, good vision, concentration, understanding of the mechanics of the techniques of the activities, absence of disturbing or inhibiting emotional complications, timing, rhythm, and coordination.28

Memory drum theory of neuromotor reaction. Recent research has cast doubt on the widely accepted theory that motor ability is completely


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Measurement in Physical Education


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