Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Assessment of Motor Coordination in Students Aged 6 to 11 Years

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Assessment of Motor Coordination in Students Aged 6 to 11 Years

Article excerpt

Introduction

The evolution of the skills linked to motor activity is mainly structured around motor coordination. Primary education is one of the pillars on which the curriculum is built, not only for the Physical Education subject but also for the overall education of students. The development of motor skills at these ages represents a lifetime warranty (Barela, 2013)

Some international researches reveal that the evolutionary problems in motor coordination exhibited by some Primary students, persisted beyond adolescence (Ruiz; Mata, & Moreno, 2007). This fact can result in psychological and social consequences such as the perception of scarce motor competence and low self-esteem leading to relational problems and lower motivation towards physical and sport activity. D'Hondt et. al. (2013) found a strong link between motor coordination and obesity and the weight of children aged from 6-10 over time. A consensus was reached by experts who met under the coordination of Torres, J. (Lorenzo, 2006) on 5 May 2000 at the Faculty of Education Sciences of Granada to define motor coordination according to the description given by Grosser, M.; Hermann, H.; Tusker, F.; Zintl, F. (1991), with some contribution from Castañer and Camerino (1996):

"The set of skills that accurately organize and regulate all the partial processes of a motor action according to a pre-established motor goal. That organization needs to be focused as an adjustment of all the forces produced internally and externally considering all the levels of autonomy of the motor apparatus and the changes of the situation".

There are numerous definitions in the literature on motor coordination skills or the factors that integrate it and the terminology and classification depend on the field from which they have been carried out: psychology, medicine, pedagogy, etc. Despite their acknowledgment of the difficulty to synthesize and describe these factors, the group of experts coordinated by Torres suggests the following coordination abilities: combination ability, spatial and temporal orientation ability, kinesthetic differentiation ability, balance ability, reaction ability, transformation or change ability and regular and irregular rhythm ability.

These coordination skills jointly and interdependently reveal themselves resulting in a movement which, according to its higher or lower efficiency, we can say will be more or less coordinated.

The adjustment in the performance of any motor action integrates all the set of organizational and control processes to achieve some efficiency. These processes are based on sensory analyzers, which are partial systems of sensory perception that, based on signals of a certain quality, catch, decode, transmit and elaborate information.

According to Weineck (2005, 486), specific receptors, afferent nerve pathways and sensory centers in particular encephalic areas are included in the category of analyzers. As regards motor coordination, we are mainly interested in 5 analyzers which obviously work in conjunction complementing each other: kinesthetic analyzer, touch-sensitive analyzer, static-dynamic analyzer, optical analyzer and acoustic analyzer.

The development of motor coordination skills occurs in different ways and at different times (Weineck, 2005, 302). Since birth, the development of these skills follows an individual pace and before the age of four, less developed skills already appear due to the lack of stimuli. The highest level of improvement appears from the age of four until seven (Hahn, 1988, 84). However, Weineck (2005), quoting Stemmler (1977, 278) and Hirtz (1976, 385) states that, in general, coordination skills experience their highest boost between the age of four and puberty. Beraldo and Polletti (1991), quoted by Conde and Viciana (1997), claim that the best age for the development of motor coordination skills goes between the ages of six and eleven years even though motor intervention has to start earlier, as soon as the development of the neuromuscular and sensorimotor control and regulation of movements starts, which takes place at an early age. …

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