Differences of Motor Proficiency in Preschool Girls Related to Organized Physical Activity
This study purpose was to determine the level of motor competence and differences in motor skills of preschool girls aged 5 to 7 from Serbia according to participation in organized physical activities.
Materials and methods. Ninety-one girls aged 5-7 years (mean ± 6.4) were divided into three subsamples: control group, rhythmic gymnastics and sports school. Girls were assessed with the MABC-2 test. Descriptive statistics analyzed the basic characteristics of participants according to the level of motor competence. Furthermore, Pearson’s χ2 test for contingency tables, MANOVA and discriminant analysis were employed to find differences in motor proficiency among groups.
Results. Significant differences have been found in girls attending rhythmic gymnastics in aiming & catching on the upper bound of moderate effect size (p < 0.001, η2 = 139), and total test score moderate effect size (p = 0.006, η2 = 0.105) compared to girls who did not participate in organized physical activity. The discrimination coefficient explained the differences in girls in aiming and catching, with a contribution of 41.4%, balance skills with 24%, and a total test score of 22.9%. According to the level of motor competence, 61% from the control group and 40% from the sports school group scored below average in aiming & catching. The total test score of ≥ 50 percentile was achieved by 68.3% of girls in the control group, 84% in the sports school group, and 96% in rhythmic gymnastics.
Conclusion. This study confirms that sports practice contributes to the development of motor capabilities and influences individual differences in children’s scores. Our findings can contribute to understanding how important it is to promote object control skills games for girls and older preschoolers generally.
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