Purpose: Dribbling is a common fundamental motor skill for which there is little empirical evidence to guide the instructional process. This study examined the effects of a 120-minutes of dribbling instruction on the dribbling skills of young children. Methods: Participants (N=122) consisted of preschool children who were identified as at-risk of educational failure and/or developmental delay (M=54 mo) in a Motor Instruction (MI, n=65) and Comparison (C, n=57) group. All participants were evaluated using the dribbling criteria (0-8 points) from the Test of Gross Motor Development 2 (Ulrich, 2000) prior to and following the instructional period. The MI group received 12, 10-min sessions of dribbling instruction as part of a 12-week, 1080 min. motor skill program. The dribbling instruction consisted of an array of instructional tasks with a variety of developmentally appropriate equipment. Tasks, equipment and feedback were individualized to meet the learner's developmental status. Analysis/Results: An ANOVA with repeated measures found a significant Group X Time interaction (F[1,118]=170.24, p<.001, h2=.59) but no significant differences (p=.26) for the Group X Time X Sex interaction. Overall, the MI group had better dribbling skills than the C group from pre-to-posttest. In order to examine what critical elements changed, chi square analyses assessed differences in the distribution of dribbling critical elements between the MI and C groups. As predicted, at the pretest there were no significant differences in the distribution of scores for the four critical elements between the MI and C group. However, at the posttest there were significant differences between the MI and C group for the distribution of scores for the following critical elements: hip height ball (p=<.001); fingertip control (p=<.001); ball on preferred side (p=<.001); and ball bounced four times (p=<.001). Conclusions: It is clear that dribbling skills improved as a result of instruction and the MI group was significantly different than the C group in all four post-dribbling critical elements. These data have implications to teaching dribbling to preschool children who are at-risk.
See more of: Research Consortium