Age appropriateness for the development of motor skills using rugby league as a case study

Year: 1994

Author: Semmler, Adrian

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

One of the major goals of a primary school physical education program is to teach the children a range of motor skills. This is particularly true with the acquisition of fundamental movement and sport-specific skills. As children develop, motor skills normally develop in a sequential and orderly manner. Therefore, physical educators need to consider the possibility that motor skills could be taught at specific ages, according to the skill's complexity and to maximise efficiency of learning. Although the game of rugby league has been modified in order to accommodate physical development, age appropriateness for the acquisition of specific skills seems to have been neglected.

This paper reports on a study to determine whether there is a need for a developmentally appropriate rugby league skills program in schools. The study investigates the most appropriate age to teach the rugby league skills of standing pass, running pass, and receiving a pass, to primary school children. Twenty-four children from predetermined age groups were randomly allocated to control and treatment groups. All students were pre- and post-tested; the treatment group participated in a one hour a week skills program for a duration of three weeks. Results compared improvements at each age level. Further, each individual skill is compared with relation to age, enabling the investigator to determine whether age affects the learning of particular rugby league skills.