Comparative analysis of motor competence & self-perception between lower & higher skilled male basketball players ages 8-11 years

Organized sports are a sub-category of physical activity and can provide a unique opportunity for children to promote increased physical activity. There is limited research as to what characteristics translate to successful motor performance in a sport setting among youth populations. This study examined self-perception, measured by the Self-Perception Profile for Children (SCCP) and fundamental movement skill competence, measured by the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD-2) among male youth basketball players ages 8-11 (n=31). Participants were basketball players from two youth programs of varying skill levels: lower skilled (n=16), and higher skilled (n=15). Independent t-test was carried out to assess differences between self-perception mean scores and motor competency percentile ranks among participants from both groups. Results indicate that higher skilled players scored significantly higher in locomotor, object control and overall gross motor skills and had significantly higher levels of perceived athletic competence. Conversely, lower skilled basketball players had significantly higher levels of perceived social competence and behavioral conduct. Physical educators, coaches and parents alike should continue to encourage fundamental movement skill development among children, in effort to increase the likelihood of sport participation and physical activity levels. Higher levels of actual and perceived motor competency play an important role in increasing sport participation as well as overall physical activity levels among children.