Course:KIN366/ConceptLibrary/Jumping

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Movement Experiences for Children
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KIN 366
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Instructor: Dr. Shannon S. D. Bredin
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Jumping is a fundamental motor skill (FMS) that is characterized as the propulsion of the body into the air from a surface using one or both legs and landing with both feet (Haywood & Getchell, 2009). There are 3 main developmental patterns to jumping: the vertical jump, the standing long jump, and jumping from a height (Gallahue, 1989). Mature patterns of jumping are necessary for use in sport and activities of daily life (Gallahue, 1982).

General Stages of Development

The development of jumping is limited by leg strength, coordination, and postural control (Gabbard, 2008). However, a general developmental pattern can be seen among all children (Haywood & Getchell, 2009). Wickstrom (1983) provides a timeline for the expected achievements seen at approximate motor ages during jumping development in young children. The first signs of development into a jumping pattern can be seen at 24 months of age, where a child “jumps” or more accurately, steps, down from a 30cm height from one foot to the other. By 28 months, the child is able to jump off from the floor and land using both feet. The child then progresses in ability to be able to jump off from up to 30cm in height by 37.1 months of age. At 37.3 months of age, the child is able to jump forward 10 to 35 cm with both feet from 30cm in height. By 41.5 months of age, the child should be able to jump over a rope that is 5-20cm high using both feet. The 3 main patterns of jumping also undergo several developmental stages and can be observed separately (Gallahue, 1989).

Vertical Jump

The vertical jump involves taking off and landing with both feet in order to achieve maximum height (Gabbard, 2008). Mature characteristics can be seen at 2 years of age, but mastery is not achieved until approximately 5 years or age (Gabbard, 2008).

Early Stages

As proposed by Meyers et al., the early stages of vertical jumping can be characterized by an inconsistent preparatory crouch, difficulty in two feet takeoff, poor extension of the body at takeoff, lack of head lift, uncoordinated arms to the lower body, and little vertical height (as cited in Gallahue, 1989).

Intermediate Stages

As proposed by Meyers et al., the intermediate stages of vertical jumping can be characterized by excessive knee flexion and forward lean in the preparatory crouch, two-foot takeoff, incomplete extension of the body in flight, attempted use of arms in flight and balance, and horizontal displacement upon landing (as cited in Gallahue, 1989).

Mature Stages

As proposed by Meyers et al., the mature stages of vertical jumping can be characterized by a consistent preparatory crouch; forceful extension of the hip, knees, and ankles at takeoff; coordinated upward lift of the arm; upward head tilt; full extension of the body; an elevation of the reaching arm and downward thrust of the nonreaching arm through shoulder girdle tilt; and a controlled landing that is close to the original takeoff point (as cited in Gallahue, 1989). Upon landing, there is appropriate flexion of the ankles, knees, and hips to absorb the shock (Wickstrom, 1983).

Common Problems

There are several problems that have been identified by Meyers et al. (as cited in Gallahue, 1989). These include a lack of strength characterized by the failure to takeoff; a lack of coordination characterized by the failure to use both feet simultaneously for takeoff and landing, failure to extend the body and limbs forcefully and simultaneously, failure to crouch sufficiently and consistently, and failure to lead with the eyes and head; and a lack of balance and control characterized by excessive arm swing, excessive flexion of the hip and knees upon landing, and horizontal displacement upon landing.

Recommendations

To promote the development of a mature pattern of vertical jumping, children can be encouraged to stretch and reach with their arms and head when jumping (Gallahue, 1982). Children can also be given objects to reach up for when jumping or have markers that mark the height of a jump (Gallahue, 1982). More general recommendations for jumping can be found in the General Recommendations section.

Standing Long Jump (Horizontal Jump)

The standing long jump involves taking off and landing with both feet in order to achieve maximum horizontal distance (Gabbard, 2008). Mature characteristics can be seen at 5 years of age, but mastery is not achieved until approximately 6 years of age (Gabbard, 2008).

Early Stages

As proposed by McClenaghan, the early stages of the standing long jump can be characterized by an inconsistent preparatory crouch; difficulty in using two feet; limited and delayed arm swing; sideward-downward or rearward-upward arm positioning in flight; vertical trunk propulsion; limited extension of the ankles, knees, and hips at takeoff; and shifting backwards at the landing (as cited in Gallahue, 1989).

Intermediate Stages

As proposed by McClenaghan, the intermediate stages of the standing long jump can be characterized by a deeper and more consistent preparatory crouch with arms positioned towards the front of the body; the usage of the arms to initiate the jump; sideward arm positioning in flight; more complete knee and hip extension at takeoff; and flexed hips during flight (as cited in Gallahue, 1989).

Mature Stages

As proposed by McClenaghan, the mature stages of the standing long jump can be characterized by a deep and consistent preparatory crouch with arms moving high and to the rear; arms swinging forward during takeoff; arms held high during flight; propulsion of the trunk at a 45-degree angle to maximize horizontal distance; complete ankle, knee, and hip extension at takeoff; thighs held parallel to the ground at flight; and forward body weight upon landing (as cited in Gallahue, 1989). The hips flex prior to landing to bring the knees forward and the knees flex upon impact on landing (Wickstrom, 1983).

Common Problems

There are several problems that have been identified by McClenaghan (as cited in Gallahue, 1989). These include a lack of strength characterized by the failure to takeoff; a lack of coordination characterized by improper arm coordination, poor preliminary crouch, restricted arm and leg movements, and poor takeoff angle; and a lack of balance and control characterized by falling backwards upon landing.

Recommendations

To assist in the development of a mature pattern of the standing long jump, children should avoid wearing socks or footwear with poor traction when jumping (Gallahue, 1982). Measuring the length of the jump or providing challenges with regards to horizontal distance jumped can serve as motivators (Gallahue, 1982). More general recommendations for jumping can be found in the General Recommendations section.

Jumping from a Height

Jumping from a height involves taking off and landing with both feet from a height (Gallahue, 1989). The movements are similar to that of a vertical jump and standing long jump (Gallahue, 1989).

Early Stages

The early stages of jumping from a height can be characterized by the use of one foot to lead on takeoff, a lack of a flight phase, the leading foot contacting the lower surface before the other foot leaves the upper surface, and exaggerated arm use (Gallahue, 1989).

Intermediate Stages

The intermediate stages of jumping from a height can be characterized by the use of a two-foot takeoff with one foot leading, a flight phase with poor control, ineffective arm usage, one foot landing before the immediate landing of the other foot, and inhibited or excessive knee and hip flexion upon landing (Gallahue, 1989).

Mature Stages

The mature stages of jumping from a height can be characterized by a two-foot takeoff, a controlled flight phase, efficient use of arms, a simultaneous two-foot landing at shoulder-width with toes touching the ground first, and appropriate knee and hip flexion upon landing (Gallahue, 1989).

Common Problems

Several problems identified include a lack of strength characterized by the failure to takeoff; a lack of coordination characterized by inappropriate body lean, failure to coordinate the arms, and failure to land on two feet simultaneously; and a lack of balance and control characterized by landing flat-footed, inappropriate flexion of the knees upon landing, and landing out of control (Gallahue, 1989).

Recommendations

To assist in the development of a mature pattern of jumping from a height, the height should start low and gradually be increased in accordance with a child’s jumping abilities (Gallahue, 1982). Spotting the jump, the use of mats, and adequate spacing of equipment can help with safety and security (Gallahue, 1982). More general recommendations for jumping can be found in the General Recommendations section.

Recent Research Approaches

Several studies have specifically investigated jumping as it relates to childhood development.

Down Syndrome

Children with Down syndrome typically show poor balance control and underdeveloped movement skills (Wang & Ju, 2002). A study by Wang and Ju (2002) assessed the efficacy of using movement skill interventions to improve balance and jumping proficiencies in children with Down syndrome. 20 children from 3 to 6 years of age with Down syndrome were given nine hours of jumping lessons over six weeks, and were compared to a control group of typical children who were given no lessons. Balance and jumping capabilities were measured using standardized proficiency tests (i.e. the Bruininks Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency and the Motor Skills Inventory). The children with Down syndrome showed significant improvements to balance and jumping abilities compared to the typical children. These results show that movement interventions can help facilitate the development of motor skills in children with Down syndrome (Wang & Ju, 2002).

Maturation and Jumping Performance

Typically, there are no differences in vertical jump performance between genders until puberty (Thomas & French, 1985). A two year longitudinal study by Quatman et al. (2006) examined the changes in vertical jump performance and landing force absorption before and after puberty between boys and girls. Sixteen females and seventeen males were evaluated. Boys showed increased vertical jump height and maintained takeoff force, while girls showed no change in jump height, decreased takeoff force, and increased ground-reaction forces when landing. These results suggest that females do not undergo the same neuromuscular spurt that boys do at puberty, resulting in decreased jumping and landing capabilities (Quatman et al., 2006). The lack of a neuromuscular spurt in females may also help to explain the increased susceptibility to knee ligament injuries (Quatman et al., 2006).

General Recommendations

Several common problems of jumping have been identified under the Vertical Jump, Standing Long Jump, and Jumping from a Height sections. It is important that these problems are addressed and corrected so that mature patterns can be developed. Mature jumping patterns are important in sports such as volleyball and basketball (Gallahue, 1982). Jumping can also help to improve lower body strength and power in sports such as snowboarding and hockey (Burr et al., 2007; Platzer et al., 2009). Movement interventions in children have shown improvements in these motor skill competencies (Wang 2004; Wang & Ju, 2002). Landy and Burridge (1999) provide helpful recommendations to developing a mature jumping pattern, which can be applied by parents, physical education practitioners, and developmental therapists:

Jumping with two feet:

  • Hold both feet of the child down and have the child practice symmetrical flexion, extension, and force production of the legs

Pushing with enough force or speed:

  • Incorporate leg and core strengthening activities such as walking on all fours
  • Ensure that knee flexion is adequate
  • Jump over low obstacles

Body lean in the preparatory crouch:

  • Practice “bowing” or bending over when bending the knees

Arm coordination:

  • Practice swinging the arms so that they are back when the knees are bent, and forward/up when straightening the legs
  • Use imagery and tell the child to “reach for the cookie” when jumping horizontally or “reach for the stars” when jumping vertically

Head and eye focus:

  • Pick a point straight ahead or up above to focus on when jumping

References

  1. Burr, J. F., Jamnik, V. K., Dogra, S., & Gledhill, N. (2007). Evaluation of jump protocols to assess leg power and predict hockey playing potential. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21(4), 1139-1145.
  2. Gabbard, C. P. (2008). Lifelong motor development. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Education, Inc.
  3. Gallahue, D. L. (1982). Developmental movement experiences for children. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  4. Gallahue, D. L. (1989). Understanding motor development: Infants, children, adolescents. Indianapolis, IN: Benchmark Press, Inc.
  5. Haywood, K. M., & Getchell, N. (2009). Life span motor development. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  6. Landy, J. M., & Burridge, K. R. (1999). Ready-to-use fundamental motor skills & movement activities for young children: Teaching, remediation and assessment. West Nyack, NY: The Center for Applied Research in Education.
  7. Platzer, H., Raschner, C., Patterson, C., & Lembert, S. (2009). Comparison of physical characteristics and performance among elite snowboarders. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(5), 1427-1432.
  8. Quatman, C. E., Ford, K. R., Myer, G. D., & Hewett, T. E. (2006). Maturation leads to gender differences in landing force and vertical jump performance: A longitudinal study. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 34(5), 806-813.
  9. Thomas, J. R., & French, K. E. (1985). Gender differences across age in motor performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 98(2), 260-282.
  10. Wang, J. H. (2004). A study on gross motor skills of preschool children. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 19(1), 32-43.
  11. Wang, W., & Ju, Y. (2002). Promoting balance and jumping skills in children with Down syndrome. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 94, 443-448.
  12. Wickstrom, R. L. (1983). Fundamental motor patterns. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger.