Motor development consists of two factors; the continuous age- related change of movement, and the individual and environmental factors underlying those changes. However, it deals with both the processes of these changes as well as their outcomes. Additionally, the development is made in the area of motor learning and motor control. In this regard, motor learning is the skills in motor capability that are contained through the experience gained over time. Motor control on the other hand, is the way the nervous system controls the muscles so that they can coordinate the movements. This development is however, determined by the age, the physical growth, and the physical maturation of an individual. Motor development has three principles that explain growth. These include caphalo-caudal (growth from head to tail), proximo-distal (growth from those points close to the body center to those far away), and genero-specific (growth from gross to fine). Besides, motor development should be differentiated from motor learning, motor control, and physical growth and maturation.
Several constraints have been proved to hinder Motor development. Theses can either be individual, task constraints or environmental constraints. These constraints have the effect of limiting certain movements, encouraging others or even shaping the movement as a whole. Individual constraints can be structural (related to the structure of the body) or functional (related to the body behavior). Environmental constraints, on the other hand, are those specific or global properties of the environment that are likely to affect motor development. Indeed, the factors can either be dependent on the gravity or gender and cultural norms in different environments. Task constraints are those that are related to a certain specific goals, which are not in any way related to an individual. The three factors are however, related as they may affect motor development when combined.
Motor development can be explained from an ecological perspective. In this regard, two theories are applicable- the maturational perspective and information processing perspective. The maturational perspective states that motor development is driven by the maturation of the central nervous system, biological clock, genetics or heredity. Advanced by Arnold Gesell in 1930s, the maturational perspective advances an invariable, internal sequence of development that can automatically make the basic motor skills to emerge automatically. On another note, the information processing perspective presupposes that motor development is nurtured by external processes. As such, the brain acts like a computer, which inputs, encodes processes and supplies the feedback. Besides, the ecological perspective states that development is driven by the interrelationships of multiple systems. These systems are either dynamic or perception-action. Dynamic systems are based on the perspectives of Kugler, Kelso, and Turvey. These systems opine that the systems of the body, environment of the performer and the demands of the task interact. The perception-action systems, and which are based on the works of Gibson are based on affordability of the environmental objects.
Other constraints of motor development are social-cultural. In this regard, gender, race, religion, national origin and media have been attributed to affecting motor development. When people socialize, they influence others to develop. This socialization process consists of the socializing agents, the social situations and the individual attributes which constrain a person. Examples of a social cultural constrain is gender typing, significant others (such as parents, siblings, peers, coaches and teachers, et cetera) and social situations. Gender typing are those activities that are gender discriminative. Social situations, on the other hand, are those play environments and games that hinder motor development. Additionally, the race, age, ethnicity and socio-economic status of individual can affect motor development.
Apart from the aforementioned constraints, motor development can also be affected by psychosocial constraints. These are the results of the interaction of individual and environmental constraints. Notably, self-esteem is one of the psychosocial constraints that greatly affect motor development. In this regard, the personal judgment of an individual based on his/her capability, success and worthiness is a huge constraint. Emotions, which are the feelings of an individual, form the second psychosocial constraints. Because of low/high self-esteem as well as the emotions, several causal attributions can be established. Whereas adults have a better evaluation of themselves, children do not have a proper evaluation of their capabilities. As a result, some children persist while others drop out of the race.
The last constraints in motor development are under the auspices of knowledge. In this regard, the increased/decreased declarative, procedural or strategic knowledge greatly affects motor development. Additionally, experts have more knowledge than novices do, therefore, there is likely to be a huge difference in development between the two. The knowledge base of individuals is important in the development since it translates to more exercise of the physical skills. Further, the gender differences have the effect of differences in knowledge. However, this depends with the memory of an individual. In this regard, the cognitive process between children and adults are major constraints in this development. This is because of the differences in active lifestyles between the two groups.
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