Purpose: We investigated the perception of affordances for vertical jumping-and-reaching and horizontal jumping by children. Method: In the horizontal task, children were asked to judge their ability in the standing long jump. In the vertical task, children were asked to judge the height of a ball that they could run to, jump up, and reach with their fingertips. Following judgments, children performed both types of jumps. We compared gymnasts (children with at least 2 years of gymnastics training; 7.92 ± 0.91 years) versus children with no competitive athletic experience (7.74 ± 0.86 years). Results: As expected, actual ability was greater in gymnasts than in non-athletes, for both types of jump (each p <.001). We separately analyzed Constant Error and Absolute Error of judgments (relative to actual performance). Results revealed that gymnasts tended toward underestimation, while non-athletes tended toward overestimation. Absolute error differed between tasks for the non-athletes (p <.001), but for the gymnasts the difference between conditions was not significant (p =.25). Absolute error differed between groups for vertical jump-and-reach (p <.01) but not for horizonal jump (p =.17). Conclusions: Gymnastics experience was associated with a generalized tendency for children to underestimate their jumping ability. In addition, gymnastics experience was associated with judgment accuracy that was consistent across tasks. The results reveal that gymnastics training is associated with changes in athletic ability, but also with changes in the perception of affordances.
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- long jump
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article