General Motor Ability

General Motor Ability

This lab tests whether a general motor ability exists by comparing the performance of different people on both static and dynamic balancing tasks.

Chapter 7 introduces the discredited notion that people have a general motor ability that can be used to predict performance across a range of tasks. Your textbook presents the results of a study that measured performance on a variety of static and dynamic balancing tasks and then correlated the scores to determine the strength of the relationships between any two tasks (Drowatzky & Zuccato, 1967). If people did have a general motor ability, it would be expected that they would perform similarly on all of the tasks. The results did not support this idea, showing that the correlations were very low (indicating a weak relationship) and sometimes even negative (indicating that a higher score on one task was actually associated with a lower score on another).
Instead of performing a correlation analysis as reported in your textbook, you can perform a general motor ability test by ranking the performance of several participants from best to worst for each balance task. You can accomplish this by timing each participant individually using a stopwatch. Because there is no such thing as a general motor ability, results typically reveal that any person who is the best at one of the tasks is not the best at the others.

1 stopwatch
1 tape measure
1 textbook
Masking tape

The tasks you will complete for this lab will be slightly different than those in your textbook, but three of them will assess static balance and three will assess dynamic balance. All students will work as part of one big group. One student will be designated as the official judge and recorder of performances. All other students will serve as participants. Each participant will be tested individually. When not being tested, each participant will help the judge or recorder monitor technique of other participants. You will collect three trials of data for each of the tasks. You can practice each task a couple of times before the first official trial. It is very important that all participants follow the procedures for each task in the same manner.

Once all lab members have been tested, you will rank your performances by comparing the best scores of each participant. A description of each task follows.
Stork Stand
Stand on your preferred foot while hooking the instep of your other foot behind the knee of your support leg (your bent knee points forward). Place your hands on your hips and rise to the ball of your foot. Your score is the amount of time you can hold the position with good form.
Diver’s Stand
Stand with your feet together and your arms extended in front of you (90° shoulder flexion). Close your eyes and rise to the balls of your feet. Your score is the amount of time you can hold the position with good form and your eyes closed.
Heel Stand
Get into a ready position with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Crouch slightly so that your hands rest on your knees. Keep your head up and rock back onto your heels so that your toes do not touch the floor. Your score is the amount of time you can hold the position with good form.
Sideward Leap
Use tape to mark two spots on the floor about 1 meter apart. Balance on your left foot on the left tape mark. Leap sideways to the other mark, landing on your right foot. Balance for a two-count and then bend down to touch the outside of your right ankle with your right index finger (while still balancing on your right foot). Stand up again and, after another two-count, leap back to your left, bend down, and touch the outside of your left ankle. Stand up and continue this process. Your score is the number of times you touch an ankle in 30 seconds without falling. If you fall, move back to the starting point and begin the action again. Continue counting where you stopped when the fall occurred. Technique is important. Make sure that you move from one line to the next in a leaping motion and that you follow the procedures for bending to touch your ankle.
Stepping-Stone Hop
Use tape to mark five lines (about 30 cm long) on the floor oriented so they are perpendicular to an imaginary line about 3 meters long. Space the five tape lines about .75 meter apart from one another. See the following diagram.

Begin a trial by balancing on the ball of one foot on the first spot. Leap forward to the next spot, landing on the ball of your other foot. Hold your position for a two-count (count out loud) and then leap to the next mark. Continue leaping to each spot, switching back and forth between your feet. When you get to the end, stay on one foot and turn around slowly by hopping, and return in the other direction. Your score is the number of lines you cross in 30 seconds. If you fall or fail to complete the two-count, move to the tape line from which you fell (or leapt too soon) and continue until time expires.
Book-Balancing Walk
Place a strip of masking tape (3 m long) on the floor. Beginning at one end of the tape, walk heel-to-toe along the tape while balancing a book on your head. Your score is the amount of time it takes you to walk the full length, turn around, and come back without dropping the book or stepping off the tape. If you drop the book, place it back on your head and continue from the point at which it was dropped.

Data Sheet 1


Circle best trial for each test.  Duplicate this page as many times as needed for the number of participants in the lab session.

Trial 1    Trial 2    Trial 3
Stork stand (seconds)
Diver’s stand (seconds)
Heel stand (seconds)
Sideward leap (# of ankle touches)
Stepping-stone hop (# of lines crossed)
Book-balancing walk (seconds)

Data Sheet 2

Ranking Participants
Use each student’s best trial from each test. Rank performances of each student in the lab session on each test from best to worst. For example, if four students participated, rank the scores from 1 (best) to 4 (worst) on each test. If students share the same score, assign them the same ranking and don’t use the next ranking (e.g., if you have two ranked at 1, don’t use 2 as a ranking; see Stepping-stone ranking in example table that follows).
Important: List the names of all lab partners in the same order on each person’s data sheet.
Participant    Stork    Diver    Heel    Side    Stepping-stone    Book
1. Tim    1    2    4    3    1    2
2. Lauren    3    1    3    1    1    1
3. Kim    2    4    1    4    3    4
4. Katrina    4    3    1    2    4    3

At the end of the lab session, all students should work collectively to fill the below table and rank the performances of all participating students. The final chart should be available for all students on blackboard (or printed copies) to help them write their lab reports.

Discussion (each student should write an individual report and hand it to the lab instructor on the next lab session – the report should not exceed one page)
Describe what the rankings illustrated about each person’s range of balancing abilities across all six tests. Did your results match what would be expected based on the information presented in chapter 7? If not, discuss a few factors other than abilities that might have influenced the results.

Participant    Stork    Diver    Heel    Side    Stepping-stone    Book
1. Mariam    6.31 sec    1 min    6.90    11x 30s    5    6.7
2. Shouq    8.0 sec    4 min    8.68    10x 30s    22    8.3
3. Sulaf    14.9 sec    4min 1 sec    3.50    14x 30s    23    5.9
4. Maitha    3.55    4 sec    4.81    9x 30s    22    12.3
5. Aya    4.5 sec    30.5 sec    18.66    –    13    6.3
6. Latifa    3.9 sec    26.34sec    10.7 sec    17x 30s    12    7.8
7. Shaikha    2.2 sec    1min6sec    3.40 sec    16x 30s    18    –
8. Zahra    11.9 sec    18.49sec    11.58 sec    –    21    –
9. Suheir    5.4 sec    6.87 sec    1.95 sec    8x 30s    19    4.9
10. Sumaya    15.7 sec    3min 22sec    1min 17 sec    15x 30s    35x 30s    9.4
11. Meshael    8 sec sec    34 sec    4.50    12x 30s    1    7.1
12. Deema    5.96 sec    1min 3 sec    4.51    12x 30s    15    8.6
13. Noora S    3.6 sec    4.72 sec    1.30 sec    12x 30s    21    8.4
14. Iman     3.95 sec    33.12 sec    39.80    8x 30s    21    5.5
15.Souad    2.23 sec    7 sec    10.22 sec    4x 30s    12    5.4
16.Noora A    3.25 sec    3.83 sec    2 sec    –    6    –