Cardiff Metropolitan University
PhD Thesis - Dr Ben Pullen (2022).pdf (12.35 MB)

The effects of resistance training on athletic motor skill competencies in secondary school children

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posted on 2023-08-07, 11:05 authored by Benjamin J. Pullen

Leading health organisations and long-term athletic development models have identified the need to develop movement competencies in children and adolescents. The athletic motor skill competencies (AMSC) have been identified as key skills that form the foundations of all athletic movements. The AMSC form an integral part of the long-term athletic development of youth, and improving these qualities should be central to coaches working with young individuals. Multiple movement competency screens assess some aspects of AMSC, but there is no consensus regarding which screens may be most appropriate for a given cohort or coaching environment.  Chapter 3 provides an evaluation of the movement screens available to assess various AMSC and in turn considers their reliability, feasibility, strengths, and weaknesses when used with youth populations. The resistance training skill battery (RTSB), athletic introductory movement screen (AIMS), and tuck jump assessment (TJA) were all deemed to be useful screens and were subsequently utilised throughout the thesis.

In Chapter 5 boys (n = 20) and girls (n = 26) aged 11-14 years old were part of a 7-week resistance training pilot study. The study examinedthe effects of delivering resistance training as part of the physical education curriculum on AMSC, physical performance, and psychosocial constructs (motivation to exercise, physical self-efficacy, and global self-esteem). Male and female intervention groups significantly improved RTSB (p > 0.05) whereas no changes were observed in the control groups. No changes were observed in the intervention groups TJA and only trivial and small non-significant changes in standing long jump performance. Significant increases in motivation of the male intervention group occurred. Resistance training integrated in physical education can improve AMSC in short-term interventions. 

Chapter 6 examined the relationships between AMSC, maturation, sex, body mass index (BMI), physical performance, and psychological constructs (motivation to exercise, physical self-efficacy, and global self-esteem) in a large cohort of boys (n = 119) and girls (n = 105) aged 11-13 years old. Trivial to moderate strength relationships were evident between AMSC and BMI (boys: rs= −0.183; girls: rs= −0.176), physical performance (boys: rs= 0.425; girls: rs= 0.397), and psychological constructs (boys: rs= 0.130–0.336; girls rs= 0.030–0.260). 

When the sample was divided into participants demonstrating higher and lower levels of competency (using the median split), higher levels of AMSC were related to significantly higher levels of physical performance (d = 0.25), motivation to exercise (d = 0.17), and physical self-efficacy (d= 0.15–0.19) in both boys and girls. AMSC have some associations with physical performance and psychological constructs. This may suggest that increasing AMSC could positively influence physical and psychological outcomes, but further research was needed to investigate this possibility. 

Chapter 7 examined the effects of an 11-week resistance training intervention as part of the physical education curriculum on AMSC, physical performance, and psychological constructs linked to physical activity behaviours. Male (n = 40) and female (n = 48) intervention groups significantly improved AIMS(p > 0.05) whereas no changes were observed in the male (n = 33) and female (n = 35) control groups. Both  male and female intervention groups significantly improved standing long jump performance in comparison to control groups (p> 0.05). Only trivial changes in TJA and psychological constructs were observed in both groups. Findings indicate resistance trainingintegrated in physical education is effective atimprovingAMSC and physical performance but did not improve psychological constructs in school children. 

Chapter 8 presents a confessional tale with the primary researcher reflecting on some of the confounding influences to directing a successful intervention and the impact this can have on the researcher. The chapter reflects on experiences faced during the intervention presented in Chapter 6, uncovering some of the home truths about school-based interventions that are usually ignored such as pupil behaviour, teacher support, and implementing research into practice. Overall, this paper provides researchers with insights into the unexpected, and practitioners with suggestions to help navigate their own coaching interventions.





  • School of Sport and Health Sciences

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year