Modification of the relative age effect on 4-6-year-old schoolchildren’s motor competence after an intervention with balance bike

Main Article Content

Rubén Navarro-Patón
Fabián Canosa-Pasantes
Marcos Mecías-Calvo
Víctor Arufe-Giráldez


The aims of this study were to explore: 1) the relative age effect (RAE) on aiming and catching (A&C), balance (Bal) and manual dexterity (MD) skills in 4-6-year-old schoolchildren; 2) the effect of the balance bikes program intervention; 3) the effect of this program based on gender. The Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 (MABC-2) was administered to 50 schoolchildren [26 boys (52%) and 24 girls (48%)], aged between 4 and 5 years (M = 4.46 ; SD = 0.503), from an educational centre in Galicia (Spain), at the beginning and at the end of the intervention program. The results showed that there were statistically significant differences before the application of the intervention program with respect to the quarter of birth in MD (p = .013); A&C (p = .02) and TTS (p < .001) but not in Bal (p = .137). After the intervention, it is observed that the previous differences disappear [MD (p = .755); A&C (p = .806); TTS (p = .507)], in addition, all scores are better than before the application of the intervention program. Regarding gender, no statistically significant effect is observed either before or after applying the intervention program on the variables studied. The results obtained suggest that the application of an intervention using balance bikes could positively influence the improvement of MC in preschool children (boys and girls) and reduce the differences produced by the RAE.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Navarro-Patón, R., Canosa-Pasantes, F., Mecías-Calvo, M., & Arufe-Giráldez, V. (2024). Modification of the relative age effect on 4-6-year-old schoolchildren’s motor competence after an intervention with balance bike. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise , 19(3), 767-778.
Physical Education / Children & Exercise
Author Biographies

Rubén Navarro-Patón, University of Santiago de Compostela

Faculty of Teacher Training.

Fabián Canosa-Pasantes, University of A Coruña

Faculty of Education Sciences.

Marcos Mecías-Calvo, University of Santiago de Compostela

Faculty of Teacher Training.

Víctor Arufe-Giráldez, University of A Coruña

Faculty of Education Sciences.

How to Cite

Navarro-Patón, R., Canosa-Pasantes, F., Mecías-Calvo, M., & Arufe-Giráldez, V. (2024). Modification of the relative age effect on 4-6-year-old schoolchildren’s motor competence after an intervention with balance bike. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise , 19(3), 767-778.


Arufe Giráldez, V., Pena García, A., & Navarro Patón, R. (2021). Efectos de los programas de Educación Física en el desarrollo motriz, cognitivo, social, emocional y la salud de niños de 0 a 6 años. Una revisión sistemática. Sportis. Scientific Journal of School Sport, Physical Education and Psychomotricity, 7(3), 448-480.

Ato, M., López, J. J., & Benavente, A. (2013). Un sistema de clasificación de los diseños de investigación en psicología. Anales de Psicologia, 29(3), 1038-1059.

Aune, T. K., Ingvaldsen, R. P., Vestheim, O. P., Bjerkeset, O., & Dalen, T. (2018). Relative Age Effects and Gender Differences in the National Test of Numeracy: A Population Study of Norwegian Children. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1091.

Bolger, L. E., Bolger, L. A., Neill, C. O., Coughlan, E., O'Brien, W., Lacey, S., & Burns, C. (2018). Age and Sex Differences in Fundamental Movement Skills Among a Cohort of Irish School Children. Journal of Motor Learning and Development, 6(1), 81-100.

Brazo-Sayavera, J., Martínez-Valencia, M. A., Müller, L., Andronikos, G., & Martindale, R. J. J. (2017). Identifying talented track and field athletes: The impact of relative age effect on selection to the Spanish National Athletics Federation training camps. Journal of Sports Sciences, 35(22), 2172-2178.

Calsamiglia, C., & Loviglio, A. (2020). Maturity and school outcomes in an inflexible system: evidence from Catalonia. SERIEs, 11(1), 1-49.

Carrillo-López, P. J., Rosa-Guillamón, A., & García-Cantó, E. (2018). Analysis of global motor coordination in schoolchildren from 6 to 9 years according to gender and age. TRANCES, 10(3), 281-306. Retrieved from [Accessed 2024, April 20]:

Clark, J. E., & Metcalfe, J. S. (2002). The mountain of motor development: A metaphor. In J. C. Humphrey & J. Humphrey (Eds.), Motor development: Research and reviews (Issue 2, pp. 163-190). NASPE Publications.

Cobley, S., Abraham, C., & Baker, J. (2008). Relative age effects on physical education attainment and school sport representation. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 13(3), 267-276.

Cupeiro, R., Rojo-Tirado, M. A., Cadenas-Sanchez, C., Artero, E. G., Peinado, A. B., Labayen, I., Dorado, C., Arias-Palencia, N. M., Moliner-Urdiales, D., Vidal-Conti, J., Conde-Caveda, J., Mora-Gonzalez, J., Vicente-Rodríguez, G., & Benito, P. J. (2020). The relative age effect on physical fitness in preschool children. Journal of Sports Sciences, 38(13), 1506-1515.

Dalen, T., Ingvaldsen, R. P., Roaas, T. V., Pedersen, A. V., Steen, I., & Aune, T. K. (2017). The impact of physical growth and relative age effect on assessment in physical education. European Journal of Sport Science, 17(4), 482-487.

Furley, P., & Memmert, D. (2016). Coaches' implicit associations between size and giftedness: implications for the relative age effect. Journal of Sports Sciences, 34(5), 459-466.

Gerlach, E., Herrmann, C., Dania, A., Heim, C., Jidovtseff, B., Quitério, A., Vrbas, J., Kossyva, I., Adamakis, M., Zounhia, K., Seelig, H., Ennigkeit, F., Vandeloise, V., Morgado, L., Mornard, M., Cloes, M., Costa, J., Martins, J., Onofre, M., & Scheuer, C. (2018). Basic motor competencies. In Changes in Childhood and adolescence: Current Challenges for Physical Education (pp. 81-90).

González Aramendi, J. M. (2007). El efecto relativo de la edad en el fútbol. Archivos de Medicina Del Deporte, XXIV(117), 5-13. Retrieved from [Accessed 2024, April 20]:

Goodway, J. D., Famelia, R., & Bakhtiar, S. (2014). Future directions in physical education & sport: Developing fundamental motor competence in the early years is paramount to lifelong physical activity. Asian Social Science, 10(5), 44-54.

Graupera, J. L., & Ruiz, L. M. (2012). Batería de evaluación del movimiento para niños-2. In Batería de evaluación del movimiento para niños (Vol. 2). Pearson.

Henderson, S. E., Sudgen, D. A., & Barnett, A. (2007). Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 (2nd ed). The Psychological Corporation.

Herrmann, C., Bund, A., Gerlach, E., Kurz, D., Lindemann, U., Rethorst, S., & Pühse, U. (2015). A review of the assessment of basic motor qualifications and competencies in school. International Journal of Physical Education, 52(3), 2-13.

Jiménez-Díaz, J., Chaves-Castro, K., & Salazar, W. (2019). Effects of Different Movement Programs on Motor Competence: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 16(8), 657-666.

Jiménez Díaz, J., Salazar Rojas, W., & Morera Castro, M. (2015). Age and gender differences in fundamental motor skills. Pensar En Movimiento: Revista de Ciencias Del Ejercicio y La Salud, 13(2), 4.

Kelly, L., O'Connor, S., Harrison, A. J., & Ní Chéilleachair, N. J. (2019). Does fundamental movement skill proficiency vary by sex, class group or weight status? Evidence from an Irish primary school setting. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37(9), 1055-1063.

Kokštejn, J., Musálek, M., & Tufano, J. J. (2017). Are sex differences in fundamental motor skills uniform throughout the entire preschool period? PLOS ONE, 12(4), e0176556.

Leow, L.-A., Marinovic, W., Rugy, A. de, & Carroll, T. J. (2019). Task errors drive memories that improve sensorimotor adaptation. BioRxiv, 538348.

Li, K., Chen, S., Ma, J., Martins, C., Duncan, M., Sheng, X., Liu, S., & Cai, Y. (2023). The relative age effect on fundamental movement skills in Chinese children aged 3-5 years. BMC Pediatrics, 23(1), 150.

Logan, S. W., Robinson, L. E., Wilson, A. E., & Lucas, W. A. (2012). Getting the fundamentals of movement: a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of motor skill interventions in children. Child: Care, Health and Development, 38(3), 305-315.

López Gallego, F., Lara Sánchez, A., Espejo Vacas, N., & Cachón Zagalaz, J. (2016). Influence of gender, age and level of physical activity over Physical Condition of Students in Primary Education. Retos, 29, 129-133.

Mecías-Calvo, M., Arufe-Giráldez, V., Cons-Ferreiro, M., & Navarro-Patón, R. (2021). Is It Possible to Reduce the Relative Age Effect through an Intervention on Motor Competence in Preschool Children? Children, 8(5), 386.

Morgan, P. J., Barnett, L. M., Cliff, D. P., Okely, A. D., Scott, H. A., Cohen, K. E., & Lubans, D. R. (2013). Fundamental Movement Skill Interventions in Youth: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 132(5), e1361 LP-e1383.

Morley, D., Till, K., Ogilvie, P., & Turner, G. (2015). Influences of gender and socioeconomic status on the motor proficiency of children in the UK. Human Movement Science, 44, 150-156.

Navarro-Patón, R., Arufe-Giráldez, V., Sanmiguel-Rodríguez, A., & Mecías-Calvo, M. (2021). Differences on Motor Competence in 4-Year-Old Boys and Girls Regarding the Quarter of Birth: Is There a Relative Age Effect? Children, 8(2), 141.

Navarro-Patón, R., Brito-Ballester, J., Villa, S. P., Anaya, V., & Mecías-Calvo, M. (2021). Changes in Motor Competence after a Brief Physical Education Intervention Program in 4 and 5-Year-Old Preschool Children. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(9), 4988.

Navarro-Patón, R., Lago-Ballesteros, J., Arufe-Giráldez, V., Sanmiguel-Rodríguez, A., Lago-Fuentes, C., & Mecías-Calvo, M. (2021). Gender Differences on Motor Competence in 5-Year-Old Preschool Children Regarding Relative Age. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(6), 3143.

Navarro-Patón, R., Mecías-Calvo, M., Rodríguez Fernández, J. E., & Arufe-Giráldez, V. (2021). Relative Age Effect on Motor Competence in Children Aged 4-5 Years. Children, 8(2), 115.

Newell, K. M. (1986). Constraints on the development of coordination. In M. G. Wade & H. T. . Whiting (Eds.), Motor development in children: Aspects of coordination and control (pp. 341-361). Springer Netherlands.

Roberts, S. J., & Fairclough, S. J. (2012). The Influence of Relative Age Effect in the Assessment of High School Students in Physical Education in the United Kingdom. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 31(1), 56-70.

Schorer, J., Neumann, J., Cobley, S. P., Tietjens, M., & Baker, J. (2011). Lingering Effects of Relative Age in Basketball Players' Post Athletic Career. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 6(1), 143-147.

Stodden, D. F., Goodway, J. D., Langendorfer, S. J., Roberton, M. A., Rudisill, M. E., Garcia, C., & Garcia, L. E. (2008). A Developmental Perspective on the Role of Motor Skill Competence in Physical Activity: An Emergent Relationship. Quest, 60(2), 290-306.

Valentini, N. C., Ramalho, M. H., & Oliveira, M. A. (2014). Movement assessment battery for children-2: translation, reliability, and validity for Brazilian children. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35(3), 733-740.

Valtr, L., Psotta, R., & Abdollahipour, R. (2016). Gender differences in performance of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children - 2nd edition test in adolescents. Acta Gymnica, 46(4), 155-161.

Van Capelle, A., Broderick, C. R., van Doorn, N., E.Ward, R., & Parmenter, B. J. (2017). Interventions to improve fundamental motor skills in pre-school aged children: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 20(7), 658-666.

Venter, A., Pienaar, A. E., & Coetzee, D. (2015). Extent and nature of motor difficulties based on age, ethnicity, gender and socio-economic status in a selected group of three-to five-year-old children. South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation, 37(3), 169-183. Retrieved from [Accessed 2024, April 20]:

Wick, K., Leeger-Aschmann, C. S., Monn, N. D., Radtke, T., Ott, L. V, Rebholz, C. E., Cruz, S., Gerber, N., Schmutz, E. A., Puder, J. J., Munsch, S., Kakebeeke, T. H., Jenni, O. G., Granacher, U., & Kriemler, S. (2017). Interventions to Promote Fundamental Movement Skills in Childcare and Kindergarten: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 47(10), 2045-2068.

Similar Articles

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.