Generalization today is one of the most frequently discussed issues. Developing stereotypes is a form of judging that is typical for our way of thinking as humans. This ability helped the humanity survive till present days. In ancient times, judgment and stereotypes were one of the major helpers of people. A caveman saw a lion attack another caveman and concluded that lions are dangerous. Not just one particular lion, but all of them as a species. This example could be applied to a variety of harmful and dangerous things and phenomena.
Therefore, creating stereotypes was the way our forefathers learnt about the world. The times have changed, thousands of years have passed, but the basic features of human way of thinking remained the same – we still tend to turn to stereotypes when we encounter something new or unknown.
Stereotyping today is viewed as counterproductive and useless practice clouding people’s minds with invalid notions and beliefs. Stereotyping is applied to gender, race, culture, nationality, mental, and physical abilities. This paper is focused on discussion of stereotypes concerning motor skills and abilities in sports.
The argument of general versus specific motor abilities includes two opposite hypotheses. One of them says that motor abilities that exist in a particular individual are related, and due to that can be viewed from the perspective of general motor ability in the global scenario. Basically, the hypothesis states that someone who is good at performing certain skills is going to be good at others. In other words, a star football player will be good at playing baseball, basketball and other sports.
The second hypothesis opposes this one stating that the performance of every sport skill requires a variety of specific abilities, which are independent from each other and can be developed differently in every individual.
For example, each skill can be broken down into different aspects such as push, speed, approach, strike. All of these aspects are represented by different abilities of a human body such as strength, aiming, coordination, flexibility among others. Practically, every human being has different development of each of the abilities; this is why their performance of different motor skills is going to be individual.
It is also important to remember that the bodies of all human beings differ a lot. Someone is taller, someone is heavier, someone has longer arms, or bigger feet. All of these features are important for the performance of various sport tasks. For example, the legendary Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe is known for his rather large feet, which have size 17 and often are a part of discussion concerning the keys to Thorpe’s exceptional performance in swimming. Individual differences in sports cannot and should not be overlooked.
Among the features that compose performance of every athlete are height, weight, body type, the composition of muscle fiber, level of motivation, and learning styles. To succeed, an athlete needs to have a high score in each of these areas.
Besides, this high score needs to remain consistent throughout the career of an individual. This way, performance of an athlete does not only consist of their physical talents and characteristics. Even the strongest and most gifted athlete can break down before the game, lose confidence or focus, become nervous and fail.
In a situation when children’s physical abilities are evaluated by parents observing a football game, one should not state things based on the current performance of a certain child. The bodies of young children and adolescents are yet to start their development, their muscles and bone structure are undefined, and their height and weight proportions will change as they mature. Moreover, their characters and emotional traits will change a lot. Each of these features is likely to cardinally alter their sport performance.
This way, the parents should not only forget about generalizing the physical abilities of their offspring, but also remember the growth and development factors that are able to change physical characteristics of children completely. A good example of the influence of puberty is the world renowned female pole-vaulting champion Yelena Isinbayeva who started her career as a gymnast, but had to leave it at the age of 15 because she became too tall for it.
Therefore, children who were good at some sport may eventually grow out of it, while other kids may develop some physical abilities and become better as they grow up. Motor skills are divided into fine and gross ones. Fine motor skills are used for writing, sculpting, and drawing. To help a child develop them, adults are to employ games and creative practice. Tools that may be useful are colorful beads, clay, threads, dough, and paint.
Children can perform various tasks such as making figurines out of clay and decorating them, painting with their fingers or Q-tips, making snowflakes out of paper. Gross motor skills are used in sports; they involve running, jumping, striking, kicking, and throwing. Practice and repetition are required for the development of these skills.
To refine gross motor skills adults may ask children perform complex moving patterns including several different abilities, or work on the same skill from various angles, for example throwing objects of different weight and sizes in different ways and at different targets.
In conclusion, generalizing the children’s physical abilities means giving them a wrong idea about the factors contributing their own performance, and when an athlete is unaware of their strengths and how to make them work, this will eventually turn into a big professional issue. Besides, in the contemporary world focused on diversity and differences generalization is rather old-fashioned.