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MENTAL DEVELOPMENT:

Cognitive Development that will improve by participating In Sports

Generally speaking, the goal of participating in sports is to improve in areas of cognitive development commencing with motor skills. What are motor skills? Motor skills are functions of the brain that involvesengaging movements of the muscles to perform actions in a fluid and efficient manner. As a child’s body matures, the evolution of motor development relies heavily on a more efficient way of processing information. When in a Doctor’s office you may have seen an article on development of fine and gross motor skills, or even in such magazines: parenting magazines health development, etc. What exactly are they? This is not a simple question it is a complicated question.

Gross motor skills generally refer to movements involving larger muscles, like those in the arms, legs, feet or the entire body (used for walking, jumping and so on). Fine motor skills generally refer to movements involving smaller muscles, like those in hands, wrists and fingers (such as those used for holding a spoon, crayon or toy). These two skills are entwined, as we think about these two groups of skills, it is simpleto see how they overlap. When your child is getting something from her toy box in her/his room, he/she is using both large muscles (walking to the room and possibly reaching or bending for the item) and small muscles (grasping the toy with the little fingers). This visual illustration establishes the complicated coordination which is required to accomplish a “simple” task!

The development in early childhood determines if the child uses the four basic motor capacities that reflect a child’s athletic skills are balance, flexibility, agility, and force. Balance is a strong foundation for developing an athlete, especially if you want to be a gymnast. For instance, improved balance supports most or all of our athletic skills, such as running, throwing, kicking, jumping, hitting tennis balls or baseballs, and the rapid changes of direction needed in many sports. Next is flexibility allows children to perform more physical stretching motions such as swinging a bat, a tennis racket or a golf club, jumping, and throwing and kicking a ball. Then there is agility grants athletes the ability to swiftly change direction or move in forward, backward, and lateral motions. Lastly force, whereolder children and young adults can throw and kick a ball further and harder and propelthemselves faster off the ground.

We also focus on the executive functions: Abilitie that enable goal-oriented behavior, such as the ability to plan, and execute a goal. These include:Flexibility: the capacity for quickly switching to the appropriate mental mode.
Theory of mind: insight into other people’s inner world, their plans, their likes and dislikes.
Anticipation: prediction based on pattern recognition.

Problem-solving: defining the problem in the right way to generate solutions and select the right one.
Decision making: the ability to make decisions based on problem-solving, on incomplete information and on emo-tions (ours and others’).

Working Memory: the capacity to hold and manipulate information “on-line” in real time.
Emotional self-regulation: the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions for good performance.
Sequencing: the ability to break down complex actions into manageable units and prioritize them in the right order.

Inhibition: the ability to withstand distraction, and internal urges.