A STUDY TO INVESTIGATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF FITNESS IN SECONDARY CHILDREN
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The aim of this study was to examine the development of physical fitness of secondary school children in year 7, 8, 9 and 10 using four fitness tests; the multistage fitness test, the vertical jump and grip strength tests and a 40m sprint. A sample of a 165 (boys n = 88 and girls n = 77) children, aged 11-15, from a secondary school were randomly selected by class from each year group by the Head of PE to participate in the study. The tests were conducted separately within year each group using the timetabled (Physical Education) PE lessons. The multistage fitness test was conducted in the first PE lesson of the week and the remaining tests were conducted in the second PE lesson. During the testing participants were separated by gender. Performance in all of the fitness assessments for boys and girls displayed a significant improvement from year 7 to year 10 (p = <.01). Over the four tests the dominant theme within the boys results highlighted that significant improvements occurred between year 7 and 8 vs. year 9 and 10 boys (p = .0.1), suggesting there an important phase or maturation and development that occurs between year 8 and 9. The girls results highlight there is are decreases in performance during year 9, suggesting a potentially poor general fitness combined with performance at this age becomes affected by increases in body mass. The findings therefore demonstrate despite an overall increase in performance from year 7 to 10, assessment to further understanding is needed to highlight strengths and weaknesses that the school can target to improve and create informed interventions.