Motor Competence Interventions in Children and Adolescents - Theoretical and Atheoretical Approaches: A Systematic Review

Zeinab Khodaverdi, Wesley O'Brien, Michael Duncan, Cain Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study aimed to compare for the first time the immediate and retention effects of theory-based and atheoretical (MC) interventions, by conducting a systematic review to determine which intervention approach resulted in the most improvements for motor outcomes. In accordance with PRISMA guidelines, studies were identified from searches across seven databases, for articles relating to theory-based (Achievement Goal Theory, Dynamic Systems Theory, and Social-Cognitive Theory) and atheoretically-derived MC interventions in typically developing children and adolescents. Publication bias was assessed using an adapted form of Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials statement. Of the thirty two included studies, seventeen utilized theory-based intervention approaches. The majority of studies were grounded in Achievement Goal Theory. Also, the majority of MC interventions elicited immediate (short) and/or long-term effects for children and adolescents. Studies varied with regards to intervention components (content, frequency, length and provider) and MC assessment (MC tool, dimension and retention period). Many studies scored poorly for risk of bias items. “Overall, the levels of success for theoretical and atheoretical intervention programs were not distinguishable. Findings open up new horizons for motor skills instruction to be taught using developmentally appropriate pedagogy, a research field which has gained significant traction among stakeholders in recent years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Early online date5 Dec 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Dec 2022


  • Achievement Goal Theory
  • Dynamic Systems Theory
  • Social-Cognitive theory
  • Youth
  • Motor Skills Interventions


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