Enter your details:
Thank you for subscribing.
Subscribe to our newsletter!

Ivan Jurak1, Ozren Rađenović2, Vjeran Švaić2, Ivan Vrbik3,2, Dalibor Kiseljak2

1University of Applied Health Sciences, Department of Physiotherapy, Zagreb, Croatia
2University of Applied Health Sciences, Department of Kinesiology, Zagreb, Croatia
3University of Slavonski Brod, Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, Slavonski Brod, Croatia

Early Gains in Motor Learning Measured Through Two Coordination Tests: A Retrospective Analysis of Gender Differences

Sport Mont 2023, 21(3), 21-36 | DOI: 10.26773/smj.231005


Motor skills can be improved through rapid on-the-job training or slower multi-session learning. The objective of this study was to determine the rapid learning differences between male and female university students during the execution of two motor coordination tests. Available data from 716 female and 331 male college students were retrospectively analyzed. The female participants had a mean age (±SD) of 19.6 (±1.55) years, while the male participants recorded a mean age of 19.8 (±1.87) years. Data were collected using two motor coordination tests, each performed in triplicate. The statistical method used in this analysis was mixed-model ANOVA. The interaction effect of gender and number of attempts was statistically significant for both motor coordination tests (F=12.446; p<0.01; η2p=0.13 & F=11.169; p<0.01; η2p=0.01). Post-hoc testing showed that males performed better at the tasks in all three runs, and both genders improved their performance in subsequent trials. However, females showed a larger relative improvement from trial to trial than did males. The two coordination tests yield similar results. The observed differences in improvements in the coordination tests may be attributed to different motor learning strategies and cognitive processing between the sexes.


motor adaptation, gross motor ability, neuroplasticity

View full article
(PDF – 332KB)


Adi-Japha, E., Berke, R., Shaya, N., & Julius, M. S. (2019). Different post-training processes in children’s and adults’ motor skill learning. PLOS ONE, 14(1), e0210658. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210658

Adriyani, R., Iskandar, D., & Camelia, L. S. (2020, February 19). Gender Differences in Motor Coordination and Physical Activity, 122–126. Atlantis Press. https://doi.org/10.2991/ahsr.k.200214.034

Benjamini, Y., & Hochberg, Y. (1995). Controlling the False Discovery Rate: A Practical and Powerful Approach to Multiple Testing. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series B (Methodological), 57(1), 289–300. JSTOR. Retrieved from JSTOR.

Bianco, V., Berchicci, M., Quinzi, F., Perri, R. L., Spinelli, D., & Di Russo, F. (2020). Females are more proactive, males are more reactive: Neural basis of the gender-related speed/accuracy trade-off in visuo-motor tasks. Brain Structure & Function, 225(1), 187–201. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-019-01998-3

Bruton, M., & O’Dwyer, N. (2018). Synergies in coordination: A comprehensive overview of neural, computational, and behavioral approaches. Journal of Neurophysiology, 120(6), 2761–2774. https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00052.2018

Constantino Coledam, D. (2020). Assessment of physical fitness among non-athlete adolescents: Effect of familiarization sessions article details. Baltic Journal of Health and Physical Activity, 12, 47–57. https://doi.org/10.29359/BJHPA.12.4.05

Costa, R. M., Cohen, D., & Nicolelis, M. A. L. (2004). Differential corticostriatal plasticity during fast and slow motor skill learning in mice. Current Biology: CB, 14(13), 1124–1134. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2004.06.053

Díaz, J. J., Rojas, W. S., & Morera, M. (2015). Age and gender differences in fundamental motor skills (original version in English). Pensar en Movimiento: Revista de Ciencias del Ejercicio y la Salud, 13(2), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.15517/pensarmov.v13i2.18327

Dinkel, D., & Snyder, K. (2020). Exploring gender differences in infant motor development related to parent’s promotion of play. Infant Behavior and Development, 59, 101440. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2020.101440

Gromeier, M., Koester, D., & Schack, T. (2017). Gender Differences in Motor Skills of the Overarm Throw. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00212

Hopkins, W. G. (2000). Measures of reliability in sports medicine and science. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 30(1), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200030010-00001

Howe, M. J. A., Davidson, J. W., & Sloboda, J. A. (1998). Innate talents: Reality or myth? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 21(3), 399–407. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X9800123X

Iorga, A., Jianu, A., Gheorghiu, M., Crețu, B. D., & Eremia, I.-A. (2023). Motor Coordination and Its Importance in Practicing Performance Movement. Sustainability, 15(7), 5812. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15075812

Junaid, K. A., & Fellowes, S. (2006). Gender Differences in the Attainment of Motor Skills on the Movement Assessment Battery for Children. Physical & Occupational Therapy In Pediatrics, 26(1–2), 5–11. https://doi.org/10.1080/J006v26n01_02

Kimura, A., Yokozawa, T., & Ozaki, H. (2021). Clarifying the Biomechanical Concept of Coordination Through Comparison With Coordination in Motor Control. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 3. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fspor.2021.753062

Kokštejn, J., Musalek, M., & Tufano, J. (2017). Are sex differences in fundamental motor skills uniform throughout the entire preschool period? PLoS ONE, 12. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176556

Lyakh, V. (2021). Differences in the level of development and proficiency in coordination motor abilities among female and male athletes of selected combat sports. Journal of Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences, 31, 11–23. https://doi.org/10.5604/01.3001.0015.7373

Magill, R., & Anderson, D. (2013). Motor Learning and Control: Concepts and Applications (10th edition). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Moreno-Briseño, P., Díaz, R., Campos-Romo, A., & Fernandez-Ruiz, J. (2010). Sex-related differences in motor learning and performance. Behavioral and Brain Functions, 6(1), 74. https://doi.org/10.1186/1744-9081-6-74

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2015.08.022

Neljak, B., Sporiš, G., Višković, S., & Markuš, D. (2012). Cro-fit norme. Retrieved from https://www.bib.irb.hr/578943

Newell, K. M. (2020). What are Fundamental Motor Skills and What is Fundamental About Them? Journal of Motor Learning and Development, 8(2), 280–314. https://doi.org/10.1123/jmld.2020-0013

Profeta, V. L. S., & Turvey, M. T. (2018). Bernstein’s levels of movement construction: A contemporary perspective. Human Movement Science, 57, 111–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2017.11.013

Rodrigues, P., Ribeiro, M., Barros, R., Lopes, S., & Sousa, A. (2019). Performance on the movement assessment battery for children: A systematic review about gender differences. RICYDE. Revista Internacional de Ciencias Del Deporte, XV(55), 72–87.

Roivainen, E., Suokas, F., & Saari, A. (2021). An examination of factors that may contribute to gender differences in psychomotor processing speed. BMC Psychology, 9(1), 190. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-021-00698-0

Schmidt, R. A. (1988). Motor control and learning: A behavioral emphasis, 2nd ed (pp. xi, 578). Champaign, IL, England: Human Kinetics Publishers.

Seidler, R. D. (2010). Neural Correlates of Motor Learning, Transfer of Learning, and Learning to Learn. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 38(1), 3. https://doi.org/10.1097/JES.0b013e3181c5cce7

Stelmach, P., Rydzik, Ł., & Ambroży, T. (2020). Sexual dimorphism in the level of special coordination ability of swimmers of the Sports Championships Schools. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 17. https://doi.org/10.14198/jhse.2022.171.13

Zheng, Y., Ye, W., Korivi, M., Liu, Y., & Hong, F. (2022). Gender Differences in Fundamental Motor Skills Proficiency in Children Aged 3–6 Years: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(14), 8318. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148318