The motor development is the complex process of the acquisition and improvement of motor skills and abilities of the individual, which includes the acquisition of motor skills and abilities acquired not only through learning but also inherited by the individual, which are revealed in the course of the physical growth of the individual, i.e. through maturation of an individual. It is important to distinguish motor development from motor learning which implies the training and acquisition of new motor skills, in the course of the purposeful training, while motor control implies the ability of an individual to coordinate and control his or her motor activities.
The precursor period lays the foundation to the motor development of an individual, but it is important to remember that an individual is influenced not only by physical but also by social factors. Social factors play more important role in the motor development of an individual at the precursor period than physical ones, because during this stage of the development of an individual his or her motor activities, such as sports, are often influenced by social biases and stereotypes, while some studies show little different in motor development of boys and girls (Raudespp and Paasuke, 1995).
The views of researchers on the maturation vary consistently. On the one hand, McGraw argues that maturation and motor development of an individual is a combination, an interaction of maturation and learning. In other words, an individual learns new skills and abilities and develops inherited ones in the course of his or her development. On the other hand, Newell is more concerned with the social or environmental impact on the maturation of an individual. He does not pay as much attention to heredity as McGraw does. Instead, Newell argues that it is the social environment that influences the maturation of an individual since it is under the impact of the social environment the individual develops basic skills, abilities, and the motor development occurs. In this regard, Newell’s perspective is different from that of McGraw, who viewed maturation being closely intertwined with learning.
The Newell model provides the explanation of the development of an individual. In this regard, it is necessary to take into consideration three major concepts, including the person, the task and the environment, which comprise a so-called Newell triangle. Newell stands on the ground that the development of an individual occurs under the impact of constraints defined in the aforementioned triangle, i.e. under the impact of the individual’s environment and task demands. For instance, in motor activities, the ball size or distance to throw or run do matter as well as environmental factors, such as air, noise, culture and others. The three elements of the triangle interact and an individual motor development occurs under the impact of task demands and environment. Educators should create favorable environment, positive atmosphere and pose affordable tasks which are difficult to student, but they should be able to overcome them.
The gender skill gap implies the gender differences between male and females, which are socially and biologically determined, although the concept of gender mainly refers to the social domain rather than biological one. Researchers (Thomas and French, 1985) show little gender gaps between boys and girls at the early stage of their development. Raudsepp (1995) arrives to the similar conclusion arguing that gender gaps are mainly socially determined.
The pubertal period is critical in the development of females’ skills (Raudespp and Paasuke, 1995) because it is a period of consistent physiological changes, while in the prepubertal period there are insignificant differences between boys and girls.