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Partly randomised, controlled study in children aged 6–10 years to investigate motor and cognitive effects of a 9-week coordination training intervention with concurrent mental tasks


Introduction Physical training may play a prominent role in the development of preadolescent brains, but it is yet to be determined what type of exercise may generate higher cognitive effects, and if concurrent mental engagement provides further efficacy. The aim of this study is to investigate motor and cognitive effects of a 9-week exercise intervention in children aged 6–10 years. Trainings include the automatisation of challenging coordination exercises with concurrent mental tasks (intervention group) and multisport exercises with and without mental tasks (two control groups). It is hypothesised that all groups gain motor and cognitive effects, but highest benefits are expected for the combination of automatised coordination exercises with mental tasks.

Methods and analysis Two elementary schools (∼500 students) take part in the study. Data are generated by using the German Motor Performance Test 6–18 (Deutscher Motorik-Test 6–18), TDS (Match 4 Point), d2-R test of attention and Kasel-Concentration-Task for Children Aged 3–8 Years; test-duration: 6–7 min. After pretesting in September 2017 and a 9-week training intervention, post-testing takes place in December 2017 and March 2018 (long-term effects). Training interventions consist of coordination exercises with concurrent mental tasks (intervention group) and multimotor exercises with and without concurrent mental tasks (control groups). Shapiro-Wilk test will be used to test for normal distribution and the Levene test for variance homogeneity. The appropriate multivariate statistical methods (multivariate analysis of variance or Kruskal-Wallis test) will be used for analysing differences among the groups and for comparing preintervention with postintervention performances.

Ethics and dissemination All procedures have been approved by the board for ethical questions in science of the University of Innsbruck. Findings will be published in 2018 in international journals and presented at conferences. Schools will be informed of key results.

  • motor coordination training
  • preadolescent children
  • cognitive effects
  • motor performance
  • reaction time
  • mental tasks

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  • Contributors AS is the project manager, developed the initial study protocol, statistical treatment and training intervention programmes, and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. MK and PF contributed to developing the study protocol, served as supervisors and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. All authors agreed with the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by Sportunion Tirol (A-6020 Innsbruck, Rennweg 8;, a non-profit head organisation of sport clubs in Tirol.

  • Competing interests AS developed the suggested Kort. X training intervention programme and offers educational programmes for sport coaches and teachers ( Furthermore, AS is employed at Sportunion Tirol, the funding organisation (non-profit organisation).

  • Patient consent Parental/guardian consent obtained.

  • Ethics approval All procedures have been approved by the Board for Ethical Questions in Science of the University of Innsbruck (approval number 36_2017).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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