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The specificity versus generality of ball-handling skills – Empirical evidence for a general ball-handling ability.

Journal article
Authors Pär Rylander
Magnus Karlsteen
Konstantin Kougioumtzis
Jan-Eric Gustafsson
Published in Human Movement Science
Volume 66
Pages 477-486
ISSN 0167-9457
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Department of Physics (GU)
Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science
Pages 477-486
Language en
Keywords Ball-handling Skills, Abilities, Generality, Specificity
Subject categories Sport and Fitness Sciences, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, Other Materials Engineering


The purpose of this study was to investigate if ball-handling skills are specific and uncorrelated (i.e., motor specificity), or if they share an underlying ball-handling ability (i.e., motor gen- erality). To empirically investigate this question, we had a sample of 201 adolescents perform 12 novel ball-handling tasks. Using confirmatory factor analysis, we showed that a model based on the assumptions of the generality perspective was superior to a model based on assumptions of specificity. The general ball-handling factor did significantly influence the performance on all 12 tasks, with factor loadings ranging between 0.39 and 0.79. The results and it’s practical im- plications are discussed in relation to development of sport specific skills.

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