Virtual and “real-life” wall/rock climbing: motor movement comparisons and video gaming pedagogical perceptions

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Richard W.Riley College of Education


Physical Education, Sport, and Human Performance


The purpose of this study was to examine similarites and differences between motion-based video games (MBVGs) and “real-life” wall/rock climbing and determine the perceived usefulness of utilizing MBVGs when trying to teach someone how to authentically wall/rock climb. A mixed-methods multi-phase intervention with two randomized groups – wall/rock climbing first (WF; n = 12) and MBVGs first (GF; n = 12) utilizing Xbox One’s Kinect Sports Rivals Rock Climbing – was used. All participants had no prior climbing experience. Results indicated the participants perceived MBVGs and authentic wall/rock climbing were similar concerning climbing tactics/strategies and arm movements, but were different regarding effort and leg, finger/grip, and jumping movements. Moreover, both the MBVGs and “real-life” wall/rock climbing experiences were needed for a significant difference in the participants’ perceived understanding of both the necessary motor skills and tactics/strategies needed to wall/rock climb. In sum, MBVGs may be used as a pedagogical tool to teach strategies of wall/rock climbing, particularly with beginners or those with special needs, but caution must be heeded due to perceived effort and lower extremity movement differences compared to authentic climbing.

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Sports Technology