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Physical Literacy 

What is Physical Literacy?

Physical Literacy is a concept that “offers a more holistic, realistic and inclusive approach to
promoting engagement in physical activity for all, and for life”
(Whitehead, 2010). The concept is underpinned by a philosophy that sees the mind and body as interconnected.
It considers all domains of development, including motivation and confidence (affective domain),physical competence (physical domain) and knowledge and understanding (cognitive domain). It’s a journey!


Physical literacy is a life long journey that is characterised by unique twists and turns for each
individual. There can be significant events, and significant others who influence our journey.

“Physical Literacy can be described as the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in
physical activities for life.”
IPLA, 2017



















Motivation and Confidence is the affective domain of Physical Literacy.

Through supporting children to develop their Motivation and Confidence they can begin to develop the relevant attitudes and emotions for physical activity and have self belief in their own ability. Children may demonstrate Motivation and Confidence through:

  • Showing certainty in their ability
  • Displaying positive responses
  • Seeking to try new challenges and willing to try new things
  • Being resilient in activities
  • Taking part in activity because they see enjoyment and understand
  • the benefits

Physical Competence is the physical domain of Physical Literacy.

Developing Physical Competence is as important for a person’s health and ability to do everyday tasks now and as they get older, as is for their performance in sport. The sequence in which children learn these skills is similar.


Knowledge and Understanding is the cognitive domain of Physical Literacy.

Developing Knowledge and Understanding in children can be developed in many
different ways, things you can consider are:

  • Understanding the benefits of being physically active
  • Effects on the body and energy levels
  • Self evaluation, setting goals and experiencing success
  • Roles and responsibilities within physical activity and sport
  • Knowledge and understanding of movement
  • Knowledge and understanding of a balanced diet, nutrition and hydration


Tri Active Cymru Activator 

The course is designed to empower teachers, coaches and parents to deliver triathlon activities in key stage 1 and 2 and community groups underpinned by physical literacy by being motivated, confident, competent and inclusive organisers that instill the same values in their school children.

As teachers, coaches and parents you will gain confidence and have the ability to provide high quality physical activity sessions for your pupils. You can impact on your pupils’ physical literacy journey by delivering sessions that allow your pupils to develop their motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding, through triathlon and multi-sport.


Read more about the programme HERE


Underpinning Research 

To read more around the underpinning research of this programme and resource, please click here









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