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Physical Literacy

Physical literacy is the skills, knowledge and behaviours that give us the confidence and motivation to move throughout our lives.

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"For the first time, Australians of all age and levels will have a standardised guide to support their development through movement"

Kate Palmer, CEO, australian sports commission

Developing your physical literacy can give you the confidence and capability to be active, and stay active for life.

This is because physical literacy gives you:

  • the physical skills and fitness
  • the attitudes and emotions that motivate you to be active
  • the knowledge and understanding of how, why and when you move, and
  • the social skills to be active with others.

Any person, at any life stage and circumstance, can improve their physical literacy.

Improving your physical literacy

The key to becoming more confident and capable starts here:

  • Get active! Physical literacy is learnt through movement. Finding Your 30 is a great place to start.
  • While you’re active, spend time on your physical, psychological, cognitive and social skills – these skills work together to build your physical literacy.
  • Try new things. It might seem daunting, but trying new activities and getting out of your comfort zone will expand your skills, knowledge and awareness - and you might find something you enjoy doing

The skills you need to be physically literate

Sport Australia has identified what physical, psychological, cognitive and social skills people can work on to improve their physical literacy.

  • you don’t have to master them all
  • you might only choose a few skills to work on at a time, and
  • what you focus on will depend on your starting point, circumstance and your goals.

We believe that by learning these skills, people will gain the confidence and capability to join in a variety of activities – enabling them to live active, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Helping others improve their physical literacy

Parents, teachers, coaches and policy makers have an important role in supporting others to improve their physical literacy.

In doing so, they can give a person the confidence and capability to be active, and stay active for life.

Parents and Families

From infants to teenagers, it is important for children to continually develop their level of physical literacy. Parents can use physical literacy as a reference point to understand what their children should be learning through movement - at home, at school and on the sporting field.

Schools, Teachers and Early Childhood Educators

Teaching skills to increase levels of physical literacy supports whole-of-child development and movement for life. Quality physical education supports physical literacy development.

Coaches, sporting and recreation organisations

Creating participation products or athlete development and training programs that focus on developing physical literacy, will lead to developing more well-rounded participants and athletes.

Policy makers

Physical literacy can be adopted through systems and policies across health, education, sport and recreation as a tool that improves individual and societal health and wellbeing.

The Australian Physical Literacy Standard and Development Milestones can be used to:

  • identify growth areas for a person to work on
  • locate tips to improve each physical literacy skill
  • enhance or create programs that promote physical literacy, and
  • review existing policies for a physical literacy approach

Why does Sport Australia support physical literacy

We’ve become a nation of spectators instead of participants and our sedentary lifestyle puts strain on virtually every system in the body – as well as our national health system. Today’s children aren’t able to run, throw, kick, catch or jump as well as previous generations, and so aren’t learning the fundamental skills to be active children - or grow into active adults.

There’s freedom, health and happiness in movement, and Sport Australia is committed to getting Australians moving again.

Rebuilding our nation’s physical literacy is a way for Australians to regain their freedom to move. The better our physical literacy, the more confident, capable and motivated we are to move today, and throughout our lives. That is why Sport Australia is invested in making physical literacy a part of the way we get active every day.

Additional Resources

Further guidance and information about physical literacy is available on the Clearinghouse for Sport.

You can look forward to more resources in the future. Sport Australia is partnering with education, sport and health organisations to promote and incorporate physical literacy at home, in schools, on sporting fields and in everyday life.

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