Chapter 14: Issues and Challenges in Physical Education and Sport

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Chapter 14: Issues and Challenges in Physical Education and Sport

  • How are the roles of physical education, exercise science, and sport professionals in the consumer education movement relative to physical activity?
  • What are some strategies that professionals could use to promote daily physical education throughout the country?
  • What are some strategies that could be used to promote lifespan involvement in physical activity and sport?

Issues in Physical Education and Sport

  • Gambling
  • Drug Abuse
  • Increasing Salaries
  • Violence
  • Burnout of young athletes
  • Professionalization of collegiate athletics
  • Racism
  • Academic qualifications of athletes
  • Emphasis on winning in youth sports
  • Accountability of teachers
  • Integrity of PE as a school subject
  • Equity

Issues in Physical Education and Sport

  • Leadership in physical activity movement
  • Promotion of affective development
  • Leadership of youth sport programs
  • Growing field of physical education and sport
  • Closing the gap between research and practice

Challenges in Physical Education and Sport

  • Daily quality physical education K-12
  • Advocacy
  • Attainment of national health objectives
  • Lifelong involvement in physical activity for all people

Leadership in Physical Activity Movement

  • We have a responsibility to educate the public about the benefits of physical activity and fitness.
    • National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA)
  • Consumer education about which programs meet health standards.
  • Professionals’ leadership in physical activity and fitness movement
    • Corbin: Seek active leadership roles
    • Ewers: Be “pace setters” of the exercise parade
    • “Because it falls within our domain.”

Teaching Values in Physical Education and Sport

  • Development of values, character, and ethical decision-making skills has long been touted as one of our primary purposes.
  • Values developed include:
    • Cooperation
    • Self-discipline
    • Fair play
    • Emotional control
    • Teamwork
    • Self-esteem and self-confidence

Teaching Values in Physical Education and Sport

  • Ethical and moral abuses associated with sport at all levels has received increased attention.
  • Use of physical education practices that humiliate, embarrass, and belittle students have been tolerated.
    • How do these practices enhance individual development?
    • How do these practices contribute to lifespan involvement?
  • Careful planning by professionals is needed in order to structure programs to promote the development of values and ethics.

Teaching Values in Physical Education and Sport

  • Promoting an active lifestyle can be enhanced by the development of affective behavior in our program participants:
    • Confidence in their abilities as movers
    • Sense of self-worth
    • Appreciation of the value of health and the contribution of physical activity to well-being
  • Provide more individualized programs if it will empower participants to take responsibility for their lives.

Leadership in Youth Sport

  • Youth sports programs involve over 25 million boys and girls and 3 million adult volunteers.
  • Purpose of youth sports:
    • Promote the healthy physical, psychological, and social development of participants.
  • Criticism of youth sports
    • Overemphasis on winning and competition.
    • Losing sight of the developmental focus of youth sports.
  • Need for physical education and sport professionals to assume a greater role in the conduct of youth sports.

Young Athletes’ Bill of Rights

  • Offers parents and coaches guidance in structuring a sport experience...
    • Opportunity to participate regardless of ability.
    • Participation at a level that is commensurate with each child’s developmental level.
    • Qualified adult leadership.
    • Shared leadership and decision-making.
    • Right to play as a child and not as an adult.
    • Proper preparation.
    • Equal opportunity to strive for success.
    • Treatment with dignity.
    • Have fun through sport.

Leadership in Youth Sport (Seefeldt)

  • “Youth sports programs are neither inherently good nor bad.”... Their value depends on the quality of adult leadership and the supporting environment.”
  • Volunteers should focus on promoting continued sport involvement of children rather than on winning.
  • Volunteers should be aware of the reason’s children participate in youth sport and try to incorporate them into every practice:
    • Fun
    • Learn skills
    • Be with their friends
    • Excitement of competition on their own terms

Improving Youth Sports (Seefeldt)

  • Make changes to accommodate children of all abilities and interests.
  • Continue research in order to base programs on sound principles.
  • Develop and implement sound training programs for coaches.

Leadership in Youth Sports (Martens)

  • Provide experiences that will “turn kids on to physical activity for the lifetime.”
    • Positive, Fun
    • Increase self-worth
  • Principle’s for Youth Sport:
    • Modeling principle
    • Reinforcement principle
    • Self-determination principle
    • Self-worth principle
    • Fun principle

The Growing Field of Physical Education and Sport

  • Since the late 1960s, there has been an increased depth and breadth of the field.
  • Development of the subdisicplines has lead to research traditions, professional organizations, and publications new and expanded career opportunities.
    • However, the numerous subdisciplines have raised concerns about fragmentation and specialization of the field.
  • Important to recognize the role of each of the subdisciplines in achieving our mission of helping people to be physically active throughout their lifespan.

The Field of Physical Education and Sport

  • There still remains the need to integrate our knowledge to better respond to the needs of individuals with whom we work.
  • Is it time for a “new” name for the field?
    • Do we have a “confused identity that lacks an accurate concept of who we are, what we do, and where we are going?”
  • Professional commitment to further growth of the field through teacher preparation and professional organizations.

The Gap Between Research and Practice

  • Time lag between publication of research and the utilization of relevant findings.
  • Critical to narrow the gap so that our programs are based on sound current principles.
  • A diversity of factors contribute to this gap:
    • Practitioner factors
        • Inadequate knowledge of research methods, lack of communication between researchers and practitioners, negative attitude towards research, lack of time and resources
    • Researcher factors
        • Conflicting results of studies due to poorly designed studies, researcher’s lack of concern for application of findings

Closing the Gap Between Research and Practice

  • Professional preparation programs better preparing students to interpret research and utilize the findings.
  • Practitioners and researchers working collaboratively to investigate problems.
  • Researchers addressing practical applications of their work when reporting findings.
  • Research “translators”:
    • Consolidate findings, identify practical applications, and disseminate easy-to-understand information through newsletters and journals.

High-Quality Daily Physical Education

  • Regular, appropriate physical activity can contribute to good health and enhance the quality of life for people of all ages.
  • Therefore physical activity should start at an early age.
    • Daily PE can reach 51 million children and youth and help them learn the skills, knowledge, and values necessary to incorporate physical activity into their lifestyles.
    • Daily PE has been encouraged for all students K-12 since 1987, with the National Physical Education Resolution or House Concurrent Resolution 97.

Components of a Quality Program (NASPE)

  • Provides evidence of its effectiveness through assessment of outcomes.
  • Provides daily opportunities for the development of skills and fitness.
  • Fosters an understanding of why, when, and how physical activity can be incorporated into one’s lifestyle.

Components of a Quality Program (NASPE)

  • Focuses on acquisition and maintenance of health-related benefits of physical activity.
  • Promotes the development of skills for participation beyond the school years.
  • Accommodates the needs and developmental levels of all students.
  • Teachers students how to apply the concepts of exercise in their daily lives.

High-quality Daily Physical Education

  • PE should be taught by certified physically educators.
  • Each teacher must support the crusade for high-quality daily PE.
  • Importance of shaping healthy behaviors, during the early years; harder to change unhealthy habits.
  • Capitalize on current societal interest in wellness, fitness, and physical activity. Don’t Wait!!!


  • Physical education and sport professionals must take an active role in promoting their programs.
    • Use of effective communication to influence others.
  • Must capitalize on societal interest in sport, physical fitness, and health otherwise there will be continued:
    • decline of PE programs in schools
    • increased privatization of sports
    • need for for health promotion and physical activity programs in the worksite, community, and medical settings.
  • Important to market programs to gain support and to involve more people.


  • Our responsibility to address the tremendous disparities that still exist in physical activity and disease conditions according to race, ethnicity, age, sex, education, sexual orientation, ability/disability, and income.
  • Increase access to, and promotion of quality programs.
  • NASPE:
    • May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
    • May 1 to May 7: National Physical Education and Sport Week
  • AAHPERD and American Heart Association
    • Jump Rope for Heart
    • Hoops for Heart


  • National Girls and Women in Sports Day
    • Promotes the increase of opportunities in sport for girls and women.
  • Passage of state and federal legislation
    • Physical Education for Progress Act (PEP)
  • Use various forms of media to reach people.
  • Contact organizations that promote physical activity and health and ask them to become more “proactive.”

Goals of Healthy People 2010

  • To help individuals of all ages increase life expectancy and improve their quality of life.
  • To eliminate health disparities among segments of the population, including differences that occur by gender, race or ethnicity, education or income, disability, geographic location, or sexual orientation.

Achievement of National Health Objectives

  • Take an active role in working with other health professionals.
  • Personal commitment of physical education and sport professionals to be role models for healthy, active lifestyles.
  • Attaining these goals with lead to an increased public recognition of the worth and value of our field, as well as increased employment opportunities.

Lifespan Involvement for All People

  • Expansion of physical education,sport programs, and services to new settings and population groups.
      • Preschoolers
      • Adults
      • Elderly
      • Persons with disabilities
  • Increased recognition that regular and appropriate physical activity can make a vital contribution to the health throughout the lives of all people.

Lifespan Involvement for All People

  • Enhancement of quality of life and longevity.
  • For maximum benefits, healthy habits should be developed early in life.
  • Growth of sport involvement for all ages and abilities.
  • Changes in our programs to accommodate a wider range of individual differences.
    • Culturally competent and developmentally appropriate physical education programs.

Lifespan Involvement for All People

  • Access to programs for underserved populations is critical.
    • Growth of commercial programs for those who can afford to pay will limit participation by those who can not afford the fees.
    • Access should be available to all individuals regardless of socioeconomic background.
  • Professional preparation for students to work with an increasingly diverse population across the lifespan.

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