Physical literacy: Importance, assessment and future directions

Susan Giblin*, Dave Collins, Chris Button

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Physical literacy (PL) has become a major focus of physical education, physical activity and sports promotion worldwide. PL is a multifaceted conceptualisation of the skills required to fully realise potentials through embodied experience. Substantial financial investments in PL education by governments are underpinned by a wide range of anticipated benefits, including expectations of significant future savings to healthcare, improved physical and psychological well-being of the population, increased work-force productivity and raised levels of expertise in sport and exercise participation. However, disappointingly, scientific evidence showing the efficacy of PL interventions to successfully meet such high expectation is limited. We suggest that contradictions in research findings are due largely to limitations in movement assessment batteries and consequent discrepancies between measurements used to assess the immediate outcomes of PL programmes. Notably, there is no robust empirical tool for evidencing skill learning in the physical movement component of PL, education and this presents a serious limitation to the design of, and claims that can be made for, such interventions. Considering the parameters of proficient PL skills and the limitations of current evaluation instruments, possible future directions for developing empirical measures of PL movement skills are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1177-1184
Number of pages8
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number9
Early online date5 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014

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