Physical Literacy and Sport

Physical Literacy and Sport  
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport, Australian Sports Commission
Last updated  Last updated: 29 May 2017
Please refer to the Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer page for
more information concerning this content.

Physical Literacy and Sport
iStock, 5934838


In its broadest context ‘literacy’ means gaining knowledge and competency in a specific discipline or subject area. During childhood the learning process is facilitated by direct intervention from adult carers (primarily parents, teachers, and significant others), as well as interaction with peers and the environment. The learning process evolves and continues through adulthood. Both structured and informal learning situations contribute to the desired result – literacy. 

Physical literacy is a lifelong process for individuals with a focus on learning and improving competency of movement skills across a wide range of physical activity situations. 

Key Messages 


Physical literacy is a process that begins in infancy and continues throughout life.


Early competency of movement skills appears to encourage greater participation in sport and lifelong physical activity.


Participation in any sport will contribute to the acquisition of related fundamental movement skills. Some sports, when introduced to young children (such as athletics, gymnastics, and swimming) activate many skills and are generally accessible for early-age skill development.


Play opportunities, relevant physical education curriculum, and organised sport participation help young children to become ‘physically literate’.

Clearinghouse members

Please login to unlock this topic

Please contact us if you are experiencing any difficulty accessing the Clearinghouse information resources that you require.
If you are not a member of the Clearinghouse for Sport please join now

Related Topics


Is this information complete? 

The Clearinghouse for Sport is a sector-wide knowledge sharing initiative, and as such your contributions are encouraged and appreciated. If you would like to suggest a resource, submit a publication, or provide feedback on this topic, please contact us.
Alternatively, if you would like to be kept up to date with research and information published about this topic, please request a research profile setup.