Physical Literacy and Sport

Physical Literacy and Sport

Prepared by : Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport
Evaluation by : Physical Literacy Leadership team , Sport Australia, (September 2019)
Last updated : 29 November 2019
Content disclaimer : See Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer
Physical Literacy and Sport


Physical literacy is about developing the skills, knowledge and behaviours that give us the confidence and motivation to lead active lives.

Physical literacy involves holistic lifelong learning through movement and physical activity. It can help Australians at every stage of life develop and maintain positive physical activity behaviours and delivers physical, psychological, social and cognitive health and wellbeing benefits. 

The importance of being ‘physically literate’ is just as profound as being literate in reading, language and numeracy.  

Key messages

    Evidence of decline

    Research and evidence suggests that Australian children's physical literacy and motor skill competence is declining, with potential life-long impacts for health and well-being.  


    Early competency of movement skills appears to encourage greater participation in sport and lifelong physical activity, both of which contribute to better lifetime health outcomes. 

    Contribution of sport

    All sports contribute to acquiring related fundamental movement skills. Some sports (e.g. athletics, gymnastics, swimming) activate many skills and are generally accessible for early-age skill development.

    Other factors

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

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