In response to a global decline in children’s and adolescent’s physical activity participation, parents are looking for ways to foster lifelong exercise habits for their children. However, is physical activity and team participation enough? 

The concept of physical literacy (PL) has drawn growing attention in the areas of health and physical education over the past decade. Physical literacy has been defined as “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.” Kids with higher physical literacy have a higher chance of growing healthily in the physical, mental, and psychosocial domains. The evolving interpretations of PL have emphasized a holistic embodiment to establish purposeful physical pursuits of an active lifestyle and has been espoused to be a vital component of a healthy culture in which individuals live as adults.

In a first-of-its-kind study conducted by Ming-Hui Li of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, these were the key points.

  • The researchers studied the influence of student-athletes’ perceived physical literacy on their perceptions of coaching effectiveness. Results have shown that perceived physical literacy has significant influence on predicting coaching effectiveness from student-athletes’ perceptions.
  • The current study provides a fresh perspective for the ongoing physical literacy and coaching education programs in practice.
  • Coach education programs should focus on the development of student-athletes’ PL to focus on the prolonged motivation to engage in sport and physical activity over the longer term.

The findings of this study highlighted the importance of athletes' physical literacy in predicting coaching efficacy and learned behavior, which were the main reflective domains of the effectiveness of coaching. 

The practical applications point to the important role physical literacy played in coaching activities and that more attention should be paid to develop athletes’ physical literacy, including delivering the knowledge of physical literacy concepts, emphasizing athletes’ sense of self and self-confidence, and self-expression and communication with their coaches or others during training sessions. 

In addition, the current study could provide a brand new perspective for future coaching interventions, especially for coaches who participated in continuing professional education programs, they should focus more on developing student-athletes’ physical literacy to achieve effective coaching. Moreover, as the main stakeholders of athletes during coaching, coaches should combine coaching with the concept of physical literacy or embed physical literacy concepts into their coaching practice.


Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (18), 82 - 90.