The PE Playbook – April 2016 Edition

Welcome to the April 2016 Edition of the PE Playbook. The PE Playbook is a review of blog posts over the past month that are specific to Physical Education or Youth Sport. Its about bringing these blog posts into a format that is easy to find, use and share. Hopefully this will result in more PE Teachers (and others) reading them and engaging with them. If you have any feedback about the presentation or content of the PE Playbook then please let me know in the comments section of this post or via @ImSporticusPrevious Editions of the PE Playbook can be found here.


Nick Levett is the Talent Identification Manager for The Football Association and blogs at Rivers of Thinking in a personal capacity on football, youth sport and learning. In A short note on academic research… addresses the issues of accessibility and language of research that I’m sure many teachers and coaches have, suggesting that in the future we need to work together. Nick then questions some of the ‘norms’ we take for granted in football in Common practice trumping common sense… such as single file line shooting warm-ups. This reflection can be taken into our practices as PE teachers and school sport coaches. Nick continues this questioning of norms in Developing your goalkeeper… and perhaps we should see training the keeper as a footballer at youth level. Finally he holds up the mirror to his own Coaching mistakes I’ve made: some honest reflections… Nick’s message about game day for me is sport on, lets leave our coaching in a box for the good of the children playing.

In addition to his own posts he has had a number of guest posts. Jack Walton shares a story of youth football in  a Himalayan weather game… and asks us to consider the needs of the children participating first. Rebecca Symes is a sports psychologist and in sport psychology in action… she shares some of her methods she used with a junior cricket team. After every snake comes a ladder is something I have introduced at the beginning of this season with the U12 school cricket team I am coaching. A lifetime of friends… are reflections by Russell Earnshaw on the importance of youth sport especially looking at the social side and development children can have through it. To round it off a cracking post by Stuart Armstrong on children being agents of their own movement and decisions in play, physical activity and sport in kids leading the way…


Exploring Action-Specific Perception and Action Goals by Shane Pill explores the ecological model and how players of differing ability might perceive the same environment differently as they have different potentials for action.

Is Your Kid’s Coach a Bully? by Changing the Game Project looks at negative coach behaviours, which ones can be classed as bullying and how you might be able to challenge them.

How I developed coaching superpowers – by shutting up! by Stuart Armstrong continues his reflections on becoming a silent coach and what development that has afforded him.

Developing a better player. Do we have the wrong recipe? by Georgics Sarakinis compares and contrasts the development of youth football players in Canada and Catalonia and makes recommendations based on his experience and observations.

Simplicity vs. Complexity: A Guide to Training Session Design by the Player Development Project promotes making training representative of the game and asking the participants to solve the problems presented to them in that learning environment.

Gender, gender identity and physical education by Rebecca Contant  asks the question on whether the choices we make as PE Teachers, through curriculum and content decisions and our actions, widens or closes the divide of gender.

Participation in sport is a human activity with all its baggage by Mark O’Sullivan suggests a flexible framework where our training and planning is designed around emerging information. One that puts a focus on the learner and the learning process.

HR Monitoring in Physical Education – What are we selling when we buy tools of compliance? by Dr Justen O’Connor is a piece that questions the ethics of collecting health data from students within physical education and asks what is that data for.

Why coaches like drills and how they are killing creativity by Stuart Armstrong is a provocative post that questions the use of ‘drill’ and whether it kills a child’s natural curiosity and creativity.

Just because you shot Jesse James, don’t make you Jesse James… by John Stoszkowski is a wonderful post that questions the implantation of other peoples practices into our own without questioning why it worked for him, the context, the background, the network, and the existing knowledge base, not just because it quotes Breaking Bad.

Motivating Students? I’m not a Sport Psychologist by Aaron Beagle shares his thoughts on 5 element we need to consider to help improve children’s motivation in PE and School Sport.

A quiet revolution – Swedish youth football and the idea of avoiding exclusion by Mark O’Sullivan describes how Sweden is changing the focus of it’s youth football to emphasise on the young person, their perspective, their learning, development and needs. A message who are involved in teaching and coaching children should perhaps heed.










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