Challenging thinking about the relationship between school physical education and sports performance

David Kirk, Trish Gorely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the relationship between school physical education and sports performance. Traditional ways of thinking about this relationship (e.g. pyramids, foundation stones and trickle-down effects) are critiqued. It is suggested that these ways of thinking are problematic in their logic, their exclusionary nature and their positioning of physical education. A more inclusive way of thinking about the relationship is presented. The alternative model is based on four components: clearly articulated pathways, the use of modified games and sports, teacher and coach education, and policy development. It is argued that this alternative brings physical education and sport performance into a sensible and productive relationship which meets the needs of the general population for quality physical education while at the same time meeting the needs of sport performance across the lifespan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-133
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000


  • physical education
  • sport science
  • pyramid model

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