7 junio, 2024

Differences between physical education and sport

The differences between physical education and sport They are evident and abundant, although many times there is a tendency to confuse both disciplines, although both contemplate physical exercise.

The main difference is that physical education is a subject or teaching area, where it is taught to be physically fit, to run properly, various sports, etc. Instead, sport refers to a physical activity that is practiced for competitive purposes, there being different types: soccer, basketball, tennis, etc.

TOBoth go hand in hand and numerous investigations have been carried out to determine the benefits of each one, both separately and together. The various revisions made over the years demonstrate the importance of physical education in the educational system, as well as the importance of sport in the life of the human being.

Both make significant contributions in terms of physical, affective, social and cognitive development. If there is something in common between these two disciplines, it is their ability to enhance the cognitive abilities of an individual. But just as there are many similarities, so are the differences.

Most of the time people tend to interchange both terms indiscriminately, which is not correct, since they are two totally different concepts.

Main differences between physical education and sport

1. coach vs. teacher

The role of a sports coach is very different from that of a physical education teacher. While the coach is a specialist in a specific sport, the teacher gathers a large amount of knowledge on various sports topics.

Thus, within physical education, the teacher will aim to teach all his knowledge to the individual. The coach focuses on a single sport.

For example, during the course of a year a physical education teacher could teach a group of students 10 different sports, while the coach only the one in which he is a specialist.

2. The evaluation

Physical education regularly assesses children with the primary goal of helping them understand, improve, and maintain their physical well-being throughout their lives.

Meanwhile, sports clubs and teams test their players and participants to see if they meet the physical requirements of the level of the sport they play.

Also to see if they meet the ability of other players competing for similar positions or spots on the team.

3. Competitiveness

Physical education is compulsory and non-competitive as it focuses on the development of fundamental skills.

For its part, the sport is competitive and can put pressure on players to have a high physical performance.

What is physical education?

Physical education is a course or subject that focuses on the development of physical fitness, and includes topics related to the use of the body and the best way to reach the physical, mental and psychological well-being of the individual.

In physical education, which can be given as early as preschool, children develop skills necessary to participate in a wide range of sports. Regular physical education classes prepare them to be physically and mentally active, fit and healthy well into adulthood.

An effective physical education program must include participatory lessons, trained physical education teachers, adequate instruction periods, and student assessment.

Physical education has been around since ancient times, but it wasn’t until several hundred years ago that the term itself (abbreviated as phys ed or PE) was born.

Its earliest known usage comes, strangely enough, from a 1719 book titled Critical reflections on poetry, painting and music in which the following quote appears:

«Can’t some years be more favorable than others to the physical education of children…?».

Within a few decades after these words were published, gyms were opening up all over Europe, especially in Germany, where gymnastics associations (or turnvereins) promoted physical health, as well as civic participation and cultural enrichment.

During the 19th century, American educators adopted European methods of teaching physical fitness, and both the word physical education and the phenomenon it represented became a well-established reality in this country.

Physical education helps students develop trust and physical abilities. For example, the elementary and middle school curriculum includes activities that help children gain and improve skills such as running, catching, throwing, and hitting, applicable to sports such as baseball, volleyball, or karate.

The high school curriculum prepares students to be highly proficient in one or more sports and/or fitness activities of their choice.

Physical education classes teach the health benefits of regular exercise and healthy food choices, along with the risks of inactivity and poor diet.

Physical education also helps students develop social skills. For example, team sports help them learn to respect others, contribute to a team goal, and socialize as a productive member of a team.

What is sport?

Sport can be classified as any physical activity that requires a certain effort and skills to be able to compete.

Said activity can be developed facing an individual or a team. Sports have well-defined rules, being regulated through associations or federations.

The sport has many fans and spectators, who can influence performers and motivate them to compete to the best of their ability.

The sport has created famous stars, including footballers like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, etc., tennis players like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and athletes like Usain Bolt and Mo Farrah.


William H Freeman (2013). Physical Education, Exercise and Sport Science in a Changing Society. Google Books: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Paul Beashel, John (1996). Advanced Studies in Physical Education and Sport. Google Books: Nelson Thornes.

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