SC Learning Outcomes

Strand 1: Towards optimum performance

Topics
1. Learning and improving skill and technique
2. Physical and psychological demands of performance
3. Structures, strategies, roles and conventions
4. Planning for optimum performance.

This strand, Towards optimum performance, focuses on the complex interrelationship between performance in physical activity and the range of factors that shape that performance. Such factors include psychological, physiological, biomechanical, sociological and cultural perspectives. In this section, learners strive to produce their optimum personal performance in three physical activities. In this context, optimum means the best performance that the learner can achieve at this point in time. At all times, the emphasis is on learners applying their knowledge and understanding of the theoretical factors in planning to achieve their performance goals.

Topic 1: Learning and improving skill and technique

A skilled performance is one in which a sequence of movements is performed in a fluent and controlled manner, the right options are selected and the skills and techniques used fully reflect the performer’s ability and experience. Technique is the way in which these skills are executed. In planning for optimum performance, the learner requires a wide range of skills and techniques and the ability to make the right choices about which ones to use, when and where. In this topic, learners examine each of the three physical activities in order to identify the different skills and techniques that are central to a successful performance. They learn to analyse their own level of skill and technique and to plan for improvement.

The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Topic 1: Learning and improving skill and technique.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1.1. Defining a skilled performance
  1. 1.11

    identify the characteristics of a skilled performance 

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  2. 1.12

    discuss the difference between skill and ability

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1.2. Analysing skill and technique
  1. 1.21

    analyse selected skills and techniques from the following perspectives:

    • biomechanical; planes and axes, levers
    • movement; vectors and scalars, Newton’s laws of motion
    • quality/effectiveness; economy of movement, creative application of skill
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1.3. Skill acquisition
  1. 1.31

    outline the stages of learning a new skill

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  2. 1.32

    describe how skills are learned effectively

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  3. 1.33

    design practice schedules incorporating the principles of effective practices and a variety of practice methods

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Topic 2: Physical and psychological demands of performance

Performance in physical activity places different demands on the body. These include the demand for

  • health-related fitness
  • performance-related fitness
  • psychological preparation
  • appropriate diet and nutrition.

In Topic 2, students learn about these different demands generally and how they apply to each of the three physical activities specifically. Students learn to assess themselves in relation to each demand and how to plan for improvement.

The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Topic 2: Physical and psychological demands of performance.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

2.1. Physical fitness
  1. 1

    discuss the difference between health- and performance-related fitness

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2.2. Health-related fitness
  1. 2.21

    define the components of health-related fitness: cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular endurance, strength, flexibility and body composition

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2.3. Performance-related fitness
  1. 2.31

    define the components of performance-related fitness: agility, balance, co-ordination, power, speed and reaction time

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2.4. Application of health- and performance-related components of fitness
  1. 2.41

    examine the extent to which different components of  health- and performance-related fitness are important in the selected physical activities

     

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  2. 2.42

    research ways in which health- and performance-related fitness can be developed in a demanding practice context

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  3. 2.43

    design a combined approach to health-related fitness and performanc-related fitness training

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2.5. Assessment of health- and performance-related components of physical fitness
  1. 2.51

    design a fitness test battery for a physical activity based on an analysis of the particular fitness demands of the activity

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  2. 2.52

    evaluate the principles of training from a performance perspective

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  3. 2.53

    apply the FITT formula to each component of physical fitness

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2.6. Designing a fitness plan
  1. 2.61

    compare different methods of physical fitness training in the context of the three selected physical activities

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  2. 2.62

    discuss approaches to training in the activity and outside the activity

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  3. 2.63

    use the fitness test data to design a physical fitness programme for a selected physical activity

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  4. 2.64

    suggest strategies to support recovery and adaptation following competition/performance and training

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  5. 2.65

    demonstrate an understanding of periodisation in the design of training programmes

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2.7. Psychological preparation
  1. 2.71

    discuss the ways in which different psychological factors including confidence, anxiety, motivation, concentration and feedback impact on practice and performance 

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  2. 2.72

    evaluate strategies to enhance confidence, motivation and concentration before, during and after practice sessions and/or performance

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  3. 2.73

    discuss different types of feedback and their importance in selected practices and/or performance 

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  4. 2.74

    analyse strategies to improve mental preparedness for before, during and after practice/performance in physical activity

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  5. 2.75

    design a personal action plan, including a rationale, to support a positive psychological disposition before, during and after performance

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2.8. Diet and nutrition
  1. 2.81

    examine the nutritional considerations for before, during and after performance in physical activity

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  2. 2.82

    discuss the importance of hydration in different physical activities and settings

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  3. 2.83

    discuss the role and challenges of using sports supplements, including sports drinks, in physical activity 

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  4. 2.84

    analyse the role and relative contribution of the energy systems in relation to duration, intensity and type of activity

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  5. 2.85

    explain how an understanding of the different energy systems can inform preparation for practice, performance and recovery

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  6. 2.86

    design a dietary plan, including a rationale, for one selected physical activity

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Topic 3: Structures, strategies, roles and conventions

Players and/or performers require an understanding of the structures, strategies and/or compositional elements that are central in the different physical activities. In team games, for example, each player needs to understand their individual role and the way in which that role can contribute to the team’s overall performance. There are numerous structures and strategies that can be used to maximize the individual’s/team’s strengths in different competitive scenarios.

In the context of dance and gymnastics, students learn how to apply different performance design elements to their individual and group composition/routines. They learn about different choreographic approaches and how these can enhance the overall quality of the performance.

Students learn about the rules, roles, conventions and safe practice that pertain to their selected physical activities. They learn about the importance of affiliation, team building and responsible leadership as they work towards shared performance goals.

Students also learn to carry out non-playing roles, including that of coach/choreographer and official, making their experience of the different physical activities more complete and authentic. As learners undertake these non-playing roles, they learn to take responsibility for running the activity and ensuring safe practice in the organisation of the activity.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

3.1. Structures, strategies and/or compositional elements
  1. 3.11

    demonstrate an understanding of the main structures, strategies and/or compositional elements in their performance of selected physical activities

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  2. 3.12

    evaluate their own and others’ use of appropriate structures, strategies and/or compositional elements using appropriate methods of analysis 

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  3. 3.13

    demonstrate the capacity to modify selected structures and/or strategies in response to different performance scenarios

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3.2. Roles and relationships
  1. 3.21

    Investigate the demands of different roles in terms of the physical, personal and technical qualities needed for a successful performance

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  2. 3.22

    identify weaknesses of opponent/s in order to exploit them

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3.3. Safe practice
  1. 3.31

    demonstrate safe practice in approaches to training, performance and the organisation of physical activity events

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  2. 3.32

    suggest warm-up and cool-down practices designed to prevent injury and to prepare participants for participation and performance 

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  3. 3.33

    discuss the importance of the selection and maintenance of suitable attire, equipment and facilities for selected physical activities

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  4. 3.34

    describe common injuries sustained in the selected activities, their causes and first aid treatment.

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  5. 3.35

    evaluate training/practice schedules designed to avoid the problems associated with overtraining including player/participant fatigue

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3.4. Rules, rituals and conventions
  1. 3.41

    organise an event/performance in which the particular rules, roles, rituals and conventions of the activity are respected

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  2. 3.42

    demonstrate the ability to communicate respectfully with performers/players and officials

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3.5. Role of coach/choreographer
  1. 3.51

    discuss the demands of non-playing roles including desirable interpersonal skills

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  2. 3.52

    guide the performer in identifying and planning for short- and long-term goals in pursuit of optimum performance 

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  3. 3.53

    design a physical fitness and skills programme for a specific performer to prepare them for optimum performance in one of the selected activities

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  4. 3.54

    demonstrate effective communication skills which support positive interaction between coach/choreographer and performer

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  5. 3.55

    suggest modifications to the performer’s practice/performance as the need arises

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  6. 3.56

    use strategies designed to support a performer’s ongoing motivation to train and/or to practice

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  7. 3.57

    guide the performer’s effective use of ongoing reflection about their practice/performance

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  8. 3.58

    demonstrate the ability to plan for and manage practice/training time effectively 

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  9. 3.59

    analyse their own performance in the role of coach/choreographer using a coach/choreographer they admire as a point of reference

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3.6. Role of official
  1. 3.61

    explain the rules and regulations pertaining to the selected physical activities

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  2. 3.62

    describe the safety regulations and procedures in the selected physical activities

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  3. 3.63

    implement appropriate safety checks on equipment, facilities and player clothing

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  4. 3.64

    use the appropriate scoring/recording systems for the selected activities

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  5. 3.65

    describe the demands of officiating in terms of personal fitness, psychological readiness, personal attire and suitable equipment

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  6. 3.66

    demonstrate the ability to communicate assertively with participants

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  7. 3.67

    identify strategies to manage conflict in a variety of situations; between the official and participants, and/or between participants

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  8. 3.68

    evaluate their role as an official using an official they admire as the reference point

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Topic 4: Planning for optimum performance

Planning for optimum performance requires that learners engage in a number of activities which are necessary for them to achieve their personal performance goals. At the outset, performance in different activities can be analysed using a variety of tools designed to focus on particular elements of the performance. Students learn to analyse their overall performance or specific aspects of it using appropriate methods of analysis. Using this information, they learn to set realistic performance goals based on sound theoretical principles. Learners design a training/practice programme to achieve these goals, monitor their progress and adapt the programme as necessary. Finally, learners evaluate their progress in a concluding performance using the same methods of analysis as those used at the outset. Learners experience this process in relation to each of the three physical activities selected.

The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Topic 4: Planning for optimum performance.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

4.1. Personal performance analysis
  1. 1

    examine the different factors that influence personal performance in physical activity and sport

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4.2. Methods of analysis
  1. 4.21

    identify appropriate methods of analysing different aspects of performance

    • skill and technique
    • structures and strategies
    • choreography
    • performance-related fitness
    • psychological preparedness
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  2. 4.22

    use a selection of tools, including video and analysis software to analyse their own and others’ performances

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  3. 4.23

    compare their personal performance to that of a more skilled/model performer

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  4. 4.24

    identify four areas from their performance which require further development

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4.3. Aesthetic and artistic considerations
  1. 4.31

    identify the artistic and/or aesthetic criteria of performance

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  2. 4.32

    compare different physical activities in terms of the aesthetic and/or artistic criteria 

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  3. 4.33

    evaluate personal and/or group performance from artistic and/or aesthetic perspectives

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4.4. Planning for optimum performance
  1. 4.41

    explain how information from their performance analysis was used to inform planning to achieve performance goals

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  2. 4.42

    present performance goals to address areas for improvement 

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  3. 4.43

    design a practice/training plan to improve personal performance in relation to performance goals

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  4. 4.44

    provide evidence on the effectiveness of the programme design in achieving the performance goals

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Strand 2 : Contemporary issues in physical activity

Topics
5. Promoting physical activity
6. Ethics and fair play
7. Physical activity and inclusion
8. Technology, media and sport
9. Gender and physical activity
10. Business and enterprise in physical activity and sport.
This strand, Contemporary issues in physical activity, aims to develop learners as literate and critical participants in physical activity and sport as they examine the many factors that influence participation and performance in physical activity and sport. Students learn about the personal, social and contextual barriers and supports to physical activity participation and performance generally. They learn to question, critique and challenge what happens in the name of physical activity and sport at local, national and international level.
Learners also have an opportunity to review ethical practice in physical activity and sport. They investigate the impact of unfair practice on the individual, the group and the activity. They review their own and others’ observation of ‘fair play’ rules in their participation and organisation of different physical activities.

All learners are required to study Topics 5 and 6—Promoting physical activity and Ethics and fair play. Every two years, two of the following  topics will be prescribed for each new cohort of Leaving Certificate students. These topics are:

7. Physical activity and inclusion
8. Technology, media and sport
9. Gender and physical activity
10. Business and enterprise in physical activity and sport.

The world of sport and physical activity is constantly changing, affecting not only how we experience sport and physical activity but also how it is organised and portrayed. The importance of physical activity for health and wellbeing is a universally accepted truth yet the reality of people’s experience of and commitment to physical activity is significantly different. In these topics learners have an opportunity to examine some of these issues in greater depth so that they might have a better understanding about what is happening and what needs to happen in the name of physical activity and sport.

It is envisaged that these four topics may change in the future to ensure that Leaving Certificate Physical Education continues to reflect what is current and of interest in the world of physical activity and sport. Every two years, two of these topics will be prescribed for each new cohort of Leaving Certificate students.

Topic 5: Promoting physical activity

In Promoting physical activity, students learn about the benefits of physical activity and the different ways physical activity is organised to suit individuals at different stages of their lives. Learners examine the factors that influence participation in and provision for physical activity and sport. As learners strive to improve their personal performance in the selected activities, they learn about the national governing bodies of sport and physical activity and the different pathways to excellence that these bodies may offer to performers.

The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Topic 5: Promoting physical activity.
 

Students learn about

Students should be able to

5.1 . Benefits of physical activity participation
  1. 5.11

    discuss the personal, social and economic benefits of physical activity for health and wellbeing at different life stages

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  2. 5.12

    explain the different concepts of physical activity

    • play
    • leisure and recreation
    • physical education
    • mass-participation sports
    • outdoor and adventure activities
    • sport
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5.2. Physical activity participation
  1. 5.21

    present a physical activity biography for themselves and another with an activity profile different from their own

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  2. 5.22

    discuss the supports and barriers to physical activity participation in school and in the community

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  3. 5.23

    use different methods of collecting data about physical activity participation, e.g. pedometers, activity diaries

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  4. 5.24

    analyse physical activity participation patterns in a specific group in their school community 

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  5. 5.25

    evaluate different approaches to physical activity promotion 

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5.3. Physical activity promotion
  1. 5.31

    analyse the role of national and local policies in the promotion of physical activity

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  2. 5.32

    examine the role of the national governing bodies of their selected physical activities, including how the activity is provided for at local, national and international level 

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  3. 5.33

    design a physical activity promotion and adherence tip sheet for a specific target group

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  4. 5.34

    discuss the characteristics of significant people who promote and support others’ participation in physical activity

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5.4. Pathways to excellence in physical activity
  1. 5.41

    suggest ways in which pathways between school- and community-based physical activity/sport might be strengthened 

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  2. 5.42

    analyse current provision and support for excellence in performance in the three selected physical activities. 

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Topic 6: Ethics and fair play

Ethics and fair play are central to the learner’s enjoyable and successful participation in physical activity and sport. Responsibility lies not only with the individual participant but also with the officials, leaders/coaches, national governing bodies of sport and groups responsible for sport and physical activity at local and national level. The learner examines what informs ethical and fair play in the three selected physical activities.

The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Topic 6: Ethics and fair play.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

6.1. Principles of ethical practice
  1. 6.11

    explain the principles of ethical practice in sport; the importance of integrity, respect, fairness and equity in the context of the selected activities

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6.2. Codes of ethics
  1. 6.21

    examine the code of ethics in the selected physical activities from the perspective of participants, parents, spectators, coaches and/or club officials 

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  2. 6.22

    investigate the concepts of sportsmanship and gamesmanship and their influence on engagement in physical activity and sport

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6.3. Drugs and sport
  1. 6.31

    describe the different categories of performance-enhancing drugs, giving examples of how they affect performance

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  2. 6.32

    analyse the implications for the performer and the sport of using performance-enhancing drugs

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6.4. Anti-doping rules
  1. 6.41

    describe the current Irish anti-doping rules including the ways in which they are enforced 

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  2. 6.42

    explain therapeutic use exemption in relation to the use of medicines in sport

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  3. 6.43

    discuss the implications of using performance-enhancing drugs for the performer and the activity

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6.5. Best practice for the use of supplements
  1. 6.51

    investigate the uses of dietary supplements designed to optimise performance in one of their selected physical activities

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Topic 7: Physical activity and inclusion

As learners begin to examine their own and other’s experiences in physical activity and sport, they become increasingly aware that not everyone has the same experience of, or access to, opportunities for physical activity. In this topic the learner examines the experiences of different groups in physical activity. They examine how inclusive or otherwise their selected physical activities are and ways in which inclusion might be improved.

The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Topic 7: Physical activity and inclusion.

 

Students learn about

Students should be able to

7.1. Supports and barriers to physical activity participation for selected groups
  1. 7.11

    analyse the supports and barriers to physical activity participation for at least two of the following groups:

    • women
    • older adults
    • people with physical disability
    • people with intellectual disability
    • different ethnic groups
    • different socio-economic groups
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  2. 7.12

    discuss examples of discrimination, stereotyping, inclusiveness and/or prejudice in physical activity provision for these groups

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  3. 7.13

    investigate the coverage of sport in the media from the perspective of these groups

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7.2. Addressing barriers to physical activity
  1. 7.21

    discuss ways in which barriers to participation might be/have been addressed by the individuals themselves, their representative groups and/or voluntary and statutory organisations

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7.3. Developments in physical activity and sporting opportunities over the past twenty years
  1. 7.31

    discuss developments in physical activity and sport over the last twenty years from one group’s perspective

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7.4. Adapted physical activity
  1. 7.41

    examine if and how, participants with a disability could participate in the three selected physical activities 

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  2. 7.42

    evaluate provision for adapted physical-activity opportunities in their school and/or in the community 

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  3. 7.43

    examine the provision of pathways towards excellence for participants in adapted physical activities

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Topic 8: Technology, media and sport

Young people are constantly exposed to media images of sport and physical activity through a range of media including television, internet, newspapers and digital media. These different media are constantly changing and becoming more sophisticated. The ways in which sport is reviewed, analysed and interpreted in these different media allows the audience to engage in a more indepth examination of performance in many different physical activities. These methods are also becoming more available to players and participants other than elite performers. In Technology, media and sport, learners have an opportunity to critique the uses and impact of different media and technology in sport.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

8.1. The impact of technology on sport and physical activity
  1. 8.11

    examine how developments in technology can impact on the performer, coach/choreographer, official and spectator in the selected physical activities 

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  2. 8.12

    discuss their own use of technology in planning for optimum performance in the selected physical activities

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  3. 8.13

    evaluate the role of technology in the analysis of training and evaluation of sporting performance

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8.2. Media in sport
  1. 8.21

    investigate media coverage of both elite performance and mass participation in physical activity and sport

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  2. 8.22

    examine the role of the media in maintaining gender stereotypes of men and women in sport

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  3. 8.23

    identify the characteristics of their selected physical activities that give them or could give them media and/or spectator appeal

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  4. 8.24

    analyse the impact of media coverage on spectator behaviour

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Topic 9: Gender and physical activity

There exists a substantial body of literature and research which examines the relationship between gender, participation and performance in physical activity and sport. Our bodies are the main shapers of gendered identity and they, in turn, are shaped by the dominant notions of what it is to be masculine and feminine. Gender identity has a significant impact on how active we are and how we are active. At its most basic, young women have lower levels of participation in physical activity and sport. Why is this? Young men and young women are much more likely to participate in some physical activities rather than others. Why might this be? In Gender and physical activity, learners have an opportunity to consider these and other issues in the context of the selected three physical activities being studied.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

9.1. Gender, sport and physical activity
  1. 9.11

    examine the main influences that impact on the participation patterns of boys and girls in physical activity and sport

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  2. 9.12

    suggest ways in which the imbalance between boys' and girls' levels of participation in physical activity might be addressed in school and in the community

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9.2. Gender, media and body image
  1. 9.21

    discuss how body image influences and is influenced by physical activity participation of both males and females

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  2. 9.22

    debate how media representations of the body may impact on both young men’s and young women’s participation in physical activity and sport

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9.3. Gender socialisation and its impact on physical activity participation
  1. 9.31

    examine how social regulation of the body has impacted and continues to impact on the participation of both men and women in physical activity and sport

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  2. 9.32

    explain why the characteristics associated with hegemonic masculinity and hegemonic femininity might impact on the participation of both boys and girls in sport and physical activity

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Topic 10: Business and enterprise in physical activity and sport

Physical activity and sport are big businesses. Business and enterprise interests include powerful groups who compete for huge audiences and the potential for sport generated wealth. These groups control what we see on our screens and when and how much of it we get to see. Sponsorship is the lifeblood of many sports and mass participation events, and consideration about suitable sponsorship versus the need for income is always a contentious one. In this topic, students learn about the potential that sport offers for enterprise and business opportunities.

 

Students learn about

Students should be able to

10.1. Sponsorship and advertising in physical activity and sport
  1. 10.11

    examine the impact of sponsorship, endorsements and merchandising on sport and performers

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  2. 10.12

    analyse different forms of ‘sport-related’ advertising in terms of the messages it gives to young people

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  3. 10.13

    discuss the advantages and disadvantages of sponsorship for the national governing body of the sport, the performers and the sport/activity

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  4. 10.14

    suggest a code of practice for selecting commercial sponsorship for sport and physical activity in which young people participate

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10.2. Physical activity and sport – the business dimension
  1. 10.21

    investigate the involvement of a selected business in sport

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10.3. Mass participation in sport
  1. 1

    examine the growth of mass participation sporting events and the opportunities for business and enterprise they provide

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10.4. Tourism and sport
  1. 10.41

    discuss the potential of sports marketing on the development of tourism in Ireland

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