There is no doubt that the world is in desperate need of “Physical Literacy” however the very term causes hairs to rise on your arms, a shiver down the spine of national sporting organisations and fear in the eyes of the general public as another instruction on how to live life.
I have had great discussions with leading academics from Canada, America, Wales, England, Australia, New Zealand, India and Holland on this very point and after reading countless documents from these territories I have my interpretation of the project that meets my personal, simplistic mindset.
PHYSICAL LITERACY. To be literate in my physical and emotional being, or more simply…to Understand Myself
The whole point of physical literacy is for the general population to understand themselves, know where they stand, interpret activities within their lives and make educated decisions on each and every stage of the life they live based on unbiased fact.
There are truly four key domains of physical literacy (although the word “physical” in the title can be misleading):
Each of these domains have a number of elements with depth of purpose, delivery and interpretation but in essence we can simplify the entire project in emotional questions around a given activity (the “it”):
Can I do it?
Do I want to do it?
Do I want to do it with you? or Do I want to do it there?
Do I understand it? or Can I learn it?
When we take time to make the question easy to understand the solution becomes much clearer.
Putting the above questioning into an example, I asked my wife if she would play golf. The answer was a straight “no”. “Why” I asked. “I don’t like it” she replied. “OK, so could you play golf?” I asked. “Yes, I have been to the driving range before so I know I can hit a ball” she replied. I thought for a while and then asked “Would you like to spend some time with three friends having a nice walk and talk then having a coffee or lunch together?”. I knew I had her here. “Yes, that would be great” she answered. “If I were to give you some instructions during the walk and a task, could you interpret it?” I asked. She looked quizzically and said “If I knew what they were, yes of course”.
So, from the above example, we can identify that my wife physically could play golf, was socially engaged in the activity of golf and could cognitively understand content, purpose, tasks and strategy given instruction or learning. The missing part is psychologically she doesn’t want to play golf therefore is disengaged. If however we were to incentivise her directly to try the game and tick the boxes of a positive experience then it is theoretically possible to make my wife a member of the golfing community and add another activity to her armory. She becomes physically literate in her ability to play that activity.
Before I get a barrage of responses that the depth of physiology, sociology and psychology are much more complex than this, I know. The above is a basic overview of the key domains and the purpose of those existing domains. I’ll be posting more information on the breakdown of the key domains and their elements another day but in the meantime, I hope this helps interpret the future necessity for wellness and #UnderstandingMyself.
Global Performance Testing are integral to the reliable purpose and assessment of physical literacy for the long-term.
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