Sport Education is a curriculum and instruction model designed for delivery in physical education programs at the upper elementary, middle school, and high school levels. It is intended to provide children and youth with more authentic and enjoyable sport experiences than what we typically see in past physical education classes. This model was developed and introduced by Daryl Siedentop in 1984 and has since been adapted and successfully implemented nationally and internationally. Students participate as members of teams in seasons that are longer than the usual physical education unit. They take an active role in their own sport experience by serving in varied and realistic roles that we see in authentic sport settings such as captains, coaches, trainers, statisticians, officials, publicists, and members of a sports council. Teams develop camaraderie through team uniforms, names, and cheers as they work together to learn and develop skill and tactical play.


    The three major goals that guide program development in Sport Education are for students to become competent, literate, and enthusiastic players (Siedentop, 1994). This means that teachers must design learning experiences that facilitate students learning in realistic settings. According to Siedentop (1994);


        * A competent player has sufficient skills to participate satisfactorily, can execute

           strategies that are appropriate for the complexity of the game being played, and is a

           knowledgeable player.


        * A literate player understands and values the rules, rituals, and traditions of sport, and

           is able to distinguish between good and bad sport practices in a variety of sport



        * An enthusiastic player is one who preserves, protects, and enhances the sport culture

           through participation, involvement, and appropriate behavior.




    In order to achieve these goals, students need to develop a set of objectives which Siedentop (1994) has identified.


    1.     Develop skills and fitness specific to particular sports.


    2.    Appreciate and be able to execute strategic play in sports.


    3.     Participate at a level appropriate to their stage of development.


    4.     Share in the planning and administration of sport experiences.


    5.     Provide responsible leadership.


    6.     Work effectively within a group toward common goals.


    7.     Appreciate the rituals and conventions that give particular sports their unique 



    8.     Develop the capacity to make reasoned decisions about sport issues.


    9.     Develop and apply knowledge about umpiring, refereeing, and training.


    10.   Decide voluntarily to become involved in after-school sport.




    What makes sport unique and different from other types of physical activity?


    Siedentop (1994) developed five features that make sport special.


        * Seasons

              o Sport is played in seasons

        * Affiliation

              o Students participate as members of a team

        * Formal Competition

              o A schedule of competition is built into a season amidst practice sessions

        * Culminating Event

              o Sport recognizes individual and team performance through a concluding event

        * Keeping Records

              o Records of individual and team performance provide feedback to students and   

                 encourage goal setting for improvement





    Every team or organization has many different roles and responsibilities which need to be performed in order for success to be obtained. In Sport Education, this aspect of sport is emphasized through students fulfilling the responsibilities of an assigned role. These together create a "team" environment in which all students can take part. For example, a student who is not especially athletic or interested in a sport may be engaged by a specific role that emphasizes an individual strength.


    Roles should be specific to the sport and should be chosen and assigned as the season begins. Most often the roles are created by the teacher but are assigned by the teams who will fulfill them. Those who are beginning to incorporate Sport Education should note that it is not a necessity for teachers to include numerous roles. It is perfectly fine to start out with only one or two roles and to slowly implement more and more as you go.

    The following are some possible roles that may be used in your season:


        * Coaches - directs skill and strategy practice, helps make decisions about lineups, 

                             turns in lineups to teachers or managers.

        * Captains - leads warm-ups, helps solve team problems, provides general leadership

                             for their teams.

        * Assistant Coaches or Captains - helps captains or coaches, takes over their

                                                                responsibilities if absent.

        * Referees/Officials - manages contests, makes rule decisions, teaches the rules of the

                                            sport to teammates.

        * Scorekeepers - records scores during games, keeps track of sport specific rule

                                   violations, turns over final records to the appropriate person (teacher,

                                   manager, statistician).

        * Statisticians - records team and individual performance statistics, compiles game and

                                  season stats, interprets data, and turns summarized data over to the

                                  appropriate person (teacher, publicist, manager).

        * Publicists - publicizes records and statistics through things such as: weekly sports

                              sheets, the school newspaper, posters, or special created sport education

                              newsletter. Publicists can also be called sports information directors.

        * Managers - takes care of administrative duties of the team, turns in appropriate

                              forms, helps get team players to the right location.

        * Equipment Managers - maintains team equipment, sets-up and takes-down


        * Trainers - notifies teacher of injury, leads daily warm-ups appropriate to the sport.

        * Sports Council or Sports Board - makes final decisions on problems that may come

                                                                 up with the fair play rules and competition

                                                                 schedules, may be in charge of picking teams.

        * Broadcasters - introduces players and provides play-by-play calls during


        * Festivity Coordinators - arranges final banquet, creates team poster, cheer, and end of

                                                  the season awards.



    Team Selection


    There are many ways to create teams in your classroom for a sport education season. The selections of teams are important for the success of your season. If your teams are not selected equitably, one team may dominate competition lessening the experience for all participants. There are two things to consider when selecting teams, the method of selection and the team size.


    The size of the teams can be adjusted for different purposes. These are things to consider when thinking about team sizes:

    ·    Create smaller teams within a large team

    ·    Factor students who are often sick or absent from class

    ·    Create an uneven number of teams so that you can have a duty team

    ·    Create teams with uneven numbers of players so that the extra player can serve on the  

         duty team

    ·    Develop clear criteria for students who are selecting the teams

    ·    Select teams when students are familiar with the sport. If the students picking teams

         do not know the skills needed to be successful in a sport how are they supposed to

         place people in equitably skilled teams?


    When selecting teams some of the methods of selection are:


    1.    The teacher selects the teams in advance. Places teams in accordance to skill,  

           knowledge, attitudes, and attendance.

    2.    Select a sport council that will pick the teams, and then the council will draw out of a

           hat which team they will be on.

    3.    Team captains choose players through a lottery

    4.    Players may rank themselves according to their ability and are placed in teams by

           teacher or students.





    If your objectives include students achieving teamwork, knowledge of rules, and student involvement Sport Education is a perfect model for you! In Sport Education students are taught and expected to officiate games. This requires students to have knowledge of rules, to become proactive in competitions, and they learn to self govern their own games.


    To incorporate officiating into your sport season you must first talk about what you expect from your officials and then you can allow your teams to select or ask for a volunteer to fill the officiating role. Sometimes in the past when you have had students refereeing games you may have experienced poor officiating, bad sports behavior, or timid officials but with Sport Education you create an Officiating Contract to guide performance. This is a contract that the students sign agreeing that they will learn the official rules, implement them fairly in competition, work to improve fair play, and display appropriate behavior.


    One question you might have is, “Do the officials get to play in the competition?” The answer is “Yes,” players that are assigned to jobs like scorekeepers and referees perform their job during a “Duty Round”. If you are playing a round robin tournament you can create a bracket where teams that are not playing are assigned to a duty court. This is where the referees and scorekeepers perform their jobs. This is also a great chance for coaches and players to scout other teams, create strategies, or finish projects.


    Creating authenticity suggests that you allow referees to wear referee jerseys; blow whistles, or sound-makers when there is a rule infraction. You will find that this will increase student participation and authenticity. Soon all your students will be asking you if they can switch roles and be the referee.