PODIUM. Journal of Science and Technology in Physical Culture, May-August; 2022, 17(2): 823-838


Translated from the original in spanish


Review article

Sports education and sports training


La enseñanza deportiva y el entrenamiento deportivo


Educação desportiva e formação desportiva


Heriberto Rodríguez Verdura1* https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7596-1549

Luís Leonardo León Vázquez1 https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4370-2163

Joel Ernesto de la Paz-Ávila1 https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6748-3543


1University of Sancti Spiritus "José Martí Pérez". Sancti Spíritus, Cuba.


*Corresponding author: heribe@uniss.edu.cu




The article arises from the need to contextualize sports teaching and to establish the characteristics that differentiate it from sports training from the definition of its components and the system of pedagogical categories, principles and regularities that are inherent to it. All this, in order to give an answer to the latent contradiction today in the initial and continuous training of the sports teacher, as well as to the way of acting and performing their professional functions in correspondence with the real demands of the context of the sphere of action (basic link) where their professional practice is indicated. The objective of the research is to reflect on the components, categories and system of principles that characterize sports teaching, differentiating them from those of sports training. An extensive bibliographic review was carried out in national repositories and in the EBSCO HOST, Dialnet, SPORTDiscus and Google Scholar databases, which collect articles and journals of national and international scope. The analyses carried out offer a concrete and applicable answer for the improvement of the career curriculum, as well as of the normative documents for the performance of sports teachers in the basic link.

Keywords: School sport; Sport teching; Teaching model.


El artículo surge de la necesidad de contextualizar la enseñanza deportiva y de establecer las características que la diferencian del entrenamiento deportivo a partir de la definición de sus componentes y del sistema de categorías pedagógicas, principios y regularidades que le son inherentes. Todo ello, para dar respuesta a la contradicción latente hoy en la formación inicial y continua del profesor deportivo, así como al modo de actuación y desempeño de sus funciones profesionales en correspondencia con las exigencias reales del contexto de la esfera de actuación (eslabón de base) donde está indicado su práctica profesional. El objetivo de la investigación es reflexionar acerca de los componentes, categorías y sistema de principios que caracterizan la enseñanza deportiva, diferenciándolos de los del entrenamiento deportivo. Se realizó una extensa revisión bibliográfica en repositorios nacionales y en las bases de datos de EBSCO HOST, Dialnet, SPORTDiscus y Google Scholar, que recogen artículos y revistas del ámbito nacional e internacional. Los análisis realizados ofrecen una respuesta concreta y aplicable para el perfeccionamiento del plan de estudios de la carrera, así como de los documentos normativos del desempeño de los profesores deportivos en el eslabón de base.

Palabras clave: Deporte Escolar; Enseñanza Deportiva; Modelo de Enseñanza.


O artigo surge da necessidade de contextualizar o ensino desportivo e de estabelecer as características que o diferenciam da formação desportiva, definindo os seus componentes e o sistema de categorias pedagógicas, princípios e regularidades que lhe são inerentes. Tudo isto, a fim de responder à contradição latente hoje em dia na formação inicial e contínua dos professores desportivos, bem como à forma de agir e desempenhar as suas funções profissionais em correspondência com as exigências reais do contexto da esfera de ação (elo básico) onde a sua prática profissional é indicada. O objectivo da investigação é refletir sobre os componentes, categorias e sistema de princípios que caracterizam o ensino desportivo, diferenciando-os dos do treino desportivo. Foi realizada uma extensa revisão bibliográfica em repositórios nacionais e nas bases de dados EBSCO HOST, Dialnet, SPORTDiscus e Google Scholar, que incluem artigos e periódicos nacionais e internacionais. As análises efetuadas oferecem uma resposta concreta e aplicável para a melhoria do currículo do grau, bem como os documentos normativos do desempenho dos professores desportivos na ligação de base.

Palavras-chave: Desporto Escolar; Educação Desportiva; Modelo de Ensino.


Sports training is, in the opinion of specialists, a fundamental category of Theory and Methodology as a science of Physical Activity and Sport, among others that make up its categorical apparatus, confirming in the specialized literature, the reiteration of the use of this term, as well as its definition.

In the Cuban sports context, denominations such as: Sports training, basic training, preparation of the athlete in the basic link, sports formation, sports preparation and, very rarely, sports teaching. It is considered that this situation becomes a serious problem, still without solution, therefore, it is worth reflecting, debating and researching in depth about the theoretical assumptions that underlie this tangled disquisition, in order to assume a theoretical position facilitating a practice that can really provide the transforming tools of the current educational and sports reality.

During (1981), quoted in Hernandez Bourlon-Buon (2015), posits that:

(...) Physical Education (PE) and Sport have suffered epistemological conflicts throughout history due to the multiplicity of methods that were emerging around the pedagogies related to the body and the attempt to unify them under scientific criteria. (p.7)

The above is a compelling reason for the purposes of this article in relation to sports education. In order to present the position taken in this work, there are many questions for which there are still no definitive answers, but the intention is to approach the reflection, the solution of the problem through the following:

Are all these terms synonymous with Sports Training? What features typify Sports Teaching that distinguish it from the other processes mentioned? How to characterize Sports Teaching? To answer this last question is the main purpose of this essay; for this purpose, it is necessary to analyze different positions and establish the pertinent relationships that will allow us to arrive at the determination of the characteristics that typify this process.

The bibliographic review was used to consult and analyze research articles collected from EBSCO HOST, Dialnet, SPORTDiscus and Google Scholar databases, which collect articles and journals from national and international level. The terms used in the search were, "Sports Teaching", "Teaching Model" and "Sports Education", performing the search in the article, title, abstract and keywords. With these search terms, the conjunctions "and", "or" were used. Generally, the search terms were in Spanish and Portuguese, since the aim was to select studies developed in Ibero-America. Document analysis was also used to analyze the Curricula of the Bachelor's Degree in Physical Culture in Cuba, documents related to the career (Program of the Discipline Theory and Practice of Sport) and normative documents of the functioning of school sport in the Cuban sports system, as well as Integral Programs for the Preparation of the Athlete (Pipd in Spanish) of several sports.



Thirty-eight articles in national journals, 257 articles in foreign journals, six books by Cuban authors and 30 by foreign authors were reviewed. From this universe of publications, those texts that analyze the pedagogical particularities of sports teaching or sports training were selected.

Terminological considerations with respect to sports teaching

In the consideration of the authors of this article, in the field of physical activity and sport, one of the most controversial aspects has been the determination of the terminology inherent to each pedagogical process, an aspect that has been motivated by the lack of integration and dispersion of concepts and theoretical constructions in this field, often lacking a rigorous epistemological reflection.

It is also the authors' opinion that these epistemological deficiencies and conceptual weaknesses in the field of sport are exacerbated by the tendency to consider the terms sport teaching and sport training as synonyms to refer to the pedagogical process that occurs in the first stage of a subject's sport formation; however, although both processes have many aspects in common, they differ in their purpose, so that the clarification of this problem is not only semantic, but of theoretical contextualization of both processes, while it is necessary to address both terms not only from the perspective of its meaning, but its field of action.

In this sense, Sarni & Noble (2019) add to the idea that the teaching of sport is in direct relation to the contexts where its practices are developed and that the depth and criticality of its theoretical approach conditions its possibilities for reflection and understanding. (p.217)

In the Study Plan "E" of the Bachelor's Degree in Physical Culture (2016), the terms sports preparation (13) and sports training (13) are used repeatedly, instead of sports teaching (0), which expresses a use of these categories for all contexts. The previous is generalized in the same way in the normative documents that govern the initial training of the future sports teacher (Curricula and Program of the discipline Practical Theory of Sport), the normative documents of their professional performance Pipd.

This has resulted in a lack of differentiation in the objectives to be achieved in the sports teaching process, which implies that the objectives, contents, methods and even means of sports training are extrapolated and worked on, without there being any limits from the theory to establish the object of study and the field of action of sports teaching, which would allow focusing on the mode of action and professional performance of the sports teacher.

The teaching-learning process in the practice of sports is an essential part of the process carried out by all educational agencies in society and has the particularity of being consistently organized and directed towards a specific purpose, namely, the learning of the contents of a particular sport or several sports by the beginner, in close contact with others.

Sports training. Concepts, objectives and field of action

Becalli & Romero Esquivel (2014) consider sports training as a bioadaptive and psychopedagogical process, complex and specialized, which requires an integrative scientific direction of each of the components of the teaching-learning process to obtain superior sports results, all aimed at improving the physical, technical, tactical, theoretical, psychological, educational and ethical and aesthetic values in athletes, with the purpose of achieving an optimal and adequate sports form, (....) and for the competitive demands. (p.152)

In this regard, Vinuesa Lope & Vinuesa Jiménez (2016), referring to the diversity of definitions found in the specialized literature, concerning to sports training, assume that it is the systematic activity that allows and favors, as a consequence, to achieve better performance coefficients in all or some of the factors involved in a given task. (p.140). For their part, Hernández & Bustos (2017) and Capote et al., (2017) position themselves by Matveev's (1983) definition by stating that, is the fundamental form of preparation of the athlete, based on systematic exercises, which represents, in essence, a pedagogically organized process with the purpose of directing the evolution of the athlete. (P.17)

In the Theory of Sports Training, all the ideas coming from descriptive anatomy, neurophysiology, biomechanics and experimental psychology converge and articulate, fundamentally, which, according to Hours (2018), were characterized by the search for performance and productivity of the body.

Regarding the field of action of sports training, Balmaseda (2009) recognizes that, "is the process of development of sports performance, having as its primary function the discovery of regularities that facilitate the solution of the tasks of training and competition." (p.20)

There are several aspects in common in the above definitions:

When observing the regularities derived from the conceptualization of the term sports training, it is noticeable that it differs from the term sports teaching, inasmuch as the former seeks to obtain high sports results, while the latter pursues the acquisition of sportspecific motor skills and the development of physical capacities.

Sports teaching, concepts and objectives in the initiation of sports

In the international context, the various authors who have addressed sports teaching, Blázquez (1986, 2018), Evangelio et al., (2016), González et al., (2021), have focused more on the analysis of methodologies for teaching in collective sports that should be used in the educational environment and on the implementation of Sports Education Models that, according to Evangelio et al., (2016), intend that practitioners manage to develop sports skills and learn to play roles within the sport with their respective responsibilities and functions, than in seeking an approach to the theoretical foundations that support the rest of the components of this process. The contributions of Puente et al., (2020) are also significant, confirming the potential of these sports teaching models, with respect to initiation in invasion sports.

In the discourses on the theory of sport teaching according to Hours (2018), methodological analyses prevail or are above epistemological analyses. Methods and models in sport teaching have been heavily researched, leaving the rest of the components of this process on the sidelines.

For Blázquez (1986), as quoted in Guerra (2020), sports initiation should not be understood as the moment when sports practice begins, but as a pedagogical action, which taking into account the characteristics of the child or subject that is initiated and the goals to be achieved, evolves progressively until the mastery of each sports specialty is reached" (p.35). Precisely, that pedagogical action referred to by the aforementioned author is nothing more than the process that mediates between sports and their learning, that is, sports teaching, so its pedagogical character requires a theoretical analysis of each of the components that structure it, namely objectives, contents, methods, means and evaluation, as well as each of the categories that are revealed in its manifestation. Sports teaching is considered a polysemic concept, given the diversity of definitions given in this regard. Cuban authors (Ají, 2015 and Noa, 2016) associate sports teaching to the basic process of sports preparation, showing a very reduced vision of this, however, the result of this teaching, as part of the integral formation of the child, does not necessarily have to be an athlete or a sportsman, but an individual better prepared for life, through sport.

The definition of Velázquez (2001) is assumed, considering that "it is the process that is established for the determination and achievement of objectives linked to the learning of the contents of a particular sport modality or several", with the sole purpose of increasing the motor competence of the students". In other words, it is the teaching-learning and formative process that takes shape in the Sport Initiation, aimed not only at the basic multilateral sports training, but also at preparing the beginner for life through the learning of that sport.

Regarding the above, Ají (2015) refers that, in any process of Sport Initiation, teaching does not lose the essence of being the fundamental element, which requires attention in a prioritized manner in each sports area, as this is the first formative scenario in the promotion of a sport discipline. Precisely, that first scenario in the context of the Cuban sports system takes shape, first of all, according to Noa (2016) and Olivera et al., (2017), in the "Sport for All" in schools, as an extracurricular activity and as an extension of the learning of the contents of PE. The sports areas, oriented to performance sport, constitute the other formative scenario.

With respect to "Sport for All" in schools, according to Afre-Socorro et al., (2016), the sports teacher of the sport complex, in order to develop the contents of the sports teaching programs, is allowed to take part in the school schedule during the class shifts established for Sport for All, after 4:30 pm. and on weekends. Students participate under an agreement with the school principal and parents, although, as expressed by Olivera et al., (2017), on many occasions the importance it has for the initiation and advancement of the various sports disciplines is not recognized, and the potentialities provided at these ages by the development of certain sports skills are neglected and wasted.

According to the studies of Zayas (2019), pre-sport teaching is advocated through a playful approach to prepare the new generations of preschool children; even the results shown in this regard are considered insufficient to be taken into account in the theory defended in this article.

Objectives and contents of sports education

The bibliography that can be found on the teaching of sports, from the eighties onwards, as Hours (2018) states, is located within an exclusively methodological plane that aims at technical and/or tactical improvement; a situation that limits the dimension of the search related to the topic.

However, Sarni & Noble (2019), when referring to the teaching of sports, consider it as both a theoretical and practical phenomenon, which claims to be epistemologically and morally justified, around a particular knowledge from where it becomes possible to link teachers and learners.

Consequently, sports teaching should initially transit through a practice that is oriented to the fulfillment of the educational objectives of sport, where practitioners interested in learning a particular sport discipline have the opportunity to assume this experience for their lives and then decide, according to their individual gifts, their further sports orientation, either as a practitioner for health, for their physical and recreational well-being or to test themselves in performance sport, as de Melo et al., (2016) and de Lima Teixeira (2019) state, "to form not only athletes, but more conscious citizens with social values".

Because, to think only in training and competition and to educate beginners in this sense, is to turn the teaching of sport into alienation, anti-culture, the opposite of playful behavior and very far from the formation of the new man to which it is aspired. Hernández BourlonBuon (2015) assumes school sport and sport teaching as supports that contribute to directly fulfill the educational purposes of the educational system in terms of values.

With sports initiation, the integral development of the child is achieved and the foundations are laid in the formation of high performance athletes. Becali & Romero (2014) warn us that sports teaching must be developed in the frameworks of a didactic process, therefore, the proper selection of objectives, content, methods, means and evaluation have a singular importance, as well as the interactions between the teacher-coach and the student-athlete. (p.378)

As for the contents, in addition to being what "it is necessary to know" (concepts), they are also considered, from the point of view of "how to learn", in the field of sport education, the "how to practice" (procedures) and also the development of certain ethical and social behaviors (values). In the teaching programs, the contents refer to the sport motor skills, the knowledge system, the teaching of the history and rules of the sport, the psychosocial training and development and the development of physical capacities, unlike what is suggested by Buitrago (2016) who, in a program aimed at children beginners in tennis, indicates load values to the different components of the preparation being these the contents corresponding to the training plans, namely; Physical, technical, tactical, psychological and theoretical preparation.

Methods of sports teaching

In the universal treatment, oral, visual and practical are used for learning and improvement, the first two expressly linked to the teaching processes, the third ones cover both teaching and improvement. Regarding the methods for teaching specific motor skills, today it is being universally generalized, according to Menezes & Magno (2019) and González et al., (2021), the "Game-centered model", seeking to develop motor literate players from an integral perspective, forming intelligent players and taking into account the positive values of sport to promote active lifestyles. Sports teaching is divided into two large groups of methods, traditional and active, happening the opposite with the methods to be used in the development of physical capacities, where the diversity suggested by specialists in the field is more directed to the preparation of high-performance athletes and not precisely to sports education.

The sport practices of beginners cannot be reduced to a "reduced adult training". These children, in contrast to adults, are growing, resulting in physical and psychosocial changes and a series of developmental peculiarities with the corresponding consequences for sports teaching that differentiate it from training. The problems of the adequacy of this process in the child, in age and development deserve all the attention. Finally, it is agreed with Hours (2018) when he considers that, "the method is never before the type of epistemology that makes it possible".

The means in sports teaching

The fundamental means of sports practice is exercise. In the sports teaching process, exercises allow the development of the contents and, in turn, according to Domínguez (2021), represent the mode of expression of the methods.

The demands of today's sports teaching impose the need to work for the formation of a more productive thinking. In this sense, only a sustained study of what a pedagogy directed to the reflection of the motor situation and its internal logic entails and supposes for the beginner, according to Menezes & Magno (2019), can give us the key to approach sports teaching with the certainty of being collaborating with the development of motor intelligence and enabling the learner to be an intelligent practitioner within his own experience. This need is based on different conditions that must be met for the application of different exercises in sports classes, because there are necessarily differences when individual or collective exercises are used, there are differences when these exercises have a teaching or improvement intention, there are differences when their tendency is technical or tactical. The means to be used in the sport teaching in question are the following:

Regarding the evaluation in sports teaching, Cuba has just taken a good step forward with the agreement between the main policy makers on school sports, the National Institute of Sports, Recreation and Sport (Inder in Spanish) and the Ministry of Education (Mined in Spanish), in a Joint Working Agreement for the period 2020-2024, in Chapter III, Article 14, it is noted that sports teachers will be responsible for the evaluation of students with sports prospects, it should be noted that the selective nature of the process does not cease to prevail.

Evaluation for Vinuesa Lope & Vinuesa Jiménez, (2016), Blázquez (2017), in its broad sense, it is recognized as an essential component of the teaching process, which starts from the definition of the objective and ends by determining the degree of efficiency of the teaching process and program. To evaluate is not to give a grade, but to assure the learner that the instructional process initiated has been well conceived and that the learner has achieved what was intended. The evaluation should assess the students in an integral way (affective, motor and cognitive), so different instruments will have to be suggested and validated to guarantee an objective, fair and transparent process.

Didactic principles of sports teaching

The teaching-learning process, which takes place in PE and sports training according to León (2019), is based on the regularities and pedagogical principles that generally govern any teaching-learning process, on the basis of the dialectical-materialist theory of personality development.

In this regard, it can be seen that PE and sports training are related as pedagogical processes, raising the question: in which of these two processes is sports education included?, in PE or in sports training? Since it is not clear in the previous reflection, it is inferred that it is implicit in sports training, if so, it is valid to clarify that today, precisely, one of the most controversial aspects in the studies of teaching and sports initiation is the definition of the principles and regularities that govern it as a pedagogical process and, in this regard, it is considered that there is no precise global conception of the principles of training that can be applyed to the teaching of sport. The consultation of several systems of suggested didactic principles for sports teaching led to the proposal of Fraile (2004), as quoted in Eberhardt et al., (2020), which is considered the most accurate and is listed below:

Regarding the system of principles of sports teaching, from the theoretical point of view, there is no unity of criteria among researchers to guide the work of the sports teacher.

Programming of school sports teaching in Cuba

The pedagogical process that materializes in sports teaching is planned through a Teaching Program and not a Training Plan, so that a Teaching Program, according to Cortegaza & Hernández Prado (2006), refers first of all to the logical order in which the contents of the sport should be distributed during the school and sports course. It provides guidelines about which factors should be the focus of the educational and didactic action of the sports teacher in the different phases of the teaching-learning process.

The teaching programs planned for sports initiation in the Cuban sports context for each sport are based on the teaching and/or development of the sports skills of each discipline, starting from the contents that make up each of them, the features that characterize them and how to approach them. For a better assimilation and methodological organization in their planning, they are divided into four stages of study (Initiation, Basic Global Formation, Consolidation and Deepening), each one of them delimiting the objectives to be achieved.

The sports teaching teacher

In the specialized literature, various terms have been used to designate who leads the sports teaching process, teacher/coach, category used by Blázquez (1986), base coach or teacher as Morales & Arias (2017) called it, school sports coach or sports coach, appellative used by the generality. However, for Balmaseda (2009) and Capote et al., (2017), the sports coach is the person who directs, supervises, controls and supervises the pedagogical process of preparation of one or more athletes to achieve high sports results; this denomination is far from the purposes of teaching, so instead it has been decided to use the term sports teacher, defined by Rodríguez Verdura, et al., (2018) as:

The pedagogue who directs the whole educational process of formation of the beginner through the knowledge and practice of a regulated physical activity, with a playful and recreational profile, which contemplates a possible future performance in the medium and long term. (p.5)

So, as a principle, the sports teacher should act more as an educator than as a coach. Therefore, the reflection of Cudeiro & Trejo (2019) is valid when stating that the scientific explanation on the proper balance between pedagogical and sports is a problem to be solved in sports education, in which the first implies a process and the sport in question, a context. Consequently, the learner is not an athlete, much less an athlete, but an apprentice, a sport apprentice, a beginner or an initiate, as defined by the authors.

The sports teacher must have adequate pedagogical preparation that enables him/her to assume the professional functions contextualized by Rodríguez Verdura et al., (2019), Falcón et al., (2020), namely; Methodological teaching function, Research and upgrading function, Educational guidance function, Responsibility in the performance of work competencies and Interpersonal relations. These functions through their indicators present what they "should know", how they should perform in the classroom or other specific context and the attitudes and values that define and commit a professional in the sports field, in the educational institution and in the community. In the Cuban sports system, sports teachers who work in sports teaching are graduates of the Bachelor's.

Degree in Physical Culture or the School for Teachers of Physical Education (Epef in Spanish), that is, they have an intermediate or higher education, which is not the case in other Latin American countries.

According to Lara et al., (2016), the practice of sports has currently become one of the most relevant activities in the world. This responsibility is given by the high number of children who seek in training camps and in the figure of the teacher an answer to their learning demands. However, Gambau (2015) points out that, in the Spanish sports sector itself, both the public administration and the federations allow people involved in school sport to have fewer training requirements, therefore, this job responsibility is sometimes assumed by personnel without the appropriate professional qualification for this teaching, with empirical experience predominating more than pedagogical training.

Sports class or training session

Finally, the definition of the term related to the form of teaching used in sports teaching is made available to experts, based on the contradiction that is generated in the statement that some authors use, for example, Sánchez et al., (2017), does not differentiate it from the term used in sports training and calls it training session; for his part, García (2021) calls it sports initiation class. The authors of this article prefer to call it sports teaching class or sports class, a designation that allows differentiating, from its wording, the nature of the process.

According to González et al., (2021), there is a gap regarding sports teaching in extracurricular environments, which makes it necessary to provide it with a better pedagogical contextualization, which requires that educational agents and scholars at this level collaborate and work together in the definition of the fundamental pedagogical categories of this process. It is a matter of shaping an epistemological approach to sports teaching, which all scholars define as a pedagogical process, but fail to propose a foundation to support it.



The studies and theoretical references consulted show that, despite expressing pedagogical particularities that are different from those of sports training, the preeminence of the terms and conceptual categories used by the latter has not made it possible to differentiate the two processes.

If it is assumed that children are not "miniature adults" nor can their sports practices be reduced to a "reduced adult training", they deserve attention and a differentiated treatment from the theory, both in the initial formation of the sports teacher and in the performance of their professional duties, ensuring that their mode of action is deployed in a harmonious balance between the educational and the instructional or between the pedagogical and the sports.



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