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Abilities and Skills

  • The aim of this lesson is to learn the difference between abilities and skills (Equivalent to UK A Level Physical Education)


Your ability is the skills and qualities which make it possible for you to achieve a task. These are stable and enduring characteristics which are genetic and can be either completely perceptual, completely motor or a combination (known as psychomotor).

Here is a list of abilities which are relevant to P. E. and can be assessed:

  • Co-ordination
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Muscular power
  • Muscular endurance



A skill is the combined ability and knowledge which allow you to complete a task to a high standard. Skills are:

  • Learnt
  • Permanent changes in behaviour
  • Aimed at achieving a goal
  • Learning of the skill is demonstrated by changes in the consistency of performance, making it more efficient and successful

As with abilities, skills can be perceptual, motor or psychomotor (a combination). Skills can be classified on the continuums shown below:


Skills continuum

The diagram above demonstrates the skills continuums. As an example, the precision of a movement can be fine (small, accurate movements, as in an archery shot) or gross (large, dynamic movements, as during a butterfly swimming race) or anywhere along the continuum inbetween. Movements can be continuous, such cycling, where the movement repeats over and over, serial, where there are distinct parts within a movement, or discrete, where there is a definite beginning and end.





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