AQA 1 The Participant as an individual


Key terms:

  • Physiology:the functions and processes of the human body.
  • Flexibility- the range of movement around a joint
  • Peak: the best prepared period for you to perform.

Age affects:

  • Flexibility- may be quite high in our teens but decreases with age.
  • Strength- decreses with age, but much younger people will not achieve maximum strength until they are fully grown.
  • Oxygen capacity- reduces with age as the heart becomes less efficient. The arteries gradually lose their elasticity, increasing blood pressure and reducing blood flow.
  • Skill level- increases with age and experience. 
  • The older you get the longer it takes to recover from injuries. 

Age divisions- School sport is organised within year groups. You can also arrange it so it is more flexible with ages yet doesn't leave younger people at too much of a disadvantage, E.G. under 14,16,18,21. 

1 of 10


Key terms: Inclusion- a policy no one should experience, barriers to learning as a result of their disability, heritage, gender, special education needs, ethnicity, social group, sexual orientaion, race or culture. 

Disability can be considered to exist in one of four categories;

Physical, Mental, Permanent, Temporary

  • There are adapted sports; such as wheelchair basketball- where the hoop heights are the same but some of the rules (such as travelling) are adapted. 
  • There is adapted equipment; such as footballs used by the blind and visuallly impaired, where there are ball- bearings in small compartments within the ball so that the person can hear for the whereabouts of the ball and therefore can track its movement.


  • Access- door and doorways have to be wide enough to allow wheelchair access and ramps must be provided.
  • Parking- disabled bays must be marked and made available. 
  • Provision- lifts must allow access to upper floors, disabled toilets muct be provided. 
2 of 10


 Key terms; 

  • Physique- the form, size and development of a person's body.
  • Metabolic- the whole range of biochemical processes that occur within us.
  • Power- A combination of speed + strength
  • Maximal strength- the greatest amount of weight that can be lfted in one go.

Physical differences;

  • woman tend to be smaller with a flatter broader pelvis (childbirth). bigger % of fat.
  • because of their smaller heart and lungs woman have a smaller O2 capacity.
  • women have less muscle mass, meaning they tend to be more flexible
  • Girls tend to mature faster than boys. But, from 11 onwards males start to overtake in terms of height and strength, so sport usually becomes single sex at this age. 
  • Because girls suffer horonal imbalances and mensurate they can be at a disadvantage if they are participating suring their period. Males don't usually tend to suffer from such chemical substnace imbalances. 

perceived differences- discrimination has caused women to be seen as the 'weaker sex'. until 1960 they werent allowed to compete in distances more than 800 metres. some women may also find religion forbids them to fully participate as they must remain covered & this can restrict their participation.

3 of 10

Gender and Culture

The factor of gender is often linked closely with religion due the fact that many religions have strict guidlines that apply specifically to females:

  • Many females who lives in cultures that have extreme religious views find they are harassed by men, racially abused, whistled at and heckled when they are training or competing in their own country. 
  • In many cultures some sports are not even considered suitable for women to compete in. 
  • Sprinter Tahmina Kohistani of Afghanistan had to wear a hijab and long clothing to conform with Islamic modestry laws when competing in London 2012 Olympics. Wojdan Shaherkani, from Saudi Arabia, had similar problems when competing in the judo competition. 
4 of 10

Culture- Religion

Key terms

  • Culture: the ideas, customs and social behaviour of a particular people or society.
  • Fast: to eat only certain types of food or to reduce food intake.
  • Hijab- a head covering that must be worn in public by some muslim women. 

Many muslim cultures have specific dress codes that require certain clothing to be worn. 

Many muslims fast during the religious period of Ramadan and this can affect their performance when training and competing. 

Some devout christians refuse to train or compete on sundays as this conflicts with their religious belief. 

5 of 10


Key terms:

  • Body Composition: the percentage of body weight that is fat, muscle and bone. 
  • Musculature; the system or arrangement of muscles on a body. 
  • Somatotypes: different body types on shape, most commonly endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph. 
  • Trunk: the middle part of your body. 

Physique is a factor that the individual has litte control over. although you can influence your body composition and musclature, your body shape is preordained. 

Endomorph - wide hips, wid shoulders, short legs in relation with their trunks and a tendency to gain fat. their bulk could be advantageous in sports such as rugby as a pack member in the scrum. They could struggle in high endurance events such as distance running. 

Mesomorph - broad shoulders, muscled arms and legs, narrow hips and minimum amount of fat, can excel in strength, agility and seed & particularly suited to swimming. their somatotype is unlikely to make them unsuitable for any sport.

Ectomorph - predominantly long, slender and thin with narrow hips & shoulders, thin arms and legs and minimal muscle and fat. their slender build makes them unsuitable for power and strength but they excel in endurance sports such as marathon running and gymnastics where their light frame is an advantage. They are also well suited to high-jump.

6 of 10


weather - although you have no control over this, a proffessional performer might be ale to afford to go to a country where the weather is suitable. weather affects both training and competing separately.

training - you need access to appropriate conditions, if you are a marathon runner tou need to carry out long distane runs however this may not be possible on icy roads. In addition to this a tennis player might only have access to outdoor courts and would not play in rain, snow or cold, icy weather. 

competing - many activities stop if the weather is poor; this includes being too hot, too cold,, too wet, too dry, too foggy, too windy or during thunder storms. 

pollution - air pollution can affect both training and competing because it is a serious health risk for anybody participating. if pollution levels are high then training will be restricted to indoors where there is some form of climate control.

altitude - training & perfomring at hight altitude can be a real benefit for people taking part in endurance events as it can increase O2 carrying capacity of the blood as air is less dense and O2 levels are low.

humidity - relates to the amount of water vapour int he air. leads to dehydration, in the World Cross Country Championships 2007, humidity lead to 20% of competitors failing to complete the race

terrain - the landscape you require can be crucial to your sport; you need slopes and snow as a skier. 

7 of 10

Risk + Challenge

Key terms:

  • Challange- a test of your ability or resources in a demanding situation.
  • Risk- the possibility of suffering harm, loss or danger. 

challenging activities  - outdoor and adventurous activities clearly have many challenges. water/climbing activities involve difficult conditions and a chalenging environment. there are often scales of challenge (once one has been completed there is a harder one)

challenge within activities can also be a factor, EG. to tackle a bigger opponent in rugby or to run 26 miles in a marathon.

risk asssesment is vital so that potential hazards are spotted before an activity takes place. all aspects of the environment must be considered in order to be sure that a degree of chaallenge is still present but safety is considered.

risk control ... participants should perform within the rules of their activity and avoid foul play. this includes making sure equiptment is in good condition and no jewellery is worn.

organisers need to ensure they are fully qualified to be in charge of a group so they dont mix age and gender, there arent too many taking part and the group has suffieciently warmed up.

safeguards - it is vital that there is always first aid equpitment and qualified first aiders or telephones located in case of emergency. 

8 of 10

Activity needs

Key terms: 

Competitive- an actvity that involves some form of contest, rivalry or game. 

Recreational- any form of play, ammusment or relaxation performed as games, sports or hobbies. 

activity needs:

competitive - performers must be highly commited as they need to train to compete, they may have to be prepared to give up a full day to travel to a fixture. if they are a proffessional, they must be committed at all times.

recreational - activites are not as demanding as these types of activity don't require any periods of special training or preparation. they only requirement is to take part in the activity for a length of time at a convinient time.

lots of time is dedicated when the performer is performing at high level. individual factors such as age means school childdren may have more leisure time than an adult in full time work.

activity effects- high levels of participation bring benefits, the health benefits are clear but they can only be maintained if the level of participation is maintained. there are also benefits socially, such as the enjoyment of taking part with others and the satisfaction of success. Low and infrequent levels of activty have little or no positive effect.


9 of 10


  • Key terms:  -Periodisation- the different parts of a training programme.
  • Peak- at your very vest- the best prepared period for you to be able to perform. 
  • General fitness- a state of general good health and to be able to carry out activities at a relatively low level. 

training is the factor that the individual has the most control over.

levels of participation

some performers competing at high standard willtrain daily to consider periodisation and ensure that they peak at the right time - usually coinsiding with a big event.

  • pre-season the time leading up to the majority of competition, an initial period of preparation, concentrating on fitness and developing specific technique
  • peak-season the main competitive period, here there is  concentration on skills, ongoing fitness as well as participation in the actual competition
  • post-season this is mainly a period of rest but there is still a need to keep up levels of general fitness
  • availalable time is crucial. You only have free chice of avilable time if you are professional. Swimmers will have a small allocated time of training before the pool opens to the public so for an amateur, fitting in training can be difficult. 
  • available funds- the amount of money you have also has an effect as more funds can mean more time, better facilities and equiptment and even the possibility of hiring a coach or trainer. 
10 of 10


No comments have yet been made

Similar Physical Education resources:

See all Physical Education resources »See all Age, disability, gender, culture, physique, environment, risk+ challenge activity levels and needs and training resources »