Last Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Observing sporting performance – third and fourth level

What is this?

This learning activity involves young people observing, reflecting on and analysing a sporting performance. It is intended to support teachers and practitioners to plan learning experiences for young people in their usual setting or while they are learning at home.

As well as taking account of national and local guidance relating to Covid-19, the activity should be used or adapted accordingly to consider the range of learners and their prior knowledge and individual circumstances in relation to this learning experience.

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Experiences and Outcomes: third and fourth level

  • I am developing the skills to lead and recognise strengths of group members, including myself. I contribute to groups and teams through my knowledge of individual strengths, group tactics, and strategies. HWB 3-23a
  • I can analyse and discuss elements of my own and others’ work, recognising strengths and identifying areas where improvements can be made. HWB 3-24a
  • I can:
    • Observe closely, reflect, describe and analyse key aspects of my own and others’ performances
    • Make informed judgements, specific to an activity
    • Monitor and take responsibility for improving my own performance based on recognition of personal strengths and development needs. HWB 4-24a

Purpose of the activity

Young people will be able to observe, reflect on and analyse a sporting performance in order to make judgements about the whole performance.

Learning activity

Introduce the activity by encouraging young people to research reasons why gathering data on performance is important, for example it;

  • Helps identify or confirm a problem (weakness) exists
  • identifies strengths in performance
  • Provides information with which to measure the success of implemented improvements
  • Can aid motivation when training
  • Allows you to plan targets and short/long term goals
  • Can contribute to an improved performance.

Ask young people to watch this short clip of a trampolinist performing a short sequence of basic jumps and turns.

Encourage young people to watch the clip a few times, and ask them to use a table similar to the example below. The young people should record their observations as follows:

  • In the first column, write down the order of the shapes and turns for the whole sequence, for example, straight, straddle, pike, tuck jumps and full or half turn (the first skill is completed as an example).
  • The performer should complete all skills from the middle of the trampoline, which is marked by the red cross. 

Watch the clip again and observe if he lands in the correct part of the trampoline after each shape or turn. In the second column mark Y for yes and N for no

  • Did the performer maintain the height of his bounce throughout the sequence?
  • Describe the position of his arms for each turn.


Name of shape or turn

Middle of the trampoline?

Enter Y (Yes) N (No)


Straight jump

































Total: Y=               N=



Height of bounce maintained

Circle - Yes or No



Position of his arms for each turn:








Next, discuss with young people the following:

  • What strengths can be identified from their observations?
  • Can they make any suggestions that would improve the overall performance?

Extension activity

For young people who require additional challenge in their learning, you could ask them to think back to a time when they had to perform under pressure, for example, a gymnastics sequence in front of the whole class or taking a penalty kick/free throw in an important match. Invite them to consider the following:

  • Did they lose focus at any stage? Did they feel anxious or nervous?
  • What impact did the pressure have on their overall performance?

Or, ask them to think about when they experienced success. How did they feel? What were the contributing factors that led to that success?

National Benchmarks

  • Self-assesses and acts as a peer assessor to provide constructive feedback to modify/enhance performance.
  • Identifies the strengths of individuals/group to assign appropriate roles and tactics to maximise success.
  • Recognises own and other people’s emotions that come from performing, and is aware of how they can impact both positively and negatively on performance.

Possible approach to assessing learning

Receiving examples of learning at home from young people will help you understand how they are managing the tasks you have set and provide some feedback.

Using whichever approaches your school uses to communicate with parents and young people, some of the following may be useful in supporting you to assess and celebrate young people’s progress:

  • Some young people may want to upload photos or a record of their work to an online learning journal, or other agreed online learning space. This will give you the opportunity to provide feedback and next steps.
  • In these activities, you could ask young people to show you the table they produced. Ask them to discuss with you their views on the performance and their ideas.

When planning your approach to assessing learning, please take account of the latest guidance on assessment approaches.