JCPE - Junior Cycle Physical Education Support Service

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Athletics - Introduction PDF Print E-mail



To provide the students with the opportunity to develop personally, socially and physically through participation in a variety of athletic activities in a safe and enjoyable environment.


  • To provide opportunities for participation in running, jumping and throwing activities in a variety of contexts.
  • To enhance knowledge and understanding of athletic activities.
  • To encourage personal goal setting and an understanding and appreciation of the concept of fair play through enjoyable participation in athletic activities.
  • To develop a more advanced technique in specific activities.




Throughout the athletics programme safety is of paramount importance. Environment, equipment, methodology, content and students’ level of expertise are all important factors in this area. In general, all athletic lessons must be ‘user friendly’ and involve the maximum number of students for the time allocated. Athletics is a sport in which a variety of running, jumping and throwing activities may be taking place at the same time. It is essential therefore, to maintain an awareness of this and to plan the layout of practices with this in mind. The safety of participants is the major concern.

  • All equipment should be kept in good repair and stored in a safe place.
  • All sessions should start with a warm up and finish with a cool down.
  • Outdoor running areas should be level and free of potholes, glass etc.
  • Students must wear appropriate footwear.

Safety Awareness for Throwing Activities

  • While learning and practising throwing activities can be exciting for the student, the teacher must be aware of the inherent potential dangers.
  • Discipline must be developed from the first lesson. Implements should be carried to and from the throwing area and not used outside of the session itself.
  • Implements must be chosen for lesson, of a weight and size appropriate to the strength, age and hand size of the participant.
  • Other students should be cautioned not to trespass into the throwing area.
  • It is essential that students not only throw on the orders of the teacher but also collect only on the orders of the teacher.
  • Each athlete must be taught to check to see that nobody is standing in the throwing area / sector before throwing. Athletes should be taught to spot for one another during the lesson.
  • All those waiting to throw, spectators or bystanders must stand well clear of the throwing area.
  • Only when everybody has taken their throw should students be allowed to collect the implements from the throwing area.

Safety Awareness for Long Jump

  • Do not allow students jump into an undug pit.
  • The sand in the pit should be fine, well raked, level and a little wet to avoid dust.
  • It should be deep enough to avoid jarring on landing (minimum 30 - 40cm).
  • The sand should be clear of all debris (glass, stones, sticks, etc.).
  • The edges should be designed so the athlete will not get injured if they fall to the side/front.
  • The pit should be away from throwing areas.
  • Rakes and shovels should be positioned away from landing area.
  • The take-off board should be firmly fixed to the ground and be flush with the surface of the run-up.
  • The run-up should be firm, level and any depressions in ground (particularly near take off board) should be filled in.

Warm Up and Cool Down

It is suggested that all classes must start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down.

  • Build up gradually from small to greater efforts.
  • Start with whole body and progress to muscle groups most directly concerned with the activity.
  • Include stretching and mobility exercises as part of the warm-up.

General to Specific

It is suggested that all classes/blocks of work should go from the general to the specific.


In each lesson the student should be exposed to fun/enjoyable activities through a variety of learning experiences. BALANCE Within every athletics lesson the teacher should endeavour to have a balance between a variety of physical activities and necessary teacher instruction / student discussion. The technical aspect of specific events should not dominate the lesson at the expense of student participation. METHODOLOGY While accepting that each teacher has his/her own method of teaching the various athletic activities it is suggested that cognisance be taken of the various teaching methodologies. In the units in the following section specific methodologies are suggested which include working in large/small groups; pairs; individual; teacher / student demonstrations; ‘Whole-part-Whole’ methods. The content of the lesson may dictate the methodology to be used within each lesson.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2009 12:15

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