VCE Physical Education

VCE Physical Education explores the complex interrelationships between anatomical, biomechanical, physiological and skill acquisition principles to understand their role in producing and refining movement, and examines behavioural, psychological, environmental and sociocultural influences on performance and participation in physical activity.

This study equips students with the appropriate knowledge and skills to plan, develop and maintain their involvement in physical activity, sport and exercise across their lifespan and to understand the physical, social, emotional and cognitive health benefits associated with being active.

The study also prepares students for employment and/or further study at the tertiary level or in vocational education and training settings in fields such as exercise and sport science, health science, education, recreation, sport development and coaching, health promotion and related careers.

Unit 1: The human body in motion
In this unit students explore how the musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory systems work together to produce movement. Through practical activities students explore the relationships between the body systems and physical activity, sport and exercise, and how the systems adapt and adjust to the demands of the activity. Students investigate the role and function of the main structures in each system and how they respond to physical activity, sport and exercise. They explore how the capacity and functioning of each system acts as an enabler or barrier to movement and participation in physical activity.

Area of Study 1 – How does the musculoskeletal system work to produce movement?

Area of Study 2 – How does the cardiorespiratory system function at rest and during physical activity?


Unit 2: Physical activity, sport and society
This unit develops students’ understanding of physical activity, sport and society from a participatory perspective. Students are introduced to types of physical activity and the role participation in physical activity and sedentary behaviour plays in their own health and wellbeing as well as in other people’s lives in different population groups.

Area of Study 1 – What are the relationships between physical activity, sport, health and society?

Area of Study 2 – What are the contemporary issues associated with physical activity and sport?


Unit 3: Movement Skills and Energy for Physical Activity, Sport and Exercise.

Area of Study 1 – Investigate how movement skills can be improved.

Key skills:

  • analysis and classification of primary data, analyse the link between motor skill development, participation and performance
  • participate in, describe and develop coaching strategies to enhance participation and performance, considering the needs of the learner and the performance requirements of the skill
  • analyse, interpret and apply graphical, visual and physical representations of biomechanical principles to improve movement skills
  • perform a qualitative movement analysis of a movement skill using video and systematic observation to analyse and improve a variety of movement skills.

Area of Study 2 – Investigate how the body produces energy

Key Skills:

  • explain the changes in oxygen supply and demand at rest, and during sub-maximal and maximal exercise
  • participate in laboratory activities to collect and analyse data on the range of physiological responses the body experiences during exercise
  • perform, observe, analyse and report on practical activities designed to explore the relationship between the energy systems during activity and recovery
  • participate in physical activity, sport and exercise to describe, using appropriate terminology, the interplay and relative contribution of the 3 energy systems
  • explain the muscular fatigue mechanisms associated with the use of the 3 energy systems and the individual and environmental factors that influence fatigue under various intensities and durations
  • describe nutritional and hydration strategies and how these are used to enhance performance, delay fatigue and improve recovery.


Unit 4: Training to improve performance

Area of Study 1 – What are the foundations of an effective training program?

Key Skills:

  • undertake an activity analysis and analyse associated data to justify the necessary physiological requirements
  • justify the selection of standardised, recognised fitness tests for the specific physiological requirements of the activity
  • perform and observe a reliable, valid and accurate assessment of fitness.

Area of Study 2 – How is training implemented effectively to improve fitness?

Key Skills:

  • participate in and reflect on training sessions by recording physiological, psychological and sociological data in a reflective folio
  • participate in and conduct components of an exercise training session
  • design a training program that demonstrates the correct application of training principles and methods to enhance and/or maintain fitness components
  • analyse training data to identify and prescribe appropriate modifications to a training program
  • evaluate and critique the effectiveness of different training programs
  • explain how the chronic adaptations of the cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular systems to training lead to improved performance.

Area of Study 3 – Integrated movement experiences

Key Skills:

  • reflect on primary data from participation in a practical activity
  • use primary data to demonstrate integration of theory and practice
  • analyse interrelationships between skill acquisition, biomechanics, energy production and training knowledge for the practical activity completed in consideration of/in relation to the impacts these have on performance between movement skills or performers.