Physical education for Soviet children and teacher and coach education.

L.J Evans-Worthing, Tennessee State University


The USSR is a great sporting nation; since 1952 it has been one of the dominant forces in the Olympic Movement and has produced many world champions, yet little has been written in English about the physical education of Soviet children. The study begins by describing the country - its geography, population, politics and the philosophy of Soviet society; as well as the place within society of children's education including the Octobrist, Young Pioneer and Komsomol movements. The development and purpose of sport and physical education in pre and post-1917 Revolutionary periods are explained along with the Soviet concept of physical culture and the important place within it of children's physical education. The different areas of children's physical education from preschool through to school-leaving age (17 years) are described; their planning administration and implementation are outlined with discussions about their effectiveness for all children including those who are healthy, particularly talented or disabled. The great importance that is placed upon extracurricular work to improve children's health and encourage the habit of regular exercise into adulthood is described and discussed. The education and training of teachers and sports coaches is investigated as it helps assess the status accorded to children's physical education. The strengths, weaknesses and problems of this centrally-controlled, compulsory system of physical education are analysed from information gained during visits, interviews, observations and a study of Soviet and Western literature. It was concluded that whilst most Soviet children benefit from physical education, especially keen and talented children, many others fail to achieve national sets of fitness targets. The reasons include shortage of necessary facilities and inadequately-trained teachers. Finally, comparisons are made with other countries, in particular England and Wales, with suggestions to physical educators.

Subject Area

Physical education

Recommended Citation

L.J Evans-Worthing, "Physical education for Soviet children and teacher and coach education." (1987). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAIU003978.