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Working with people in sport and fitness

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This is a work-related module that’s invaluable if you work, or are intending to work, in sport and fitness. It will be of particular value to sports coaches, fitness trainers and aspiring P.E. teachers who are interested in developing their personal skills and becoming more effective as practitioners. The module uses a reflective approach to developing personal skills such as communication, motivation, team working and leadership, and learning physical skills.

What you will study

This module will allow you to engage and develop your knowledge and understanding of key personal skills in sport and fitness alongside developing a range of cognitive and professional skills that will underpin your future study.

The module consists of six study topics, each covering different personal skills required in sport and fitness settings:

Study Topic 1: Learning in sport and fitness settings
You’ll look at how careers in sport and fitness develop, and how we learn to become effective practitioners in sport and fitness work roles. There’s a particular focus on how we can reflect on our performance and the role of setbacks in the learning process.

Study Topic 2: Getting the message across: interpersonal communication
You’ll assess different channels of communication used in sport and fitness roles – verbal, non-verbal and written – and the characteristics of effective communication. You’ll look at how you can use communication to develop effective relationships and influence other people.

Study Topic 3: Effective teamwork in sport and fitness
You’ll study what is meant by the term ‘team’ in sport and fitness contexts; the stages teams go through during their development; the differences between successful and unsuccessful teams and the role that team culture plays in their functioning.

Study Topic 4: Insights into leadership in sport and fitness
You’ll examine examples of effective and ineffective leadership in sport and fitness and the impact of different styles of leaders in the people. You’ll study how theories can contribute to your understanding of leadership and the value of good followers to the leader.

Study Topic 5: Motivation in sport and fitness settings
You’ll assess a range of factors that influence individuals’ motivation in sport and fitness settings and in their working roles; how theories can account for their motivation; and which techniques can be employed to influence people’s motivation.

Study Topic 6: Developing physical skills for sport and fitness
You’ll look at different types of physical skills – and how participants in sport and fitness settings learn them. You’ll explore the roles of the environment, feedback and technology in the learning of physical skills.

You will learn

This module will enable you to:

  • demonstrate an ability to apply a range of motivational techniques and adapt to individual/group needs and motives
  • demonstrate an awareness of the need to communicate in different ways to meet the needs of groups and individuals
  • apply insights gained from working practice of training, instructional or coaching roles and relate this to instructional frameworks
  • describe the characteristics of effective leadership and team working
  • analyse case studies and draw out relevant information to inform your own learning.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this module.

However, it would be beneficial for you to have a paid or voluntary role in sport and fitness or be familiar with sport and fitness settings as an active participant.

If you’re not sure you’re ready, talk to an adviser.

Preparatory work

If you want to get a flavour of one of the study topics (Study Topic 2: Getting the message across: interpersonal communication) or get a head start with this module, complete our free badged open course Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness. The quiz questions are very similar to part of the module assessment.

What's included

  • Access to the module study materials via the module website
  • Printed reader

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll have a named tutor who will support your studies and mark and comment on your assignment work; you can also seek academic advice and guidance from them. If you’re new to the OU, your tutor can provide additional support with your study skills. Your tutor will offer support through:

  • Online tutorials - we’ll advertise tutorials before the module starts. E119 tutors will take them, but depending on the tutorial, not necessarily your own named tutor. We recommend you book online to attend.
  • Online forum discussions within your tutor group
  • Personal email or telephone.


You can find the assessment details for this module in the facts box.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying E119 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Working with people in sport and fitness (E119) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2025.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
2 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
No examination