To find out whether physical education is an art or science, it becomes necessary to examine the principles on which it is based. It needs to be ascertained whether the principles or basic concepts of physical education are contemplative – to make it an art, or analytical, experimental and verifiable – to make it a Science.
Scientific basis of physical education
Physical education can be termed as a science only if the principles, theories, laws on which it is based are determined and verified.
What we know about human being is scattered through many separate disciplines.
Physical education draws its principles from various sources like anatomy, physiology, mental hygiene, psychology, Anthropology, bio-chemistry, bio-physics, bio-mechanics and so on. which contribute a lot to the understanding of ‘man’ and his ‘movements’.
These Sciences have paved the way for building up a scientific foundation of physical education.
The principles and theories which guide programming in physical education place heavy Reliance on these Sciences.
Principles of these services are so properly established that there is hardly any possibility of any change taking place.
Basic characteristics of science are that it provides us with the knowledge, the facts, intellectual tool for solving problems, enabling us to construct means and also stresses on outcomes and achievements.
As physical education depends heavily on these primary characteristics of science it can be well stated that physical education is a science.
physical education as an art
What can be described as a way of doing something beautifully. People who do things beautifully can be known as artists.
Art implies that actions are carried out with such principles of taste and creativeness, and with such aesthetic qualities, that they Express magnificence, Grace and poise.
Excellent dive, excellent gymnastic exercise, a beautiful painting, a colourful rainbow or a melodious music excites an emotional response in us.
This emotional response is received by us through our various sense organs – ears, eyes, nose etc.
Such responses evoke delight and excite admiration inside us because of humanistic values and aesthetic qualities of the object or the experience.
In music our auditory perception is involved, in seeing a piece of art our visual perception is involved, in smelling the food our olfactory perception is involved and in athletics power kinaesthetic perception is involved.
It’s the quality of the perception that evokes aesthetic response so as to term it as an art.
The person who performs an action beautifully, skillfully and creatively is an artist, the teacher or the mentor who creates such congenial learning environment which inspires and stimulates his disciple to achieve perfection and beauty in performance can also called an artist.
An athlete who sells over the high jump bar skillfully, beautifully with Grace and poise is an artist and the trainer, the guide who taught him with his soaring imagination and stimulating ideas is also an artist.
Art has two most important principles “form” and “organisation” and physical Education satisfies both these principles.
Form is essential quality of good activity in physical education.
The trainer will be able to evaluate the strong, supple physical from as well as the skilled activity – as to its good form.
Physical education additionally satisfies the second principle of ‘organisation’ which is a function of imagination and creativity.
Physical education contributes to creativity and appreciation of the same by providing completely different modes of expression through movements and also by permitting for different individual differences of the participants at the same time.
These two principles are generally responsible for beautifying this system of physical education, extrinsically and intrinsically.
It can thus, stated that physical education is an art.
Physical education as an art and science
Since physical education derives its principles both from Art and Science, it will be appropriate to treat it as an art and science at the same time.
It’s an art as a result of it’s aesthetic, imaginative and creative qualities.
It’s Science as it is systematic and realistic.
Physical education being a rare combination of Science and art can be termed as “artistic science”.