Physical section FAQs
How condensed can I make my Physical section activities?

Sectional activities need to average an hour a week, with the first and last activities being the full section duration apart. In the Physical section it is usual for activities to be weekly at all DofE levels. However, condensed schedules (in terms of hours per session) can allow participants to undertake more expensive or difficult to get to activities like horse riding, surfing, skiing, and so on.

These kinds of decisions must be made in reference to the individual, their overall programme and with the prior agreement of their DofE Leader/Licensed Organisation.

Can I change sport when the season ends in the summer and then return to it when the season starts again in the autumn?

It is common for participants playing sports like hockey, rugby or football to change to playing rounders, tennis, softball or cricket during the summer. Some may change to doing gym/jogging to keep up fitness levels while other participants may just put a break in their programme. Participants should agree this in advance with their DofE Leader and Assessor(s) as part of their programme.

Can general fitness or weight loss be used as a Physical section aim, rather than a specific sporting pursuit?

Yes. Some participants may want to use this section to help motivate them to lose weight or simply to get fitter. This would still usually be though a specific activity, but could also be through a mix, for example jogging, gym, tennis and Zumba.

If go-karting is a skill, why isn’t sailing?

Sailing requires physical exertion and is thus placed in the Physical section. Many participants will complete RYA (Royal Yachting Association) courses as part of their programme and so some have asked if this can be a skill. Unlike other crossover areas, for example scuba-diving, many of the RYA courses require participants to be 16 and unfortunately such courses are simply not long enough to count as a full section activity. Like many Skills section activities there may be a physical activity/element, for example brick laying or a car mechanic course, however these, like learning to drive, powerboating and go-karting are Skills section activities.

Is a course of physiotherapy a Physical section activity?

This really depends on the individual and their needs/abilities but there is no philosophical barrier to it counting as a Physical section activity. Someone playing football who is injured may then count their course of recovery while also spending time using other muscles, for example while in the gym. While sectional activities should have a plan of progression included, for some young people who require constant regular physiotherapy (for example those with cystic fibrosis) this may also be their Physical section activity.

I play hockey and it takes lots of ball skills, can I use it for my Skills section?

Each section has specific aims, principles and benefits set out in The Handbook for DofE Leaders that each participant’s programme needs to be based around. Page 58 highlights that ‘While all sports require skill to play, this does not mean they can be used for the Skills section.’ Equally some skills are quite physical, for example brick laying, power boating and go-karting, but they are Skills section activities.

My doctor says I should not be doing physically strenuous activity. What could I do for my Physical section?

There are several activities that could be considered which while physical, may not be strenuous. For example, yoga, Alexander technique, T’ai Chi, archery, bowling, walking and Pétanque.