Recommended Summer Playlist

summer reading

We are often asked by PE teachers to recommend great reads and podcasts that will support them to hone their craft as physical educators or leaders. We last shared a list in December 2020

Between the team at PE Scholar, we have come up with the following list of top books, podcasts, research papers, videos and more that are well worth looking into and a short synopsis or specific episode to start with: 


  1. The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel A. van der Kolk – one of the world’s leading experts on traumatic stress explores approaches to heel mind, body and soul 
  2. A Very Modern Family: Stories and guidance to nurture your relationships. Carrie and David Grant have an extraordinary family story to tell. They have four children, one of whom is adopted, and all have come with a curveball: mental health challenges, neurodivergence, trans non-binary identities, various sexualities, and they are a mixed-race family, too. 
  3. Representation Matters – becoming an anti-racist educator by Aisha Thomas – this book offers practical, concrete strategies and resources to drive change and promote an anti-racist approach to education. Covering a range of important topics, including intersectionality, decolonising the curriculum, unconscious bias and microaggressions. 


  1. Playing with Research in Health & Physical Education – Episode 281 with Laura Alfrey: Student voice and transforming traditional fitness testing 
  2. High Performance Podcast – Episode 180 with James Clear: What you need to do today, to change your tomorrow 
  3. Diaries of a CEO – Episode 145 with Simon Sinek: The Number One Reason Why You’re Not Succeeding 
  4. The Real Science of Sport Podcast – Why How We Select Young Sporting Talent IS Probably All Wrong 
  5. The Sports Psych Show – Episode 241 with Doug Lemov: Reading the Game 
  6. Believe Move Grow with Daniel Elias – Episode #23. The impact of growth and maturation on youth sport and exercise with Sean Cummin. 
  7. Physical Activity Researcher Podcast – In Pursuit of Modest Competence with Scott Kretchmar 

Research Papers:

  1. O’Connor, J. and Penney, D., 2021. Informal sport and curriculum futures: An investigation of the knowledge, skills and understandings for participation and the possibilities for physical education. European Physical Education Review, 27(1), pp.3-26. 
  1. Wilkinson, S.D. and Penney, D., 2023. A national survey of ability grouping practices in secondary school physical education in England. Research Papers in Education, pp.1-20. 
  1. Cronin, L., Greenfield, R. and Maher, A., 2023. A Qualitative Investigation of Teachers’ Experiences of Life Skills Development in Physical Education. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, pp.1-16. 


  1.  Ty Riddick, an American PE teacher, takes a look at democratic practices in physical education and Meaningful PE – 
  1. Neil Moggan explores how schools can use early intervention mental wellbeing programmes to engage those young people who may feel disengaged in physical education –
  1. @ImSporticus explores terms like traditions and traditional and challenges whether that is the right way to refer to ‘outdated PE’ – 
  1. @ImSporticus helps us think about Meaningful PE and whether it is just good teaching –
  1. Ash Casey (PEPRN) does quick reviews of important research papers and this one on the impact of ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence on HPE is well worth a read –


  1. Air on Amazon Prime – documentary about how Nike CEO Phil Knight (Shoe Dog) secured Michael Jordan and changed the game in terms of sponsorship and endorsements in sport. 
  2. The Swimmers on Netflix – documentary about two sisters who embark on a risky journey from war-torn Syria to the 2016 Rio Olympics 
  3. Athlete A on Netflix – documentary focused on the gymnast who survived USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse and the reporters who exposed USAG’s toxic culture 
  4. Break Point on Netflix – travel alongside some of the world’s most talented tennis players as they swing for greatness and Grand Slams through an action-packed season 
  5. Gods of Tennis on BBC iPlayer – Rebels, rockstars, revolutionaries. On court, they were legends. Off court, they challenged the world. Ashe, McEnroe, Borg, King, Navratilova, Evert – the golden age of tennis. 

What about our books?

We are making the assumption that you have already read our great publications. If not, take a look below and watch out for more in 2023/24:

  1. Physical Literacy: A Guide for Educators by Dr Liz Durden-Myers –  
  2. Is Physical Education in Crisis?: Leading a Much-Needed Change in Physical Education by Lee Sullivan – 
  3. Wanna Teach PE? An A-Z guide for the next generation of aspiring teachers by Ben Holden – 
  4. Lifetime Contributions in Physical Education: Celebrating the lives and work of Len Almond and Joy Butler –

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