IFSPT Sports Physical Therapy Competencies and Standards


Sports physical therapy is a growing specialization in cultures that strive to promote an active lifestyle and athletic excellence. The IFSPT Competencies and Standards document describes the professional behaviors of sports physiotherapists in Europe and explains the background to their development.


The International Sports Physical Therapy Competencies and Standards are the driving force and guidelines for the determination of qualification for a Member Organization's sports physical therapy specialization pathway.


International Sports Physical Therapy Competencies & Standards


Registration of International Sports Physical Therapists


The following will give some further information and examples of competency documents throughout the world:





Australian Council of Physiotherapy Regulating Authorities Competency Standards



Competency statements describe effective professional behaviors that integrate specific knowledge, skills and attitudes in a particular context (Ministry for Education, Culture and Science, The Netherlands, 2002). Standards are criteria for performance, describing the level at which competencies should be demonstrated.

This process led to the development of eleven competencies, designed to demonstrate behaviors expected at a master’s level. Standards have been written to describe the specific abilities and behaviors of the sports physiotherapist in a defined context.


Audit Tool Kit

An audit toolkit has been designed to enable the evaluation of competencies and standards. This will enable sports physiotherapists to provide evidence of their competencies and identify further learning needs.


This is an instrument which will measure systematically the competencies of a sports physiotherapist. These competencies include professional skills, knowledge, and attitudes, and relate to the services delivered by sports physiotherapists.


The audit tool kit will assess individuals’ formal and non formal learning against threshold standards for each competency.


Evidence of achievement of these can be articulated through the learning outcomes achieved from formal postgraduate programmes of study or from non-formal learning in an individual’s portfolio. Examples of documentation in a portfolio include learning goals, plans and attainment of these through any of the following:


  • Video of a specific sports physiotherapeutic treatment;
  • Personal reflection;
  • Feedback from sports physiotherapy colleagues;
  • Patient feedback;
  • Case report;
  • Development of a guideline for treatment;
  • Article for a scientific or professional journal;
  • Plan for supervision;
  • Quality case plan; or
  • Action plan to encourage interdisciplinary working.


It is likely that a portfolio will contain a number of examples explicit to different competencies. The portfolio provides evidence that the sports physiotherapist has met the standards of proficiency.


The audit toolkit can be used by the sports physiotherapist to benchmark themselves against each of the competencies to identify individual performance. It can also be used as an assessment of future learning needs, enabling development of a personal development plan for continuing professional development/ life long learning.


To check if the documentation within the portfolio has met the standards, it will be possible for some competencies to use the core standards for patients record audit, the core standard continuing professional development / lifelong learning audit, the core standard peer review and the patient feedback audit (see Clinical audit tools, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, 2000).


The audit toolkit is an instrument to enhance professional development, not to identify negligent practice or to gain evidence for disciplinary purposes. The audit toolkit is designed to facilitate life long learning in Europe and beyond. The audit toolkit will help sports physiotherapists provide the highest standards of care.


It is also an instrument that can be used within an accreditation system for sports physiotherapists. This would ensure competencies are being achieved in short accredited courses as well as postgraduate programmes of masters study.


It is necessary to describe the standards extremely carefully and precisely: which behaviour in which context, which level, which indicators. Questions such as “what are the critical factors for success?” need to be asked and identified and “how you can measure this?” needs to be explicit.


Engagement and involvement of key persons and key organisations are required to set, disseminate, promote, adopt and implement the standards and the audit toolkit. Following the adoption of the competency document, standards for practice will be developed. In conjunction with this, the audit tools will also be developed as a consultation process. Documents will be disseminated in published format for comment through this website and by post/-email, to project stakeholders such as:


  • All member organisations of the International Federation of Sports Physiotherapy;
  • Private employers;
  • Project partners such as the World Confederation for Physical Therapy;
  • European National Physiotherapy Organisations;
  • National Olympic Committees; and
  • National Sports Federations that have signed a letter of intent.


Here you can find the latest version of the Audit Tools formulated by experts in the field to assist you in creating a comprehensive portfolio for sports physiotherapy.


SPT Audit Toolkit User Aid – short version (PDF)

SPT Audit Toolkit Document (PDF)


Supporting documents

Combined checklist for Sports Physiotherapist and Assessors (XLS)
Patient Feedback Questionnaire (PDF)
Patient Record Data Collection Form (PDF)
Pilot Utility of specific Audit Tool (PDF)
Peer Review Feedback Form (PDF)
Percentage threshold of Standards to be met (PDF)
QSAS documents

Documents for countries without National Quality Assurance

Quality Self Assessment System for Master Programmes in SPT (PDF)
Appendix 1: Assessment Sheet (XLS)
Pilot Utility of QSAS for Master Programme in SPT (PDF)

Pilot Utility of Appendix 1 QSAS for Master Programme in SPT (PDF)

Documents for countries with National Quality Assurance

Appendix 1: Assessment Sheet (XLS)
Pilot Utility of Appendix 1 QSAS for Master Programme in SPT (PDF)