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Resources include the Athletics merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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This is the Athletics merit badge for Scouts, Lone Scouts, and qualified Venturers or Sea Scouts.
Scouts, Lone Scouts, and qualified Venturers or Sea Scouts can also earn the Sports and Personal Fitness merit badges.
Webelos Scouts can complete the Stronger, Faster, Higher Webelos Adventure.
All registered youth and adults can complete the SCOUTStrong Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) Challenge
Athletics merit badge requires prior counselor and/or parent approval for requirement(s) #6b.
The Athletics merit badge is an option for the Shoot! STEM Nova Award.

Athletics merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1911
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 023
Requirements revision: 2018
Latest pamphlet revision: 2016


Being involved in an athletic endeavor is not only a way to have fun, but it also is one of the best ways for a person to maintain a healthy and strong body, living up to the promise each Scout makes "to keep myself physically strong."

The Athletics merit badge was one of the original 57 merit badges issued by the Boy Scouts of America in 1911.

Athletics merit badge requirements

If meeting any of the requirements for this merit badge is against the Scout’s religious convictions, the requirement does not have to be done if the Scout’s parents and the proper religious advisors state in writing that to do so would be against religious convictions. The Scout’s parents must also accept full responsibility for anything that might happen because of this exemption.

Requirement 2a is being added for health and safety, and to provide consistency with the Personal Fitness merit badge.

  1. Do the following:
    a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter during athletics activities, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
    b. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while participating in athletic events, including sprains, strains, contusions, abrasions, blisters, dehydration, and heat reactions.
  2. Do the following:
    a. Before completing requirements 3 and 5, have your health-care practitioner give you a physical examination, using the Scout medical examination form.
    b. Explain the importance of a physical exam
    c. Explain the importance of maintaining good health habits, especially during training - and how the use of tobacco products, alcohol, and other harmful substances can negatively affect your health and performance in athletic activities.
    d. Explain the importance of maintaining a healthy diet.
  3. Select an athletic activity interests you. Then do the following:
    a. With guidance from your counselor, establish a personal training program suited to the activity you have chosen. Follow this training program for three months.
    b. Create a chart to monitor your progress during this time.
    c. Explain to your counselor the equipment necessary to participate in this activity, and the appropriate clothing for the time of year.
    d. At the end of four months, review the chart you created for requirement 3b, and, discuss with your counselor what progress you have made during training. Tell how your development has affected you mentally and physically.
  4. Do the following:
    a. Give the rules for two athletic activities, one of which is the activity you chose for requirement 3.
    b. Discuss the importance of warming up and cooling down.
    c. Explain to your counselor what an amateur athlete is and the differences between an amateur and a professional athlete.
    d. Discuss the traits and importance of good sportsmanship. Tell what role sportsmanship plays in both individual and group athletic activities.
  5. Complete the activities in FOUR of the following groups and show improvement over a three-month period.
    Group 1: Sprinting
    a. 100-meter dash
    b. 200-meter dash
    Group 2: Long-Distance Running
    a. 3k run
    b. 5k run
    Group 3: Long Jump OR High Jump
    a. Running long jump OR running high jump (best of three tries)
    b. Standing long jump OR standing high jump (best of three tries)
    Group 4: Swimming
    a. 100-meter swim
    b. 200-meter swim
    Group 5: Pull-Ups AND Push-Ups
    a. Pull-ups in two minutes
    b. Push-ups in two minutes
    Group 6: Baseball Throw
    a. Baseball throw for accuracy, 10 throws at a target (distance to be determined by age): ages 11 to 12, 20 feet; ages 13 to 15, 30 feet; ages 16 to 17, 40 feet
    b. Baseball throw for distance, five throws (total distance)
    Group 7: Basketball Shooting
    a. Basketball shot for accuracy, 10 free-throw shots
    b. Basketball throw for skill and agility, the following shots as shown on the diagram
    1. Left-side layup
    2. Right-side layup
    3. Left side of hoop, along the key line
    4. Right side of hoop, along the key line
    5. Where key line and free-throw line meet, left side
    6. Where key line and free-throw line meet, right side
    7. Top of the key
    8. Anywhere along the three-point line.
    Group 8: Football Kick OR Soccer Kick
    a. Goals from the 10-yard line, eight kicks
    b. Football kick or soccer kick for distance, five kicks (total distance)
    Group 9: Weight Training
    a. Chest/bench press, two sets of 15 repetitions each
    b. Leg curls, two sets of 15 repetitions each
  6. Do the following
    a. Prepare plans for conducting a sports meet or field day that includes 10activities, at least five of which must come from the groups mentioned in requirement 5. Outline the duties of each official needed and list the equipment the meet will require.
    b. With your parent's and counselor's approval, serve as an official or volunteer at a sports meet to observe officials in action. Tell your counselor about your responsibilities at the meet and discuss what you learned.

NOTE: Although the time period in requirement 3a was changed to 3 months, the same change was not made to requirement 3d.

The official source for the information shown in this is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Athletics is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Athletics requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

  1. The BSA Athletics Troop Program Feature offers meeting and activity plans to include Athletics as one of your monthly themes.

Requirement resources

Athletics can be a part of your Troop Physical Fitness Program.
1. First Aid: Sprains - Strains - Bruises (contusions) - Abrasions - Blisters - Dehydration - Heat Reactions

2a. Physical Exam
3. & 4. Warm-up, cool-down, Take part in one season...

Baseball - Basketball - Field Hockey - Football - Ice Hockey - Lacrosse - Soccer - Softball - Tennis - Volleyball
  • Unauthorized Sports: Boxing, Karate & "Related Martial Arts" (excepting judo, aikido, and tai chi), Parachuting, Motorized events (motorbikes, drag racing, speedboats), Paintball, Hunting, Parasailing, etc.

3a: The Importance of Warm-up and Cool Down

Related awards

Sports-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools