We examined the utility of distinguishing between appearance- and competition-focused approach and avoidance performance goals to our understanding of motivation in physical education. Four achievement goals were tested composed of approach–avoidance and appearance–competition components. Three hundred and two pupils, aged 11–14 years, completed measures of appearance–competition approach–avoidance goals at the start of a football or gymnastics unit of work in physical education. Teacher-rated effort and National Curriculum attainment levels were recorded at the end of the unit of work as markers of performance in physical education. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the delineation of four goals in terms of the approach–avoidance and appearance–competition elements. Regression analyses subsequently revealed differences in the predictive utility of the four goals to performance in physical education. Thus, our understanding of motivational processes in physical education may be enhanced by utilising a more differentiated conception of normative achievement goals.