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A Tactical Games Approach to

Teaching Sport Skills

Why use a tactical approach?


Critics of traditional teaching of sports &
games in physical education argue that
sports are:
Elitist - focus is on the higher skilled
Overly competitive - winning and losing is
emphasis excessively
Do not promote health and fitness - active
participation is low for most participants

In Traditional Teaching Approaches


Skill development is not apparent during game
play because skills have been taught in isolation
outside of their tactical context.

In Tactical Teaching Approaches


Skills and tactics are linked by emphasizing the
proper timing of skill practice and skill application
within the tactical context of the game.

Tactical awareness, critical to


game performance, is the ability
to identify tactical problems
that arise during a game and to
select the appropriate responses
to solve them.

Rationale for a Tactical


Approach
Greater interest and excitement
Better understanding of game
play
Improved ability to play games

Interest & Excitement

Traditional approach is
technical and focuses on
answering the question,
How is this skill
performed?
Skills are taught before
students understand their
significance in a game.
Drills lead students to ask,
Why are we doing this?
and When can we play
the game?
Skilled students perceive
isolated drills to be
irrelevant.

Research

has shown
that tudents find the
tactical approach
motivational and
teachers prefer to use
it as a way to teach
games.

Better Understanding of Game


Play
If your students do not understand the game,
their ability to identify the correct technique
for a situation is impaired
An increased understanding of games
achieved through teaching for tactical
awareness, will empower students to solve
the problems that game situations pose more
easily and skillfully.

Improved Ability to Play


Games
A tactical approach may provide your
students with carryover for
understanding from one game to
another
For example, tactical problems in
soccer, hockey, and basketball are
similar.

Classification System for Games


Invasion

Net/Wall

Fielding/Run Target
Scoring

Basketball

Badminto

Baseball

Golf

Netball

Softball

Bowling

Team

Tennis

Rounders

Croquet

Table

Cricket

Lawns

handball
Water polo
Soccer
Hockey
Lacrosse
Rugby
Football
Ultimate frisbee

tennis
Pickleball
Volleyball
Squash

bowls
Pool
Billiards
Snooker

Rationale for Tactical Games


Approach Summarized
Greater interest and excitement for all
students especially those of lower abilities
Improvements in tactical knowledge help to
improve game performance of skills
Deeper understanding of game play helps
students to transfer skills to new situations
and other games

Tactical Games Teaching


Allows for individualization if students are
presented with more complex tactical
solutions
Uses small-sided games to expose students
to specific tactical problems
Requires careful posing of questions from
teachers to stimulate critical thinking and
problem solving

Tactical Games Teaching cont.


Should start from a game form modified to
represent the advanced form that poses a
tactical problem and stimulates students to
think tactically
Students must be challenged to think:

What do I need to do to succeed in this

situation?
How will I perform the necessary skills?

Tactical Teaching Approach


Summary
Consider the tactical problems to address
during your unit and decide on the
complexity of solutions to these problems
Within each lesson students practice skill
development after they have experienced a
game form that presents a tactical problem
requiring use of that skill

Tactical Teaching Approach


Summary cont.
Make the link between the initial modified
game and skill practice through your
questions - the quality of these questions is
critical
After practicing the skills give your students
the opportunity to apply their improved
skills and tactical understanding in a game

Questions?
For more information read:
Griffin, L.L., Mitchell, S. A., & Oslin,
J.L. (1997). Teaching sport concepts
and skills: A tactical games approach.
Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics