A Philosophy and Reflective

Coaching philosophy is simply the key characteristics of a coaching values and beliefs. It may indeed be argued that a personal philosophy is indistinguishable from a coaching philosophy.  Our values and beliefs are often influenced by our: family, peers, friends, social class, education, gender, politics and popular cultural. Our philosophy often drives our decision making and underpins our relationship with the social environment that we live in. Sport can have an influence on our philosophy, which is clearly the coach, who is often in a position of influence over his players and will make decisions. Coaching philosophy definition: Kretchemar suggests that, “……a coaching philosophy forms the basis of the relationships between the coach and the athlete. But what sort of relationship is a healthy relationship. Is it a healthy conducive relationship that a performers is totally reliant upon the coach for everything, organising their lives, tactics, food, and lifestyle.” Why do we bother with a philosophy? It reminds us why we are coaching and lets us develop a coaching philosophy and become an effective coach, through a process of reflection. It also enables us to be flexible and adaptable when coaching. This is because an effective coaching philosophy needs to be grounded. The coach must be able to adapt to a real coaching situation and the way the club wants you to coach, which if you don’t you may lose the job.



Wayne Smith an assistant for All Blacks Rugby Union Coach says about the reflective process “The key thing I think is the openness to learning. I think coaches need to look at things on merit and understand that just because they’ve played the game, they don’t know everything about it. Having a passion to improve is important. Knowing that you are part of the problem means that you can also be part of the solution.”  Reflective coach strives to develop and improve; at my university we discussed the process of reflection but what may we reflect upon. Van Mansen (1977) suggests that there are three levels of reflection that a coach could reflect upon: Technical, Practical and Critical: Here are examples of technical and critical: Technical: The coaches’ reflection could include: How can I ensure everyone hears me? What coaching resources could I use to improve the session? Did I achieve my objectives of the session? How can I structure the session? Is it going to be Blocked practice or Random Practice? By the coach setting out objectives to achieve with his players can help them track the development of the players and also enables them to improve on their own sessions. Critical Level: is when a coach focuses upon the political, moral and ethical meaning of their coaching. So the reflection is: Do I play players who are the most talented but are not committed to training and only turn up when it suits them? Or do I sacrifice personal development of players in order to win the game. For example if it’s a final against a main rival I decide to play the players who work hard to improve their development, but not the most talented in the team. They  turn up to training, compared to talented players who may  turn up when they want too, so if I do that I would get into some bother with the chief of the club because of the selection of the team and it’s all about Winning. There is a massive gap between a good understandings of the principles of learning————- A winner.

Picture1Reflective coaching issues are the coach trying to balance the drive to win matches with the personal development of the players. For example, encourage his team players to press the ball in football in the opposite half of the field, but you know this may lead to my team losing the games.  Another example can be: we reach the final of a cup, but during our semi-final game we didn’t have our best player because they were injured. Does the coach for the final use the same team from the semi-final or does the coach give the playing spot to his best player and leave someone out who gave their best in the semi-final? Most coaches will just play their best players all the time because it’s all down to being a winner but not focusing on the principles of the development of the players.

Parents influence the coach to play their son or daughter in the position they believe is best for their child to play. If the coach hasn’t managed to play their child in some games it may lead to a parent asking that their child needs game time to enhance their confidence in the game. There is one thing could undermine the focus on winning all the time and being competitive and that is, it’s just all about having fun in sport

During my time coaching I have been involved with some parent influence because they want their son to play all the time and they didn’t care about any other child’s development in the sport. We had about 15 players to coach and had 2 teams (A team and B team) A team had the players who been with us from the start and we know the developments of each player and they were winning but they didn’t mind losing because they were enjoying it. But one parent wasn’t happy because their kid was playing in the B team but he just started training about 1 month ago and they kept on saying he’s better than all of your A team players but we still didn’t change it. Also, their kid wasn’t listening to us when coaching so why would we let him into our A team. So they ended up leaving the team and joined another one and we ended up playing his team later on but both of our teams played them and both of them won the games. The main reason why we had two teams (A and B team) is that we wanted everyone to play and play in different positions in the football match and it helps with our player’s development of the sport and they gain experiences.


Reference list

Kretchmar, R.S. (1994). Practical philosophy of sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Maidstone Rugby. (2016) Maidstone RFC. Retrieved from: http://www.maidstonerugby.org.uk/maidstonerfc/userfiles/file/REFLECTION.pdf

Van Manen, M. (1977). Linking Ways of Knowing to Ways of Being Practical. Curriculum Inquiry, Vol. 6, No. 3, Spring.



Effective Questioning

The effective questioning is something I don’t really use as much often because I coach U7s and U11s football team and don’t really ask questions. When I’m coaching I sometimes say ‘does everybody understand what they are doing? And Get goal side? Or watch your offside? Because they are young and don’t really understand the game but it helps to aloe the learning to take place. The questioning may come in more often when the players get older and understand the game and specially the elite players.


This video shows the effectiveness of the questions ask!!!

The questions where directed questions to the person and he also repeats the questions to get the answer out of the person. It seemed quite aggressive to the person

In University we discussed the difference between INSTRUCTING and COACHING, below are the lists of instructing and coaching.


  • Telling
  • Giving instruction
  • Intervention
  • No Question
  • Do it
  • Their way
  • Prescriptive
  • Specific outcome
  • Demonstrative
  • Lack understanding



  • More encouraging
  • Trying
  • Messy
  • Questions/Drawing out (feedback)
  • Discovery playing
  • Develop thinking  (problem solving, decision making and mistakes)
  • Confidence building
  • Freedom
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptable

The Questioning for learning in game-based approaches in coaching: In which when coaches ask questions can have a major influence on how much their players or athletes learn. In a Game Based Approach can help the players learning to achieve on their own and asking the correct questions to gain success. Game-centered approaches (GCAs) to teaching and coaching are, arguably, not widely practiced (Roberts & Fairclough, 2011). The GCA movement gathered momentum through teaching games for understanding (TGFU) in the early 1980s when former practitioners turned researchers Rod Thorpe, David Bunker and Len Almond (1986), became tired of watching teachers emphasize skill techniques, only to see those skills break down during game play (Harvey et al, 2016). A major challenge in transitioning to a GCA is having the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) required to create an effective learning environment (Gurvitch, Blankenship, Metzler, & Lund, 2008). This includes being able to “get the game right” while, at the same time, being able to step back and facilitate learning through observing game play and developing learners’ knowledge through skillful and progressive instruction (Hopper, 2002).

An example from Stephen Harvey, Edward Cope & Ruan Jones (2016) by the coach or teacher asks their players to have a break from the 3 vs 3 invasion game focused on maintaining possession of the ball and here are the questions ask to the players:

Q: How can players without the ball help the player with the ball?

A1: Be in a position to receive a pass.

Q: Where might that be?

A2: Away from a defender.

Q: How, specifically?

A3: Well, the player would need to get into an open passing lane.

Q: Can you describe the need for the open passing lane?

A3: If I am in an open passing lane, it means that the pass is less risky and we do not have to play an overhead pass, and thus we are more likely to maintain possession of the ball.

Q: Can you give me an example of when this may occur in a game in a specific area of the field?

Open and closed questions examples:

“What other sports have you played before?”

“How well do you feel you have done in this first session?”

“So, when you got lower did that make the delivery smoother?”

“Now you know how to deliver smoothly will you be able to practice that before the next lesson?”

(English Bowls Coaching, 2016).


Reference list

English Bowls Coaching. (2016). Why Use Questions During Coaching Sessions. Retrieved from: http://www.englishbowlscoaching.com/why-use-questions-during-coaching-sessions/

Gurvitch, R., Blankenship, B. T., Metzler, M. W., & Lund, J. L. (2008). Student teachers’ implementation of model-based instruction: Facilitators and inhibitors. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 27, 466–486.

Hopper, T. (2002). Teaching games for understanding: The importance of student emphasis over content emphasis. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 73, 44–48.

Roberts, S. J., & Fairclough, S. (2011). Observational analysis of student activity modes, lesson contexts and teacher interactions during games classes in high school (11–16 years) physical education. European Physical Education Review, 17, 255–268.

Stephen Harvey, Edward Cope & Ruan Jones (2016) Developing Questioning in Game-centered Approaches, Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 87:3, 28-35, DOI: 10.1080/07303084.2015.1131212


All Blacks world cup winning coach, Steve Hansen

The constraints led approach is when: “It has become apparent in the dynamic interactive settings of physical education that movement skill acquisition occurs as a consequence of the interplay of numerous interacting constraints, which need to be considered in pedagogical practice” (Davids, Chow, and Shuttleworth 2005). “These constraints on learners include the morphology, emotions, cognition’s, intentions and developmental status as well as social and cultural factors, which share strong interconnected relations with the environment and learning tasks” (Araujo et al. 2004).

The following is an interview with All Black coach Steve Hansen back from his world cup triumph speaking about the Connecting Coaches convention. Dylan Cleaver interviewed him on the Art of Coaching. Steve looks at his players to see how he can get the best out of every individual player. He said, “What is it that makes the guy tick.” This is what he looks for in the players to get the best performance, out of them, in matches and training. Steve then goes on to discuss the role of the media in any sport. He says that: “As you come more exposed, with teams like Canterbury and the Crusaders, there’s media looking at what you are doing. Early on my mind-set with the media is that I didn’t trust them. Obviously that’s based on things I’d seen or felt myself.” The media is taking over in sport by making comments about the future such as it’s time for the manager to go and talk about the negative rather than the positive aspects of the sport. Steve talks about the fear of losing and about the winning aspect. He says about losing that “You’re not enjoying it. No one enjoys losing, but with five minutes to go it’s not over. There’s no point me worrying about what has happened yet; I’ve got to worry about how I can make it not happen.” Any manager has a fear of losing. For example, when Liverpool played Dortmund they were losing 2:0 at half time but in the second half Liverpool won the game 4:3.  Parents who send their kids to training sessions and games want to see their kid play the sport in the game  but they naturally want to see their youngster  win, but it puts pressure on the coach because it is ‘……a natural instinct’ in the sports environment.

Reference List

Araujo, D., K. Davids, S. Bennett, C. Button, and G. Chapman. 2004. Emergence of sport skills under constraint. In Skill acquisition in sport: Research, theory and practice, ed. A.M. Williams and N.J. Hodges, 409–33. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis

Davids, K., J.Y. Chow, and R. Shuttleworth. 2005. A constraints-led framework for nonlinear pedagogy in physical education. Journal of Physical Education, New Zealand 38: 17–29

Dylan Cleaver. (2015). Steve Hansen on the art of coaching. Retrieved from:  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11559601


Nonlinear Pedagogy


Before I get into more detail of Nonlinear pedagogy and what it does for the learning of the athletes, motivation and the skills of the coach, it will be best to know about the Linear Pedagogy

Linear pedagogy is described as a traditional approach to coaching, a typical practice session will have a warm-up, teaching and then repeating practice in training of a technical skill through drills, for example in football you have passing and receiving drills, so it gives the players the right vision and technique to perform the skill. Sometimes in the drills the coach might make some instruction on tactical skills which are also practiced through every drills, at the end of the drills will become a practical game involving what they learnt in the training session, which could lea to boredom because the practice can become boring and therefore leads to the players becoming unmotivated to learn. (Carlos et al. ND) “Players provide little or no input to the coach, who makes most or all of the decisions. Players are not encouraged to help each other master the skills of the sport.” this means that the coaches make all the decisions in training’s and not letting the players make their own mind up.

Video of Dynamical Systems Theory and Football!!!!

Dynamical Systems Theory – there cannot be a one size fits all in criteria led coaching. the variables to manage and co-ordinate, The functional constraints of the task produces the most efficient solutions that reflect  context. e.g. individual, environment and task. “In applications to football, the characteristic of self-similarity implies that the same underlying principles can be used to explain coordination processes in localized sub-systems (e.g., the emergence of patterns of movement coordination in individual players) and the global system (i.e. the emergence of tactical patterns during sub-phases of football including 1 v 1, 3 v 3 and 11 v 11 situations)”. (Keith David’s, ND)  And finally the “dynamical systems can display non-linearity of behavioral output and have a capacity for stable and unstable patterned relationships to emerge between system parts through inherent processes of self-organisation under constraints (i.e., these systems can spontaneously shift between many relatively stable states of coordination.” (Davids et al., 2004)). What does this mean for coaches? the coaches need to reflect real games demands and make it challenging for the players. they also need to explore and make decision about the most appropriate responses and be able to adapt session. The functional movement variability underpinned by contested inference degeneracy, which is to learn to adapt to find a range of solutions (non linear pedagogy).

Non Linear pedagogy is a powerful way for understanding the players movement and for designing effective teaching, coaching and training programs in sport or physical education. Non Linear pedagogy is not a traditional approach but more a game approach and more than a Constraints led approach. David’s et al. (2008), “a Constraints-led approach has been vigorously presented to promote the understanding of how goal-directed behavior can emerge as a consequence of the interacting constraints (task, environment and performer) in a learning or performance situation.” Non-Linear is Game based approach which means that it structured game like situations. “uses drills that are closely aligned with the game to teach technical and tactical skills, practices are fun, relevant, and challenging and therefore increases intrinsic motivation, players develop increasing independence from the coach by being actively in the learning process. players are encouraged to help each other master the skills of the sport and its preferred approach of cooperative-style coaches.” (Carlos F, ND). For example of a Games based approach in football, you could play a 7 a side game but have four aspects that you can change to make it more creative and enjoyable and help them learn the skills. you could change the rules. alter the number of players in the teams by having 5 vs 9. altering the size of the playing area and finally different ways to score (header, shot outside the box or inside the box).


Reference list 

Carlos, F. (nd) Teaching Physical Education & Coaching the Games Approach Way. recieved from: http://ncsp2012.weebly.com/uploads/1/2/9/4/12946994/ncsp2012_games_approach-prof._diaz.pdf

David’s, K., Button, C., & Bennett, S.J. (2004). Coordination and Control of Movement in Sport: An Ecological Approach. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.

Davids, K., Button, C., & Bennett, S. J. (2008). Coordination and control of movement in sport: An ecological approach. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Keith David’s. (ND). Applications of Dynamical Systems Theory to Football. Retrieved from: http://www.ff.ul.pt/~lgouveia/dmproj/DavidsAraujoShuttleworthSoccer.pdf




When did you last change your mind?

It is not wrong to change our minds over values and beliefs that we have maybe held for a while. Over a period of time I have changed my values and beliefs that guide my coaching philosophy. When I was at football team practice coaching under 7’s to under 10’s, when I first started coaching them we were using a block practice; basically it was focusing on main skills of the sport but you are practicing it more. This kept happening and most of the training, which kept changing led to the training sessions focusing on one skill at a time. This seemed boring to the players but it helps them to learn quicker and enables them to perform and practice the skill properly.  “Blocked practice – All the trails of a given task must be completed before moving on to the next task. This can make for acquisition performances, but hinder long term development.” (Sports Coaching Experiences, 2013).  This is the reason why we kept on doing blocked practice, because they are new to the sport and we chose to give them the task for each skill and when they completed the task we moved on. When we get older we change our practice because of this: “The older we get the more we and our peers value tradition, and tradition of any kind resists change. We learn to take pride in being loyal and consistent which is at odds with progress, growth and learning.” (Scott Berkun, 2014). The reason why we changed our minds for the coaching session is that our players were learning quickly and their continuous growth, made a difference in the block practice method. We changed it to a random practice in the training. “Random Practice refers to practice sessions where multiple skills are incorporated into the same practice session. A predetermined level of competence is not required before moving on to the next skill. In soccer, for example, a random practice might involve time dedicated to individual ball handling skills, followed by passing skills, then heading the ball, and finally specific plays. These multi-tasking types of practices seem to be the most common in the curling environment as in any given practice it is not unusual to see a variety of drills, emphasizing different turns and weights amongst other training variables, incorporated into a single training session.” (Coaching Practice and Techniques, 2012). We used this technique because the abilities of the players was of a high standard and this enabled us to mix in the skills in a session, to perform better and be ready for a game of football.  It made a difference in training by seeing the players focusing as well as enjoying the session but they are gaining more from it and working as team in a sport where it is essential. In this way it increases the standard and quality of the player in training and for coaching aspects it is good to see that changing session methods can have an effect on players learning in any sport. The team that we changed the sessions with managed to win a winter cup trophy and were unbeatable for a while. As a coach you are continually changing your mind as your participants develop and we have to keep up with the flow of the player’s growth.

East Lancashire under 7’s winter cup and team:



Reference list:

Connor McGowan. (2013) Sports Coaching Experiences. Retrieved from: http://connormcgowan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/blocked-v-variable-v-random-practice.html

Gary Crossley. (2012) Coaching Practice and Techniques: Retrieved from: http://hawkscurlinghpc.ca/2012/02/blocked-distributed-and-random-practice-as-it-relates-to-skill-acquisition-in-curling/

Scott Berkun. (2014). When did you last change your mind. Retrieved from: http://scottberkun.com/2014/when-did-you-last-change-your-mind/



Type of Practice

There are three types of practice (Blocked, Variable and Random). In this blog I am going talk about only the Blocked and Random Practices. There is an old question in sport for coaches is what practice structure can be the best results to use in training session to enable learning have a great effect on the participants leaning? this I think motor learning comes into help participants to perform a skill from which practice. (Magill, 2007) says about motor learning “A relatively permanent change in the capability of a person to perform a skill as a result of practice.” and also which practice is the best one to use for my coaching?

Blocked practice is when you do a same task or technique all over again and repeat it, for example in baseball, a player doing a 45 pitches in a block pattern which involves 15 curve-balls, 15 fast-balls and 15 change-ups. the player will know what he needs to do and people say practice makes perfect. Golden Hawks Curling says about the blocked practice “Blocked Practice refers to practice where one skill is worked on at a time. This skill is worked on until a predetermined level of competence is acquired, and then the coach and athlete move on to the next skill. One skill may be worked on for several practices before moving on.” coach wait for a skill to be at a high level for the athlete and they decide when to change it to a different skill in a sport. I think blocked practice is useful for athlete development of some skills, yet it does offer a high level of performance that gives players and coaches a false sense of accomplishment but it does produce a effective performance during the early stages by athlete just joining a sport and needs to catch up. why do coaches use Block Practices? I think they use it because it makes the athlete think they getting better quickly by practicing the same skill all over and over again, for example in Golf, you can make the player do the same shot all over again in the same place and he think he’s doing okay because the ball is going straight and finding the fair-away but in the game it will be completely different because it will be on a different surface and i does the same technique and it doesn’t go fair and he be back to the starting point again.

Random Practice is that you can do multiple skills incorporated into the same session and it will also help the learner continuously adapts movement pattern from trail to trail. for example in baseball, a player doing a 45 pitches in a random pattern which involves in different hits in the same session by doing curve, fast-ball, fast-ball, change-up, curve, curve, fast-ball, etc. Golden Hawks Curling says about the Random practice is “Random Practice refers to practice sessions where multiple skills are incorporated into the same practice session. A predetermined level of competence is not required before moving on to the next skill.” for example in football, they could involve in one session using players ability to control ball, followed by passing, then heading the ball and finally specific plays like attacking or defending plays. Random practice leads to better transfer and learning but it can look messy and the performers performance may dip because it doesn’t look like they improving. this is where the coach’s come into play by motivating there participants by saying you be a better player in the long term. “Random practice seems particularly appropriate for batting practice. The decision-making process when one is at the plate in a game includes identifying the type of pitch before applying the appropriate motor response. In random practice the learner does this processing repeatedly. The concept of transfer of appropriate processing emphasizes that the value of any practice condition can only be considered in the context of the transfer test used to evaluate learning.” (Lee, 1988). this will have a benefit using random practice is that gives the learner more meaningful and distinguishable memories of the various tasks, increasing memory strength and decreasing confusion among tasks.


The image is a typical example of the type of practice is that you start with blocked practice to improve a skill quickly when you developing and when you get to elite level and 100% you may move in random practice by mixing skills into a game based. for the players to get used to a game environment and improve on. Human kinetics says that the beneficial effects of random practice over blocked practice is “Random practice forces the learner to become more actively engaged in the learning process by preventing simple repetitions of actions and Random practice causes the learner to forget the short-term solutions (from working memory) to the movement problem after each task change.”

My experience of a Random Practice at West View Leisure Centre when i am coaching is that we know that all participants have good abilities to play football and we know their ages so we can plan a game session based on their development and also we making sure they use all the football skills in the game (passing, shooting and dribbling).


Reference list

Magill, R. A. (2007) Motor Learning and Control. Concept and application. (8th ed.) New York: Mcgraw-Hill.

LEE, T. D. (1988) Transfer-appropriate processing: a framework for conceptualizing practice effects in motor learning. In 0. G. Meijer & K. Roth (Eds.), Complex movement behavior: the motor-action controversy. Amsterdam: North-Houand. Pp. 201-215.

Hawks Curling (2015). Blocked and Random Practice. [Online] Available at: <http://hawkscurlinghpc.ca/2012/02/blocked-distributed-and-random-practice-as-it-relates-to-skill-acquisition-in-curling/&gt; [Accessed 5th February]

Human kinetics. (2016). Blocked and Random Practice. [Online] Available at: <http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/research-illuminates-the-benefits-of-random-practice-over-blocked-practice-in-motor-learning&gt; [Accessed 4th February]

Practical of constraints led coaching

In practical I took part in a cricket session which focused on bowling and they had to use the concept of constraints led coaching. They began the session by putting us into two teams, one team was fielding and the other team were batting in pairs. They told the bowlers to aim for the wickets and keep the ball on target. Each bowler had 6 attempts to get the batter out and after their 6 attempts they had to change bowler so everyone had a chance to bowl. They had to change it after the coaches noticed that the bowlers were improving so they decided to take one wicket out of the stumps so that the bowlers then had 2 wickets to aim at, rather than three. The coaches again changed it by removing another wicket so that we had one wicket to aim at, it made it harder so us to get the batter out and it made us think on our own how to get them out or we had to change are bowling technique. I really enjoyed the session but there was only one team had the chance to bowl and since the session was on bowling in cricket they decided to change the session all together. They separated the area into three different bowling areas and first one was for beginners for the people who never bowled before. The second was for average bowlers who have the confidence to bowl but need more practise to improve and the third one was for professional’s area who play cricket at a high standard. We get to choose which one to go in. I decided to go in the beginners because I wanted to get my technique right before moving up to the average area, when I did move up I started to improve my technique and I also started to hitting the stumps by getting my aim right. I think the coaches did a great session on constraints led coaching because they let us find answers to solve the problem on are own.

Constraints Led Coaching

Constraints Led Coaching is a style of coaching where the coach takes a particular technique, skill or tactic from a whole game. the coach can isolate it into a small sided game and lets the players find answers to solve the problem. Damian Farrow says about the Constraints Led Coaching “It’s the design of games using different scoring systems that require the players to use particular techniques or strategies to win the game. simply tell the players the scoring system and then just let them play. Allow them time to determine the most appropriate strategy and response rather than explicitly telling them the solution”.


This diagram shows the constraints for the training session. For individual will be their Physical, Mental and Personality. The environmental is their Physical by the weather type and size of surfaces and also the Cultural of the difference of Kenyan runners and Indian spin bowlers. For the task can be the rules, using different equipment, using different player numbers and time.

The environmental constraints include parks, backyards, empty spaces and alleyways that provide the backdrop for early sport experiences of many active children. These environmental constraints should not be under-estimated in the development of expertise in sport as they provide a non-threatening environment where children can learn to play sports without the pressure of adult interference. It has become apparent in the dynamic interactive settings of physical education that movement skill acquisition occurs as a consequence of the interplay of numerous interacting constraints, which need to be considered in pedagogical practice (Davids, Chow, & Shuttleworth, 2005). Mind, body and the environment are continuously influencing each other to shape behavior. Motor learning is a process of acquiring movement patterns which satisfy the key constraints on each individual (Davids, Button, & Bennett, 2008). This can help the outdoor leaders design a learning experiences that recognize the constant and reciprocal nature of learner and environment, the union between perception and action. The learner is placed at the centre of the process and makes movements and decisions derived from unique interacting individual, task and environmental constraints. Small changes to individual structural and task rules or equipment. Environmental constraints in learning contexts can cause dramatic changes in movement patterns.


Reference List

Davids, K., Chow, J-Y., & Shuttleworth, R. (2005). A constraints-led framework for non-linear pedagogy in physical education. Journal of Physical Education, New Zealand, 38, 17-29.

Davids, K., Button, C., & Bennett, S. J. (2008). Dynamics of skill acquisition: A constraints-led approach. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.



Teaching games for understanding (TGfU)

What is TGfU? Teaching Games for Understanding approach has caused considerable debate in game teaching for the last two decades The TGfU focuses upon teaching students tactical understanding before dealing with the performance of skills, as such the TGfU offers a tactical approach to games teaching emphasizing game performance before skill performance (Griffin, Mitchell, & Oslin, 1997). which allows the game performance to understand the tactical awareness, which leads to effective skill selection and skill execution.

The background to the TGfU approach is that it first started in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s. The ideas were spawned by Thorpe, Bunker, & Almond (1986) and drew on the earlier work of Mauldon & Redfern (1981). The reason why TGfU approach was proposed as an alternative to the technique approach because it was noted that techniques practiced in isolation did not transfer to the game. In addition Bunker & Thorpe (1986a) observed, and we believe this is still the same today, that the “games teaching shows at best, a series of highly structured lessons leaning heavily on the teaching of techniques, or at worst lessons which rely on the children themselves to sustain interest in the game.” The Teaching Games of understand approach was the best way to put the Why of a game before the How.

Skill acquisition and game play:  

In tennis, becoming skilled is a gradual process that involves learning to implement the most appropriate movement pattern for situations that arise in game play. The problem that novice tennis players face is multifaceted; they need to learn which environmental cues are important and which are redundant in order to selectively attend to only the most essential information (Abernethy, 1987). Based on this information, the players need to select tactics during the game that will allow them the best opportunity to score a point, they also need to the coordinate patterns of movement that will have a effectively advantage over their opponent. specially tennis is a high moving sport which the players need to have a lot of tactics to beat their opponent.

Reference list

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

Abernethy, B. (1987). Anticipation in sport: A review. Physical Education Review, 10(1),

Bunker, D., & Thorpe, R. (1986a). Is there a need to reflect? In R. Thorpe, D. Bunker, & L. Almond (Eds.), Rethinking games teaching (pp. 25-34). Loughborough


Game based approaches to coaching is very important for coach, the reason why it is important is that some participants just want to play games and not listen to the coaching techniques. when a coach is talking to their participants but they might think they are listening to them by giving them the instructions on the training season but what they hearing is Blah Blah Blah, when they hear the word ‘game’ they soon listen and ask who’s the captain and how long is the game going to last.

The coach can do a Game based approach by using the game to see the benefits of the participants and ask questions about what happened in the game and the challengers during the game. For example

  • Warm up
  • game
  • questions and challenges
  • back to game
  • more question and challenges
  • progress the game
  • cool down

The benefit using the Game Based Approach can be that the participants are enjoying the session because its a game and also the coach can see the strengths and weaknesses of their participants and they can help them to progress in the game. the game based approach will be better then the traditional coaching session because it only has the warm up, technique drills, game and cool down, the participants will get bored and won’t listen to them.

The FA future game vision for the players what to produce technically excellent and innovative players, with exceptional decision making skills. The FA Future Games says “A young player who is made to feel confident, capable and trusted to be creative will have a greater chance of fulfilling their potential than one who feels afraid to fully express themselves.” and “It is crucial that young players experience the dynamic nature of the game of football, where they are challenged to make appropriate decisions and movements in the context of the game”. here a image from the FA Tesco Skills of some drills for the counter attacking in A Game Based Approach.



The FA Tesco Skills. (2015). A Games Based Approach to Coaching Bringing The FA Future Game to Life. Counter Attacking: Retrieved from: http://www.durhamfa.com/~/media/countysites/durhamfa/documents/dcfa-coaches-assoc-session-plans/fa-skills—a-games-based-approach-to-coaching.ashx