TGFU- Teaching Game for understanding: This is a paper on understanding the different method for teaching sport

Essay by SUGI#9 April 2006

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Assignment #1 Analytical Paper: Effective Instruction of Team Sport.

"There is more than one way to teach games, and it may not be necessary to separate skill development from game play" (Bunker, Thorpe, 1982). The five of the six readings are based on teaching tactics and strategies before skill development. Although the authors of the articles each have their own specific views on how games should be taught; they are all in the best interests of the students/athletes. Rod Thorpe and David Bunker developed the "Teaching Games for Understanding" model. This model allows the traditional teaching method of learning skills before tactics to be reversed. For example, the TGFU strategy involves mastering the "basic skills" and/or techniques prior to involvement. In other words, it's more the "how to do the skill" and then once they know how to do the skill, it introduces the "what to do in game situation".

Gail Wilson designed a four step "Framework for teaching Tactical Game Knowledge". She introduced the principles of attack and defense after learning about the players and their responsibilities. For example, the four modules of invasive games; Participants and Roles, Objectives, Actions Principles and Actions options. Also, Sarah Doolittle and Karen Girard discuss problems and solutions in their article "A Dynamic Approach to Teaching Games in Elementary PE" that can be used to teach concepts before introducing motor skill. Kirk and Ann MacPhail were responsible for improving the original TGFU model. Basically, they elaborated on the first TGFU model so that it could be presented in a form that would assist teachers. Gary Sinclair emphasizes a guide for an organized exposure of all game components; thus, he allows the coaches and teacher to consider the needs of their players while they perform under game like situations and pressures.

In all of the articles relating to the Teaching Games for Understanding model, the authors illustrate how essential it is to introduce tactics and strategies before skill development. Bunker and Thorpe created the TGFU model in a way that would allow all students to participate in team games. Their model consists of six key steps, which include game, game appreciation, tactical awareness, appropriate decisions, skill execution and performance. Games being the guidance point, making sure the students understand the game form. Game Appreciation is more the understanding of the primary and secondary rules that will make up the game. For example, the students should be able to identify the differences is speed of the game or as one gets in an older age group the nets for the volleyball nets will become higher. Tactical Awareness is the introduction to basic movement principles, such as creating space and advancement in the game. Appropriate decisions is the "how to do it" and the "what to do" it's the questions a student would need to be able to know and perform. Skill Execution is introduced as one understands the need for a particular skill in a certain situation, such as in soccer being able to notice that if a player is going to cut in front of the net, he or she needs to know what kind of pass needs to be done, like a lob pass or just a pass on the ground. Once a student understands that concept then they can be introduced the skill that is needed and the how to do it right. Performance is the finishing touches, it the time you watch and see how one has progressed. One would be able to know what to do in game situation and how to do it. It's the actual performance in game. This model was the basis for a new style of teaching. (Bunker, Thorpe, 1982, p.24)

Later, Kirk and MacPhail enhanced the "TGFU" model without completely changing it. Their new stages for teaching were game form, an emerging understanding for student, Secondly; the actual game concept was taught, followed by the thinking strategically to learn cue perception. The fourth step remained the same, as decision making, more specifically, a technique selection. The fifth, movement execution, being knowledgeable of the skill needed to be used in the situation and once that is obtained one would introduce skill development, so it's the knowing how to perform the skill. Sixth being the situated performance, once can see the progress of each student, in game performance you can see where one is at and how high their learning curve is. Kirk and Macphail definitely set up their teaching method so that it could more specific for teachers or coaches to address the aspects of learning that may come about, and teach it so it's understood without needing to ask questions. (Kirk, MacPhail, 2002, p.177-92)

Doolittle and Girard's article discuss how students concentrate on game strategies rather than correct skill performance. Their approach to teaching elementary PE consists of the following elements; setting up problems to teach concepts, such as asking the kids why they should move around rather than stand still in a basketball game. The teacher would then talk about the students solutions before introducing motor skills. When it comes to technique, the simplest forms are taught first and gradually progress to increase in complexity for some students who may be fast learner. The games are to be made up of problems so then the student can act out the solutions and this would help the student to become more involved in the game decision making, thinking of what he or she need to do for both offensive and defensive tactics. Doolittle and Girard is a more coach interaction approach. (Doolittle, Girard, 1991, p.57-62)

Gail Wilson's framework for teaching tactical game and knowledge allows players to learn certain principles that can be applied to various games. Her framework begins with participants and their roles; the players establish their responsibility. Next, the attacking and defending teams determine their objectives for what they are trying to achieve. For example, the offence trying to achieve advancement up the field by creating space while the defense is trying to take away the space and prevent the offence from advancing by staying goal side. Thirdly, the general guidelines for teams in attack and defense are taught as the action principles. These principles are attacking and defending; attacking meaning on the ball attacker and off the ball attacker and defending meaning on the ball and off the ball defender. Her attack principles are: mobility: movement and motion, advancement: the invasion, penetrating, forward support, width: the lateral or square support, and offensive depth: the negative support, support behind the ball. The defensive action principles are: the principles are engagement: the pressure, tackling or checking, defensive depth: the defensive support, contraction: the funneling and convergence, and expansion: the balance, spread and defensive width. As Wilson's last element, action options, players learn to make choices that are available to assist them in making game decisions. These principles key into the classification of team games.

Sinclair's practice framework of nine levels is similar to that of teaching elementary PE. First of all, there is Level one, which is a technical skills practice for response execution. In this level the emphasis is on the development of basic games skills and fundamental movement skills. The second level adds the technical/tactical component to allow for response selection. The emphasis in this level is on appropriate selection and correct execution of the skill. The third level being minor games from ball watchers to play watchers. The emphasis in this level is on increasing the decision making demands through introducing the concept of the game, and an infrastructure in which technical skills are practiced. So the student will be able to answer what to do in a situation, when to do it, where to do it, and how to do it. The forth level is simulated situations- action principles; in this level the focus is on the role of a player or group of players in a team. For example, the responsibilities of the mid field during attack. You would obtain this by limiting space and time; it helps the players to deal with situations under pressure. The fifth level is the transition phase- reaction phase; in this level the focus is on considering reaction, so that both action and reaction could be understood. For example, the responsibilities of midfield during defending. Level six is the condition phase, this phase imposes different restrictions on the game play, like limiting the number of touches on the ball, and restricting movement force problem solving for players, like 2 touches on the ball forces a players to look to pass the ball ahead of time. Level seven is the reduced numbers practice; this level is reducing the number of players playing in a specific area to exercise skills, maximal movement, and develop perceptual awareness. This is a better time for coaches to see the game and a better chance from them to communicate to the players. Level eight is the coach scrimmage- stop/ start play; in this level is like the dress rehearsal, for coaches to provide feedback when needed. The last level, level nine is the actual game in practice, this is the time for players to make their own decisions about their playing, while the coaches evaluate them, but do not stop the play.

The original Teaching games for Understanding Model invented by Bunker and Thorpe has been essential in improving for teaching. Other authors, such as Kirk and MacPhail were able to expand on Bunker and Thorpe's creation to assist teachers. However, this model may not be successful for all kids, the TGFU has its pros and cons, the pros being that its highly structured practices with teacher and coach input and is simple to use. But the TGFU also has its flaws, such as, boredom, it may be fun for some but other would rather play game. Now with this flaw I believe that it is true, but I would think this more at a younger age level because once you are in older age groups you notice more of a disciplined practice and younger age groups they just want to get to the scrimmage part of the practice. Another flaw is that the athlete is unable to chose the most appropriate skill to a certain situation, like being able to know the what to do and how to do it. Also, another conflict to the TGFU is that an athlete may know how to perform the skill in isolation but once put in a game situation the athlete become frazzled and doesn't know what to do. My own opinion to the TGFU is that they break it down well, but some things are not need in the model, like I understand that game appreciation is needed, but you can't appreciate a game that you have never played or may not know anything about. My model would be the more of a game, tactical awareness, skill execution along with making appropriate decisions to help reduce the isolation flaw and then performance. Personally, I would condition the team and then I would have a scrimmage to observe where the team is at and to see the strength and weaknesses of the players, what needs to be worked on more. For example, say I see that the players are having trouble getting open but when they do get open they have no trouble scoring. So I would work more on creating space and showing different ways to get open then spend a lot of time on scoring. I think the TGFU is would be more effective for beginner and younger athletes. One may wonder if a child with a complete lack of skill would fail under this method because they have nothing to work with. IN addition, this method can result in poor skill development because the emphasis is on tactics and strategies. Nevertheless, more kids should succeed because skilled performance is not the focus, because since everything is emphasized on what to do in a game situation but not on the motor skill needed to execute it properly. In other words, athletes will learn to be independent in making their own decisions because they will have a basic understanding of game concepts. In general, the advantages of tactics before skill certainly out-weigh the disadvantages of these methods.

When Kirk and MacPhail expand the TGFU they add more components to the model to help the teachers to address all aspects without leaving any questioning faces. The pro's of their revamp of the TGFU is that is does help the teaching process for the coaches and teacher, but then it could be a bit confusing for some and a long model to go by and it is a more developed model, but it also has its flaws, such as this model still needs some revamping because even though they changed the TGFU it still has flaws with the athlete knowing the what to do and how to do the skill. Their model is just been made better the one who is teaching it. For me I find what Kirk and MacPhail has done has made the model to confusing for me to understand. What coaches look for as the easiest and best ways to teach athletes, we don't want to spend time reading and trying it think what part of the level should the athletes know once you have introduced to each process. I don't think I would use their form of the TGFU, if I were to choose between the original and the redeveloped one, I would chose the original.

When it comes to Gail Wilson's article she designed a framework of general knowledge for teachers; it describes and explains the introductory to tactical aspects of invasive team-game play. (Wilson, 1996) This model is a good very laid out module, but the issue with this model is that the teacher has to have some fundamental knowledge of the sport in order to be able to teach it. That is a big issue because this model won't be good for beginner coaches, or like parent volunteers. But if one is to use this model and does have a basic knowledge of the sport, then this model is awesome, it help the teacher to emphasize on both attacking and defending principles. This model I think is awesome, I really like the lay out, and that this model should enhance future coaches or teachers. A pro of this model is since the model is introduced through a generic perspective it less likely to teach the students the adult forms of traditional play. And it also provides their students with a broad based games education rather then a thorough offering of the rules and basic skills of the games. That is a good way to teach students about the sport without having to go point by point, but give a brief description; it doesn't waste time with teaching the skills and tactics. An athlete doesn't need a deep discussion or understanding of rules and skills of the game to excel well in the sport. An athlete can gain that knowledge through learning the proper strategies and skills. I think that being brief will decrease the questioning of the sport; students would be less confused since the teacher won't be going in using big confusing words.

With Gary Sinclair's article on the different levels of framework for practice organizations is based on nine levels or a brief and basic way to set up a practice. It is design instruction provides a maximum of skill development of the student. (Sinclair, 1985-6) It comprises of four principles of practice: repetition, variety, specificity and spatial organization. (Sinclair, 1985-86) In order to have this skilled performance it must involve a sequence of activities, since an athlete behavior is not just skill directed but goal direct too; if the objective or goal is understood then one can activity can be appreciated. (Sinclair, 1985-6) This model using the four principles has formed an outline of practice that is made up of nine levels. The pro of this model is that the coach or teacher can modify it whenever needed, since not all athletes need to go through each level, it all depends on the skill levels and how well the athlete understands the game. The coach can work around it, so they don't have to go through every level if it is not needed, in result it makes sure that the teacher or coach assesses the needs of their athletes or students and use the techniques/ levels of practice that is more appropriate for their goals and objectives. (Sinclair, 1985-6) I find that Sinclair's model is mostly has mostly being used in my athletics career throughout high school, but each coach that I have had has modified it but used the basic level but the coach had the knowledge of what we need to work and to obtain or goal so some levels we didn't need to emphasize on as much. Such as coaches would have the stop and go scrimmage so then we could have a game simulation before jumping in solo.

In my coaching experiences, I have been taught in similar ways which is the conditioning and then basic drills to emphasize on skill and tactics and performance. For instance, our practices would consist of a warm up through drills that at the same time would be working on personal skills, like we would have 3 people per group and there would be 2 people about 4-5 feet away horizontally and the third person would be given a pass just in front of them they would pass it to the other person at the other end, run around the person they passed to and then the person who would receive the pass would then pass in front of the third person and you would repeat that for a minute. Each practice would have drill and explanations so we were leaning the proper skill to be executed for each situation that was given. I think if I were to choose a model I would chose Sinclair's method because I like how this model emphasizes on the players needs. It's an easy laid out approach for teaching each student or athlete and can be modified easily if needed. I want to coach the All- Star Select Soccer team, so my approach would be modifying the levels since, I know the girls and what level they are at I could not go in major depth of each level, cause I still want to incorporate each level, but I don't need to go in depth as I would if they were beginners. I like how this model to me works best for all ages levels.

The research done in each article suggests that teaching from a tactical perspective before motor skill development may lead to more success in game situation. It is obvious that skill is required before success in a game will occur; however, if one understands the importance of each skill to use in a game, he or she will have motivation to learn the skill. In the past, teaching from a traditional approach of skill and techniques first has led some kids to feel that games are boring and repetitive. Each method described by the various articles allows the teachers or coaches to have options when dealing with different groups of kids. Once again, the emphasis is not on performance but on the understanding. This allows almost all students or athletes to participate under the strategic and tactical methods of teaching with success.