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Though this subject is important part of the art of coaching, I guess it deserves its own topic.

This part of coaching has all ways fascinated me, and my interest got deeper after I read "The Talent Code". From that book I learned about Damian Farrow who is researcher from Australian Institute of Sport. I've copied one of his articles to this post and then there is a link to an article by Daniel Coyle the Author of The Talent Code.
So I guess this is some kind of outline posting to this topic and I'm very interested to learn how you approach the game sense teaching.

Ps. It seems that you can only view the Reading the play in team sports article when you're loged in?

Kai

Reading the play in team sports: yes it's trainable!
netball in action
Author: Damian Farrow, Skill Acquisition, Australian Institute of Sport
Issue: Volume 27 Number 3

One of the great coaching debates concerns whether the ability to read the play in team sports is innate or trainable. Some coaches describe it as the player who is a good driver in heavy traffic, the player who seemingly knows what is going to happen next, two passes before it happens. While they may not be the fastest around the court or field, their ability to accurately forecast a game’s future means they always seem to have all the time in the world. By now you will have visualised players such as basketballer Andrew Gaze, AFL footballer James Hird, netballer Natalie Avelino or rugby union flyhalf Stephen Larkham.

For many of us mere mortals, reading the play is more akin to reading Latin, and it seems this reinforces the notion that it cannot be trained. However, while obviously some players will always be better than some others, there is now a great deal of evidence to suggest players can learn to read the play – just as you can learn to read Latin!

In scientific terminology, 'reading the play' is refers to pattern recall or recognition. Watching a team sport like netball is a classic example of watching a continuously changing pattern. Interestingly, while the pattern may look meaningless to the untrained eye, that is, 14 players sprinting and dodging in all directions, to an expert player (or coach) it can all look completely logical and can inform them in advance as to where the ball is about to be passed. This is quite a handy skill to have if your job requires you to intercept as many opposition passes as possible - just ask Liz Ellis.
What's chess got to do with team-sports?

Pattern recall was first investigated in the game of chess. Research was able to demonstrate that grandmasters were able to sum up a board in one quick glance. Provided with five or ten seconds to look over a specific chess situation, the best players could accurately recall the exact location of 90 per cent of the pieces. Lesser skilled players could only remember 50 per cent. The researchers concluded that the grandmasters could 'chunk' the pieces on the board into fewer, larger chunks of information that were more easily remembered and subsequently recalled to produce the required pattern, much in the same manner as how we all remember frequently used telephone numbers as one block of numbers rather than eight individual numbers.

Sports science has demonstrated that elite team-sport players also possess the analytical mind of a chess master. For example, research has identified that elite players have developed the ability to rapidly recognise and then memorise patterns of play executed by their opponents. Importantly, this capability to recognise opposition team's attacking or defensive patterns is not because the elite players have a bigger memory capacity than the rest of us – that is, it is not innate. Rather, their memory of sport-specific strategies is simply more detailed than ours and develops through years of practice and experience.

Pattern recall research in sport can be illustrated from netball where the recall ability of members of the Australian team through to under-17 talent identification squad members have been examined. Presented with video footage of netball game situations, the players had approximately ten seconds to view a piece of play before the footage was occluded. They were then required to recall the attacking and defensive structures of the two teams by plotting the location of each player as they had last seen them in the video clip on a blank diagram of a netball court. On average the Australian players were able to accurately recall the location of 72 per cent of all players. In comparison, Australian Institute of Sport players recalled 62 per cent while the under-19 and under-17 squads recalled approximately 57 per cent. Such results illustrate the contribution of reading the play to the make-up of our elite team sport players.
So how can it be trained?

Researchers who have interviewed some of sports great decision makers consistently find that they engaged in extensive team-based game-play as children, be it in their backyards or with others at the local park (for example, two-on-two street basketball). They also played a variety of team sports before specialising in the sport they made into a profession. For example, expert AFL decision-makers tend to have played significant amounts of basketball in addition to football. It has been reasoned that by playing similar 'invasion' sports they were constantly learning to read patterns based around the fundamental team sport concept of creating time and space.

Obviously, the more games you play, the more likely you are to become accustomed to specific attacking and defensive strategies and develop an understanding of where the ball will be passed. Whether a player then becomes a skilled decision maker relates to whether their coach draws their attention to such details. Coaches who provide their players with game-based training opportunities rather than stereotypical drills with minimal decision making requirements are likely to develop more competent decision makers. To quote AFL coaching legend David Parkin: 'Players need to bring their brain to training'.

Reading the play can also be developed off-field by asking players to predict what is going to happen next when watching televised matches. Rather than simply spectating, players put themselves in the shoes of the experts and answer questions such as: where should the ball be passed next? Where should the support player run to?
Test your players pattern recall skill

Pattern recall ability is one skill where your players can easily be tested in a club setting:

1. Videotape a selection of elite level games of your sport from television.
2. Draw to scale a blank version of your playing field or court.
3. Select passages of play that contain structure and then show approximately ten seconds of the play to allow the players to get a feel for the scenario before quickly stopping the tape.
4. The players' task is exactly as described in the previous netball research example. Test the players on a variety of situations that occur in a match.

For example, stop a tape of Australian football just as the fullback prepares to kick the ball into play. The footage shown from behind the goal often provides an excellent perspective of the patterns a fullback is attempting to read.
Conclusion

While there will always be players with a greater ability to read the play, it is a skill that is primarily developed through quality coaching. To use an analogy from strength training, you cannot expect to make significant gains in muscular strength if you do not do a systematic weights program manipulating the variables of volume, frequency, intensity and overload. Likewise, players will not develop decision-making skills if their coaches only prescribe practice drills devoid of decision-making opportunities. There must be a systematic application of game based practice activities that require players to make decisions as required in game situations.
Suggested readings

Abernethy, B, Cote, J and Baker, J 2002. Expert decision-making in team sports, report on research commissioned by the Australian Sports Commission.

Berry, J and Abernethy, B 2003. Expert game-based decision-making in Australian football: how is it developed and how can it be trained?, research report submitted to the Australian Football League Research Board.

Farrow, D, Plummer, N and Byers, C 2002. The development and implementation of perceptual-motor skills tests for netball, a report on research commissioned by the Australian Sports Commission.

Merrick, E and Farrow, D 2000. 'Coaching decision-making in soccer: a constraints-lead approach', Insight 2(3):48-51.


http://thetalentcode.com/2010/05/13/vision-improvement/


Kai

   
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This is the base of what I try to teach to players

Reading the Play (or situation)

You have to identify the three continuously changing playing situations: Loose Puck - Attack - Defend
There are some 180 transition situations in the game
Does player understand the importance of winning the loose pucks?
You need a right reaction to the situation


Four Playing Roles

Attack: 1. Puck Carrier 2. Offensive player without the puck

Defense: 3. "Disturber" (player defending against the puck carrier) 4. "Guard" (player defending against the opponent without the puck)

The four playing roles help the player to react correctly in the different game situations. The roles help you to shorten the delay of your transition when the game situation changes.


Numbering

Numbering helps the players to position them in the game situation and according to their team mates
In attack: Puck Carrier is always the number one. The rest are numbered according to their position from the puck (2, 3, 4 and 5 are offensive players without the puck) (role two)
In defense: "Disturber" is always the number one. The rest are numbered according to their position to the puck carrier (2, 3, 4 and 5 are the "guards" )

Loose Puck

The team that wins most of the loose pucks usually wins the game
Players need the game courage to go "under the tackle" and take the loose puck
Face off is the first loose puck

These principles I learned from the Finnish version of ABC's of International Ice Hockey thirteen years ago and now all this new information and technology gives you more tools to help players. E.g. now everyone with a computer can edit video and do all kinds of things with the material you film.
Below is link to clip that I've made to give something concrete about the changing of the game situations.


Kai

   
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This site is a new program that is designed to improve game intelligence. The USNTDP used it last year.

http://www.usahockeyintelligym.com/


I like your articles and the video. Great visual on transition. I'll be using that as a guide to teach for sure.

   
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Excellent article Kai!

Now you are talking... I do an awful lot of literature review in the areas of expertise, teaching games for understanding, decision-training and neuro-motor psychology (I taught in the latter two areas at University.)

I will post up more articles here when I get time...

Regarding Intelligym, the initial review I had of it was... it is a nice try, but it is more like a video game. Talking to a few people who have seen it, they believe it is a toy at best and won't translate to better performance in hockey (outside of the residual effect that one will get better performing repetitive tasks - such as what happens when you play a video game - but in this case, little or no translation to the actual physical game itself. As any scientist will tell you, it is very difficult to emulate real-world conditions in a lab!) The company that developed this allegedly started with a combat simulator for pilots.

I would try it (for free!) but feel like I should dust off an old game of Asteroids! I wouldn't bet the farm on this product!

The ideal simulation would be based on first person footage ("see the game through someone's actual field of view") similar to the gaze control research Joan Vickers is doing at the U of Calgary; rather than a bunch of overhead slips... plus it would need to be more controllable / more realistic so the "player" could sit in a 3D environment, reading and reacting to the game situations... while carrying a stick. I think the Wii has some hockey game out that recognizes stick movements or something... just in time for Christmas!


Dean
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Game Intelligence Training

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Thank you Dean

The ideal simulation would be based on first person footage ("see the game through someone's actual field of view" )

I totally agree. I have few ideas that I have been playing around with for few years now but never had the time or the resources to execute. Nothing fancy interactive 3D stuff but e.g. in your playbook forecheck diagram is supported by a 1st person view picture of the situation, Of course there is too much variables even in one game situation but I guess it could give some kind of visual base. At least it could help you to concretize the numbering to players.

I fail to see how the intelligym could help. It looks like some retro video game and I think that most players would also fail to see the connection to ice hockey.

Kai


Kai

   
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I fail to see how the intelligym could help. It looks like some retro video game and I think that most players would also fail to see the connection to ice hockey.

Glad to hear you guys say this, because this was my first reaction too. What we need is a Gretzky cam taped to the side of that old Jofa, showing us how to see the play develop and then removing the guidance to see if we can do it on our own in a "1st-person shooter" manner.

Does anyone remember the old CBC series "Home Game" based on Ken Dryden's book of the same title? In the video series they had a camera man on the ice during a major junior game and during Canadiens game (must have been a pre-season exhibition.) It was amazing....you really got a sense of how quickly the game transitions, and what it's like to be out there. It was only a minute or two of footage but it was very powerful. The closest thing we have right now are "iso cams" that isolate a player for a whole shift (NBC does this on their website in the US) but you fail to see the rest of the game developing as is usually the case with television viewing.

How many of you use video footage for feedback for your players? Is it worth the time, effort & expense? Does anyone have copies of the Home Game Video series or anything similar?

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Good to hear others perception of 'arcade-i-gym' is similar to mine. Not sure what they charge, but I would rather load the kids up with quarters and send them to the arcade! It's probably cheaper. Better yet, play some 'real' Smart Transitional Games in a gym or on the ice!!!

Dman - Now you have piqued my interest in the old CBC series. I know I can borrow it at the public library. I want to see this footage! Have you checked youtube yet? (Can you provide more identifying info about the specific episode?)

I know I have seen some footage from a French-Canadian goalie who played for the Avalanche (?? who?? not Roy) that was filmed from inside his mask during an exhibition game, as part of a eye movement PhD. study. I know who showed me - I will try to locate him to see if he still has it; and if it is allowed to be shown. If the answer is yes, I will post it. If not... you won't hear anything from me!!!

I bought a Sony Handycam (HDR 150 XR 150) this spring to record my daughters birth. It is an HD quality / hard drive model. I paid about $650 CDN at London Drugs. I have used it to record a few pro, junior and minor hockey practices. It is an excellent way to show coaches how they look on the bench / at practice - not too mention a great visual for the players! (Video doesn't lie!)

Just don't take it to Vegas...! Wink 'cause like I said, video doesn't lie!

Now I need to figure out a way to quickly get it available to show players - ie immediately on site - looking at a small notebook / ipad but I need to learn more... can anyone provide advice?



Dean
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I have used video to teach and feedback. It is a great tool for game sense development. But there is no substitute to game as teacher of game sense and by this I mean SAGs, themed games, transition games.

We play a lot of games off-ice and off-season. Those three principles exists in basketball and soccer too and you can do you transition games off-ice.

There is a old post from Tom about IIHCE lecture by Harri Hakkarainen. In that lecture Hakkarainen speeks of decreasing sports activity of Finnish kids. I believe that this increased screen time (that was near 6 hours per day) is a major factor in decreased numbers of talented young athletes here in Finland.

from Developing Sport Expertise - researchers and coaches put theory into practice:

studies showed that professional ice hockey player spent over 10,000 hours involved in sport from age 6 to 20. approximately 3,500 of these hours were spent in play-like activities (i.e., deliberate play), and 2,300 hours were spent playing other sports. In addition, just over 3,000 hours were spent in organized hockey practice (i.e., deliberate practice), and just 2,400 hours were spent playing organized hockey games

So the 3,500 hours of play-like activities 2,300 hours of other sports alarmingly decreasing because kids dont move by them self and they are specialising in one sport too early. This is really puting pressure to coaches because you have to make training many-sided. And you have to make up some how the loss of 5,800 hours. This is obviously effecting the game sense too.

Dean,
I know that some Finnish youth national teams have had video projector and screen beside the rink and they just plugged their camcorder to projector to give instant feedback .

Kai


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Dean,

I have checked Youtube for "Home Game", but all I could find was the intro scene. I'll look at the book to remind myself of the chapter title. It could be that my memory is a little off (some say I am too) since it was back in college when I saw it, but I do remember it feeling like you were on the bench/ice with the players.

As for video I'm looking into getting one of these to hang on the glass behind both nets:
http://www.theflip.com/en-us/

They plug right into a usb port and are formatted to upload easily to youtube. Right now they're $169 US at Costco. This still doesn't do the same as a helmet cam would though. Would love to see video from the goalie perspective. Come to think of it, I wonder what happens with all the video taken from the NHL net cams?

Dave

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Kai,

Thanks for the reply. Any articles that you have access to on these topics, please post them in their entirety as I like to read the research! And thanks for the heads-up on what the Finnish coaches are doing.

I agree that ultimately, "The game is the best teacher of the game!" Video does give kids the chance to receive feedback from their own actions; or positive / negative examples. But at the end of the day, the game is "played" - not "watched!"

Now, excuse me, I gotta go play Zombie Farm!


Dean
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Game Intelligence Training

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Quote by: DMan

Dean,

I have checked Youtube for "Home Game", but all I could find was the intro scene. I'll look at the book to remind myself of the chapter title. It could be that my memory is a little off (some say I am too) since it was back in college when I saw it, but I do remember it feeling like you were on the bench/ice with the players.

As for video I'm looking into getting one of these to hang on the glass behind both nets:
http://www.theflip.com/en-us/

They plug right into a usb port and are formatted to upload easily to youtube. Right now they're $169 US at Costco. This still doesn't do the same as a helmet cam would though. Would love to see video from the goalie perspective. Come to think of it, I wonder what happens with all the video taken from the NHL net cams?

Dave

Thanks Dave, keep me posted on the Home Game stuff.

I used one of the "flips" on-ice to record skill stuff, goalie movements, then downloaded them for the class - and liked them... the resolution wasn't top notch and the memory amount wasn't great, but it served my purpose at the time. I like the idea of the placement to simulate a "net cam" perspective.

I know each NHL team receives many feeds / camera angles from each game. I will see if I can use my connections to take a look... maybe I can "find" some... stay tuned. (When I was with HC in the early 1990's I had access to and used a lot of footage shot from overhaed angles. This really lets you see the play evolve... not sure which angle I prefer (overhead or net cam.))

Off to the rink now...


Dean
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I remember HNIC had a show with a lot of players from the Oilers during their dynasty. Messier, Anderson, Coffey, Gretzky and I think it was Ron McLean but maybe someone else. They were sitting at a big table and having a few barley pops and just talking.

Messier asked Gretzky why he seemed to be able to see the play better than anyone and appeared to know what was going to happen before it did. Gretzky thought for awhile and said somehting like this.
'When I was a kid I scored one goal my first year. The next season I scored something like 230. After I scored that one goal my dad and I were at the breakfast table and he asked me "Wayne where were all of the players when you scored that goal?" I didn't know but he took the cups, the salt and pepper shakers and everything else on the table and showed me where everyone was and why I scored that goal. The next year we went over every goal the same way and I think that is why I started to look where everyone was and learned to recongnize what play would work in which situation.

I wish I could find that video. I think there is a lot to learn from it.

Dean did I give you 2 dvd's. I know I burned 2 of the NHL practices and it is driving me mental that I can't find one. I have attached a picture to show you the Duff beer bottle I brought back from Salzburg.


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Quote by: hockeygod

Kai,

Thanks for the reply. Any articles that you have access to on these topics, please post them in their entirety as I like to read the research! And thanks for the heads-up on what the Finnish coaches are doing.

Quote is from a book I have.
Developing Sport Expertise - researchers and coaches put theory into practice
edited by
Damian Farrow
Joe Baker
Clare MacMahon

Ps. researcher is Jean Côté


Kai


Kai

   
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Kai,

Thought it looked familiar... I have the book! (Routledge Publishers) Thanks!

Dean

Tom - you only gave me one DVD. I will call you to see if we can meet tonight as I will be at Optimist tonight from 1800-2000. Looking forward to the Duff Beer avatar!


Dean
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Dean- I lent my Dryden books to our assistant coach, but look for a chapter that focuses on a Habs/Oilers game....I think it's called "Mere Players."

Dave

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OK Dave I will search that particular episode at the library when I get there next week.

Thanks


Dean
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http://www.ausport.gov.au/participating/coaches/videos/coaching_children/game_sense_-_part_3

Here's interesting video and gives few good tips for off-ice training (and why not modify them more hockey specific on-ice games) for tactics and game sense.

Ps. there was more videos....


http://www.ausport.gov.au/participating/coaches/videos/coaching_children/game_sense_-_part_1

http://www.ausport.gov.au/participating/coaches/videos/coaching_children/game_sense_-_part_2

-------------------------
Great stuff Kai. Juhani Wahlsten and Kalle Kaskinen are working together in Finland on the games approach for hockey.

There is a Canadian documentary show called W5 and it is about the What, Where, Why, When and How of news stories. This site was created to encourage coaches to go beyond the Drill Method which focuses on the What and the How and expand their coaching to the Where, Why and When to use these skills. It isn't an either/or situation that you throw out the skill instruction and move to a Guided Discovery Approach (Mosston) but use good solid drill techniques that are efficient and precise and then put them into game situations. Even the reverse can be done, i.e. Create a "need to know" with a modified game that requires certain skills or decisions and then do corrective exercises that teach the skills needed (Horst Wein approach).

In all education it is important to develop Critical Thinking Skills along with Physical Skills.


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Kai,

Thanks for these. If you have more, please post them! I watched them all and they were excellent. I might just use these when I train coaches!

Recently, I have been browsing the web for TGfU conferences, etc. and there seems to be an over abundance of info on TGfU from Australia and England (Rod Thorpe).

Canada has Dr. Tim Hopper at the University of Victoria:

http://education2.uvic.ca/Faculty/thopper/index.htm

and Dr. Joy Butler at UBC in Vancouver:

http://edcp.educ.ubc.ca/faculty/joy-butler

Joy just sent me an email this morning...

"Hi Dean, good to hear from you again. The current cohort will be completing their research projects by the end of June. They will present their findings July 2nd in a conference type setting. You'd be welcome to attend. I will start the next cohort in July or sept 2012. Applications would be due around Jan 2012.

The next TGfU conference will be July 2012 in UK - Loughborough university in Leicester (about 60 miles north of London). The new TGfU website is www.TGfU.info. (I think.. I'm on my iPhone so don't have access to my data on my laptop.) The old website was somehow bought out by a Russian group. Oh well!

All the best for a restful Xmas and new year!

Joy"

http://www.eplt.educ.ubc.ca/programs/grad/tgu1.php




Dean
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"Great stuff Kai. Juhani Wahlsten and Kalle Kaskinen are working together in Finland on the games approach for hockey.

There is a Canadian documentary show called W5 and it is about the What, Where, Why, When and How of news stories. This site was created to encourage coaches to go beyond the Drill Method which focuses on the What and the How and expand their coaching to the Where, Why and When to use these skills. It isn't an either/or situation that you throw out the skill instruction and move to a Guided Discovery Approach (Mosston) but use good solid drill techniques that are efficient and precise and then put them into game situations. Even the reverse can be done, i.e. Create a "need to know" with a modified game that requires certain skills or decisions and then do corrective exercises that teach the skills needed (Horst Wein approach).

In all education it is important to develop Critical Thinking Skills along with Physical Skills."



Tom, excellent analysis. I would love to meet these two gentlemen and be involved in their approach. If possible, let's discuss this over a beer over the Christmas holidays.

Your analogy about W5, traditional drill-based coaching and the intent of this site really hit home - especially after watching the three videos Kai posted. I haven't heard of Mosston but am certainly familiar with Wein! I will do a search on Mosston. Do you have any books / papers by him that you can recommend?

The Game Sense approach shifts the emphasis from technique (the movement itself) to the skill (movement placed within the context of the game - the total performance.) Games provide problems for athletes to solve... and they do this in a fun, stimulating, manner! Games present challenges to the athlete. We as coaches need to encourage independent thinking and problem solving on behalf of the athlete - rather than yell at them or stop the practice to "tell" them what to do... As Wally Kozak used to say, "FIO" or Figure It Out!

Merry Christmas everyone!


Dean
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I played hockey outside today with a few of my former players. One of them has the sweetest hands I have seen and I coached some pretty good NHLers and a Hobey Baker winner. He grew up playing small games with modified rules that required escape moves and goals from plays below the goal line etc. as well and drills where everyone has a puck and no waiting in line.

Mosston wrote a book on progression of teaching styles from command to independent learner. The guided discovery method was pushed by our school district for a long time in PE. Lot of the Australian method I watched seems to be guided discovery which encourages players to think but makes them reinvent the box. I think there is a lot of room to do direct instruction on technique but allow players to add their own rinkles and realize that as long as it works it is good.

Kai, I want to put on another Avatar. I am sitting at the restaurant on top of the fortress in Salzburg having a Steigl. I will attach it.

I was on Skype with Juuso today and he said it is very cold there. It will be above zero here tomorrow and I hope to get an outdoor skate in the morning.


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Here's lecture by Rod Thorpe.
It's really fascinating stuff.

Pt. 1 https://www.isportz.com/videotemplateview.cfm?urlkey=Mj0nSC9SQEkrRklOX01bX09CSTs3I005Sgo%3D

pt. 2 https://www.isportz.com/videotemplateview.cfm?urlkey=Mj0nSC9SQEkrRklOX01bX09CSTs3I005SQo%3D

pt. 3 https://www.isportz.com/videotemplateview.cfm?urlkey=Mj0nSC9SQEkrRklOX01bX09CSTs3I005SAo%3D

---------------------------------------------------
Kai, great posting. In Physical Education class you teach all kinds of sports from goal centred like basketball and soccer football to racquet sports, gymnastics, dance, track and field. I found a huge challenge was how to use limited space and keep many students active and learning at the same time.

I did a lot of teaching in gymnasiums a little bigger than a full sized volleyball court that had 3 badminton courts painted on the floor, 6 basketball hoops and a stage. The first half of my teaching career I had one class at a time with 20-34 kid's. The last 13 years I had double classes in a small gym with 48-64 students at once. About 6 of the 10 months the weather was too cold to go outside.

We adapted by adding lines between each badminton court, so now there were 6 volleyball and badminton areas and you could have 12 teams of 4-5 players. Same with the basketball's 6 stations. The 12 small groups could do the drills or small skill games and then we would have tournaments with progressive modified rules. The teams would circle the winner after the game and we would have leagues. Students would go to the court on the chart the next class and be against someone else. Another option was a King's Court rotation.

This method had all 48-60 participating all the time. No sitting out.

For badminton we did the same thing and added exercise stations on the stage where half the class did a circuit to music that they prepared and they would rotate stations when the music stopped. We did dance, combatives, gymnastics the same way and the most popular thing was always Mission Impossible which was a obstacle course that got progressively harder and you had to start over when you failed.

When we could go outside we would have an open day every 4 classes where the students chose their activity and had to spend a certain amount of time on cardio and strength, skill and game play. I just walked around to supervise and give help when asked.

It was basically the ABC method applied to all activities. If I never met Juuso and adjusted my thinking these huge classes would have been overwhelming and I would have had half the class sitting and watching like I see in many schools.

Juhani is working with the school system in Finland to help them implement this approach.

In about 3 hours I leave on the 5 hour drive through the mountains to Jasper for a 3 day camp with the players in their minor hockey association. Gaston does skating in the morning and my son and I do hockey in the afternoon. They now have 6 small nets so I don't have to take mine there. The whole point of the clinic it to use games to let them learn HOW TO PLAY THE GAME by PLAYING.

Anyway thanks for the links you have been posting. It is nice to see the idea of playing to learn how to play is spreading around the sporting world.


Kai

   
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Good stuff Kai! These videos on TGfU are a great way for me to save money on flights and conference fees! (If I had the money and time, I would try to hit some... as it is, I have to pick and choose!) I hope to attend the 1 day symposium presented by the first cohort of UBC TGfU Master's students that Joy Butler mentioned previously.



Tom,

Drive safely! I know those kids in Jasper will receive great instruction from you, Gaston and Jim! Hopefully, some of their local coaches are watching...
------------------------

Dean, Jim and I got here last night about 17:30. Road was pretty good. From Lake Louise to Jasper in 230 km with nothing open in the winter. I think there is one ranger station with someone living there. One car was upside down in the ditch. I guess the guy must not have believed the 70 km speed sign.

Gaston is on the ice now and Jim and I have 3 groups from 6-17 for 75 min. each. Only the 11-12 year old group has a goalie but they bought 6 small nets. The 13-17 yr group is half girls and half guys. Should be fun.

We are in a really nice basement suite. It doesn't get light until about 8:30 but it is about 0 C. Jasper is such a beautiful place and I guess the skiing this year is great.


Dean
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Game Intelligence Training

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Horst Wein Challenges us to Rethink Youth Development

Posted by admin on Dezember 6, 2010
by Ian McClurg, Director of Coaching, 1v1 Excellence in Soccer

“When you do what you have done always, you will never reach any further” (Horst Wein)

Last spring I first came across the name of Horst Wein. The Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, had advocated Wein’s teaching development methods for younger players during an interview in 4-4-2 magazine.

Wein is one of soccer’s top mentor of coaches worldwide and an internet search confirmed that he had written a book “Developing youth soccer players”

At the time, I was looking for a new approach to coach younger players at the 1v1 Soccer academy. I had left the provincial program (coaching at the U14/15 level) and wanted to ensure that the development methodology that we used would be successful to develop skilled and intelligent soccer players at the younger age levels.

I was therefore delighted to learn on the Canada Kicks website that Horst Wein would be coming to Canada. Bill Ault has done a great job in launching a new coaching website which will include regular articles from Horst. Therefore, I will not do Horst’s methodology any injustice by trying to articulate his development model within this one short article. However, I will say that we, the coaching community in Canada, need to embrace new ideas and give serious thoughts to how we are currently developing our young players. Time and time again we hear examples of our international players lacking technique, tactical knowledge, speed, strength and the necessary desire. We need to address this situation and provide kids with progressive development training programs that will motivate them to learn and increase their enjoyment of the game.

“It is not sufficient to teach your players well, it’s essential for future successes to prepare them better than others.” (Horst Wein)

As a parent of a seven year old player, what strikes me most about our current programs is that we are teaching young players “an adult game”. Why else, do we put young players on large fields where they have limited touches and are unable to kick the ball far enough to reach distant teammates? What I liked most about Horst’s methods was that they are built around the kids and how they naturally learn. In fact, he utilizes many proven techniques used to teach kids school subjects such as mathematics and languages.

In Horst’s development model the difficulty and complexity of the simplified small-sided game activities are increased to match the natural physical and intellectual development of the players. Kids thrive on competition and on playing tag games (it is what they do) and we know that they have the inability to concentrate for long periods at once.

They get bored from time to time! So why not provide them with variety (something new every 15 minutes) and incorporate competitions and multi-lateral games (tag games) into their training to improve co-ordination? Not necessary new ideas at the youth level. However, what separates Horst’s model from others is the different roles of the coach and the players.

Learning Techniques

Horst Wein Methodology

* More holistic approach.
* Develops co-ordination, leadership and tactical awareness in addition to just technique
* Logical progression of development based on intellectual and physical capabilities of players
* Menu of activities during one session. Change activities every 15 minutes
Bridges between learning a subject and correctly applying it. Training and competition considered as one unit.
* Focus on how skill should be best applied: when, where and why


Other more traditional coaching methodologies

* Over emphasis on one component (ie technique)
* Accelerated development towards 11v11 game
* Sessions are based on one theme or aspect of the game (ie passing-week1, dribbling week 2)
* Training and competition often not linked.
* Focus on how to execute a specific skill

Role of Coach

Horst Wein Methodology

* Players are central to the learning environment.
* Uses questioning to prompt players. Guides them to “self-discover” the best way
* Assign players roles and responsibilities to develop leadership
* Uses “nature”. Understands and allows kids to take breaks and come back to soccer learning when they are refreshed (play on swings or go swimming).

Other more traditional coaching methodologies

* Central figure, players look to coach for what to do and when to do it
* Directs players, provides immediate solutions to correct errors
* Players are treated as passive observers. Instructed to follow specific actions
* Attempts to keep kids focused and concentrating, even when clear that players are losing interest

Role of Players

Horst Wein Methodology

* Central and main participant in learning process. Receives, processes and gives information to coach and fellow players.
* Challenged to think through soccer-specific problems and discover solutions
* Encouraged to take initiative and demonstrate leadership (ie set up drills)

Other more traditional coaching methodologies


* Passive. Receive information and follow instructions
* Look to coaches to provide all the answers
* Encouraged to follow (the coach) and conform

Many Coaches in Canada may have used several of these teaching techniques from time to time. However, have we ever run through an entire session “facilitating” rather than “instructing?”

Have we ever created situations where the players were allowed to solve their own “soccer problems” by thinking through the best way to succeed and trying different solutions until they “discover” the correct approach?”

Have we ever given the players the responsibility to set up their own drill stations to teach leadership and responsibility?
Have we ever been content to stand back and let the players teach themselves and “coach” each other? “If it’s our desire to triumph in football, we have to look out for new highways of success instead of using always the old bumpy roads of past victories” (interview with H.Wein in “Bangkok Post”-19/9/97)

These are not techniques that I have seen consistently applied within a progressive development model spanning ages 7 -15. However, after watching the response by 10 year olds over 1 ½ days, I can confirm that they work.

Players were led through a series of activities that provided them with a steady progression from 3v3 game situations to a 7v7 game. The most impressive thing from my perspective was seeing the players put into practice, during the 7v7 game, what they had learned in the smaller game activities.

They built attacks from defence, through the midfield and to the forwards by retaining possession, communicating and creating space for themselves. It was a pleasure to watch the players be so confident and enjoying the game. Perhaps we need to stand back, let our players play and let them use their natural intelligence and enthusiasm to “discover” the best way to play?

In summary, the Horst Wein weekend was a time to ponder and ask why we have players before the age of 14 playing competitive 11v11 soccer on full-fields. Are we catering to the needs of our youth or to the demands of parents and the sport’s administrators?
Even if young players want to play 11v11 at an early age, then why are we letting them?

As Horst pointed out “….you wouldn’t give a 10 year old the keys to your car, they are not ready.”

We seem to lack a common vision and a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the current Canadian players. What are the common development problems that all our young players are facing and what are we doing to address these?

Many of the provinces, academies and clubs are addressing some or several of these issues – but only in isolation. We need a common strategy and action plan so that we can all make progress as a nation. It is generally understood that successful player development programs require at least 10 years before success can be clearly demonstrated.

Therefore, we should start now and if we do not have our own model, perhaps we adopt Horst Wein’s?

It is one that many of the top clubs and federations in the world are currently adopting. Can we afford not too?

Horst Wein will hopefully be back in Canada next April.

Go see his teaching methods for yourself, you will not be disappointed!

——————————————————————————————-

More information about:

Coaching Game Intelligence in Youth Football

In football an ounce of intelligence is worth more than a pound of muscles.

This DVD covers in different topics one of the most important aspects in the game of football, the game intelligence.

Video 1:

* What does Game Intelligence mean in Football?
* Preparatory and Corrective Games in Mini-Football
* Mini-Football 3 v 3
* Mini-Football 3 v 2
* Mini-Football 3 v 1
* Mini-Football Variations


Video 2:

* Testing an Individual’s Playing Capacity
* Mini-Football Pentathlon
* Planning and Strukburing a Football Season with Mini-Football Competitions
* Taking Mini-Football Further Toward 7-a-side Football


Dean
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Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   
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Reading the play in team sports: yes it's trainable!

Author: Damian Farrow, Skill Acquisition, Australian Institute of Sport
Issue: Volume 27 Number 3

One of the great coaching debates concerns whether the ability to read the play in team sports is innate or trainable. Some coaches describe it as the player who is a good driver in heavy traffic, the player who seemingly knows what is going to happen next, two passes before it happens. While they may not be the fastest around the court or field, their ability to accurately forecast a game’s future means they always seem to have all the time in the world. By now you will have visualised players such as basketballer Andrew Gaze, AFL footballer James Hird, netballer Natalie Avelino or rugby union flyhalf Stephen Larkham.

For many of us mere mortals, reading the play is more akin to reading Latin, and it seems this reinforces the notion that it cannot be trained. However, while obviously some players will always be better than some others, there is now a great deal of evidence to suggest players can learn to read the play – just as you can learn to read Latin!

In scientific terminology, 'reading the play' refers to pattern recall or recognition. Watching a team sport like netball is a classic example of watching a continuously changing pattern. Interestingly, while the pattern may look meaningless to the untrained eye, that is, 14 players sprinting and dodging in all directions, to an expert player (or coach) it can all look completely logical and can inform them in advance as to where the ball is about to be passed. This is quite a handy skill to have if your job requires you to intercept as many opposition passes as possible - just ask Liz Ellis.

What's chess got to do with team-sports?


Pattern recall was first investigated in the game of chess. Research was able to demonstrate that grandmasters were able to sum up a board in one quick glance. Provided with five or ten seconds to look over a specific chess situation, the best players could accurately recall the exact location of 90 per cent of the pieces. Lesser skilled players could only remember 50 per cent. The researchers concluded that the grandmasters could 'chunk' the pieces on the board into fewer, larger chunks of information that were more easily remembered and subsequently recalled to produce the required pattern, much in the same manner as how we all remember frequently used telephone numbers as one block of numbers rather than eight individual numbers.

Sports science has demonstrated that elite team-sport players also possess the analytical mind of a chess master. For example, research has identified that elite players have developed the ability to rapidly recognise and then memorise patterns of play executed by their opponents. Importantly, this capability to recognise opposition team's attacking or defensive patterns is not because the elite players have a bigger memory capacity than the rest of us – that is, it is not innate. Rather, their memory of sport-specific strategies is simply more detailed than ours and develops through years of practice and experience.

Pattern recall research in sport can be illustrated from netball where the recall ability of members of the Australian team through to under-17 talent identification squad members have been examined. Presented with video footage of netball game situations, the players had approximately ten seconds to view a piece of play before the footage was occluded. They were then required to recall the attacking and defensive structures of the two teams by plotting the location of each player as they had last seen them in the video clip on a blank diagram of a netball court. On average the Australian players were able to accurately recall the location of 72 per cent of all players. In comparison, Australian Institute of Sport players recalled 62 per cent while the under-19 and under-17 squads recalled approximately 57 per cent. Such results illustrate the contribution of reading the play to the make-up of our elite team sport players.

So how can it be trained?


Researchers who have interviewed some of sports great decision makers consistently find that they engaged in extensive team-based game-play as children, be it in their backyards or with others at the local park (for example, two-on-two street basketball). They also played a variety of team sports before specialising in the sport they made into a profession. For example, expert AFL decision-makers tend to have played significant amounts of basketball in addition to football. It has been reasoned that by playing similar 'invasion' sports they were constantly learning to read patterns based around the fundamental team sport concept of creating time and space.

Obviously, the more games you play, the more likely you are to become accustomed to specific attacking and defensive strategies and develop an understanding of where the ball will be passed. Whether a player then becomes a skilled decision maker relates to whether their coach draws their attention to such details. Coaches who provide their players with game-based training opportunities rather than stereotypical drills with minimal decision making requirements are likely to develop more competent decision makers. To quote AFL coaching legend David Parkin: 'Players need to bring their brain to training'.

Reading the play can also be developed off-field by asking players to predict what is going to happen next when watching televised matches. Rather than simply spectating, players put themselves in the shoes of the experts and answer questions such as: where should the ball be passed next? Where should the support player run to?

Test your players pattern recall skill


Pattern recall ability is one skill where your players can easily be tested in a club setting:

1. Videotape a selection of elite level games of your sport from television.
2. Draw to scale a blank version of your playing field or court.
3. Select passages of play that contain structure and then show approximately ten seconds of the play to allow the players to get a feel for the scenario before quickly stopping the tape.
4. The players' task is exactly as described in the previous netball research example. Test the players on a variety of situations that occur in a match.

For example, stop a tape of Australian football just as the fullback prepares to kick the ball into play. The footage shown from behind the goal often provides an excellent perspective of the patterns a fullback is attempting to read.

Conclusion

While there will always be players with a greater ability to read the play, it is a skill that is primarily developed through quality coaching. To use an analogy from strength training, you cannot expect to make significant gains in muscular strength if you do not do a systematic weights program manipulating the variables of volume, frequency, intensity and overload. Likewise, players will not develop decision-making skills if their coaches only prescribe practice drills devoid of decision-making opportunities. There must be a systematic application of game based practice activities that require players to make decisions as required in game situations.

Suggested readings


Abernethy, B, Cote, J and Baker, J 2002. Expert decision-making in team sports, report on research commissioned by the Australian Sports Commission.

Berry, J and Abernethy, B 2003. Expert game-based decision-making in Australian football: how is it developed and how can it be trained?, research report submitted to the Australian Football League Research Board.

Farrow, D, Plummer, N and Byers, C 2002. The development and implementation of perceptual-motor skills tests for netball, a report on research commissioned by the Australian Sports Commission.

Merrick, E and Farrow, D 2000. 'Coaching decision-making in soccer: a constraints-lead approach', Insight 2(3):48-51.


Dean
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Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   
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Using tactical games

Author: Shane Pill, Flinders University School of Education
Issue: Volume 31 Number 1


To be successful in game play requires players to do more than execute sport-specific movement skills well. Players must be able to read the game situation off the ball, respond with appropriate movement to relocate themselves for the advantage of their team or self, react to produce appropriate skill execution, and recover with off-the-ball movement to set up further game involvement. Coaching using a tactical games approach facilitates the development of player understanding of this totality of game play, whereas traditional direct instruction drill approaches primarily centre on skill execution in isolation.

A tactical approach puts movement skills and tactical learning within the context of a game play and an associated tactical problem, and does not restrict the use of multiple instructional methods for the achievement of specified game learning. For example, skill drills are still used to develop movement competencies necessary to successfully apply the movement solutions required of the tactical problem. However, unlike traditional sport teaching approaches that begin with a series of drills, a tactical approach is consistent with a game sense or teaching games for understanding model where sessions begin and end with a game play to contextualise the practical application of movement skills.

Unlike traditional drill first approaches, the tactical application of movement skills is focused for players at the beginning of a session, as activities are linked to a tactical problem and the development of associated game performance. In contrast to the practice sequence of a traditional direct instruction drill approach, a tactical approach sequence follows a tactical problem — tactical ‘game sense’ game or ‘play practice’ — question — reflect — drill practice if necessary — return to game instructional sequence.

There are five essential elements of a tactical approach:

* identification of the tactical problems and the associated principles of play
* recognition of the level of tactical complexity appropriate for the stage of learning of the players
* within practice sessions players practise movement skills in drills after they have experienced a game form that represents to the players the tactical problem in focus
* the connections between the tactical problems, associated principles of play and skill practice are made apparent to players through the application of questions that encourage player thinking and problem solving
* after practising a movement skill, players must be provided the opportunity to apply their improved skill execution and tactical understanding in game play.

Manipulation of game components, such as rules, number of players, dimensions of the playing space and movement within the playing space, provides the tools to create games and ‘play practice’ scenarios that develop tactical understanding and the application of movement skills for intelligent play. Used in conjunction with questioning to guide player problem solving and their development of game understanding, teaching and coaching sport performance moves from the limited focus on movement skill proficiency to the development of intelligent play.

Below is an example of a tactical training session (applications are in territory/invasion type games, for example, Australian football, soccer/football, lacrosse, basketball and netball).

Tactical problem - How do you support the player with the ball when in an off-the-ball position?

Focus - Understand that in order to maintain possession off-the-ball players must be open (create a passing lane) to receive a pass.

Understand that in order to maintain possession the player with the ball must choose and execute the correct passing option.

Modified game - 3v3 Give and Go Grid Ball (see Pill 2008).

Examples of developmental questions -

* How can the players without the ball help the player with the ball?
* What should off-the-ball players be doing in support of their team-mate with the ball?
* What should you do after you pass the ball?
* What happens to the space when you move? And what does that mean for your team-mates?
* What happens to the space if you do not move? And what does that mean for your team-mates?
* How can you indicate that you are open to receive the ball?
* How can you use space to your advantage in maintaining possession?

Practice task - Give and Go 3v1 (see Griffin, Mitchell and Oslin 1997) or 3v2 Grid Ball (see Pill 2008) with passive defence.

Return to modified game - 3v3 Give and Go Grid Ball.

Conclusion - What game principles did you apply in order to successfully maintain possession?


References


Den Duyn, N 1997, Game Sense: developing thinking players workbook, Australian Sports Commission, Canberra.

Griffin, L, Mitchell, S and Oslin, J 2006, Teaching Sport Concepts and Skills: a tactical games approach, 2nd edn, Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois.

Griffin, L, Mitchell, S and Oslin, J 1997, Teaching Sport Concepts and Skills: a tactical games approach, Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois.

Hopper, T 2003, ‘Four Rs for tactical awareness: applying game performance assessment in net/wall games’, Journal of Teaching Elementary Physical Education, March Issue

Hopper, T 1998, ‘Teaching games for understanding using progressive principles of play’, CAPHERD/ACSEPLD, 64(3), pp. 4–7.

Hopper, T and Bell, D 2000, ‘A tactical framework for teaching games: teaching strategic understanding and tactical awareness’, Physical and Health Educator, 66(4), pp. 14–19.

Hopper, T and Kruisselbrink, D 2002, Teaching Games for Understanding: what does it look like and how does it influence student skill learning and game performance? www.educ.uvic.ca/Faculty/thopper/WEB/articles/Advante/TGFUmotorlearn.pdf.

Howarth, K and Walkuski, J 2003, ‘Teaching tactical concepts with preservice teachers’, in J Butler, L Griffin, B Lombardo and R Nastasi (eds), Teaching Games For Understanding in Physical Education and Sport, NASPE, Reston, Virginia.

Launder, A 2001, Play Practice: the games approach to teaching and coaching sport, Human Kinetics, Adelaide.

Mitchell, S, Griffin, L and Oslin, J 1994, ‘Tactical awareness as a developmentally appropriate focus for the teaching of games in elementary and secondary physical education’, Physical Educator, 51(1), pp. 21–8.

Pill, S 2008, ‘Play with purpose: teaching games for understanding’, Active and Healthy, 15(1), pp. 7–10.

Pill, S 2007, Play with Purpose: a resource to support teachers in the implementation of the game-centred approach to physical education, ACHPER Australia, Adelaide.


Dean
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Game Intelligence Training

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Games of low organisation

Author: Wendy Piltz, Senior Lecturer, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
Issue: Volume 28 Number 1


Games of low organisation can be used to attain a variety of outcomes with all ages of participants in numerous sports. These games can be used at the commencement of a practice session, to quickly engage the players into enjoyable activity that generates interest and creates a positive start to the coaching session. They can also be designed to attain a variety of specific learning outcomes that contribute to the foundational development of effective sports players.

This article presents coaches with the key ideas and steps for including games of low organisation into their sessions.

Step 1: identify the purpose of the game


Games of low organisation can be easily included into most coaching sessions, to add variety, fun or to develop specific player qualities. The most important consideration for the coach is to be clear about why these games are being included in the session. This will help the coach to emphasise the purpose of the games, so that the players can benefit from participation. Some of the reasons for including games of low organisation in a coaching session include:

* providing fun and enjoyment in physical activity
* developing team work and cooperation with others
* improving the capacity of players to scan and read the play as they move in space in relation to others
* improving players' capacity to use agility to get into different spaces, including control of the body to stop, start, accelerate, change direction, dodge and baulk
* improving general fitness to maintain movement into spaces and development of strength, stamina, balance and speed
* developing problem-solving and decision-making skills
* improving specific technical ability such as throwing and catching if equipment is added.

Step 2: shape the play


Shaping the play is the process used by coaches as they determine the key variables that provide the structure of the game (Launder 2001). In games of low organisation the main variables are the playing space, numbers (including the ratio of taggers to non-taggers, if applicable), playing rules, scoring and the guidelines for fair play.

In order to maximise the benefits of involvement, the coach will need to consider factors that impact on player safety and participation. The coach can:

* Ensure that the space is adequate for the number of players who are participating. In all games, there is an important relationship between the space allocation and the corresponding time that players have to play successfully and skilfully. If a space is very small, then there is limited time to read what is happening, to make decisions and to move accordingly. This can present a major safety issue with young children because of the increased risk of collisions. Too small an area can also result in the game finishing too quickly, with minimal player participation. If the space is too large the game can be boring for the free players who are able to stand in the open space, and demoralising for the taggers as their efforts to chase are unrewarded. The key is to shape a sustainable game that optimises the challenge for all players by balancing the playing space, total numbers and number of taggers.
* Keep the explanation of the rules clear and simple. Highlight the most important rules at the start of the game and then clarify any issues as they arise in the game. Clarifying rules in the game will help players to better understand their relevance.
* Establish a game atmosphere that is safe and enjoyable for all participants. This means that fair, sensible play must be promoted and embarrassment, harassment and exclusion avoided at all costs.

Step 3: focus the play

Focusing the play is a process that coaches use to facilitate learning in the game by identifying the important points of the activity (Launder 2001). If the coach is clear on the focus for the activity then they are able to observe and analyse the play in order to provide feedback to the players.

Some key considerations about focusing the play:

* The coach must monitor the game continuously for player safety. It is the coachs responsibility to stop the game to address safety issues or to make game modifications that will improve player enjoyment and participation.
* The coach must be clear on the main point of focus for the game. If the game of low organisation is being used to promote scanning and movement in relation to other players, then the key focus cues such as eyes up or look out of your ears can be highlighted before or during the game. If it is dodging that is to be emphasised, then push off hard as you change direction may become the key focal cue. If it is team work or cooperation, then the coach can look for evidence of this during the game and highlight it to their players.

Step 4: enhance the play


Enhancing the play refers to the way that coaches include strategies to influence player motivation (Launder 2001). This can help to prevent boredom and maintain a persistent focus during the game. Some strategies to enhance the play that coaches can easily apply include:

* careful monitoring of the time frame used in games. Time frames can be measured by the clock (play for one minute) or by the task (time how long it takes to catch everyone). A musical time frame is a novel way of establishing time limits on the game
* using variations such as changing partners, changing groups or roles between games
* making minor adjustments to the shape of the game by introducing different ways to catch or release a player, or by modifying the scoring system
* showing enthusiasm and acknowledging the players efforts and participation
* keeping a score or time record for the game
* including some equipment in the game
* using a novel name or scenario for the game (for example, dunny flusher).

Becoming a creative coach


Coaches can quickly start to create their own versions of games of low organisation, based on the needs of their specific playing group. The step-by-step process can also be used to evaluate various game resources, or to analyse how other coaches use these types of games at practise sessions. Finally, make sure that you use these games in small doses, and do not forget to ask for player feedback about the value of the games.

Reference

Launder, A 2001, Play Practice: the games approach to teaching and coaching sport, Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois.


Dean
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Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   
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Making first coaching impressions count through a teaching games for understanding approach

Author: Dennis Slade, Massey University, New Zealand
Issue: Volume 29 Number 4


First impressions count. They have the potential to influence your future relationship with a person, environment or activity. It follows then that a novice’s first impression of a sport might also be part of their willingness to play that sport. The question confronting sporting codes and coaches is how to create a favourable first impression of their sport.

Away from the ‘back-yard,’ a novice’s first introduction to sport through a club or school environment has generally been the traditional route of a skill-based approach of technique to cognition. Some researchers (Bunker and Thorpe, 1983, Kirk and MacPhail, 2002, Light, 2005, Rink, 2001) have questioned the value of this pathway for children into sport, they represent a growing number supporting a game first approach – cognition to technique – and in particular the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) methodology. The approach in Australia is known as Game Sense.

Kirk and MacPhail (2002) suggest that a saturation of elite level sport through the mass media has resulted in children bringing to their introduction to games an expectation of what the game will feel like to play. They caution that if a child’s introduction to that sport does not meet those preconceived ideas, their motivation to continue with the game after the introduction is likely to be uncertain. They argue a traditional prescribed-drills approach is unlikely to meet that expectation. They suggest that a TGfU introduction is more likely to provide new comers with an initial feel of the game that fits with their expectations and motivates them for further participation.

A recent project (Slade, 2004) explored the suggested motivational benefits of a TGfU introduction to sport within a school physical education environment using a TGfU field-hockey program. A positive response from the novice hockey players to the TGfU introduction might suggest the TGfU approach had created a good first impression.

Traditional skill-based versus TGfU novice instruction in hockey


Traditional approach

Traditionally, instruction of novices in hockey starts with how to hold the hockey stick (Swissler, 2003). Once the grip is established, learning frequently turns to passing the ball using a ‘push action’ (Swissler, 2003). This leads to the teaching of basic receiving skills and drills associated with those techniques. Next, novices are usually taught basic ball dribbling (Mitchell-Taverner, 2005) and this, in turn, frequently leads to some form of minor game. This structure conforms to the methodology generally referred to as a 'traditional skill-based approach'.

TGfU approach

The TGfU hockey approach adopted in this project was Stick2hockey (Slade, 2003). Stick2Hockey uses a games-practice-game approach. The very first instruction novices receive is how to play a modified game of hockey (roll-a-ball). This first game requires running, dodging, keeping possession and two scoring options designed to reinforce tactical aspects of hockey. Game instruction requires coaches to recognise opportunities to cue players on rules relating to restarts and tactical concepts associated with keeping possession. The design of Stick2Hockey ensures that within approximately five minutes of the start of a coaching session, novices are playing a ‘game’ of hockey that other than manipulation of the ball by the hockey stick, has all the tactical and movement elements of the game as played by experienced hockey players.

As well as five graduated hockey games and three technique activities, the Stick2Hockey program also contains generic tactical games that teach concepts such as zone-defence, outlet-passing, man-to-man marking and spatial awareness.

The three-stage project

Stage 1 required students from a New Zealand Intermediate school, comprising two composite year 7 & 8 classes (ages 11 - 13, N = 58) to complete a survey. The survey established their previous hockey playing experience, knowledge of rules (four questions), tactics (seven questions) and perceptions of their likely enjoyment (self-esteem related) of playing hockey (four questions). The 60 per cent of students who had either played or seen hockey played were asked to say what they thought hockey should ‘feel’ like to play.

Stage 2 consisted of students receiving instruction over several lessons from second year physical education secondary trainee teachers using the Stick2Hockey TGfU hockey program and playing a mini-tournament. To reinforce and develop the players shared understanding of the rules, the teachers used breaks in games, e.g., ball out, to question students on rules related to restarts in hockey.

Instruction also utilised two of Stick2Hockey’s generic tactical games that teach zone-defence and outlet-passing concepts. Teachers observing the correct transfer of such tactics back in the hockey games were required to stop the games and quiz the students as to why they had just used that tactic. This was done to reflect the TGfU adult supported, learner initiated and directed instruction philosophy ensuring that tactics forced on players through the configuration of the TGfU games were registered at conscious levels and to positively reinforce good-play.

Stage 3, completed after the practical instruction, required the students to again complete the Stage 1 survey questionnaire in order to measure any changes brought about by the TGfU introduction.

Table 1 Survey results: Stages 1 and 3

Category Stage 1: Pre TGfU instruction survey Stage3: Survey post TGfU Stick2Hockey instruction program

Playing status 80% novice

Knowledge of basic restart rules of field hockey 60% correct response 85% correct response

Tactical and strategic questions 62% correct response 75% correct response

Self-Esteem Questions

Do you think you will enjoy playing hockey? 21% think they will 98% stated they did

Do you think you will make a positive contribution to your team’s performance? 12% think they will 91% thought they did

What should hockey feel like to play? Of the 60% of students who had seen hockey played, all anticipated that hockey would be a fast, running, dodging, passing and goal scoring game.

What did hockey feel like to play? 100% of students identified that hockey had felt like a fast, running, dodging, passing and goal scoring game.


Discussion of results

The results of this project (Slade, 2004) demonstrated that adopting a TGfU methodology as an introduction to playing field hockey did improve these players’ declarative knowledge regarding rules and tactics, their motivation to play and self-esteem in relation to playing hockey. Having 91 per cent of all students feeling that they did or probably did contribute to their team’s performance was considered an extremely positive first impression of the game. Importantly, for involvement post the introduction, having 98 per cent stating that hockey was either ‘okay to play’ (51%) or that ‘they loved it!’(47%) and, 100 per cent of the students stating that their experience of playing the game felt as they anticipated it would feel, that is, a fast, running and passing game, is suggestive of a recipe to motivate novices to come back the next day for ‘more of the same please!’

Can a TGfU introduction to a sport create a good first impression?

These generally positive outcomes for a TGfU cognition-to-technique introduction to hockey should provide considerable encouragement to coaches and sport bodies considering adopting a TGfU or Games Sense methodology as their introductory medium for novices to their sport. The motivation to do so should be based on the potential that such an introduction is likely to create a good first impression...and first impressions count!

References

Bunker, D and Thorpe, R. 1983 'A model for the teaching of games for understanding. Bulletin of Physical Education 19(1), pp 5-8

Griffin, LL & Butler, JL (eds) 2005 Teaching games for understanding: Theory, research and practice, Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois

Kirk, D and MacPhail, A 2002, 'Teaching games for understanding and situated learning: rethinking, the Bunker–Thorpe model', Journal of Teaching in Physical Education. 21(2) pp.177-192.

Light, R 2005, 'Making sense of chaos: Australian coaches talk about Game Sense', in LL Griffin and JL Butter (eds) Teaching games for understanding: Theory, research and practice, pp. 168-81, Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois

Mitchell-Taverner, C 2005, Field Hockey: techniques and tactics, Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois

Rink, JE 2001, 'Investigating the assumptions of pedagogy', Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 20(2) pp.112-128.

Slade, DG 2003, Stick2Hockey, Stick2Hockey Ltd, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Slade, DG 2004, 'Does TGfU improve student declarative knowledge? An investigation in field hockey using the Stick2Hockey TGfU program with year 7 & 8 students', unpublished presentation to the Physical Education New Zealand Conference, Wellington, New Zealand.

Swissler, B 2003, Winning field hockey for girls, Mountain Lions Inc., New York


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   
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Registered: 08/05/09
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I was looking for something and came across this thread. It is a great topic and I want to activate it.


'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
   
Admin
Registered: 06/25/08
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Good stuff Tom! This was one of my favourite threads too but as per your earlier request, I have been putting my comments concerning this topic into the Game Intelligence thread; so I will continue to do that; unless you say it is OK to post here!

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Dean, I think the game intelligence thread is your topic. I like this thread because about 5 different coaches contributed their ideas; Kai, Dman etc..

Kai's video presentation of the ever changing game playing roles is exceptional. If coaches understand that the puck changes possession about 6 times every minute of the game they will realize that their practices have to reflect these changes in game situation and game playing roles.

So players are continuously solving the game situations of 0-loose puck, 1-offense, 2-defense and reading where they are on the ice in relationship to their net and the puck (1-2-3-4-5) and in the game playing role of puck carrier, puck support, checking the puck carrier or covering away from the puck.

It isn't good enough to carry the puck around pylons or do flow drills in the neutral zone. These type of activities may be ok for warm up or learning technique but they don't help game sense or reading the play. We need to give the players both the tools to play the game and the toolbox to use the skills in the proper context.


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   
Active Member
Registered: 08/05/09
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Location: Calgary AB Canada
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Quote by: hockeygod



Now I need to figure out a way to quickly get it available to show players - ie immediately on site - looking at a small notebook / ipad but I need to learn more... can anyone provide advice?

There are a number of coaching video apps out for ipad: Coach's Eye, Coach My Video, etc. I have not experimented with any of them, but they are cheap enough (relative to the ipad) that they might be worth experimenting with. I have not checked droid apps but presumably there are similar programs. Please let me know if you find something that works well for ice hockey!

   
Junior
Registered: 03/30/10
Posts: 34
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