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Tactical Games Instructional Analysis

Teaching Tactical Games may be new to Physical Education instruction, however, it is a vital aspect to the curriculum and student’s learning. The largest content area in most Physical Education programs is teaching and learning sport-related games, especially in middle grades and higher (Metzler, 2011). With that being said, the Tactical Games instructional model proves to be very important because it picks apart the sport related games or any game and goes over possible tactics that involve the scenario at hand. There are various points when discussing and understanding the Tactical Games instructional model.

First off, there are assumptions about teaching and learning that are involved in the Tactical Games approach. Also, the approach focuses on game forms rather than skill drills. Lastly, the Tactical Games approach has been questioned on its validity, but it still follows the National Association for Sport and Physical Education National Standards and the National Standards and Grade Level Outcomes. The Tactical Games instructional model is an effective approach that can benefit a Physical Education program. The Tactical Games instructional model allows teachers to invite students into various game or gamelike situations.

The model takes an appropriate gamelike situation and focuses on a particular tactical problem. The students are asked to solve this problem cognitively first and then execute the situation after. This is done to have the students be aware of what is going on in their surroundings, further showing them the possible skills that could be performed or are needed to perform during this situation. Michael W. Metzler, the author of Instructional Models for Physical Education, summarizes the theme or objective of Tactical Games in his book saying: To facilitate a deep level of understanding that can be applied in game and gamelike situations and can be transferred to other similar games.

This also denotes the primary emphasis on students’ tactical awareness and decision-making abilities. ” (Metzler, 2011) The emphasis on students’ tactical awareness and decision-making abilities is the main objective to the Tactical Games instructional model and can be applied to any gamelike situation which makes it very useful for Physical Education. There are assumptions that the Tactical Games instructional model makes when in regards to teaching and learning.

For the teaching, it is assumed the teacher needs to be able to pick a game and know the most essential tactics needed to play this game. With this, the teacher then identifies major tactical problems in the game and organizes learning tasks that focus on solutions to this problem (Metzler, 2011). The assumption is the teacher knows what particular scenario or modified game form they are going to set up to deliver the proper tactical and motor skills needed to perform in that game. This means, “the teacher is the primary source of games expertise, but still provides students with indirect learning opportunities. (Metzler, 2011) Lastly, all tactical games can be modified or set up by the educator so they are developmentally appropriate for that grade level.

The assumptions about learning can reflect many benefits to tactical games. When students do not see application to actual games or play, they tend to not enjoy the activity as much. With that assumption, going through the tactics of the game rather than skill development drills can make the students more motivation and want to participate more. On top of that, in order to perform at the best possible during games, the student’s need to have tactical awareness as well as performance skills.

Lastly, tactical awareness with various skills in various scenarios can transfer from game to game depending on what the person is playing. The Tactical Games instructional model is designed to incorporate game form structure as much as possible. “Students practice for skills development after they have played a game form that presents a tactical problem requiring that skill” (Mitchell, 2013). The focus is meant to be on tactical applications of skills in the game form and repetitive drills were only conducted when a student needed to develop the most basic skills in order to participate in the activity (Metzler, 2011).

Metzler explains how game forms should be representative and exaggerated: “To be representative means that the game form contains realistic situations that students will face in the full game. To be exaggerated means that the game form is set up in a way that forces students to focus only on the tactical problem of the moment. ” (Metzler, 2011) Game forms still represent full games, but they use an exaggerated situation in that game, isolating a specific scenario which sharpens the students’ tactical awareness and their decision making of that scenario.

Eventually, the students with begin to combine tactical knowledge with skill execution (Thorpe, 1986). The Tactical Games approach is new to Physical Education and some speculate whether or not it is a valuable tool for PE teachers. The Physical Education National Standards are aligned well with the model. For example, the second standard states, “Demonstrates an understanding of movement concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics as they apply to the learning performance of physical activities” (Couturier, 2014).

This reflects everything the Tactical Games approach is trying to deliver to students. The model uses every aspect of this standard in delivering instruction to students. Research on the instructional model is limited and there has been mixed findings on the subject. Repetitive drills or activities are what Physical Educators predominantly go over and cognitive instruction sometimes calls for too much sedentary time when in PE which both go directly against the model. This makes it difficult to speculate if it is a valuable tool in the Physical Education classroom.

However, some studies found that students that participated in a Tactical Games approach had better performances in court position, decision making, procedural knowledge and game decision making (Metzler, 2011). Studies have shown various successful improvements due to the Tactical Games approach. “Games Performance Assessment Instrument scores confirmed that participants improved at least one area of game performance (e. g. , skill execution – passing) between Day 3 (week 1) and Day 7 (week 2) of the eight day TGM Ultimate unit” (Carpenter, 2010).

The underlying idea to the Tactical Games approach is to identify the gaps in the students understanding of the game and their skills. It is a tool that can be used by Physical Education teachers to analyze students’ tactical knowledge and can determine what needs to be practiced and what does not. The Tactical Game approach involves assumptions about teaching and learning. It also focuses on game forms, not skill drills. Lastly, the approach is new to Physical Education, but it reflects the national standards and has research to support it. Overall the Tactical Game approach can be a very effective method in the Physical Education classroom.

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