School of Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies Faculty Publications

Document Type

Book Chapter


This chapter examines specific game-based and technique approaches that constituted the foci for experimental research attempting to test hypotheses concerning cause-and-effect relationships. Games teaching approaches, e.g., Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) and technique instruction, were manipulated and measured on criteria that included skill assessments, declarative and procedural knowledge, and game performance components. Research also contrasted off-the-ball offensive and defensive player movements. This method of experimental inquiry necessitated a meticulous approach; it required investigators to restrict threats to the internal validity of the research while simultaneously trying to protect the ecological validity. This scenario represented a “Catch-22” for sport pedagogy scholars employing the tactical versus technical paradigm to investigate the efficacy of games teaching approaches. Findings from several studies suggested that game-based instruction (e.g., TGfU) resulted in improved decision-making, response selection and skill execution during game play, while others reflected increased game involvement and player enjoyment. However, the equivocal nature of the findings from many comparative studies may be attributed to the multifarious research designs that included varied curricular content and pedagogical approaches, interventions of differing durations and heterogeneous performance measures that were used to assess individual student learning outcomes. Although experimental studies have continued within the fields of sport pedagogy and coaching, research efforts attempting to draw generalizations from empirical scientific testing, employing the tactical versus technical paradigm, have been largely replaced with practice-referenced research in order to account for the “real-world” contextual nature of game-based teaching and learning.

Publication Date


Publication Title

Teaching Games and Sport for Understanding