A Sense of Games – Developing Thinking Players

The Game Sense teaching and coaching approach is a game-based and player-centred sport teaching pedagogy that champions the development of “thinking players.” One of the leading experts in this pedagogical approach is Shane Pill. Shane is one of Australia’s leading coach educator’s and developers, and thought leaders in physical education. Shane has been a mentor of mine as I develop my pedagogy around teaching purposeful games and it is always a pleasure to chat with him. I recently recorded a podcast with him that you can listen to below (or on your favourite podcast app).

Game Sense exists in three parts:

Decision Making – knowing what to do in the context of play.

Movement Knowledge – knowing how to do it.

Movement Capability – the ability to execute the response successfully.

A Game Sense approach to skill learning emphasizes tactical learning and movement skill learning in context (play) and therefore, game intelligence. This model has often times been regarded as synonymous with TGfU due to their similarities. However, the Game Sense model differs due to the emphasis placed on developing better decision making in players by asking questions instead of telling players what to do. This is done by planning a series of modified games and questions which logically progress in order for students to develop their tactical understanding and/or ability to select the appropriate skill.

The video below is taken from our Teaching Games with Purpose Online Course

Game Sense encourages a broad understanding of sport and play through the development of student thinking by using problem-solving and guided-discovery.

  • The focus is to place the participant in situations where decision-making and problem-solving are central to successful game performance.
  • Targeted questioning is used to stimulate thinking about the game.
  • Games are stopped at regular intervals and participants challenged to reflect on their participation in order to mature the play.

An essential element of the Game Sense approach is the use of modifications to emphasize learning through problem-solving. By modifying games, the main characteristics of the game are retained while particular aspects of the play can be highlighted, to encourage thinking. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Game Sense Approach, or other Game Based Pedagogies, why not take our Teaching Games with Purpose Online Course which will give you the strategies and techniques you need to make this a reality. This course is designed for physical education teachers, sports coaches and anyone who is interested in how to mix fun with learning through game play. You can get started by clicking here.

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