Game Based Approach

In the past, many coaching sessions were based around structured lessons and specific coaching plans which the coach will have constructed beforehand. Coaches are now steering away from this and implementing the Game Based Approach (GBA) method to their coaching sessions. From researching what the experts think about this style of coaching, they quote that the Game based approach style ‘maintains the fun of playing by either scaling the game down for success or placing players into commonly encountered situations’ (Elderton, 2002). What this is clearly stating is that by using this kind of approach when in training, the player may get 2 types of outcomes. The first outcome which they could get is having fun by stripping down the game into small sided games with less players on each team. This means that not only will the fun aspect still be visible, they will also gain success from either scoring goals for their team or individual success by taking on a player or performing a skill which beats their opponent. The second outcome which the player could benefit from using this style of coaching is they will be placed into a game like situation. Game based approaches allow the participants to train like they are in a game scenario. This is highly beneficial as the player will be able to feel in training what the game situation is actually like, and the coach can then work with this player or numerous players to pull out any weaknesses or clarify any problems which they might have about the game. Once this has been worked on in training, the players can then take what they have learnt about the game like situation into the game which over time will be highly beneficial as it is thought that the mistakes and weaknesses have been addressed in training.

The game based approach, rather than the traditional approach of coaching is more focused on youth sport. The Massachusetts Youth Soccer Manual clearly supports this statement as it quotes ‘ Games Approach would seem more appropriate for youth who engage in sports because they want to have fun, maximize their activity time, and be with their friends’ (Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association, 2004). This piece of evidence can be hugely supported by many coaches in many different sports. Sports coaches mentality in this day and age is ‘let the kids play’ and instead of the teams performance being about the coaches/managers, there is more emphasis on the participants and allowing them to play and make mistakes without being shouted at from the sidelines, regardless of which sport it is. This evidence is clearly supporting this view in the sense that using a game based approach to the training session will allow the participants to have fun, be with their friends and most of all increase the time in which they are playing and learning. Not only does the game based approach focus on this, it also allows the session to be fun to enable the kids to carry on playing sport, which can be supported by the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association which state ‘the major objective of invoking the Games Approach is to maximize the fun kids have in a sport so that they wish to continue playing it’ (Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association, 2004). Rather than shouting at the participants when they have made a mistake or made a bad pass, letting them learn from their mistakes whilst having fun through the game based approach style of coaching will enable the participation of many grass roots sports teams to grow and grow, as not only are the players having fun but they are also learning as a result of the coaching style.

However, this style of coaching does have its constraints. The first argument against this style of coaching is that if the participant doesn’t know how to perform a skill or a phase of play, then how are they going to be able to take it into a game situation if they haven’t had time to practice in training? Another factor in sport is the safety of each individual and how the game must be played in the right way. Using a game style approach to coaching doesn’t allow the coach to delve into the safety aspect and coach the players the necessary skills and techniques to be safe in a game, this needs to be done by using drills. This can be supported by Michael Crank as he states ‘The skills and techniques required in and around the collision zone need to be acquired safely. That includes the tackle and subsequent contest for the ball. Players need to develop a confidence in contact in order to prevent injuries’ (Crank, 2010). What this evidence is suggesting is that players need to be taught in the correct possible way about injuries and collision prevention. They need to grow in confidence these techniques before they can apply this to a game situation. This evidence is supporting the view that a game based approach style of coaching doesn’t allow the coach to teach the participants the safety of the game and the correct way to tackle and provide a safe collision in the sport.

To conclude, it is a stronger argument to suggest that the game based approach is the better option rather than the traditional style coaching method. The game based approach allows the coach to work on things which are relevant to the game and will allow the players to easily understand and learn quicker than if they were in drills or lines. Although there are some weaknesses to this approach, they can be worked on through different methods via this approach to coaching.



Reference List:

Elderton, W. (2002) MOVING TO A GAME-BASED APPROACH. Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2015).

Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association (2004) Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2015).

Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association (2004) Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2015).

Crank, M. (2010) Its Not All About Game Sense. Available at: 20all/20about/20Game/20Sense/20-/20M/20Crank/202011.pdf (Accessed: 23 November 2015).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s