*Taken from Mitchell, S. (2005). Different paths up the same mountain: Global perspectives on tgfu (Keynote presentation). Hong Kong: III Teacher Games for Understanding (TGFU) International Conference.
by Richard Light
The games approach to coaching The past seven or eight years has seen marked growth of interest in Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) and its growing range of variants such as Game Sense as a means of reconceptualizing physical education teaching (Griffin, Brooker & Patton, 2005; Light & Fawns, 2003). The growth in interest in games approaches is clearly evident in the growing number of books published in this area (for example see, Griffin & Butler 2005; Butler, Griffin, Lombardo & Nastassi, 2003; Launder, 2001), journal publications and monographs on this approach. It is also evident in the establishment, from 2001, of a biennial international conference on Teaching Games for Understanding that is attracting increasing attendance from researchers, teachers and coaches. The first conference was held in New Hampshire USA and attracted 150 delegates from 18 countries. The second held in Melbourne attracted 250 delegates from 19 countries and had a big impact on teaching, coaching and research in New Zealand where the games approach has developed rapidly. Indeed, as convenor of the conference, attendance from researchers, coaches and teachers from New Zealand and the ways in which they have developed these ideas since then is a very pleasing outcome. The third conference was held in Hong Kong and the next will be held in Vancouver Canada in 2008. In the interim the inaugural Asia Pacific Conference on Teaching Sport and Physical Education will be held at the University of Sydney December 2006. Clearly interest in the development of games approaches is growing. Research in sport coaching has, however, been slower to embrace this approach. Five years ago Brooker and Abbott (2001) suggested that despite signs of interest, the games approach to coaching remains an area that receives comparatively little attention in the sport coaching literature. Although there has been some increase in publications on the games approach to coaching (for example see, Harrison, 2002; Kidman, 2001, Launder, 2000; Martens, 2004; Wein, 2001) research is still under developed in this area. The games approach has, however, made an impact upon coaching at a practical level in some countries. For example, in England the games approach informs much of soccer/football at all levels. It also drives the Rugby Football Union’s junior rugby coaching program. Within New Zealand rugby Wayne Smith has long been an advocate of game based coaching. Developed in Australia in the mid nineties specifically for coaching, Game Sense has also made a significant impact upon coaching at a variety of levels in Australia and New Zealand since the publication of Game Sense coaching resources by the Australian Sports Commission. There is still, however, a lack of research and writing published on the use of the games approach in coaching.
References to draw on
1) Light, R. (Ed) (2005). An international perspective on Teaching Games for Understanding, special issue of Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 10(3).
2) Light, R. (2006). The games approach to coaching. Journal of Physical Education New Zealand, 39(1).
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