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James Mandigo, Ken Lodewyk and Jay Tredway

foster the development of physical literacy through physical activity is therefore particularly important. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of a multisport physical activity intramural program that adopted a Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) approach on the development of

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Lijuan Wang

This study describes the beliefs of Physical Education (PE) teachers regarding Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Twenty PE teachers participated in this study. Data collection consisted of a survey on demographic data and semistructured interviews. The research results indicate that the teachers were positively or neutrally disposed to TGfU. They were motivated to use TGfU either intrinsically by their responsibilities and satisfaction, or extrinsically by pressure to comply with how principals, professional colleagues, and students felt about the TGfU model. Furthermore, most of the participants expressed having low confidence in TGfU teaching due to the limitation of internal factors, such as inadequate game knowledge, limited TGfU conceptual understanding, and inability to modify games, and external factors, including contextual constraints, safety concern, and conflict with the current learning assessment system. The discussion of findings in relation to TPB furthers the understanding of TGfU implementation by the teachers (only nine out of 20 PE teachers adopted the TGfU model in classes). The findings also provide empirical evidence to support moral norm and affective beliefs as additional TPB predictors, as well as the influence of control beliefs on behavior and normative beliefs.

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Mario Díaz-Cueto, Juan Luis Hernández-Álvarez and Francisco Javier Castejón

The purpose of this study was to understand the perceptions of in-service Physical Education (PE) teachers when using Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) in teaching sports. Data were gathered from interviews, work group meetings, and participants’ diaries. The results show the difficulties PE teachers had in the planning and implementation of TGfU. In the initial stage of implementing TGfU, teachers reported feelings of insecurity to the point of doubting their own pedagogical expertise and knowledge. They also reported anxiety and exhaustion. Once they surpassed the first stage, teachers’ feelings of satisfaction increased in parallel with students’ improvement, in particular because students with the lowest skill level had made significant progress in decision-making, overall compression of the game, and tactical problem solving. This study identified some major challenges facing PE teachers wishing to implement TGfU, and thus allows for the development of support strategies to promote teachers’ pedagogical self-assessment.

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María Trinidad Morales-Belando and José L. Arias-Estero


To determine whether a TGfU intervention improved participants’ decision-making, skill execution, game performance, game involvement, game knowledge, enjoyment, perceived competence, and intention to continue practicing sailing.


Participants were 19 sailors (age: M = 8.44, SD = 1.24 years old). This study followed a mixed-methods approach. The children participated in 12 TGfU intervention sessions and 2 prepost assessment sessions. We designed and validated the sessions, and the coach was trained in TGfU. Data were collected using GPAI during an Olympic triangle race, an ad hoc knowledge questionnaire, two psychological scales, and interviews of children and coach.


Statistically significant improvements were found in decision-making, Δ = 3.97, skill execution, Δ = .43, game performance, Δ = 5.34, and game involvement, Δ = 7.89.


The results support TGfU may serve to sail training in youth sport. Sailing coaches now have a teaching-learning framework that determines “what” and “how” the tasks must be, the feedback, and participant and coach behavior.

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David Kirk and Ann MacPhail

Bunker and Thorpe first proposed Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) in 1982 as an alternative to traditional, technique-led approaches to games teaching and learning. Despite interest from teachers and researchers, there has been no attempt to review the TGfU model. This is an oversight, given the important advances in educational learning theory and ecological approaches to motor control since the early 1980s. The purpose of this paper is to present a new version of the TGfU model that draws on a situated learning perspective. The paper describes the TGfU approach, overviews recent research on TGfU, and outlines a situated learning perspective. This perspective is then applied to rethinking the TGfU model. The intended outcome of the paper is the provision a more robust and sophisticated version of the TGfU model that can inform future directions in the practice of and research on TGfU.

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Nicholas L. Holt, William B. Strean and Enrique García Bengoechea

There has been considerable debate regarding the delivery and outcomes of games experiences in physical education. In particular, the relative benefits of the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) approach have been compared to traditional skill-drill approaches to games teaching. However, many discussions of TGfU have focused on cognitive and psychomotor learning outcomes, neglecting the affective domain. The purpose of this article is to review TGfU research, to present an extended TGfU model, and to suggest new avenues for future research and practice. Future research directions include consideration of learning with respect to cognitive, behavioral, and affective characteristics.

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Bernat Llobet-Martí, Victor López-Ros, Jose Barrera-Gómez and Joel Comino-Ruiz

The application of Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) and Game Centered Approaches (GCA) in team sports initiation generated the need for assessing game performance. In this paper we introduce the Rugby Attack Assessment Instrument (RAAI), a tool to assess the actions of players in attack and their incidence in the generated game situations in rugby. The RAAI focuses the attention on the ball carrier during a 5 vs. 5 situation. The actions of players in possession of the ball are described and codified. A weight is allocated to each simple and combined action in relation to its tactical value. Thus, the codified actions provide a weighted Index of Performance, the team score of the RAAI. Validity and reliability were tested in two different studies. Results suggest that the RAAI is valid and reliable to assess ball carrier’s actions and their influence in attacking game situations of novice rugby union players.

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Peter Baggetta

The Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) model was first developed by Bunker and Thorpe in 1982 as a model for coaches to help players become more skillful players. Since then other versions of the model have been developed such as the tactical decision-learning model (Grehaigne, Godbout, & Bouthier, 2001) in France and the game–sense approach (Australian Sports Commission, 1991) in Australia and New Zealand. The key aspect of all the models is the design of well-structured conditioned and modified games that require players to make decisions to develop their game understanding and tactical awareness. However, both novice and experienced coaches often struggle with connecting theory to practice especially in the area of creating and developing contextualized games that actually transfer learning from training to performance in games. In order to effectively create and use games that transfer learning, coaches can use a Principles-Based approach to develop games. The Principles-Based approach removes the dichotomy of traditional drills versus games and instead combines the drills approach with a games-context approach that links principles to skills that allow for increased individual and team expertise development. This presentation will first describe a model for developing and connecting principles, policies, tactics and skills for team play. Following this the presentation will then describe how to use the principles to create contextualized games that connect practices with performance and progresses novice players toward becoming more competent performers.

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Ann MacPhail, David Kirk and Linda Griffin

In this article, we were interested in how young people learn to play games within a tactical games model (TGM) approach (Griffin, Oslin, & Mitchell, 1997) in terms of the physical-perceptual and social-interactive dimensions of situativity. Kirk and MacPhail’s (2002) development of the Bunker-Thorpe TGfU model was used to conceptualize the nature of situated learning in the context of learning to play an invasion game as part of a school physical education program. An entire class of 29 Year-5 students (ages 9–10 years) participated in a 12-lesson unit on an invasion game, involving two 40-min lessons per week for 6 weeks. Written narrative descriptions of videotaped game play formed the primary data source for the principal analysis of learning progression. We examined the physical-perceptual and social-interactive dimensions of situated learning (Kirk, Brooker, & Braiuka, 2000) to explore the complex ways that students learn skills. Findings demonstrate that for players who are in the early stages of learning a ball game, two elementary, or fundamental, skills of invasion game play—throwing and catching a ball—are complex, relational, and interdependent.

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Weidong Li, Xiuye Xie and Huanyu Li

, & Griffin, 2013 ), Game Sense ( Pill, 2011 ; Pill & Hewitt, 2017 ), Designer Games ( Charlesworth, 1993 ), Tactical Decision Learning Model ( Grehaigne, Godbout, & Bouthier, 2001 ), Developing Thinking Players ( Gordon, 2015 ), Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU; Bunker & Thorpe, 1982 ), Play Practice