Taking theory into coaching practice: teaching tennis using a game sense approach

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    This conceptual exploration explains the application of constraints-led skill learning theory to performance analysis in tennis, and the application of constraints-led skill learning theory as the Game Sense pedagogical approach to understand the progressive development of the inter-related dimensions of tactical decision-making and technical models of movement in skilled performance. Discussion of theoretically informed tennis coaching is under represented in sport coaching literature where explanations of invasion games dominate the application of theory into practice writing. The discussion of conceptual ideas leading to theoretically informed tennis teaching on the court in this paper proposes that understanding the constraints hypothesis for skill learning theory enables sport teachers and researchers to analyse patterns of play and identify the information-movement couplings at various stages of game development. The informed implication for tennis coaching pedagogy is to coach players for functional and adaptive movement models that address the specifics of the moments of the game. This paper builds on recent theoretical debate in skill acquisition and sport teaching connecting the Game Sense coaching approach as a game and athlete centred pedagogical model explained by the constraints-led skill acquisition perspective. The concept of tactical periodisation of tennis coaching will be introduced.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)13-26
    Number of pages14
    JournalInternational Journal of Physical Education: A Review Publication
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • game sense approach
    • tennis
    • teaching


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