The Games Approach and High School Football

Submitted by Luke Nielsen

Luke Nielsen is an educator and strength and conditioning coach at Saint Ansgar High School in Saint Ansgar, Iowa.  He received his Master of Sports Science degree from the United States Sports Academy, and is currently pursuing a terminal degree through the Academy.

ABSTRACT

Purpose: This article was adapted from an unpublished essay previously submitted by the author as a course requirement for SAB 571: Sports Coaching Methodology at the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama.  This article offers an examination of research related to the games approach, which for the purposes of this investigation will be identified as the implementation of coaching tactics that utilize open-skill training techniques that closely mimic the physiological and psychological demands of competition.  Specifically, this essay explores the efficacy of a games approach to coaching high school American football and offers suggestions for the effective implementation of games approach techniques.  Methods: An extensive collection of existing research was examined for this literature review.  Research related to general tactical sports training, the possible influence of a games approach to sports training, and specific games approach techniques were examined.  Special consideration was given to research that was deemed highly applicable to high school football.  Results: Athletic performance is comprised of physical, technical, and tactical components, yet performances in closed-skill technical assessments do not necessarily translate to performance in open-skill competition.  However, games approach techniques can be implemented to effectively address all three components of athletic performance, and guided discovery learning techniques were found to be most effective in eliciting positive gains in actual competition performance.  Conclusions: High school coaches can effectively overcome many of the constraints facing secondary athletics programs and address the physical, technical, and tactical components of football by incorporating guided discovery learning into games approach training techniques.  Applications in Sports: High school football coaches are charged with the task of training young and inexperienced athletes—many of whom must fulfill a variety of other academic and extracurricular commitments—to effectively perform the many highly complex tasks that comprise American football.  This can be a difficult task.  This essay summarizes existing research findings regarding games approach athlete training techniques and provides coaches with suggestions for the effective and efficient implementation of such tactics.

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Normative profiles for serve speed for the training of the serve and reception in volleyball

Submitted by José Manuel Palao¹ and David Valadés²

1 Department of Physical Activity and Sport, Faculty of Sport Science at the University of Murcia, Spain.
2 Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Alcalá University, Alcalá de Henares. Madrid, Spain.

ABSTRACT

The objectives of the present study were: a) to assess normative profiles for the serve speed of peak-performance volleyball players in order to guide practice sessions for men´s teams (study 1) and women´s teams (study 2), and b) to establish the possibilities and the ranges of speed that a volleyball throwing machine can offer for working on reception in volleyball (study 3). In studies 1 and 2, the serve techniques and the maximal speeds were analysed in men´s (2097 serves) and women´s (2056 serves) volleyball. Study 3 consisted of analysing the release speeds of the ball that are generated from the various speed settings that can be programmed with the throwing machine. The results provide normative profiles for the ranges of speed of the different types of serve for both men´s and women´s volleyball. Additionally, they indicate the speeds that a volleyball throwing machine provides for reception training in volleyball.

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A Case Study Exploring Self-Team Evaluations and Feedback through Team-Designed Behavior Scales

Submitted by Robert Brill, Fernando Cifuentes and Logan Stano

Robert Brill is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Moravian College where he teaches courses and conducts research in Industrial / Organizational Psychology and Sports Psychology. He also consults with a number of organizations in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. Fernando Cifuentes and Logan Stano are Psychology majors and student researchers at Moravian College.

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: This case study set out to explore a feedback intervention that incorporated team-generated scales created from best practice research principles from industrial / organizational psychology.  METHOD: A college men’s soccer team developed behaviorally-based anchored rating scales on 14 performance dimensions, and then provided self and team member ratings on each dimension.  Each player received feedback on team average ratings about them relative to self-ratings.  Player perceptions were assessed prior to scale development, prior to ratings, and after feedback was received.  RESULTS:  Findings indicate that the experience was challenging but positive; perceptions of potential and current ability changed significantly in opposite directions between ratings and feedback suggesting that players experienced a simultaneous improvement in motivation and reality check on their perceived potential.  CONCLUSION: The data suggests that this feedback intervention may be a worthwhile endeavor to help motivate individuals and strengthen team cohesion.  APPLICATIONS IN SPORT:  In order to supplement a coach’s feedback and unify teammate performance expectations, the creation and administration of behavior-based self and peer ratings may be a needed and viable option.  If so, this case study offers a good model to attempt such an intervention.

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Sartrean Ethics and Sport for Development and Peace Programs

Submitted by Zachary Smith

Zachary Smith is a graduate student in sport studies at the United States Sports Academy and currently resides in Grand Rapids, MI.

ABSTRACT

The United Nations recently declared the first ever International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in recognition of “the power of sport to erase cultural barriers and mobilize people around the world” (9). Unfortunately, while many organizations recognize the ethical neutrality of sport in name, this is often functionally forgotten as sport is co-opted for use by other programs. This paper aims to briefly outline this functional issue by observing the cognitive dissonance within the UN’s statement and its characterization of the Olympics and World Cup events as archetypes of sport for development and peace programs. It will briefly examine this dissonance through the lens of a Sartrean ethic of ambiguity and recast the Olympic and World Cup events as archetypes of cultural hegemony. Finally, it will be suggested that until this dissonance is reconciled, SDP’s will suffer from “inauthenticity,” severely hampering the program’s ability to achieve stated development and peace goals, jeopardizing the “survival of sport as a noble human enterprise” (Morgan, 1976 p. 93) and turning it into a “mere vehicle for the exploitation of man’s own self interests” (Morgan, 1976 p. 91).

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