Getting to Grips with Game
Paul Reid
5th International TGfU Conference,
Loughborough University, 2012
My journey….
Teacher and Academic
RFU CE and Trainer
My study
1. How has the concept of Game Sense evolved in
RFU coach education since 2002?
2. How has PR’s knowledge and
practice evolved as a coach
3. How does the concept of Game Sense get
constructed in formal and informal coach education
RQ 2: Methods
1. Field journal
2. On course observations
3. Informal one-to-one
RQ 2: Three stories/themes
1. Conflict of interests between practitioners (coaches and players) and NGB
coaching staff with regards to buy-in of GS approach; Differences existed in
the perceived expectations between coaches’ practice and players’
involvement and accountability of their own learning.
2. The challenge of remaining impartial in my various roles; Often there were
conflicts within the author’s own practice and that which was expected or
demanded within certain contexts, mainly linked to lack of understanding or
buy-in to the GS model from others (players, peers, coaches).
3. Conflicting terminology and practice demonstrated by RFU staff; Common
at all levels within the RFU coach education workforce (managers, coach
educators and trainers) due to lack of initial clarity of GS/TGfU models and
vision of what they wanted their version to be.
Conflict of interest…Needs of the
coach and players
The challenge of remaining
impartial in my various
Conflicting terminology and
practice demonstrated by RFU
Reflections from Level 2 courses
“I think we are winning in terms of process but not winning
in terms of coaches using games” (Level 2 tutor)
“It’s just good coaching…I get them (players) to think and
work it out for themselves…I don’t know if that’s Game
Sense but I always coach this way” (Level 2 tutor)
“Game Sense…asking questions, getting players involved,
challenging players, making practice relevant to the
outcome, problem solving.” (Level 2 tutor)
Game Sense…get them going quickly, short and sweet
explanations.” (Level 2 coach)
“There is a lack of consistency from the tutor and between
the tutors…I don’t know if I’m coming or going so I’m going
to stick with what I know!” (Level 2 coach)
“Starts at a particular point then develops into a full blown
game scenario.” (Level 2 coach)
“Everyone being involved” (Level 2 coach)
“The game is conditioned so you get what you want out of
the players .” (Level 2 coach)
“Make it so the players are thinking for themselves…taking
ownership.” (Level 2 coach)
“The game has several technical components
some of which require years of deliberate
practice to master…This and previous coach
education regimes has led to several generations
of coaches who learnt the game through
repetitive/closed practice methods. Getting these
coaches to change their coaching style and
methods is a laborious and difficult process.”
(RFU Coaching Manager, 2012)
“It may clash with the many academic descriptors
of Game Sense, this though, is unimportant.
Once you have that statement, you have the
challenges of communicating that message and
identifying/up-skilling coach educators with the
skills needed to deliver this Game Sense
message.” RFU Coaching Manager 2012
This pedagogical model faces challenges from more
than just deliverers and learners (Roberts, 2011).
Light, (2010), neglect of pedagogical consideration in
formal coach education and development programmes.
Chesterfield et al. (2010), coaches’ experiences of CE
programmes, their structure, content and assessment.
Purdy et al. (2008) multifaceted, micro-level contested
negotiations inherent in CE programmes.
What does this mean for my future development?