Sports activities are surrounded by a multitude of elements that deserve attention, such as the diverse atmosphere, the scenarios and the most different situations generated by the rules of the modality, the delimitation of the playing area and, not least, the established strategies and tactics. The latter, however, are commonly ineffective when there is no teaching-learning stage.
This is an essential internship that seeks to form a group of athletes with theoretical foundations (as a rule, from practice) that enable the player to deliver his best performance. The development of this working process, in other words, game capability involves what we call tactical awareness. Do you want to understand this concept in more detail and discover the importance of its application? Read on!
What is tactical awareness?
Now, we are not bringing anything new when we assert with propriety that the athlete, in addition to experiencing the situation on the field, must understand the guidelines of the game and all its dynamics — regardless of the modality — even so that he is able to analyze individually (and collective form) their own performance. This is where tactical awareness comes in.
We can conceptualize this term as the ability to reach an understanding of the obstacles that arise during a game, not only identifying them, but having the expertise to outline strategies and techniques to solve them. That is, the player must have the ability to make decisions and define the next steps considering the circumstances faced on the field, for example, the opponent’s position, movement alternatives, team distribution in the area, etc.
What is your importance?
The importance of developing tactical awareness is due to its close relationship with playing ability, as already introduced at the beginning of this content, generating in athletes the necessary cognition to apply pedagogical teachings in field practice.
Thus, it is not a question of working technical conceptions only in a mechanical and theoretical way, but of persuading the player (and, even more, of making him able) to use them in the face of experienced situations, even anticipating seemingly unpredictable scenarios.
How to develop tactical awareness and the ability to quickly understand the game in athletes?
Present different problem situations
It has already been possible to understand that tactical awareness, in a way, comes from a “theory construction” that seeks to encompass the logic of the game. However, it is essential to go beyond the mere presentation of the rules that underlie performance on the field, encouraging athletes to anticipate movements and tactics that preserve (or resume) the area’s dominance by the team.
For this, it is worth betting on the presentation of different problem situations, for example, making use of simulations of possible scenarios that players may encounter in practice. Work contexts with different opposing approaches, different ball positions, sequential actions by opposition players, etc. In this way, the team will be better prepared to deal with impasses and unexpected tactical schemes.
Teach game dynamics
When we talk about sports practices, there are several modalities covered and, therefore, naturally, there are also different game strategies and countless tactical objectives, depending on the sport we are dealing with. Therefore, make sure to ensure that athletes master the dynamics to be experienced on the field, with the peculiarities relevant to the category.
These teachings should ensure that athletes understand the purposes on the field, the expected opponent defense , the types of play, the roles played in each position of the game area, the movements that score (positively or negatively), the counterattack actions etc. At that moment, it is better to “sin for excess” than to leave some important information out.
Encourage quick in-game decision making
At another point in the text we talked about the ability to anticipate scenarios in the field and this topic is directly related to this ability. This is because the athlete will only be able to make quick decisions if he can predict the opponent’s movements before they are actually executed — here, the analysis of problem situations is also of great value.
To do so, encourage players to imagine the possible counterattack strategies for each action taken by the team, encouraging them to project situations quickly, ponder attitudes quickly and act with speed.
Boost your students’ confidence
In this topic, we can work on trust in two aspects. The first concerns the team’s trust in its coach, which is an essential factor not only to guarantee the communication and effectiveness of all the previous tips, but also to ensure that the athletes will feel comfortable proposing improvements, exposing vulnerabilities, etc. ., making true the premise of “ teamwork ” usually preached.
A second concept of trust, also extremely important, is related to the players’ self-esteem. At this point, it is essential to work on what we call, in fact, “self-confidence”, a powerful characteristic that helps the athlete to evolve more and more on the field, working on his emotional intelligence and his ability to recover after facing challenges. challenges — the so-called “resilience”.
After all, an athlete who had his ability to believe in himself and his skills shaken will hardly be able to deliver a good performance on the field, which impairs not only individual performance, but the result of the team as a whole.
That’s exactly why, in addition to the skills mentioned in the text, you should also encourage other qualities that are essential for teamwork and that make all the difference in the progress of the game, such as unconditional respect, maturity for management conflict resolution and cooperative action.