Exploring Common Games

adminGamesLeave a Comment

Exploring Common Games with a GPL Lens

Did we mention we love Games? 🙂 Any Task or challenge that affords PLAY which we know Nurtures Self, Social and Skill Capabilities, is gold for development.

But is one Game better than another? We explored this in HOW TO: Design the GAME and considered the importance of the following:

  1. What the players want v What you feel you they need
  2. Give choice and ensure autonomy
  3. Learn the Game by Playing the Game
  4. Variability

Those 4 areas would be a wonderful start to introducing The GPL Way to Nurture Passion and Potential, particularly with beginners and children.

As we move on in the Learning Journey and desire to further support our Learner’s Competencies towards Mastery, let’s look at the importance of REPRESENTATIVE TASK DESIGN to improve Skill Transfer from practice to a performance context (e.g Formal Competition).

With the Aims of Nurturing Passion and Potential at GAME PLAY LEARN, we look to serve the basic psychological needs of Autonomy, Relatedness and Competencies (Self Determination Theory, Deci & Ryan, 2000).

Developing Competencies through Representative Task Design

“The information present in a performance environment needs to be represented in a practice environment designed to simulate constraints in specific individual and team sports…This idea proposes that specificity of transfer is predicated on the representativeness of the information present in a practice environment. ”

“In practical terms what this means is that learners need to develop the capacity to search for and discover functional performance solutions, rather than merely repeat a ‘coach-determined’ movement pattern.

Excerpt From: Jia Yi Chow. “Nonlinear Pedagogy in Skill Acquisition: An Introduction.” Apple Books

What this means, besides taking confidence that we are at least not Drill Sergeants, is that if we start with THE Game, we can’t go wrong in developing skill transfer from its representative nature. But if we can explore this further then there are exciting possibilities to accelerate learning.

Think of the main Tasks of your Sport. With Invasion Games, for example, the main tasks would commonly be defined as:

  1. SCORE a goal/point
  2. STOP a goal/point
  3. KEEP possession
  4. GET back possession

Therefore if we were to uphold the Representative nature, we would do well to keep all the Tasks in the Game.

This can then help us question the value of Games that are ‘missing’ one or all of the tasks.

Again, think of your own Sport as we look at some examples for Invasion Sports.

Examples of Practices and Games with ‘Missing’ Tasks

Passing drills from cone to cone, player to player: Other than ‘repeating a coach-determined movement pattern’ these tasks may have the aim of trying to learn to KEEP Possession but without opponents who are trying to GET back Possession or STOP a goal/point, the necessary representative information is missing, therefore how can the task of KEEPING Possession be developed to its fullest?

Possession/Co-operative Games: KEEPING Possession amongst teammates or even with Opposition (Net Games) without the Task of SCORING a Goal/Point, can again, miss out on the Representative nature of a Game where the ‘Tension’ of those Tasks are an important principle of the Game to negotiate.

Also in common Possession Games such as ‘Rhondos’ (An advantage created by outnumbering the opposition to help KEEPING Possession e.g 4v2, 6v3) often the Task of GETTING Back Possession is also missing when the opposition wins the ball.

Reflection Time

How valuable do you think those Common Practices are? Can you think of other Common Practices and Games that are ‘missing’ tasks and therefore the Game’s representative nature?

A 6 minute Summary of Representative Design and Tension of Tasks


Reflect on your Context:

  1. List the Games your Players currently enjoy that are Representative of the main Tasks in your Sport.
  2. Think of a Favourite Game of your Learners that is not Representative of your Sport’s Tasks? Is there a way you can vary it to add value in its Representative Design?

Think of Examples of Common Practices/Games in your Sport:

  1. Are they ‘missing’ any tasks?
  2. How can you change the Game to keep the Tension of Tasks?
  3. Design a Representative GAME (with your Learners if possible!)

Try them out and Share your Experience!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.