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Game Sense Approach

The Playing for Life activity cards adopt a gamesense approach to teaching about games and sports. Game sense is an approach to modified sport that:

  • engages children in minor and modified game strategies and concepts where there are opportunities to develop both skills and an understanding of the tactics of the game.
  • encourages simple modifications (easier or harder) to accommodate varying ability levels and therefore maximises inclusion and challenge.
  • modifies game rules, the playing area or the equipment for the purpose of highlighting aspects of the game such as attackers sending a ball beyond the reach of opponents or ‘forcing’ a striker to hit a ball with a bat into a defined region.
  • promotes the development of ‘thinking players’.


  • Fun
  • Playing
  • Thinking
  • Communicating
  • Inclusion
  • Challenge
  • Player-centred


Game sense uses a player-centred approach to teaching. Here you will find some tips on how to use player-centred approach during your activities.

Session plans

If the session is well constructed you won’t hear ‘When can we play the game?’ That’s because players will have a chance to get into the game related activities early and often. Playing for Life emphasises:

  • games before drills & skills
  • high-activity levels that are disguised within fun and challenging activities
  • the CHANGE IT approach to modifying the activity for inclusion, challenge and skill development.


  • Use player role models, individuals and smaller groups to highlight either tactical aspects or technique.
  • ‘Let the kids play’ before intervening with ‘coaching tips’.
  • Once an activity is in play, take individuals or small groups who may need some specific guidance
  • (discrete coaching) to one side.
  • Observe, observe, observe… avoid over-coaching.


  • Use questions often – the Playing for Life cards include many ‘Ask the player’ prompts.
  • Remember questions/challenges can substitute for ‘telling’.
  • Questions can also prompt players to come up with modifications to ‘include all’.


  • Keep to small doses and be specific. ‘Keep your arm straight’ is better than a negative statement.
  • ‘That was good because’… is better than a ‘feel good’ statement like ‘great shot’.
  • ‘Sandwich’ a correction in between some positive feedback.

Session management

Effective class management has a big impact on starting activities, forming groups, activity levels, safety, setting new tasks, including all and your ability to maintain an engaging session.

  • Session plans guide the flow of your session.
  • Continually review, modify and experiment.
  • Rehearse in your mind things like:

–      starting an activity

–      transitions

–      forming players into groups

–      Finish up.