(English) For example, rather than having two players simply pass the ball back and forth, a coach may play a game where teams race to make a certain number of passes. The game could involve passing standing still or on the move, depending upon the skills of the players.

In the “games-based” approach the coaches also ask questions to stimulate the players to think about the game and to discover how and when to use the skills when playing that game and, more importantly, when playing the sport itself. For example, the coach may ask:

  • What do you have to do with your body to catch the ball? (Possible answers: hands up, keep watching the ball, move toward the ball);
  • How do you make sure that a pass gets to the person you are throwing to and doesn’t hit the ground? (Possible answers: pass to someone close, step forward when passing, pass with two hands).

The technical detail on how to perform skills is still important in a games-based approach, the difference is in how and when that information is presented to the players. In a traditional approach, but the coach describes the skill, giving instruction on aspects of the skill, and then has the players perform the skill in a “closed” setting. Under a games-based approach, the coach sets up an activity, explains the outcome (i.e. first team
to make 10 passes wins) and then the players start trying.

Some athletes will need more detailed instruction than others, and this can be done during and after the activity. The coach can then vary the activity (to either make it easier or harder), with a focus on the kids being active for as much time as possible. An example of this approach is:

Passing Game Activity

  • Two teams with the same number of players have one ball each.
  • Players must stand within a set area of the court (e.g. within the 3 point line, half court etc) – the more players there are, the bigger the space needs to be.
  • Players cannot pass to the person that passed to them.
  • Teams count each pass to see which team gets to the set target first (e.g. 20 passes).
  • If the ball touches the ground, the team lose one point.


After 3 or 4 minutes, the coach stops the activity to ask:

  • What do you have to do with your body to catch the ball? (Possible answers: hands up, keep watching the ball, let the ball come into your hands);
  • How do you make sure that your pass reaches the person and does not touch the ground? (Possible answers: not try to pass too far, step forward when passing, pass from chest not above the head).

The coach then varies the rules of the activity as follows:

  • Players must now move and catch the ball
  • Players must stop when they catch the ball

After a further period of playing, the coach asks other questions (and during this questioning is when the coach may provide some technical instruction):

  • What do you need to look at to make a successful pass? (Possible answer: position of all players on court)
  • Where do you throw the ball? (Possible answer: in front of the teammate)
  • What do you need to get the ball? (Possible answers: move to the ball, hands up, call for the ball)

They could then make a further variation to the activity:

  • Only one ball and the team without the ball attempts to intercept passes (they cannot take the ball from a player’s hands).
  • If the ball hits the floor, or is intercepted, the other team immediately make passes to attempt to reach the target.

At the conclusion of the activity the coach asks further questions:

  • What can you do to avoid someone that is putting pressure on the person with the ball? (Possible answers: pivot, pass fake, move toward the teammate or even behind them)
  • What is the best position to try and intercept the pass? (Possible answers: distance from opponent, staying between them and the ball)

Another advantage of the games-based approach is that skills are not learnt in isolation or a “closed” context but are usually learnt under game-like conditions.