Development Approaches (DA)


Modification or adapting strategies, formations

Before and during a performance a coach/manager/player will make tactical decisions which will affect the overall outcome of the performance. This can be a tactical or personnel decision. An example of this would be to use the wide players in 4-5-1 and pressurise the opposition high up the pitch. If this was not working, the manager may change the formation to a 4-4-2, bringing on an additional forward and get more crosses into box to create more scoring opportunities. A manager may also change the games dynamics by bringing on a fitter, faster player who can run past defenders and pose a larger problem.

In Badminton a player might realise his/her opposition is poor at net shots. His new strategy would to be force his/her opponent into playing a number of shots at the net and capitalise on poor returns.

Adapting strategies can be developed in training by using conditioned games and setting up unique scenarios which may unfold during a game. It is common for teams to practice 10v11 in Football training in the event a player gets sent off during a game. It is important for a team or player to have several back up plans that can be adapted to meet a change in score, environment, sending off or injury.

Pace of Practices
How you pace practices as a teacher is dependent on how skilled your pupils are at applying a tactic, or performing a structure or strategy and how quickly they understand the movements involved in what you are asking them to do.
Example 1 – The Fast Break.
  1. Practice of individual skills in isolation. E.g:
  • Practice the lay-up shot in isolation standing under a basket
  • Practice the lay-up shot with a speed dribble towards the basket.
  • Practice rebounding the ball in the key with no opponents surrounding rebounder.
  • Practice rebounding with 2 opponents in the key.
  1. Walk through the full Fast Break with the ball performing all parts of it.
  2. Jog through the Full Fast Break with a ball performing all parts of it.
  3. Perform the full Fast Break with a ball at speed performing all parts of it.
Go back a stage as soon as any of the fundamental skills involved begin to break down.

Walk/run through rehearsals

When practicing set pieces in team activities, a run through or rehearsal of the play can be very useful to allow players to become familiar with their role and movements within the play. The best way is to gradually increase the pressure of the ‘run throughs’ by using a progression of unopposed practices, opposed (passive) practices and opposed (active) practices.
In Netball, your set piece may be the centre pass, below are some examples of centre pass strategies.
Tactics - Centre Passes

Passive/ Active Defenders

Passive defender
Definition: an opponent who applies little or no pressure and is not attempting to gain possession or win points.
- limited pressure means that you can concentrate on performing your identified technique/ tactic.
- allows you to perform in a conditioned game like situation.
- gets you used to performing with defenders in appropriate positions.
Active defender.
Definition: an opponent who is moving and positively looking to gain possession and or score points.
- allows you to practice skills in a realistic game-like situations
- encourages you to adapt and learn to cope with the demands of performing identified skills/ tactics under pressure.
As an approach passive/ active defenders can be linked to a variety of training approaches in skills and tactics (Physical). The principle of increasing the movement/ activity of a defender could be seen as spectrum from passive/static to active/ fully involved with a variety of levels of movement/ involvement in between.
|| Activity
Passive --------
Defender still, hands behind back
Hands behind back, lateral movement
Full movement using arms and hands
Defender stands with tackle ruck shield
D moves to ball ball carrier with shield
Full tackle, D able to challenge for ball
Three cones in a line
Static player with stick, no tackles
Fully active defender

'...I developed a 6/8 week training programme using passive and active defenders practices/ drills to improve the accuracy/ timing/ weight of my passing in football . I planned my sessions to ensure the of practice/drills increased in difficulty over the programme... I did not increase the intensity of the defenders movement until...I was achieving regular success...felt confident... received feedback from teacher...etc. this ensured I remained motivated/ challenged/ goal orientated... Initially I started with cones/ static classmate to represent a I moved onto practices/drills semi active defenders that could move/operate in restricted areas but not tackle....finally I increased the role of the defenders to fully active, creating a game related scenarios under pressure ...'

Conditioning drills

Can involve specific movements and can develop skills as well as fitness simultaneously, can involve demands of the activity, can also simulate the pressure of a competitive situation, can be fun and motivational.

Example: Rugby

To develop rucking/contact skills, a player may have to hit a rucking shield, run backwards 5m and lie face down, get up and hit the rucking shield, run backwards 5m and lie down, they repeat this for a predetermined time limit or number. This simulates making a contact, having to get up and move to the next phase, making another contact and repeating. The focus is on developing a players contact skills but also their muscular endurance.

Example: Dance

Perform 4 bars worth of movements, then go back to the start and perform it again, then add in a 5 bar worth of movements, repeat this 2 or 3 times. A dancer repeatedly performing phrases of their dance will be improving cardiorespiratory endurance as well as skills/moves involved in their dance.

Conditioning drills can be increased by overloading the training time/intensity.
- A badminton rally where when the shuttle hits the ground another is put straight in to play so as the rest time is shortened.
- A dancer repeats longer and longer phrases of the dance
- A smaller area is used in football to try and keep possession of the football which increases the intensity.
- The rugby player could use an interval approach to the conditioning drill by working for 1min, rest for 30 secs and repeats 3 sets. Next time they increase the work time or set number or decrease the rest.

Fartlek Training
The term fartlek is Swedish for - ‘speed play.’ Fartlek training involves continuously working for a period of time. Within this time the intensity at which you work varies.
Usually it involves continuously running with short sprint bursts followed by a slower recovery and then more continuous paced running. However any exercise which allows you to work at differing intensities can be used i.e. cycling, swimming.
It improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness. This training should replicate the pace of running required in a particular activity. There could also be a change in terrain to increase/decrease intensity (flat/incline/decline).

Why would you use this type of training?
  • Develops aerobic and anaerobic endurance
  • Can be made activity specific i.e. actions & movement patterns of hockey/football
  • Game like as it includes bursts of speed and continuous running
  • Exercises can be adapted to suit level of fitness
  • Easy to add progressive overload
Example of Fartlek training
Astrand Fartlek
Suitable for 800m.
  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Repeat 3 times - Maximum effort for 75 seconds, 150 seconds jog/run, maximum effort for 60 seconds, 120 seconds jog run
  • 10 minute cool down
Gerschler Fartlek
Suitable for getting fit quickly when combined with steady running.
  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Repeat 3 times - Stride hard for 30 seconds, jog 90 seconds. Repeat with 15 second decreases in recovery jog e.g. 30-90, 30-75, 30-60, 30-45, 30-30, 30-15 and 30-15-30
  • 10 minute cool down

Whistle Fartlek

The coach, using a whistle, controls the session over a 800 metre circumference grass area.
  • 10 minutes warm up
  • When the whistle is blown the athletes run hard until the whistle is blown again. Pyramid session of 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes with a 60 second jog run recovery between each run
  • 10 minute cool down

Fartlek for games players

A fartlek session for games players should include sprinting, running, jogging and walking with variations in direction of movement to fit in with the demands of their sport. This should include controlling an object (e.g. football) or carry any implement (e.g. hockey stick, rugby ball) used in the sport.
More examples of Fartlek can be found at
Interval training
This involves alternating between periods of hard exercise and rest. For example working for a set time/distance and then resting for a set time/distance. Interval training can be made harder by increasing the intensity or period of work, or by decreasing the rest period. It can improve speed, muscular endurance or power with a large work to ratio (1:4), or it can improve CRE with a shorter work to rest ratio (1:1) but over a longer period of time.
Example of Interval Training
An example of an interval training session is shown in the table below:

8 secs
32 secs
6 secs
24 secs
4 secs
16 secs

N.B. In order for continued improvements to be made to fitness levels it is vital that the principles of training are applied to methods of training. The importance of this cannot be underestimated, if principles of training are not considered it is unlikely that any worthwhile improvements will be made.

Continuous Training
Continuous training can take place in various forms such as running, rowing, cycling or swimming. The training principle of specificity should be considered when deciding on which form of training you will use. The purpose of continuous training is to maintain a steady pace throughout the duration of training. Your heart rate must be in the correct training zone during training in order to make improvements to fitness. Training must also be progressively overloaded through intensity (how hard you train), frequency (how often you train) or duration (how long you train for) regularly to ensure your fitness is going to improve.
Advantages of continuous training include:
  • it improves your cardio respiratory endurance;
  • it burns body fat when it is carried out at the correct intensity and for the correct duration;
  • there is no real need for expensive specialist equipment;
  • it improves aerobic fitness;
  • most exercises are simple to replicate and perform.

Disadvantages of continuous training include:
  • there can be high levels of boredom during it;
  • it does not improve anaerobic fitness;
  • it does very little to improve your ability to exert short bursts of speeds which is needed in many team sports.

Circuit Training is performing a series of exercises or activities in a special order, working on different muscle groups. Circuit training is typically used to improve muscular endurance, but could be used to improve strength, power or cardio respiratory endurance.
A circuit could be made up with some of the following exercises:
Star jumps, Step ups, Press ups, Squat thrusts, Sit ups etc.
The circuit for example could be performed for 30 seconds at 100% effort with a 30 second rest.

Plyometric Training
Plyometric training also known as jump training -- is a training approach designed to increase muscular power and explosiveness. It is based around having muscles exert maximum force in as short a time as possible, with the goal of increasing both speed and power. Examples of plyometric exercises:
  • Box jumps
  • Plyo lunges
  • Hurdle bounds

These can be made more difficult by increasing height/speed.
Advantages of plyometric training:1. It is a very effective way to improve your explosive strength.2. The power stored in the muscles after extended plyometric training greatly increases the speed and power of your legs, abdominal region, glutes and other muscle groups.
Disadvantage of plyometric training:
The main disadvantage is the high risk of injury. The repetitive jumping and bounding can cause stress on the joints, particularly knees and ankles.
Weight Training
Weight training is using weights as a form of resistance training.
Complete 3 sets of 15 repetitions, lifting 70% of your maximum lift.
A weight training programme could be made up as follows:
Shoulder press, lateral pull, leg extension, leg curl etc.

Flexibility Training.
There are several different types of stretching the can be included in a flexibility programme.
  • Ballistic stretching
  • Dynamic stretching
  • Static stretching
  • Active stretching
  • Passive (relaxed) stretching
  • PNF stretching
You can get more information on all these types of stretches from this YouTube video channel
Two examples of stretching approaches have been provided on the following pages; a static and a dynamic stretching session that can be used as part of a programme.

Key Points for An Effective Stretching Programme

1. To increase flexibility and range of motion, perform stretching exercises when the body is warm. This can be at the end of a training session or following 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise.
2. Complete a range of stretching exercises for different muscle groups. Pay particular attention to the muscle groups that are involved most in your sport.
3. Hold each stretch for 10-20 seconds. Initial tightness should gradually diminish as you hold the stretch.
4. Repeat each of the stretching exercises 2-3 times in succession.
5. Perform stretching exercises at least 3 times a week and ideally 5 times per week.
6. Ease slowly in and out of the stretch. Do not bounce! Breathe out as you stretch and continue to breathe as you hold it.
7. If you feel any pain, release the stretch immediately.

The stretching programme that follows is based on static stretches
Upper and Lower Body Stretching Exercises

Shoulder Stretch Interlock your fingers and reach above your head. Your lower back should be flat or slightly arched inwards. You can perform this exercise sitting or standing.

Triceps Stretch Place your left hand behind your head and reach as far down your back as possible. With your right hand grasp your left elbow and gently pull it behind the back of your head. You can perform this exercise sitting or standing. Repeat for the other arm.

Chest Stretch Clasp your hands behind your back. Gently straighten your elbows and raise your arms as high as comfortably possible. You can perform this exercise sitting or standing.

Lower Back Stretch Lying flat on your back place the sole of your right foot on your left thigh. Grasp your right knee with your left hand and gently roll it to the left. Try to get your knee as close to the floor as possible without your right shoulder leaving the floor.

Achilles Stretch This is exactly the same procedure as above except as you lean towards the wall let both knees bend. Rather than leaning forward you should feel like you are lowering yourself straight down. Remember to keep both heels flat on the floor. Repeat for the other leg.

Groin Stretch Sit down and place the soles of your feet together. Clasp your ankles with your hands so that your elbows rest on your knees. Gently push your knees down with your elbows until your fell the stretch.

Quadriceps Stretch Standing upright hold onto a support with one hand (i.e. a chair) for balance. With your other hand clasp your ankle and pull your heel into your butt. Repeat for the other leg.

Hamstring Stretch Sitting down, stretch your legs out in front of you while keeping your back flat and upright. Bend your left leg keeping your left foot flat on the floor. Slowly reach forward and try to touch your right toe with both hands. Bend from your waist keeping your lower back flat and your head up. Repeat for the other leg.

The stretching programme that follows is based on dynamic stretches

1) Front to Back Leg Swing - hamstrings, glutes, quads

Keep your leg straight as it moves forward and stretches the hamstrings then as it comes back try to kick yourself in the butt to stretch the quads. With each swing you should take the stretch a bit further. Try 20 reps on each leg.

2) Sideways Leg Swing – abductors, adductors

While facing a wall place both hands against it for support. Swing one leg at a time from side to side in front of your other leg. Try not to let your torso rotate as you do this stretch. Stretch both legs 20 reps each.
3) Handwalks- shoulders, core, hamstrings

Start by standing up straight with your feet together. Slowly bend forward until your hands reach the ground, walk your hands forward until your body is almost parallel with the ground and then slowly walk you feet back up to your hands. Repeat 6 times.

4) Lunge with Rotation – glutes, hip flexors, calves

Lunge forward with either foot, keeping your knee over your toes, and rotate your body toward the forward leg. Stand back up and repeat with the other leg. 10 reps each side.
5) Scorpion – low back, hip flexors

Lie on your stomach with your arms stretched out. Kick your right foot towards your left arm and then your left foot towards your right arm. Use slow controlled movements with this stretch and repeat 10 times.

6) Arm Swings – chest, shoulders

Just like you remember from gym class. Swing your arms back and forth across the body as you stretch your chest and shoulders. Spend about 30 seconds to a minute on this stretch.

7) Power Skip – preparing for explosive movements

Skip across the field using powerful explosive motions. Try to emphasize height instead of distance while using big arms swings and high knee lifts. Try 20 skips on each side.
Link to video of more dynamic stretching exercises
Watch this video for an example of a PNF stretching routine that has been designed for football players
Further resources for developing flexibility
Free online yoga video’s of stretching routines
Stretchit iPad app (also available as pdf download)

Skills and Techniques
Shadow Practice

Shadow practice is a method of learning a skill. It usually occurs at the cognitive stage of learning but can be used at any time. It involves the performer working under no pressure to perform the required skill.
Examples of using it:
Shadow practice is commonly used when learning a new skill where the performer has limited or no experience of the movement. A common use of shadowing to improve technique is when performing the Overhead Clear in Badminton (OHC). As mentioned this would be used at the Cognitive Stage of learning when the performer is gathering information on what to do and how to do it.
During this stage it is vital:
  • To visualise the skill through demonstrations by a model performance or viewing video footage to build up a mental picture of the skill.
  • Break the skill down into a series of subroutines; using practices, which involve only part of the skill or technique, which make the skill, or technique easier to learn.
  • Practice sessions will be short in duration to avoid boredom but long enough for meaningful progress.

Repetition Drills

Repetition drills, as the name suggests, involves performing a skill repeatedly. The full skill can be repeated over and over again to develop muscle memory making the skill more natural and automatic. Repetition drills can also be used to focus on and practice certain parts (subroutines) of a skill that require development. Focussing on the skill or part of the skill through repetition drills also eliminates the distraction of the game and other skills, and helps to ‘groove’ the correct technique. Varying the practice conditions and including appropriate rest periods are required when completing repetition drills to avoid boredom and fatigue.
The following is an example of a repetition drills that can be used to develop performance:
  • High serve – OHC return x20 (Someone is practicing the High serve, someone else the OHC.

Pressure Training.
Pressure drills are an approach used which consists of deliberately creating intensive conditions for skill practice, much more difficult than those required in the actual game. Pressure training allows a performer to experience greater pressure during training to give them the chance to learn how to use and cope with pressure effectively during competitions. You must practise pressure situations in training, so they become normal and easy to handle.
Advantages of approach:
  • Allows you to make the practice more game-like.
  • Allows you to perform under similar pressure that you would experience in a game.
  • Pressure training may improve the speed of executing skilled movements, and help performers retain the skills under the duress of competition.
Disadvantages of approach:
  • If pressure-training continues after the skill breaks down, learners may have their confidence destroyed and the training may be counter productive.
  • Performers under mental or physical stress could get muscle tension that leads to poor technique or movement during the activity.

Examples of how pressure can be applied to training:
  • More attackers than defenders
  • More defenders than attackers
  • Time bound activity
  • Target to reach e.g 5 points

Combination Drills
  • Drills can work well when both repetition and different degrees of pressure are involved.
  • Badminton players often practice a simple drill which will make them play certain shots or move into certain positions. E.g. High Serve, Overhead Clear, Drop Shot, Net Shot, Underarm Lift.
- This method is used during the associative/practice stage of learning leading towards the automatic stage.
- During practice it can be productive to set-up training drills that repeat particular techniques with the intention of grooving the technique.
Drills can be increased in difficulty by making them continuous. These practices are useful for developing the skill in more game like situations and allow the development of court movement to play the shots. They also allow variety to be brought into the practice to avoid boredom and increase the quality and relevance of the practice.
Opposed / Unopposed Practice

Involves altering the level of opposition.
A football dribbling practice may begin with no defender, then introduce a passive defender (with limited movement) and then finally an active defender (with full movement).
These practises are ideal for building pressure on a player as they move through the stages of learning for a particular skill or technique. Players can be moved on to a greater level of opposition when an appropriate level of success and confidence is reached.
Unopposed practices are useful tools to use at earlier stages of learning where a skill can be learned without the pressure of opposition. To continue development of performers’ overall performance there must be some practise of skills in game related situations with some level of opposition.
Isolation Drills
Isolation drills are drills or practices that can be used to improve a skills or techniques without opposition or partners. These are especially effective for improving more closed skills. Examples of isolation drills could be goal kicking in rugby, boxing using a punchbag, practicing a serve in badminton. In each of these practices there is no requirement for a training partner or opponent.