Principles of Performance

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Principles of Performance

Sports in the same families not only share a similar basic structure (such as invasion of an opponent's territory or the return of the ball in a net/wall/racket game), they also share the same principles in performance and tactics.

Invasion games

The first principle of any invasion game is the 'maintaining of possession'.

While a team maintains possession of the ball:

  1. The opposing team cannot score a goal.
  2. The team in possession can score a goal.

In this situation, one team is attacking (the team in possession) and one team is defending (the team without the ball).

To maintain team structure and discipline, teams follow a second principle of 'team positions and set roles'.

All players involved in invasion games are given a position on the field or court and are also given a job to do throughout the game.

This job may be as an attacker or as a defender.

In many team games there is an overlap in these roles, but in some team games such as rugby, the designated players must fill the scrum and the line out the positions.

All teams involved in invasion games will apply some 'tactical principles'.

Some of these tactics will include defensive formations, such as man-to-man marking and zone defence.

They will have a game plan that will change from game to game, depending upon the opponents and players available to play.

They will have set plays where particular routines are followed at particular stages of the game, such as line outs in rugby or penalty corners in hockey.

Net/wall/racket games

The first principle of any net/wall/racket game is 'to out manoeuvre the opponent'.

Net/wall/racket games are about gaining and maintaining an advantage in a rally by placing the "ball" in positions that make it difficult for the opponent to return it. This is maintained until at some point the opponent cannot return the "ball" and the point is won.

With the exception of volleyball, team positions and set roles do not apply in net/wall/racket games unless doubles are being played, but even then this principle is marginal.

'Tactical principles' will be applied in net/wall/racket games with the emphasis on a game plan based upon prior knowledge and analysis of the opponent before the game.

Again, volleyball is the exception where set plays and defensive and attacking formations can be pre-planned.

Tactics and pre-determined plans apply to all forms of competition and competitive activities, but the types of tactics are applicable to specific family types.

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