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Sub-Classifications of Target Games

I have been interested lately in PE curriculum change and promoting balance to best help our students become actively engaged for their lifetime. I discovered the article, "Using the TGFU tactical hierarchy to enhance student understanding of game play. Expanding the Target Games" by Méndez-Giménez, Fernández-Río, & Casey (2012) when going down the "rabbit hole" of article reading/checking sources for articles. You can find the full length article here. The article examines target games (within the traditional Teaching Games for Understanding framework) and suggests/discusses a sub classification: moving target games.

The purpose of this blog is to share a visual to show a bit more about what target games are and what they might look like in a school PE program. As well, I provide some thinking around moving target games.

Sub-Classifications of Target Games

Below is a visual sharing some information regarding target games and its three sub-classifications:

****You can find the visual in the free store here.****

Sub-classifications of Target Games

  • Unopposed target games - e.g. golf; the participant sends an object at a target and the opposition can't block or disrupt (e.g. block) the other participant(s) from getting an object at a specific target.

  • Opposed target games - e.g. curling; the participant sends an object at a target but the opposing team can strategically place objects to block and/or knock out the opposing team to prevent them from scoring points.

  • Moving target games - e.g. dodgeball; participants send objects and try to hit an opposing player's body or an opposing player's/team's item (e.g. bowling pin, basket).

Tactical Complexity

Méndez-Giménez et al. (2012) stated that unopposed target games appropriately progresses to opposed target games. They then cite Werner et al. (1996) stating that students should progress from target games to striking and fielding games as it provides an appropriate increase in tactical complexity. They argue that moving from opposed target games to striking and fielding games is too large of a leap (complexity) and that moving target games should be the logical middle step between opposed target games and striking and fielding games. It is not uncommon to move from pursuer and pursued (or offense - throwing; defense; blocking target) when playing a moving target game. Very different then opposed and unopposed target games where you are making tactical decisions prior to sending an object rather than quickly in the moment (e.g. moving target games).

Exploring All

When I've taught target games units in the past, I have a wide range of unopposed and opposed activities for students to explore. For whatever reason, I do not recall explicitly planned moving object games into these target games units. I often have these inserted into Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) units where students are focusing on manipulative, locomotor, and non-locomotor movements with little emphasis on tactical thinking and more on gross motor development. The article suggests that moving target games do promote FMS development; however, I've "missed the boat" on appropriately increasing the level of complexity in my past target games units by NOT (or at best, very rarely) including moving target game activities.

The topic of dodgeball and having people/children as a target came up in the article. This topic of discussion can be never-ending. What I will say, is that some students feel safe/comfortable during this activity and some do not. The quote below provided by Méndez-Giménez et al. (2012) made me (an avid no dodgeball person) think:

“activities can be modified such that their variations have 100% participation, never set a student up for embarrassment" (Deutsch, 2007).

Not only in target games or moving target games, how are we ensuring all of your students are participating while at the same time, never setting up a student for embarrassment?

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