Tactical Decision Competency of Preservice Physical Education Teacher Education Students.

Skip M. Williams, Margo M. Coleman, Mary L. Henninger, Kristin B. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The most recent publication of the National Standards and Guidelines for Physical Education Teacher Education (National Association for Sport and Physical Education [NASPE], 2009) requires physical education teacher education (PETE) programs to demonstrate that teacher candidates display both tactical knowledge and physical competence. The purpose of this study was to assess the tactical decision-making skills of preservice teachers using the tactical decision-making competency (TDC) framework (Pagnano-Richardson & Henninger, 2008). Participants included PETE majors enrolled in two courses, Teaching Team Sports (N = 61) and Teaching Individual/Dual Sports (N = 89). Tactical knowledge was collected by PETE students during game play through a talk-aloud technique (McPherson, 1993) and analyzed using the TDC framework (Pagnano-Richardson & Henninger, 2008). Each participant was assessed multiple times, resulting in a total number of 121 responses for team sports and 89 responses in individual/dual sports. The coded scores, ranging from 1 to 4 on the TDC scale, were averaged to arrive at a final overall TDC score for each participant for each sport. The four levels of the TDC were then aligned with the three NASPE (2009) descriptors of target, acceptable, and unacceptable. Results indicated that 50% of participants were at a target or acceptable level for invasion games compared to only 42% for net/wall games. These findings suggest that many teacher candidates appear to lack a wide knowledge base regarding sport tactics. PETE faculty must make a concerted effort to teach tactics to students and help them recognize the carryover of tactics within each category.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-313
Number of pages17
JournalPhysical Educator
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • UNITED States
  • NATIONAL Association for Sport & Physical Education
  • PHYSICAL education for children
  • PHYSICAL education students (Education students)
  • TRAINING of physical education teachers
  • PHYSICAL education teachers
  • TEACHER education


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