It is vital for performance that an athlete can perform their skills under pressure and respond to their environment. Decision making, strategic and tactical development are performance elements that enhance an athletes ability to perform.
Decision-making refers to the various decisions made by any athlete during a performance. These include where to hit the ball, who to pass to and when, where to kick the ball and where to stand defensively. Decision-making can be improved by demonstrations or good decision-making, asking questions of the players such as “how do we create space here?”, practicing in game like scenarios, being allowed to explore various scenarios by changing oppositional tactics or strategies, and encouraging creativity in the athlete. The more opportunity athletes have to make decisions in games, the better they will get at it.
Strategy is the overall method used to achieve the goal, normally winning the competition and includes where an athlete should be at a particular time and what they should do, while tactics are about gaining an advantage over the opposing player normally connected with game sense and decision making. Tactics include things like: moving into space, marking a particular player or using a cut out pass. Strategic and tactical development comes through technical efficiency, understanding the game, and good execution. Players who have good technical skills are more likely to make a successful pass or shot while under pressure and making decisions. Players who understand how the game works and which strategies or tactics are better in various situations, are more successful in executing the strategy or tactic and selecting the right one for success. The strategy or tactic must then be practised to ensure timing is correct and execution is smooth and successful. This often requires the strategy to be clear, each individual player to know their role within the strategy and then learning to execute the strategy using various tactics through practice in various situations, which will also develop good decision-making.