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Impacts of the Game-Centered Approach on Cognitive Learning of Game Play and Game Performance during 5-week of Spring Season with Intercollegiate Female Soccer Players

Game-centered approaches have been increasingly recognized for their features and the impacts in coaching profession. Research with the game-centered approach is still underdeveloped in coaching sports and physical activities. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe the impacts of the game-centered approach on cognitive learning of game play and game performance during 5-week of spring season with intercollegiate female soccer players. Game performances at beginning, mid, and end of the season were examined through Game Performance Assessment Inventory (GPAI) with seventeen participants. Cognitive learning of game play was also assessed with instant recalls and practice journals with all participants as well as simulated recall with three target players. Results indicated the potential to improve the players’ game performance with the game-centered approach through reinforcing the recognition of more quality game information in larger scale and the adjustments on and off the ball movements. In the complex and dynamic game learning situation, the players were seemed to identify the key tactical/technical components of the soccer game. The learning process supported the cognitive learning of game play by interacting mind and body as well as building different domains of game knowledge through the game-centered approach. The players used the game information to make adaptations through the complex game situation, and then constructed and built the cognitive representation which became more meaningful knowledge in the game. Additionally, this study positively supported the game learning through social interaction. The players were encouraged to communicate with each other, construct the tactical meaning through the interaction with other players, and reflect on their learning in the game situation. In conclusion, the players’ cognitive learning with and without the ball was enhanced by being able to analyze more quality game information and linking different domain-specific knowledge. There were also some positive components which could have indicated the potential improvement of actual game performance. Additionally, the players seemed to be encouraged to carefully observe the game situation, analyze them, make tactical decisions, and construct game knowledge through the collaboration of body and mind as well as the social interaction with other players.
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