Assessment for tactical learning in games: a systematic review

Carmen Barquero-Ruiz, José Luis Arias-Estero, David Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


The assessment of tactics is a subject of great interest in physical education and sport pedagogy. However, the lack of knowledge of the topic and the variety of assessment instruments makes the assessment of tactics difficult. This study aimed to describe assessment in relation to tactical learning outcomes through an analysis of assessment instruments, based on variables that must be considered when using an instrument: (a) criteria definitions; (b) tactical levels; (c) indexes; (d) units of observation; (e) player/learner roles and (f) institutional contexts. Hence, the following instruments were found: Game Performance Assessment Instrument, spatial location instruments, Game Performance Evaluation Tool, Team Sport Assessment Procedure, and System of Tactical Assessment in Soccer. Building on the review’s purpose, the following issues were found. First, some studies reviewed used non-validated criteria. Second, not all studies considered the three tactical levels (match level, partial forefront level and primary level). Third, the majority of the studies used indexes that masked the results. Four, the individual unit of observation was widely used to assess global tactical learning outcomes. Five, many instruments were used in contexts for which they were not validated. According to these limitations, general recommendations are proposed. First, researchers should use validated instruments as long as the characteristics of the instruments are aligned with the nature of the study. Second, it is recommended when validating an instrument to consider the following general guidelines: (1) only use validated criteria descriptions; (2) include all three tactical levels; (3) do not use indexes; (4) use the team as the unit of observation; (5) assess both defender and attacker roles; (6) develop the instrument in the same institutional context as the study context; (7) include context variables if applicable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-847
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Issue number4
Early online date23 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • games analysis instruments
  • tactical learning assessment
  • tactical awareness
  • evaluation
  • sport pedagogy


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