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Movewell: Invasion Games

Movewell: Invasion Games

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Invasion games

Invasion games are games in which the aim is to invade an opponent’s territory and score a goal or point.

These are typically fast-paced games that need teamwork in order to control the ball, keep possession, move into a scoring position, and prevent the opposition from scoring. Teams share the same playing area as they attempt to both score and prevent the other team from scoring.

Tag Game Skills
  • Chasing or Shadowing

    It is when the taggers track and chase down the runners. It involves anticipating, shadowing, and outwitting the runners.

    Success Criteria:

    • The tagger watches the runner, tries to anticipate their movements, and moves to cut down the space, perhaps by trying to manipulate the direction of the runners and tag them.
    • They could run diagonally to intercept the runner or side-slip to a corner with arms outstretched.
  • Evading

    It is when the runners outwit the taggers using quick, deceptive movements. It is more than just running and dodging skills.

    Success Criteria:

    • Runners evade the taggers by using quick, deceptive movements (often stop-start or changing direction): facing the tagger, side-slipping, side-stepping, or start-stopping.
  • Shepherding or cornering

    It is when the tagger moves the runner into a corner.

    Success Criteria:

    • The tagger traps the runner in a corner so that they can quickly move in to make the tag.
  • Moving into space

    It is when the runners try to move into free space past the taggers to avoid being tagged.

    Success Criteria:

    • The runner moves away from the tagger into open spaces.
    • They avoid being clustered with other runners so that they have options to escape in different directions.
  • Using others as a screen

    It is when the runners use other runners to hide behind so the taggers can’t tag them.

    Success Criteria:

    • Runners use other runners to hide behind or block so that the taggers have to run around them
  • Teamwork (communicating and cooperating)

    It is when the taggers communicate, plan, and implement a joint attack to shepherd and corner a runner.

    Success Criteria:

    • The taggers work as a team to corner a runner as opposed to working individually.


Tag games

Tag games are games in which two or more players chase other players in an attempt to ‘tag’ them and score a point.

The skills learnt in tag games develop to become important in many invasion games. The important outcome is being able to read the opposition.

Invasion Games Skills
  • Teamwork skills

    It is working as a team, with roles and responsibilities.

    It involves planning together and playing together to be successful.

    It is deciding on team strategies and playing tactically as a team, using all the players’ strengths

    Success Criteria:

    • The players work together as a team to achieve success, whether on attack or in defence.
    • They take up positions, develop supporting positional play, move into field positions to receive the ball, build an attack with team-mates, or set up a team-mate to score.
    • The team supports a ball-carrier by moving into different spaces to create multiple passing options for the ball-carrier.
  • Holding possession

    It is passing, running with the ball, or holding the ball

    Success Criteria:

    • The attacking players hold possession, which means they think before acting. They may hold and wait for support, run into a safer place with the ball, pass to another player who is in space, or support a ball-carrier.
    • They could move the ball backwards or sideways between players before going forward.
    • It could also mean that support players move into a position and call to receive a pass.
    • Creating and moving into space. It is making space and using it to build an attack, including moving or passing laterally or backwards as well as forwards. 
  • Creating and moving into space

    It is making space and using it to build an attack, including moving or passing laterally or backwards as well as forwards.

    Success Criteria:

    • Players recognise space and move into it to receive the ball. They call for the ball or indicate where they are moving to, using pointing or other gestures, such as a nod of the head.
    • They create space by keeping the defender behind them away from the open area.
    • They call then move into space to receive the ball.
    • Players often pass the ball to space rather than directly to the receiver
  • Supporting the ball-carrier

    It is giving the ball-carrier passing and running options.

    Success Criteria:

    • Supporting players move into space around the ball-carrier to offer passing or running options. Options include passing backwards, sideways, or forwards.
  • Positioning

    It is playing in a position that contributes to the success of the team.

    Success Criteria:

    • The players stay in position and know what to do in that position.
    • They use all the players in their various positions, often passing backwards or sideways until an opportunity arises to move forwards.
    • Players communicate and move according to their position. For example, wings will stay in their position most of the time to ensure that there is a wide passing option.
    • If one player moves out of position, another player moves to fill the gap until the normal pattern re-emerges.
  • Controlling the pace

    It is being patient and controlling the speed of the game. Pace and patience go hand in hand.

    Success Criteria:

    • For beginners, this means slowing down and thinking before acting to control the nature of play. Teams build patterns of attack over time rather than rushing head first into it.
    • In advanced games, it means speeding up to put more pressure on the opposition.
  • Attaching and defending

    It is attacking and penetrating the defence or stopping the attack.

    Success Criteria:

    • The players break through the defensive line or, conversely, stop the attackers from breaking through.
    • They use attacking and defending skills that involve strategic and tactical patterns of play.
    • Players use a variety of tactics, including skills that allow them to break through a defence by dribbling through at speed, side-stepping, or dodging through a defence individually.
    • At other times, players work together to employ game strategies and tactics to beat the defence. These are often game-specific and include: drawing and passing, passing over a defender or through the defence line, using a screen to block a defender, running at different angles, and so on.
    • The defenders use one-on-one defence, half-court or zone defence, front mark or back mark, depending on the game situation.
  • Applying pressure

    It is putting pressure on the attack or the defence.

    Success Criteria:

    • Experienced players mark their opposite closely. They will know when to hold back, when to attack or when to intercept. This can be seen in a player’s ‘game sense’, that is, how they understand the game context and mark their opponent in a game.
    • When team members apply pressure together, it causes a breakdown in the other team’s pattern and creates the opportunity for a turnover.

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