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"Tactical debate": an exercise to grow your team.

We share an exercise that we recommend to encourage communication among your athletes, improve collective decision-making, and also critical thinking.

This exercise is marvellous because it is applicable to both amateur and professional athletes, in training or in competition. Although it seems tailored for team sports, it can also be practiced in individual sports.

The beauty also lies in the fact that it is practiced off the field, making it an ideal practice on days when training is impossible (bad weather, etc.) or during team gatherings, meetings, etc.

Here are the details of the exercise:

Exercise: "Tactical Debate"

Objective: Foster communication, critical thinking, and collective decision-making.

Materials: Whiteboard. Marker. List of tactical situations. Optional: If you have a projector, it's ideal to use video images.


  1. Preparation: Before the session, select various specific tactical situations that have occurred in previous matches or are relevant to the team's playing style. Divide the players into small groups.
  2. Presentation of Situations: Display each selected tactical situation on the whiteboard or a screen (video projection). Briefly describe the situation and its possible tactical implications.
  3. Group Debate: Assign each group a tactical situation to discuss. Players must discuss and reach a consensus on how they would address that specific situation, considering different strategies and viewpoints.
  4. Preparing Arguments: Give each group time to prepare their main arguments. Encourage research and tactical analysis to support their views.
  5. Debate in Front of the Team: Invite each group to present their arguments in front of the team. After each presentation, allow other players to ask questions and express their opinions.
  6. Conclusion and Synthesis: Facilitate a general discussion after all presentations. Highlight key points, similarities, and differences between the proposed approaches.
  7. Judging and Winner: The coaching staff should act as judges and assess each group's presentation to proclaim a winner. The coaching staff declares the winner and the reasons for winning compared to the other groups.
  8. Prize for the Winner: It is advisable to establish a prize for the winning group in advance to increase commitment and competitiveness in the exercise. We recommend that the prize has a close connection with some of the values you want to work on in the team, for example, granting a temporary privilege to the winning team. An example of such privileges could be that the winning team is exempt from collecting balls or equipment during the next training session.

This exercise not only helps develop debate skills but also fosters tactical understanding, empathy, and respect for others' opinions. Additionally, it contributes to strengthening team cohesion by working together to find tactical solutions. It will likely enrich the coaching staff as well, as you may be surprised by many of the solutions your players will contribute. We all grow together.