Notes on Game-based Training for Improving Skill and Physical Fitness in Team Sport Athletes

by Tim Gabbett, David Jenkins, and Bruce Abernethy

The defining characteristics of higher skilled individuals are superior speed, muscular power, and aerobic power, combined with high technical skill and decision-making ability (Gabbett et al., 274). Game-based training is a training system that is designed to improve all of these attributes of a player while playing the specific game in question (Gabbett et al., 274).

The effectiveness of game-based training has been recently debated, but one of the benefits is that it simulates the fatigue and pressure that a player will face when competing in his or her chosen sport (Gabbett et al., 274).

Several studies have found that game-based training, while simulating most of the aspects of competition, does not accurately simulate the intense burst of sprinting that would likely occur in competition (Gabbett et al., 276). Integrating these studies together, it appears that the overall consensus is that game based training does not completely prepare the athlete for the demands of the game he or she wishes to compete in, however it can replace interval-based aerobic training (Gabbett et al., 276).

Additionally, during game-based training, about 37.5% of all injuries sustained during training happened during traditional training, whereas only 10.7% were sustained during game-based training (Gabbett et al., 277).

Gabbett, Tim, et al. “Game-Based Training for Improving Skill and Physical Fitness in Team Sport Athletes.” International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, vol. 4, no. 2, 2009, pp. 273–283., doi:10.1260/174795409788549553.

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