How Can We Teach Children About Attacking and Defending?

Written by Dan

Last updated

How can we teach children in Physical Education about attacking and defending? This is a question that many teachers ask themselves. The answer is more complex than it may seem.

Using simple games and drills, you can quickly introduce the concepts of attack and defence to your students.

Not only will they have fun, but they will also learn how to be strategic in both individual and team sports. Keep reading for more tips on teaching kids about attacking and defending in PE!

Related: For more, check out our article on How To Follow Development Matters In PE  here.

Attacking and Defending

Teaching children in physical education (PE) about attacking and defending can help prepare them for various activities. Attacking and defending techniques can be incorporated into traditional team sports, individual sports, and adventurous outdoor activities.

By equipping the students with knowledge in this area, they could benefit from understanding how to gain a tactical advantage over an opponent or build defensive strategies while playing a game of football or rugby.

Physical education is the perfect platform to provide these learning tools to equip children with skills beyond physical movement and strength training.

Skills such as awareness, problem-solving, inspiring creativity and developing interpersonal communication can be enhanced by learning the basics of attacking and defending.

The Benefits

In physical education classes, teaching children the fundamentals of attacking and defending may sound intimidating, but it can be precious for their development.

Aside from promoting teamwork and camaraderie, such instruction can help them build problem-solving skills, gain confidence in their abilities, sharpen coordination skills, and even practice valuable communication techniques.

Attacking and defending activities also provide opportunities for children to make decisions on their feet, coming up with creative solutions instead of relying on a pre-determined plan.

Plus, such lessons make physical education classes much more exciting and promote healthy competition among students.

With all these advantages in mind, it’s clear that teaching children the basics of attacking and defending is worthwhile.

How To Use Attacking and Defending Drills

Incorporating attacking and defending drills into a PE lesson plan can be an effective way to help students become more comfortable with a variety of skills. These drills can also promote physical literacy, with the teacher providing instruction to ensure the proper execution of attack and defence moves.

The exercises should start slow and gradually increase in intensity so that students have time to learn and understand the concepts before they are implemented in a game-type setting.

Once they’ve had an opportunity to practice attacking and defending against each other, their confidence should have grown significantly, allowing them to take on complex tasks more readily.

When it comes time for an entire match or scrimmage, students can apply the knowledge from previous lessons and competitions.

The Importance Of Safety

Teaching children about attacking and defending is integral to helping ensure their safety. Having a basic understanding and knowledge of self-defence will give them more confidence to protect themselves if they are ever in a dangerous situation.

As the saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry. Adequate safety precautions must be taken when teaching any offence or defence.

Children need to be encouraged to utilize the skills they learn in controlled environments and instructed to avoid real-life situations requiring physical self-defence.

An individual must also supervise such activities with expertise in proper techniques to reduce the chances of injuries or accidents. Teaching kids how to combat responsibly prepares them for life’s challenges.


Games are an entertaining and engaging way to educate students about attacking and defending. Utilizing gameplay during lessons on attacking and protecting can help increase focus, participation, and creativity.

When setting up a session for teaching these concepts, use goals or obstacles relevant to the topic, such as a castle for defence or some march for attack plans. Additionally, ensure the playing field is level—for example, in a besieging game, set up teams with the same resources to ensure fairness.

It’s also important to mix it up by varying roles so each player can experience different aspects of the designated tasks. Remember that staying consistent with the rules and objectives can cultivate positive student engagement.

Finally, allow debriefing time at the end of playing sessions so students can reflect on their strategies and discuss other methods they could have used instead that might have been more successful.

How to Develop Tactics During PE Lessons

Teachers play a significant role in helping students benefit from physical education, including developing tactical intelligence in team sports.

By incorporating ball control drills and domain-specific tactics into their lesson plans, teachers can provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the skills necessary for successful sports participation.

Incorporating team-building activities during warm-ups and providing opportunities for feedback during practice sessions can also benefit student development.

Through intentional teaching that takes advantage of physical and mental instructional techniques, teachers can give students the tools to approach competitors strategically on and off the field or court.

Attacking and defending skills are essential for children to learn in PE. These skills can help them in other areas, such as reducing bullying and promoting teamwork. There are many benefits to teaching children about attacking and defending.

By incorporating some easy drills into your lesson, you can ensure that all students are safe while learning these new skills.

Gameplay is also a great way to teach children about attacking and defending. It allows them to put what they’ve learned into practice in a fun and engaging way. What tips do you have for teaching children about attacking and defending?


What tactics should be taught in primary school PE?

Tactics that should be taught in primary school PE include ball control and domain-specific tactics. These skills help students to understand the basics of team sports and can provide them with an understanding of how to approach opponents strategically on and off the field or court.

Should PE be taught with a sports focus or a focus on skills?

It is essential to teach PE with a sports focus and a focus on skills. A sports focus helps students understand the game, while a focus on skills develops their individual abilities as athletes. It is also essential to incorporate team-building activities during warm-ups and provide feedback during practice sessions to give students the tools they need for success in sports.

What does the National Curriculum of PE cover?

The National Curriculum of PE covers six main areas: health-related physical fitness, fundamental movement skills, games, gymnastics, athletics and outdoor education. It also outlines specific objectives to achieve in each room, including developing students’ tactical understanding and knowledge of the rules of different sports.

Additionally, the curriculum emphasizes the importance of teaching students to stay safe when participating in physical activities.

How can I encourage positive student engagement during PE?

One way to encourage positive student engagement during PE is by setting clear expectations and rules for the activity and then enforcing them consistently. It is also important to mix it up by varying roles so that each player experiences different aspects of the game.

Additionally, providing students with opportunities to reflect on their strategies and discuss other methods they could have used can help to increase engagement.

Lastly, reward positive behaviour and provide constructive feedback to students when needed. This will create a positive learning environment where students feel motivated and engaged in the activity.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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