Taekwondo. Strategy, Tactics and Technique


“One of the most important goals followed by every trainer from sports belonging to the category of Combat, or Sports Games, is to achieve a high development of tactical thinking skills from their practitioners since, “in most cases”, the winner isn’t the competitor with the most resistance, strength, speed, or articulatory movement, neither the one capable of achieving the best technical execution from a biomechanics point of view, but the athlete that is capable of acknowledging the different situations  present during the competition, can analyze them correctly and performs the most appropriate technical element, valuing their own condition in contrast with the contrary” (Alvarez 2002).

The previous emphasized words were considered as tactics phases by F Mhalo in 1974.

Still, even though those concepts are clear, they are not correctly performed, since the definitions assumed by Strategy, Tactics and Technic sometimes cause some confusion.

To quote an example, the prestigious Russian book directed towards the Institutes of Physical Culture titled Boxeo (Boxing), by I.P Degtyaryov, defines Tactics in page 62 as: “A part of the boxing theory that studies the modalities, ways and combat means in different types of matches.” And it adds, “The tactical mastery of the boxer is determined by the correct planning and direction of the match.”

If we analyze this definition and pay attention to the words in bold (theory and planning), that’s where we can get confused, since it is those words the ones that distinguish the strategy and not the tactics.

In that sense, Joan Riera, in 1995, quoted a phrase from the military theorist C. Von Clausewitz (1831), “Tactics is the use of troops in combat and strategy is the theory of the combat’s use for the war’s end.”

On the other hand, the tactical preparation content in the practice concentrates in the realization of a repetition of technical series in attack and/ or counterattack pairs in a programmed manner and without any execution freedom from the pupils’ side.

In this sense, the tactical interpretation error is presented, when it is confused by what is referred to technic, since some think that with just being in front of the adversary and make directed works they are in the presence of a tactical development, which is a mistake, if we agree with F. Mhalo’s suggested tactical phases. In this case,  only time-space perceptions are being taught, with an accumulation of possible solutions, but without actually teaching the ability of perceiving the adversary’s intentions, as neither the possibility of analyzing and deciding by their own the most appropriate technical execution.

With this argument, we don’t mean that what has been done is incorrect, it is only that we do not agree with the standardized execution mechanisms occupying the mayor part of tactics preparation and much less if it is for advanced athletes during competitive periods, since the operative thinking and decision making do not play a main role in these contents. In other words; Why is there so much time spend on directed executions, if what really is fundamental, and at the same time difficult, to learn is What, How, When, Where, and with what con fix the presented situations?

The Strategy

Strategy is one phenomenon that is not only deeply linked with the war, the economy and sports, but is also constantly present in any social context. For example; in the professional aspect a young person decides to conquer their post grad education (Master’s degree) and makes a plan to make it happen. In the economic aspect a person develops a plan to buy a house, car, gym, etc. even in the familiar aspect, a couple plans when and how many children will they have.


The strategy is the project or program elaborated, over a determined base, to accomplish the established goal.

Sports’ Strategy characteristics

  • It is determined by a preliminary classification of the factors that define the objectives’ establishment.

To know these factors we show ask the following questions referring essentially to the competitors:

What do we have?

What are we facing?

Under which external conditions will the confrontation take place?

Table 1. Indicators to answer the previous questions

What do we have? What are we facing? Under which external conditions will the confrontation take place?
–    Physical condition.-    Technical level.-    Tactical level.-    Theoretical knowledge.-    Psychological characteristics.

–    Somatotype.

–   Competitive results at different levels.

–    Sports experience.

–    Material and economic conditions that are available to train and compete.

These indicators have an objective answer, since there is an available sample to make measurements and resources on, of what we have.

–   Physical condition.-   Technical level.-   Tactical level.-   Theoretical knowledge.-   Psychological characteristics.

–    Somatotype.

–    Competitive results at different levels.

–    Sports experience.

These indicators do not have an objective answer, since there is no available sample to which measures can be made.

A characterization must be made based on references from previous events.

–    Where will the event take place?-    Which will be the weather conditions?-   Time differences.-    Expected competitive system.-    Magnitude and level of the event.

–    Refereeing characteristics.

These are indicators with an objective answer, since the events and competitions are scheduled in advance and most of these details are known by calls or other sources of information

  • These can be performed by any sports member (Federation president, administers, trainers, athletes, etc.)
  • The person that performs it is related with the totality of the aspects.
  • The goal is to meet the predictions.
  • The evaluation is made by relating the competitive result with the given predictions.
  • It is shown in all sports.
  • It demands logical planning, but without immediacy.



  • The production of projects, plans and training programs and classes.
  • The selection of players that will be playing the next match.
  • The readjustment made by trainers and directives when determining in which weight each athlete will compete, according to the present possibilities.
  • The orientations given by the trainers when requested or during partially regulated terms. (See picture 1.)

Picture 1.



While strategy anticipates the contrary’s action, through theoretical analyses that allows establishing subsequent plans, tactics is the combination of components that are used to satisfy a series of situations during the confrontations. This is directed towards rational use of the athlete’s possibilities, and the total use of the contrary’s deficiencies and mistakes.


Tactics is the process in which all the physical, technic, psychological and else are combined to find an immediate solution for the different unexpected and changing situations that create opposite conditions.

Sports’ tactics characteristics (Riera, 1995)

  • It is determined by the opponents’ actions.
  • It can only be performed by the athlete in opposite conditions.
  • The person that performs it is linked to the opponent.
  • Its goal is the accomplishment of partial purposes, based on situations.
  • The evaluation is made from the efficacy achieved.
  • It is put into practice in combat sports and sports games.
  • It demands logical actions, with extreme immediacy.


  • Passing the ball to a teammate that has no blocking opponent during a Volleyball game, to spike the ball.
  • The throw made by the receiver when perceiving the second base stealing, during a baseball game.
  • Pretending to be unable to keep boxing, after a deliberate blow to the testicles.
  • Making a forward pass to an alone teammate, which is escaped in fast break, so he receives it and score a basket. (See picture 2.)

Picture 2.




Once the previous terms are cleared, we finally arrive at the technic with less confusion. The technic, just as the strategy, is constantly present in daily life.  We can include technic for: dancing, running, writing, jumping, etc. The technic is the medium that sets strategy and tactics.


Technic is the execution of structural movements that obey a series of time-space patterns models, which guarantee efficiency.

Sports’ technic characteristics

  • It’s determined based on the functional structure model.
  • It can only be performed by the athlete.
  • The person that performs it is related with the time-space factors.
  • Its main goal is the execution of functional structures.
  • The evaluation is made upon how many mistakes are made in the execution contrasted with the model structure.
  • It is put into practice in all sports, but in a determined way, in those belonging to the competitive art group (gymnastics, synchronized swimming, artistic skating, etc.) since all the technical executions made during the competition are evaluated by the judges, defining greatly the final result of each competitor. This is something that doesn’t happen in the other sports.
  • It demands executions under a determined structural pattern, in different speed.


The performance of technical elements in any sport, without the manifestation of tactics. (See picture 3.)

Picture 3.


Table 2. Summary of the distinguishing characteristics between the terms: strategy, tactics and technic.

Indicators Strategy Tactics Technic
It is determined based on: A preliminary characteristic. Trigger the opponent. The functional structure.
Can be performed by: Every sports member. The athlete in opposition. The athlete.
The person that performs it is related to: The totality of the aspects. The opponent. Time- space factors.
Its main goal is: Meet the predictions. Reaching the partial goals. The execution of functional structures.
Is evaluated based on: Prediction compliance. Efficacy coefficient. Number of mistakes realized during the execution.
It is put into practice: In every sport. In combat sports and sports games. In every sport, but they determine in the sports group of competitive arts.
Demands of: A large and deep study of the situation and a detailed planning without immediacy in relation. Appropriate perception and analyses of the situation, mental solution and an immediate motor response. Executions under determined structural pattern.
Summarized in aword: Projection Solution Realization


  • Alvarez Bedolla A. Definición del Campo Táctico del Taekwondo . Revista Digiital www.sobreentrenamiento.com
  • Alvarez Bedolla A., Selección y organización de los contenidos de entrenamiento en Taekwondo para las categorías Juvenil y Mayores. Tesis de Maestría en Entrenamiento Deportivo, La Habana, ISCF “Manuel Fajardo” 2002.
  • Dietrich Martín y Col. Manual del Entrenamiento Deportivo. 2001. Pág. 267 – 289.
  • Mahlo, Friedrich. La acción táctica en el Juego. Editorial: Pueblo y Educación, La habana, 1983.
  • P. A. Rudik. Psicología, Libro de texto. Editorial: Pueblo y Educación, La Habana, 1988.
  • P. Degtrariov. Boxeo.
  • Riera Riera J., Estrategia, táctica y técnica deportiva. Apunts. Educación física y deportes, 1995. Pág. 45 – 56.
  • Zaragoza Javier. La importancia de los mecanismos de percepción y decisión de los mecanismos de percepción y decisión en el baloncesto. 2000.

Author: Alain Alvarez