Decision-making is the process of choosing what to do in a performance from a range of options and then putting the decision into practice. Within any sporting performance there are a huge number of decisions that a performer will make that will have a huge bearing on the success of the performance.

Decisions in sport include:

  • Where you take a shot from? How realistic are your chances of scoring?
  • The amount of power to put in a pass, when to make the pass and where to put the pass.
  • Choosing what technique is most appropriate for the situation.
  • Whether to pass the ball to a team mate or try to dribble?
  • When to make a supporting run and where to move to.


Impacts on Performance
The types of decisions made depend on the situation and the sport. The table below shows basic examples but there are many ways that decision making impacts on performance.

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Positive Example









In the 2014 World Cup Argentina played Switzerland in the first knockout round. The game was set to go to penalties when Lionel Messi picked the ball up just in the Switzerland half. A series of excellent decisions by the player led to Argentina scoring in the 118th minute and progressing.


1. He decided to drive at the defence in order to commit defenders
2. He decided to beat the first player to come to him to create more space for the attack
3. He then decided to continue to drive at the defence causing defenders to come to him leaving more space.
4. He then decided to lay the ball off to Di Maria(instead of shooting) who is in space so that they can have a shot from a better position.
5. Finally he decides the direction, pace and timing of the pass that make it easiest for Di Maria to a score (which he does!)


Negative Example








In the 2014 World Cup Final Germany are beating Argentina 1-0. In the 122nd minute Argentina get a free kick over 30 yards away from goal. Despite facing Manual Neuer (the best keeper of the tournament) Lionel Messi makes the decision to shoot instead of playing the ball into the box to create a chance for a team mate. The free kick is blasted high and wide and the chance to score is lost.