I'm not sure that there's a lot to differentiate from .

In fact, dictionary.com has strategy as a synonym for tactics.

  • Yes. Perfect. Do it.
    – Dynamic
    May 27 '12 at 19:31
  • Declined for now. 1 -- We seem to be split across the board. 2 -- We do not have enough items within either tag to differentiate between the two.
    – user527
    Dec 12 '12 at 14:59

I personally think of "strategy" as an overall plan or style of play, whereas "tactics" is a bit more on the specifics. For instance, consider football... Playing 4-3-3 with inside wingers to exploit the opponents weaker fullbacks might be your strategy but on a more detail level you might say that the left winger stays close to the line and tries early crossed while the right winger goes in further to try long shots, and occasionally swaps position with the center forward etc etc.

Now I can't really say whether or not that distinction would require different tags here on the Sports Q/A but I believe some distinction nevertheless.

  • Close. Exploiting opponents weaker fullbacks is a strategy. Playing 4-3-3 is a tactic.
    – corsiKa
    Jun 17 '12 at 18:01
  • @Corsika, not sure I agree. Exploiting a matchup for a single game seems to be more tactical, whereas setting up the style of play for a team appears to be more strategic.
    – JW8
    Jun 18 '12 at 5:48

Strategy game players (like chess players) consider tactics and strategy totally different, almost opposite.

In that context:

  • tactics involve short-term thinking and using a combination of techniques to get an immediate, tangible gain from a given situation.
  • strategy involves long-term thinking and positional play that is likely to push the game towards a better situation (possibly offering more tactical options), i.e. not necessarily immediate profits.

I believe the difference is clear in general.

The important question is:

  • does the distinction appear in sports? (yes, it does)
  • does the distinction appear in sports often enough and in a clear enough way to have two tags with disjoint meanings? (hmm...)

I spent some time and tried to think of a sport where I could naturally see possible different meanings for the two, both being related to planning not performing, but I failed.

Try it too (everyone!) - if we can do it for a couple of sports, then two tags are worth it. Otherwise, let's settle for one and make the other one a synonym.

  • 2
    In football, tactics and strategy would seem to be different. Strategy might include roster building and design of the playbook, possibly even the types of plays used against a certain team. Tactics would be used to put players in advantageous positions - blitzes, screens, types of running plays called, etc.
    – JW8
    Jun 18 '12 at 5:47
  • I would say in pretty much any team sport you could distinguish the tactic in use and the overall strategy, but that's my two cents. :)
    – posdef
    Jun 24 '12 at 16:14

Let's see if anyone else wants to weigh in on this and if not, I'm in agreement with merging them and can take care of it.


Dictionary.com has an interesting yet precise answer:

In military usage, a distinction is made between strategy and tactics. Strategy is the utilization, during both peace and war, of all of a nation's forces, through large-scale, long-range planning and development, to ensure security or victory. Tactics deals with the use and deployment of troops in actual combat.

Using the logic from above, strategy would relate to on- and off-season activities and tactics would relate to in-game situations. Therefore, I disagree with merging the two tags.

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