Tag games are a great chasing activity that gets players moving. In most tag games I’ve witnessed anyone who was tag was out. You can, of course, still play that way but what is the learning outcome for the players?
Tag games give participants an opportunity to practice fundamental movements such as agility, balance and coordination. Each game, therefore, should provide them with a clear learning focus i.e. changing direction with and without the ball. Moreover, they can and should be related to the main topic of the training session.
In addition, tag games are an excellent activity to develop good habits of fundamental movements. In order to help players, improve their movement habits, coaches should focus on basic observation points below:
• The ability of the players to turn and move in all directions
• Use strong and weak sides of the body
• Loss of balance and which direction
• The player body posture when stopping, starting and changing direction
• The player ability to change direction at varying speed while maintaining both balance and coordination
• The strength of the player in any particular movement
• The difference between the left leg and right leg during movement i.e. landing and hoping
• The effective coordination of one foot and two feet patterns
• The position of the head to maintain balance
Before a player can be expected to learn ball skills the child must first be under control of the body. These observation points are imperative for children to acquire a base of general balance, coordination and agility before football skills. Coaches can use them as learning focus during tag games activities. This will have a positive impact on players.
Improved fundamental movements will allow the child to respond to more complex skills with the ball better, adapt its movements into game situations and in consequences executed better decisions. That is why tag games must have a purpose, clear learning focus and provide an opportunity to improve children movement habits as opposed to just aimless chasing activity.