Add Games to Your Repertoire When Coaching Young Athletes
I often end my coaching sessions with a game. Kids take away with them what they last did during a session, so a game is a great way to finish the session on a high and get them wanting to come back for more.
Recently I decided to ask the kids what they wanted to play. The result was what the kids called “Pac Man” – a tag game that you may be aware of, and that I had played before, but had not used for years. The kids LOVED it.
Here is how the game goes:
- You need a surface that features a lot of lines. For example, a basketball court.Last night I was on a grass athletics track and used the area on the front straight where the straight track crosses with the circular track.
- Select one or more taggers.
- All players are only allowed to run on the lines.
- If tagged, a player must stop on the spot on which they were tagged, essentially blocking anyone else from being able to run along that line.
- I made the tagged player count slowly to twenty before they were allowed back in the game. (I don’t like using exclusion rules where players “go out” and can’t return to play).
- I played the game in one minute intervals and then changed the taggers.
Not only was this game fun, it certainly had a conditioning element to it, as well as requiring speed, agility, balance, coordination, reaction time and decision making skills. Games are such an important tool in a coach’s repertoire. Think back – what was your favourite tag game as a kid? Maybe you can use it with the kids you now coach.
You can listen to me describe the Pac Man game on the Anchor app here.
Share your games here!
I would love to hear about your favourite games to use with young athletes or your favourite game when you were a kid. Let me know by leaving a comment/reply or by using the contact details below.
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Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Anchor or via email.