6 Great Games to Use When Coaching Young Athletes

A Sample Games Session For Coaches of Young Athletes

I was recently asked to conduct 30 minute sessions of “Athletics Games” with classes at a primary school. All of the students involved were 8-12 years of age.

Below is a description of the games that I used.

1. Follow the Leader

A wonderful warm-up activity, this is a cooperative game in which the players work in pairs.

One person in each pair is the leader. This person jogs around the playing area trying to create an interesting path, while avoiding other pairs. The “following” partner stays as close as possible to the leader. This is not a chasing game. The leader allows the follower to stay close. On a signal (such as a whistle), the players swap roles.

Tip: Emphasize that the activity is a jog and that the players work together.

2. Stick to the Leader

Similar to the above, but the kids have to stay in physical contact with their elbows touching.
This game is much harder than it sounds and really requires the partners to work together.

3. Dodgems

The previous two games involve cooperating with a partner. This game requires the whole group of players to cooperate with each other.

The players jog about within  a very small area (e.g. 3 metres x 3 metres) taking very small steps. The aim of the game is to avoid touching anyone else. Other rules include:

  • Players cannot stand still or jog on the spot.
  • Players cannot keep to the perimeter and must cross the playing area from one side to the other at least once during the game.

4. Attack of the Killer Bees

This is played as a traditional tag game during which the “killer bees” use their “stingers” (pool noodles) to tag others. A “tagged” player takes the noodle to become a “killer bee”.


The pool noodles that I use as “stingers”

In a class of 20-30 students, I usually choose 3-4 “Killer Bees”.

No “stinging” the face or head of others is allowed.

5. Finger Fencing

Partners connect their right hands, with their index fingers extended to create a “foil”, ready to “duel”. The aim is to “tag” your partner with your foil (index finger) in order to score a point. Players may move and shuffle about during the dual. No tagging is permited around the face or head area. Rough play is not allowed.

6. Circle chase

The players from a circle, facing in an anti-clockwise direction. Each player is given a number “1” or “2” or “3”.

The coach calls “On your marks. . .Set. . . and then one of the above numbers. Players of this number must sprint around the outside of the circle and back to their place again. Players attempt to be the first back to their place.

  • Ask the players to only overtake other runners by passing them on their outside.
  • Players not running MUST NOT interfere with runners as they go by.
  • Players must all run in the same direction around the outside of the circle.

Leave Me a Reply!

I would love to hear how these games work for you or if you can suggest any other games or activities. You can leave a message by leaving a reply/comment or you can use the contact details below.

If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.

20150614_154020-1Darren 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 TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Anchor or via email.

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2 thoughts on “6 Great Games to Use When Coaching Young Athletes

  1. […] 6 Great Games to Use When Coaching Young Athletes […]


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