'Tag' games -- Ultimate Agility Development Method

My current opinion is that ‘tag’ games are great way to develop agility (ability to initiate the whole-body movement, accelerate and change directon on a given external stimuli).

I would love to create this thread so that users can post their opinions regarding ‘tag’ games and their organization etc.

For me ‘tag’ games are great because:

  1. Easy to organize the players
  2. It motivates them pretty easy
  3. It develops acceleration and agility
  4. It is fun
  5. They can provide ‘anaerobic’ conditioning (depending on the organization, rules, number of players etc)

They are poor choice becasue

  1. They have great ‘anaerobic’ part and may provide great fatigue, thus limit speed work
  2. Great joint stress due sudden change of direction
  3. Some coaches use this to warm-up the players which is a recipe for disaster

Any input on this?

I incorporate them into the warm-up for the girls softball teams (U-14, U-16 and U-19). Much more interesting than doing boring jogging, skipping, and other “pre-programmed” movements. It would be impossible to duplicate some of the movements and body positions that some players actually do, to either tag or avoid being tagged. It’s spontaneous, random and act/re-act. The most improtant part of the whole concept is that it’s FUN. On hot days we play it with water balloons or super-soakers.
Sometimes the girls don’t want to stop.



We use them on our “non-linear” speed work days (usually 1x/week).
After dynamic warmup, and pre-programmed deceleration & change of direction drills, I like to use them for the last session of training, because any athlete can eventually learn how to do a drill efficiently. True deceleration and change of direction is not pre-programmed, so we’ll partner up, spread out on the field/court, and go in short bursts of 5-15 seconds each. We will also do mirror drills, where there is no actual tagging involved…

Sounds like a wet shirt competition :slight_smile: LOL
Anyway, I would do them AFTER the thorough warm-up, just like sprints: is it very explosive and it is better for the athletes to be properly warmed up. But on hot days… :slight_smile:

Exactly what I had on my mind — doing ‘tag’ games on ‘lateral days’ (Ok Charlie give me a bad rep :slight_smile: )
What do you mean by ‘I like to use them for the last session of training, because any athlete can eventually learn…’? Doing them last on the week schedule or training session?
Are ‘chaos runs’ considered as ‘tag’ game?
We do ‘chases’ linearly when one athlete must ‘touch’ the other that starts couple of meters in front of him, etc
How do you plan the ‘tag’ games over a season?

Some forms of tags:

  1. One ‘chaser’
    Put the athletes inside a square and give one a marker. He should chase his team players. The one that is cought receive a marker (‘tag’) and now he chases

  2. Couple of ‘chaser’
    To increase the ‘intenesity’ more chaser can be inlcuded: 2-3 etc.

  3. Increasing number of ‘chaser’
    Start with one ‘chaser’. The athlete that is caught becomes a chaser too and they work together. Every athlete that become caught becomes a chaser. The winner is the last player who is uncought

  4. Increasing number of ‘chaser’ (ver b)
    Every team player that is caught work in pair with the player that cought him. They must hold hands and chase others. When they catch one more he chase alone until another player is caught - then they have to hold hands and cathc others (now we have two pairs of chasers). The winner is last man standing

  5. Increasing number of ‘chaser’ (ver c) – Chain
    The chaser and caught athletes form a ‘chain’ by holding hands. They continue to cathc players into big chain. The winner is last man standing

  6. Introducing ‘save action’
    The one man is chaser and the other try to escape (like in example 1). If the chased athlete get up on partner’s back then he is ‘saved’. Other forms of ‘saves’ can be introduced…

You could also alter the level of “input” from the senses. Make them wear funky glasses, one eye covered one eye open, limit the auditory input…


When I typed “last session”, I mean at the end of the individual training session, because they are the most taxing to the CNS.
Example : Any athlete with some shred of talent can eventually learn to “run 5 yards forward, decelerate, cut right, run 5 yards, decelerate, cut left, etc.”. That’s what I mean by pre-programmed.
It’s obviously much tougher to have to react to another human’s motions, and not just a cone on the ground…
By the way, I do usually wait until several “non-linear” days of training are under their belts before doing non-pre-programmed kinds of drills, because I want them to master the positions before trying to do them in any competetive fashion…(Can you see I’ve stolen quite a bit of Parisi here? :slight_smile:

As for during the season, we touched a bit on this in one of your other threads…As an American college strength coach, I have little to no say in what goes on during the season (Aug-Nov.)…I only see the players 2x/week in the weight room then.
Now, in the “off-season”, I am allowed to program their speed workouts, tempo sessions, etc…

Keep up the great work!

Thanks for the input! If you liked the Parisi you will like Lee Taft even more. Check his GroundBreaking Athletic Movement DVD (or something like that).