Game: Ball Tag

We always love modified games. Modified games help to shape or adjust play to incorporate and develop a specific skill. All the while maintaining the fun of a game, instead of feeling like a drill designed just to get in lots of reps.

Ball Tag is a textbook example of a successful modified game.

We used to play this all the time in the basketball camp I attended when I was younger. The best part of Ball Tag is that it is scalable – you can play this with a group as small as 10 or a group as large as 50 (provided you have the gym space of course).

It is also really easy to play across age groups and skill levels. By eliminating the dribble, you help to even the playing field and force teammates to work together, regardless of age or experience. This makes it a great warm-up game before splitting a large group up for breakout skill development.

Check out the quick video on Ball Tag below, and experiment with our suggested variations!

Ball Tag

DESCRIPTION Divide the group into 2 teams, with one team tagging (offense) and the other getting tagged (defense). Set up a play area with boundaries (i.e. the basketball court) based on the number of players. The team on offense will start with the basketball(s). The offense attempts to GENTLY tag the defenders with the ball by passing the basketball around the play area – no traveling or dribbling. Defenders who are tagged must perform a task (ex. 5 push-ups or a down-and-back dribble) to re-enter the game. Play for time and switch teams from offense to defense.
SKILL FOCUS Passing, Footwork, Communication, Awareness
AGE (STAGE) Ages 8+ (Learn-to-Train)
EQUIPMENT 1+ basketball
1. Have each tagged defender join the team on offense until there is one defender left.
2. Add more basketballs for the offense to use.
3. Split into multiple games or shrink the play area.
4. Add limited dribbling (i.e. max 2-dribbles).
5. As the coach, add yourself to the game!

Can you think of any other variations to this game? Let us know below in the comments!

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