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Catch the Tiger

Dribbling, Kicking the Ball, To Look Up While Dribbling, Dribbling in Traffic and Under Pressure, How to Shield the Ball, Aggressive Play, the Concepts of a “Field”, “Boundaries” and “Teams”, Transitioning from “Trying to Capture” to “Eluding Capture” is a “Transition” sort of like Changing from Defense to Offense

Summary:

This is a Tag type of game where every player has a ball and the “Tigers” wear a strip of cloth for a “Tail”. The objective is for the “Tiger Catchers” to catch the “Tigers” by kicking their balls into the Tiger’s balls. When the “Tiger Catcher” kicks his ball into the Tiger’s ball, THEN the Tiger is “caught” and the Tiger Catcher gets that Tiger’s “Tail”, and the Tiger switches teams to become a “Tiger Catcher”. Choose one of your better players to be the first “Tiger Catcher”, or you or a parent can be the Tiger Catcher to get the game started. (The reason is to be sure the Tiger Catcher can catch the Tigers. If you choose a very weak player as the first Tiger Catcher, the game will get bogged down). Notice that this is NOT an elimination game – every player stays in the game. Coach Doug’s games and SoccerHelp games don’t eliminate players.

Teaches:

This Game teaches a lot of important basic things such as dribbling, to look up while dribbling (players will naturally have to look up and around, so they will learn without you having to say “look up”), dribbling in traffic and under pressure, kicking the ball, how to shield the ball, aggressive play, quick reactions, that there are “teams” in soccer, and that there is a “field” that has “boundaries” that players must stay within. Transitioning from “Trying to Capture” to “Eluding Capture” is a “Transition” and sort of like changing from Defense to Offense, so perhaps it will make that concept easier to teach. The players might also start to learn that they can trap a Tiger in the corner of the field, which will help them think about the use of boundaries (Example – a Defender might at an older age think about “steering” a dribbler toward the sideline or trying to trap a dribbler in the corner). Be very low-key with the “teaching” and “coaching” and keep it fun. This is a self-teaching game and your players will improve by playing it. This game can have a winner. This Game might improve instinctive reactions. Please let us know the benefits you see from this Game.

Set-up:

Bring strips of bright cloth about 12″ long – bring enough so there is one per player. These will be the “Tiger Tails”.

Use cones to outline a “field” that players must stay within.
Each player must have a ball.

The Game:

All players except one tuck the cloth into their shorts like a “Tiger Tail”. The only purpose of the “Tail” is to identify which team the player is on (the Tigers have Tails) and as a prize to the Tiger Catcher who catches the Tiger.

The player (or Coach or parent) without a Tiger Tail is the Tiger Catcher.

Choose one of your better players to be the first “Tiger Catcher”, or you or a parent can be the Tiger Catcher, to get the game started. (The reason is to be sure the Tiger Catcher can catch the Tigers. If you choose a very weak player as the first Tiger, the game will get bogged down).

The Tigers have to stay on the field and get away from the Tiger Catcher. The Tiger Catcher has to “tag” a Tiger by hitting ball to ball (his ball to the Tiger’s ball). “Tagging” is hitting ball to ball, not grabbing the cloth like flag football.

If the Tiger Catcher hits a Tiger’s ball, the Tiger must freeze just long enough for the Tiger Catcher to grab his tail. The Tiger Catcher (and later Tiger Catchers) carries the tail and tries to collect as many tails as he can. The Tiger that lost his tail becomes another Tiger Catcher and you keep going until there is only one Tiger left. At the end of the Game you can see how many Tails each Tiger Catcher caught.

This game will give you an idea who is a natural attacker and who is a natural defender, and can help players become more aggressive.

Who Wins? There are two ways to win, You can win by being the last Tiger with a tail or you can win by being the Tiger Catcher with the most tails collected. We think it’s ok to teach players to want to win (and good at older ages), but at U4 and U6, be careful not to make kids feel like “losers”.

Time:

Play for as long as they are having fun.

Comments:

This is a more fun way to play “snowball fight”, because there are the Tigers trying to get away and the Tiger Catchers trying to tag ball to ball.

The kids like this one a lot. Coach Doug’s wife Kathryn invented this great game.