A Professional Tag Player Explains How To Dominate The Schoolyard Sport

From a professional tag player (yeah, they exist).

Originally Published: 

Dodgeball smodgeball. Tag is the true schoolyard sport. Why? Organized chase and evasion is built into our DNA, an evolutionary necessity. Plus, it’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s simple to learn. But according to Christian Devaux there’s some more strategy involved for those who want to excel at tag. And no, it doesn’t require yelling “Time Out!” every time someone tries to tap them out. Because that’s cheating.

Devaux is the Founder and CEO of World Chase Tag, the largest professional tag league in the world. World Chase Tag insists that tag is “the most played and universal sport in history,” although their version of the game looks quite different from what you might be used to playing. Their game involves parkour (freestyle running), extreme obstacles, and many other extreme additions to add some flavor to the sport. Still, Devaux claims that the fundamentals of the game remain the same, and every he offers his four best tips for mastering the game of tag.

Play Mind Games

Tag may seem like a simple physical game. But Devaux insists there’s a hidden mental element that helps kids gain the edge. What’s the key? Run around like a fucking maniac.

“Chasing someone like your life depends on it is sort of a mind game,” says Devaux. “It does create that intimidation factor that the other athletes don’t really have.”

This might seem silly, but in a game as straightforward as tag, any advantage can be the difference between chasing someone and being chased. So if your kid is looking to have the edge when “it,” Devaux says to teach them to embrace their inner maniac. Just remind them: no biting.

Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Speed is far and away the most important quality in a great tagger. But even if your kid is slower than a 1992 dial-up modem that doesn’t mean he or she is doomed to be “it” for an eternity. The key is to recognize whether you are the fast than the other person, and then plan accordingly.

“If you’re an evader, and if you know the person who is chasing you is faster than you. Then, you want to avoid a straightforward chase or he will catch you,” Devaux says. “In that case, if you know that you’re opponent is faster than you, what you need to do is utilize obstacles.”

Use Objects to Your Advantage

One of the things players often overlook when playing tag is the fact that their surrounding environment can easily be used to give players an edge. Something as simple as a tree or a pole can be used to propel them.

Consider what Devaux calls the push-pull manuever. “When you are standing with an obstacle between your opponent, grab an obstacle, as you accelerate, you pull against it and that gives you that extra acceleration that your opponent won’t have if he is chasing you.”

Trust Your Instincts

While all of these tips can be helpful and maximize your tagging potential, Christian emphasizes that at the end of the day, tag comes down to one fundamental rule: “Don’t get caught.”

So anything you can do to avoid getting tagged, do it. (Although, once again, no biting.) And when in doubt, trust your instincts and have fun. Tag is, after all, a game that taps into our evolutionary nature.

“What I find interesting about this chase and evade element is it is very natural in that this is what humans were designed to do,” Christian explains. “This is why humans were actually exceptional, because of our able to chase and hunt, and to evade the danger.”

World Chase Tag’s London Chase Off will be live streamed on their Facebook page on July 1.

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