Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tag Points for Agility Handling

In their new book "Agility Right from the Start", authors Emelie Johnson-Vegh and Eva Bertilsson explain how to use TAGteach to teach agility handling skills. They stress the importance of teaching the handling skills first WITHOUT the dog and then adding the dog into the equation.

Here is an example that they have provided for us:

When training agility, it’s beneficial if you have rewards that can fill a number of purposes. One of the purposes that need to be filled is the possibility to throw your reward ahead (most often a toy reward). For you to be able to use this kind of reward to its full extent, you want the thrown reward to land in a precise spot. This means that you need the mechanical skills to be able to throw with precision. For us as agility trainers this also means that you need to be able to do so with both your left and your right hand.

This can naturally be taught in many ways, but one of the things you can do to improve your precision throwing is to place out a large container close to you. Throw the toy into the container, and then gradually increase the distance. Go back close to the container again when you begin working with your other hand. Then change the container to a smaller one, and yet again begin close to it and work your way out.

Suggested tag points for this exercise are:

  • The tag point is… engage core when throwing.  
  • If you work with your core muscles, it will make it easier to throw longer. Have your coach actually place her/his hand on you to be able to tell if you have indeed engaged your core, unless you’re working with somebody trained to be able to see this. If you’re tagging yourself you can place the hand that’s not throwing on your body to feel it yourself. 
  • The tag point is… look at desired landing area. 
  • Where your gaze goes, so does your focus. Look at where you’re aiming. 
  • The tag point is… attempt.  
  • The idea here is to work with your non-dominant hand with no pressure.
Naturally there are a great many more possible tag points! Find out what you need to work on, break it down and create the tag points suitable for you. 

Click here to find out more or buy the book. Highly Recommended!

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