What Channel Are The Football Games On This Weekend New Twist on the Deer Hunter Game When Coaching Youth Football

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New Twist on the Deer Hunter Game When Coaching Youth Football

As many of you know, I’m a big proponent of using unique moves and plays to help me determine who should play what position, as well as help develop the athleticism and conditioning of my players. One of the best games to do this is Deer Hunter. Last weekend at my coaching clinic in Boston, a youth coach who used the Winning Youth Soccer system shared with me his interpretation of this version of the game.

Why do we do this?

Remember, what we are looking for in football is the ability of players to control their bodies, change direction and accelerate in very small spaces. A key component to doing well with this skill set is core strength, which is power from the bottom of the rib cage to the upper thighs. The best FOOTBALL athletes always have a very strong core.

How we do it

The way we do deer hunting is to mark a 20 yard by 20 yard area with cones or shells. With a team of 24 players, put 4 “Hunters” in the middle of the field and dress them in yellow shirts to show everyone that they are Hunters. The remaining players are deer, the deer are spread across the field and roam freely. Every hunter has a softball, everyone does. In your account, the game starts and the deer is scattered. Hunters throw nephroballs at deer to lure them out of the game. After you hit the deer, drink quickly and until this quick game ends and we start a new game. In most cases, hunters will chase the deer and get in close enough to knock the deer out with a ball. Only hunters are allowed to throw balls.

Hidden condition

As you might have guessed, what will everyone be up to soon? A very short stop and change of direction. Looks like we’re doing something in football? In very short order you can determine which players can change direction and accelerate, which players have body control and which don’t. At the end of the game, when you have 4 hunters chasing the one remaining deer, you will see some of the most amazing football moves known to man. In addition to being able to see who your athletes are very quickly, the kids get great conditioning in them and have a great time doing it. They will ask you more from this game. When was the last time your kids begged for a better air conditioner?

A new twist

What my old friend added to this game, he put a bucket of cold water in the middle of the circle. Hunters were allowed to soak the nephro balls in cold water for an additional fun effect. I asked this coach to email me so I could feature him in this post, but 10 days later and still no email. Thanks coach, great idea.

Added benefits

We like to use this game at the end of the first training session. Not only does it help us position ourselves, but it gets the kids excited about practicing more than a bunch of 30 yard sprints. But, of course, we’re just as conditioned as the guys who are gassers, it’s just that our kids love it. Don’t even get me started on how much parents love it. When you’re a youth soccer coach, you want them on your side, too.

You can play this game without nerf balls, just play it as tag.

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