What Time Do The Football Game Start On Sunday 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 movements and plays to help me determine who should play which positions, as well as help the athletic development and conditioning of my players. One of the best games for this is Deer Hunter. Last weekend at my coaching clinic in Boston, a youth coach who used the “Winning Youth Football” system shared with me his twist on my version of this game.

Why we do it

Remember in football what we are looking for is the player’s ability to control his body, change direction and accelerate in very small spaces. A key component in doing well in this skill set is core strength, the strength that runs from below the ribcage to the upper thighs. Your best FOOTBALL athletes always have a strong core.

How we do it

The way we do our Deer Hunter is to mark out a 20 by 20 yard square with cones or shells. With a team of 24 players, place 4 “Hunters” in the middle of the square, put yellow jerseys on them to indicate to everyone that they are Hunters. The remaining players are stags, stags spread across the square, roaming freely. Every hunter has a soft nerf ball, any will do. At your expense, the game begins and the deer scatter. Hunters throw nerf balls at the deer, to knock the deer out of the game. Once you hit the deer, go get a drink and sit back until this quick game is over and we start a new one. In most cases, hunters chase the deer and come from a long distance to knock the deer out with a ball. Only hunters are allowed to throw balls.

Hidden Conditioning

As you might have guessed, everyone gets tired very quickly doing what? Very short stop and go changes of driving direction. Sound like anything we do in football? In a very short time you will be able to determine which players can change direction and accelerate, which players have body control and which do not. 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 are getting in great shape AND having a great time doing it. They’ll be begging you breathlessly for more of this game. When was the last time your kids begged for more conditioning?

New Twist

What my friend from Boston added to this game was to put a bucket of cold water in the middle of the circle. Hunters were allowed to dunk the nerf balls in cold water for added fun. I asked this trainer to email me so I could credit him with this post, but 10 days later and still no email. Thanks coach, great idea.

Additional benefits

We like to use this game at the end of the first training session. Not only does it help us determine positions, but it also gets the kids excited about being in practice for more than just a bunch of 30-yard sprints. But of course we get just as much conditioning as we do with the guys doing gassers, only our kids love it. Don’t even get me started on how much the parents love it too. When you coach youth soccer, you want them on your side.

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

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