Did A Football Player Have Anything To Do With Twitter 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 am a big proponent of using unique movements and games to help determine what position to play as well as aid in the athletic development and conditioning of my players. One of the best games to do this is the deer hunter game. Last weekend at my coaches clinic in Boston, a youth coach who used the “Winning Youth Football” system shared with me his twist on my version of the game.

Why do we do it?

Remember that in football we have the ability of the player to control his body, change direction and accelerate in a very small space. A key component to doing well with this skill set is core strength, strength from below the rib cage to the upper thighs. Your best football athletes always have a very strong core.

How do we do it?

The way we hunt our deer is to mark a 20 yard by 20 yard square with cones or shells. Place 4 “hunters” in the center of the square with a team of 24 players, each wearing a yellow shell jersey to indicate they are a hunter. The remaining players are stags, the stags spread across the square, roaming freely. Every hunter has a soft nerf ball, anyone will. The game starts on your count and the stag scatters. Hunters throw nerf balls at the deer to knock them out of the game. Once the deer is hit grab a quick drink and sit back until this quick game is over and we start a new one. In most cases hunters chase the deer and get close enough to knock out the deer with balls. Only hunters are allowed to throw balls.

Latent conditioning

Can you guess what everyone is doing when they wind up too early? Very short stop and run with change of direction. Think we do anything in football? In very short order you’ll be able to determine which players can change direction and accelerate, which players can control the body and which can’t. At the end of the game when you have 4 hunters chasing the one deer left, you will see one of the most amazing football moves known to man. Besides you being able to quickly see who your athletes are, the kids get some great conditioning and have a great time doing it. They will be begging you breathlessly for this game. When was the last time your kids asked for back time for more conditioning?

A new twist

What my Boston friend added to this game was that he placed a bucket of cold water in the center of the circle. Hunters were allowed to soak the nerf balls in cold water for a more entertaining effect. I asked this trainer to e-mail me so I could credit him in this post, but it’s been 10 days and still no e-mail. Thanks coach, great idea.

Added benefits

We like to use this game at the end of the first practice. Not only does this help with positioning, it also gets kids excited about practicing more than a bunch of 30 yard sprints. But of course we’re getting just as much conditioning as the kids doing the gassers, our kids love it. Don’t get me started on how much parents love it too. When you coach youth football, you want them on your side.

You can play this game without a nerf ball, just play tag.

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