So, are you planning to play football with your family and friends this Thanksgiving?
Besides all the cooking, watching or attending parades, and watching football on TV, garden football and Thanksgiving seem to go together like white and dark meat during the holidays.
Family bragging rights, and perhaps even invented trophies, are usually on the line for a game that people look forward to every year.
In light of that, here are five tips before you take the field for Thanksgiving.
1. Find an appropriately sized field.
This is important, depending on how many players you have. If it is a smaller number, a grassy area in a garden or smaller park lot should suffice. If there are a larger number of people, say 20 or more, it might be best to find a local school or park with a regulation size field.
From there, determine if it’s best to use the whole field or take the cones out and shorten them to a length and size that everyone is comfortable with.
2. Stretch and warm up for the game.
My God, does it matter!
The last thing anyone has to deal with is tensing their muscles when it’s time to feast on Thanksgiving food later in the day.
Even the pros do it vigorously before a game. Take 10-15 minutes to stretch and warm up the body, then you’ll be ready to kick behind on the court.
3. Select an appropriate format and rules.
As is the case with game location selection and court size, the number of players you have is a determining factor.
Do you want to play tackle or two-handed touch?
Should it be two completed passes for a first down or 10 yards using a marker?
Will the field be short enough to play where there are four tries for a touchdown or is the ball given to the opponent?
Will there be blitzes allowed, and if so, how many per set of downs?
Figuring out the best rules is key to making sure it’s a fair and fun experience for everyone.
4. Find a good quarterback.
It’s harder than it looks.
It is the most important position on the pitch in any type of football, but even more so in backyard football where there is passing for most if not all plays.
If no one has a strong arm, it’s not the end of the world. At the very least, find someone who knows the game and can make good decisions with shorter passes.
5. Don’t play too long.
Keep in mind that you are not playing college or professional football. Repeat: You are not a current college or professional player!
You’re probably far from the shape these players are in and, news flash, playing football is tiring. Set a time limit for the game, or at the very least take breaks throughout, so you don’t moan and moan in pain while feasting on Thanksgiving dinner later.