Football

Playing football is a great way to get aerobic activity, improve hand-eye coordination and strengthen your legs and arms. It is also a good way to spend time with friends, and have a little healthy competition. Drop by your local field to see if they have recreational games that you can join.

Here are a few Football tips if you are just learning the game:

Kick Off: Once the decision of who will start on defense and which end zones each team will defend, each game begins with a kick off. The ball is placed on a one-inch plastic tee 30 yards from the defense’s end zone (35 yards in college football). A specialized player known as the “placekicker” makes a short dash to the tee and kicks the ball. The ball is aimed to wherever would be most detrimental to the offense, though who ever catches the ball on that side is designated the kick returner and will try to advance the ball forward by running. If the ball goes out of bounds, the offense can choose to start either where the ball first went out of bounds or 30 yards from the point of the kick. If it happens to be caught in the offense’s own end zone, the offense can choose to either run the ball as far as it can, or simply kneel in the end zone to signal a “touchback”–a sign to stop the play and start the next play 20 yards from the offense’s end zone.

Offensive Play: Most of the time, the first major aspect to be considered in football is whether or not the ball will be advanced by running it or by passing it. Every legal strategy in football takes root from these two fundamental plays. It is then up to the creativity of the team, especially the quarterback and coach, to decide exactly how the play should unfold.

Planning and Execution: As mentioned previously, one of the major responsibilities of the offensive coach is to plan plays to maximize the amount of yardage that the ball is advanced. The defensive coach does the same except his goal is to keep the offense from advancing the ball. Taking into account the abilities of his players and what the other team may do, the defensive coach will start by deciding whether a running or a passing play will occur. Once that is decided, the pre-play arrangement of the players, called the formation, is determined and then how and where each player will move during the execution of the play. Of course, much of the plays are pre-planned, so that during a huddle, when a team gets together to go over a play, the coach has plays to choose from.

Fourth Down and Changing Positions: The offense has only four chances in terms of plays to advance the football either far enough to score a touchdown or advance the ball far enough to gain another four chances. Each chance is called a down and therefore there is a first, second, third, and fourth down. The offenses’ primary mission is to score a touchdown in each play. If that is not possible, the offense may choose to advance the ball ten or more yards from where the ball started during first down in order to retain its position as the offense. If the offense fails to achieve a touchdown or 10+ yards (called a “first-down”), a changing of possession occurs in which the team with the ball now becomes the defense and the defensive becomes the current offense.

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