So, do you plan on playing a football game with family and friends this year for Thanksgiving?
In addition to all the cooking, watching or attending parades and viewing football on TV, backyard football and Thanksgiving seem to go together like white and dark meat on the holiday.
Family bragging rights, and maybe even some made-up trophies, are usually on the line for a game people look forward to annually.
In light of that, here are five tips before taking the field on Thanksgiving.
1. Find an appropriate-sized field.
This is important, depending on how many players you have. If it’s a smaller number, then a grass area in a backyard or a smaller park field should be good enough. If there’s a larger number of people, say 20 or more, then it might be better to find a local school or park with a regulation-sized field.
From there, determine if it’s better to use the whole field, or get cones out and shorten to a length and size that everyone is comfortable with.
2. Stretch and get warmed up for the game.
My goodness, is this important!
The last thing anyone needs to deal with is pulled muscles when it’s time to feast on Thanksgiving food later in the day.
Even the pros do this vigorously before a game. Take 10 to 15 minutes to stretch and get the body warm, then you’ll be ready to kick some behind on the field.
3. Select a proper format and rules.
As is the case with selecting the location of the game and the field size, how many players you have is a big determining factor.
Do you want to play tackle or two-hand touch?
Should it be two completions for a first down or 10 yards using a marker?
Will the field be short enough to just play it where it’s four downs to get a touchdown or else the ball is turned over to the opposition?
Will there be blitzing allowed, and if so, how many per set of downs?
Determining the best rules is essential for making sure it’s a fair and fun experience for all.
4. Find a good quarterback.
This is harder than it seems.
It’s the most important position on the field in any type of football, but even more so in backyard football where there’s passing for most, if not all the plays.
If nobody has a strong arm, that’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 for too long.
Keep in mind that you’re not playing college or professional football. Repeat: You are not a current college or professional player!
You’re probably not anywhere near the shape those 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’re not moaning and groaning in pain while feasting on Thanksgiving dinner later on.