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 Football America

Hey, you're in the hobby / travel zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Sports / Outdoor Physical Games Category: Football, Touch / Flag

Hobby / Travel:

How to play touch football and flag football.

Guide:

Americans love to watch and play football! In the U.S., perhaps the most widely watched professional football game is the Super Bowl, which is a national tournament that takes place every year in January between the top two teams of the National Football League (NFL). The Super Bowl is considered by many Americans to be an unofficial national holiday. Millions of football fans tailgate, host parties, and not only tune-in for the game, but for the often spectacular Super Bowl halftime show and much hyped television commercials.

If you ask almost any football fan who their favorite players of all time are, several of these household names are sure to be mentioned: Joe Montana (quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs); Walter Payton (halfback for the Chicago Bears); Dick Butkus (linebacker for the Chicago Bears); and Jack Lambert (linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers).

 

Just as famous as the players are the football coaches like Vince Lombardi (of the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins); Bill Walsh (of the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, San Diego Chargers, Stanford Cardinal, and most notably, San Francisco 49ers); John Madden (of the Oakland Raiders); and Mike Ditka (of the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, who was also a former tight end player for the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Dallas Cowboys).

Touch and flag football are popular American sport activities derived from professional football that are fun to play for children and adults alike. At your barbecue event, have a great time playing either one. There are variations on how to play each of the two games. The following are the basic rules of one version of each of the games. 

How to Play Touch Football:

  1. Set up a makeshift football field in your backyard by placing two orange plastic cones on each end of a rectangular playing field to designate the end zones. If you don’t have cones, use other items handy in your backyard to mark the four corners of the end zones (i.e. outdoor flower pots or lawn chairs).

  1. Assemble two teams, each consisting of at least two players (up to 11).

  1. Decide on the tagging method: Instead of tackling, as in professional football, unanimously decide amongst each other whether a one-hand touch or a two-hand will equal a down.

  1. Establish who will play what position (i.e. quarterback, linemen, etc.) among each team.

  1. Decide how the winning team will be determined: You can either rely on a set time (i.e. 60 minutes, split into four 15-minute quarters) or on a predetermined number of points scored (i.e. the first team to score 10 touchdowns is the winning team).

  1. To start a game of touch football, the two teams flip a coin. The winning team of the coin toss gets to play offense, that is, they are in possession of the football, and are appropriately called the offensive team. The other team is thus designated as the defensive team in that they must defend their end zone.

  1. Each team is given a few minutes to huddle and discuss their offense and defense game tactics amongst themselves.

  1. Put the football on the ground in the middle of the makeshift field (line of scrimmage).

  1. Each of the two teams must line up facing the ball and each other, standing parallel to the goal line at their respective end of the makeshift field. Each player must line up on the field according to his/her position (i.e. the linemen of each team stand closest to the ball, and the other players, known as backs, stand behind the line of scrimmage).

  1. The center lineman (the player closest to the ball) of the offensive team (the team that won the coin toss before the start of the game) takes hold of the ball and passes it under his/her legs to the quarterback who is directly behind him/her.

  1. The quarterback throws the ball to the running back who then tries to carry the ball to the opposite end zone.

  1. The defensive players (players of the opposing team) must try to block the running back and tag him/her either using the predetermined one-hand or two-hand touch. (As mentioned above in step 3, instead of tackling the opponent, as in professional football, tagging the player carrying the ball either by a one-hand or two-hand touch equals a down). Meanwhile, the offensive players must try to block the defensive players and prevent them from tagging the running back.

  1. If a defensive player successfully tags the running back, the play ends and is thus called a down. The ball is then positioned at the exact spot where the play ended. Repeat steps 9-12. (Note: A down also occurs if the running back drops the ball or is out of bounds. In either case, position the ball at the exact spot where it was dropped or played out of bounds, and repeat steps 9-12).

The offensive team is allowed a total of four downs to advance the ball to the opposite end zone. If after four downs, the offensive team is unsuccessful at scoring a touchdown, they must give up possession of the ball. The two teams must then switch positions: the offensive team becomes the defensive team and   vice versa. Place the ball on the ground where it was last in play, and repeat steps 9-13.

If, however, the running back makes it successfully to the opposite end zone, a touchdown is scored (6 points). The two teams must then switch positions: the offensive team becomes the defensive team and vice versa. Repeat steps 8-13.

  1. Keep on playing the game until a set time has expired or a predetermined number of points are scored.

  How to Play Flag Football:

  1. Set up a makeshift football field in your backyard by placing two orange plastic cones on each end of a rectangular playing field to designate the end zones. If you don’t have cones, use other items handy in your backyard to mark the four corners of the end zones (i.e. outdoor flower pots or lawn chairs).

  1. Assemble two teams, each consisting of at least two players (up to 11). 

  1. Each player must wear a flag tucked at their waistband or back pocket, or a specially made belt with a flag attached. The flag must be visible and accessible. Each team has a certain colored flag to designate team members (i.e. the blue team has blue flags, and the red team has red flags).

  1. Establish who will play what position (i.e. quarterback, linemen, etc.) among each team.

  1. Decide how the winning team will be determined: You can either rely on a set time (i.e. 60 minutes, split into four 15-minute quarters) or on a predetermined number of points scored (i.e. the first team to score 10 touchdowns is the winning team).

  1. To start a game of flag football, the two teams flip a coin. The winning team of the coin toss gets to play offense, that is, they are in possession of the football, and are appropriately called the offensive team. The other team is thus designated as the defensive team in that they must defend their end zone.

  1. Each team is given a few minutes to huddle and discuss their offense and defense game tactics amongst themselves.

  1. Put the football on the ground in the middle of the makeshift field (line of scrimmage).

  1. Each of the two teams must line up facing the ball and each other, standing parallel to the goal line at their respective end of the makeshift field. Each player must line up on the field according to his/her position (i.e. the linemen of each team stand closest to the ball, and the other players, known as backs, stand behind the line of scrimmage).

  1. The center lineman (the player closest to the ball) of the offensive team (the team that won the coin toss before the start of the game) takes hold of the ball and passes it under his/her legs to the quarterback who is directly behind him/her.

  1. The quarterback throws the ball to the running back who then tries to carry the ball to the opposite end zone.

  1. The defensive players (players of the opposing team) must try to block the running back and pull off his/her flag. (Instead of tackling the opponent, as in professional football, removing the flag of the player carrying the ball (a.k.a. deflagging) equals a down). Meanwhile, the offensive players must try to block the defensive players and prevent them from deflagging the running back.

  1. If a defensive player successfully deflags the running back, the defensive player throws down the flag, marking the spot where the play has ended, which is called a down. The ball is then positioned at the exact spot where the flag was placed on the ground. Repeat steps 9-12. (Note: A down also occurs if the running back drops the ball or is out of bounds. In either case, position the ball at the exact spot where it was dropped or played out of bounds, and repeat steps 9-12).

The offensive team is allowed a total of four downs to advance the ball to the opposite end zone. If after four downs, the offensive team is unsuccessful at scoring a touchdown, they must give up possession of the ball. The two teams   must then switch positions: the offensive team becomes the defensive team and   vice versa. Place the ball on the ground where it was last in play, and repeat steps 9-13.

If, however, the running back makes it successfully to the opposite end zone, a touchdown is scored (6 points). The two teams must then switch positions: the offensive team becomes the defensive team and vice versa. Repeat steps 8-13.

  1. Keep on playing the game until a set time has expired or a predetermined number of points are scored.

Helpful Tips: No matter what sport or physical activity you and/or your guests decide to participate in, this section provides useful information and tips for optimal performance and enjoyment: 

  • Stay Hydrated! If you and/or your guests engage in outdoor physical activities, especially during hot weather, remember to drink plenty of fluids! Drinking simple, pure water is a great option to replenish your fluids during and after exercising. Most tap water is excellent. However, if you are still concerned about lead content and other potentially harmful particles in your tap water, using a water filter or purifier is one way to go. A water filtration system (i.e. Brita, Culligan or Pur) can keep vital minerals in the water like fluoride, while filtering out any contaminants or pollutants that may be in your tap water.

While exercising, perspiration allows your body to cool off as the sweat evaporates from your skin (a natural cooling mechanism), but in the process of this thermoregulation you loose electrolytes in addition to H2O. Therefore, if you’ve been especially sweating a lot, you need to replenish your lost electrolytes.  In this case, sports drinks - fortified with electrolytes - (i.e. Gatorade, Powerade, All Sport, Recharge, Extreme Ripped Force and Champion Nutrition Revenge Sport) are good choices.

There are also other energy drinks available on the market, such as vitamin-fortified water (i.e. Glacéau (a.k.a. Glaceau) Vitamin Water, Glacéau Smart Water, Glacéau Fruit Water, Glacéau Vitamin Energy, Propel Fitness Water and SoBe Life Water).

  • Play it safe! Wear the appropriate safety gear for each sport or activity you engage in. Also, make certain that you have all the necessary equipment for the sport or activity. Visit your local sporting goods store for assistance.

  • Stretch and warm-up! It’s important to stretch and warm-up before participating in any physical activity or sport. Stretching has many benefits: It allows your muscles and joints to relax, it improves your range of motion and it may prevent injuries. Before starting any sport or physical activity, consult your physician and get a physical exam. 

  • Keep an over-the-counter pain reliever handy! Don’t let minor aches and pains slow you down or prevent you from participating in a sport or physical activity you enjoy at your outdoor barbecue event. Over-the-counter pain medication (i.e. Tylenol (Acetaminophen), Motrin (Ibuprofen), Advil (Ibuprofen), Anacin (Aspirin), Bayer (Aspirin), Aleve (Naproxen), etc.) work great at relieving minor muscle and joint pain. Note: Always consult your physician before taking any medication, and use as directed.

  • Should any emergencies arise, keep a cell phone handy, or even a walkie-talkie! A walkie-talkie is a two-way radio transceiver, which is convenient, portable and handheld. It allows you to communicate with another person that is located at a reasonably close distance to you (i.e. if you are in the backyard, you can easily communicate with someone that is inside the house if you are both using walkie-talkies). It’s a great way to keep in touch!

  • Keep a first-aid kit handy! Accidents happen, so, for minor scrapes, cuts, etc., readily have available bandages; gauze; adhesive tape; sterile swabs; antiseptic (i.e. hydrogen peroxide topical solution, antibiotic ointment (i.e. Neosporin), alcohol pads, etc.); tweezers; anti-itch ointment (i.e. hydrocortisone); etc. Seek medical attention if necessary.

  • Prevent sunburn! Protect your skin from the sun’s potentially harmful rays, which may cause premature aging (i.e. wrinkles) and skin cancer. So, don’t forget to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and one that offers broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. If participating in outdoor sports or activities, consider wearing a sunscreen that is waterproof.

  • Avoid pesky bug bites! Keep a bottle of bug spray handy. If you do get bit, use anti-itch ointment (i.e. hydrocortisone) to help relieve the sting of the bite.

  • Keep allergies at bay, and enjoy your time outdoors! If you suffer from allergies, have readily available an over-the-counter allergy medicine - (i.e. Claritin (Loratadine); Benadryl (Diphenhydramine); Sudafed PE (Phenylephrine); Zyrtec (Cetirizine HCl); Zyrtec-D (Cetirizine/Pseudoephedrine); etc.) - to relieve allergy symptoms, such as red, itchy, watery eyes; nasal congestion; sneezing, etc., due to the increased levels of pollen, dust, mold, etc., in the air. Note: Always consult your physician before taking any medication, and use as directed.

  • Set Realistic Goals! Don’t overexert yourself, especially at an outdoor get-together where the idea is to relax and have a good time. Remember, as with most things in life, practice makes perfect! So, if you’re really interested in a particular sport or activity, practice it often, and you’ll be sure to impress your friends and family at your next outdoor event.

  • Most of all...Have Fun! Whether you’re a competitive athlete or an amateur, playing sports and exercising should be about enjoying yourself, spending time with friends and family, getting in touch with the great outdoors, teamwork, the spirit of the game, stress-relief, and good health!

Ed the Handyman

            &

Your Handyman Zone Team

                                                         

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