Develop your football skills and improve your fitness by playing games with your friends.
Summer training shouldn’t consist solely of traditional weight room workouts. Instead, gather a group of friends and play some games. Here are two games that not only provide a fun break from your regular routine, but can also help you achieve your football performance goals.
Heads or Tails Coin Game
Aerobic/anaerobic conditioning, agility and reaction
4 or more
1 quarter and 4–8 cones/markers
Playing Area and Set-up:
• Large open area
• Use cones to mark two parallel centerlines approximately six feet apart.
• Mark two scoring zones 20 yards from each line.
• Form two teams of equal skill (avoid putting all of the linemen on one team and all of the receivers on the other).
• Name the teams “heads” and “tails.”
• Each team stands along its centerline back-to-back with the opposing team facing its scoring zone.
• Flip the coin. When the coin lands, yell either “heads” or “tails.”
• The team called tries to sprint to its scoring zone before being tagged by the opposing team.
• Each athlete who makes it to his team’s scoring zone scores a point.
• Repeat until both teams have had an equal number of opportunities to score. If needed, randomly call out “heads” or “tails” to allow for an equal number of attempts to score.
• Require athletes to face each other on the centerline.
• Reduce the distance between the centerlines—e.g., to three feet.
Aerobic/anaerobic conditioning, agility, manipulative skills and speed
4 or more
2 large trash cans, 8 cones and 1 basketball or football
Playing Area and Set-up:
• Large open area, preferably a football field or gymnasium.
• Position the trash cans at approximately the same place on both sides of the playing area, and mark off a 10-by-10-foot square as a safety area around each can.
This game is a combination of American football, basketball and tag.
• Divide into two teams, each at its own end of the playing area.
• Have a designated player on defense put the ball in play by throwing it to the other team’s side of the playing area.
• When an athlete on offense catches the ball, he runs toward the opposing team’s trash can (goal) until he passes to a teammate or is tagged by an opponent.
• Once tagged, the athlete with the ball must stop, drop the ball on the field and allow the opposing team to gain possession and try to score.
• A point is scored each time an athlete shoots the ball into the other team’s trash can without entering the safety area surrounding it. If an athlete enters the square, his team loses possession of the ball. If the athlete scores a goal while in the square, a point is added to the opposing team’s score. If a throw is intercepted or a point is scored, the defensive team goes on offense.
Restrict the athletes to tossing the ball underhand when shooting a goal.
More Performance-Improvement Games
Find more enjoyable games to supplement your traditional sports training at the following links. Most of them can be adapted to deliver a total football training session.
Baseball Training Games
Basketball Training Games
Soccer Training Games
Track Training Games
Volleyball Training Games
Source: Dawes, Jay, and Chris Mooney. 101 games and Drills for Conditioning Athletes. Monterey, Calif.: Coaches Choice, 2006.
Mark Roozen, STACK’s senior content editor, has been in the strength, conditioning and performance field for more than 28 years. He holds a Master degree in exercise physiology and several certifications as a strength and conditioning coach, including CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT and FNSCA.