Youth football camps introduce young players to the techniques and strategies of the game, as well as improve their agility, strength and skill. Many football camps take place during the summer in preparation for the fall football season. Camp instructors use different drills and skill activities to develop the kids' individual performance and to improve teamwork.
A fumble-recovery skill activity develops players' agility, speed and technique for recovering fumbled balls. In such an activity, players of similar stature and size line up against each other, surrounded by tackling dummies. A coach tosses the football for the fumble, and players practice recovery techniques such as the slide, which involves using the body to shield the ball from the other player.
A catching zone activity teaches players how to coordinate and communicate with each other on the field. To complete this activity, players organize into groups of three to form a triangle, which can be expanded or contracted in size for variation. Players quickly toss the ball around the triangle, catching passes with fingers and then securing the ball against the body. Coaches supervise to ensure the players are catching the ball correctly: The index fingers and thumbs should create a triangle. This activity teaches players the appropriate finger work and technique for handling the ball.
Route-running drills are essentially practice runs of common football plays or routes. Players form two groups of three or four. One group runs a route while the other group defends, trying to intercept the ball or interfere with the pass. Route-running drills reinforce different skills, including speed, agility, passing, rush and coverage techniques. They also teach players the skills and basics of different positions on both the offensive and defensive lines.
In football, agility is just as important as speed. The zigzag drill develops players' agility by forcing them to maneuver quickly in opposite directions. To complete this drill, players shuffle through cones that are arranged in a zigzag pattern. Players are timed as they navigate the cones forward, backward and sideways. Once the players improve on speed, coaches require them to pass a ball back and forth while completing the drill. This drill prepares players to move with agility on a crowded football field.
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