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D2 American Football

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Aim: To introduce the young people to a new sport - American Football. Introduction: This topic will give the young people a chance to learn about an often misunderstood sport, to look at the rules of the game and how it is played, how the league is set up and see some footage of the sport. It is a good idea to do this topic between September and December, which is the main NFL season, allowing young people to follow the progress of a team via the internet/TV as part of the topic. Taken from the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Recreation, Sports and games D2


Activity 1
• Photocopies of ‘American Football Fact Sheet’ template
• TV/Video (optional)

Activity 2
• Access to the internet is desirable, but if not available, print outs of the following information (from NFL.com or Yahoo Sports)
• A list of NFL teams and the cities they are from
• A copy of the current (or last season’s) NR standings

Activity 3
• American Footballs (available in sports shops or online) — different sizes are available — try to get one that will fit the hands of the young people
• Team bands (from your games equipment)
• Cones/markers for an outdoor field
• Flag Football coaching materials available from Scottish flag Football Association (contact them via www.sffa.org.uk)


Activity 1 - Basics of the Game and Rules

Aim: To understand how the game Is played.

• Review the information on the factsheet with the young people to get a basic understanding of the scoring, timing etc.
• It may be helpful to video a game from channel 5or Sky Sports during the season (Sunday/Monday late evenings) and show this to illustrate the points, watch the video beforehand to find a section of the game with plenty of scoring action. Sections where four “downs” in a row result in a field goal are also good to watch.

Tips / Advice:
When planning this topic in advance, you may want to write (rather than e-mail) NFL clubs in the USA and mention that you are raising interest in the sport in the UK. They are very keen to expand their brands here and may provide some equipment, shirts etc. The period just after the Superbowl is a good time to do this, when business is slow.

Activity 2 - The NFL

• Discuss the NFL league structure with the young people. Points to include in the discussion:
— The NFL is made up of two conferences (AFC — American Football Conference, NFC — National Football Conference).
— Each conference has four divisions, which are supposed to be geographically divided but, in reality, some of the cities are thousands of miles apart. This is done to ensure teams from across the USA are involved in the play-offs.
— There is no promotion or relegation, but in 2002, the league expanded to 32 teams, when the Houston Texans were added — a completely new team.
— Teams play only 16 games in a regular season (without play offs) — they play the 3 other teams in their division twice each, and a computer selects the other teams they play. It gives poorer teams more games against other poor teams in order that they get a chance to improve. The new computer scheduler makes sure a team plays all other teams at least once every 4 years.
• Encourage the young people to choose a team to do a little research about. They could find out about star players, the club’s current season/form and its history. Many teams have moved from one city to another over the years.
• Look at the play-off system and see if the young people can work out who would quality from the NFL league standings you’re looking at. (www.wikipedia.org has a good page — search for “NFL Playoffs”)

Activity 3 - Playing Flag Football

Aim: To play a non-contact version of American Football.

• Throwing the bail can be tricky. There are a few steps to throwing it properly.
— Put your fingers of your throwing arm one between each lace/seam on the ball
— Protect the ball with your other hand and hold it just under your chin
— Bring your throwing arm back with elbow bent
— Point your free hand towards the target
— Quickly bring your throwing hand forward and follow through with your shoulders and hips as you move on to your front foot
— Release the ball when its just above your head and to the side slightly — you can make it spin more by flicking your wrist or fingers as it leaves your hand

• Get your young people to practise throwing the ball to each other.

• Flag Football is played as a non-contact sport. A player has to release the ball for a new play when his flag” (or games band) is pulled from his waistband by an opposing player. The rules can be downloaded from www.sffa.org.uk.

• A team (5 or 6 players) starts at its own 5-yard line and has 4 plays to cross the midfield line, after I. which they have 4 more plays to score a touchdown. If this doesn’t happen, possession changes to 2 the other team. If they don’t pass midfield, the other team gets possession at their 5-yard line. In e fact, all possession changes (except an interception during a play) start at a team’s own 5-yard line.

• Scoring is the same as for NFL games except there are no field goals — only touchdowns,
conversions, extra points and safeties,

• The young people can enjoy playing this as a fun game and it is suitable for any age. For those who want to take it more seriously, the full rules can be observed (see website).

Tips / Advice:
• You don't have to be an expert, just learn with your young people.
• There are also many videos available on the internet showing how to throw a football. However, the best advice you can get will be from a player, so contact your local team through the British American Football League (www.gridironuk.co.uk) and ask for someone to come along.

Safety Issues / Risk Assessment:
If playing outdoors, check field for any litter/glass or other safety hazards before playing.

For full details see the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Recreation, Sports and games D2


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