The Football

American football uses an inflated, egg-shaped ball (scientifically known as an ‘Oblate spheroid’) with pointed ends. This symmetrical shape allows  players to throw the ball with a spiral (not wobbling). Early footballs were often made of inflated pig bladders, which led many to refer to a football as “pigskin.”

Professional and collegiate football regulations require teams to use leather footballs. These balls are made from four separate leather panels that are tanned a brown color.

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Football Game Rules

The sport of American football has several rules just like any other sport. In a High-School football there are total of 5 officials, or referees (NFL games have 7 officials)  that are on the field with the players. Each ‘ref’ has a particular area they focus on, but any ref can spot and call an infraction to the rules called a penalty or foul.

Impress your friends with your football knowledge… The head ‘ref’

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Just like any other team sport, football games are won and lost on the fundamental basics of the game.  Show me a team that can block, tackle and execute, and I’ll show you a winning team.  Want to be a beast of a tackler?  It’s simple to learn and really fun once you get it down.

Youth athletes won’t remember an 8 step process to a proper tackle, but they might remember 3.  

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Defensive Coverages

Football is game of brains and braun. If you study and learn the defensive coverages and tendencies of your opponent you will dramatically increase your chance for a “W.” One key to a successful offense is reading the defensive coverage prior to the snap. This is what we call a PSR (Pre Snap Read). The QB is not the only player who should understand and anticipate what the defense is attempting to do. The receivers,

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Have you ever played basketball or have you ever heard a basketball coach teaching his players to widen their base and extend the hips for leverage?  Well, it’s no different when it comes to applying proper blocking techniques.  I don’t care if you’re a lineman or a receiver, you can’t block effectively without a wide base and without kicking your hips backwards to create leverage.  Additionally, you have to be able to move laterally with your opponent and you can’t do that with your feet too close together. 

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Great runners have great instincts.  They also have great vision and understand how to let their blocking develop.  You can’t just run towards where the hole is suppose to be at hundred miles an hour!  You have to let your blocking develop.  If, after you let the blocking develop, there is no hole you can then let your vision and instincts take over by looking for a cut-back or alternative route up-field.

Here is a great teaching video for running backs and ball security.

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There are two ways that the offense can advance the ball down the field, rushing(running) or throwing. Generally the more advanced players in the NFL throw the ball more than College and High School teams. Youth football throws the ball rarely because it requires a skilled quarterback and orchestrated blocking and route running by his team mates. Throwing a football is a learned skill that anyone can learn.

The feet to the hips to the shoulders to the elbow is a pretty good description of proper throwing mechanics. 

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Catching the football is a combination of extreme concentration and controlled relaxation.  You can’t catch the football if you don’t concentrate but you also can’t catch the football if you are stiff as a board when it hits you in the hands!  A great player is relaxed enough that when the ball hits him in the hands it sounds like a basketball hitting nothing but net!  Being in the zone best describes a player who catches everything thrown his way. 

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The kicking game is astronomically important in football, especially when you move up to High School, and even more so at the College and Professional level.  However, a good kicking game often get’s overlooked until those waning seconds when a game-winning kick is needed. That being said, in a typical 12 game season having a solid kicker can be the difference of two-to-three extra wins.

If you are a kicking coach or player you’ll  want to add the kicking video below to your digital locker.  

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