It's important to get young players moving as quickly as you can, so make sure that you have your training area marked out before they arrive!
- Depending on the number of players you have, mark out your training area; more space will make the Farmers Wives (defenders) work harder. Less space makes things a little harder for the attackers (The Mice).
- You might have more than one training area, if you have lots of children at your session.
- Mark out your chop zone, this is where Mice that have had their tails chopped off go. Or where players that have lost their tags go.
- Break your players into two groups; give all the players tags to allow for a quick swap over later.
- Make sure that each group has their own colour of bibs to set them apart.
- Tell the players that one group is the Mice and that mice have tails, their tags. The other group is not happy with the Mice, they are the Farmers Wives and - they need to chop the tails of the Mice off! The tails are the tags. The Farmers wives can run anywhere, in all directions, within the playing area - as can the Mice.
- The Farmers Wives can work together to hunt a Mouse.
- When a Mouse has their tail chopped off, they have to go to the chop zone (there might be some light fitness work there for them, your call. With older players you might have more interesting fitness work or challenges in the Chop Zone).
- You might decide that one tail is enough to be sent to the chop zone, or maybe they have a second chance and the Farmers Wives need to get both tails.
- Don't forget to change over after a period of time, counting the number of Mice in the chop zone. The winning team is the team with fewer Mice in the chop zone at the end of their playing time. You might decide on about five minutes a half.
- Have a bit of fun with this and let us know what variations worked for you!
The is a whole host of coaching points that you could focus on with this warm-up, but I suggest that you select a small based on your training goals for this session.
- Mice/Attackers should aim to move into space, a place without any Farmers Wives/Defenders.
- This is a good opportunity to introduce the idea of attacking space to younger players.
- Mice should side step, swerve, and maybe even hand off to avoid contact.
- If you allow hand-offs, make sure that it's at chest height and not around the face.
- Defenders or Farmers wives should work together to corner a mouse and remove the tags.
- Good communication should be evident and appropriate to the age and skill level of the players.
- Mice can use changes in foot speed to avoid losing their tails/tags.
- Defenders can remove two tags at a time; this will develop later in their playing career into wrapping their arms around the attacker to create a ring of steel.
- Really smart defenders or Farmers Wives might decide that they want to work as a line hunting groups of Mice, or maybe even all of them at one time.
- Defenders focus on the hips of the attackers in order to track their movement.
- Defenders keep their hands up and out reading to rip tags away.
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