9 Games To Help Train Quidditch Without Contact
Last week we posted about the simple steps we’ve taken to get back to training safely, after having our first open quidditch session in Manchester (You can read it HERE). This week after our open quidditch training in Leeds, we thought we’d look at some of the ways to train with social distancing.
There are some great resources that give some brilliant quidditch drills that can often be performed with limited transmission risk. Many of these concentrate on agility, passing and shooting. You can find Quidditch UK’s recommendations for during covid HERE and some great resources from Back To Hoops HERE.
With some of the fantastic drill manuals listed above readily available, we thought we’d keep our list of training filler more on the fun side and go over some of the games we use in our training sessions.
We’ve found that mixing in games amongst more standard drills helps keep an air of competitiveness, keeps the training fun and retains the attention of the participants. Picking the right games can help train specific skills just as well as with drills. Here we’re going to go over some of our favourites to use. We’ve split the games up into groups of “Mixed Games”, “Beater Games” and “Chaser Games”. We are still trying to come up with games to help train seekers without causing unnecessary risk of transmission. If you have any ideas, we’d love to hear them.
Mixed games are normally always the best way to train your team, be that with full pitch play throughs or by running half courts to work on specifics. We know how annoying it can be to have to train in small groups that don’t allow for full team games. But we’re just gonna have to grit our teeth and come up with some new games that mix in all the positions to give a sample of the full game.
4 vs 2s
To be honest, 4 vs 2 are probably the closest we are going to get to playing quidditch at the moment. Working on all the key skills like passing, positioning, aim, decision making and agility (All the main stuff bar contact skills), this may be one of the best games we can play to simulate quidditch.
It’s very simple to set up and play. Simply set up a half court with 3 hoops. Boom- set up done. You then have two teams, the attackers and defenders. The attackers will be made up of four chasers whose goal is to score with the quaffle (obvs). The defenders can be made up of either two armed beaters, or one beater and one keeper. If using the latter pairing, you may want to consider creating a no-go zone around the hoops that the attackers must stay outside of. This helps reduce the danger of accidental contact and encourages more shooting. The only other consideration that diverges from a standard half court is that the defenders have the right of way, attackers may not try to push their way through the defence physically. A team wins a round either when the attackers score, or when the defenders get possession of the quaffle.
Stuck in the mud… With bludgers
This is a very simple variation of the classic game stuck in the mud. It’s fast to set up and the rules are simple, so they’re easy to explain and get things rolling at trainings. It works at improving beaters and chaser’s pitch awareness and forward planning, as both are thinking against each other of how to keep the quaffle moving or how to stop its motion.
Set out a large playing area. Select how many beaters you will have against your chasers and how many quaffles and bludgers you want in play (the amount of balls you give either side will really help to vary the difficulty of the game).
Playing the game is now virtually the same as playing Stuck In The Mud. However, instead of tagging a player with your hand, the beaters will use a bludger to beat a player. A beat player is then stuck and can only be unstuck if they catch a quaffle that is passed to them. Players may use the quaffle to block beats.
The game ends either when a set time limit is passed, or when all chasers are stuck and unable to play on.
Beater games are arguably the easiest to play without physical contact. Though in normal times, beaters do need to train their contact skills, we’re lucky enough that the primary actions of beaters are throwing and catching, which can be done at a safe distance from one another. There are already a fair few beater games that are popular with plenty of clubs, such as; Bully Circle (where a player is in the centre of a circle and has to dodge bludgers thrown at them), Beater Duels (two beaters face off and try to beat out the other) and 2v2 Duels (where two teams of beaters work to beat out the other).
We’re not going to go over these popular games, cos we’ve got some of our own to help build a bit of variety for training sessions.
Hit the Bomb
This is a fun little game to work on your accuracy with a bludger, do some sprinting work and generally get people’s competitive side warmed up.
The concept is simple, you set two players at a distance from each other, place a ball in the middle of them and give them both a bludger (set the distances with consideration of the abilities of the participants). Once the game begins, the aim is for each beater to strike the ball on the ground with a thrown bludger to move it towards their opponent.
After each throw, the thrower has to sprint to collect their bludger and return to their cone before they can make another throw. The game ends either at a predetermined time or when one player successfully forces the ball across a set point towards their opponent.
Here’s a little game that again helps to work on all the vital beater skills (bar contact). This is very simple to set up as well, set up two parallel tracks with a cone at the end of each and then a single offset cone to the side. Place an armed beater on the offset cone and a runner on each of the tracks.
The runner closest to the armed beater will act as a defending beater, their goal is to shield the runner on the back track. They can block or catch the bludger (though if caught they have to release it back to the thrower). If beat, the defending beater is out.
The back runner is to run at a steady pace back and forth on their track. Their aim is to make 10 full laps of their track without being beat. However, they may jump or duck to avoid a hit, they may not stop or change their speed or direction to avoid a beat.
The Beater’s aim is to beat out the back runner before they manage 5 – 10 runs. They may throw their bludger as many times as they like but must sprint after each throw to reclaim the bludger and return to their cone before making another attempt.
Here’s another simple targeting game that we use as a warm up to get your aim back. Very simple set up and execution, set one cone in the centre between two participants. Boom- that’s it. Each of the two beaters will be given a bludger and they will take it in turns to throw their bludger up in an arching motion to try and hit the cone in the centre. The other beater will attempt to make a beat on the thrown ball before it hits the ground. Once the balls have been thrown, both beaters sprint to retrieve their ball and reset the game. There, nice and simple.
You can make this more competitive by allocating points to hit targets or by setting up multiple stations and setting a target number of hits to win as a pair against the other stations.
Hope you are ready for our most convoluted game! We’ve taken the simple game of dodgeball and warped it into a short game to help train beaters, concentrating on aim, dodging, catching, team work and decision making.
We’ll try to keep this short and simple. Set up a rectangular pitch, big enough to house 6 players. In the centre of the rectangle, divide it with a zig zagged line (this allows more movement back and forth for funkier angles than just straight on throws). About 1 meter behind each back line, place a single goal hoop. There, the setup is done.
Two teams of 3 line up on the back lines on the court. Along the zig zagged centre line, three bludgers are placed, this should result in one bludger being in the centre of the pitch and one being closer to each back line. There are two ways to start the game, either with a brooms up, or with a quick rock, paper, scissors to decide which team get possession of the centre bludger without getting too close to each other.
From there, the game is played similarly to dodgeball. If a player is beat, they are out and go onto ball collecting duty. If a player catches a bludger, they are safe, but it has no effect on the thrower. There is of cause one big difference, the hoops behind each back line. If a player decides to, they can attempt to score through the hoop, this resets all the players who have been beaten out from both teams.
The game ends when all of one team are beat out.
Again, as with beaters, there are already a few well known games and variations that many teams have been using for years. We’ve chosen a couple that we think can be played with social distancing guidelines and help work on some of the vital game skills chasers need.
Here’s a family favourite. Though a lot of teams have their own version of ultimate quaffle, we thought we’d put out the rules we use to help train our chasers in passing, interceptions field awareness and decision making.
This is a very simple but fun game. Set out a long rectangular pitch, with a small rectangular area at each end, this will be the scoring zone.
Split your players into two equal teams. These can be of any number, but we suggest two teams of three at current. Both teams will start on opposing ends of the pitch at the back line. One team will throw the quaffle as far as they can towards the other team, who upon gaining possession either by catching or allowing the ball to bounce and starting from that point, will begin the round.
The aim of the game is to pass the quaffle into the hands of a team mate who is stood in the opposing team’s goal zone to win a point. A player with possession of the quaffle cannot move from their position and instead relies on pivoting and passing to their team mates who will be attempting to find space to receive the pass.
The defending team will be attempting to block, or intercept passes. A turn over happens if the defending team is able to catch the quaffle and gain possession or if the quaffle hits the floor. If a defender manages to bat a thrown quaffle and causes it to hit the ground, it’s a turn over to the defending team. Currently we play this with no contact or snatching while the quaffle is in the hands of a player.
Once a goal is scored, both teams return to their scoring box and the next round starts with the conceding team having possession of the quaffle.
Penalty Shoot Out
So, we’re going loose on our definition of a game here, but people tend to enjoy this one.
Set up three goal hoops, and around it, set out a “keeper area” (Slightly smaller than the area used in a game of quidditch) that encircles the hoops. A keeper will be stationed by the goals, their job is to block shots aimed at the hoops (very complicated concept at play here).
Outside of the keeper area, there will be one or more chasers with a quaffle, their aim is to score goals by either shooting or passing to their partners who are in a better position to score. Tis a very simple little game to get chasers running about and keepers working on their reactions.
You don’t need a diagram for this.
Finally, we have possibly the most competitive stress inducing game we have. This game works on your accuracy, short sprints and pressure management. The idea of this game is that players in sequence take it in turns to take a shot at the hoops, being knocked out if the person behind you manages to score before you do.
Again, we have a nice simple set up, just set up three hoop goals, and then on either side, set three cones at about a distance of 2 or 3 meters between each cone. Start all your plays behind the first cone on one side of the hoops, with the first player and second in the queue with a quaffle.
Once the first player has thrown their quaffle, the game begins. If they manage to score, they must sprint to their quaffle and pass it to the next in line, before going to the back of the queue to get back into the rotation. If they miss the goal, they must sprint to the quaffle and then to the corresponding cone on the other side of the hoops to attempt another shot. For every missed shot, the player can move to the next closest cone to the hoops to attempt to score again.
The second player in the queue may start to attempt to score the moment the first has thrown their quaffle. If they miss, they take the same actions as the first player until they score. But if they score before the player in front of them manages a goal, they knock that player out. Be aware of the player behind you though, as they can knock you out in the same way.
The game ends when all bar one player has been knocked out.
We hope that some of these game ideas help you with your trainings, either by helping you with a jumping off point to make your own games or by just having some fun with the ones we’ve provided. If you have some games for quidditch training that we’ve not talked about, why not leave it in the comments for others to see!