The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and the first hint of frost is in the air. It’s time for cozy sweaters, apple cider, pumpkin spice donuts, and of course football – flag football, that is!
You may have grown up watching standard heavy tackling American football, but its flag offshoot is becoming popular in its own right. The United States Flag & Touch Football League has been around for over four decades and the NFL even got in on the action with the creation of NFL Flag powered by USA Football. Flag football recently became one of the newest sports to make its way into the Special Olympics.
If you are familiar with standard American football, you’ll pick up on flag football pretty easily. Rules vary somewhat from league to league, so you’ll definitely want to brush up on the specifics for the league you’ll be watching or your child will be playing in.
The majority of the rules for flag football are pretty similar to standard American football. Points are scored mainly by advancing the ball across the field over a series of downs and reaching the other team’s end zone in one possession to score a touchdown.
The biggest differences between traditional and flag football of course revolve around the flags themselves as well as the level of physical contact allowed. Each player wears a flag belt around his or her waist. Instead of a play ending with the ball carrier being tackled, the play ends when the ball carrier’s flag belt is removed by a defender. Blocking rules vary by the league with “no contact” leagues not allowing any blocking at all and “contact” leagues generally sanctioning chest only blocking.
Unlike most standard football teams, flag football teams are often co-ed with boys and girls playing together. They see more minor injuries like scrapes than serious ones like the concussions that traditional football has become known for.
Participation in flag football is about so much more than just the game. It helps athletes to develop both physical and social skills in a supportive, team-oriented environment.
Flag football teams hold regular practice sessions which help athletes to get consistent physical activity and develop a healthy, active lifestyle. Along with learning to play a sport, team members strengthen their bodies and enhance their motor skills. Practice sessions provide a focused, structured way for athletes to get a good workout and build their athletic skills.
From a social perspective, interaction with teammates facilitates the building of interpersonal skills. As they train together, players develope a sense of camaraderie which often leads to the formation of lasting friendships. Being a part of a team imbues athletes with a sense of purpose and an inner confidence which can translate to other areas of life.
Ready to learn more and to watch a flag football game up close and personal? The state tournament is held towards the end of October. Contact me if you have more questions and how to register for the 2019 season.