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North Bay NFL Flag Football

NFL Flag Official League

NFL FLAG FAQ

WHAT IS THE BEST AGE TO START PLAYING FOOTBALL?

Playing football helps children develop a sense of discipline, teamwork and responsibility. But when it comes to the best age to start playing, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

NFL FLAG offers non-contact programs for boys and girls starting at age 5 through 17 years old. Some families are ready to compete right away, while others wait a few years before participating. It really depends on the child and their personal development. 

Here are a few signs that may indicate your child is ready to join a flag football team: 

·         Physical development: Being a member on any sports team takes a certain level of coordination and gross motor skills. In flag football, coaches tailor their practice to each age group. For example, children aged 5-to 7-years-old learn the basics, while 8-to 10-year-olds focus on position-specific skills and are more emotionally mature. But in general, your child should have enough coordination to run up and down the field while holding a football or pulling a flag off an opponent.

·         Understand teamwork: One of the biggest benefits of organized sports is that children learn what it means to be a team member. This is especially true in football where there are so many moving parts and every player’s contribution counts. If you feel that your child is ready to understand sportsmanship and teamwork, they will gain a lot from joining a flag football team. 

·         Discipline: Playing on a team requires children to come to practice, learn the rules, listen to coaches, and participate in drills and other activities. They make a commitment to work hard and show up every week. And by doing so, they gain a sense of discipline. Parents should feel comfortable that their children can respond well to a structured team environment.

TACKLE FOOTBALL VS FLAG FOOTBALL

For some kids, flag football is a great way to test the waters first before deciding whether they want to play tackle football. They can develop their technical skills without the intimidating physical contact. Flag football is an inclusive sport and opens the doors to many players, including female athletes.  In fact, women's flag football is on track to become a sanctioned college sport.

However, many athletes still choose the tackle football route. Even though participation has dropped slightly, football is the most popular sport among high school boys, with over 1 million participants. And then, of course, there are families that let their children play both.

Every family’s situation is unique. The best way to make your decision is to analyze the data, interpret it based on your child’s needs, and then choose the right option for your family. To make it easier for you, we outlined the biggest differences between tackle football and flag football.  

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TACKLE FOOTBALL VS FLAG FOOTBALL?

The most notable difference between flag football and tackle football is, well, tackling. In flag football, contact is not permitted. Players wear flags and defenders are tasked with removing the flags in order to “tackle” their opponent. If the ball carrier can reach the goal line with both flags intact, he or she scores. That being said, you will find some forms of flag football that allow blocking; however, NFL FLAG is strictly non-contact. 

Here are a few other key differences: 

·         Number of players on the field: In general, there are fewer players on the field in flag football. The most common youth flag football leagues are 5 on 5 and 7 on 7. The field is also shorter to accommodate the smaller team size.  

·         Faster pace: Without tackling, flag football games are much faster paced. Think about it: less timeouts, no kick offs, less stoppage time— kids are flying out there. And as a result, the games are shorter than tackle football as well (usually an hour or less). 

·         Rules: To eliminate contact, you’ll find many differences between tackle football and flag football rules. For example, quarterbacks aren’t allowed to run with the ball in flag football. Diving, blocking, screening and fumbles aren’t allowed—once the ball hits the ground, it’s dead.

 

Why should my child play NFL FLAG?

Plain and simple, flag football is loads of fun. With fewer players on the field, there’s more engagement and a faster speed of play. Games are quick, competitive and every drive counts, especially in tournaments. It’s the version of football you loved playing in your backyard—why ever stop?

NFL FLAG is a fun and accessible non-contact program for girls and boys ages 5-17. Backed by the NFL with an emphasis on football fundamentals and community involvement, NFL FLAG empowers youth athletes across the nation.

 

What kind of time commitment should I expect?

With Practices/Games just once per week, many families easily squeeze flag football into their packed schedules. Typically, teams practice for about 45 minutes before their game, and then the game itself is usually an hour or less.

 

 

How do you play flag football?

The first rule of flag football is pretty straight forward: there’s no contact allowed. That includes tackling, blocking, and screening. 

Instead, players wear flags that hang along their sides by a belt. To “tackle” the person in possession of the ball, the opposing team needs to pull one or both of their flags off. 

This rule, along with several others, serve a single purpose: to keep players safe. From creating “no run zones” to eliminating fumbles, flag football rules are designed to create a fast-paced, engaging version of football without the physical contact. 

 

What equipment do I need to play flag football?

Flag football flags and belt. Players wear belts with flags that hang along their sides and opponents have to pull the flags off of the ball-carrier’s belt. Every player receives an official NFL FLAG football belt and flag football flags.

NFL FLAG team jersey. Every player also receives a team jersey upon registration.  

Shorts. It’s important to wear shorts that don’t have pockets. This allows the belt and flags to be visible at all times, avoiding unnecessary penalties. It also is a safety precaution so that fingers don’t get stuck when attempting to remove the flag.  

Mouthguard. This is the only protective gear that players wear. We recommend having a backup pair in your bag, just in case. 

Football cleats. Metal cleats are not allowed in flag football. 

Football gloves (optional). Some players prefer to use football gloves, which give extra grip to help control the ball. These aren’t required, though.

 

What are the benefits of playing flag football?

Flag football has a lot to offer, from co-ed leagues to competitive tournaments. Here are five important benefits for kids playing flag football:

1. No Contact: Flag football is a non-contact sport, meaning there’s no tackling, diving, blocking, screening or fumbles allowed. Therefore, players aren’t required to wear any heavy equipment, such as helmets and shoulder pads. This creates an approachable atmosphere where kids can learn how to play and develop their skills without the aspect of physical contact.   

2. Accessibility: Flag football is an incredibly inclusive sport and opens the doors to many players, including female athletes. In fact, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) plans to launch the first college sanctioned women’s flag football league in the spring of 2021. 

3.  Learn the fundamentals: There’s a common myth that flag football doesn’t prepare kids for tackle football—and that simply isn’t true. The basic fundamentals taught in flag football directly transfer to tackle, including catching, throwing, formations, routes, and defensive skills. For example, the way defensive players are required to square up their body and align their head and knees is the exact positioning needed to physically tackle an opponent.

4. Easy commitment: With most leagues only meeting once per week, many families happily squeeze flag football into their packed schedules. Typically, teams practice for about 45 minutes before their game, and then the game itself is usually an hour or less. Of course, some high-level competitive leagues offer more playing time, if that’s something you’re looking for.  

5.  It’s fun!: Plain and simple, flag football is loads of fun. With fewer players on the field, there’s more engagement and a faster speed of play. Games are quick, competitive and every drive counts, especially in tournaments. It’s the version of football you loved playing in your backyard—why ever stop?

 

 

North Bay NFL Flag Football

PO BOX 668 
Boyes Hot Springs, California 95416

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