Beginning with kids flag football is a great way to learn football in general, especially If your kids are not ready for physically tackling.
Flag football is less aggressive and intimidating for your children than tackle football, but a great way for them to learn some key components of the game.
Kids do not wear pads or helmets in flag football like they do in tackle football. Padding is not necessary since pulling the flag is how you tackle. There is very little physical contact.
While there is no intentional physical contact in kids flag football, there is still some physical contact.
The only protective gear they wear is a mouthguard, which is mandatory.
I recommend having a couple of mouthguards on hand in case one gets lost or forgotten before the game. They won't be allowed to play without their mouthguard!!!
As I mentioned on my tackle football page, my son Tucker was a little intimidated by the roughness of the tackling when he was only 8 years old. We tried him on a kids flag football team instead. He LOVED it!
In flag football, he learned the basic rules of the game without being afraid of getting hurt. He could focus on learning the plays and listening to the coaches without mental distraction.
Kids flag football can be played in the Spring and Fall.
There are three basic ways to join a kids flag football league, but we chose the YMCA route for our child. It seemed to be the easiest way to join a flag football league and very cost effective.
1. Simply go down to your local YMCA or recreation facility to sign up during the sign up time frame. You will pay the fee at that time, then all you do is wait for your coach to call you for the first practice.
Click here to find your own local YMCA. You can call them to ask about youth sports.
2. If you do not have a YMCA or local recreation facility in your area, try starting your own kids flag football league through nflflag.com.
3. You can simply search for "Flag Football League (your state)" in the Google search engine below to find a team or league close to you.
It's that easy!
My son, Tucker, played flag football for three seasons in a row before trying tackle football again with his school.
Flag football is a great entry sport to tackle football.
Your YMCA or local recreation facility will usually provide the jersey, socks and equipment needed to play the game.
Soccer cleats work just fine if they already have those.
The main goal in flag football is for a player to yank the flag off the belt of the player that is carrying the football to prevent them from gaining yards.
When the flag is pulled, the player is considered tackled and that play is over.
Pulling the flag from the player keeps them from advancing the ball further to their goal. Just like in tackle football, each team has four downs to get at least 10 yards.
Flag football is mostly a non-contact sport. With no tackling allowed in this sport, kids are not hurt as often.
That being said, there is still a chance of them getting hurt in this game. There is no guarantee in any sport that your child will not get hurt.
Will your kids get hurt playing flag football? Well that is the million dollar question...
No parent wants to see their kids get hurt...EVER!!!!
Overall... kids flag football is relatively safer than tackle football, because you have removed the tackling aspect.
There is still room for getting hurt when players fall over each other trying to get the flag. ...Remember, the players do not wear padding in this sport.
On a good note, without the pads and helmet, they
are not as likely to get heat exhaustion in the warmer months. Heat exhaustion is a very dangerous issue with playing tackle football.
In flag football they usually only practice once a week for about an hour. Tackle football requires practices at least 3 to 4 times a week for an 1 1/2 to 2 hours until they hit middle school.
Both my boys practiced every day after school in middle school and high school for football.
Which do your kids start first, flag of tackle?
Try just asking them first, but if they don't know or aren't sure take cues from their behavior.
My oldest son, Tucker, was a little more cautious than my middle son, Max, when it came to sports. Tucker mostly played soccer, flag football and basketball between the ages of 6 and 11. Max on the other hand played baseball, soccer, basketball and tackle football.
Do your kids like to run a lot? Are they agreessive or tough in nature? Are they timid and shy?
There is a sport for all types of kids. You might find that certain sports can bring your kids out of their shy spell and make them more outgoing and confident.
Whether you choose flag or tackle football they both provide lots of fun and are both great exercise.