Flag football is an exciting game which can be enjoyed by men, women and children of all ages. While promoting teamwork and strategy, the game also includes many natural health benefits.
While some players don�t care about the final score, being successful at flag football can make the game more enjoyable for everyone involved.
For this reason, I�ve decided to put together a list of flag football tips.
Even following half of these suggestions should translate into added success on the field.
Develop a Strategy – When playing flag football, there�s more to the game than just raw athleticism. In fact, a team with a good strategy is often likely to beat a group of superior athletes who lack a plan.
For example, it�s important to go for first downs instead of focusing just on scoring. Establishing a rhythm and methodically moving down the field will wear down the defense both mentally and physically. This can be accomplished through short passes, running plays and an occasional trick play or long pass thrown into the mix.
Experiment – Early in the season, your team should experiment with various plays to see what works best. A few weeks into the season, you should have determined what�s best for your team. You can then concentrate on perfecting these plays throughout the rest of the season, which will serve you especially well once the league playoffs roll around.
Throwing a Spiral – One of the most important skills for a quarterback, throwing a spiral allows for more accurate passes with greater velocity. To throw a tight spiral, first hold the ball near the back with your fingers over the laces. Keep your throwing elbow tight to your body, with the ball held up near your ear. When you�ve found your target, point your non-throwing shoulder in that direction. Then throw the ball by allowing it to spin off your fingers. Be sure to follow through with the throwing motion for maximum efficiency.
Pulling the Flag – One of the most important flag football tips concerns learning how to pull the flag from the opponent. It might sound simple, but shifty opponents can often be difficult to catch. If you can get in front of the ball carrier, he or she will have to go around you, thus giving you more time to grab the flag.
It�s also important not to stand flat-footed and wait for the ball carrier; meet them as early as possible to prevent them from building up too much momentum. Watch the hips of the ball carrier and not their feet or head. The hips will show which direction they�re heading, while other parts of the body might be used to fake you out in one direction or another.
Timing – Timing is an important skill for quarterbacks to master, and it can make the difference between an average season and a flag football championship. Ideally, the quarterback wants to throw the ball so that it arrives to the receiver just as they make their cut. If a quarterback can master this with a few routes, he will be very dangerous on the flag football field.
This skill also involves leading the receiver. Remember, you want to throw the ball where the receiver will be, not where he or she currently is. Since different receivers move at different speeds, this is a skill which is perfected through practice with your teammates.
Zone Defense – When your team doesn�t have the ball, you might want to consider a zone defense. In this defensive scheme, each defender is responsible for a certain section of the field, covering any opposing player who enters into this area. This allows defenders to keep an eye on the quarterback and receiver at the same time, and they can also try to anticipate where the receiver is heading and beat them to the spot.
Catching a Pass – When catching a pass in flag football, it�s important to keep your eye on the ball at all times. As the ball heads in your direction, form a triangle with your hands using your index fingers and thumbs. Try to keep the ball away from your body, and remember to tuck it away after the catch to avoid fumbling.
Rushing the Quarterback – Some flag football teams make the mistake of using leftover players to rush the quarterback. Instead, you should utilize your most athletic players to generate a consistent rush against the offense. This will disrupt their timing and prevent them from scanning the field for too long.
Play Action Pass – With the play action pass, the quarterback pretends to hand the ball off, but he then drops back and makes a pass. This will often distract the defensive backs for a second, allowing the receivers to get a bit of separation. In most cases, it�s best to set it up by running a few rushing plays.
Rotating Players – If your team has lots of players, figuring out a rotation can be a real headache. It�s recommended that you avoid having a team of starters and then another team of back-ups. Instead, try to rotate in players of all skill levels, as this allows everyone to enjoy the game. It�s also pointless to put in a team comprised entirely of your less talented players.
Long Passes – While short passes are an effective way of moving down the field and demoralizing the opponent, long passes are also an excellent option on offense. Often, a series of short passing plays and rushes will cause the defense to be off-guard for the long bomb.
Making Adjustments – While it�s best to plan ahead for a game, your plan needs to remain flexible. What if you�re dealing with a shifty quarterback? Then you�ll need to come up with a way to neutralize him. The same goes for a team that hardly runs the ball or has a dominant defense. Whatever the opponent�s strength, be sure and try to find a way to counter it.
Man-to-Man Defense – In this defensive scheme, each defensive player is responsible by covering on opposing player. When playing this type of defense, it�s important to leave some cushion between yourself and the receiver. Otherwise, you run the risk of the receiver getting behind you for a big gain.
Using the Lateral – In most leagues, the ball is whistled dead when it touches the ground. For this reason, I would encourage teams to use the lateral pitch as much as possible. Right before a player has his flag pulled, he can pitch the ball back to a teammate. If the pitch falls to the ground (a fumble in regular football), the play will simply be over. Do not try this very often if a ball on the ground is still considered a �live ball.�