Flag football is a great sport for any age. It is an ideal way to get in shape but also have fun without receiving too many injuries. While some may take it rather seriously, many leagues see it as a social activity. For those that are new to this sport, here are a few key aspects of the game that you should start working on. Once you have these mastered, you should have no trouble on the pitch.
If you aim to be the quarterback, throwing is key. This will take time and practice so it is best to make sure you have the right technique before practicing too much in order to avoid solidifying bad habits. Make sure your grip, positioning of hands and shoulders, motion and release are fluid and technically accurate. Your non-throwing shoulder should be aimed towards the target and the elbow of your throwing arm needs to be kept tight to the body with the ball up next to the ear. As a quarterback, you also need to practice routes with your receiver and practice throwing to where they will be, not where they currently are.
As a quarterback, you will also want to practice a clean snap with the center. While it may seem simple enough, you should always practice this before a match.
When attacking, shorter routes can often be more effective and safer than long routes. This is a way to get into a rhythm as a team, wear down the defense and eventually find a gap. Long passing routes are ideal when the defense is caught off-guard and you want the ball moving quickly. The best offense is able to do a mix of both routes when appropriate.
Defensively, one of the most important things you must be able to do is to pull a flag. Start by training with someone on the team and have them run past you and see if you can grab the flag. Note though that if you miss the flag but still hang on to another part of their kit, you will be penalized.
Every player should know how to catch a football. When receiving, create a triangle with your two hands between the index finger and thumbs. As the ball is coming towards you, keep the arms away from your body and keep soft hands so you can absorb the throw and be less likely to fumble. As soon as it is caught, tuck the ball safely away.
Learn how to play both types of defense. Man-to-man defense is usually done when you have a team of fewer than five people unless the field is extremely small. Zonal defense is what is used in larger teams. This is just the opposite of man-to-man where rather than marking one person, you are covering a zone.
When a player is running towards you, don’t get distracted by their fancy footwork or where they are looking. Stay focused on their hips. Hips never lie. Always remember to stay low and in front of the ball carrier. This will make it so they will have to go around you, giving you time to grab their flag. But never wait for them flat-footed. They will come at your at top speed and run straight past you. Lastly, if you are the one rushing the quarterback, consider keeping your hands up as a way to obscure their vision. Block with your hand that mirrors their throwing hand while you grab their tag with the other. Unlike other offensive players, look at the quarterback’s eyes to anticipate where they are throwing. Hopefully, you will eventually get a few lovely interceptions. Have fun.