A lot of football players are moving to flag football this year, as COVID-19 limits contact sports. But coronavirus didn’t start this trend. Flag football has been on the rise for a few years, and for several reasons. In fact, a headline in the New York Times two years ago read, “The Future of Football Has Flags.” The article reported that, as of 2018, flag football had become the fastest-growing team sport in the country, attracting more 6-12 year-olds than tackle football.
Why the Switch?
Many experts believe that flag football is physically safer, especially for young and still developing bodies. Much of that is driven by concerns about concussion and resulting brain injuries, from pro sports on down to the youngest new players. There is no question that tackle football is, literally, harder hitting than the flag version of play. That said, kids can get injured playing flag football, too.
Drew Brees, one of NFL football’s all-time great quarterbacks, founded a flag football organization and coaches all three of his young sons. “Every parent looks at football now and has reservations,” he says, “I know I do. If parents feel like the only option is tackle, then there’s a danger that a whole generation of kids may never be introduced to the game.”
And now worries about spreading COVID-19 have changed the team sports landscape. While traditional tackle football is generally considered the highest-contact sport of all, flag football can be played with less contact. That makes it a more appropriate choice, allowing kids to play, build skills, have fun, and spend time with their friends while still observing basic distancing and other safety precautions. Kids like that, and parents and coaches do, too.
The North Carolina Fusion flag football organization is actively recruiting high school players whose tackle football seasons have been canceled for the year. As one player noted, “it’s an opportunity to stay in the game and still be looked at by college coaches.” By converting to flag, he can not only be seen, but be with his teammates and continue to compete.
Flag football is girl-friendly
Earlier this summer, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced that women’s flag football would now be an official sport, starting with “emerging” status and working toward becoming a full championship sport within a few years. NAIA has partnered with the NFL, which it credits for exciting exponential growth in the sport.
This month, the Atlanta Falcons are hosting their first Girls Flag Football Coaching Clinic, a two-day virtual affair. The free program covers how to build a program as well as game rules, fundamentals and offensive and defensive strategies.
The NFL calls it a “movement”
Did you know that the NFL has created its own NFL FLAG organization? It’s huge, already including 1,600 leagues with a half-million players across all 50 states -- boys and girls ages 5 to 17.
Flag or tackle, you gotta look good
Every team has to practice as well as play games. You need the right gear to do your best. And, no matter the age of your players, looking good matters, too. Branded practice apparel and uniforms help distinguish “sides” on the field, and they promote team spirit everywhere. As always, our SquadLocker team has made sure you can stock your online store for flag. We’ve got practice essentials packs for you, as well as uniforms:
- Solid men’s/youth pack (jersey short, socks, gaiter-style face covering)
- Reversible men’s/youth pack (reversible jersey, short in 2 colors, socks, face mask)
- Ladies pack jersey, short in 2 styles, socks, mask)
So your flag football store might look something like this.
Drew Brees says, “Flag is where I developed my love and passion for the game.” What parent doesn’t want to see their child develop a love and passion for something that promotes exercise, builds both teamwork and leadership skills, and gives provides such an enduring sense of camaraderie? Flag football could be just that thing for your child.
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