The Option of Playing Flag Football

By Jon Buzby | Posted 7/31/2020

It’s no secret that playing tackle football has been debated over in terms of spreading the coronavirus.

High schools and youth leagues around the country are starting to cancel or postpone their fall seasons – several colleges have done the same.   

For our youth players, if tackle football is not offered in their town this fall, it’s important to consider the option of playing flag football. Kids need to realize that playing any type of organized football is better than no football. That’s the message we parents have to deliver to them, and hopefully, their tackle football coaches will too.

USA Football has provided guidelines for Return to Youth Football 2020 for both styles of football. The reality is that if local youth football leagues are going to shut down for the fall, it’s the tackle component that is more likely than flag to be canceled.

If and when this happens, it’s important for kids to realize that they will benefit from playing flag football even if they’ve never participated in it before.

On offense, they will still be throwing, catching and receiving. They’ll be required to learn plays and execute them. Plus, they’ll get in shape.

On defense, they have to read the formation, hone-in on where the ball is going, and then execute a concise hand-eye coordination technique move to make the play. Some might even argue that pulling a flag from a moving runner is technically a more difficult play to complete than making a tackle. Learning to properly track a player and grab the flag helps with tackling technique if a player chooses to transition to tackle football later on.

My point is, by playing flag football, kids are going to become better players. After all, this will be the case even if tackle football is offered. But it might not be. And if it’s not, kids need to consider playing flag football, even if for just one season.

That’s where we parents come in, making sure that our players realize that playing flag football is good for them … and certainly much better than not playing football at all.  

Stay safe and healthy.

Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.


At USA Football, we've got your back as you begin to go back to the field. Our recommendations for a responsible return are here – guidelines, infographics, videos, checklists and more.