Parents and guardians play a fundamental role in organized youth sports. With the support and encouragement of parents, children have an opportunity to enjoy participating in sports, gain numerous physical and psychological benefits from their involvement, and reach their full athletic potential. However, parenting children in sports is not always an easy task, hence why we put together this guide. With this information, we believe that all parents and guardians will have a chance to optimize their involvement in their children’s sports and, most importantly, provide their children with an opportunity to enjoy their sports participation.

What is Flag Football

Flag Football is a modified form of American football (Tackle) in which ball carriers are downed by pulling off a flag, loosely attached to a belt, rather than by tackling.

Youth Flag Football vs Tackle

A main point of contrast between flag football and tackle football is the level of contact that is allowed to occur between two opposing players, during a live play.

In youth flag football, no contact of any sort is allowed. Without the ability to tackle each other, the only way for a defender to end a play is by pulling the flag or removing the entire flag football belt of the ball carrier. The official will blow the whistle after this happens, the play will stop, and player on offense and defense will huddle up and prepare for the next play.

Incidental contact may occur, and if so, the official will speak with both players and check to see if there is an injury or any sort, before calling a penalty or resuming play.

Fuel Up For Game Day

Eating and drinking right are just as important as improving skills and practicing plays to be successful on the field. Get your child ready for game day with some simple nutrition tips:

Diet. A balanced diet with vegetables, fresh fruits and non-processed foods is preferred. Carb up 2-4 hours before he or she takes the field. 30 to 60 min before taking the field, have a small snack or sports drink ready for your child

Avoid fast food. Greasy foods such as hamburgers and french fries are hard to digest and can sit in the stomach while your child is active

Hydration. Water, fresh squeezed juice are drinks that will benefit your young athlete. We recommend staying hydrated before, during and after an activity.

Sports Physical

A Pre-participation Physical Evaluation (Recommended) is a commonly requested medical visit for amateur and professional athletes of all ages. This evaluation provides parents and physicians with vital information to make informed decisions about your child's health. Pre-participation Physical Evaluation’s are a key component to identifying and measuring the following areas: height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, vision, flexibility, range of motion, strength and heart conditions. We recommend before your child starts participating in sports, contact your physician to schedule an exam

Health Tips

Promote the importance of sleep and rest. Proper rest and recovery is an important aspect of your child’s overall play. A child that is sluggish or lethargic will be ineffective on the field and further may put himself or his teammates in danger.

Promote physical fitness and exercise even outside of organized sports. This will help your child be physically and mentally prepared for the activity.

Calisthenic exercises. Encourage push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and air squats. This will lay a solid fitness foundation.

Parents set the tone. When your child sees you making time for physical fitness, he or she will want to follow in your footsteps.

Prepare for the weather. As youth football is often practiced and played in the warmer months, be prepared with sunscreen. Also, stay hydrated by bringing extra water

Equipment Check

Specifically for flag football, parents and guardians should do a checklist of the equipment needed prior to the activity day. Here’s what we recommend bringing:

  1. Cleats/shoes - Football cleats is preferred. No metal spikes allowed. Regular shoes are allowed

  2. Shorts - Please ensure your child has shorts with no pockets. In flag football, having shorts with no pockets will prevent injuries when players are going for flags

  3. Jersey - Our organization will provide jerseys for the league. It is your responsibility to ensure your child brings their jersey each day of practice/game day

  4. Flag belt - Our organization will provide flags for your youth. Coaches will assist in instructing how they are put on.

  5. Mouthguards - mouthguards are optional. Our organization will provide mouthguards at the front desk upon request.

Learn to properly fit equipment. Ask your head coach to teach you how to fit equipment.

First Aid - Injuries and emergencies

In the event of an injury, please notify your coach. We recommend packing a small first aid kit with ice packs, gauze, bandages, athletic tape, and antibiotic ointment.

If there is a severe injury, please contact 911 and notify the league supervisor

During the practice or game

Communicating with the head coach. Talk to your child’s head coach about his progress. At practice, select the right time to talk- during water break or after practice is favorable. Focus on communicating with the head coach and assistant coaches. Never make a scene in front of players, parents or kids. If for any reason there is an issue with the coach, please communicate this to the league supervisor

Respect coaches. Youth football coaches do not get paid to coach, it’s purely for the benefit of the children. It’s important that parents allow the coaching staff to do their job.

Gossiping. Spreading silly rumors is always unnecessary. Nothing positive comes from gossiping therefore we recommend to avoid at all costs.

Respect the Referee. Avoid this, let the refs do their job. If there is a concern with the rules, please notify the league supervisor

Ask your family to attend games. Flag Football promotes quality family time. Get your family to the game and show support!

Wholeheartedly support your child. Encourage and be positive! Remind your child that he or she worked very hard in practice, eaten well and had proper rest. Game time is the time to show out.

Cheer the team. Be loud and proud in support of your team.

Be positive role model to other parents. Others will follow.

Have fun. The number one reason why kids play youth flag football is because it’s fun. Win or lose, you should thoroughly enjoy the experience of attending a youth flag football game.