Who else’s kids have spent far too much time inside, on computers, over the last year? Anyone else ready to get their kids out of the house for some fresh air and exercise as safely as possible this spring? How about signing them up for a National Flag Football team?
Why Flag Football?
Do you like football? Do you gather with family and friends to watch your favorite NFL teams each fall? Flag football is a fun, safe and competitive outlet for kids. They get great exercise and learn the fundamentals of football without the worry of contact or heavy equipment.
Teamwork + Leadership
It also teaches amazing teamwork and leadership skills. Not a single play in the game focuses on only one player. Each play, each down, each score is the result of everyone on the field working together. It teaches leadership through running plays, cheering on your team and practicing good sportsmanship toward opponents, referees and teammates.
Coaching + Discipline
Players must listen to their screened and trained coaches and learn the plays to help their team succeed. It’s much more than kids running around with a ball. It takes dedication, focus and the ability to work with others. These are life skills every parent hopes to instill in their children. And we all know that hands-on learning is always better than simply talking about it, right?
Most important, perhaps, is that flag football is flat-out fun — for players and their families.
Minimal Time Commitment
It is a perfect sport for working families. National Flag Football teams commit to two hours, once a week. Practice and games are on the same day.
All the benefits of a team sport without nightly practices and back-to-back-to-back weekend games? Yes, please. This one-day-a-week program is for boys and girls, ages 4–14. It’s a 7-week season with practices and games either on Saturdays or Sundays.
National Flag Football is America’s largest NFL flag football league provider with 131 leagues in 13 different states. Registration includes an NFL team flag jersey and flag belt to keep.
Strict Safety Protocols
As a leader in the kids’ sports arena, NFF has been working closely with federal, state and local health officials to determine the best ways to keep players safe. Those protocols are fluid. If circumstances change, NFF is nimble and will shift, as needed.
In other words, safety comes first.
“Decisions made today may not be same as tomorrow,” according to the Return to Play Protocols document on their website. It’s updated regularly.
Below are the general guidelines for all of their leagues, as of publication. States and counties may have additional mandates that leagues will follow.
Prior to arriving at the fields:
- If anyone has a fever of 100.3 and above, cough, sore throat or is not feeling well or has been in contact with someone with these symptoms, please keep them home.
- Limit the number of spectators to no more than 2 per player.
- Wash or sanitize hands before arriving.
- Wait in your car until your team’s practice/game is scheduled to begin.
- Have your child bring his/her own labeled water bottle and avoid sharing.
At the fields:
- Families will receive a field layout, designating areas for each team’s game and practice.
- Spectators should observe 6-foot social distancing practices. Masks are recommended (and may be required in some states).
- Hand sanitizer will be available and staff will wipe down high traffic areas often.
- No Food/gum/sunflower seeds on the fields.
- Avoid high fives, celebratory hugs, and other forms of contact.
- Staff & Officials will be required to wear masks at all times.
After the game:
- Players should refrain from physical contact with others. A “round of applause” can take the place of the handshake line.
- We are discouraging the team snack.
- Please exit the fields as soon as possible after your game and avoid congregating in groups near the fields or in the parking lot.
- Questions or concerns? Reach out to the operations coordinator for your league.
- If your participant, or anyone who attends games, tests positive for Covid-19, please reach out to your operations coordinator to make them aware.
- If someone in the league tests positive, we will ask that they stay home for 2 weeks. We will also inform the league of the case by email.
- If the season is cancelled due to COVID-19, this link explains the refund policy.
The Return To Play recommendations were drafted with input from local high school athletic association guidelines, the Aspen Institute, the Play Sports Coalition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NFL FLAG and others.
National Flag Football Registration
Spring season begins in March in most locations. Early registration deadline is February 1. Register online at www.NationalFlagFootball.com or call 877-866-FLAG.
Find a local league here.