you just have to spend the time brainstorming

Because of the nature of flag football people are often given the responsibility of coaching a team that knows little or nothing about the sport. Just because a person used to play tackle football doesn’t mean they can coach flag football. In fact , many times that’s a disadvantage. Flag football is not just tackle football with flags, it’s a completely separate sport with its own unique challenges.


Most coaches just copy what they did on their high school or college football team, but that’s a mistake. They end up doing a lot of things that are unnecessary and missing out on a lot of advantages that the unique flag football rules allow. Each league is different, with unique rules. The first thing you need to do is forget everything you think you know about football and start over from scratch. The second thing you need to do is to go over the rules of your league and get a full understanding of them. Brainstorm ways to take advantage of them.


If you do decide to carry over some things from tackle football, make sure you completely understand the concept of what you are doing. I’ve seen teams learn all sorts of complicated motions before the snap to add in to their plays. When I ask them why they do that they have no idea. What purpose do they serve? In tackle football you can utilize those motions to take advantage of your opponent’s specific schemes to create specific match ups that you want. There are a couple of other reasons as well, but they don’t apply to flag football. Now, there are a couple of ways you can take advantage of motions if you know what you are doing. But, if you don’t know 100% why you are doing something, don’t do it.


Plays vs System


The next thing you need to do is get a system for your offense and defense. There are several places online where you can get a bunch of random plays , but that won’t help you very much. Another common mistake most teams make is to just choose a handful of plays and think that’s sufficient. There’s a lot that goes into creating a system. The plays you choose need to have a purpose in your gameplan and you need to have as few plays as possible so you can perfect them. If you have more than 10-15 plays, there’s no way you can possibly execute them correctly. So, you need to be extremely efficient and comprehensive in your play selection.


You can’t have many plays, but you need to be prepared for whatever defense and adjustments your opponent makes. This takes a lot of thought. You also must think about how your plays work together, how you call the plays, how you audible, etc.


QB Reads


Most “plays” I’ve seen flag football teams use are severely lacking in their information. You can’t just have a diagram, route assignments and think you are ready to go. You must know exactly how to run each play against every type of defense you might face and how to counter any adjustments the opponent might make. QB reads consist of much more than just numbering the receivers in order of importance. The QB read is the key to making a play work versus any defense.


Draw a diagram of your play on a piece of paper and add in each type of defense you might see. Notice the difference between each situation and determine the best course of action for every one. You need to make sure the QB will always perform that action. Now you need to figure out how the QB can arrive at that action using the least amount of reads as possible, and each read must be easy to make. There’s no magic to it , you just have to spend the time brainstorming and using trial and error until you get it as efficient as possible. You can have the QB read a receiver, of course, but you can also have him read a specific defender. A lot of information can be gained by reading a defender if you know what to look for. It’s usually more effective than just reading receivers if you do it right.




A play is only as good as you execute it. You can have the best plays and QB reads in the world, but if they don’t run them right they won’t work. You can imagine how much time it must take to perfect just one play! There’s a lot to learn in each play and they need to be able to run it without having to think. They must practice it so much they can do it using only muscle memory. When you get into game situations it becomes difficult to think so they can’t rely on just brain memory. Practice each play with every type of defense and defensive adjustment so they know how to run it in every situation.


Start slow. Learn one read at a time and practice it through repetition until they get it down. Then go on to the next one. After they get that one, go back over the first one again because they will have forgotten it. Once you have gone over all the previous reads again, teach the next one. You’ll need to spend the first part of the next practice going over the play you learned the previous practice because they will have forgotten parts. Once they are able to run it perfectly, go back over all the other plays you’ve previously learned. Don’t introduce the new play until they are able to run all the others perfectly. Trust me, it’s better to have 4 plays that you can run perfectly than to have 20 that you can’t.