How to Grow Youth Participation in Flag Football
While youth participation in sports overall has declined 13% over the last decade, more kids than ever are getting involved with flag football. Using this momentum to kickstart growth across youth football means doing three things.
- Encourage more parents to enroll their kids in flag football
- Prevent kids from quitting flag football in favor of other non-football related activities or sports
- Prevent kids from lapsing out of football altogether by encouraging interested families to transition into tackle (in fact, about 35% of surveyed kids who quit flag start tackle.)
Here are some helpful talking points, interesting facts and figures, and considerations to help parents see for themselves.
Ten Reasons to Play Flag Football
Offers Inclusivity: Flag football is a great sport for both boys and girls of all ages – even the younger ones. There are no height or weight restrictions, making it a game everybody can play.
Forms Healthy Habits: Flag football represents a key tool in helping kids develop life-long healthy habits – instead of staying inside playing video games, flag gets them up, gets them out and gets them exercising.
Introduces Football: Flag football provides a natural entry point into the world of football, creating opportunities for kids to learn, engage and grow with the sport in a contact-free way.
Instills Sportsmanship: Flag football teaches kids what being a good ‘sport’ and team player looks like, emphasizing what it means to win and lose gracefully.
Celebrates Achievement: Flag football provides an avenue for kids to celebrate their achievements, from winning games, to growing their trophy collection, to tracking progress and improvement in skills.
Favors Flexibility: Flag football supports all skill levels and sports priorities – from having fun competition to learning the fundamentals of football to preparing for a transition into tackle football.
Teaches Teamwork: Flag football instills the critical value of teamwork and teaches kids how to play and interact well with others.
Builds Confidence: Flag football equips kids with the skills to build and grow their confidence levels both on and off the field.
Creates Community: Flag football fosters a welcoming and supportive community for kids to be a part of and grow with across their journey with the sport.
Promotes Fitness: Flag football encourages physical activity and healthy movement, ensuring kids spend quality time away from the screen.
Benefits of playing flag football
- Among surveyed parents of kids who play flag, teamwork was the #1 benefit associated with the sport.
- Over half of all surveyed parents agree that developing friendships with teammates helped contribute to their child’s love of the game.
- 72% of surveyed parents agree that flag football is useful and/or necessary before transitioning to tackle.
Barriers to playing flag football
- 30% of surveyed parents and 36% of surveyed current flag players have injury concerns.
- 64% of surveyed kids who lapse out of flag do so within the first year.
- 23% of surveyed parents of current flag players have concerns over coaching quality.
Answering Common Questions from Parents
Will my child be safe playing flag?
While flag is a contact-free sport, play can be physical and competitive. But we take active measures to ensure kids stay safe and healthy.
- Yearly health and safety trainings for coaches
- Consistent classes for kids on how to play the game properly and safely
- Enforcement of standard game rules
Can I trust the quality of coaches and staff?
Flag coaches and other staff members undergo consistent trainings to ensure all kids, no matter skill level, personality or goals, can find their place within the sport.
What if I’m not sure about flag vs. tackle?
While kids are more than welcome to start directly with tackle, playing flag first provides hands-on experience that emphasizes the foundations of the game. This sets kids up for success when making a future transition into tackle, where they’ll have the opportunity to step up the competition with other like-minded kids.
My child gets bored easily — will they enjoy flag?
Making the sport enjoyable and engaging for kids is a priority, especially during their first year. We offer exciting events like football camps, digital classes and at-home challenges to keep kids engaged with the game both on and off the field.
Start a League with NFL FLAG
NFL FLAG makes it easy to start a league. They provide dedicated support in setting up your league, the credibility of the country’s most reputable flag football organization, access to free marketing resources to grow your league and the freedom to set up and run your league according to the needs of your community.