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Kittitas County Flag Football

Kittitas County Flag Football

Food for Thought

The players and their parents have placed you in a position of leadership, and you have a responsibility to give them your best effort. Additionally, this football experience will play a significant factor in determining whether the players continue participating in football. If you follow the coaching guidelines and general principles below, you should have a great season!

Coaching Tips 
Whether you are an experienced coach or a novice taking the reins of your first team, your main goal should be to create a fun and safe learning environment for your players. Many of the skills your players will practice and play with are just like those of their NFL heroes. Feel free to emphasize this connection to the real-life game! 
Everybody Plays 
The game of flag football was designed to make it easy for every player to participate in their team's success. While size and skill certainly come into play when the action starts, your coaching should emphasize this aspect of "working together.” 
Tackle Tackling Early 
Don't let your practices dissolve into a giant pile of rambunctious kids. For both their safety and your sanity, make sure to discourage any tackling or roughness early on. Remind them that they won't help their team in a game by tackling or being rough. 
Sportsmanship Rules! 
Help your players be good sports. After a game, shake hands or high-five the other team. Applaud good play by both sides. Treat officials with respect. While imitating you, your team won't even recognize the good lesson they’re learning. 
Let Them Play Football! 
The temptation to be another Don Shula or Bill Walsh will have to wait. This is NFL FLAG. While teaching football skills and strategies is important, keep your lessons as simple as possible. As your team grasps the basics, move on to more advanced ideas. Overloading young players with too much information too early can cause confusion for them and headaches for you. 
Have Fun! 
We thank you for your volunteer service. NFL FLAG couldn't happen without you. Have a blast with these kids. This season may become a lifetime memory for both you and all your team. Have fun!  

Ten Coaching Guidelines 

A coach should be enthusiastic without being intimidating. They should be sensitive to the children's 
feelings and genuinely enjoy spending time with them. A coach should be dedicated to serving children and understand that football provides physical and emotional growth for its participants. Remember, NFL FLAG is for the children. 
1. A coach needs to realize that they are a teacher, not a drill sergeant. They should help children learn and work to improve their skills. Personal gains are never a consideration. The job does not depend on winning. The best interest of the child transforms into the best interests of the game. 
2. The safety and welfare of the children never can be compromised. A coach will consider these factors above all others. 
3. Be patient. Don't push children beyond limits in regards to practice. Children have many daily pressures – the football experience should not be one of them. Playing football should be fun. 
4. Care more about the players as people than as athletes. The youth football program is a means to an end, not an end in itself. 
5. A coach should encourage players to dream and set lofty goals. It is important to remain positive and refrain from discouraging remarks. Negative comments are remembered far more often than positive affirmations. 

6. Remember that the rules of the game are designed to protect the participants, as well as to set a standard for competition. 
7. Never circumvent or take advantage of the rules by teaching deliberate misconduct. A coach who puts his or her opponents' team at risk should not be involved with children. 
8. Be the first person to demonstrate good sportsmanship. Take a low profile during the game and allow the kids to be the center of attention. 
9. Parents and players place a lot of trust and confidence in the coach. The coach has an important role in molding the athletic experience of the child. 
10. A coach can measure success by the respect he gets from his or her players, regardless of victories or defeats. Children who mature socially and physically while participating in sports are the best indication of good coaching. 

Be Organized and Prepared

Some coaches might think, it’s just recreational flag football, I’ll wing. Well, I would recommend that you come prepared. With my history coaching at a competitive level, I have found that having a practice plan makes all the difference in the world. Of course, you can adjust practice depending on what is happening, how many players show up to practice, how the drills are going, but going in prepared helps you get the most out of your time and helps the athletes learn more.

Get Help Coaching

If possible, find help. Talk to a friend or the parents and see if you can get an extra hand to make practice go more smoothly. This will allow the team to break out into smaller groups during drills. The athletes will get more reps, learn more, have more fun, and so will you.

Keep Talking to a Minimum

Young athletes, even old ones, get bored if you talk, talk, talk. Of course, you need to talk about the schedule and your expectations, relay concepts, share fun antidotes and explain drills, but if you only have an hour or two of practice, make good use of it. Don’t have the athletes standing and listening to a ton. This is where having a practice plan helps keep your schedule going and the talking to a minimum.

Keep Athletes Moving

When scheduling your practice, keep the periods for each drill relatively short. I set 5-10 minutes depending on the drill. The first time you run a drill, you will need a little extra time to explain how to run it and the concepts around it, but once the athletes get the activity down, you can move quickly between drills. It’s a win-win. They learn more and have more fun.

Teach the Fundamentals

I wanted the boys to learn skills that would help them if they went on to play tackle football or simply other sports. I taught them proper alignment and stance, how to carry the ball, throw the ball, catch the ball, snap the ball, handoff/exchange the ball, basic run routes, proper stance, pursuit angles, containment, footwork, back peddling and breaking down, flag pulling and defense.


Check out these links for drill ideas:

10 Best U8 Flag Football Drills

10 Best U6 Flag Football Drills

Keep It Simple

Especially when a team is young, I recommend keeping it simple. Keep the drills simple and keep the plays simple. As the season progresses, read how your players are doing and increase the skill level of drills as needed. The coaches were allowed in the huddle when I coached, so I put together several laminated cards with our basic sets. What I used was similar to what can be found at Flag Football Playbook. Mine were even more simple, but this will get you started.

By the time our team started playing games, all of our players had understood the basics and had learned about all positions. We had five players on the field at a time. With one at center and one at quarterback, we were left with three players for the other positions. We would either put all three on the line for running routes or have two on the line with one back to run (usually a sweep). When we would get in the huddle, I would pull out a card and tell the other three boys their positions. Some coaches set up a color codes system. I would recommend doing what works best for you depending on the level of your players, just build off the basics.

Involve All The Players

Not everyone will always get to play all positions, but it’s recreational football so all players should get time in the game. I talked to the players, saw where they wanted to play, and matched that to where they had more ability. For example, if you have a player who can’t catch the ball well, have them run the ball a little more or use them with shorter pass routes. And they can’t all play quarterback all the time, so you will probably have two or three who play that position more than others. The rest will spend more time at center, wide receiver and running back positions. Work with your athletes so that they learn and are ready to play different positions. Work with them to find success.


Always be positive. This is a learning experience. I had some boys who had never played football before and others who had been throwing a football for a majority of their lives. It’s important to have the teamwork together to encourage one another. It’s amazing how much it helps a young athlete to have their coach, as well as other teammates, encourage them when they are learning.

Make It Fun

Having a practice plan helps make things run more smoothly, which usually means more fun. One thing to remember is to keep your athletes moving; they will have more fun if they are not standing around. Use your athlete’s competitive spirit to get the team’s energy flowing. Set up relays with some of the drills you are working on.

Use your imagination. Break into teams and set up cones depending on what you’ve put together in your practice plan. It could be a simple as having the teams line up the goal line, then when you blow the whistle, the first person in line picks up a football and runs it to the 10 yard line and sets it down. Then they back peddle to a cone on the 20-yard line. Maybe you have them do a pushup or two or three or ten here. Then have them sprint to pick up the ball and pass it to the next player on their team standing in line at the goal line. Use basic skills you’ve been working on to a make a relay.

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