Youth flag football rules made simple so you can get a game going in no time. See Part 1 for the basics about object of the game, playing area, equipment, starting play, playing the ball, and scoring.
In Part 2 learn the rest of the basic rules below along with some easy ways to modify the rules so anyone can learn how to play flag football.
The game lasts 44 minutes and is split into two 22-minute halves. The clock runs continuously during the entire first half and during the first 20 minutes of the second half. During the last 2 minutes of the game, the clock is stopped when the ball is dead.
If the game is tied at the end of regulation time, an overtime period is played.There is another coin toss called by the home team to determine who will get the ball and which way each team will go.
Each team will have a chance to score from the 10-yard line with a series of 4 downs. If the score is still tied after each team has had an attempt to score, the process is repeated until there is a winner.
A player may not contact a pass receiver in an attempt to keep him from catching the ball. Also, a pass receiver can't be touched or have his flag pulled before he catches the pass.
It isn't pass interference if 2 players make a simultaneous and genuine attempt to catch or knock down a pass. If the pass interference by the defense is intentional, the defense is penalized 10 yards.
Players are not allowed to:
It is legal to obstruct an opponent without using any part of the body to make contact. The blocker must have their hands and arms at their sides or behind their back.
Screen blockers cannot use their arms, hands, elbows, legs or body to initiate contact. If they do, they are called for a personal foul.
Screen blockers may not:
Stiff arming (extending your arm rigidly in order to fend off an opponent) is not allowed and is considered a personal foul.
A defensive player is not allowed to hold, grab, or obstruct the forward movement of a runner with the ball when attempting to pull the runner's flag.
A dead ball marks the end of a down. The ball becomes dead when:
When a ball is kicked out of bounds, it is placed at the point where it crossed the sideline.
If a player with the ball runs out of bounds, the ball is placed in the center of the field at the point where he went out of bounds.
Depending on the number of players you have, the age and skill level of the players, the type of equipment you have, and the playing area that's available, you will probably need to modify the flag football rules to fit your needs.
If you have players with disabilities, Special Olympics has a wonderful Flag Football competition for players of different skill levels. Click here to find the flag football rules for their events.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
These are just a few of the ways you can you can modify the basic flag football rules to fit your circumstances. I've had plenty of fun pick-up football games with just a handful of players on the street in front of my house.
That's one of the great things about learning how to play flag football. The rules can be as flexible as you need them to be!
Find more fun kids sports activities that include modified football games.