The game of football is undoubtedly America’s most popular sport. It has a storied past and is a quintessential facet in the country’s culture and history. The future, however, of this classic game may be in trouble.
Concerns from parents, players, and coaches have led to a dramatic decrease in football team participation at the youth levels, which will be soon the next generation’s pro players, staff and fans. Fortunately, an innovative solution is emerging to help young players learn and play the game at a competitive level, while in a safe environment; Flex Football.
Changes in Youth Football
In recent years, parents have become increasingly concerned about their children transitioning from flag football to tackle football. This change is typical as children become preteens, but nationwide registration has seen a drastic decline as of late. The main apprehension that is dissuading families from joining is safety related. Several recent documentaries have highlighted the risks youngsters face during football, namely receiving concussions. While the technology for helmets and rules are slowly evolving to meet these risks, a large factor that makes play dangerous is the lack of skill and knowledge. Kids playing the sport have only been learning in practicing for several years, and although they may not mean to play in an unsafe manner, they may do so unintentionally. As they advance in the sport they learn how to play effectively, and in a way to keep themselves and opponents from harm, which is paramount in a sport that requires person to person contact. Ultimately, what youth football needs is something to bridge the gap from flag football to tackle football, teaching skills, allowing for safe play, and growing players ready for the next step as more mature athletes.
The Answer for Young Football Athletes
Enter Flex Football, a revolutionary new football program that is launching with the goal of bridging that gap between flag and tackle variations. As the name implies, Flex Football stretches between the two and adopts rules from each. Physical blocking is allowed but tackling and head contact is not. To down a player with the ball, an opponent touches the carrier with two hands or pulls their flag. Play style is more akin to tackle football, with running, passing, and rushing allowed, but only nine players for each team take the field. Fewer players on the field and altered rules mean that injuries are far less likely, especially to the head. Protection is still worn for players, but not the traditional pads and helmet ubiquitous in the sport. Cushioned helmets shoulder pads and a mouthguard are all standard equipment, that protect players from incidental contact.
This style of play may sound familiar, as it is how NFL teams practice in the offseason and between games. Their goals for practicing are to stay sharp, develop skills, and stay injury free. It is from the knowledge of professional practice sessions that spawned the idea of safer gameplay for kids. In fact, Flex Football was founded by former NFL players who want the legacy of the sport to continue in today’s youth, in a safe and competitive way. Look for more information, including nationwide camps at Flexfootball.com
Contact: National Flex Football league
Read Next: Bricks 4 Kidz