There is one thing all great players have in common: they practice the fundamentals of their sport. Youth sports director, Kyler Campbell shares some of his favorite drills for flag-football coaches to incorporate into their practices. From footwork to receiving, these drills are designed to help players build their skills and improve their game.
Create a straight line (or find one). Have the kids do bunny hops, one-footed hops, scissor steps, and “two-in, two-outs” as they move down the line. The line should have a start and endpoint. For more advanced players, stand at the end of the line and toss them a football when you blow the whistle - this teaches them to adjust focus quickly.
This is a drill to help build/test agility. Space three cones five yards apart from each other forming a right angle (or ‘L’ shape). The player will start with one hand on the ground next to the first cone and run to the middle cone, touch it and run back to the first cone. Then the player will run to the far cone (making sure to run around the outside of the middle cone forming an ‘L’ shape) and then back to the first cone.
Space three cones 5 yards apart. Players start at the middle cone and run 5 yards either way to touch the first cone, then they run 10 yards to the opposite cone, then 5 yards back to the middle. Hence the name 5-10-5.
Shuffle Reaction Drill
Have the kids stand in a horizontal line facing you. Make sure they are spread out. Hold a football in your hand. Kids shuffle left or right based on where you point the ball. Hold the ball on the ground and the kids should fall flat on the ground. When you lift the ball back up they should jump back up as fast as possible. Lastly, you blow the whistle and they should sprint to you.
Connect the Dots
In this drill, the player will be acting the part of a running back. Always make sure they hold the ball properly to start building that muscle memory. When the drill starts the kid will run diagonally forward to the right. At this point, you will throw a cone down in the direction they are running. When they get to the cone they can make a cut and change directions. This drill is great for all ages and teaches the kids how a running back needs to move and react.
Around the Clock
This first drill is to teach kids how to catch a football at different spots. So you will just be throwing the ball above their head, then to the upper right, lower right, lower middle, lower left, upper left. See! Around the clock!
Catching Around A Pole
Have the kid stand behind a pole. Any object can work as a pole as long as it blocks their chest yet they are still able to reach around it. The child will rest their shoulder against the pole. You will throw them passes and they must catch the ball while keeping their arms around the pole. This drill teaches kids to go out and get the ball instead of letting it hit their chest.
YMCA flag football is a recreational program designed for players new to the sport of football as well as those not quite ready for tackle football.