Flag Football

Game On: Learn about the divisioning process that differentiates Special Olympics from other sport organizations.

SONC offers three types of flag football competition: individual skills, 5-on-5 traditional team and 5-on-5 Unified Sports team.

Individual skills competition allows Special Olympics athletes to develop sports skills in a competitive format designed to serve as a stepping stone to team competition. The indvidual skills offered for flag football are catching, throwing for accuracy, throwing for distance, and flag pulling.

5-on-5 traditional team competition is played on a modified flag football field with a youth football.

5-on-5 Unified Sports teams pair Special Olympics athletes with persons without intellectual disabilities of similar age and ability on a team.

Click here to find your coach certification status.

Tips for Planning Practice

1 Hour practice:

  • Warm—up/Stretch/introduction – 8 minutes
  • 3 skills to work on – 10 minute each
    • During skill introduction, that is when they can take water
    • Handing ball off, catching ball, passing, running and changing direction
    • Snapping
    • Defensive drills; One-on-one, flag pulling
    • Rushing the quarterback
  • Scrimmage – 22 minutes
    • Basic plays, no defense (running the play on air)
    • Introduce defense
    • Play
  • Review & stretch

Things to know:

  • Don’t spend too much time scrimmaging
  • No lines!
  • Use the internet to search for drills that include at least 10 people (YouTube)
  • Keep plays simple and straightforward 

Make sure practices are:

Realistic – keep it simple!
Inclusive – keep everyone involved; ultizlize assistant coaches to help
Structured – come prepared and with a plan
Equitable – it’s ok to have athletes change positions and mix it up!

Always communicate with your local coordinator if you are interested in submitting registration for an event.

Invitational Registration Forms

2019 NIRSA Flag Football Regional

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington will be the host site for the 2019 NIRSA Region II 28th Annual Southern Atlantic Flag Football Championships on Saturday, November 23!  This year, Special Olympics Unified Campus Recreation teams and Traditional (all Special Olympics athletes) teams are invited to compete in their respective divisions in this tournament!  Special Olympics North Carolina teams (Unified Campus Rec and Traditional) will not have a registration fee!  Registration will be posted once available, but please feel free to contact for more information!


Athletes and partners also have the opportunity and are encouraged to participate in various local invitationals. Check the flag football sport calendar for upcoming invitationals being hosted by local programs.

Local programs are also encouraged to host and invite neighboring counties to participate in invitationals, scrimmages, or leagues.  Click here for some basic steps on how to get started.  If you are interested in hosting an invitational you can also contact the sports department at

About Flag Football:

Differences of Special Olympics North Carolina Flag Football:


By the Numbers: 

Sport Development Teams (SDT) are responsible for assisting with local and state-level programs and competition, educating coaches and officials, and promoting active engagement among athletes throughout the year.  Click here for more information.

Steven Lechner

Kevin Roberts

Certified Clinicians receive additional training in presentational skills to conduct training schools in their community.  In order to become a Certified Clinician one must have a Special Olympics North Carolina level 2 sport certification in this sport.

For more information on becoming an SDT member or a Certified Clinician, contact

Find out if this sport is offered in your community

Become an Athlete or Unified Partner

Special Olympics North Carolina offers sports training and competition in 19 Olympic-type sports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  Learn more on how to become an athlete.

Become a Unified partner and play on a team alongside athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Become a Coach

Combine knowledge and passion for a sport by becoming a Special Olympics North Carolina coach to lead athletes in preparing for local and state-level competition.

Become a Volunteer

Serve a crucial role at Special Olympics North Carolina by volunteering at our office or one of our many events throughout the year. Check out our home page for these volunteer opportunities.

Share Your Sport Knowledge

Officiate for Special Olympics North Carolina by donating your time as a sports official.  Contact for more information.

Sport Development Team members (SDT) are active volunteers who channel their passion and knowledge for a sport into effective leadership for local and state programs.  

Certified clinicians supplement the SDT by providing coaches training in their community.  Click here for trainers.

For more information on getting involved, contact