While Flag Football is not an official Special Olympics sport, it has emerged as one of the fastest growing sports in the state and was classified as a recognized sport in 2013.
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.
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
- Defensive drills; One-on-one, flag pulling
- Rushing the quarterback
- Scrimmage – 22 minutes
- Basic plays, no defense (running the play on air)
- Introduce defense
- 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!