What You'll Learn

Recognize the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge & social interaction.

What You'll Do

Start an official NFL FLAG football league or recruit teams from your school to join a league in your area. FLAG teams can include as few as five or as many as 10 players, so start a league in your own school or look for one that’s already in place in your community.

Why This Play

Get in the game and #PlayFootball! Looking to tie your Play to specific standards in education? SHAPE America has developed curricular materials specific to NFL FLAG football that can be used to meet grade-level outcomes for K–12 standards in elementary school, middle school and high school. Note that these materials are supported by the online curriculum mentioned in Spread the Word and available here.

Also see Shape's tips for teaching nutrition concepts in physical education.

FLAG Football can be a great way to get students — both boys and girls — involved in a fun physical activity that will really keep them moving! When done in a safe, “fun-first” and child-oriented way, organized sports have been linked to many positive effects on students. These can include improved concentration, improved weight control, minimized risk of some chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, less participation in some risky behaviors (particularly smoking and taking drugs), improved self-worth and decreased risk of depression (in girls)1. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) reports a growing interest in FLAG football among high school students, especially girls, with a 25% increase from 2014 – 2015 to 2015 – 20162.

Warm Up Activity Idea! Not quite ready for the full Play? Try this.

Organize some FLAG games during recess or PE classes. After students have learned the rules and had some time to play games, run a round robin or bracket tournament.

Host some games with parents vs. students, teachers vs. students, and teachers vs. parents to show how fun this sport can be!



Merkel, D. J., *Youth sport: positive and negative impact on young athletes. 2013. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine. Accessed January 21, 2019.

Walsh, D.,Girls’ participation in high school, FLAG football is up. 2016. West Virginia Huntington-Dispatch. Accessed January 21, 2019.

What to Do

There are three main steps to this Play: get organized and recruit, take care of logistics and launch your league. 

If a local league already exists, meet with its organizer(s) to discuss adding teams from your school. If a local league doesn’t exist, use this Play to get one started.

Step 1: Get organized and recruit

  • Visit the NFL FLAG website to find out how to start a league or register with an existing one so teams can get official NFL jerseys, footballs and FLAG belts. Keep an eye on FuelUpToPlay60.com for special offers!
  • Recruit coaches from teaching and coaching staffs and from interested family members or caregivers.
  • Recruit students to join teams. Have them sign up with friends and divide the recruits into teams, striving for fairness and balance of athleticism across all teams.
    • Ask your PE teachers if your Fuel Up to Play 60 team can present briefly on the fun and the physical activity benefits students will get from joining the league.
  • Be sure to encourage both girls and boys to participate. Note that one recent survey shows excitement and interest in FLAG is growing for both girls and boys — especially as the sport is promoted more among parents and students, and as girls learn more about the game.1

Credit: Sam Gordon
Credit: Sam Gordon

Step 2: Take care of logistics

Whether you join a local league or start one of your own, there are specific things you’ll need to get done:

Step 3: Launch your league

  • Have volunteer coaches meet with their teams to discuss practice schedules and expectations.
  • Work with coaches to create a game schedule.
  •  Then, create and distribute a schedule of NFL FLAG football league games for the season!


NFL FLAG Football Leagues for Girls: Survey of Middle School PE Department Chairs, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 2016. GenYOUth and MMS Education.

Who Can Help?

You are not in this alone. There are many people who can help make this Play a success. You’ll need help organizing teams, finding coaches and volunteer referees, scheduling games, and a host of other things. Here’s a list of people who can help with this Play and some specific ways they can do that.


  • Approve your plan to join or start a league and how you will reach out to the community and district athletic administration
  • Engage with coaches, teachers and your parent-teacher organization to get their support
  • Encourage student participation

PE Teachers/Coaches/ Athletic Director

  • Make FLAG a part of the school’s sports offerings
  • Work with other schools in the district or in nearby districts to make FLAG an official school sport
  • Volunteer to referee games


  • Participate in brainstorming and after-school activities
  • Encourage student participation
  • Help find volunteer coaches in the community


  • Assist with team recruiting and after-school activities
  • Encourage peers to participate


  • Encourage student participation
  • Help find volunteer coaches in the community
  • Volunteer to help with team coaching and organization
  • Volunteer to bring healthy snacks to games or practices

Build Interest

Here are some activities you can do to get students interested in FLAG football and start to involve the other adults you’ll need to do the full Play. 

  • Work with your PE teachers and Fuel Up to Play 60 student group to set up some after-school football skills and drills activities, either during the lunch period, or before or after school.
  • Set up a way to have students watch these FLAG football videos at lunchtime that highlight the fun, skills and excitement of the sport. Note: Scroll down the videos page for FLAG videos.
  • Enlist some volunteer coaches and have them take the NFL FLAG online coaching courses.
  • Provide parents and school adults with materials on the rules of FLAG and download the FLAG curriculum materials (elementary or middle school) for PE teachers to consider doing a unit on FLAG football in their classes.

Encourage girls to get involved. See what one NFL team has done to involve girls and women in the sport.

Share Your Results

Spread the word about NFL FLAG football.

  • Create posters to put up in high-traffic areas at school.
  • Send information home to families and advertise your program during morning announcements.
  • Consider putting up a bulletin board display that features the different teams formed in the school. After each game, highlight student efforts and successes in the school’s morning announcements.
  • Get the word out on your school’s website or blog, in your school newsletter and student newspaper and on social media! Share student stories, videos and pics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram tagging FUTP 60 (FB: @FuelUpToPlay60; TW and IG: @FUTP60) and using #FuelGreatness!


Scrimmage Time

Hold some friendly competitions between classes. Run FLAG scrimmages at recess or during free or lunch periods for older students. Have students switch teams for different scrimmages so everyone is having fun. If scrimmages are held during lunch, encourage older students to select a grab-and-go lunch they can eat on the sidelines. 

Think long term. Use the NFL FLAG resources to build your program. Build relationships among teams and coaches by holding community fun nights before or after games. Work to get coaches to commit to multiple seasons and have older students help coach younger teams to get them prepared to coach teams of their own one day.


This section features ideas on ways to involve everyone in your school and community. Think about ideas for differentiating between older and younger students and ways to bring in the family connection. 

Build student leadership opportunities. As much as possible, have students do the planning and run your programs.


For Students

Encourage student leadership. Start a club after school for high school students to teach younger students how to play FLAG football with parent or teacher volunteers to help.  

Have students on your Fuel Up to Play 60 team create an awareness campaign to get others interested in playing FLAG. They can use some of the ideas in the Build Interest section of this Play or come up with some of their own.


For Everyone

  • Promote the league and recruit other students to give FLAG football a try.
  • Find and secure a location at your school or in your community.
  • Ask adults in the school and community to help coach the teams.
  • Secure donations from local businesses to pay for equipment and other needs.
  • Encourage students to join teams.
  • Focus on the fun and safety rather than the competitive aspect.
  • Be physically active.


Involve the school community. Schedule a meeting with your school's parent-teacher organization and let them know what they can do to help. Invite families to visit local FLAG practices and games to build interest in having school teams.


Build Local Community

If older students are interested in mentoring youth, use the online FLAG curriculum to help them get ready and supervise as they set up local tournaments at the elementary and middle schools near you. Have them get friends to help organize practices and games and be volunteer referees. They’ll be helping kids learn to love a sport and get to know kids from other schools in the district.