By Carly Hill
Each Saturday, over 1,000 children take the field to play in West Nashville Sports League’s Fall Football program. But you wont find any hardshell helmets or pads. Instead, WNSL players play flag football.
Flag football is a quick-growing alternative to youth tackle football. You can learn the fundamentals of the game and learn how to be part of a team in a safer environment than traditional tackle.
“Leave the ultra competitive type football with concussion and other injury risks to the middle school ages,” says WNSL President Scott Tygard, “The younger players can learn the fundamentals of football by playing flag football.”
The American Association of Pediatrics has recommended flag football as a safer alternative to traditional tackle football due to the fact that pulling flags as a way to “tackle” a player greatly reduces the risk of concussion-causing collisions.
Bobby Bache, a former NFL player and long-time flag football player and coach in the WNSL, agrees, “I feel that too many kids lose the interest in the game just by the hitting, and the rigorous training they are put through even at a very young age.”
“Flag [football] gives every kid both male and female the opportunity to learn the basics and fundamentals of the game without worrying about being blown up by some kid the same age or 1 year older and bigger,” says Bache. “A lot of times that one hit destroys a kid’s confidence and he is out of the game all together as a whole because of the experience.”
As a final thought, Bache added, “Flag should be a development tool, or it can be an avenue for both boys and girls to experience the great game of football.”
If you want to learn more about WNSL Flag Football, games are played at Edwin Warner Park each Saturday in the month of September and October. You can also visit our website online at WNSL.org
Flag Football Off & Running