Your daughter just told you that she’s trying out for a co-ed team, specifically, flag football.
Yes, your daughter can do anything she sets her mind to and you want to support this effort, but know nothing about the sport, or how to navigate a co-ed team.
We chatted with Queen Creek Jr. High’s co-ed flag football coach for five things to know when your daughter considers joining a team. We can’t wait to share these helpful tips to empower your daughter to do what you already know she can: anything she puts her mind to.
PS: Contributor Kim has previously shared tips she’s learned through parenting her 17-year-old daughter on supporting budding student athletes when they get to a serious level of athleticism and skill here, but if you’re still looking for a basic cheat sheet on flag football and co-ed teams, we’ve got you mama!
East Valley Moms
- Flag football basics: As a no contact sport, there’s no heavy equipment, making the accessibility for learning the sport inclusive and an ideal opportunity to learn the basics of the sport. It’s cost-effective, with kids simply requiring simple cleats.
- A team is typically composed of eight players total: four girls and four boys. Games are quick, and with less kids on the field, it’s easier to follow your child’s play. For middle school, the game is typically 40 minutes of play time split into two parts with a halftime break.
- The sport is growing in popularity and reach: The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) launched the first college sanctioned women’s flag football league in the spring of 2021, so girls can now play the sport all the way through college.
- Confidence and empowerment: We all want to build toughness, discipline and teamwork in our girls, and football has been teaching these skills through sport for boys for decades. Now girls can reap the benefits of the sport through flag football as well.
- Co-ed communication: Football teaches kids how to effectively communicate and work well with others, and afterall, learning how to communicate with the other sex is a lifelong skill many of us wish we were better at.
As a team, kids rely on each other, communicate on and off the field with their teammates of both genders and learn to respect their peers. Isn’t this a skill we want both boys and girls to be better at starting as young as possible?
- Don’t shy away from co-ed: Just because there’s boys on the team, too, don’t let that be a roadblock. So many activities at school are co-ed, it’s no different than co-ed leads in the school play.
A co-ed team helps to combat gender stereotypes and preconceived ideas about girls in sports at an early age among kids–something we want to address from an early age.
Future For Football is an initiative by the National Football Foundation to promote and celebrate the game at all levels. To find a football league for your child, visit Future for Football’s local league finder.
Here’s more more about how the Arizona Cardinals are supporting youth football, including flag football.
To read more about Arizona girls playing flag football, check out this recent azcentral story.