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“Our mission is to set the highest standard in youth sports for our communities, empowering each child in our program to become the best athlete, teammate, and person on and off the field. We take a hands-on approach in providing a fun and safe environment for every family, with the goal of creating memories that last a lifetime.”

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Which Play Style is Right for Me? Flag, Flex, or 7v7 Football

Which Play Style is Right for Me? Flag, Flex, or 7v7 Football

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Pick Your Play Style

It can be difficult to choose between the different play styles offered here at Gridiron Football. We’ve created this comparison guide to help you understand the main differences and similarities between Flag, 7v7, and Flex football. Use it to make a more informed choice on which play style fits you best!

Gridiron Playstyle Comparisons

The Differences

Experience Level

Flag Football-

  • This program is the best place to start for players who are new to football. It is a safe and fun way to learn the basics of the game. These include teamwork, skill-development and the fundamentals in a less competitive environment.
  • Competitive Flag Football- for those with prior experience in flag football and want a more competitive environment

7v7 Football-

  • Fast paced and highly competitive gameplay make this gameplay style a big step up in skill development from flag football. 7v7 is a highly competitive non-contact game designed to develop passing and pass defense skills for football players. With fast-paced gameplay that focuses on the throwing game — designed to enhance football IQ in a safe environment. 

Flex Football-

  • For Players seeking development in their position’s skillset to become a better player, Flex football is for those who want to reach the next level of game play in their development as a player.
Goal / Competition Level

Flag- rec vs. comp

  • For those who are starting out, Flag is the least competitive play style, where the focus is not on winning or losing. It 
  • Competitive flag football is a step up in competition level. For new players who want more competition, but aren’t quite ready for It is more focused on Developing new players. 

7 v 7

  • A greater focus on the passing game, timing and skill development than Flag Football without the contact/blocking of Flex Football. This is the most competitive game play style. 7v7 is Dedicated to the *skill players (link to glossary of terms page)* (WR,QB,RB,TE and LB,DB’s only).

Flex-

  • Designed by NFL players to replicate the NFL practice regimen, Flex Football focuses on technique and an understanding of the game in a fast paced, limited contact environment where hands-first blocking is allowed.
Play Styles
  •  Flag:
    • Gameplay is less about winning and losing – the focus is on fun, fair and safe gameplay
    • Convenient game times with practice and game play usually on the same day
    • Everyone walks away a winner
    • Advanced team-rostering — We use our own draft-style system based on skill and experience to ensure fair and balanced teams
    • Coaches are trained to provide the best experience possible
    • Games are always local, no travel needed
    • 5-on-5 format
    • Practice and game day are on the same day
    • 4 games are played on a 100 yard football field
    • Games start on the hour, every hour
    • Practices are an hour before games

 

  • 7-on-7 Football 
    • Competitive and fast paced
    • Due to the pace of the game, players wear a softshell helmet
    • Dedicated to the skill players (WR,QB,RB,TE and LB,DB’s only)
    • starts from each team’s 40 yard line with no tackling, no linemen, minimal gear and soft-shell helmets. 
    • Games are always local
    • Played 7-on-7 format
    • 4 games are played on a 100 yard football field
    • Games start on the hour, every hour
  • Flex
    • A fun and physical style of play
    • Players wear soft-shell shoulder pads for fundamental development
    • A game play format that includes all football positions
    • Introduces hands first blocking with no contact to the head
    • Games are always local, limited travel needed
    • 9-on-9 format
    • Full hands blocking
    • Standard football rules

 

  • For more details visit:
    • Link to rule book for each playstyle
    • Link to rule book for each playstyle
    • Link to rule book for each playstyle
Contact Level
  • Flag football requires no contact since it involves pulling the opponent’s flag belt off, instead of directly touching them.
  • 7v7 is a limited contact program with no tackling, no linemen, minimal gear and soft-shell helmets. The only contact between players for a down is done by tagging them with both hands in a two hand touch style game. 
  • Flex Football is also limited contact. Contact that occurs between players is made up of hands-first blocking with no contact to the head, and two hand touch style game play. It is Non-tackle, and is also
Number of Players
  • Flag- 5on5
  • 7v7- 7on7
  • Flex- 9on9

Some Similarities

  • Safety: while each gameplay has a different level of contact, none of them involve tackling.
  • No kicking position is used in any gameplay style.
  • Coaching is the backbone of it all 3; making sure every kid gets to play and is improving at their level is the common goal of each play style.

Which Program/ play style is right for my child?

  • Flag
    • Rec
      • Boys and Girls learning Flag Football and seeking a safe and fun experience. For Players 4 to 12 years old.
    • Comp
        • Boys and girls who know the game of flag football but are seeking some more competition.
  • 7v7
    • Experienced Flag players seeking a higher level of competition
    • A Player looking to work on timing with other highly skilled players
    • Tackle players looking to stay sharp and improve their game in the off-seasons
    • For Players 8 to 18 years old
  • Flex
    • Tackle players looking for an off-season format to improve individually and as a team
    • 7-on-7 players that are looking for a more fun and physical style of play
    • Competitive Flag players that are ready to move into a more physical game play but not ready for tackle
    • For Players 6 to 18 years old

Break each down into AGE, Experience, goals, etc. What do THEY want to get out of it?

If you are looking for a non competitive place for your child to have fun and get an introduction to Football, Flag football is the best way for them to learn the game in a safe and fun environment. Here, they can play with friends, and fall in love with the game. 

If your child wants to grow as a player and develop their timing by getting reps in, then 7v7 is the perfect environment for them to sharpen their skills in an ultra competitive and fast paced style of play.

For those seeking a more complete training program that involves the whole team, Flex football offers the most complete training setting for players who want to improve their skill sets.

Take a Closer Look

Check out these pages for a more in depth look at each play style.

Overview

Flag
  • The game is 5 on 5, minimal-contact, non-blocking, non-screening, youth flag football.
  • First possession is determined with a coin toss.
  • All players are eligible receivers.
  • There is no kicking in this style of play.
  • Game officials will use preventative officiating when possible.
  • No foul or penalty flag stops a live play. However, pre-snap fouls will stop the action.
  • Players cannot make contact that is considered unnecessary or provokes roughness.
  • 3- and 4-point stances are not permitted. 
  • Fields are 25 yards wide and a minimum of 50 yards long. Field dimension may be modified if physical space requires it.
  • Officials will mark the ball where the ball was at the time it became dead; not at the hips/flag belt.
  • The ball will be spotted in the middle of the field after each play.
  • Fields have a “no run zone” five yards from the end zones.
  • When the ball is spotted in a “no run zone” the offense must execute a pass play that breaks the line-of-scrimmage.
  • An “onside play” is available in the final two minutes of the game.
  • There is a mercy rule if the score differential is 27 points or more.
7 on 7
  • The game is 7 on 7, minimal-contact, skill position, non-blocking, non-screening touch football.
  • Fields are no less than 50 yards wide and 40 yards long, plus end zone.
  • Both teams will drive in the same direction when on offense (see Field Diagram, page 7)
  • Possessions will begin at the 40-yard line (unless moved by penalty) on the hash mark of the
  • team’s choosing.
  • Teams will have three downs to gain a new set of downs at the 25-yard line and three downs to
  • gain a new set of downs at the 10-yard line (unless the team is awarded an automatic first down
  • by penalty).
  • All plays must include a forward pass that breaks the line-of-scrimmage.
  • Fumbles are dead when they hit the ground. Bad snaps are not considered fumbles. Play will
  • continue.
  • Receivers must have one foot inbounds with possession to be a legal catch.
  • Ball carriers can slightly leave their feet, jump, and spin as evasive maneuvers in order to advance
  • the ball as long as they do not put another player’s safety at risk or initiate noteworthy contact.
  • Ball carriers may not dive, lunge, fall forward in an intentional manner or hurdle an opponent to
  • advance the ball.
  • There is no kicking in this format.
  • Game officials will mark the ball where the ball was at the time it became dead.
  • The ball will be spotted at the closest hash mark after the ball becomes dead.
  • No foul or penalty flag stops a live play. However, pre-snap fouls will stop the action (see
  • Penalty Chart, page 19)
  • The Mercy Rule will be invoked when the score differential is 27 points or more.
Flex
  • The game is 9 on 9, controlled and limited contact, skill position, blocking touch-football.
  • Players cannot make contact with another player if that contact is considered unnecessary or
  • provokes roughness.
  • Fields are no less than 50 yards wide and 40 yards long, plus end zone.
  • Both teams will drive in the same direction when on offense (see Field Diagram, page 7)
  • Possessions will begin on the 40-yard line (unless moved by penalty) at the hash mark of the
  • team’s choosing.
  • Teams must gain 10 yards to be awarded a new set of downs (unless the team is awarded an
  • automatic first down by penalty). A first down marker or pylon will be spotted at the line-to-gain.
  • There is no kicking in this format.
  • The “away” team will have first possession at the hash mark of its choice.
  • Three- and 4-point stances are not permitted.
  • Game officials will mark the ball where the ball was at the time it became dead.
  • The ball will be spotted at the closest hash mark after the ball becomes dead.
  • Pre-snap fouls will stop the action (see Penalty Chart, page 23)
  • The Mercy Rule will be invoked when the score differential is 27 points or more.

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