Flag football is a very popular sport in the United States.
In the last five years, leagues and teams have been starting up all over the US, and more than 400,000 people play the sport.
It’s a great way to stay fit and active during the offseason. If you’re thinking about playing flag football, you might be wondering what position you should play.
This guide is here to help. We’re here to explain the positions in 5 on 5 and 7 on 7 flag football and help you figure out which one might be best for you.
By the end of this article, you should have a good idea of which spot in the flag football lineup is best for you.
So, without further ado, let’s quickly look at how flag football works.
Flag football is a smaller, more compact version of the original American football.
Over a 40-yard pitch, an offence will try to get into the end zone of a defence with seven players on each side.
One important thing to remember is that in 7 on 7 and 5 on 5 flag football, there is no contact.
This changes the game a lot, and each position needs a different set of skills than what is needed when there are 18 players.
For example, running backs need to be more agile so that their flags don’t get taken, and quarterbacks (QB) need to throw the ball faster so that they can hit their attackers when they get space.
Let’s look at the positions in a classic 5 on 5 and 7 on 7 flag football lineup.
5 On 5 Flag Football Offensive Positions
In flag football, speed is very important. Teams only have four seconds to snap the ball and pass it to another player. This means that each player must focus on getting into the right spot to catch or throw a pass for the play to work.
With only five players on each side of the field, there is a lot of space for teams to attack defenders and get the ball into the end zone. When there are two more players on the field for 7-on-7 flag football, that space shrinks by a lot.
In a 5-on-5 flag football game, there are usually three positions:
- The quarterback;
- the center (snapper); and
- the wide receivers.
As the team’s playmaker, the quarterback needs to know every play like the back of his hand.
His first step is to figure out how the defence is set up, figure out where there are holes in their flag football lineup, and decide which play is best for your team.
For example, if you need to make the next down to keep the ball, a good QB might call a cutting route to make sure you get the next ten yards.
If you want some ideas for good plays to run in 7 on 7 or 5 on 5 flag football, check out our guide here.
Even though flag football QBs don’t have to deal with much pressure from rushing defenders, they still have to be very quick to pass the ball before the four-second play timer runs out.
That’s where they also need to have a good sense of space and a strong arm.
As a quarterback, vision is everything, and 70% of your job is to be able to tell where your players are going. Having a great pass is the other 30%. The position gets easier the better your pass is, so make sure to practice throwing as much as you can.
In both 7 on 7 and 5 on 5 flag football, the centre is the person who throws the ball to the QB from the middle of the line of scrimmage. This person is also called the snapper.
You might not think their job is that important since all they do is hike the ball back, but it is an important part of the flag football lineup, and after the snap, they usually become a wide receiver.
They may need to be one of the fastest and most coordinated players on your team. If you miss the snap, the quarterback won’t have a good place to throw the ball forward, which can be disastrous if you need a new set of downs.
Because of this, the centre must be quick, accurate, and nimble in order to move forward and catch the resulting pass.
The athletes on your side are these guys. Their job is to get around the defender, catch the ball, and run to the finish line as fast as they can.
It is one of the hardest positions to play in flag football.
Wide receivers have to be very coordinated to catch the football as it comes at them at lightning speed and avoid getting hit by defenders.
In this spot, speed is everything. Since there is no physical contact, wide receivers have to be able to step around defenders and beat them with their speed and agility. You must have good hands and be in sync with your playbook and quarterback.
Offensive 7 On 7 Flag Football Positions
7-on-7 flag football uses the same positions as 5-on-5 flag football, but there is an extra running back and wide receiver.
The Running Back
Depending on the rules of seven-aside football you’re playing, the running back (RB) is a very important part of keeping defenders from focusing on the ball.
QBs can throw to the RB, who can quickly gain 10 yards for your team. But their main job is to get defenders out of position and make more space on the tight seven-a-side field.
The most important skill for a running back is speed. Most of the time, they have to start from behind the quarterback and quickly drive at the defenders to scare them and move them around the field. So, speeding off the line is always important.
5 On 5 And 7 On 7 Flag Football Defensive Positions
Flag football doesn’t favour defenders because they can’t hit the other team. However, it is a huge win if you can prevent your opponent from gaining additional yards after the catch or even get the ball back from them.
In flag football, defence is very important because the defence can get two points for their team by stopping a catch or giving the ball back to the offense.
Because of this, each defender needs to have a pretty well-rounded set of skills, such as being the fastest and most aware of the game.
When it comes to defence, there are only three defensive positions in both 5 on 5 flag football and 7 on 7 flag football:
- Defensive backs;
- Safety; and
- Rusher (7 on 7 only).
In 7-on-7 and 5-on-5 flag football, these players are your first line of defence.
Defensive backs cover the wide receivers who are coming into the end zone and stop the attacks of the other team.
The best defensive backs need to be very fast so they can keep up with their opponents. They also need to be quick on their feet so they can climb above their opponents and pick passes out of the air.
Turnovers are important to winning flag football games, and most of them are caused by defensive backs who are fast and can read the play better than others.
The safety usually sits at the back of the field and acts as a fullback to stop long throws from going over the top.
If you have a good safety who can read the play, your defensive backs will often feel a lot safer going up for high balls and interceptions.
But your safety still requires that you be able to act quickly to stop the attacker from getting to the end zone. This is why safeties need to be able to understand the game and act on it right away.
They must also be fast and have a lot of stamina so that they can outrun everyone else on the field.
In some 7-on-7 flag football leagues, teams can play a rushing back to put more pressure on the quarterback or follow a running back.
Rushers can also move away from the line of scrimmage to pick off short passes and gain quick yards or a first down. So, these guys might need to be the smartest football players on your seven-a-side team.
As with running backs, they need to be able to get going faster than most to cross the goal line and put more pressure on the quarterback.
So What Position Should You Play?
Now that you know the different positions in a flag football line-up, you should be able to match your skills to each role on your team.
There is a place for almost every football player, whether you play 5 on 5 or 7 on 7.
You might be the best quarterback (QB) if you can make killer passes and have good hand-eye coordination.
On the other hand, let’s say you have a great football mind and great speed and acceleration. In that case, you might be more useful on defence as a defensive back who can pick off passes and tackle defenders as they catch the ball over the top.
In 5 on 5 or 7 on 7 flag football, each position has its own benefits, and I can say from experience that each one is fun to play. So, when you get to your first game or practice, try to play each position to get a feel for how it works.
Remember that you can make each position your own by giving it your own twist or style. In any version of American football, this is how good players win, and it’s also how you’ll be able to beat your opponents when you show up for the game.