Most youth grow up watching and learning from the tackle form of football, so it’s important to teach your players the proper techniques when pulling a flag. In addition, using flag pulling drills to perfect the technique will greatly increase their defensive skill and consistency.

Proper Technique For Flag Pulling:

Run in front of the ball carrier - The first step in proper flag pulling is to position yourself defensively. Being in front of the runner provides more time to grab the flag, as well as causes them to try and dodge around you.

Focus on the flag, not the ball - Watching the ball carrier’s hips gives direction as to where the runner will go. In addition, the ball carrier may use their arms, legs, or the ball to fake you out.  

Grab the flag where it attaches to the belt -  It’s much easier to grab a flag at the belt versus the end of the flag, which adds time and yardage to the play, as well as an opportunity for a miss.

Display proper sportsmanship The players should practice and learn to drop the flag after the pull.  This provides the other player the opportunity to retrieve his/her flag quickly. 

These four basic tips are the framework as to what your players should continually perform when pulling a flag. Proper flag pulling techniques and consistency are key to a solid defensive team. Refer to our “Flag Pulling Drills” article for useful activities.