In the previous article, “Benefits of a Passing Route Tree in Flag Football,”  the advantages of using such a system were discussed. Once it has been determined which passing route tree a team will use, the next step is to implement it into the offense. The goal is to implement it so that the athletes are able to successfully perform the offense with minimal thinking.

Here are a few tips on how to successfully implement a passing route tree into a flag football offense:

Mark the Routes

When teaching players the routes of the passing tree, introduce them using cone patterns to teach the distances and cut angles. These visual indicators will help athletes perceive what the routes should look like when executed correctly. As the players are exposed to the routes and become more familiar with them, slowly remove the cones until they can run them without any assistance.

passing route tree using cones

Start Slow

When introducing a tree, do not attempt to teach all the routes at one time. This will do nothing more than cause confusion and make the learning process frustrating for both coach and athlete. Simply use numerical order to get the repetitions in on the routes until the receivers can perform the routes correctly. As the practices progress, add two or three each practice, but do not forget to review those previously learned.

Also, have the receivers run the routes from both sides of the ball. This helps the players differentiate between associating the odd and even numbers from cutting right or left, reminding them that the number indicates to the center of the field or the sideline.

Add a “D”

After the players are confidently running the correct routes based upon the play call, start introducing more game-like scenarios. Adding a scout defense to oppose the receiver will allow practice under stress conditions and while having to pay attention to more than just their routes. This will also help the quarterback/receiver timing to make it more realistic for game time application.

football receiver catching with defender


Ready for Game Day

When preparing to implement the passing tree into the game plan, make sure the receivers are able to determine their assigned route based upon the audible play call, they correctly run the assigned route, and that the quarterback’s drop and timing are consistent with the passing game plan.