Adult Flag Football Defense 101

By FirstDown PlayBook on Jan 21, 2023
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The moment someone volunteers or agrees to coach an adult flag football team they envision pass plays and receivers running wide open all over the football field. Rarely do they think about flag football defense. However, it does not take very long before the coach and entire team understands that this will be the biggest challenge they face on game day.

Adult Flag football defense is not that different than tackle football defense. You don’t want to do too much or you won’t get lined up correctly, but you can’t just sit back in one defense all day either. Some of the adult flag football leagues and tournaments are featuring grown athletes that can run precision routes.

They run these routes at full speed too. If they know it is man coverage every snap it will be a long day for your defense. You also have to understand that they may have a real quarterback, in fact they may have two!

A good lab test about this will be the NFL Pro Bowl this year where they are going to play a version of 7v7 flag football. Now, maybe (probably) the NFL wants the score to be 72-67 because that would be an exciting game. Trust us that if they line up in man coverage with their flag football defense that’s what will happen. FirstDown PlayBook believes NFL Flag leagues are different than adult flag strategy.

Your Adult Flag Football Defense Needs A Changeup or Two

You, on the other hand are actually going to try to win your adult flag football game. You want to play good flag football defense too or you will not have a chance to stay on the field, much less win. So back to our original point. You need a base defense and a changeup or two. Your goal is to line up the same way every time and play two or three different things when the ball is snapped.

Adult Flag Football Defense

When you do this you have different ways to stop the various route concepts that are being run at you. If they are wearing you out with quick slants then a defender buzzing into flat underneath that slant gives you a different way to stop that. Your adult flag football defense will look a lot better if you give your corners a chance to bail every now and then vs those vertical deep balls too.

A Zone Defense Changeup Will Make The Offense Play Slower

Adult Flag Football Defense

There is another way that having a changeup helps you. When a flag football offense knows what you are doing every snap, they play fast. If you have a changeup or two that puts doubt in their mind. Doubt makes offensive players play slower. They are going to be thinking as they run their routes. Thinking slows down route runners in most cases.

The video below takes you through a very simple man and zone coverage changeup. The key word is simple. Try to do too much with your adult flag football defense and your players will be the ones playing slow. You definitely do not want that.

Flag Football Trick Plays Too? Yup.

One last point we want to make before we hit the road today. You will notice that we have been referencing “adult flag football defense”. If you are coaching young players who are 7-8 years old then please, forget you ever read this article. Do yourself (and them) a favor and line up in man coverage and play defense. Zone defenses are too complicated for young players 99 percent of the time.

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