November 3, 2014
Insight Interview with Austin Bradshaw, President of the North Shore Flag Football League NSFFL (MA)
According to NFL FLAG, their flag football program has grown Nationally 16% in the last year alone. There are currently many youth flag football programs across the country from local rec leagues to I9, YMCA and NFL FLAG leagues, however NFL FLAG is the only league associated with the NFL and USA FOOTBALL.
What have you seen since you started NSFFL?
Our league has tripled in size since 2009 with over 5,000 kids a year playing in the NSFFL.
What’s behind the popularity of flag football?
I think popularity of the sport has grown for a lot of reasons, first and foremost, football is America’s #1 sport. In the past a lot of parents would sign their kids up for soccer as a good means of exercise without the threat of injury that is sometimes associated with tackle football. Flag football came along in the late 90′s and offered an alternative to tackle football while still getting to play the sport they all love.
More recently, I think the sport has had a growth spurt due to concussion awareness and more recent medical findings. A lot of parents are choosing flag football over tackle football because of concussions and injury prevention.
We have also found that a lot of tackle football players are signing up for our Spring seasons so they can keep in “Football mode” all year long, in fact last year our Spring season had larger enrollment than our fall season.
What is your Coaching philosophy with Flag Football?
Coaching flag football is like coaching any youth sport, you need to have fun, be patient and make sure every kids best interest is taken care of, meaning not putting winning the game as the most important thing. The best gauge if you were a successful coach is not whether you won the Championship or not, its the look in the kids face after the game, are they looking forward to the next game and do the kids sign up again and want you to be their coach.
Is girl power really happening?
Every year we see more and more girls playing flag and more and more all-girls teams playing against the boys. It’s our hope than we can grow to the point where we can have an all-girls division. This current fall season we have almost 200 girls playing flag football between 5 and 14 years old.
Here is story about one of our players:
Meet Lindsay, a Flag Football Star who is surprising herself and her Dad.
It’s funny how things work out. You always hope your child finds what they are passionate about. Lindsay Boughner, an 11 year old from Middleton decided to try flag football after she heard about it from some school friends. She may have just found her sport!
“Lindsay is great in all aspects if the game. She is a wonderful teammate and a true joy to coach,” said Mike McCarthy, U11 Colts Coach.
“Its funny, besides me watching football on TV (and of course occasionally yelling at it) I never spoke with my girls about football. Lindsay is extremely happy to contribute to her team’s success – she really has an extra wide smile when she scores, gets a flag, or gets a long run. Seems like each week her confidence grows,” said John Boughner, Lindsay’s Dad and former Semi Pro/EFL player and 27 year Veteran HS and College Coach. “This is fun to watch!”.
To learn more, visit www.northshoreflagfootball.com