If you want to learn how to play flag football, you’ve come to the right place.   On this page are explanations of all the basic and advanced skills you will need to be successful in powerpuff football.

If you have any questions or need additional information please feel free to use our contact form to send us an email.


Catching Throwing Stance
Snapping Hand-Off Back Peddle
Drop Back Flag Pulling

Basic Skills

Powder Puff Football Receiver Hand Position ICatching  – For learning to catch a football there are 2 hand positions to be aware of.  If the ball is coming chest high or above, you want to hold your hands so that the thumbs and forefingers of each hand are almost touching and forming a triangular shape between them (see the photo to left).   Angle your hands very slightly so that the pinkies are farther away from you and the thumbs are closer.  Now image the tip of the ball coming into that triangle and your hands gently folding around the mid-section of the ball.  Always catch softly, imagine your are catching a kitten or puppy rather than a hard leather football.

Powder Puff Football Receiver Hand Position IIFor a ball coming low or below the chest,  reverse your hand position so that your pinkies are touching and your thumbs are out.  Cushion the impact of the ball by bending your elbows and knees slightly. Imagine yourself scooping the ball from underneath and bringing it in close to you body to secure it.

This also works to catch a ball that has been thrown or kicked high in to the air and is dropping downward at a very steep angle.

Throwing – The first step to throwing a football is learning the proper gripping technique.  Everyone will do this slightly different as it varies based on hand size.  if your hands are small hold the ball more towards the center.  For larger hands, slide your hand towards the back of the ball.  Hold the ball with your index finger and thumb forming a semi circle around the ball.  Middle and ring fingers rest on the ball and the pinkie finger should rest on the laces.  Grip the ball firmly with your fingers and allow a little bit of air between your palm and the ball.

Bring the ball up by your ear holding on with both hands.  To throw the ball, step toward your target with the foot opposite your throwing hand.  Release the ball forward by squeezing slightly, bringing your arm above your head and towards the target, then pronating your wrist as the ball is released.

Powder Puff Football 2 Point Stance2-point Stance – A proper stance aids a receiver by getting them off the line of scrimmage quickly and out in to the field for a pass.   the receiver should stand with her inside foot forward and the outside foot behind a step with kneed bent and weight slightly forward.   Her elbows should be bend and hand in front close to the chest.  The stance somewhat mimics a runners stance, as if you were at the starting line of a race.  Look in toward the ball or straight ahead (if you can easily hear the quarterback hike the ball).   Its important to note that you should line up the same way every play so as not to give the defense any clue as to the direction you will be running.

Snapping – We recommend for beginners to have the quarterback lineup “under center”, as opposed to lining up in “shotgun”.  Under Center means the quarterback will stand directly behind the center so that they are almost touching, the ball is then handed between the center’s legs into the quarterbacks hands.  In shotgun the quarterback lines up 2-3 yards behind the center and the center must “pass” the ball to the QB by throwing it through her legs.

To execute the snap under center the ball is placed on the line of scrimmage so the points of the ball are facing toward the end zones, the laces should be facing up.  The center squats over the ball and places one hand on top so the hand is covering the laces.  The quarterback lines up directly behind the center, knees bent, head slightly forward and hand reaching out and under the center.  On the QB’s signal the center moves the ball off the ground and through her legs while rotating it 90 degrees so that the points are facing the sidelines.  Note – the center does NOT release the ball, she should simply hold it there reaching as far back and up as possible.    The quarterback will take the ball from the center’s hands by placing her palms together with the throwing hand on top and the other hand on bottom of the ball.

When the exchange is complete the center must move forward in to her route assignment , and the quarterback will drop into position for a pass or play.

Hand Off – Improper hand-offs often result in a loss and yards because the ball squirts out and lands on the ground.  The best way to avoid this is to learn the proper technique and practice.   To execute a hand-off the quarterback should hold the ball with both hands, as the runner approaches she should form a pocket with her forearms by placing the inside arm (closest to the QB) across her chest and the opposite forearm across the abdomen.  The QB stretches the ball out away from her own body at a level the puts the ball near to the middle of the running back’s midsection.  The runner runs up and through the ball while simultaneously closing her forearms and wrapping her hands around the ends of the ball.  An important point to understand here is that this exchange must occur at full speed.  The running back should not stop and/or grab at the ball.

Advanced Skills

Drop Back – For a pass play the quarterback will want to drop back in order to throw the ball.   Commonly quarterbacks use a 3, 5, or 7-step drop.  Because Powder Puff Football is typically a fast paced game with out as much blocking, we recommend a quick 3-step drop.   Incidentally this is also the easiest drop for a beginner to learn.  Follow these directions to execute a 3-step drop:  As the snap is received (feet are parallel) step straight back with the same foot as your throwing arm.  Step straight back with your opposite foot.  You third and final step is slightly shorted step with the same foot as your throwing arm.   This time as you step back open your hips and shoulders so that your throwing should goes back and your opposite should faces forward.  Simultaneously grasp the ball with your throwing hand and raise your up and back in to throwing position.   At this point your should be oriented in a way that you are perfectly balanced on both feet with the ball up and ready to step into a quick pass.

Back Peddle – Mastering the back peddle will help improve your defensive play quite a bit.   The back peddle is important because it allows a defender to gain depth while keeping and eye on the quarterback and the receiver by moving backwards down the field.  To execute the back peddle bend your knees slightly, head slightly forward by bending a your midsection.  Keep your hands in front of your for balance.  Drive yourself backwards by pushing off your front foot.  Keep your balance so that you can break out of the back peddle and move forward, left or right instantly in the direction the ball is thrown.

Flag Pulling – This is another skill that, when mastered, will improve your defensive play by a large margin.   The proper technique for pulling a flag follows these guide lines:

      1. Stay on your feet, avoid diving at the flag belt.
      2. Don’t stop running when the ball carrier is in arms reach, keep moving through the runner.
      3. Approach the ball carrier with arms wide like you want to hug them 😛
      4. Use both arms, by putting a hand on each of the runners flags
      5. Start high, at the top of the belt, and swipe down to the mid thighs/knee area.


We have a library of flag football drills to help improve your skills located on our youth flag football site.  This link will take you to the drills guide.

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