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Forget the helmet, the shoulder pads, the bulky gear. Welcome to flag football, where all you need is a few simple items to get in on the action. Here’s a checklist of essential flag football equipment: 

Flag football flags and belt. Every player needs a flag football set, including flag football flags and belt. There are a few different kinds of flags for flag football on the market—some are held onto the belt by velcro, others by a pop socket that emits a noise when pulled.  

Shorts. Players wear shorts without pockets to avoid penalties and finger injuries.

 Mouthguard. The rules of flag football require a mouthguard, and it’s the only protective gear that players wear. 

Football cleats. Metal cleats are not allowed in most flag football leagues. 

Football gloves. Not required, but definitely a plus 


One of the things that coaches love the most about flag football is that it’s an inclusive and accessible sport, which is a result of there being no contact. In tackle football, players are required to wear helmets, shoulder pads, girdles, and other necessary protective gear. But in youth flag football, the equipment list is much shorter—flag football belts and flags, a mouth guard, and that’s about it. Therefore, by comparison, flag football is generally less costly than tackle. In fact, families might find that tackle football leagues are up to $300 more expensive because of the additional equipment needed to play. 

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