February 2021 – Toronto Flag Football League
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3 drills to get you ready for Spring 2021

It’s tough to stay in game shape over the winter, and a global pandemic certainly hasn’t helped matters. But fret not, for help is here. These three drills will get you back into the swing of things for the fast-approaching Spring 2021 season!

1. Split squats

Helps with: quad strength, conditioning, injury avoidance

Aside from the brain, there is no more important part of a football player’s body than the quad muscle. Active and engaged on every single play, your quads are the pistons of your body, working to provide power and speed to send you flying past your opponents.

To perform at their best, our quads need care, and if you don’t believe me, believe Toronto Argonauts WR Natey Adjei. In this video, he breaks down how to properly do split squats at home, along with a host of other great exercises (extra weight optional).

The more you work on your quads off the field, the more performance you can expect from them on the field. This especially applies for running backs and receivers like Adjei. Your quads will determine how fast you can get in and out of cuts, and how elusive you can make yourself on a play-to-play basis. 

2. Over the shoulder tennis ball toss

Helps with: hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, reaction time, hand speed

I know most football drills don’t start with their participants sitting on the floor, but if you’re looking to ease your way back into game shape, this is the drill for you. Take a seat and have a partner (as long as they’re in your bubble) sit behind you. Give your partner three tennis balls, and have them lob those green spheres over your head. Keep your head still and your eyes forward. As they come into view, try and catch them while keeping your eyes “downfield.”

This might not sound like something that will help you out on the field, but getting practiced at being able to react and catch an object that flashes in front of you quickly will help with your ability to catch the football on both fast and slow-developing routes.

When running a hook or a slant, the pass will often be thrown before you can get your head around. This drill will improve your ability to catch a ball that is already halfway between you and your quarterback.

It will also help with over-the-shoulder passes. If you and your quarterback are truly in sync, the ball should be about three quarters through its journey as it descends from the heavens and into your arms. This doesn’t leave you a lot of time to react as the pass arrives, but if you put in some work with the tennis balls, reaction time can be improved.

3. The ten-yard game

Helps with: reaction time, catching ability, completing the catch, hand strength, defensive playmaking

Let’s face it – there’s only so much you can do without a football. This drill will re-familiarize yourself with catching the ball, without you needing the space that running through the route tree requires.

As long as you have ten yards of grass (or carpet) and a football (or Nerf football), you can play the ten-yard game. Have you and a partner stand ten yards apart, facing each other, and with your partner holding the ball. Think of your partner as an opposing quarterback, and you as a safety ready to make an interception. Have your partner throw the ball in a random (yet attainable) direction in front of him/her. It’s your job to either make the catch, or get a hand on it.

This drill might not be the best for your next laundry cycle, but getting a little muddy isn’t something the Toronto Flag Football League shies away from. It will also help you with completing the process of the catch all the way to the ground, as it will test your ability to hold onto the ball through contact with the turf.

Flag football drills tend to emphasize offence, but just like in tackle football, a great defensive stand can mean the difference between a win and a loss. You never know when it could be your turn to make a play. With this drill, you’ll be ready for when your number is called.

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TFFL season update: Thank you Fall 2020 participants and hello Spring 2021!

Well, that was wild.

The 2020 TFFL Fall Season was one for the record books. For those who came along for the ride, thank you. For those who either missed it or want to relive it, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Before even getting into the alterations that the COVID-19 pandemic caused, the 2020 Fall Season was already historic. Last fall saw our largest youth season to date, with over 580 kids ready to give it their all.

Of course, due to COVID-19, games looked a little different. Masks were mandatory at all times, and check-in tents with temperature checks and sanitization greeted every player before they took the field.

To further promote the health and safety of the athletes, special protocols were put in place. There were to be no handshakes, and no parents on the sidelines.

The league also invested in new gear to ensure that every single possible precaution was taken. Referees used electronic whistles to start and stop play, and players were provided with official TFFL masks and new flags that featured an easier interlocking mechanism. This meant less need for coaches and adults to help with re-attachment.

However, after two weeks, the province’s health guidelines changed. No games or scrimmages were allowed, and the TFFL season was over.

Or was it?

Well, for the adults, it was. But for the kids, the league forged on. Instead of games, the kids switched to drills, where they were instructed by expert coaches with national and international flag football experience.

This unexpected change was such a hit that many kids have asked us to continue with more drills and even enter tournament teams. These avenues will be further explored in the coming months.

As for the present, registration for the 2021 Spring Season is open! Our plan is to return to our traditional outdoor program featuring games for each team, with all participants required to wear masks.

However, given the ever-changing nature of the provincial and civic guidelines, the season may need to be altered as necessary. If the season needs to be cancelled altogether, full refunds will be provided. If the season gets started and needs to be cancelled, prorated credits for the number of weeks remaining will be issued for use in any future seasons, less $60 for equipment and fees.

Thank you for your patience, passion and commitment to the league. We hope to see you out there soon!