Youth Sports Forum focuses on flag football | The Cullman Tribune

Youth Sports

Forum focuses on flag football

Former NFL and Arena Football League player, Devin “Big Machine” Wyman, and Cullman High School head football coach, Matt Plunkett, spoke to parents and children of the many advantages of team sports and NFL Flag Football at a forum this week in Cullman. (Christy Perry for The Tribune)

CULLMAN - A public forum to discuss Cullman Parks, Recreation, & Sports Tourism’s (CPRST) upcoming NFL Flag Football League was held this week at the Cullman Civic Center. Cullman High School head football coach, Matt Plunkett, and former NFL and Arena League player, Devin “Big Machine” Wyman, spoke to parents and children of the many advantages of team sports and NFL Flag Football.

Both men are very enthusiastic about flag football coming to Cullman, with Plunkett noting, “Flag football is the fastest growing youth sport in the country.”

Wyman and his wife started a league in Frisco, Texas, where they live with their six children. He spoke of the importance of teaching the fundamentals, teaching the game correctly and teaching confidence. The Texas league has seen tremendous growth and has attracted both boys and girls.

Said Wyman, “Flag football can be bigger here (in Cullman).”

Plunkett, an advocate for both traditional full-contact youth football and NFL Flag Football, said he loves having different options in Cullman.

He explained, “Kids develop differently, which makes having choices a great thing. Kids need to learn (to) catch, run and throw. NFL Flag Football teaches kids to run routes correctly, discipline, teamwork and correct contact.”

Safety is a concern for all parents, and both men emphasized how the sport of football is safer today than it has ever been. The teaching of proper techniques and fundamentals, as well as rules designed to protect players, have resulted in a much safer game today, they said.

Plunkett explained, “Contact is going to occur in tackle and flag football. It’s not about who hits the hardest but who hits the smartest.”

The hope is to teach kids to play safe, play smart and play to have fun.

Registration for NFL Flag Football is open now through Aug. 17 for ages 5-14. Registration is $100 ($85 for additional children) and includes an NFL team logo jersey and flags. Currently, games are planned for Tuesdays and Thursdays at Heritage Park and West Elementary. With leagues in Huntsville, Hartselle, Gardendale, Moody, Birmingham and other neighboring cities, organizers said there is a great opportunity for tournament play.

To register, visit the Cullman Civic Center Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or call 256-734-9157.

For more info, see www.cullmanrecreation.org or www.facebook.com/cullmanparksrec.

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