What programs are available at ZYFL?

ZYFL offers Flag, TackleBar, Rec Tackle and Travel Tackle Football programs as well as a Cheerleading program. The Flag, TackleBar and Rec Football programs have no tryout, have up to 3 practices/games weekly, and play other teams within ZYFL as well as neighboring leagues when available. Travel football requires a tryout, has 4 practices/games weekly and plays other local opponents. For more information, please review the Flag Football, TackleBar Football, and Rec Football pages.

The cheerleading program also utilizes a come-one-come-all approach. There are no tryouts, nor are there registration caps. Cheer teams practice up to twice a week and cheer at the Tackle football games. Following the regular season, there are opportunities for cheerleaders to be invited to participate in the competition season. Learn more here.


What is TackleBar Football?

TackleBar Football is a safer approach to the game that preserves the tradition and spirit of the sport. Players wear traditional football equipment, plus a TackleBar harness that holds two foam bars across the lower back. The defender must track and engage with proper form tackling technique while wrapping the ball carrier and ripping a bar from the harness. With this approach, players stay on their feet rather than taking the ball carrier to the ground.


What is the ZYFL Progressive Football Model?

ZYFL defines our Progressive Model as our approach to allowing young players to learn the game in levels while playing it in various formats beginning with Flag Football and eventually leading to full contact Tackle Football. This model provides the opportunity for players to grasp and understand the basic concepts of the game while increasing the amount of allowed contact over time.


What time commitment is involved with Flag, Rec and TackleBar Football?
During the four-week pre-season there are up to 12 practices. During the season, normally there are two practices and one game each week commencing the last week of July through mid-October playoff games. On a few occasions there are two games per week.


What fees are involved?
Fees are described on the registration section of this website.


What equipment is provided?
For Flag, ZYFL will provide each player with flag shorts or belt, flags and a game jersey. Each player will keep his/her game jersey and shorts (if applicable). Flags must be returned to ZYFL.

For TackleBar Football, ZYFL will provide each player with a helmet, shoulder pads, TackleBar harness and bars and a game jersey. Each player will keep his/her game jersey. The helmet, shoulder pads TackleBar harness and bars must be returned to ZYFL.

For Cheerleading, ZYFL will provide each member with a basic uniform and accessories. These are kept by the members.

For more information, please review the Equipment page.


How safe is the football program?
ZYFL strives to present the safest programs possible. Our progressive football model is designed to teach the sport with limited contact at the Flag level and increases contact through TackleBar and Tackle levels over time. No youth sport will ever be 100% safe. ZYFL takes safety very seriously and designates a board level position in charge of player safety. Our Player Safety Coach is trained by a USA Football Master Trainer in preparation for implementing and overseeing the primary components of Heads Up Football: Coach education, proper equipment fittingconcussion recognition & responseheat & hydration preparednessHeads Up Blocking, and Heads Up Tackling. Our coaches teach the “Heads Up” method to reduce concussions and promote solid blocking and tackling skills. In addition, trained medical personnel are on hand at all rec games. To further promote safety, ZYFL has instituted required defensive schemes that reduce high speed collisions. In the first year of the rule changes, injury occurrences fell overall and have remained low. Finally, ZYFL has implemented weight limits or “striping rules” for all tackle programs. These rules prohibit larger players from playing positions that could lead to high speed collisions with mismatched player sizes.  Non striped players may play any positions however players in one of three striping classes are increasingly restricted in positions as they get into a higher weight. Striping rules vary for Travel and All Star tournaments. Please see the ZYFL Rules Section III B, C and D for more information.


Are the football coaches trained?
All Tackle Football Coaches are required to complete the USA Football Level 1 Tackle Certification course. This certification serves as USA Football's base-level course for all youth tackle coaches and is set up to provide ZYFL coaches with the education to develop a coaching philosophy, understand the game and the positions on the field and teach the proper fundamentals and techniques. It is broken down into three elements, Blocking and Tackling Skills, Health & Safety, and Fundamentals of Coaching. ZYFL believes a quality youth sports experience begins with quality coaching.


How much playing time will my player receive?
Every player on each Flag, TackleBar and Rec team will have a starting position for no less than the first 12 plays per half (either offense or defense) of each game. A player may play fewer plays at the coach’s discretion if it is in the best interest of the athlete. Travel and All Star programs work to provide players significant playing time but do not have predefined policies.


When does the season start and end?
Registration opens March 1 annually. Review important dates here.


Are there playoffs?
Yes. All Flag, TackleBar and Rec Tackle teams make the playoffs in a blind draw format.


Where are the practices and games held?
The primary practice field is Jennings Field located on the northwest corner of Bloor Lane and Hal Sharpe Road.

Game locations for the 2022 season are TBD.


Is there an All Star program?
Yes. For more information, please see the All Stars page.


How does ZYFL prepare players for the ZCS Football Program?
ZYFL requires all teams to use the ZCS Football offensive scheme including numbering, formations, and base plays. This prepares the players for the proper “language” when they join their 7th grade team. In addition, ZCHS Head Coach Scott Turnquist is a board member and provides advice and counsel on ways ZYFL can better prepare its players for the Zionsville High School game.


Is ZYFL affiliated with USA Football?
Yes. We have been proudly affiliated with USA Football since 2012.