In the flag football world, there are teams that freelance and make up plays during the game and there are teams that come prepared with a flag football playbook. Usually the prepared team is the one winning games and winning championships.
To start designing a playbook, first, the players on the team need to be evaluated. If you have a team with slow players, you do not want to have an abundance of plays that require longer routes because the quarterback will not have time to throw the ball. Instead, a playbook with shorter quick routes would be more effective.
When evaluating the players, considering this criterion: catching ability, speed, and elusiveness. I rank catching ability #1 because you have to catch the ball to score. Speed is defined by who can run from point a to point b fastest. Elusiveness is the ability to avoid tackles after the ball has been caught. An elusive player may not be the fastest but will still gain good yards due to missed tackles.
After you have determined your wide receivers, design plays to suit their skills and abilities. Generally, a flag football playbook should have plays where receivers will be open at different times to give the quarterback options. The standard principle is to have someone go short, someone go long, and someone coming across the field. The quarterback’s progression through the play would be: short route, long route, crossing route.
In addition to having this standard play structure, design plays where certain receivers are used as decoys to occupy the defense while other receivers break free. An example of this is to have two receivers on one side. The inside receiver runs a post route that will usually occupy the safety. The outside receiver can run a stop and go. The cornerback covering this receiver may believe the safety is still behind him to help once the receiver breaks into the go portion of the route.
The final principle in creating plays for your flag football playbook is to draw a defender out of his zone and have another receiver replace. In most instances, defenses play zone. One way to complete a high percentage of passes is to run one receiver through a zone that moves the defender. A second, slower developing route runs through the same zone. With the defender covering the first receiver, the second receiver should be open.