SALEM, Va. -

Kids in the Roanoke Valley's NFL Flag Football program learn more than how to make a touchdown.

Practice has officially started, and the games kick off after Labor Day weekend.

Children ages 6 to 11 are eligible to sign up. They learn the basics of football -- defense, offense, drills and all positions. Games are five on five, so every child has the chance to handle the football. Participants practice twice each week. Once games start, they'll practice once a week and play games on Saturdays.

Coach Scott Maxey says flag football is a safer alternative to tackle for any age. A $75 registration fee gets kids their jerseys, awards and insurance through the NFL, in case of any injury.

Another coach, Thomas Engl, says kids participating also learn the importance of sportsmanship, playing a competitive game but still playing friendly. He coaches his son Logan's team. Flag football also allows the whole family to get involved.

Teams are looking for more coaches and parent volunteers.

There are still some slots open for flag football. If you're interested in enrolling your child or becoming a coach, click here.