A more accessible version of Australian rules football, touch football provides the same general action without the brutal tackling and hard hitting. In touch football, merely touching the ball-carrier halts play. Only six players take the field per team, with each side generally consisting of two wingers, two links and two middles, also known as centers. The wingers and centers have decidedly different responsibilities.
As their name indicates, touch football centers play in the middle of the field. The two links line up outside the centers, one on each side, while the wingers take position on the extreme outside ends. While circumstances during play may require covering the entire field, centers tend to remain in the middle and wingers generally stick to the outer edges.
Since he’s in the middle of the action, a good touch football center needs to have excellent communication skills, helping direct and organize his teammates into a cohesive unit. The center must also possess superb ball skills, as he's often passing back to teammates streaking up field on the outside.
Wingers are typically the team’s fastest players and score the most touchdowns. Good wingers can sustain their speed throughout the match, and also demonstrate anticipation skills to read plays and exploit opposing defenses. Wingers must be quick on their feet and highly evasive.
Players are prohibited from passing the ball forward, making centers responsible for aggressively pushing the ball up the middle of the field to gain territory and open outside lanes for teammates. Wingers tend to stretch the field, using their speed to swing in behind teammates for quick passes before accelerating into the attack.
Centers are typically the best defensive players on a touch football team. It takes six touches, a fumble or an interception to change possession, and the centers are often the ones clogging the middle of the field and funneling runners into teammates for easy touches. Wingers can be a bit more aggressive on defense, using their speed to race forward and challenge passes in an attempt to snag interceptions or trigger fumbles. Wingers must also use their speed to run down any defensive mistakes.