It’s a story I hear all the time: students going out for a sport at the beginning of their high school career only to be cut from the team (and their pride) after a few short weeks of putting in hours at practice every week day and on the weekends. For every wide-eyed freshman, high school football can be the path to popularity or to shame because every high school’s football team is adored, while those who get cut are, unfortunately, relegated to outcast status. It doesn’t take much to make the cut; all it takes is some perspective, some hard work, and a few pointers.
At the freshman level, no coach really expects his players to have great skills or technique; after all, if athletes came in knowing how to play, why would they need a teacher? What coaches are looking for in those first few weeks is a great attitude and the willingness to get into shape if you aren’t already. Any coach at any level of any sport will tell you that the best attributes for any athlete are a good attitude and good conditioning. These two things will allow anyone to succeed to all but the superstar levels of any sport, since they will be able to acquire all of the technical and managerial skills they need to succeed more easily than players who are less committed, less focused, or in poor condition.
As far as the personality component is concerned, coaches look favorably on players who are committed to the team and committed to doing whatever it takes to be good at a sport. Within the first few weeks of starting practice, freshman high school football players can demonstrate a good attitude by showing up to practice early. Asking the coach for particular recommendations for training – drills and exercises – will demonstrate a desire to learn and a to become a part of the team.
Conditioning is the second component that coaches look for. If you aren’t in good shape, you’ll be forgiven; coaches love being able to sculpt slow but committed athletes into quick and strong football machines. Leveraging a positive attitude by seeking out help with a conditioning program will demonstrate your desire to invest in yourself and thus in the team’s success. Starting a program of weight training and aerobics will have an immediate impact on your stamina and your ability to focus during practices, making you a stand-out .
Unfortunately, many young high school students consider their ability to make the cut on the freshman football team the most important factor of their high school experience because it will lead to a better social life, better chances at college acceptance, and a lot of fun on the field. Thankfully for those who weren’t born with a golden arm, coaches at this level are really looking for a good attitude and good athleticism to make you a good team player.