How to Play Football as a New High School Athlete

How to Play Football

By Reed Davis

Congratulations on making the decision to go out for the school’s football team!

I truly think it’s going to be a great and valuable experience. Through football, you will make great friends who you will consider your brothers and memories that will last a lifetime. Football is truly America’s pastime and we know you are excited to play under those Friday night lights.

How to Get Started in Football

To get started, make yourself known to the coaches! If you are in 8th grade, coaches from your high school will typically visit the middle schools in the spring to gauge interest in the students. Make sure that you know when these meetings are. If not, make sure to ask! It’s important to get to know the coaches prior to the summer. This is important because they can provide you with summer workouts to ensure you are fit enough to play and pass various fitness tests during the tryouts. If you are already a high school student, drop by the coach’s office and express your interest in coming out for the team. Come by in person! Going in person and shaking hands and introducing yourself to the coach will go a long way, compared to just sending a brief email.

Equipment Needed

How to Get Started in Football
How to Get Started in Football

You will need various equipment to participate in high school football. Make sure to communicate with your coaches. They will tell you what you need to purchase on your own and what the school will provide.

First off, you will need a helmet and shoulder pads. For most schools, your team will provide this equipment. Both come in various sizes and can also be adjusted on the fly. The helmet protects your head from the force of your head hitting other players, as well as hitting the ground. As the game has progressed, helmet technology has as well. It will keep you safe in the game. The shoulder pads protect your shoulders from strain and tears. These will be under your jersey and will not be visible in-game.

You will also need leg pads, a mouthpiece, game jersey and pants, cup/jockstrap, and cleats. Legs pads will protect your legs and knees from the hard impact of tackles. This and the jersey will typically also be provided by your school.

The cleats and mouthpiece will be something you must purchase on your own. Mouthpieces are usually relatively inexpensive and you must make sure you wash them from time to time. Cleats are a bit more expensive and some stores offer used cleats in good condition if you are looking for a cheaper option.

Fitness Level Required

Fitness Level Required

Typical fitness tests for football include the 40-yard dash, the bench press test, and the vertical/broad jump test. The 40-yard dash is pretty self-explanatory. Run 40 yards down the field as fast you can. In order to prepare for this, incorporate sprint workouts into your regiment as well as lower body lifting focused on explosiveness. Many football players run track and field in the spring in order to work on their speed. Also, practice sprinting in cleats, as it does feel different than doing it in regular athletic shoes.

The bench press test is a test that shows an athlete’s true upper body strength. If you are a younger athlete coming out of middle school, you may not have to do this quite yet. For the pros and college, the test sees how many times you can properly bench 225 pounds. For high school, this weight can sometimes be adjusted. To prepare for this test, you must gain upper body strength during the summer prior to the season. Try to be in the weight room at least 4-5 days a week, alternating muscle groups. This test is a mix of both pure strength and muscular endurance. An athlete should go heavy some days with fewer reps, as well as light some days. Giving your body proper recovery through proper sleep and eating habits will be key to success.

The vertical and broad jump tests will measure your explosiveness. This is key for almost all football players, especially defensive backs and wide receivers. For the vertical jump test, you will jump vertically and slap the highest point you can touch. For the broad jump, how far out you can jump without a running start will be measured by where your feet land. Lifts including weighted squats and lunges will help improve the strength of your legs. Box jumps and squat jumps will help your explosiveness and spring in your legs. Try to incorporate these into your workouts multiple times a week, as being explosive will surely impress your coaches.

Football as a Profession

Football as a Profession
Football as a Profession

Are you dreaming of one day becoming a professional football player in the NFL?

The process to become a professional football player is long, hard, but rewarding. To begin the process to go pro, gaining the attention of college scouts is a good first step. The majority of NFL draft picks come from larger division one schools. You will need to gain the attention of these college scouts by excelling at the high school level. Landing a roster spot at one of these schools is the first step to going pro.

You will need to continue your success at the college level and put up impressive stats against the nation’s best. Division one schools in the power five (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, PAC 12, SEC) tend to get the most attention. Excel at this level and make a name for yourself, and you will likely find yourself drafted by an NFL team.

There are many benefits to becoming a professional football player. It allows you to make a tremendous amount of money, help and inspire your community, as well as build connections and a legacy for yourself. The average NFL salary is 860,000, which can allow you to live a fantastic lifestyle while also giving back to the community and causes you to care about. NFL players also typically have the opportunity to pursue other high-paid positions and sponsorships once their playing days are over.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you join a high school football team?

To join a high school football team, you must first reach out to the coaches. It is best to do this in the spring prior to the season. This way coaches can give you summer workouts to get ready for the fall season.

Is it hard to make a high school football team?

The difficulty level of making the team depends a lot on the specific school. At some powerhouse programs, even experienced players may not make the cut. At others, as long as you are physically in shape, you will make it.

What should I expect at football tryouts?

You should expect a combination of sprints, lifting, general conditioning, and some position-specific work. Stadium stairs, agility work, high/long jump test, and 60-yard dash are common at tryouts. Some players may also be required to do various lifting tests.

What should I bring to a football tryout?

You should bring football cleats, an undershirt, socks, and gloves for certain positions. Typically, the rest including helmets, practice jerseys, pads, and pants are provided by the team.

How do you stand out at football tryouts?

To stand out at the tryouts, show your coach’s exceptional speed, strength, and mechanics. Running a very fast 60-meter dash, showing great strength in the weight room, or making impressive catches are ways to gain positive attention from coaches.

How do I get a football agent?

To get an agent, you must show exceptional skills during your college career and appear to be heading towards a professional career. You cannot have an agent as an NCAA athlete.

How to Become Eligible to Get Into the NFL?

To become eligible for the NFL, you must get either drafted or signed as an undrafted free agent. The best way to do this is to show your skills at the top levels of NCAA college football.

How could I Qualify for College Football?

To be recruited for college football, you must be a standout at the high school level. You must put up impressive numbers and lead your team to wins. To be recruited by top division one programs, you must not only be a top player on your team but in your entire area.

What can NCAA do for me?

The NCAA can help provide you with scholarships, host championships in your sport, as well career/academic support.

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By Reed Davis

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