You go hard in your football training program…you do the conditioning…you get yourself mentally ready to play…then you still find yourself on the bench!
High School Football can be a brutal experience when your coach doesn’t know you exist…
We all want more playing time. If you’re a true competitor, you never want to leave the field…you want to be there to step up and make a big play when the game is on the line.
But, that’s tough to do if you’re on the bench!
We all go out and lift weights, condition, do speed training, football skill work… but, in some situations, especially in big High School programs, getting a shot at the starting line up can seem almost impossible. You may very well have 4 or 5 guys on a similar skill level (or better) at your position. If you want to beat those guys out, you’ve got to stand out. You may need to do a lot more than you’re currently doing…you may need to work harder than you ever thought possible…
Here are the 7-Steps you need to take to get your Football Coach to notice you and help get you more playing time!
1. Train Harder in the Weight Room
I’m constantly asked which football training workouts are best. Is there a magic answer? One program that will solve all your problems?
While some are better than others, the truth is, no matter how great a football training program is, if you don’t work hard, its all for nothing.
That’s something not a lot of guys are willing to accept. But, in most cases if you want to become a better football player and get your coach to think of you as a starter, you better be prepared to work harder than everyone else. I realize many players think they’re so friggin good that they don’t have to work hard. Good luck with that.
Guys like Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Michael Irvin, LT, and Ray Lewis are notorious for their insane work ethics. They outwork their competition and the results speak for themselves.
There’s a famous story from the martial arts world about a student who was far behind his classmates in skill. He asked his master what to do and the master replied:
“You will train harder than everyone else. When your classmates are sleeping, you train. When they are taking meals, you train. When they take breaks, you train”
And, as the story goes, this student eventually surpassed all of them and became a legendary master of the arts.
Now, obviously, football training is hard and you can’t burn out. So, you have to rest and recover just as hard as you traing, but, the idea is the same. You must train harder than everyone else. If there’s one thing that I know for a fact that coaches notice, it’s hard work. If you’re on the bubble of being a major player and you work harder than the other guy, trust me, you’ll get the shot. (That’s how I did it)
2. Don’t Miss Workouts/Practices/Or Be Late
Unless someone died, do NOT miss workouts. Ever. Not if you feel sick, or your girlfriend is bustin your chops, or because you “just don’t feel like it today.” – I heard a guy once tell a coach that…needless to say, the coach’s head just about exploded.
If you miss workouts, you come off as lazy. That’s true in the eyes of strength coaches, position coaches, and head coaches alike…and, your fellow players will notice. No one wants to go into battle with a guy when you’re not sure you can count on him to show up.
If you’re really hurt, your coach will understand. He’ll tell you to take time off. But, don’t come up with a bunch of bullshit phantom injuries whenever you don’t feel like training.
Same goes for practice. Wanna lose a starting job or lose out on one? Don’t practice…even once. Trust me, someone will be there to steal it right away from you. Just because someone is your backup doesn’t mean you’re better…ask Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe….and, if you’re the back up, POUNCE on any opportunity that you can get like this.
Never every be late to the weightroom, the practice field, meetings, film sessions. In fact, be 5 minutes early. If you’re on time, you’re late, as Tom Coughlin would say.
3. Study and Ask Questions
I’ve seen many a talented player get his ass put on the bench because he can’t figure out the plays. Or know left from right, or be able to figure out the signals. Don’t be that guy.
Seriously, I’ve seen running backs who were flat out studs not be able to play because they constantly run the wrong hole, to the wrong side, or can’t figure out blocking assignments. If you want your coach to notice you in a very bad way, try not knowing the plays.
And, study a bit on the strength training side as well. Learn a little, it won’t kill you.
Learn to study game film like its your job. Your film, your opponent’s game film, and film of players in your position who play at a higher level (college, pros, etc). Don’t just watch the film like you’re watching a game on Sunday afternoon….learn from it. Study it. Play it back a million times. Take notes.
If you are unsure about how to really break down film, ask your coach to help you. Trust me, they’ll be more than happy to help.
Watch your opponent. Does he tip pass plays with his stance? Does the other team always run out of a certain formation? Get to know this stuff. Notice tendencies and ask your coach about them. Again, they’ll be more than happy to help you with it. Every single coach I spoke to when working on this article agreed on this – they want players who understand the game and take the initiative to study film and learn – to go above and beyond what is required.
4. Everyday Hustlin
Football and Football Training – Always be Hustling…or this kid will take your job
Never. Stop. Hustling.
That’s true in football, training, life, business…never stop because the minute you do, someone will replace your ass.
Don’t walk on the field. Don’t lolligag through drills. Don’t half-ass it in the weightroom.
Hustle will get you noticed. If you’re on the bubble of being a starter, it could put you over the top. On the other hand, if you decide you have the job all to yourself and start loafing, you’ll lose that job faster than a set of keys.
Jerry Rice was famous for running every single pass route into the end zone during practice. Every route all the way in. This was all about finishing. Hustling. Never stopping. Bill Romonowski talks about how, in his rookie season, he observed Rice doing this, and, in order to get noticed both on the field and in film, would chase Rice down…all the way to the end zone. He was a starter by mid-season…As a rookie…on a Championship team.
5. Be The First
Simple. Always be first. First:
To jump in a drill
In the weightroom
In the film room
On the field
Being the first guy to jump into a drill, especially a contact drill like tackling, one-on-one’s, etc, will get you noticed in a hurry.
I often talk about how my good friend Matt Mazzoni and I would always…I mean always…be the first two guys out on any line drill. Didn’t matter that we were mis-matched in size. We got out and set the tempo for the entire line. Matt won the starting Center job from an upper classmen who was much bigger than him. It was his hard work in training camp that got him noticed.
6. Get Your Butt on Specials
This one will be short. It blows me the hell away how many guys who don’t start and complain about lack of playing time absolutely refuse to play special teams.
Talk about a guy who exemplifies everything Explosive Football Training is all about. Don Beebe chases down Leon Lett from 70-yards away to save a touchdown even when it didn’t matter. Beebe was a special teams stud who built a hell of a career through hard training and a never ending supply of hustle
I saw it a ton this season on my own team. Guys who had some talent but felt they weren’t getting a fair shot. They bitched and complained. But, when the coaches were putting special teams together, these guys hid. I don’t know if it was fear or they felt special teams were below them…doesn’t matter. They blew it.
Just as you have the entire football training off-season to prove yourself in the weightroom and in the conditioning program, you have special teams to show off your hard work by making some big plays. It’s pretty common in the NFL for guys to start off on Special Teams and eventually turn themselves into starters. Not everyone is a 1st round draft pick.
If you’re not getting a chance to shine, get your ass on special teams and go make a big block, a big hit and be consistently good. Force a fumble on Punt Team and see if the coaches don’t take notice.
7. Outwork, Outlast, Outperform
This is what we’ve been talkin about all along. Let’s not sugar coat things…if you want to be a starter, be prepared to work harder than everyone else.
Or, as the old saying goes, “Ya gotta pay your dues if you want to make the news, and you know it don’t come easy.”
Even if you’re not blessed genetically, get to work. Become the guy who is the poster child for the football training program. Be the guy everyone looks to for inspiration. Be the guy who doesn’t go easy in your workouts…who always shows up…who always goes all out.
Your teammates will respect you and the coaches will take notice.
Work your butt off on the field, in the weight room, in the film room…work hard, recover hard, eat well. Never stop.
And, be prepared to simply keep working hard no matter what. There will be set backs but you’ve got to keep pushing. You have to outlast. Sometimes you have to wait for an injury…or a chance to make a big special teams play…whatever it is, be patient, and, when your time comes, hold nothing back. Do this and your coaches will notice and you’ll find yourself as a starter.