How to make a high school football team
The process of trying out for a high school football team is easy. It is the work involved that it takes to succeed that is hard.
Photo Credit: Anthony Hernandez
Trying out for the high school football team used to be a grueling process. Most head coaches today will accept a student-athlete based on a few criteria. Now making the varsity or even earning a starting position is where the concept of a "try out" type of process is undergone.
A common high school will have a varsity and a junior varsity team. Varsity is where the top players compete at the highest level. The common rule of thumb is that any ninth, tenth, or eleventh grader is eligible to play varsity if the coaching staff feels they are physically and skill able. All twelfth graders land on the varsity team automatically. Any underclassmen who do not make varsity end up on junior varsity.
The goal of high school football is to make varsity and compete for a starting position. Coaches use three distinct areas to decipher whether a player is varsity material. Any player who comes out for football is usually given a fair and equal chance to showcase their individual talents and impress their teams coaching staff.
During spring football most teams practice for three weeks and then play one game. This affords players and coaches a chance to prepare for the coming season and also build a foundation of skills and conditioning to learn from. Spring primarily provides younger players a chance to show improvement built in the weight room and learn the basic fundamentals involved with football. Most coaches will take this time to teach more basic skills such as tackling, stances, position specific techniques and base offense and defense. During this time coaches can evaluate players that have improved athletically and skills wise. This begins the process of making an impression and getting the coaches attention.
During the summer most high schools have the most rigorous conditioning time. Players for up to ten weeks lift weights, run sprints and attend football camps. Any player who is dedicated to these activities begins to develop both physically and athletically. Coaches monitor the players individual progress in areas such as speed improvement, strength gains and muscle mass additions. This time period enables a player to work on areas that will his football skills and ability to perform at a high level. Most players can improve significantly when a dedicated plan of conditioning is followed.
The two weeks at the start of each season is notoriously known as "double sessions". This is when players practice two or three times a day for two straight weeks. This time is when coaches do their most serious of evaluations and look for marked improvement out of their players. Any player who shows courage and goes through camp earns a high level of respect and praise from his coaches. Many players avoid camp knowing how grueling it can be. A coach will put his most amount of intensity and spirit into this session. This really sets the tone for the season and varsity players earn their starting positions. At this point a player had has the three most viable chances to impress coaches and show their football value. Now it is time to play football.