Vol.2, No.3

5 tips for high school linebackers

Playing linebacker in high school requires specific skills and qualites. Working to improve these areas is paramount for success.

A linebacker making a tackle
Photo Credit: Curtis J. Morley
Playing linebacker in high school is a position that requires tremendous physical skill and training. It also requires a player take on the role of being the "quarterback" on defense. This will put tremendous demand on a linebacker to have more mental and signal calling duties then any other player on defense. Working on a few key areas both physically and mentally can help a linebacker achieve maximum success.

1. Do to the aggressive nature of the position being in top physical condition is a primary concern for playing linebacker. Having a strongly developed neck and shoulder area is paramount. Linebackers have many physical collisions that create tremendous tension and whiplash effect on the head and neck regions. In the weight room linebackers should concentrate a significant amount of time on strength exercises for this area. Performing lifts such as hang cleans, up right rows; military press and rotator cuff exercises are the best exercises to improve strength in these areas.

2. Linebackers also are required to have tremendous quickness and agility to perform at a high level. During off season training periods including jump roping and speed ladder drills will enhance improvement in this area. These types of exercises should be done two to three times a week.

3. The third area of conditioning that needs to be focused on is diet and nutrition. Linebacker is position that requires a player to have some bulk and power as well as maintaining a balance of leanness to be athletic enough to play the position. Following a well balanced diet that keeps a player at his ideal playing weight is generally best. Keeping a moderate intake of both lean protein and complex carbohydrates is optimal. This will keep an athlete nourished and provide his body with energy and nutrients for recovery.

4. Playing linebacker requires a lot of mental ability too. A linebacker must know the defensive signals, plays and adjustments for his team. This puts a mental demand on knowing what eleven players have to do on each play. A coach will spend extra time one on one with linebackers going over signals and adjustments. Also watching game film on opponents and memorizing scouting reports is a requirement for linebacker. Keeping notes and watching film are invaluable tools that will enable a linebacker to be good at his position.

5. The nuances of playing linebacker vary from coach to coach as well as from scheme to scheme. Linebackers are highly encouraged to attend one to two football camps during the summer to obtain varied coaching techniques and philosophies. Football camps usually focus eight to ten hours daily on a specific position for three to five days. The amount of coaches at a camp provides a player with a tremendous knowledge base to learn from. Attending football camp is the best way to obtain all around knowledge and perspective into a very complex position.

The gridiron is a complex game that requires physical and mental abilities that are specific to each respective position. The following five tips will provide a high school linebacker an outline to follow and develop from. These specific areas all highlight very important factors in becoming a highs school linebacker.



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