The Importance of Summer Preparation
For most high school students, summer is a time to relax, get away on vacation, and enjoy the warm weather. As student-athletes, particularly football players, summer entails much more. The summer months are a crucial time where proper preparation is vital to the success of any high school football team. This is not to say that high school student-athletes should run themselves into the ground; rather, keep athletics a priority if it is important to them. The grueling game of football is not for everyone and there is no shame in admitting that.
From my high school and collegiate football experiences, the first thing which you should reflect on is whether football matters to you. This game is too intense at the high school level for players to be committed half-heartedly. I have witnessed countless teammates through the years go through the motions, creating a self-deprecating cycle. This is a detriment to the team and takes away from the team’s ability to be successful. Everyone must head in the same direction to achieve the ultimate goal. When you have one player pushing in the opposite direction, the overarching purpose can go array.
Understand Your ‘Why’
Once you acknowledge whether you are committed, I have found that understanding your ‘why’ is equally as important. Like any goal, a strong sense of purpose is a driving factor that makes it easy to take consistent and deliberate action. The most important actions that a successful high school football player should practice, especially during the summer, are consistency and focus.
When you consistently work on your craft, you are setting yourself up to succeed. At the very least, you give yourself a fighting chance. Reflecting back on my playing career, there were days when I would really push myself beyond my comfort zone. After days of continuous grueling work, there were certainly times when I let fatigue get the better of me. In these instances, I would not complete every exercise rep in the weight room or would even take a rep off at practice. There were a few reasons for this, namely because my attitude towards recovery was poor.
As football players, this mindset must also be applied to take time for proper rest and recovery. Players do themselves a disservice when they do not have a disciplined rest and recovery routine. Players cannot physically perform at their highest level. My performance on the football field and in the weight room was impacted by factors such as poor quality sleep, nutrition, and a lack of focus on mobility training. As I matured in my football career, it was easy to understand that these proper recovery techniques are effective. The best teammates that I have played beside were committed to consistency in all areas of their game, especially recovery.
Successful people focus on tasks that are high priority and yield a high payout. These tasks get them closer to their goals. High school-aged student-athletes oftentimes have a difficult time understanding how focus can apply to all aspects of their lives. It is easy to focus when you are on the field or in the weight room. It can become difficult to make daily choices such as proper diet, the people with whom you surround yourself, and even how you choose to spend your free time. All of these things impact one’s ability to successfully reach and surpass goals.
Tying It All Together
The opportunity to play football is a blessing. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the opportunity. Although the game is not for everyone, those who are committed must have a definitive understanding of their ‘why’. Goals can be reached and surpassed through consistency and focus. A clear understanding of why you are acting, combined with a keen sense of where you are going, is powerful. The path to a goal is never easy. High school football players and high school football coaches must work together to successfully accomplish these tasks.