Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Why is he playing?

Posted by admin July - 24 - 2013 - Wednesday

I had an interesting discussion with a young man in the weight room yesterday. He “started to” come out for football at our school for the last 2 years and then… at the last moment changed his mind. He made an off-hand comment that he was “thinking about” playing football this fall since it’s his last year in high school. I asked him, “Why didn’t you play before?” His answer? “Well, my Travel Team baseball coaches told me that I shouldn’t play. I needed to concentrate on baseball.” hummmm?

I decided to speak my mind. I said, “You are a rising senior, right? (“Yes sir.”) And how many baseball scholarship offers have you gotten so far? (“None.”) So you gave up 2 years of having fun playing football with us for a dream that some AAU baseball coach perpetuated in your mind and looks like it’s not going to happen?” (again, “Yes sir.”)

I asked, “Have you ever heard me (the football coach) tell you…. or any of our athletes… NOT to play another sport?!” (“No sir.”) So… I’ve got to wonder what the motivation was for that baseball coach to be so selfish as to discourage you from doing something that you’d enjoy and you’d be pretty good at?!”

Then I open the sports section in the paper this morning and they are going on about some summer baseball league here in the area that uses wooden bats for high school players— to prepare them for Major League Baseball! “Come on Man!!!” (I have to add… for us old timers who used nothing but wooden bats when we played as kids) that one player said, “They’re (wooden bats) not for everybody. You have to be strong and coordinated to handle a wooden bat!” again… “Come on Man!” I was 5’10 and 178 pounds in high school. I swung a 34 oz. bat… it looked like a club more than a baseball bat!!! Anyway… another story for another time.

My point: Parents— encourage your sons and daughters to play multiple sports. To specialize for the sole reason of, “I’ve got to get my kid a scholarship” perverts the whole concept of why we offer sports participation to children. Participate; be active; compete; learn different skills; learn teamwork and… have fun!!! My parents encouraged me to learn football, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, archery, ping pong! and a little karate. I was pretty good in all of them. This age of specialization drives me crazy.

This sums it up: we just had a student transfer to our independent school. When I met him (knowing that he was going to play football for us), I asked him what his favorite sport was. His response? (It’s a classic!!!) He said, “Whatever sport is in season!” I LOVE it!!!

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