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Young Football Players: Choose What to Control
Photo of Brian Halligan

When you start out onto that field during your first football practice, it’s good to focus on your main goals for joining the team. Most likely, you love the game, you love team sports and you’re excited for the challenge that waits in the season ahead. Focusing on these main goals as well as the things you can control as a new football player will help you be a great team player and have a more successful season.

So, what things can you control? Well, besides deciding what to eat for lunch and who you call your friends before and after practice (which are both important things that will affect your game), you can also control how hard you practice, how much rest you get and how great your attitude is.

You Control Your Practice
The coach might make the plays, the drills and the workouts for the day, but it’s up to you to give it your best effort. By giving each play and each exercise the best effort you have, you control how much you get out of each football practice. Combine a great team practice with workouts of your own to double your strength and stay ahead of the pack.

You Control Your Rest
After every great workout, comes a great rest. It’s up to you to get the rest you need. With the right amount of rest, you can maintain a high level of energy during practice and at games. You can control how early you sleep, how late you wake up, and how distracted your mind is. Food choices can also affect your sleeping patterns and resting abilities, so make sure you fuel your body with the proper nutrition. Getting the right amount of rest will help your muscles recover and be ready for the next workout.

Your Attitude is Under Your Control
As a young football player, you might find yourself questioning your coach, your teammates or other administrators now and again. How you present these questions is all about attitude. Maintaining a positive, friendly attitude and having respect for authority is so important to your game. Attitude is everything in football. Not only will a great attitude gain you respect on your team, but also it will gain you respect with your coaches. Encourage your teammates to work hard, stay positive and work hard yourself, and don’t be afraid to suggest new ideas (in a respectful way) to your coach.

By focusing on the things that you can control as a young football player, you won’t be distracted by the things you can’t. Things you can’t control usually include:

  • Your body type (if you’re built like a linebacker, you may not be a running back…)
  • Your teammates (you can encourage others to be their best, but it’s up to them to take control of their own decisions!)
  • Your coach (Although you can respectfully suggest things, your coach has his or her job because they know what they are doing)
  • Your parents (They might embarrass you by cheering the loudest in the stands, but know that they mean their best.)

So, set aside thoughts of things you can’t control and embrace who you are as a person and football player. Practice hard, get your rest and keep your attitude positive to be the best football player and teammate you can be.

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