High School Football is a challenging endeavour, but it also has its perks. It requires high dedication and takes a stern test of your perseverance. Overall, it is a great way to confront your limitations and try to push yourself beyond them.
If you are a high school student and have a penchant for the game, you should consider taking up high school football. The benefits of playing football at this level are manifold. It would help you master a handful of useful life skills like leadership, responsibility, and time management.
So, if you feel you can play football without jeopardising your academic pursuits, high school football would do you a world of good. But, are you confused about how to get started? If so, then our complete guide to high school football should be a worthwhile read for you.
How Long is a High School Football Match?
In the United Kingdoms, children aged between 12 and 16 attend high schools, which are more commonly known as secondary schools in England. So, at the school level, the duration of a football match is shorter than the usual 90-minute time limit.
A high school football match is an 11-a-side affair like regular football, but the differences arise in shorter pitch dimensions and time restraint. For Year 9 and 10 students, the matches are played in 35-minute halves. For senior students, the halves are 40 minutes each.
How to Prepare Yourself for High School Football Try-outs
1. Mark Your Calendar for Try-out Dates
The first thing you need to do to get your high school football career rolling is to inquire about the try-outs. Generally, the try-outs are scheduled in August, or before the start of the school year. You should find try-out information for your class on your school website.
2. Plan Your Schedule
Juggling multiple responsibilities is easier said than done, but if you manage to strike a balance, life would be way more productive and enjoyable for you. Fitting in football among your stringent academic timetable would be challenging, but the effort would definitely pay off.
As we said earlier, high school football can make you adept in many life skills. Time management happens to be one of the virtues that you can get a grip on playing football in school, and it would be rewarding in your future life ventures.
The standard practice is that the school will ask you to maintain a certain level of grades. If your academic performance drops beyond a certain level, you would be expelled from the football team. So, compromising your studies for football is not an option.
That particular detail would be a strong argument for you if you are having trouble convincing your parents to give you permission to play football. If they fear it would interfere with your studies, you need to show them how high school football can incentivise you to get better grades.
You must also stay up to date about the rules that the school asks the players to adhere to. You can find a complete list of all the dos and don’ts on the school’s website. For any confusion, do not hesitate to consult the coach.
Schools can be very strict regarding missed practice sessions and team meetings. So, you have to be punctual and make time for these in your schedule beforehand. You might even get dropped from the team for being late on practice or missing it altogether.
3. Work on Your Fitness
What you lack in football finesse, you can make up with physical fitness. So, getting in shape before high school football try-outs should be your priority. You need to make yourself physically capable of running 12 minutes without a break.
If you can pull that off during the try-outs, the coach will be impressed by your stamina. You will need to work on improving your endurance gradually. In order to do that you can try alternating between jogging and running during your training.
It would be ideal if you can work with a personal trainer to make you ready for the try-outs. But, it would not be possible for everyone. If you don’t have the opportunity to work with a trainer, you will have to tailor-make an exercise routine by yourself.
4. Perfect your Warmup Game
Before a match or training, you need to warm up and prepare your body for the intensity. If the coach has to walk you through the warm-up process before the try-outs, it will not help your cause a lot. So, polishing your warm-up regimen is a good idea before heading for the try-outs.
To get underway, you can do some low key aerobics like jogging or running. Move on to stretches afterwards to boost your flexibility. Hold on to each stretch for no less than ten seconds. Then, finish up with some jumping and turning. Warming up with or without the ball is optional.
5. Play Practise Games
Getting some pitch mileage would increase your odds of getting selected. The match experience will allow you to better your playing skills and the ability to read the game. Try to implement the moves you have been executing in practise.
However, you would also need to be wary of the fact that you have to be fit for the try-outs. So, sustaining an injury would put a spanner in the works. Try to avoid making rough tackles, or being on the receiving end of one. Don’t get lost in the moment and lose sight of your actual ambition.
6. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Maintaining an athletic physique is not possible without making sacrifices. You would have to say goodbye to those delicious fries and burgers, to keep your body fit for high school football. You would have to cultivate a healthy eating habit.
Eat whenever you get hungry! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so ignoring it is not an option. You need to focus on increasing muscle density. For this reason, your diet must include rich levels of fibre and fat-free protein.
7. Study the Best Players
It can be argued that football is a form of art. And artists, need to draw inspiration from their idols. Thanks to the internet, you can study the playing style of your favourite players whenever you want. Take note of their skills and try to incorporate those in your play.
Not just fancy skills, there is a lot to learn witnessing the best footballers in action. You can analyse their positioning, passing, and decision making and use the findings to improve your overall game. Learning from the best players is the best way to prepare for your football endeavours.
How to Practise for High School Football Try-outs
Practise at least three times a week in 20- 30 minute sessions to get yourself ready for high school football try-outs. Here are some drills you can practise:
- Set 10/15 cones a foot and a half apart from each other. Dribble past them and try to take three instep touches and three steps outside your feet every time.
- Juggle the ball. Try to keep it as long as you can in your feet, chest or head.
- Practise kicks. Besides conventional ones, try some speciality moves like the rabona and bicycle kicks.
- Work on your headers. Whether you are a defender or a forward, you would need to be aerially strong. Heading ability is one of the key virtues high school football coaches keep an eye out for in trials.
- Practise passing the ball and shooting it towards the target.
- Learn to change your body position as you roll over the ball. This would help you shield opposition players and keep possession of the ball.
How to Dazzle Coaches in High School Football Try-outs
- You need to make a strong first impression before even kicking the ball. Don’t wear any fashion accessories, keep your shirt tucked in, and wear a pair of cleats that fits your feet well.
- Don’t shy away from being loud on the pitch and demand a pass from your teammate. High school football coaches admire vocal players and value them as potential leaders in the team.
- Keep on trying to win back the ball as soon as you lose it. Don’t let your shoulders down. Always be proactive.
- Always try to exhibit that you are a team player. High school football is a team game, so a player who champions team chemistry is an asset to any high school football coach.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Pay close attention to what the coach is saying. Make sure what he/she demands of you. Present yourself as a coachable player.
We can’t guarantee that following our high school football guidelines would get you a spot in the team. Since a limited number of players will be chosen, there are no assurances that you will be selected for sure.
What we can guarantee, however, that following our guidelines would mean that you have done all there is to do to excel in the try-outs. Wish you best of luck!