Is your son moving on from youth football to play football for his school? Here is some advice I gave to my 6th grade team who will play middle school football next year. This applies to all football players moving on to school football.

Here is what I want you to remember when you step onto a middle school field next year:

Be Coachable: If your coach tells you how to do something do not ever reply with “I did do that”. Your response should be “Yes sir” and do what he tells you to do. Your response should always be “Yes Sir”. Coaches have years of experience and although you might think you are doing it correct they can make you do it better. Learn and improve!

Be Tough: Remember there is a difference in being hurt and being injured. Resist the urge to make it easy on yourself. Football requires you to play at a level where most kids in other sports would be comfortable sitting out. Don’t play injured but don’t take yourself out of the game for something minor. It will not make you a better player. Be resilient!

Be Unselfish: Take joy in the success of your teammates even if it is at the cost of your personal success. Don’t be jealous of the guy playing ahead of you but don’t be ok with it either. This is a team and you have to think of the team before you think of yourself. You did not succeed if you did your individual job great but the team failed. Play for your team!

Work hard and Compete:  Like I said don’t be jealous of the guy playing ahead of you but don’t be ok with it either. Remember you do not only earn a right to start you win the right to start. You have to compete with others to get playtime so be the best you can. Workout in the off season to get stronger and faster because I promise you someone else will do it. Ask yourself how much you want it and put the video game controller down and get strong and fast. Everything becomes more fun when you get better at it. Get better!

Playtime: Playtime is the most important goal for you. There are different teams in most middle schools. It does not matter one bit who gets on any team as long as you are playing. It is better to be a starter on the “C” team than to stand on the sidelines of the “A” team. You will not become better players unless you actually play football so do not get your feelings hurt if you are not on the “A” team. There will be jerks who think they are better than you but in reality most of the successful varsity players never played on the “A” team in middle school. You play where they put you, become the best at it and you will be successful and you will have fun. Playing is most important!

It’s just a game: No matter what, it’s just a game you will not play after high school. It is not the end of the world nor does it define who you are. Play it because you love it but don’t do it for any other reason including to make your coaches or parents happy. There is more to your life and if you devote yourself and make sacrifices for a game you do not love you will be making a mistake. Have fun being a kid!

To the Parents:

Our little boys are becoming young men although we may not be ready for it. Make them accountable for their own success and remember their success is something they want to achieve, not you. Meetings with coaches or emails about playtime will not make them better players nor will it achieve what you want. It is on them now. Missed tackles or dropped balls do not deserve criticism but opportunities for encouraged improvement. It is not a reflection on you if your son does not play on the “A” team but it is a reflection on you if your son is not coachable or a team player. Tell them how much you love to watch them play and they will play for a long time.


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