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High School Football Tryouts: What to Know (Expect), Drills, Tips,… – A Helpful Guide

Few things are more exciting for young adults than high school football. Oh, the fun and the fame! Its association with Hollywood movies such as The Gridiron GangRemember the Titans, and Invincible makes it no less appealing and powerful. 

But football, much like other sports, is a very physically intensive and demanding activity. Unlike what is portrayed in high school dramas, players just don’t show up with the team with cool hairstyles, become the most popular, and walk out of the school in a slow-motion.

Underneath all the glamour and glory associated with high-school football, there is a lot of hard work and, dare I say, some disappointment involved? My father was an All-American with a Letterman Jacket covered in patches that showed his athletic prowess. I remember going to my freshman high school football tryouts and the butterflies in my stomach. 

As you might have guessed, the first challenge is to train and qualify for the tryouts. If you have considered applying for the football tryouts or your kid or someone close to you is interested in the tryouts, look no further than this post. 

In this comprehensive post, we have researched and compiled the tips and everything you need to know about the famous American football tryouts. Let’s get started. 

What You Need to Know About Football Tryouts (Tips)

Before you can even dream about being on the team, you have to be prepared for the tryouts. But are you ready for it? It is much like a job interview, and interviews require preparation. 

You cannot just show up for the tryout without physical and mental preparation. It can be brutal for your body as well as your self-esteem. 

So, here are a few things you need to know before the tryouts. 

1. Start training early. 

The earlier you start training your body, the better your performance will be. You cannot expect your body to cooperate with you when all you do is sleep or watch TV. If you desire to be an athlete, you need to train like one. 

Running and weight training are great ways to start preparing for the tryout season. Begin your training at least six months in advance. Typically the basic indicator for high school football tryouts is a 40 yard dash for speed assessment, so try to nail it in the shortest time while training.  

Look into interval training. Interval training is a method of training where you perform at top levels followed by moderate levels. For example, walking for one minute and then sprinting for one minute. Repeat that five times. That is one form of interval training.

2. Monitor your diet. 

When you have started training, you will also need to watch what you put into your digestive system. You need to become agile, but building up muscle is also essential for playing football. Carbohydrates can be used for fuel during intense workouts, but overconsumption of carbs can turn into stored fat. 

Without sounding obnoxious, increase your intake of protein and vegetables. Refrain from eating too much sugar and junk foods, however tempting it might be. Simple carbohydrates fall into this category. Ditch the white bread. They often have zero nutritional value after being bleached white. 

3. Prepare your mind. 

It is always noble to have a “never give up” attitude. And you should cultivate it theoretically and practically. However, despite giving your best, things can always go wrong. Therefore, it is important to train your mind to be open and accepting of the many possible outcomes. 

4. Prepare your gear.

Will a soldier show up on the battlefield without armor and a weapon? Why should it be any different for you? Wearing proper gear will definitely increase your confidence and make you feel empowered, so you can give your best in the game. 

Irrespective of whether you qualify or not, essential gear you must have for the tryouts include: 

  • Helmet 
  • Mouthguard 
  • Neck Collar/Neck Roll 
  • Shoulder pads 
  • Jockstrap and Cup 
  • Gloves 
  • Thigh, Hip, and Knee Pads 
  • Cleats or sneakers 

Coaches are also likely to remember a player with a unique jersey or a logo on it. It is not considered rude to wear a jersey with your name if you have it. If you don’t have one, don’t stress. Let your game do all the talking and eye-catching. 

5. Practice as much as you can. 

The adage that practice makes perfect holds a lot of weight in football. Practicing allows you to refine your techniques and shoot for precision. You can work on our arm strength, your footwork, and as well as the mechanics. 

6. Get enough rest.

If you push your body beyond its limit, you face exhaustion, and that is the last thing you want before the tryouts. You need to get enough sleep, especially before the big day. This is crucial so that you can recharge your mind and your body for the big event. 

What To Do During the Football Tryouts

On the day of the tryout, there are a few things you need to expect and be ready for. 

1. A pregame snack. 

Yes, this is an absolute must as you will need the energy. A light sandwich, an energy drink, or any light snack of your choice will keep you energized and alert. You cannot drop out of the game just because you were exhausted.

2. Get to the venue in advance.  

There are those days when the traffic decides to be gridlocked when you are in an absolute rush. Don’t let this happen on the day of your tryout. Whether you are driving yourself or a parent is driving you, make sure you reach the venue at least an hour in advance. 

Start with some reconnaissance in the parking lot. See who is there and make a mental note. Identify the coaches and assistant coaches. This will allow you to prepare yourself physically and mentally for the game. It will also give you ample time to talk to other players, the coach, and maybe even the scouts! 

3. Keep your ears open. 

The coaches’ word is supreme in every game, and tryouts are no different. Whether you are in the locker room, on the field, or sidelines, listen to the coach and pay attention to what they say. You will earn a lot of brownie points. 

You can ask questions to the coach and talk to your teammates, but never ever when the coach is talking. In this case,” silence is golden.”

4. Technique is essential.

Scouts and even your coach understand that you are not playing professional football. However, they do not undervalue the way players use their technique during tryouts, either. A dropped ball via a proper technique will give you better scores than a clumsy, wobbly catch. 

Watch out for these essentials that you can use to leverage your technique. 

Mechanics – The strength of your arm, how far you can reach, and the mechanics of your wrists, elbow, and arm are vital. The majority of the power in the throw will come from how you hold the ball and release it. 

Always leave a small gap between your palm and the ball while holding it. When you release it, the index finger must be the last to touch the ball. 

Arm strength  Your training should help with the strength of your arm, which is vital to the speed of the ball when you throw it. Choose to release the ball rather quickly if your arm isn’t very strong. This is crucial if you are playing a quarterback position as you don’t want the ball to be intercepted before reaching the target. 

Accuracy – The accuracy of your throw is directly proportional to your understanding of mechanics, arm strength, and knowledge of the play. 

Footwork – Fancy footwork does not only apply in dancing, but half the charm of football comes from correct footwork on the field. You have a good chance of impressing the coaches if you are quick, avoid defensive players as a quarterback, and complete the play successfully. 

High School Football Tryout Drills

A typical tryout session will include a variety of drills for players of different positions. These include: 

  • Running, throwing, and capturing a snapped ball from the center for quarterbacks.
  • Blocking as well as hitting with blocking sleds for linemen. The sleds are padded, of course. Driving the sled backward for several yards is also a common drill for linemen.
  • Running through obstacles such as cones and catching passes is common for running back positions.
  • Attempting field goals at various distances and punting the ball are performed for kickers and punters, respectively.
  • Receiving passes from those playing quarterback positions while running is a common drill for wide receivers.
  • Defensive back drills and linemen drills are performed for linebackers.
  • A combination of passing drills is executed for prospective defensive drills. 

Pro Tips for Football Tryouts  

  • Prepare your gear the day before the actual tryouts. 
  • Include an energy drink and a bottle of water with your gear.
  • Remember that tryouts are not the time to try something new. If you have been training as a tackle, stick to it and give your best shot. Trying something new to impress your coach on the tryouts can turn out to be disastrous.
  • Your posture is very important. Your back must be straight and your arms strong and purposeful. Do not slack off or slouch during or in between plays.
  • Do not hesitate to ask questions to the coach, but don’t be silly either.
  • Make a good impression on the coaches and sprint to them when they call you.
  • Be a good team player, a good listener, and do not be afraid to communicate with the team.
  • Have fun while playing. Laughing a little when appropriate can show you have confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions About High School Football Tryouts 

1. When should I start training for the tryouts? 

If you can start training a year ahead of the upcoming season, that is great. However, six months is a good enough time to train regularly for the tryouts. 

2. What type of exercise should I focus on? 

  • Alternating between running and weight training is always a good start.
  • To improve your footwork, ladder drills are a must.
  • For accuracy, practice throwing the ball at a stationary object such as a tire hung from a tree. As you get better, try hitting a moving target.
  • For developing arm strength, rows, military presses, and dumbbell presses are excellent. Your mechanics will also get better as your strength increases.
  • For strong legs – Leg curls and squats are great options. Jumping ropes, weaving, and running will also strengthen your calves and overall legs. 

3. What should I look for in a football helmet? 

A good helmet will keep your head protected from possible concussions and injuries. Therefore, a good helmet is one that has shock absorbers, foam inserts on the sides, and a polycarbonate shell. Of course, you should also look for ones that have good ventilation. Always try a helmet on and see how it feels before buying one. 

4. I am homeschooled. Can I still apply for the tryouts? 

Absolutely. Students who are homeschooled can also participate in the tryouts. Homeschooled pupils can participate in teams that are freelancers or independent. However, some states allow homeschooled students to participate in interscholastic athletics for the local school. 

5. What is the indicator for speed assessment in high school football tryouts? 

Most coaches employ a 40-yard dash as the basic indicator for speed in high school football tryouts. However, for a linemen position, a 10-yard dash is typically used as a speed indicator. 

6. What are the potential forms that need to be signed? 

The required forms differ from one state to the other. However, most high school football participation requires a physical form, cardiac arrest form, HIPPA form, emergency treatment form, and a concussion form. 

The majority of the forms require a parent’s consent. But different schools in different states have their own requirements. Therefore it pays to check with the school before participating in the tryouts. 

7. Can I choose which position I play?

In the beginning, this can be tricky. In most cases, the coach will determine which position you will play primarily based on your physical build and initial play. However, some coaches will ask which position you prefer to play. The final position is decided based on your performance during the practices. 

Final Thoughts

Participating in a tryout can seem very tough, and it can be nerve-racking for a first-timer. But if you have put in the hard work by training your body and practicing well, there is no reason for you not to excel in the tryouts and impress the coaches and scouts. 

Follow these tips, and you may find that your life will never be the same after tryouts. Irrespective of your skills and techniques, remember to add a dash of good attitude and team spirit while playing, and you will find your place on the team in no time.