Sunday, November 6, 2016
It’s more than just showing up on game day to play football in front of a crowd. There is more to it than putting on the cleats, the gloves, the jersey, pants and helmet. Football fans may not realize the preparations and dedication football players, at both the collegiate and professional level that players put in each week for game day. To prepare mentally and physically for game day; there is a lot more to what most may believe it takes to get ready. As a former collegiate football player and a collegiate coach, this blog will break down the day to day preparation as a football player at the collegiate level all the way up to game day.
As a student athlete playing college football, it’s important to know your education and school work comes first. But along with the school work given as a student, players have to add in the studying given as an athlete watching film on opponent's, team, and evaluating yourself.
Film, which is the most important and valuable asset to not just a football player but to any athlete. It’s the mental part of the game that is the most crucial part to know your opponent. Finding both the positive and negative of your opponents that could help you have an advantage over them come game time. Film is not just for studying your opponents but also for studying yourself. Wanting to perfect your craft at what you do and whatever position you play is something a player should “WANT” to do. Study every movement you make, trying to find out your negatives and positives in practice to help improve your game and see what needs to be worked on for your team to succeed.
As a Player/ Monday, Tuesday Wednesday:
Depending where a team is during the season and what school. For myself as a player, Mondays usually consist of a full padded practice and very much intense. Most full padded Monday practice last for about 2 – ½ hours. Get together with strength and conditioning coach for team workout in gym. Watch film for about 30 min in between classes. If needed, every day should be in training room for any injuries but even so be in there for stretching before and after practice. Before practice starts, players would meet in position meetings first with their position coaches. In position meetings, the group will watch film on the opponents and on themselves to see what needs to be fixed and cleaned up for game time. After position meetings that usually last for about 30 min, the team would break up to go into special teams meetings. As a player at Tarleton State, my coach couldn’t have said it enough that special teams is so crucial to the game of football and can help turn around a game at any time. So every player would be in special teams meetings knowing exactly what’s going on and where they need to be at on the field in practice and come game time. After practice, players go home to eat, work on homework and come back to the field house around 9 pm to watch more film. Watching as much film as possible is the most important thing and will only make a player better.
Since players lifted weights on Monday, Tuesday they would have off but would stick to the same schedule as Monday. Coming back again on Wednesday in the weight room again with our strength and conditioning coach. Thursday’s are a laid back kind of practice. Usually would be in only helmets and practice and more of a mental kind of day. Walking through or and 50 % going through all the plays that will be ran on game day. It’s a day that players get their legs back from working hard Monday Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is a lot more film than usual and polishing up everything to be 100% for Saturday. Friday is a walk through with just shorts and t-shirt, more film and spending time with teammates for bonding and getting our mind together as a team.
That night on Friday we watch film as a team and hear from the head coach for his motivational speech to us. Saturday morning, which is game day is started early with a team breakfast and walk through again along with watching more film. After the Saturday morning walk through, coaches give player about 3 hours off to spend with family or just to be alone to get mentally ready for the game. Players would then meet up for pre-game meal followed by going to the team facility to get dressed and ready to hit the field for warm up and game time kick-off. Game day is the most exciting thing I have been apart of, but I do know during the week of game day there is a lot of work to be put in mentally and physically to prepare myself all the way up to kick off.
Devon Gray (Former Player/ Coach. Tarleton State University)
Tarleton State Football