My Advice to Football Players

With summer camp approaching or already started this is much belated, but here are a few things I wish someone would have stressed to me when I was playing football.

1. Don't worry about your bodyweight - too many kids want to gain too much weight too quickly. Just train, eat and run; you don't have to be X amount of weight to play any position on the field. Plus, more often than not the force feeding to get that extra 10-15 pounds may make you look better in the media guide, but it'll make you a fatter, slower player.

2. Condition for practice, not the game - I hate it when "performance coaches" try to tell everyone how long a play lasts and the demands of the sport and conditioning should all be based on that. Well, listen up Sherlock, or should I say, "Guy who never played the game?" You don't see the field if you don't practice well. And if you're an average, borderline player who needs to "Impress to Dress," you have to kick ass during the summer two-a-days. I know because that's who I was. So you need to be able to run, run and run some more. You need to be in shape to handle these practices. This doesn't mean you have to give up speed training or strength training - just remember that you got to be in shape. Also, (caps lock alert)....IT TAKES NO TALENT TO BE IN SHAPE. So if you aren't in shape, you just don't care.

3. Have a role and fulfill that role to the best of your ability - this is something that I did well in college. Find something you do well and do it to the best of your ability. Not everyone can be a superstar, but sometimes you need a punt blocker or a wedge breaker. Pete Hansen, now a coach at Stanford, is probably the greatest example of a kid who had a role and made a huge impact. Pete was/is around 6'8" or so and had a vertical jump of over 40 inches. This is rare amongst big, tall people. Pete made a name for himself (and earned a scholarship) by becoming a tremendous field goal/extra point blocker. He changed the game entirely because you couldn't kick field goals or extra points against us without a huge chance of them getting blocked. Do you have any idea how huge this is? So find something you do well and exploit it. Just don't be upset if it's not getting 20 tackles a game.

4. Don't be a dumb jock - Please don't feed this stereotype. Read a book and go to class. You don't need to be a genius to do both of these things.

5. Treat the people around you with respect - This includes the trainers, student trainers, weight room staff, tutors, media personnel, volunteers and fans. I hated when I saw some kid get shit on by a player because he/she was merely taping an ankle. Or never saying "thank you" to someone handing you a water bottle. That shit drove me nuts. We all have bad days and I do too, but it doesn't hurt to simply tell someone "thank you" when they do something for you.