We were all those awkward ninth graders coming up at one point (even if your next door neighbor claims to be 6’4 305 at age eleven). There’s always that one in the class already built like a grown man and the rest are a mix of lanky kids with no facial hair or butterbean lineman awaiting their six inch growth spurt. June Ball can be intimidating- it’s your first opportunity to show your on-the-field ability and realize your hardwork or lackthereof in the off-season.
June Ball is also confusing. While you begin learning the vast array of plays on offense, or run right or run left if you’re Bridgeport, you also have to begin learning the culture of the team. Knowing when and when not to go hard is important because there’s a fine line between playing hard and playing out of control. We’ll take you through several pointers to navigate your first June.
ASK QUESTIONS IF YOU DON’T GET IT All coaches are different and some might get annoyed with constant question asking but at the very least, they will recognize you trying to learn. Most coaches have been doing it for decades, and there is probably no question they haven’t answered before. It’s better to know what is going on then pretend to in the back.
GET A HOLD OF A PLAYBOOK/PLAYCHART Some coaches don’t give these out- if that’s the case, make your own. Knowing the plays and schemes is just like lifting weights. It puts you in a great position for success while giving you the confidence to perform said task. Try and coach up X’s and O’s with your fellow teammates- it will help you learn it even more and also looks incredibly mature.
ASK WHY YOU DO THINGS SCHEMATICALLY Knowing the plays is one thing- knowing the reason behind adjustments or alignments is another. Understanding your coach’s philosophy can be instrumental. This can go past freshman and goes for any player. Hopefully, the older players already know the strategy regarding their offense and defense.
WATCH THE MAN IN FRONT OF YOU The coach will explain the drill and then you get a free set of examples go before you. Why would you bother gazing off in the distance then look like an idiot when it’s your time up? Pay attention. Pay attention. Pay attention. I realize they hand out an ADHD diagnosis like free candy these days but most coaches already have GYFC meaning get your feet chopping.
HUSTLE, HUSTLE, HUSTLE You would figure that this would be instilled in most players but the essence of hardwork can fade if not held accountable. Hustle doesn’t necessarily mean trying to blow your ACL’s out doing high knees in the warm up but slipping while catching a pass and getting up and sprinting through the drill. Or, falling during a blocking drill but fighting to get up until that whistle blows. Are you going stop early in a game?
CONTROLLED DEMOLITION Linebackers playing a little rough on the receivers in pass skelly? Oh yeah, piss off the wide receivers coach. Diving for balls and taking out your teammates legs? Welcome to the liability club. Coaches love physicality when it’s asked for and even a little when it’s not, but it must be controlled. Gaining that reputation as a bull in a China shop sticks and it all comes full tilt when you get called up in Oklahoma drill against the senior you cheapshotted.
DON’T BUDDY BUDDY UPPERCLASSMAN Seniors can be the worst when it comes to drills. You’ll have one set that want you to take it easy on them or else you’re a tryhard or you’ll have the all out balls out that will try and demolish you every rep. The solution? Go hard every rep. If they get mad at you for making them better, so be it. You did your job and potentially will take their’s.
FINALLY, NUT UP OR SHUT UP Though politics will plague any sport on any level, high school football is your first step into the wild. Tell your mommy and daddy to stay home. Most coaches give reps out to anyone willing so there is no one to blame except yourself going through June. This is your first step in the legacy you’re building- don’t ease up.