Brian Chavez: I’m gonna miss the heat. Don Billingsley: I’m gonna miss the lights. Brian Chavez: Yeah, me too. Stay low boys, keep those feet moving. Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights is an amazing book about high school sports and Texas high school football. The book became a movie and now a netflix series. It is a book parents and players in all sports should read. The one thing about those Friday Night Lights is they are bright and nothing can prepare a player (or parent) for the first time those lights shine on the player, no matter what the sports.
Here are a few tips / thoughts on being in those lights for the 1st time. We will be adding to this post in the next few days…
- You Have Dreamed of This Moment for a LONG Time: From the first time you attended a high school athletic contest in a sport that you play, you had the dream. The dream of wearing that school uniform and competing as an athlete. Do you remember the moment? The closer you get to the moment, the more you think about it. The more you dream of being in the game and making the big play. Will you be ready? Will you be skilled enough? Big questions, but it has been a dream of yours for years… and now it is here.
- You Have Worked Hard to Have This Opportunity: Many players work many years to have the opportunity to play a varsity sport. Once you reach high school, there is lifting, skill development, hudl film study, personal trainers, summer camps. Hours spent alone honing your craft. If you are lining up as a starter on a varsity sports team you have put in the time. Some more than others. The more you work, the better prepared you will be for the 1st game.
- This is the Fastest Game You Will EVER play in High School: This is a game that will seem to be so fast that your head will be spinning. You are not facing the scout team that is not a well oiled machine that executes the offense and defense to perfection. Don’t worry, it will get easier with each series, each possession, each play. But will be so overwhelming. Relax and do the best you can.
- These are the Best Athletes You Have Ever Played in High School: These is not a freshman or Junior Varsity team. This is the VARSITY! These players have paid the price. They have come up through a program. Played sub-varsity games. They are the strongest, fastest, and most skilled players in that high school. Many will be older, stronger, faster, and more experienced than you. RELAX and do the best you can. Trust the process and price you have paid. Remember you have worked for this opportunity too. Elevate your game.
- There Are High Expectations: There are no playing time requirements. The best players will play. You have been given this opportunity. DO YOUR JOB! Your coaches have a plan and have stressed the fundamentals and have provided you with responsibilities. Do them to the best of you ability.
- Your Backup Is Ready & Waiting: Depending of the talent on your team and the size of your school. There will be competition for spots and there will be a player who is anxiously waiting on the sideline for an opportunity to play. Do your job and keep that player on the sideline.
- Everybody is Watching (& Will Watch Over and Over): Mom, Dad, family, friends, enemies, old-timers, little kids will all be watching. It is an impressive event. Simply look around and take it all in.
- There is Internal & External Pressure: Many parents are as excited and anxious as a player is. This can add to the pressure of player. Not to mention the athlete’s own set of standards. He / she wants to perform well. Take it easy. Worry about one play at a time. Do not worry about a mistake or a success that has already happened. Focus on the next play and try to execute your responsibilities. When all else fails, return to the fundamentals. Fundamentals First. Execute the fundamentals and a player will be fine.
- It Is Just Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, etc: This is the truest statement of all. It is just “the sport.” Play the game the way it is supposed to be played.