There’s an old song that goes, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” For those of us with pesky day jobs, summer isn’t really that much different than the other seasons. We go to work; we work; we go home. But it is nice and warm, there are baseball games every night, there’s no snow to shovel, and we can actually string some vacation days together occasionally. So yeah, summer is a little more relaxed than the other seasons.
For high school kids, summertime living is relatively easy. But…they shouldn’t take it too easy. Especially if they play football. It’s a bit of a hyperbole to say that football seasons are won in lost in the summer, but the quantity and quality of work that young athletes do in the good old summertime will directly equate to their performance on the field in the fall. If there are too many guys sleeping in and missing the morning workouts too many times, fourth quarters, starting around week three, can start getting a little rough.
Coaches can’t make these workouts mandatory, but they can make suggestions that it’s a good idea to show up. I follow many high school teams on Twitter and one of my favorite themes for tweets goes like, “Great work today. Just two short of perfect attendance.” My guess is those two guys knew who they were, everyone else knew, and they were in attendance the next day. Another coach forwarded a tweet from an opposing team, with a comment like, “We play these guys week 3. Looks like they are putting in the time. Are you working hard enough?” Good stuff.
In the best programs, the kids are also policing themselves. The upperclassman learned long ago from their predecessors to do what it takes to get better, and now it’s their turn to pass it down to the younger kids. “Where were you yesterday? You need a ride? I’ll pick you up.” And hopefully that cycle keeps repeating itself year after year.
Summertime is a great few months were kids can just be kids. But for football players, part of that being a kid should include getting stronger and getting better—because fall will be here before you know it.