What Is Involved in High School Football Tryouts?
High school football coaches use tryouts as a time to assess the talent that is available to them for an upcoming season. Common high school football tryout activities include kicking, throwing, catching, blocking and sprinting, which are typically conducted with potential players dressed in shorts or sweats and T-shirts. Like the game itself, tryouts are a difficult process intended to determine who has what it takes to succeed on the football field.
Welcome to Tryouts
In most situations, high school football tryouts begin with a gathering of coaches and potential players where introductions are made and the tryout process is explained in detail. Players are sorted into groups based on positions before separating to different parts of the field to perform position-related drills. Some coaches will separate you into position groups based on what your physical appearance leads them to believe you are capable of playing. However, some coaches may ask you to indicate which position you want to play. In either case, as the tryout process unfolds, your skills may reveal the position for which you are best suited.
Usually, high school football coaches use the 40-yard dash as a basic indicator of a prospective player’s speed, which helps to determine which position you are capable of playing. The 40-yard dash is performed either alone or against another tryout attendee. From a three-point football stance, you will be required to break into a full sprint for a distance of 40 yards while a coach times you. This drill is a good indicator of how fast you are able to run and of your muscular endurance over a distance that is commonly covered during a football game. Typically, linemen run the 40-yard dash more slowly than other positions, so coaches will sometimes employ the 10-yard dash to ascertain these players’ ability to cover shorter distances quickly. Linemen are usually required to cover distances in this distance range during a football game.
High school football tryouts typically require prospective linemen to perform hitting and blocking drills on a padded blocking sled. These drills require you, from a three-point stance, to explode from your stance, hit the sled and drive it backward for several yards. Blocking sleds come in several formats, such as two-, three- and five-man sleds that the appropriate amount of players are used to drive the sled. Coaches use this drill to determine a player’s ability to perform the basic duties of an offensive or defensive lineman.
If you are trying out to make your high school football team’s quarterback, you will be put through a battery of drills that include throwing, running and taking a snapped ball from under center. Wide receiver candidates will be called upon to run routes and receive passes from prospective quarterbacks or coaches as part of their tryout experience. Running back candidates can expect to be required to run through obstacle courses, such as tires or cones, and to receive passes along with the wide receivers. Defensive backs and safeties will be assessed by providing pass coverage during passing drills, while linebackers will perform a combination of linemen and defensive back drills. Kickers’ and punters’ skills will be evaluated by attempting field goals from different distances and by punting the ball as far as they can.
Lou Martin has been writing professionally since 1992. His work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Times," the "Long Beach Press-Telegram" and the "Deseret Morning News." Martin holds a Bachelor of Science in history and communication.