By: Chad Wilson – Owner All Eyes DB Camp
Do I have your attention? I should. You have been toiling around on the lower part of the depth chart and are failing to make an impact. Most guys in this position have a ready-list of outside reasons why this is the case but the truth of the matter is most of the time it’s you. In this article, it’s time to get in your face and let you know the real reasons why you are watching the game from the sidelines as other defensive backs make plays.
First of all, you are doing what everyone else is doing. While at its core, this is what should be happening, especially if you are on a good team, this doesn’t work if you are on the bench and trying to see the field. Of course, like everyone else, you should go to class, practice hard, watch film and don’t miss workouts. However, if you are not doing “extra” then good luck trying to change your address come game day.
Doing exactly what everyone else is doing and expecting to break into the lineup is like being behind in a race and running at the same pace hoping to pass those in front of you. There’s a chance the others may slowdown but that won’t make you any better. Football is a physical sport and so, someone could get hurt giving you a chance but why wait for that?
Spend some extra time watching film. When practice ends and everyone is leaving the field, stay out on the field and work on the things you know are essential to playing your position. How about pushing yourself harder in the weight room than the next guy in front of you. There’s a good chance that he might be relaxing while you are turning up. That’s how you pass somebody.
Playing a football game can be taxing and rest is needed after for recovery. Playing in a game makes you better after all of the exhaustion but guess what? You didn’t play in the game! While you and the rest of your young buddies might think it’s weird to go work out after a game or the next day, anyone who’s really about it will realize that in order to catch the man in front of you, you have to equal his work & experience. If he played and you didn’t, he just got the edge on you.
If you are riding the pine, you better start figuring out a routine that will get you as much work as the starter is getting. If it’s not the physical work of drills soon after the game then put in the study work. Get on the game film early the next day. Your routing might look like this:
7 AM: Wake up / get breakfast
8 AM: 30 minutes of drill work (basic footwork drills perfected)
9 AM: Watch the game film from night before and learn from coverages, how they were attacked and mistakes made
10 AM: Team meeting
While all of the “starters” were chilling and sleeping off the sweet feeling of being “the man” you picked up your pace and gained ground on them.
When you are at practice not getting reps because the starters are in, don’t spend your time to talking to Kevin about how you’re going to ask Kathy out or arguing with a teammate about who is the better rapper. Focus on what’s happening in the drills and on the field. Take mental reps as if you are actually out there. Success is a rehearsal and the more times you rehearse the more success you have. You can rehearse in your mind and I highly advise you to do that while at practice.
If you are on the scout team, use this time to perfect your technique and relish the opportunity to go up against the starters on offense. If your team has a high quality receiver, seek every chance you can get to go up against him. Cast aside your ego and fear of getting beat. Now is the time to take those beatings because they add the armor you will need down the road.
In conclusion, your medium effort will not yield maximum results. Don’t make the foolish mistake of thinking that doing what everyone else is doing in life will make you elite. Football and life does not work that way. Be different, go harder and make effective use of your time. Do that and in no time, you’ll be one of the 11 on the field when the game starts.
Chad Wilson is the owner of All Eyes DB Camp and author of "101 DB Tips". He played college football at the University of Miami and briefly in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks. Over his 15 year high school football coaching career, he tutored over a dozen Division I defensive backs and as a trainer has worked with NFL All Pros, first round draft picks, college football All Americans and Top 10 ranked high school football prospects.