Wanna Make The Cut? Points A Freshman Athlete Should Consider.

Concord Calif- One of the biggest disappointments in an athletes life can be failing to make the high school team. For freshman athletes it can be particularly  devastating. Every year I see little league and pop warner  “all stars” get blindsided and not make the cut. High school sports for the most part are serious. The transition requires a higher level of commitment, higher intensity of training and higher volumes of work. Don’t fool yourself by believing the success you’ve had to this point will easily carry over to the next level. You wanna make the cut? Be clear on what your facing and what you will need to do to make the coaches list.

Consider these points:


  1. Physical Strength -Many athletes lack the physical strength to compete with their peers. Understand the talent pool gets bigger and coaches have a broader selection of talent to choose from. Start early on a resistance program. Ok mom quit clutching your pearls, No it doesn’t mean hard core weight lifting and dads  don’t rush to enroll in your nearest hardcore crossfit or bootcamp. There are many appropriate options that can consider your athletes current level of physical development and training IQ and provide the proper training.  Body weight exercises, medicine ball work, or basic free weight or machine exercises with the proper teaching and supervision can help close the physical gap.
  2. The Talent Funnel – A greater concentration of talent is now in one place and you have to compete against it. Most everyone trying out has some “all star”, “all league” accolades. The recreational participant  begins to be filtered out.  At this level you will face a higher concentration of more talented, serious and dedicated athletes. If your just there to participate in most likelihood you wont make it.
  3. Lack of Speed & Coordination – Simply the game gets faster at the next level. Speed is also a big identifier of talent for coaches and it will separate those who play and those who don’t. Indirectly what speed says to a coach is “Ive got an athlete here”. Take time to improve your speed so that your movements are quicker, fluid and more coordinated . You don’t have to be the fastest but you will present a more athletic profile and enhance your chances of making the team.
  4. Inability to Compete– Some athletes don’t know how to compete for positions. Most kids come from programs that are pretty democratic in that everyone gets playing time. Your athlete must understand that at the high school level playing time is earned. Its earned by performance, attitude, teamwork and all the facets that make a total player who can contribute to the success of the program. Get rid of the punch the clock mentality.
  5. Lack Coachability– Some athletes lack the basic ability to follow directions, resist correction and see it as criticism, they struggle to absorb  new concepts  put forth by their coaches. This inability to focus, listen and process the information given will result in a coach moving on to a more receptive pupil.  Be thoughtful, prepare to be a student of the sport regardless of how much success you’ve had to that point. Be engaged, ask questions, listen intently, a receptive athlete is a coachable one.


High school sports are fun, challenging and can provide the memories of a lifetime. Take it seriously, be prepared and be ready to compete.


Aaron Thigpen is the owner of Gamespeed Sports Performance in Concord, Calif. He has been a trainer and coach for over thirty years from the youth to professional levels of sport.  He can be reached at 925 222-9612.