There is always room for improvement in a player's performance on the football field, whether it is knowing an assignment, reacting to a play or being up to the task physically when the time comes. There are specific things that football players can do to play better football, such as studying game films, working out with dedication and learning the playbook. Being receptive to coaching can only make a football player better, and accepting input and criticism will allow players to be able to make progress in their own eyes as well as those of the coaching staff.
How to Play Better Football
Work out in the offseason. Lift weights, run, get other exercise and do anything else that gets you into your top physical condition so that your body can take the rigors of a football season. Ask coaches for a workout plan that is designed to add muscle and help your endurance. Seek out other players to work out with. Never turn to a shortcut such as steroids, which can do great damage to your body over time. The work ethic you develop while working out before the season will serve you well in the sport and in life as well.
Develop a rapport with the coaching staff. Ask coaches how you can improve your performance and follow their suggestions. For example, a lineman who is having problems with his footwork needs to be shown what he is doing incorrectly, how to do things right and how to make sure the lesson sticks. Coaches will appreciate that a player knows he has shortcomings and has a strong desire to get better. If you're seeing little playing time, don't sulk--ask the coach what you need to do.
Study game film and the playbook. Knowing automatically what is supposed to happen on a specific play or what another team's tendencies are can allow a player to excel. Football coaches make extensive use of game films and videos to educate their players about what they are doing wrong as well as what they are doing right. Many mistakes on the field are mental and can be corrected by watching film and learning the playbook.
Practice repeatedly those things that you do not do well. Much of football is based on proper technique that, once mastered, can allow the player to play looser, without having to think about what he is doing. For instance, an offensive lineman who doesn't position himself correctly coming out of his stance and into pass protection will be exploited time and again by a savvy defender. The lineman should work exhaustively on getting into position until this becomes second nature.
Work hard on the little things that can pay big dividends. Receivers can do specific exercises to strengthen their hands and improve their agility. Running backs can practice such things as switching the football away from defenders when in the open field. Defensive backs can engage in drills designed to improve their reaction to a tipped football. Kickers can practice kicking in adverse conditions, onside kicks and punting the ball out of bounds. Each position has a specific set of skills that can be worked on to help a player perform better during the game, when it counts.