Football: From Beginners To The NFL
Football: From Beginners To The NFL
Darrin Chiaverini (Football Coach and Professional Athlete) gives expert video advice on: What is 'Pop Warner'?; How is football played differently at different levels?; How does a player get recruited for a college team? and more...
What is 'Pop Warner'?
Pop Warner football. I had some great memories from football, especially Pop Warner and watching my son play Pop Warner now is, I get a blast watching it. What cracks me up is a lot of these coaches that coach Pop Warner don't have a clue what they are doing and you try to help them and they think that they know it all, you know, like this is their time to shine. So, Pop Warner football is where you kind of grow up it's kind of where you kind of learn the craft a little bit. Learn how to tackle, learn how to run the ball, learn how to throw the ball. I've also played Pop Warner, but I've also coached Pop Warner and been successful doing that and it's just a totally different beast. I love it because you're dealing with kids that are just out there having a good time. You know you can't take it too seriously and I think some of these coaches at the Pop Warner level are just way too serious with these kids and they're 8, 9, 10, 11 years old. You've got to let them grow up and let them enjoy the game because if you turn them off at that age they'll turn them off for life on football. They need to have more fun at Pop Warner.
How is football played differently at different levels?
It definitely gets more complicated as you get older. When you get into high school it gets a little more complicated depending on what system you're in, offensively or defensively. When you get to college it's a lot more sophisticated as far as the schemes, the offensive protections, defensive coverages. When you get to the NFL it even goes up a little bit more because now you're dealing with coaches that are dealing with different personnel packages. They're bringing nickel defense in, dime defense in, they're running Tampa 2, they're running those 3-3 stack and 3-3-5 defenses. So it definitely increases in sophistication as you go up in the ranks.
How does a player get recruited for a college team?
All this depends. In my case, when I started getting recruited, I had a really good sophomore year. Schools that are recruiting other players in your area start paying notice; hey, who is coming up next year? And so, if you are a younger player, a sophomore or junior and you make a lot of plays or you're playing against another team that might have another player getting recruited, if you shine, they are going to notice and they are going to write it down in their book and come see you next year. So, by playing well on a consistent basis, you'll get recruited. You start getting letters, first and foremost. You'll start getting letters and they will have questionaires that they'll want you to fill out with your information; your height and weight and all that stuff; your GPA. You send them back and then you will have a coach from the school, if they are really interested in you, start calling you and start coming to your games that year and then close to the end of the recruiting season when they have their signing period, they will have coaches come visit you. When the head coach comes to visit you right away, that means they are really interested right away.
How does a player get recruited for the NFL?
It's kind of similar to college, in the sense that scouts that are watching tape on players that are coming up in this year's draft are going to break down tape, and now if they see a player on the film that they like and it catches their eye, they're going to write that name down for the following year. So if you're a junior or a sophomore or even if you're a red shirt freshman or a freshman and you're making a lot of plays on film or your name's getting around as being shown on Sports Center or shown on CBS saying, "Hey, this guy's having a great year," scouts take notice, GMs take notice, and they write it down and then they start breaking down film on you for the following year's draft. They're going to watch you. It's not like college, where you sign with that team; there's a draft, and you go into the draft, and then teams choose who they want.
What attributes make a successful professional football player?
The attributes that make a good, successful NFL football player are someone that is very, very tough mentally, because it's a mental grind. I mean, people always say football's 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, and it's very true in the NFL, because you're tested on a consistent basis, day in and day out. They can cut you anytime now, and release you from the football team, and so you have to be mentally tough enough to come in there and compete at a high level every day, in practice. Especially on game day. because after the games they're going to watch films on you. So you've definitely got to be mentally tough. Physically tough is given, because if you're not physically tough, you won't ever make it, but I think that mentally tough is one thing that's overlooked in the NFL.