|7/19/2012 8:51:52 PM -
What's Wrong With Summer Football
So, take this with a grain of salt, because it's one man's opinion. I think it's an informed opinion, but as is the case with most opinions -- especially mine -- I could be dead wrong.
I coached in a 7-on-7 tournament this weekend. First, the positives:
Contrary to popular belief, I actually like working these because I get to coach football. Obviously, it's not real football, but it can be a lot of fun if you get your head into what you're doing and figure out how you can both be competitive with other coaches and assess your own talent. It's a great way to do both. And as coaches, when we get to be around the game and coach it, it's always fun. Football makes me happy in any form. Even just seeing people having a catch with a football, I'll stop and watch. The game simply attracts my attention in whatever form it's in, so that's good. It was a fun day, and I enjoyed it.
What I don't like about what happens now during the summers is this whole "basketballization" of football that I see going on. It's pretty much common knowledge how the whole AAU and summer camp culture has corrupted basketball to the point where winning a state high school championship is almost meaningless compared to what takes place on the summer AAU circuit. High school basketball coaches now take a distant second to AAU coaches in terms of influence, especially when it comes to the recruiting process -- and kids have been jumping around from high school to high school for years now. The only place they have any loyalty is to the brand of shoe they wear. That's why, as a coach, I've learned to hate basketball players and stay away from them in terms of helping them train (at our school, which is pretty good). I don't like the culture, and I think it turns the kids involved into spoiled little pricks to whom actual high school competition DURING actual basketball season means very little.
I may be jumping the gun a little bit here, but with all this 7-on-7 stuff on ESPN and all these camps where kids are ID'd as 5-star recruits -- and everyone is shocked when a kid nobody's heard of is offered a scholarship to Alabama (google it) -- it really looks to me like they're trying to do the same thing with football. And I don't necessarily think this is a good thing.
This is because, the way I've seen it evolving, 7-on-7 tournaments degrade into little more than glorified games of touch football -- and just like AAU basketball, if we corrupt the process and make this out to be more than it is, we're going to see coaches stop coaching fundamentals and start turning out some seriously f-ed up players. There's a lot of sketchy people getting in on the act here because there's a lot of money to be made off high school kids, and these people aren't coaches. They've never coached, many of them never even played, and they're just out to sell kids to the highest bidder. That's how it works in basketball, and putting these cheesy-ass 7-on-7 tournaments on ESPN is the same shit.
I used to say that the day we saw a summer 7-on-7 circuit that rivaled AAU basketball was the day I stopped coaching for good. Well, we're almost there. How much longer until we have scouting services rating the best sixth grade football players in the country? Do they do that already?