All over the country, Long Snappers are right in the mix of starting their football seasons. They are meeting new people, learning new things and possibly even living in new locations. Many are experiencing the exact same things and don’t even know it. I am going to clarify some glaring issues for all….
“My coach is not the same to me now as he was when he was recruiting me”
Well, of course he isn’t. He got what he wanted (you on the team and not playing for someone else) and you are essentially locked in. He did what he did to get you and now YOU have to prove yourself to HIM. He proved himself to you to get you there and now the rolls are reversed. He is the general and you are his soldier. You have a war coming up (season) and he is using you to do the fighting. He NEEDS to make sure you are ready on all accounts. If you are not, he looks like an idiot for recruiting and playing you. If he looks like an idiot, he gets fired and doesn’t get paid. You are with the big boys now and the stakes are higher. Deal with it.
“The other players are treating me like crap because I am a Long Snapper”
This is standard. You know how many of them think what you do is stupid and anyone can do it? You know how many of them are upset you took a scholarship from either a buddy of theirs or even them personally? You know how many of them can’t stand the fact that you get as much stuff (scholarship, gear, etc) as them, yet don’t have to go through the same type of practice as them? Hint: The answer to all is almost 100% of them.
You need to be yourself and take pride in what you do. Don’t act like just a long snapper, you need to act like THE Long Snapper. Take pride in your job. Don’t look down on it. Don’t publicize it too much (they won’t embrace right off the bat) but let them know (by action) that you take a sincere amount of pride in your job (extra drills, always perfecting your craft). This will pay off once they grasp the concept that you aren’t robbing the system, are actually very beneficial to the team and they won’t be able to win without you.
“I am not ready for the speed at this level!”
Very few are right off the bat. It takes time, you just have to be on a strict learning curve. Think about it this way: often, a team will bring in a top notch quarterback, has that quarterback been absolutely flawless? I am betting he has not. Everyone needs some time to adjust and you will as well. The trick is to putting in some extra work the right way (drills, film, meetings with coaches) to ensure that you are learning to deal with the speed at a quicker pace than others. Being overwhelmed is acceptable at the start . Being overwhelmed and not doing a thing about is not.
“I am having a tough time dealing being away from home and making new friends”
It is time to put on your big boy pants. As I stated in my last blog, if you are obsessing about the past, you can’t live in the present and make your future. It is wonderful to have a ton of friends back home and, with the onslaught of social media, it is easier than ever to remain in contact with them. But, now that you have moved on, and hopefully they have as well, it is time to spread your wings and meet new friends. Welcome to the real world and learning to associate with people outside of your comfort zone. Meet new people, learn new things, embrace differences. A couple of my greatest friends in college were not football players and it was definitely a nice change of pace. Once school starts, the possibilities are endless for meeting new people. Try to jump out of your normal routine to find new folks and see what they are all about. You might just be surprised. Remember, it is not what you know, but who you know and how well you know them:)
I am going to end this blog with some words I took, by permission, from the first Long Snapper I have trained. His name is Casey Hales and he played at Duke back in the day. He looks nothing like a Long Snapper (think surfer that has been sleeping on the beach for a solid decade) but holds the record for most starts at Duke and is an absolutely terrific person. Here is what he had to say about the above statement:
As a freshman in college it’s easy to get frustrated when you’re finding your way in a new environment.Being away from home, in a new state or even across the country can be/is overwhelming at times. You don’t know anyone, you’re doing your best to get around campus, and from time to time you get lost.In this situation it is easy to look back at the comfort and familiarity of your hometown HS relationships and feel even more uncomfortable with the transition to making new friends in College. This is completely natural, but can be a slippery slope if it prohibits you from branching out.
Adapting to college culture right out of high school is a process. Right out the gates you are holding on to what you know: your home life, HS friends and “remembering what that was like.”As you begin to get settled in and embrace college, you start to slowly let go of the times and experiences from HS to make room for new ones in College. This brings up two important topics to keep in mind: Attachment and Detachment. You will always have your friends from HS, but it’s crucial to make sure you’re not too attached to them, it can consume your energy by dwelling on missing those relationships. It is common to feel the bond of attachment to home and all that is dear to you, but keep in mind the the stages of human development. We must be free and able to detach and search for new friends and experiences. Change is happening all the time all around you, and you need to flow with it. The big key here is to be aware of these feelings, and recognize when you are too attached to something or someone that is preventing you from living an independent lifestyle.In this case, a need to detach yourself from the past to embrace the present i.e. College and everything that awaits you.Don’t sit on the sidelines, there are no spectators here, College is about participating and taking advantage of new opportunities. You will be amazed at what learn about yourself during this time.
I spoke with Casey about this topic last week and wanted to use him as an example. Not because he speaks so well and just dominated college life, but just the opposite and this is something very few people in the world know about him. In the second semester of Casey’s second year in college, he came into my home with his mother and told me he was done with football and school at Duke. He was going to transfer and knew exactly how he was going to do it. He couldn’t handle being away and was having a very rough time adjusting to college life and football.
He and I basically had it out right then and there in my home. We went back and forth with me explaining to him exactly what he was about to throw away (free education and new experiences in lieu of paying for education and experiences he already had). He listened and listened well. He decided to stay at Duke and ended not coming back on his allotted time (spring break, summer, etc) because he was having such a good time out there once he learned to accept and embrace it. He dove head first into college and experienced every single thing it had to offer him.
Never ever forget……
You make your life. Good or bad, you are in control of it. You make it what it is and what it will be.
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