Jersey QB guru on what HS athletes need to advance, avoid injury
If your son is playing high school football and want to take it a step further, perhaps get a college scholarship or maybe even turn pro, they're going to need more than the coaching they are getting in high school.
Among Coach Bastardi's many students are Bergen Catholic quarterback Steve Angeli who now plays at Notre Dame, former Manalapan quarterback Sean Kehley who now plays for Pace, as well as my son Albert and many of today's current high school players.
Coach Bastardi came on my New Jersey 101.5 show. For him, it's all about the reps.
"I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of high school coaches, and some college coaches. And I also reflect back on my primary goal, which as a trainer, is to get as many reps as possible to prepare the young men for what they're going to encounter on game day."
Many of these kids need more reps than the high school practices can provide.
"A lot of coaches," says Bastardi, "they want to focus on the guys who are starting and playing and getting them as many reps as possible. And when that's the case, the younger kids usually don't get as much as they need to really make improvements from the beginning of the season to the end."
Would it be better to just have a set amount of roster spots and you have to make the team or let everyone who goes out make it?
"I prefer to take everybody because different kids mature physically and mentally at different times. If you give up on someone too fast, you might regret it when two years later, they're 50 pounds bigger, a lot faster, a lot stronger and a lot smarter."
What advice would Bastardi give to parents whose athletes want to take their sport to the next level?
"They have to work out year-round, to get to a level to play at in college. Even at a Division Three level. You have to be one of the top five or 10% at high schools across the country."
I also asked Coach Bastardi about what could be done to avoid the recent wave of high school injuries that have hit New Jersey.
"I think injuries are inevitable. But with just better preparation and better coaching in terms of teaching how to tackle, how to hit, I think they can be kept down to a minimum. But they are inherent in the nature of the sport. I also believe that we need to reexamine how we teach tackling to be more with the shoulder pads instead of the head, trying to keep it out. I grew up with that when you used your shoulder pads a lot more to tackle than they do now."
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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