A growing trend in high school football is the rise of 7 on 7 teams. 7 on 7 football is exactly what it sounds like, teams of 7, which consist of all the same positions in 11-man football minus the linemen, playing against each other.
“In terms of tangible and intangible, 7 on 7 is where teams develop an identity as well as personnel,” said assistant head football coach Dominic Farrar on his take on 7 on 7, “we are always rewarded with a few surprises with kids who can come in and perform at a high level and ultimately contribute on Friday nights, as well as those who are going to get the reps that they need.”
While several schools play in 7 on 7 tournaments throughout the summer so coaches can evaluate what they have and what schemes work, what more and more student-athletes are doing is playing for separate 7 on 7 teams during the off-season that take them traveling to places such as Texas and Oregon.
These teams usually consist of the best players in their area so they are getting more reps and developing their talents while competing against other top talent. Another pro to playing on a travel team is that it can help them get noticed by colleges. Many scouts attend 7 on 7 games because of the top competition there is, and as a result, many players who would otherwise go unnoticed grab the attention of scouts by performing well in his games.
While there are many benefits to 7 on 7, there is also harm that can be done to not just a player, but also an entire team. Although 7 on 7 is played without pads and is essentially two-hand touch, football is still a tough, physical game and there is always the risk of injury. Injuries are simply a part of the game, and while some are minor and can be played through, others are far more severe and can devastate a student-athlete’s career.
“For me as a football coach and being involved in educational athletics, I’m always most concerned about the health and welfare of our student-athletes,” said Coach Farrar. “The more time and energy they can invest into our program, the more confidence I have that it will only serve them better and best in their pursuit of success on Friday night, as well as their goal of getting to the next level.”
In addition to injuries, players spend time away from their high school teams to compete with their 7 on 7 teams, which means potentially missing practices and workouts, which means they’ll be behind on schemes and plays in addition to potentially damaging team chemistry by not being there to form a bond with their teammates for periods of time.
Many and most of the student-athletes who participate in 7 on 7 usually are able to handle the transition back to their high school teams fairly well and achieve great success during football season, however. 7 on 7 does a good job of developing these players and pushing them against tougher competition than they may be used to, it also comes with it’s cons. It is truly risk-reward, and these players seem able to find a good balance and manage the pressure just fine.