The sport of football has the most number of positions of any sport. The skills needed to play each position are extremely varied. So when looking at the parameters to decide on a specific position to play two factors should be considered.
An individual’s athletic skill and size potential are the most important criteria. These can help decide an individual’s position potential based on skills needed for a specific position. Linemen for instance need to have a large build and strength to be successful. Skill positions (running backs, wide receivers, and defensive backs) all need to have lean muscular builds, speed, and agility to perform at a high level.
Athletic ability can be measured using a battery of physical tests. A forty-yard dash test is used to measure speed and explosion in an athlete. Bench press and squat max lifts are used to find players’ upper and lower body power levels. A vertical jump measure is a pure test of one’s natural ability. This test provides the best measure of athletic potential.
Mental temperament plays a significant role in football because of the drastic contrast between offensive and defensive players. A cerebral, focused, finesse and cool under pressure temperament is best suited for positions such as quarterback, wide receiver and kicker.
While aggressiveness, ferocity, and brash are traits tend to favor players on defense such as linebackers and safeties. All things being equal it is always best to have a balance of all of these characteristics. But the tendency towards one side of the ball favors one way or the other.
Looking at each position individually will highlight the main skills and qualities to showcase what may make a player successful.
- Quarterback: Intelligence, calmness, leadership ability, arm strength, upper body development, and a tall lean build.
- Running back: Toughness, focus, agility, speed, balance, endurance, and a compact muscular build.
- Wide receiver: Speed, hand-eye coordination, jumping ability, agility, focus, and a tall lean build.
- Kicker: Focus, lower body strength, and flexibility a soccer background.
- Lineman: Power, strength, aggressiveness, discipline, and a large build.
- Linebacker: Aggressiveness, intensity, power, agility, and a large muscular build.
- Defensive back: Courage, aggressiveness, intensity, agility, quickness, and a muscular build.
Each of the characteristics of physical and personality-wise is just criteria that most typical players at each position may possess. The measure of success in the game of football at any level mostly relies on the one intangible that cannot be quantified. The measure of an athlete’s heart goes further than any physical or mental skill they may have.
Players from the NFL such as Doug Flutie, Walter Payton, Sam Mills, and Wayne Chrebet are examples of athletes with limited physical skills that have played the game of football at a high level. Walter Payton became the greatest football player ever.
Payton overcame average athletic skill but with the heart of a lion was able to triumph. So use physical and mental measures as a starting point but always look at the courage, heart, and dedication a player shows too.