In any aspect of life, taking a step up is always tough. A new challenge will always add to the physical and mental strains being put on you. This is particularly true in sport. When a team is promoted to a higher division it can take a while for the players to adjust to all aspects of playing at that higher level. If you’re going to be playing with the big boys, then you’re going to have to put in the work.
It starts in the gym. Like it or not, strength and conditioning are going to play an integral part in your success at the next level. You don’t need to be jacked, but you need to have the durability and explosiveness to compete with the guys you’ll be playing against. Becoming stronger should also help you to avoid the unfortunate injuries that are part and parcel of playing American Football.
But playing American football out of your comfort zone is more than big muscles and fast 40’s. It’s as much a mental thing as it is physical. You need to have faith and belief like never before. If a game isn’t going the way you had hoped the worst thing you can do is let your head drop. Becoming a student of the game will also help immensely. Get your head into game tape and learn about your opponent. What are their tendencies? How often to they blitz? Having even the slightest advantage over the other guy will go a long way. When you line up and you already know what the guy across from you is going to do, your chances of beating him have doubled.
Both the talent of players and the standard of play in a higher division is naturally going to be higher, so It’s up to you to put in the necessary work that will be required to compete. I’ve played at all levels of competitive American Football in Ireland and in a lot of cases there is a massive gulf between teams playing in the top division and those in the lower leagues. And realistically, it should not be that hard for teams playing in IAFL1 or 2 to make the jump. It will take consistency, it will take dedication and it will take sacrifice. But if you love this sport as much as I do, it will be worth it.
If you want to win trophies and you want to play with the big boys then you better up your game.