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Freshmen FAQ's

Minnetonka Football Program Philosophy

Our goal is to develop quality young men through the game of football.  We will strive for excellence on and off the field. 

  1. We will support our athletes to reach their potential academically
  2. We will encourage our players to be “multi-sport” athletes
  3. We will ensure our players a safe and effective strength program
  4. We will make neck strengthening a priority.
  5. We will make every effort to help our players develop as quality young men.

Our coaching staff’s purpose is to “Capture the Hearts and Minds of Our Players”. 

Summer Program

What is expected of freshmen football players during the summer?

Our summer opportunities are strongly encouraged but they are not mandatory.  They are offered as opportunities to help our players become better athletes, better football players, and to get a foundation established before August practices begin.

We have three opportunities that are strongly recommended:

Summer Strength and Conditioning Program:  This 8 week program features strength training and speed/agility development.  This summer program is run by MHS Strength Coach Jason Reader and his staff.  This program involves supervised strength training, agility, and speed development.  Information will be mailed out in the spring.  Start date is Monday, June 10 – End date is Friday, August 9.  Meet at the Pagel Center Weight Room. This program runs Monday-Wednesday- Friday mornings from 8:00-10:00 AM.  All players entering Grades 9-12 should register for Session 1. The fee for the Summer Strength Program is $125.  Contact Coach Jason Reader at jason.reader@minnetonkaschools.org if you need financial assistance.  You must register online.

To register go to the Minnetonka School District web site: www.minnetonkaschools.org

  1. Click on Activities
  2. Under “High School Athletics” – Click on Registration
  3. Log in or create your account by clicking “My Account”
  4. Click “Start My High School Registration” and follow the instructions
  5. Choose Summer Strength Training Session #1

“O” & “D” Camp

This is THE summer camp for Minnetonka Football Players in grades 9-12.  The Rising 9th Graders will separate from the Sophomore and Varsity players and will be coached by our Freshmen Staff.  The camp will run Tuesday, June 18 through Thursday, June 20 from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM.  Players should bring their lunch or money to buy lunch at the Pagel Center.  The cost of the “O” & “D” Camp is $150.  All players receive a t-shirt.  Contact Coach Nelson at dave.nelson@minnetonkaschools.org  if you need financial assistance.  A brochure for this camp will be mailed to all present 8th graders this spring.  You must register online at www.minnetonkafootball.org

Summer Practices

There will be 5 Wednesday practices following the “O” & “D” Camp for Rising Freshmen.  All practices will be held on the stadium field, Veterans Field, or the upper turf field (depending on availability).  The “O” & “D” Camp fee covers Summer Practices.  Freshmen will practice on Wednesday mornings from 9:30-11:00 AM.  *Note – Freshmen will strength train from 8:00-9:00 AM and practice from 9:30-11:00 AM on Wednesdays rather than strength train from 8:00-9:00 AM and condition from 9:00-10:00 AM.

Wednesday, June 26 
Wednesday, July 10 
Wednesday, July 17 
Wednesday, July 24 
Wednesday, July 31

Football 101  

We will hold 4 sessions of Football 101 following “O” & “D” Camp.  Players will meet with our Freshmen Coaches in the Team Room from 10:15-11:00 AM on the following Mondays to discuss football terminology and scheme:

Monday, June 24 
Monday, July 9 
Monday, July 16 
Monday, July 23

Participation in our Summer Strength and Conditioning Program, “O” & “D” Camp, and summer practices are highly encouraged but not mandatory.  While we believe that those who attend will enter the season with a greater understanding of our football fundamentals and systems, there is no penalty for those unable or unwilling to attend.

Do I need to register for summer football?

NO.  The MSHSL allows 11 contact days with our players in the summer.

There is no registration through the school or the MSHSL for summer football.  Players need to do two things:  register for the Summer Strength Program and the “O” & “D” Camp. 

Do I need a Physical for summer football?

NO.  Players do not need a physical form turned in to participate in Summer Strength and Conditioning, the “O” & “D” Camp, or Summer Practices.

When do I check out equipment?

All Players will be issued equipment on Sunday, June 9 or Monday, June 10.  Report to the locker room at MHS.  Enter the Tonka Center Doors (West Entrance) and go down the stairway.  The locker room is located next to the Team Room.  Incoming Freshmen should report between 6:30-7:00 PM on June 9 or any time between 5:00-7:00 PM on June 10.  

What equipment do I need to purchase?

Football players are not required to purchase any equipment.   MHS has all required protective equipment with the exception of cleats.  We do have a large number of “hand-me-down” cleats from previous years that players can choose from if they do not have cleats – but there is no guarantee that we will have the correct size.

There are a few pieces of equipment that most players purchase on their own:

  • Girdle.  We do issue girdles to any player who needs one.  You can order your own girdle through BSN.  Order information will be given out at our Freshmen Spring Meeting.  Most players choose to purchase their own girdle, and it lasts for their entire career playing football at MHS.  This is due to not wanting to wear an “undergarment” that had been previously worn by another player.
  • Gloves.  We do not provide gloves, nor are they mandatory.  Gloves must be MHS colors – Royal Blue, Black, White, or Gray.
  • Mouth guards.  We provide basic mouth guards to all players who need one.  However, some players may choose a higher level brand (i.e. Shock Doctor) and/or have a mouth guard created by one’s dentist.  This is your option.  Players must have a mouth guard to participate in any contact situation.
  • Padded undershirt – including those that incorporate greater shoulder and/or rib protection.  Some players may choose to wear this under their equipment.
  • Visors.  While the coaching staff encourages players NOT to purchase a visor, some players choose to do so.  All visors must be clear, and any visor that needs to be removed is highly likely to be damaged or broken in the process, so only purchase a visor if absolutely necessary. 

There are some pieces of equipment that you should NOT purchase:

  • Wristbands – especially the tiny ones meant to accentuate one’s biceps.  These are NOT legal in high school football.
  • Neon colored anything – including pink.  We require players to look as uniform as possible, so bright colored shoes, gloves, socks, etc. are not permitted.
  • Additional padding without clearing it with a coach.  For example, shin guards would not be allowed, nor certain elbow pads.  If there is a question, please check with a coach before spending money on a pad that may not be legal equipment.

 

Freshmen Football – August thru October

When is registration for Fall Football?   How do I register?

All student-athletes at MHS are required to register ONLINE.  Registration for Fall Sports will open on/after July 8th.  You will receive a letter in the mail during the summer regarding registration instructions for football. 

Every athlete needs a current sports physical on file (a physical is good for three years).  All other registration materials are found at https://tonkaactivitiesregistration.registryinsight.com.   It is a good idea to check with the school nurse at MME and MMW before the end of the school year on the status of your son’s physical.

Scholarship information is available online for free and reduced lunch students.  The activity fee for football is $200 and the participation fee is $75. 

Players will NOT be allowed to participate in practice if they have not been properly registered and cleared for participation.  Players who are not cleared, but who intend to play football, are still required to attend and observe practice until the player is cleared.

Is there a specific form that I need to use for my Sports Physical Exam?

YES.  The MSHSL and MHS have a specific sports qualifying physical form that your doctor must complete for participation in all MSHSL sanctioned high school sports.  Some doctor offices have these forms on file, but it is strongly advised that you take the proper paperwork with you to your physical exam.  If you do not have the correct form completed and signed by the doctor, you will not be cleared for participation. 

You can find the most current form in several places: 

  1. MHS Activities Office has paper copies; or
  2. Print from online forms at the following links:

(Note: We prefer that you use the form that is available via the MHS office or registration website) 

When do practices start?

All practices for grades 9-12 start on the same day – Monday, August 12.  Please refer to the CALENDAR on the Minnetonka Football website for the latest information including practice dates and times.  Players will be at the high school the entire day – we do not allow our players to leave campus until we are finished with practices.  Players can bring their own lunch or purchase food in the Pagel Center between practices.

Where do I report for the start of August practice?

9th Graders should report to the LOCKER ROOM where the 9th grade coaching staff will meet them to start the season.  Enter the West Entrance, go down the stairway, past the Team Room to the locker room.

Is it OK for my player to miss practices for vacation?

The football season starts during the “summer vacation” period and flows through two other school holidays – Labor Day Weekend and MEA Weekend.  For Rising 9th Graders, we realize that vacations over one of these times may be unavoidable by the time you learn about the high school football schedule.  Therefore, we ask that you communicate any vacation conflicts immediately with the 9th grade coaching staff.  Freshmen do not practice on Labor Day or over MEA Weekend

The missing of practices and games by any player will have a detrimental effect to the player’s status on the depth chart, and in turn, one’s playing time.  Players must be committed to regaining any on-field playing time through hard work in practice, and there must be a realization that one week of hard work up on returning will not result in one resuming a previously established role.  While a player is on vacation, teammates are practicing to improve and build chemistry as a team, and playing time will reflect the roles established in practice.

This tolerance of vacations is NOT extended beyond one’s 9th Grade year.  Thus, those who have been in the program for a year (so players entering grades 10-12) are expected to make accommodations in their vacation plans and summer schedule to be in attendance at all practices and games from the start of the season through the final varsity game.  NOTE:  While each summer schedule varies, there are two weeks each year when there will be no football activities.  These weeks are the MSHSL “no contact week” (Saturday, June 29 thru Sunday, July 7) and the week prior to the start of “two a days” (Saturday, August 3 thru Sunday, August 11).

How are positions and playing time assigned?

The coaching staff will ultimately make the designation for position and playing time assignments.  Traditionally, players are given the opportunity to select the position of their choosing the first day or two of practice as coaches evaluate team personnel.  From this point coaches will move players to meet team needs and develop a depth chart according to ability and development within the program’s schemes.

Positions and playing time are not topics for discussion via email or meeting in person.  Players can always meet with coaches to determine areas of improvement that could lead to an increase in playing time or a change of position, but this will not be a topic discussed between parents and coaches.

In addition, previous playing experience and/or depth chart perception is NOT necessarily relevant to participation on the 9th grade team.  A driving force in our program is competition to earn playing time, and players will be encouraged and coached to compete every week.

What is 9A and 9B designations for games?

There are no cuts in our football program.  There is a spot for every player.  The freshmen will be organized into an “A” team and a “B” team.  There will be some movement between the two teams during the season.  The “A” team plays on Thursdays and the “B” team plays on Mondays.  Freshmen will practice together during August and, when the season begins, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Both teams will play a full schedule.  It is your son’s responsibility to communicate what team he is playing with each week. 

How do we get added to the email distribution list?

Your information will be captured when you register for football through the Activities Office this summer.  Coach Nelson will email you weekly newsletters through Student Messenger.  Please email Coach Nelson at dave.nelson@minnetonkaschools.org if you do not receive weekly emails once the season begins.

Where do I get the latest updates and information for Minnetonka Football?

We encourage you to visit our website at www.minnetonkafootball.org for information and updates.

What is the Minnetonka Touchdown Club and how do I get involved?

The Minnetonka Touchdown Club is the booster club that supports Minnetonka High School Football, and in some circumstances, programs that feed into our program.  The primary function of the Touchdown Club is to raise money to support the building and maintenance of a high functioning high school football program. 

While membership in the Touchdown Club is strongly recommended due to the Club’s vital role in the health of the Minnetonka High School Football program, it is not mandatory.  There will be volunteer opportunities for all members of our program whether or not a family is a member of the Touchdown Club. 

Membership in the Touchdown Club - whether as a paid member, volunteer, or officer on the board – does not have a reciprocal effect with a player’s playing time or role on the team.  While the football program recognizes the crucial role that an effective booster club can have on our success, involvement will not be in exchange for playing time, position selection, or any other undue influence on coaching and/or staff decisions.

You can join the TD Club by going to our website at www.minnetonka.football.org.

Is Minnetonka Football doing anything to address concerns surrounding concussions?

Yes.  Absolutely.  First, we follow all of the concussion protocols as mandated by state and federal rules.  This includes removing any player from participation if symptoms of a concussion are present until he is CLEARED BY A DOCTOR to return to play.  When in doubt, we play it safe.  We have a Certified Athletic Trainer at all of our football events – practices and games.  At the 9th grade level, the MHS Athletic Trainer is at all home games, and our opponent is responsible for providing a certified trainer at away events.

Our program has made a commitment to issue every player in our program (Grades 9-12) with the best helmet available.  In an independent study by Virginia Tech, the Riddell helmet was the ONLY helmet that initially received the revered 5-star rating for safety.  Our ongoing commitment has brought us to the point today where every player will be issued a Riddell SpeedFlex, Speed, or 360 helmet – all 5 Star Rated helmets.

Finally, the Riddell rep will fit each player’s helmet at equipment issue and again on the first day of practice on August 12th.  It is CRITICAL that parents and players not adjust helmets on their own – especially during the first week of practice when the helmets always feel too tight as players have not worn a helmet for the previous 9 months.  A proper fit goes a long way towards helmet safety, and the proper fit should be adjusted by MHS coaches only.

Can a 9th grader try-out for the JV/Varsity team?

A 9th Grader cannot “try-out” to make the varsity team.  We have had one freshman player – Beau Allen, who is currently playing in the NFL – play on the Varsity.  The coaching staff reserves the right to “pull up” a freshmen to play varsity football but would only happen in extremely rare circumstances.

All 9th graders should plan on starting and playing the entire season with the 9th grade team.  It is better for a player to play and help his team be successful than it is to be “pulled up” and only receive limited playing time.  Therefore, we encourage all of our players to “shine where you are” and the promotion will come when the ability level meets the need of our program.

Where can I find the game schedule?

Please go to our website at www.minnetonkafootball.org.

August Practice

Practice for all Freshmen will begin on Monday, August 12.  Players are expected to be at MHS from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM for the first two weeks.  Starting Week 3, there will be one practice each day. Players can bring their lunch or purchase food at the Pagel Activity Center.  Players are expected to stay on campus the entire day. 

Once school begins, practice is held after school from 3:00-5:00 PM.  The Freshmen “A” team will play their games on Thursday afternoons (kickoff times vary week to week.  The Freshmen “B” team will play their games on Mondays.  Both teams will play an 8 game schedule.  The football season typically ends one week after MEA break (3rd week in October).  Please go to www.minnetonkafootball.org to access the Freshmen Football calendar and game schedule.

What is expected of Freshmen in the off-season?

The coaching staff encourages players to participate in a MSHSL sponsored winter and spring sport. 

Winter sport options include basketball, Hockey, Wrestling, Alpine Skiing, Nordic Skiing, and Swimming.  Spring sport options include Tennis, Baseball, Track, Golf, and Lacrosse.

Players not involved in a MSHSL sport are encouraged to commit to the Minnetonka Winter and Spring Strength and Conditioning Programs. 

Contact Information for the 9th Grade Coaching Staff

Please contact Darren Best (Head Freshmen Coach) at darren.best@minnetonkaschools.org 
with any questions that are not addressed on the website or in this FAQ document. 

#INAM

Dave Nelson 
Head Football Coach 
Minnetonka High School 
18301 Highway 7 
Minnetonka, MN 
dave.nelson@minnetonkaschools.org 
Cell – 952-201-3156 
Office – 952-401-5948