In the world of recruiting, and in football especially, there are a lot of abbreviated and shorthand words.
When the action on the field is fast, you don’t always have time to record or write out full sentences.
To ensure the sentences make sense to everyone involved with football, there are some widely accepted abbreviations.
ATH is one of them.
Here’s what ATH means in football as well as several other important abbreviations and shorthand words.
What Does ATH Mean In Football? (Everything To Know)
ATH is shorthand for Athlete.
The word athlete doesn’t carry its usual definition in the world of football and recruitment.
It means that the particular student has a large variety of skills.
They’re so skilled that they can play almost any position in football.
When recruiters watch certain players on the field, they make notes about them to send to the coach.
They may be watching several players at once.
To keep notes on everyone, the recruiter will use shorthand terms to refer to later.
If a player has the ATH note next to their name, then that will tell the coach that they can use the player in almost any empty spot in the team.
ATH players are sought after because they can always fill in for other players if they’re unable to play the game.
If you’re a player and a recruiter marks you with ATH, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to receive a few offers from coaches.
What Are Recruiting Abbreviations That Every Football Player Should Know?
If you’re currently playing high school football and you’re looking to play college football, or you’re in college and looking to play in the NFL, then it helps to know what certain recruiting words mean.
It can give you some insight as to how you’re rating compared to others.
Here are a few terms every football player or parent should know.
A blue chip is a player that has incredible skills.
They’re stiff competition for other players.
These are the players whom coaches are going to want first dibs on.
If a player has a blue chip next to their name or is being referred to as a blue chip, then you can bet they’re at the top of their game.
This term used to be the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse.
It’s now shortened to the clearinghouse.
If a recruiter tells you that you’re going to the clearinghouse, then it means you’re facing your initial phases of eligibility tests.
These tests look for things like grades, income level, age, and a variety of other eligibility requirements.
If you pass the clearinghouse, then you’re on your way to joining a college and playing for a team.
If you fail a certain eligibility requirement, then the clearinghouse staff will tell you why.
It may be that you need to get your grades up or that you’re too young to start college just yet.
During the appropriate recruiting season, coaches will speak with either the player, the player’s parents, or both.
This is contact.
It’s when coaches make that initial contact with a prospective player to see if they’re interested in playing for their team or to learn more about the player.
The dead period is a stretch of time in which coaches are unable to contact prospective players.
There’s only a small window in which players undergo recruiting.
If a coach speaks to a player outside of that time, then they’re breaking the rules and could face harsh punishment.
The dead period is necessary to let players consider all of their options without consistent pressure.
It also ensures that all the coaches can prepare their pitches for players they’re interested in recruiting.
One of the most important times in a player’s life is the evaluation period.
During the evaluation period, players show off their skills and abilities.
Coaches, recruiters, and other coaching staff will watch them.
Coaches can come from across the country if the player has garnered a reputation for being great at the sport.
During the evaluation, players should show coaches that they know how to play the game, can adapt to situations and that they know how to work with a team.
When a student injures themselves before college starts, they may worry that they’re going to lose out on the chance of joining.
They can choose to become a grayshirt and avoid that heartbreak.
A grayshirt is a student who has decided to delay their initial enrollment in a college or university.
They’ll enroll the following term instead.
This gives the student plenty of time to heal or make the necessary changes they need to in order to be ready for the following term.
National Letter Of Intent
One of the most important terms that every player and parent should know is the National Letter of Intent.
This is an official agreement between the player and the school they’re going to be playing for in the future.
The agreement states that the student agrees to enroll in the university or college for at least one year.
During that time, they’ll play for the school.
In return, the school will provide the student with athlete aid.
That usually means they’ll cover some, most, or all of the student’s tuition.
There are usually other requirements as well, like maintaining a certain grade point average.
Once they sign the letter, then they’re officially committed to the school.
They cannot sign with another school until the year is over or the school releases them.
National Signing Day
Every player signs the National Letter of Intent on an official day.
That day is the first Wednesday of February.
It’s called National Signing Day.
For many players, it’s an exciting step towards their future.
How You Can Become An ATH For Recruiters
Few people are born an ATH.
They become an ATH through hard work.
Here are a few ways you can make recruiters mark you as an ATH.
1. Level Up Your Skills
Recruiters don’t label just anyone an ATH.
These are the players who can play any position on the field well.
It isn’t enough to know how to play the position.
You need to play it as if you’ve held that position all your athletic life.
Focus on one particular position and the skills needed to perform its function.
Once you’ve exceeded others in that position, it’s time to switch to another position and start the process again.
The only way that you can gain experience playing other positions is by actually playing them.
Speak to your coach and let them know that you’re interested in developing your skills.
They may not let you play every position in a single game, but over time, you can gain enough experience to be a well-rounded player.
2. Play Other Sports
Playing other sports can also make you a better football player.
It’s why some football players take ballet lessons.
Others play soccer, rugby, or even practice yoga.
They understand that if they want to be the best at the game, then they need to bring in skills that others aren’t using.
Sign up for other sports and activities that your school offers.
Join after-school activities like fencing or martial arts.
You can even find plenty of activities like yoga and dancing on YouTube.
Learn the skills offered by these other activities and sports to master football.
3. Learn Leadership Skills
An ATH student isn’t always a leader, but it does tick off a checkbox for some recruiters.
Being able to delegate tasks, designate plays, and keep your team motivated are key signs of a leader.
They’re the first ones on the field and the last ones off the field.
There are tons of ways to develop your leadership skills.
Some activities that your school provides can help you develop this skill.
Otherwise, place yourself in a leadership position and show your team, as well as the recruiters, why they should follow you.
4. Community Service
A lot of coaches are interested in students who are more than just athletes.
They want to take players who want to be involved in bettering their communities and giving back.
Becoming a professional athlete means you could be on track to making millions of dollars.
Coaches love to help students that they know will be wise and generous with their wealth.
Community service can also help you hone some other skills that recruiters look for.
They can teach you the value of hard work, how to connect with people from various backgrounds and diversities, and it introduces concepts like empathy, charity, and even sportsmanship.
No list is ever complete without the number one rule.
To get anywhere in life, you need to practice.
If you want to set yourself apart from other students and make yourself an ATH, then you need to put in more time than they do.
The more you practice, the stronger, wiser, and better you will be.
Don’t let yourself down, but keep on practicing.
Even the best professional athletes are practicing every day.
What Are Shorthand Words For The NFL?
Once you join the NFL after college or university, it’s important to know what some of the abbreviations and shorthand words are for the NFL.
During intense moments, you don’t want to misunderstand what the defensive or offensive coaches are telling you.
Here’s a list of some of the popular abbreviated and shorthand words used in the NFL.
To assist means to help another player score.
There are several different ways a player can assist someone else.
It may be by passing the ball to them which allows them to score.
It may be tackling a defensive player who was attempting to stop them from scoring.
The abbreviation for assist is “A.”
An attempt means a player tried to pass the ball to someone else.
The ball has to be moving in the forward direction in order to qualify as an attempt.
Passing isn’t the only requirement for an attempt either.
Players can also make field goal attempts.
The attempt can either succeed or fail.
The shorthand for attempt is “Att.”
As mentioned earlier, an athlete is a player with well-rounded skills that enable them to play almost any position on the field.
They’re highly prized as quarterbacks because they can both pass the ball and run the ball.
The abbreviation for athlete is ATH.
When someone mentions average on its own, it refers to the average number of yards that a team carried the ball.
The larger the average is, the more successful the team likely was.
That’s because it means the ball was mostly in their possession.
Since it was in their possession most of the time, they had more chances to score points.
A team with a low average means they didn’t carry the ball for many yards.
Analysts will often judge the game at halftime based on the average.
They can usually predict who is going to win based on their averages.
The abbreviation for average is AVG.
Big plays are a certain type of play that requires the quarterback to cover a large number of yards.
It’s a pass that’s thrown deep down the field.
If a receiver can catch that pass, then it can move the team forward in a huge way.
It also refers to when a player runs the ball across several yards.
Analysts will also use the number of big plays that a team used to determine their chances of winning the game.
The team with the higher number of successful big plays is more likely to win because they can move the ball farther in less time.
The shorthand for big plays is Bigs.
During a field goal attempt, the kicker lines up the ball and kicks it up into the air.
A player can block the ball from reaching its destination in several different ways.
They may jump and attempt to catch or swat at the ball.
They could also impede the ball right after the kicker kicks it if they can get in front of it.
When a player successfully does this, it’s called a block or blocked.
The abbreviation for blocked is BLK.
When a player escapes a tackle, it’s called a broken tackle.
Coaches love quarterbacks and receivers who can do this.
It ensures that the ball stays in play, and the team has a greater chance of scoring a touchdown.
Those with a high number of broken tackles are valuable players.
The abbreviation for broken tackles is BT.
An important data point that many analysts use to determine a team’s success is their number of completions.
A completion is when a receiver successfully catches the ball.
The higher that number is, the more successful the team is.
The shorthand for completion is Cmp.
When a team punts the ball, there’s a chance for a fair catch to occur.
After a kicker punts the ball, it has to pass the line of scrimmage.
If the ball does this and the player catches it directly from the air, then it’s a fair catch.
It doesn’t count as a fair catch if the ball never crosses the line of scrimmage or if it bounces on the ground.
The abbreviation for a fair catch is FC.
This is a term that no player or coach likes to hear.
It occurs when a quarterback or player loses control of the ball.
An opposing player then manages to recover the ball and takes possession of it.
This can happen in several ways.
The quarterback or receiver may simply drop the ball on accident.
It can pass through their hands.
Someone might also knock the ball out of their hands either accidentally or on purpose.
The higher number of fumbles-lost that a team has, the less likely they are to win the game.
The shorthand for fumbles-lost is Lost.
Another word involved in fumbling is forced fumbles.
This is when an opposing player takes an action that directly results in the player fumbling the ball.
A team that can perform many forced fumbles on another team has a good chance of winning the game.
The abbreviation for forced fumbles is FF.
When someone is tackled behind the scrimmage line, this is a sack.
It can be the quarterback, the receiver, or anyone else who had possession of the ball.
Sacks are never a good thing to hear for the offensive team.
It forces them to move the line of play backward.
For the defending team, it’s a great way to make scoring more difficult for the offensive team.
The shorthand for a sack is Sk.
Football uses many shorthand words and abbreviations to pass along a lot of information quickly.
One of those words is ATH and is often used in recruiting.
It means the player has an exceptional number of skills that allow them to play in several different positions.
You can learn how to become an ATH in the eyes of a recruiter by following the tips above.NEXT: How Many Games In NFL Season? (Everything To Know)