How To Beat Football Camp

Excluding those who are not of sound mind, every football player in the country dreads football camp.



It's hot.

Your new helmet feels like someone put your skull in a vice grip,

Your leg pads restrict any and all of your movements,

And you have more bruises than a guy who burns a poster of "Rocky" while wearing a Mets jersey to a Phillies game in Citizen Bank Park.



In your "free time", you get to sit in endless meetings, where a coach repeatedly shows you on film how worthless you are. 

The best part ...

You get to do this 2-3x per day for 2 weeks.




Now that we are all on the same page about how awesome football camp is, what are we going to do about it?

Should we be soft and quit?

Should we close our eyes and hope we can "get through it"?

Nope.

We are going to use my 9 simple rules to BEAT FOOTBALL CAMP.




1. Focus on Right Now

The worst thing you could do at football camp is hang a schedule on the wall and check off how many practices you completed.

While I love organization and timeliness, the large volume of practices can become overwhelming - especially when you feel like you have been in a car wreck - and it's only Day 3 of camp.

I only sign autographs with the QB's

The better option is to simply focus on what you are doing right now.

Don't worry about how many practices are left or how long this practice is going to be.

Focus on being the best at the drill you are currently executing.

It's a lot easier to get through a Oklahoma Drill if you are not worrying about how much conditioning your coach will make you do after practice tomorrow night.

2. Ice, Ice, Baby...



Immediately after practice, hop in an Ice Bath.

It will not be fun.

It is going to be painful.

But the temporary pain will prevent the much greater pain you would have felt from muscle soreness and inflammation.



3. Feed Your Muscles

If you drink a shake immediately after a lift, why wouldn't you do the same thing right after practice?




Practicing 2-3x a day burns a lot of calories.

Unless you want to lose every pound of muscle you gained in the off-season, you need to make sure you keep eating properly during camp.

If the camp you are staying at lacks a good meal plan, I highly suggest you bring a stack of your own protein bars as supplements.

If you have no idea where to get healthy (organic) protein bars - CLICK HERE.


Healthy Protein Bars


4. Stay Off Your Feet

The dumbest thing a football player could do is run around in between practices during camp.

Even standing is not a good option.

Why?

You are already destroying your feet during the 8 hours a day that you are practicing.


Find a cool spot, lay down, and let your paws rest.

5. Hydrate

When I say "hydrate", I mean hydrate with water.

I like that they have their own bottles

I do not mean "hydrate" on Forest Ave in Staten Island. (This is inside joke for the Advanced Training Class of 2013.)



Before practice - HYDRATE

During practice - HYDRATE

After practice - HYDRATE

During a meeting - HYDRATE

Get the point?

This seems very inefficient
6. Recover

Your muscles are going to be sore and full of knots.

The best way to counteract that is with some soft tissue work.

Before you go to bed, make sure you stretch and foam roll.



If you cannot bring a foam roller, bring a lacrosse ball.

It's not as "fun" as a foam roller, but it will definitely hit the same target areas.


You can even be "bougie" and give yourself a nice foot massage.



7. Bring a Lacrosse Ball to Meetings

Unbeknownst to the general public, football camp involves a lot of meetings.

This is especially true in college football, where every other day they can only hold one practice (instead of 2).





While meetings may seem more appealing than practicing in the grueling heat, they can actually be much worse.

It's like going to class after a long night out - except that night involved running into a wall 100 times in a row and then running sprints afterward.

As you could imagine, these meetings become more of personal battle to stay awake than an opportunity to learn plays and watch film.

So what should you do?

My recommendation is to bring a lacrosse ball.


Why?

1. You can use it to massage your feet. (See point #6)
2. You can roll it in your hands when you start to drift off.

Why roll it in your hands?

Studies have been done that prove rolling objects in your hand during a meeting / presentation stimulates your mind far greater than doodling on a pad or simply staring blankly at a screen.

This will not make you better at football

I have used this technique at seminars and it works.

Just make sure it doesn't get thrown around the room.

Your coach may find an interesting way to make an example out of you.

8. Play for the Guy Next to You

When you start to feel sorry for yourself, the best thing to do is look around at your teammates.

There is not another guy there worth his salt that isn't as tired or sore as you are.


As a team, you need to understand that you are all in this together.

If you see a guy dragging, hop in ahead of him during a drill to give him a short rest.
Know that he would do the same for you when the time comes.

Never "skip" a practice unless you are truly injured.

Every second you are not on the field, your teammates are forced to pick up your slack.

9. Remember the Big Picture

No matter how rough camp gets, you can never forget why you are there...

To prepare for Game Day...



Sure ... your buddies get a few more weeks of summer vacation.

Sure ... you'd rather be at a family barbecue in late August.

But where will all of these people be in September?

They will be at YOUR GAME,

WATCHING YOU,

do something THEY WISH THEY COULD DO.

This is why football is the greatest game in the world.

It's something that everyone wants to do, but it can only be done by the select few who are TOUGH ENOUGH to stick it out.

Bonus: Decompress

After every practice, find the most convenient and practical way to decompress ... both physically and mentally.

By physically, I am referring to taking compression off of your spine.

Even though you are not squatting 500lbs during practice, you are still putting compression on your spine by running around in a helmet and shoulder pads all day (not to mention laying the wood to any poor soul who tries to get in your way on the field.)

To decompress your spine, I recommend you one of two options.


  • Option 1: Hang from a bar like you would at the end of a dead-hang pull-up.




  • Option 2: Sit in a decline bench, with your arms by your head.



To decompress mentally, I highly recommend you throw in some diaphragmatic breathing. It will really help calm you down mentally, which in turn will help speed up your recovery process.

Seriously, who do you think will be more well rested for the next practice.

The guy who spends his off time like this ...




 Or like this ...



If you are worried about your football brothers thinking you have lost your mind, simply take longer, deeper breaths as you are stretching or foam rolling (see #6).

My rule of thumb is to breathe into your stomach (not your chest) for 4-6 seconds and exhale until all the air is out of your lungs.

Repeat this 3-4 times for every stretch you are performing.


5 Reasons I Love Power Points


One of the smartest things I ever did in Advanced Training was implement the Power Point System.

Why?

I'll give you 5 solid reasons.

1. It Removes Excuses

"He can bench more than me because he has arms like a T-rex..."

Billy Blanco is 10% T-Rex

Really?

I don't see you crying about your long arms when it comes time to deadlift.

How do you think Mr. T-Rex feels when it is time to pull the barbell off the floor?
2. It Levels the Playing Field

Aside from a few rare exceptions, do you really expect a 155lb seasoned athlete to bench as much as a 240lb seasoned athlete?


On the flip side, you can make the same argument in reverse for pull-ups.


... or broad jump



3. It Separates the Good from Great

The good athletes are really good at one or two movements and mediocre at the others.

The great ones are really good at all 4 of them - bench, deadlift, broad jump, pull-ups



Want a real life example?

Arthur Kuyan is currently ranked #2 (out of 151) in all-time Power Points.

While he is not #1 in any movement, he is in the top 15 in all 4 of them.
  • Bench - 355lbs (12th all-time)
  • Deadlift - 465lbs (3rd all-time)
  • Pull-Ups - 38 reps (5th all-time)
  • Broad Jump - 119.5 (10th all-time)
Here is a quick video of him in action.




4. It Accounts for the Overall Athlete

Oftentimes, an athlete will be miserable after test day because he did not gain 30lbs on his bench after ten weeks of intense training.

Meanwhile, he forgot he lost 20lbs*, gained 15 reps on pull-ups, and 8 inches on broad jump.

While his bench may have remained stagnant, his overall athleticism (aka Power Points) went through the roof.

To me, that is all that really matters.

We are not here to manufacture one trick ponies.



Don't ask him to pull a scarf out of his sleeve

We are here to develop complete athletes.

This is not just something we say, it is something we actually do.

If you don't believe me, just look at the data I provided below.

The median jump in Power Point rankings was 31 spots.

Considering the competition, these results are ridiculous.

July 2013 - Increases in Power Point Ranking
July 2013 - Increases in Power Points
*Note: some athletes change positions in college and are required to change their body type. That is why they attempt to lose / gain so much weight. If they can lose / gain the weight and still improve their power point numbers, they are legitimate athletes.

5. It Creates Insane Competition

I love healthy competition.

It makes a good program great.

It makes a mediocre athlete an animal.

And ..

It keeps the soft out of Advanced Training.

Competition Scares Me


If you have no interest in moving up in the Power Point Rankings, you have no place in our program.

With that, I am going to leave you with our new list of Top 20 Power Point Rankings of all-time.

I don't want to name names, but a few of you have been bounced off this list.

No worries ...

You are always welcome to come back to try to regain your place on this list of honor.


Duplicate names have been removed for people who have placed in the top 20 multiple times in different years. Only their highest power points from a given year have been used.

* The Top 20 Rank shows where they stand within the list above (no duplicate names)
* The Overall Rank shows where they stand within all power point totals, had duplicate names not been removed



For a complete listing of the final Power Points for the class of 2013, click HERE.

Toughman 2013

While the events of the 2013 Toughman were the same as the 2012 Toughman, the competitors were quite different.

2013 Toughman Events

In 2012, we had 16 athletes compete over a 2 day period.

In 2013, we had 6 compete in under an hour.

Why the difference?

I wanted the event to be more competitive.

How can it be more competitive with less people?



I did not allow anyone who missed Toughman sessions to participate.

The result ...

The average finish time in 2012 was 3:31 (3 minutes 31 seconds)

The average finish time in 2013 was 3:05 (3 minutes 5 seconds)

Enough said.

And now for what you really care about ...

BRONZE METAL: Joe Sarno




In his ROOKIE debut, Joe made his mark by finishing 3rd in the Toughman with a time of 2:50. 

This is the fastest recorded time for an incoming college freshman. (The previous best was held by Ryan Smith, who finished in 2:51 seconds in 2012).

Joe Sarno 

Unless Joe decides that chasing girls and going to clubs is more important then football (like 99% of his buddies will), he will dominate future Toughman events.

SILVER METAL: Arthur Kuyan


In 2011, Arthur Kuyan finished 12th.

In 2012, he finished 3rd.

In 2013, he finished 2nd.

Most normal people would be happy with this progress.


Arthur Kuyan 


Kuyan is not normal.

Having already won "Challenge" and the "Power-Point" title in 2013, he was looking to be the first Advanced Training Athlete to ever win the Triple Crown. 

(The Triple Crown is when one wins "Challenge", "Power-Points", and the "Toughman" in the same year.)

Unfortunately for Kuyan, this did not happen.

While finishing in 2:40 was impressive, it was not good enough to put him in first place.

In my humble opinion, I believe he would have finished with a much better score, had his arch-rival, Ryan Smith, not dominated the event immediately before it was his turn to compete.

Again, in my humble opinion, I believe Kuyan saw Smith's time and tried to rush through the event - leaving him exhausted by the time he got to the last movement (sliders).

As we all learned the hard way, you will have mother's problems if you start out going slow on the sliders.


GOLD METAL: Ryan Smith



As I alluded to in the previous section, Ryan Smith dominated the Toughman Event.

He finished in 2:17, putting his next closest competitor 23 seconds behind him.

2013 Toughman Champ - Ryan Smith


To say Ryan has a chip on his shoulder would be as big of an understatement as saying I am mildly perturbed waiting on line for food at a buffet on cheat day.

First off, Ryan still believes I "sand-bagged" him in the 2012 Toughman Event by making him test on the first day - which was much hotter and more humid than the second day.

Secondly, he is still feeling the sting of losing to Kuyan in a head to head battle for the Challenge title.

Third, not one of his peers voted that he would come in first during this year's event pre-Toughman ranking.
The one vote you see on the link HERE was actually Ryan voting for himself.

Rather than quit, Ryan channeled his energy into proving the world wrong and taking home the title.

As you watch the highlight video posted at the end of this article, take notice that he never really slows down in any event. Even his pace on the sliders was insane.

Purple Heart: Tom Galli

Normally this section is reserved for someone who did not win, but gave it a valiant effort against all the odds.

While this is certainly the case for Tom Galli in 2013, this is not why he is getting this award.

Sure, I can say he battled back from multiple shoulder dislocations and reconstructive surgery.

I can say he finished the event, despite having not been able to fully train until a few weeks ago.

I can say he fell down during the sled pull and got right back up without missing a beat.

I can say all of that, but I won't.

What I will say is that Tom had the strangest reaction ever to the fatigue of the Toughman.

While most people collapse, puke, or keel over, Tom simply sat looking into the woods with his back turned to us - Blair Witch style.

Tom Galli in The Blair Witch Project.


It was pretty creepy, but entertaining nonetheless.

Best Reaction to the Toughman Ever

All The Stats:

To see all the stats, CLICK HERE

The Highlight Video:

To see how it all went down, watch the video below.