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.


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