By FirstDown PlayBook on Aug 24, 2012

By Coach Charlie Coiner (view profile)

I love training camp… No, really I do. There are a lot of things I like about coaching football but I’m serious when I say that training camp is at or near the top of the list of reasons why. Don’t get me wrong, the season filled with Saturdays or Sundays – depending on where you are coaching that year – is still exciting but there is something about training camp that is special. I guess for me it’s a chance to escape the outside world and just coach football. Generally, training camps are very routine. They go something like…Wake-Eat-Meet-Practice-Eat-Meet-Practice-Eat-Meet-Sleep (a little) and then repeat the process for two or three weeks. I generally lose track of the outside world. Family and friends understand; after all, it happens almost every year around the end of July. It is football in its purest form and it is generally football 24-7.

What makes it special when it is compared to coaching in a stadium filled with 100,000 plus fans waiting to see what their team will bring them this weekend? Maybe that’s just it. It’s the work, it’s the long hours, the total football focus, the absence or near absence of everyday conveniences like cars, TV’s and other things we deem important in our day-to-day lives. It’s what takes place when no one is really watching…yet. There are players, some will make the cut, some will not. Some older athletes trying to hang on to what they have and some younger trying to prove they belong. As coaches, we are just trying to find the right parts, the right chemistry, the right family to weather the demanding season once training camp is long gone and forgotten.

Make no mistake, the family part is important. Training camps are at their best when they are set up where coaches and players are put in an environment where they must work together, hang out together and become family. There is something to be said about working your tail off day in and day out and at the end of the day getting to know your teammate or co-worker who is just as committed. Every good training camp I have been a part of has resulted in a much closer team coming out of camp than went into camp. All coaches know that when hard times come, and they surely will during the course of a long grueling season, a close team has a much better chance of enduring and coming out of the hard times successfully than a group of individuals. TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More.

Watch: Remember the Titans – Coach Boone Gettysburg Speech

I know training camp is generally a different experience for a player. They are competing for a job, a spot on the roster, a chance at doing something special. It is a chance to out-work someone, to out-study them, to out-hustle them. It’s a chance to do anything that will grab the coaches’ attention. A player knows that there is only so much time to be a part of the game plan for that particular year and every rep is extremely important.

Training camps are filled with Hope. Every coach and every player dreams of this training camp being the chance to do something special. This year is no different. Every player and every team is filled with hope. Training camp is the first step to making the hopes and dreams come true.

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