Training Camp: 80’s Primary School Style
With training camp just a month away, I set my mind to thinking about my own training camp and wondered what kind of coach I would be. The answer? Peurile, petty and vindictive.
Here are a few of my own unique practice drills inspired by the school playground. Games so irrevocably linked to our childhood that they bring out the best and worst in all of us. Games that can fix a lot of key problems with the modern game.
A simple game that when played at speed is perfect for helping players refine their footwork on a basic level.
Its something that can be done at home or anywhere really. All you need is chalk, some pebbles and the will to do it for hours at a time at full speed whilst being hit with foam batons. To increase the difficulty you could try and do it with a lukewarm can of Fanta in one hand and giant Curly Wurly in the other. It would help receivers and backs refine their lateral movement and cutting or help offensive and defensive linemen with footwork. It could also be played backwards by QB’s who need to practice 5 and 7 step drops.
Players who could benefit most: Trent Richardson, Matthew Stafford, David Remmers.
“Family Had” or “Family Tag”
Get all your DBs and receivers together. Preferably just after Double Maths or Home Economics and just before Lunch. Your DBs are all “It” as a group. Your receivers have to try to not get caught, when they do, they also become “it” and have to chase down all the remaining receivers. The last receiver tagged, has won and is your new starter at the 1 spot. The most prolific DB who catches the most receivers is your number one CB. This is also perfect for LB’s vs RB’s
Players who could most benefit. Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Browner,
Trent Richardson, The entire Giants LB corps.
British Bulldog: WR deathmatch version
Fun for the whole roster here. Best played just after wet break, on concrete, when the play assistant is off for a crafty fag behind the Art Block…. so its even more dangerous. You will need Six receivers stood in a row between two lines made up of your entire remaining roster 24 on each side. You will also need a juggs machine. The two lines of team mates will be at either end of your “Playground” and hurtle towards each other shouting insults about each others mums.
The receiver “piggies in the middle” must try and catch as many balls fired from the juggs Machine as they can whilst trapped in the ensuing melee. Receivers are either “out” if they catch 3 balls or if they slightly graze their knees, or are killed. The winner is the first receiver to be “out”
Key players who could benefit: Detroit Lions receiving corps, Demaryius “dropsy” Thomas, LA Rams receiving Corps. Thugs.
British Bulldog: QB deathmatch version
As above only the line of receivers is replaced by QBs with shoelaces tied together. Its a test of poise and accuracy simulating the free for all shitstorm of an NFL pocket.
Key Players who would benefit:
Nervous Rookies and Bottlejob starters – eg: Bradford, Gabbert, Weeden.
Patter-cake / Patty- Cake
A real test of dexterity and rythm. Your pass catchers (WRs, TE’s, RB’s) Your receivers coach will engage the receiver in a complex game of “Patter-cake Patter-Cake bakers man” to their left and right are juggs machines aimed directly at both temples of said receiver. The machines are approximately 10 feet away and when fired, the balls will be travelling at over 50mph at that point. When a ball is released the player must break off from the game and catch the pass cleanly, then drop the ball and continue “pattercaking” until he has caught ten passes or been concussed by a heavy football being fired point first into his temple at 50mph. This tests peripheral vision, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination particularly relevant to getting off of press coverage to make catches.
Key players who would benefit: Lions, Browns, Rams receivers.
Halfway through practice, unleash multiple water cannons on your players. The element of surprise is crucial. As soon as they are sufficiently cold and wet, get a couple of officious busy bodies in high-vis jackets to bundle them into a small classroom with sick stained beanbags and just the one copy of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” lock all doors and windows and leave all 53 players in there overnight. Some will contract hypothermia or the sniffles, some will fight and some will scream and scream until they are sick. The cramped cold conditions, wet clothes and social powderkeg type conditions, combined with partial starvation and deprivation of liberty and freedom let you know who your players really are. This is perfect for building camaraderie among teams with high roster turnover.
Key players who would benefit: Cleveland Browns. Philadelphia Eagles.
In the heat of battle its particularly important that your players can keep a clear head in particularly heated one-on-one matchups. With this in mind you could try teaching your players to cope better with this by using good old fashioned “cussing”.
Simply line up the single most obnoxious player or coach you have, opposite the most temperamental diva on the team and get him to regale tales of how “you went into KFC asked for a leg and no Breast and they threw his mum on the counter” or how his “Mum is so square that she breastfeeds by the carton” if it appears that simple cusses dont work then you may resort to the “Nipple Gripple” the “Tango” the “Chinese Burn” or a “Noogie” this drill is perfect for developing resilience and maturity. If you can last 10 minutes without headbutting your opponent or bursting into tears then you have won.
Key players who would benefit: Odell Beckham JR, Josh Norman.
If you like these then thank you for reading.
If not then….your mum!! Innit.