What Should You Expect at Your First NFL Training Camp?


Through the initiation process for my Fraternity, I was introduced to The 6 P’s, which state that “Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance,” which is so true.   It sounds like the NFL Lockout will be over soon, so that means that all-important first NFL training camp is right around the corner for a ton of rookies.

To help you (or someone you care about),  prepare themselves for their first NFL training camp, I thought I’d do a high-level review on what rookies can expect at their first NFL Training Camp.

NFL training camps aren’t much different than what you experienced in college… waking up in disbelief that it’s morning already… rolling out of bed, sore, reaching for your playbook and flip-flops before you take the dreaded stroll to the cafeteria for breakfast (remember that?).

I got bad news for you: that doesn’t change in the NFL…  mornings are still going to suck.

Former NFL coach Jon Gruden, was known to be one of the most intense coaches in the league. (Image - ICON)

The mental game. For most players, the hardest part about NFL training camp is the mental part; and quite often, the biggest contributor to that mental anguish comes from dealing with coaches.

As a rookie, you have to mentally be prepared to hear that you’re doing just about everything wrong.  Even if you actually get the job done on a particular play, there’s going to be something you did wrong…  technique, timing, effort, something.

But don’t take it personally.  I’m sure most NFL players would agree that it’s just the way it is for rookies.

The degree of intensity varies from coach-to-coach, but overall, that’s just the way it is with most NFL coaches.  And it doesn’t stop when you leave the practice field;  you gotta deal with it in the meetings, too!

Meetings, meetings… and more meetings. Like college, you’ll watch film of the morning practices before the afternoon practices, and you’ll watch the afternoon practices before you head back to the dorm for the night.

Since most NFL rookies have been treated like they could do no wrong for a long time, a lot of them find it hard not to take the criticism personally.


Let me tell you right now…  If you fall in that category, you’d better toughen up, because you’re in for a rude awakening.  You’re going to be in meetings with players you’ve seen on TV and probably admired for years.

Making a mistake and getting chewed-out in front of these guys can make you feel demoralized and embarrassed.

Don’t let it get you down, though.  Just keep reminding yourself that the vets in the room were once rookies, too.  I guarantee you that if you ask them, they’ll tell you that they went through the same thing.

Check back soon for Part II, where we’ll take a closer look at how your days will be scheduled, and discuss the proper mental attitude to give yourself the best shot at making the 53 man roster.

Follow me on Twitter!  @alvingrier


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