Welcome to NFL Training Camp Review – What to Expect…, Part 2 (it’s a long title, I know… sue me. Actually, don’t). In Part I, we looked at dealing with coaches and the dreadful meetings. Today we’re going to finish-up looking at schedule that most camps operate under, as well as the proper mental attitude necessary to have a successful camp.
Schedule. Here’s how most days go in camp… You arrive for breakfast around 7:30 in the morning. You’ll likely practice from about 8:30-to-11am, then you break for a few hours for lunch… some choose to try to get some sleep during this time, some play video games, or those banged-up may try to get some treatment in during this break, until around 1:30, when it’s time for special teams meetings. Again, not much different than college.
After the special team meetings, you head to offense/defense meetings, then it’s time to get ready for the 4pm practice, which is normally a little shorter than the morning practice. Then it’s dinnertime, and afterwards, more meetings from 7pm to 10.
Most NFL teams practice for about eight straight days before you get a day off.
Don’t count roster spots. Counting roster and position spots will kill you mentally. It’s easier said than done (especially if you’re an Undrafted Free Agent), but it’s best to block it out as much as possible. There’s 80 guys in camp (unless the new CBA
ups the number), and there’s only 53 players on the final roster, so it’s tough not to count roster spots at your position. I get that. All I can say, is that if you can’t keep from thinking about it, at least try to use it as a motivating factor, rather than a reason to get depressed or down on yourself.
You have to have the mental strength to focus strictly on performing and implementing the techniques being introduced to you. Other than that, you just have to let the chips fall where they may. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself nervous and paralyzed mentally, which is only going to make your chances of making the team even smaller, if you’re a low-round draft pick or Undrafted Free Agent.
And unless you become a superstar, you’re going to experience this anxiety every training camp. It’s best to learn how to deal with it early, because for every established veteran or superstar, there’s 5 or 6 blue collar players that have to earn their keep each and every training camp in the NFL to keep their dream alive.
It’s just a part of the business.