Myth and Risk of Live-Contact Summer Football Camps
We have heard it many times.
“My son is an experienced tackle football player. To improve, he needs a full-contact, summer camp experience with live blocking and live tackling.”We respectfully disagree.
During the months of June and July, non-contact football instruction is far and away the preferred format. This applies to newcomers, flag players and even the most experienced tackle players.Yes, even the most experienced tackle players are far better off training in a non-contact format during the months of June and July.
June and July are months immediately preceding your tackle football training camp.
In anticipation of August tryout camps, you should have two goals.
Goal #1: Be sharp with respect to technique.
Technique is essential to good football and can be perfected in a non-contact format while staying healthy.
Goal #2: Be in top physical condition.
Your strength, speed and endurance should be at a high point.
What will get you to these goals?
First, when engaged in summer drills or training, you want to demonstrate perfect technique– every single time. This will establish proper muscle memory and develop a consistent technique.Second, you want to develop speed, strength and endurance without the risk of injury.
Now June and July are hot weather months.
Hot weather accelerates fatigue. Full equipment accelerates fatigue. The physical battle of live blocking and tackling accelerates fatigue. And if you are out of shape to begin with, it becomes an even bigger problem.
Consider the unintended consequences.
First, you cheat and execute poor technique because you are tired, therefore establishing improper muscle memory.
Second, you become more concerned with out-muscling your opponent than executing proper technique. While you may win that battle, in the long run you have not helped yourself as a football player. Instead, you have established improper muscle memory.
Third, with hot temperatures and heavy equipment, you tire and lose concentration. This significantly increases the chance of injury. You could twist an ankle, tweak a hamstring or worse. Injured players don’t make the team.So we ask, if you intend to improve your technique and fitness levels in order to enter your camp at full speed, is a live-contact camp worth the risk?
We say the non-contact format is a much better choice.
Non-contact camps focus exclusively on developing skills and increasing fitness in a safe environment.
In a non-contact format, you recover from drills more effectively and therefore may demonstrate perfect technique during every repetition. With perfect repetitions, the skills become engrained; you develop muscle memory and advance as an athlete. Your posture, footwork, head and hand position is perfect every time. And you are less inclined to cheat because you are focused on your own technique, not the size of your opponent.
Additionally, you build your speed, strength and endurance with virtually no risk. At a non-contact camp,
you make football moves at top speed. Again, you are building muscle memory and fitness levels. The key difference is there is virtually no chance of getting run over, clipped or chopped unexpectedly, therefore suffering an injury that sets you back days if not months.
I hope this helps your decision making for summer football camps.
We will follow up with some testimonials from former NFL players and coach supporting our position in the next week.