My first was with Kolding Guardians U19 in 2012. All training was indoor because of heavy snow. My latest was with Kolding Guardians U16. That was my first camp as a coach, which made it a lot different, yet still funny and it was something that I learned a lot from.
I love almost everything about training camp, and I strongly believe that it can be a vital part of a team's road to succes. The training itself can make the difference between a rookie who doesn't really know the system, and a somewhat solid starter (I personally witnessed it happen both for a senior teammate, and an U16 player) and might also push your good players to become great.
The team bonding that happens (by itself or provoked by the coaches) at training camp is not to be underestimated. Spending 30+ straight hours with the same group of people creates some special connections between people. Having good team chemistry is gonna help you during the good times and during the bad times. A great example is the offensive line. If they feel like five brothers, they're going to play as a solid unit. If not, they're just five big guys on a line. If they truly care for their QB and RB, they will block better. And they will help the RB up from the ground after a long gain, or a negative run. Together in good and bad times, like a real family.
As a player, training camp is an opportunity to better, and have a lot of fun! At our short weekend camp together with Aarhus Tigers, we decided to play basket after dinner. It started out as Guardians vs Tigers, but ended pretty mixed up. Later that night we (Guardians) sat down and told each other old stories about wild nights in the city, and other weird, crazy stuff. Don't think serious athletes can party hard? Trust me, they can, and quite a lot of them do! And that tends to make great personal stories. And sharing that with your teammates? That's called bonding!
As a coach, you'll get to know your colleagues and players a lot better. Whether you're having 1-on-1 player-coach meetings, working with game-tape, or just eating and chilling, you're gonna spend a lot of time with colleagues and players.
All in all I love the concept of training camp. I think it's a great tool for any team looking to improve.
A small personal update on me - I'm injured. It's probably a slight MCL tear, (knee) so I'll be out for most of this season. That sucks, but I should be ready for the playoffs.
Daniel 'GG Watt' Gammelgaard
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