the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ode to Training Camp

What is your favorite training camp story or anecdote? 

We asked that question of former kickers who are now kicking coaches.

Rex Robinson, Total Kicker
"This one is easy. 1981 Training camp with the Bengals TE/P Pat McInnally was almost late but made quite an entrance when he showed up for a team meeting in a shimmel shirt, jock strap, knee socks and turf shoes. The room erupted! Even the normally stoic Forrest Gregg couldn't keep it together. Classic!"
Brian Jackson, Team Jackson Kicking
"When I was a true freshman at Ball State University in 2003, there was a memory I'll never forget from training camp. After a couple weeks of building comradery and getting to know my teammates, it wasn't long before they knew I could be gullible at times. A fellow linebacker, that goes by the name of Puz, commented that I had a really good low center of gravity and would make for a good fullback, being that I was 5'6 185 lbs. He had mentioned to me that the coaches were considering using me at fullback in certain formations and that I would need to be ready to hit some guys come the next week. Of course I didn't believe him, until teammates that I hadn't ever talked to before started asking me about my high school experience with playing fullback and how they were ready to see me make some good blocks on our 6'3 300 lb defensive linemen. I still wasn't convinced till in an evening film session, our running backs coach told me to get with the equipment manager and try on different pads to make sure I was properly attired for some physical contact. This was when the gullible gene hit in. You could tell that Puz made his rounds. I remember calling my folks that night to try and transfer to other colleges because there was no way I was going to be playing fullback, running full steam at a guy that could crush me with his pinky. Yes, I was that convinced. The next morning in team film, our head coach did give it up that I was only at Ball U to be a specialist, and the whole team had a big laugh as I wasn't going to be playing fullback. It was definitely a relief, but it showed that the guys liked me and wanted to have some fun. After almost ten years, it's definitely the most humorous memory I have during training camp."

Mike McCabe, One on One Kicking
"Traveling to college camps on the road for 10,000 miles in two months. I travel so much its not that difficult for me. But to see the top college kickers get out the car and try to walk you wonder if they are athletes. LOL they walk as though they are crippled."

Brent Grablachoff, Kicking World
"I vividly remember two-a-days back in high school. I was on the varsity team as a sophomore and those two practices a day were the worst! The light at the end of the tunnel was knowing that at lunch time, after the morning session we would get big sub sandwiches delivered to chow down on! Those subs were so good, especially with an ice cold Gatorade after just having finished ten 100 yard wind sprints in full pads in the heat of the summer! My best memory of training camp has got to be the hard work my team put out during those two-a-days because it surely structured and molded me into the guy I am today as far as my work ethic, commitment, perseverance, etc. Those practices helped to ‘bond’ the team and get everyone working as one unit. Going through a battle whether it’s preparing for a war, a football game or enduring grueling double practice days; the process will absolutely help bring unity and ‘togetherness’ to a group of people. I think training camp and two-a-day practices are an excellent way to instill a work ethic into students and ‘beat out’ any laziness they may have! Flipping ahead to now, I serve subs at all our Two-day kicking camps… thinking about it, the memories I have from my own high school training camps must have influenced that!"

"I never took ice baths too seriously. It wasn't until my senior year of college that I took an ice bath after every "two-a-day" practice and practice in season, and it was my first year in college that I didn't have any nagging injuries that popped up. Now I'm an advocate for ice baths."

"I recall my rookie year with the Tampa Bay Bucs. We had four kickers in training camp, Eddie Murray, Tracy Bennett, Darren Alcorn and myself. It was our second preseason game and we had just finished our pre-game warm up. I was talking with Tracy asking him what happened in Denver the year before when he was in camp competing with incumbent David Treadwell. He was explaining to me how the special teams coach came up to him before the game started and told him that he was going to take all of the kicks in the game so that they could take a good look at him in a game situation. They released him the next day and all they were really doing was getting some film on him so that he could potentially get picked up by another team...

Just then, the Bucs special teams coach, George Stewart, came up to us and said, "Don't ask me why, but Coach Wyche wants Husted to get all of the kicks until he says otherwise..." I immediately looked at Tracy with big "saucer" eyes and he was looking right back at me. So, now I am thinking, "Oh crap, I am going to get cut after this game." The game was in Atlanta and my parents drove down from Virginia to watch the game. "Well, at least they will get to see me in a NFL game before I get released," I said to myself. I kicked very well in the game and wasn't released. Darren Alcorn was released the next day and Tracy was released later in the week. This left just Eddie and me on the roster going into the third preseason game. I ended up having an even better third preseason game which resulted in Eddie being released and me as the only kicker on the roster. (FYI, Eddie ended up in Dallas that year and they won a Super Bowl.)"

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