Pro Sports Training Camps
Pre-season sports training camps in the NHL, NBA and NFL are made up of three weeks of grueling workouts, all-you-can-eat buffets and some bizarre rules even the strictest parents wouldn't make up. Here's a look at what professional athletes go through to get in shape and get ready for the season.
The WorkoutMost professional athletes train year round but many of them are still a little out of shape, especially if they've been spending the off-season sitting on the couch eating Doritos all day. On the first day of training camp, athletes go through fitness testing so coaches and team trainers can figure out who's in shape and who's not. From there, teams go through two practice sessions a day - one in the morning, one in the afternoon. These practices will go a long way to determine which players make the team, and which ones go crying home to mommy cuz they got cut. These are often mentally and physically demanding sessions where players are trying to both build their fitness and remember various plays and strategies. Players in the NHL will usually also have a scrimmage later on in the evening between teams made up of rookies and veterans.
The Fuel at Pro Training CampsAll those intense workouts and training sessions mean athletes at camp go through a lot of food. Cooks at the training camps lay out all-you-can-eat spreads for the team at breakfast, lunch and dinner - and NFL players are even given a late night buffet which includes pizza, burgers, burritos and dessert. Players at the Carolina Panthers' 2004 training camp went through nearly 2,000 pounds of chicken, 300 pounds of steak and over 400 pounds of potatoes in just the first week of camp!
The Pro Training Camp RulesProfessional sports teams often hold their training camps in cities outside of where the team lives so players can stay focused on the game and bond with their teammates. The players stay in dorms or hotels, and sometimes live under rules that even the strictest parent wouldn't come up with. In 2001, the coaching staff of the Washington Redskins put alarms on the doors of the dorms where the team was staying that would go off if any players tried to sneak in past their curfew. If players were late for the start of breakfast - even by 30 seconds - they would have to miss the meal and wait for lunch. Other bizarre rules? Tom Coughlin, the coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars banned his players from wearing sunglasses during camp and they weren't allowed to wear running shoes in the lobby of the hotel. Coaches say rules teach their players to be disciplined but some of those rules are way too out there.
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