6 Tips for Having Fun at NFL Training Camp

Summer is officially here and the NFL teams have posted their training camp schedules for the 2010 NFL football season. There is no better summer vacation for families than a visit to watch the NFL players prepare for the upcoming season.

Every year at the end of July, NFL players, coaches, administrators and other members of the NFL staff head to training ground. For 3 to 4 weeks, players and coaches work hard to improve their personal and team performance. It’s great to see the rigorous work the players put into preparing for the 16-game regular season.

Many of the 32 teams in the NFL camp outside of their hometown. For example, the Baltimore Ravens practice training camp 1 hour from Baltimore in Westminster, MD and the Chicago Bears have theirs in Bourbannais, IL, 1.5 hours south of Chicago.

Field practices are usually open to the public and are free. This means that fans can watch players at work, participating in drills, 7v7, and joking around with teammates, coaches, and even fans. Also, for fantasy football players, it is an opportunity to see the players up close before the fantasy football draft.

All 32 NFL teams hold public practices, but each varies in their schedules, policies, and here are 5 tips to get the most out of your visit to NFL training camp: Here are the training camp locations and dates.

one) Items for physical comfort. There are many things you should bring to make sure you and your crew are as comfortable as possible. This is especially true if you bring children with you. Remember, boot camp is outside and happens in late July and early August. In many places, this means that it will be hot. Bottled water, snacks, sunscreen, hats, and even seats like you might take to a kids’ soccer game. Different teams offer different seating arrangements and shade arrangements. They all have some kind of trade-offs, but they can be expensive and aren’t likely to be the healthiest options. (By the way, parking is usually free)

two) Confirm practice time, location, and arrive early.. The benefit of being there early is that you can watch the players come onto the field and stretch. You will quickly see the personality of each player in the moment and the way they enter the field. It is also a great opportunity to see the players up close, many times before they put on the pads or the helmets. Great photo opportunities and sometimes autographs and short conversations. Be sure to allow some time for traffic, parking, and walking to the premises from the parking area. (Most teams offer information on their official websites about parking)

3) Bring a camera, markers and pens, and mini helmets, pennants, hats, jerseys, T-shirts, and other items that you would like to have autographed.. First of all, when we say bring a camera, we mean a real camera. While cell phone cameras have expanded our universe, for an NFL training camp, a real camera is a much better decision. For example, zooming in may be the best way to get closer to Peyton Manning as he works with the backups and the quarterback coach in a far field. Or maybe you want more megapixels for the photo of you and Larry Fitzgerald during your visit to Flagstaff, AZ.

For autographs, opportunities will vary based on team policies. Each team will have designated autograph sessions and some autograph opportunities are dependent on the personalities of the various players. For example, at each training camp, the Pittsburgh Steelers hold a practice Friday night at a local high school in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. When practice begins, the entire Steelers team walks to the fences around the field and signs autographs for about 15 minutes.

4) Get a good night’s sleep and save your voice. A visit to an NFL training ground is incredible fun and can be very exhausting. Like a trip to an amusement park, the excitement + the sun + the heat can make us all feel tired. Some of us can even get in a bad mood. Be sure to follow this advice and the others to reduce the likelihood of irritability. Plus, get ready to cheer on your favorites. Whether it’s yelling hello to Eight Five or joining in a performance of Bear Down Chicago Bears with other fans, training ground is a great opportunity to show your team spirit.

5) Bring a soccer ball and other small games to play. There is nothing more inspiring than watching professional soccer players practice. That is why you will see countless pig skins flying and fans running patterns as the pros practice in the field.

Some teams may even provide activity-filled children’s areas or allow you to help with practice (fans at Raven’s camp can share field goal attempts on the side fields). Check the website of your teams to find out what type of activities they offer in their facilities. They all likely have souvenir shops, so be prepared for that!

6) Dress up like it’s a game! Players, coaches and other fans will appreciate your full support during camp. Two practices a day is grueling and enthusiastic fans can easily switch momentum around camp. Prepare your jerseys, team jerseys, caps and flags. Remember, the real season is just around the corner and we could all use a tune-up.

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