Coach Russell’s Ruminations – July

For college football coaches, and many high school coaches, the summer means one thing: camps. Summer football camps are not only a good way to supplement your income, but they’re also valuable for the opportunity to be exposed to high school players you may be interested in recruiting. I’ve just returned from my “biggest” camp of the year, and I’ve come up with a few thoughts to share.

My first thought is my personal opinion. While I firmly believe it, and have held this opinion for years, I’m sure not everyone will agree. If you’re coaching at a camp, don’t rip kids. They are campers. You did not recruit them, and they are taking time out of their summer to try to improve their skills as a football player. There is nothing which sours me on a guy faster than listening to him scream at high school kids at a summer camp. You look, and sound, foolish. I’m not sure if these guys are trying to show off, but it’s, frankly, clownish behavior. Whether we admit it or not, there’s already a bit of a stereotype out there as far as football coaches go, and these coaches are only enhancing it.

When you’re at a camp, coach. Period. Kids are there to learn from you. Some of them might be hotshot prospects, and some of them might be first time players. Coach them all. Don’t get frustrated, and don’t focus all your attention on the “good” ones. There are plenty of opportunities at a camp to speak to good players individually. You’re being paid to coach, so do it.

Over the years, I’ve worked a lot of camps, and I’ve noticed something troubling. A lot of guys don’t want to do the “little things”. This could be carrying equipment, helping another coach with a drill, or assisting a coach with the warm up. There are a lot of guys out there who spend a majority of their time at camp leaning on the fence, chatting with parents, while the other coaches are clearing equipment off the field. You wouldn’t do that with your team in the fall (I hope), so don’t do it at camp. Right or wrong, for the duration of camp, these other coaches are your staff, and good staffs work together. Your next boss could be working next to you.

Finally, and I apologize for the PSA, but make sure you wear sunscreen. This should be obvious, but I’m consistently amazed by how many coaches spend a day on the field, and return to the dorm (or wherever you spend the evening) bright red and burned. We’re supposed to be smarter than this. For your own sake, and the sake of impressionable minds, take care of your skin.

I welcome any comments, concerns, or criticisms. I can be reached at