It’s that time of year: AUGUST! Many of your programs have either just started camp, or are about to start in the next 1 – 2 weeks. I’m going to write about 4 Non X and O Training Camp Outcomes this week. Here is the first one!
4. Community buy in
After 2 or 3 or 4 weeks of your camp depending on how long you’re getting after it, you want for the community around you to have “buy in” to your current year’s program. Every team enters and exits camp with expectations. Some teams enter camp with high expectations from last season; maybe you were a League Champion or State Champion. You might be carrying over those expectations.
And every team breaks camp with expectations. The expectations of a football program during August are like the stock market: sometimes those expectations rise, and sometimes they fall. A few key injuries can make the stock plummet, a new offense that isn’t clicking yet can do the same thing. Sometimes there is a surprise kid, or a stud new transfer you just got cause his dad moved his business from Oregon to So Cal (like what happened to me with an All League Linebacker in 2004); your stock rises.
No matter if that stock is rising or falling, buy the time camp breaks, you want for the community to love what you are doing, and to come out and support you.
I’m talking about the community at large, and I’m talking about the community on campus. Are there some things that you can do to get community buy in? Absolutely.
A few ideas to get community buy in during August training camp:
1. Get your team in their jerseys, and go hand out schedules around town. You would be surprised at how far this small gesture of good will might go in your community to get buy in
2. Have a free car wash day on your campus for a few hours. Promote it, get folks to your parking lot, wash their cars for free. Pass out your schedules, talk up your team, get the community on board.
3. Have some open practices. I realize this might not work in “big cities” but in “small towns” this might go a long way. This is a great idea especially if you are a new coach with a new staff. Introduce your philosophies, etc. by inviting the public to your practice to see you up close and personal. Get your local newspaper to advertise your open practices, and encourage your town, alumni, etc. to come out!
4. If the rules permit in your area, section, state, league, etc., end camp with an intrasquad scrimmage, and big barbecue. Host a community appreciation night. Feed them some burgers and hot dogs and water. Sell season tickets, or reserved seats, your shirt and hats, etc.
Hopefully you get the idea of what I’m trying to convey here. It’s important that the community buys in to what you are doing during August, especially if you are in a small town!
Check back later for the follow up to this series!