If you're anything like me, with two-a-days or training camp around the corner, there is a list of things I need to stuff in my backpack to make life during camp much more enjoyable.
After thinking about it a great deal last night, I came up with 11 things that every coach needs before heading into training camp or two-a-day practices.
1 - Whistle
This one is self explanatory. you simply can't go into camp without a whistle.
Recommended: Get the whistles with a pea in them.
2 - Comfortable shoes (and insoles)
I'll never understand the guys out there that wear the same shoes for decades. You're on your feet for hours and hours, get some shoes you're comfortable standing in for long periods of time, and your body will thank you. If you try some on, and it doesn't feel like you're walking on clouds, either get some insoles, or move on to a new pair of shoes.
Recommended: Adidas Boost
3 - Sunscreen
There's nothing worse than being sunburnt and knowing you have to be out on the sun again for the foreseeable future, so nip that in the bud by putting on sunscreen before practice.
4 - A bucket hat
As ridiculous as these sometimes look, they're great to wear when the sun is beating down on you.
5 - One of those cooling towels
If you don't know what this is referring to, Google it and order one or two (there's plenty of brand choices out there) to keep in rotation. They're great to drape around your neck, or over the top of your head, and do an outstanding job of keeping you nice and cool.
Recommended: Mission brand
6 - A comfortable pair of sunglasses
Adidas, Nike, Under Armour or Oakley's, the brand doesn't matter, just make sure you've got a pair that are comfortable, polarized and that will stay on your face, and in place, when you're active.
Oh yeah, and make sure you pick a style that you won't mind the tan lines they're going to leave behind, because that's inevitable.
7 - Some rain gear
Don't get caught out in the rain with only a white practice shirt on. Plan ahead, and grab some solid rain gear.
8 - A transparent sleeve for your practice plan
If you don't have sheet protectors for your practice plan, I highly recommend running to your local office supply store and grabbing a package of the heavy duty ones. They're great for rainy days and for those of you that love folding up your practice plan and putting them in your pocket, or folding it and putting it in your waistband. (Pro tip - I also recommend getting retractable ID clips - like these - for your practice plans and game day call sheets).
Recommended: Staples heavyweight sheet protectors
9 - Icy Hot and Ibuprofen
Most of us aren't in the shape that we once were, so we're going to need something for those sore muscles and aches and pains after coaching your tail off.
10 - Baby powder
If you have to ask why then A) you probably don't need any OR B) you didn't go through training camp or two-a-days as a player so refer to A again.
Recommended: Gold Bond Medicated
11 - A watch
A smart watch isn't necessarily needed (although I do highly recommend one), you just need something to help you keep track of the time and stay on schedule with your practice script.
Also worth considering: A fresh change of clothes to keep in your car, a backpack to carry everything to the practice field with, a pen / Sharpie, (others being added as coaches weigh in).