During the course of the off season, a number of college and high school programs across the country partner up with their local military and go through team building and workouts that have a military-like focus, and coaches always talk about how advantageous it was to their team in terms of coming together, forming a bond and camaraderie, and spicing things up during a time when things can get monotonous.
Well today, a new idea came to my mind after watching this video of JJ Watt going through firefighter training. Watt's childhood was spent looking up to his father, who was a firefighter and is now retired, and in this video he goes back to his hometown to get a sense of what his father went through. And keep in mind that he's going through it while in the best shape of his life.
"I pride myself on being a great athlete, but these drills put me under the table real quick," Watt explains.
"I don't think anyone understands what this gear does to intensify a workout."
"Let's say you get through five rounds of that and then you get the call. That takes some serious mental willpower," Watt notes at one point in the clip. "I respect the hell out of that. That's incredible."
Watt's workout with the fire department is a great dual reminder for high school programs looking to spice things up in the off season. First off, pretty much every town has a fire department (or at least one close) that they could reach out to and pair up with to not only get together and brainstorm a workout or two with (with or without the gear), but it will also help to forge a unique community connection and help players to appreciate the efforts of their local fire fighters. The same could probably be done with the local police department.
With all the negative stuff in the news lately, this seems like a great idea for high school programs.
"I work my ass off at my job everyday because I love it, but at the end of the day if I screw up, I just have a bad play. Theirs is life and death. To me, there is no comparison. We get headlines, and we're playing a game. These guys don't get the headlines, between these guys and the police, and the military, those are the people that are doing stuff that matter."
"They're the true heroes. I'm just a guy that chases a ball around, that's all."
Great job by Gatorade highlighting this experience.