With so many young players in key positions, the importance of a well attended summer training program is crucial. As many college students understand, the summer can be the best times of a youngsters life. No school, no real responsibility and lots of sun. Yet for a young team with high expectations and goals, a misguided summer can be disastrous.
Previous BYU teams have had solid leadership during the summer months, with players monitoring attendance, calling players who had tendencies to “forget” workouts. The 2010 Cougars are a young bunch, still in the identity development stage of their football careers. Also this year team is more geographically diverse, which means players will find it hard to stick with the summer program through the whole summer. It is always a difficult decision when choosing between mom’s home cooking and hometown comforts or sweating it out with Coach Omer during those hot mornings and afternoons. Yes, Coach Omer’s wake-up call won’t be soft and sweet, but when you’re standing over the competition in August you’ll be thankful you stuck around.
This year the “Program” will be put to the test. When thinking of the football program you have to recognize all the components. It isn’t just the football coaches and staff. It’s the academic advisers, the back office folks that help with schedules and housing, the weight training and medical staff and a small unit charged with assisting players in finding employment. By assisting I mean helping team members find employers in the community with job openings during the summer months. This part of the program is sometimes brought into an negative light–especially with so many teams under investigation–but it provides a key service to help poor college athletes find employment so they can support themselves while in Provo during the summer. When I was at BYU I was able to hold part-time jobs during the summer, supplementing my income during the months I wasn’t taking classes. This helped me stay in Provo and kept me from returning home, which would have resulted in me reporting to camp out of shape. While this part of the program isn’t always the most talked about, they nonetheless play a vital role in ensuring a successful season.
This years team will need to mature and develop a lot over the summer. This can only be accomplished if a core of young players can demonstrate the leadership necessary to motivate their peers and inspire growth and competition. The best summers I had at BYU were the ones where competition both in the weight-room and on the field was intense. It pushed me past any physical limits and made me stronger physically and mentally. I am not sure who the young leaders are, but I am sure there will be competition. With numerous positions left void by graduation, I would not want to be the player on a family vacation to grandma’s house this summer. Maybe check and see if she’ll understand before you pack the suburban.