NFL Training Camp: Just the Essentials

Angie MeyerContributor IIAugust 2, 2010

HOUSTON - JULY 30:  Defensive tackle Shaun Cody #95 of the Houston Texans takes a water break to cool off during the team's first NFL traiing camp practice of the season at Reliant Park on July 30, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Something absolutely magical happened this past week. Yes, the clouds of earth have parted, thus, the football Gods have shined down a gorgeous ray of light on thirty-two cities across the United States.

That's right, football darlings, the NFL has opened shop. The time has come for players young and old to lace up their cleats, polish their helmets, and hit the practice field. It's training camp, ya'll.

What's the skinny on training camp, you ask? Training camp is a short period of time prior to the football season. It's a time when the pig-skin faithful get a spoonful of what's to come.

Typically, training camp begins for most teams the last week of July. NFL training camp is very similar to baseball spring training, except that instead of two central locations, each team trains in their own location, and sometimes on-site at their normal facilities.

Training camp offers new players and rookies the opportunity to prove their worth and set their motif prior to the season.

It's rookie time, so to speak, and they'll have to fight for their lives while proving their standing. Consider it an initiation of extremely gnarly initiation.

Training camp gives players the opportunity to gel together prior to the regular season commencing. Often times, coaches set up an array of team building activities, called OTA's (Organized Team Activities). OTA activities typically begin early spring, and are absolutely essential to establishing a solid team unity.

There are several components to an NFL training camp. The first is the scrimmage.

Scrimmages are practice games set up between a single football team's various squads. A team will play a full football game comprised of players within the combined group.

Think of it like a Phys-ed class picking teams for kickball.

Other activities happening at NFL training camp include intensive weight training sessions, team meetings, drills, and eventually... pre-season games.

Training camp is no cake-walk. With the hot August sun and sometimes humid conditions, it's been said that NFL training camp is one of the most dangerous aspects to the game. Dehydration becomes the catalyst for very serious problems.

Ten years ago, Korey Stringer, a player for the Minnesota Vikings died during training camp after collapsing from lack of fluids. It's an extremely serious condition, and teams don't tread on the subject lightly. Water and sports drinks are an essential.

Couple the hot-hot-hot conditions with two-a-days, and you've got yourself a bitter recipe for an extremely long month. What's a two-a-day? Two-a-day's are when two practices are held on the same day. It's absolutely brutal, to say the least.

The second half of training camp leads into the exhibition season. Exhibition is basically a fancy-shmancey name for pre-season games. NFL teams will play a series of five games against teams from across the league that lead into the season. All NFL exhibition games are considered not-for-the-record games. Basically, these games are for preparation only, and aren't factored into a team's win-loss record at the end of the season. Exhibition games give teams the opportunity to explore different formations and allow second and third string players time on the field prior to the starters taking their positions. Exhibition games begin the last week of training camp.

It's important that you regularly check your favorite NFL teams Website, Facebook, and Twitter. They'll offer up-to-date reports from camp to give you a better conceptualization of the portrait to be painted throughout the fall months.

In addition, the team updates are quite helpful for all the dolls choosing their fantasy teams. Glam Girls will of course give you all the NFL glitter you'll need when choosing your winning team, but it's also quite nice to know the inside shtiz.

Suffice to say, we are counting days down until the NFL begins, and with training camp commencing, we've only tapped the beginning the 2010 NFL fabulousness that awaits.

Stay Lovely,