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Bootcamp Vs. Club Med

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Bootcamp Vs. Club Med

Mike McCarthy is continuing his practice of  devising a training camp schedule that puts the emphasis on 'rest and recovery'. Meanwhile, out in New England, Bill Belichick is opening camp with seven straight days of two-a-days.

Now, I don't bring this up to get Donald's Designated Driver all mad at me. I just think it will be interesting to track the results of both methods and see what kind of teams both coaches have in December. I've always bought into McCarthy's reasoning for his scheduling camp the way he does, and we all know Mike Holmgren's successful run as Packers coach included very player-friendly camps. But when Belichick does anything, it's always good to pay attention and to look at the how's, why's and the results.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (35) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ron La Canne's picture

This is a practice I find distasteful. I remember well Packer players who experienced Lombardi's training camps. The players were so happy to see the season start they thought they were on vacation.

If he continues to treat the players as if they were fragile figurines, they will play that way during the season. Last year's injury reports should have made this obvious to MM. They were a medical basket case the entire season. Your damned philosophy didn't work. The sport you are coaching is football not ballet.

Get these guys ready to play. If they can't hold up in practice, they sure as hell won't hold up though the 16 game season.

CSS's picture

This is a natural reaction for a coach that was just burned by the injury bug the prior year. I don't think there's adequate information out there showing a correlation between amount of contact/camp rigour, and season outcome. What I do know for certain: The NFC North will be won by the team with the least amount of injuries among the Vikings, Bears and Packers.

Also, apples and oranges to compare anything to Lombardi. He wasn't required to carry as tiny of a roster and did't have five exhibition games to contend with in addition to a 16 game season....radically different era.

Bad Knees's picture

A big reason for club med is the poor medical staff. Since they are unable to keep the players healthy McCarthy is forced to back off training camp activities.

PackerAaron's picture

Sorry Bad Knees, that's just ridiculous. Pepper is one of the best in the business.

Graham's picture

Run the hell out of them all!! 2 a days till september 13!

Winners practice and execute plays perfectly. That does not happen in film study that happens on the practice field. Run Run Run and make them pray for the season to start.

Ron La Canne's picture

Err, CSS,

The 1963 Green Bay Packers played 6 pre-season games. One, of course, was the College All-Star Game. They had a 14 game schedule and carried a 39 player roster. I guess you're right it's Apples and Oranges. Today's players are pansies in comparison.

And the current Packers play 4 not 5 pre-seaon games.

InFact's picture

News Flash:

Favre heard about Belichick's two-a-day system -- and he signed for the veteran's minimum because Favre was so excited.

He doesn't even care about being #2 on the depth chart and holding a clipboard all season.

He just loves practice as much as Allen Iverson.

CSS's picture

The Lombardi arguement is crap. E=MC2; in other words, speed and mass create greater force therefore a tremendous impact. I respect what the previous era did and their work ethic, but collisions today are the equivalent of individual car wrecks when you have a man like Kampan at 270 lbs that was as fast as Lombardi's receivers. Apples and frickin' oranges arguement. Not to mention the weight bearing joint stress now with abrupt change of direction due to modern athletic ability and the damn artifical surfaces players are on. Old school arguements are crap. Compare era to era.

Asshalo's picture

Training camp coaching methods and structure are one of the many variables that are correlated to success in the regular season. Because of it's intangible nature, I don't really see how you could objectively judge these two coaches by their contrasting methods. Also, nice post CSS.

I don't really understand why we've started later than everyone else the past two years-- especially considering how sloppy our play was last regular season.

D.D. Driver's picture

Sorry CCS. You are wrong. E=MC2 means that energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.
You want the formula for momentum:
Momentum equals mass times velocity.
Or the formula for force:
f = ma
Force equals mass times acceleration.
/that guy

Ron La Canne's picture

So now it's speed vs. mass. Talk about crap! Let's see the detailed analysis that supports the hypothesis you proclaim. Since your first arguement was based on a completely false premise I need to see the facts.

And by the way for much of that time a play wasn't halted until the runner had been completely stopped (i.e. more collisions). And face masks were optional. You might even argue that the mandatory improvements in safety equipment is the reason for injuries. Being protected from the shock and pain of a collision encourages reckless and dirty play.

MM was cautious last year! Just how well did that work for him? Have you checked out the type and number of injuries the Packer players suffered last year?

CSS's picture

So you ask how it turned out for him last year and question it because of 6-10? Must be nice to intellectually edit the prior year when it worked at 13-3. Nice...

PackerAaron's picture

Asshalo - teams can't start more than 14 days before their first preseason games.

PackerAaron's picture

Ron - the obvious counter to your argument is the fact that they had the same type of camp the year they were one play away from the Super Bowl...

Ron La Canne's picture

Ah yes indeed Aaron. Finally someone sees what I'm trying to get at in my own perverted way. If 2007 and 2008 used the same training regimens, then it wasn't the injuries that caused the collapse of the Packers in 2008. It was something else. Motivation? Coaching Skill? Player Quality? Play Calling? All of the above? And please don't say it was luck.

Franklin Hillside's picture

Ron, you have me confused. Well done.

Ryeguy812's picture

The apples to oranges comparisons intrigue me. Lombardi wouldn't survive in today's NFL. You can't treat players like dogs any more, they are too valuable with the money you have invested in them and also the Players Union is a force in the league. If Lombardi pulled the stuff he did in the 60s today, he would have grievance after grievance filed against him by the union and probably wouldn't be a coach for long.

Juice Maloose's picture

With regard to injuries, I think the strenght & conditioning aspect is being overlooked here.

There's a reason for the turnover amongst the S&C coaches this year just as there was reason for the turnover amongst the defensive coaching staff. I've read that Dave Redding places a higher emphasis on rest & recovery than Rock Gullickson did. I've also read through the grapevine that the workout regimen had been a bit overzealous at times in prior years (A.J. Hawk anyone?) and that Rock had been a contributing factor there.

Perhaps McCarthy's inclusion of 'R&R' time in the training camp schedule was undermined in 2008 by a S&C program that went in the opposite direction. This may have also been a factor in a the slow recovery from nagging injures that some players struggled with.

Ron La Canne's picture

Thanks Franklin! I'm just trying to say the "Club Med" approach doesn't fully prepare the players for the on field action. Last year everyone was whining and complaining about how the injuries caused the 6-10 season. Now we get the idea that MM is forced to use a weak training regemin to prevent injuries. Injuries happen regardless of the training regemin. Aaron's 2007 to 2008 example being my evidence.

In short, it is better train the players hard and give them the conditioning and preparation for the game, than hold back and hope they can reach that level just for Sundays (Game Day). That's it.

PackerAaron's picture

Excellent point Juice.

buckslayernyc's picture

Lots of hitting means lots of injuries, not less.


You can't teach ligaments not to stretch or tear.


Tired athletes are much more incline to injury that alert non-tried athletes.


Sparkyo's picture

I liked what CSS said in his apples vs. oranges rant. In fact, that may well be what we are looking at in GB vs. Pats' camp regimens. The Pack reportedly had 96%? participation in its extensive off season conditioning program; does anyone know how the two team's off season programs compare? I sure don't. As I recall, the way McCarthy got players to buy in to the off season program was to promise lighter training camps. This is a good thing because in McCarthy's 1st year as head coach he killed the team by overworking them prior to the Bears' opener at Lambeau and they got killed in that game. I daresay that beating took the team a while to overcome.
One final comment, I know it's great fun to second guess the coach, GM, training staff, team physician, and beer vendor, but let's not lose sight of the fact that we, as fans, almost never have the access, perspective, knowledge and insight required to truly judge these matters as we look on from afar. Oops, sorry Aaron; I guess I'm messing with your gig here! ;-) Just sayin'.

WoodyG's picture

Players in the Lombardi Era were pushed just to get them in shape. Most players today show up for TC already in great shape. It's not neccessary to 'beat them down' to their ideal playing weight.
At the same time, what's the difference between getting injured in the 4th preseason game or the 1st regular season game ?
I have to think that NE's success since 2000 has more to do with the players/coaching than what they do in August. I fear NE could skip all pre-season activity & still be ready come game 1. Face it, they're the prototype. (slightly over the top but not by much)

PackersRS's picture

Ryeguy812, I allways thought Lombardi's teams were like a family, and almost all of them thought of him like a father... Don't see why the Players Union would have an objetcion to that...
About the Bootcamp x Club Med, I think a lot of point in here made sense. First Aaron's point of the 2007/2008. It shows it is a sucessful method. AND it was about injuries. As Juice Maloose poited out, the change of S&C is about that, as well as more stamina and less bulk. And it's not about luck that changed between 07 and 08. 06 we didn't make the playoffs. 07 we went to the NFCC. Though it's great, it takes a toll on the players. So combine the increase of schedule with the poor S&C program, voilá, injuries. And about MM using the Club Med, it's what Ron and Sparkyo said, he had to use it because of all the injuries, and also used it so players could buy into the offseason program.
Which one I think it's better? Well, it's not that I don't want to take a stance, but I think it depends on what kind of season you had, what kind of conditions you have (medical staff, S&C coaches...), but mostly, what kind of players do you have. Mangini tried to use the same BB mentality in NY, and he failed miserably. Parcells failed in Dallas (but Wade Phillips is being accused of being too player-friendly. It seems to me it's not about the coach...).

buckslayernyc's picture

I guess Brady was not whooped hard enough cause he got hurt in the first game. right?

Mr.Man's picture

I'm confident that if there were any hard statistical evidence about the number of training camp practices and how it relates to injuries, the team would be abiding by it.

I wonder if some teams, however, have found a correlation between the number of practices and the team's tackling and mental errors. This has got to be more difficult to track, and I think we'd all say that the defense had significant problems in these departments last season.

Ron's picture

"Sorry Bad Knees, that’s just ridiculous. Pepper is one of the best in the business"...WRONG!!

"Jones, the rookie seventh-round draft pick, hurt his back during today's running/conditioning test. The severity of his injury is unknown at this point".

Folks, I'm not a great football analyst but I'm a hell of a good sprain/strain doctor and I repeat, The Packers medical staff is structured incorrectly.

If the Packers had a qualified sprain/strain doctor on staff this injury would have not occurred. Qualified sprain/strain doctors identify minor joint misalignment and correct them so you never have large injuries to the joint. Medical staff fails on the first day of practice. Player down with with unnecessary injury...from that's a REAL CONTACT anyone starting to see my point that TT's medical team is staffed incorrectly. They desperately need a qualified sprain/strain doctor on staff. An expert in joint injury prevention. If this player was hitting someone and the joint failed he could be out for the year or need back surgery. This injury was 100% preventable. should have been identified by the medical staff prior to the conditioning test and he should have been held back and had the minor condition corrected. After correction he could have taken the test safely without injury. PEPPER FAILED!!

Bad Knees's picture

I am also somewhat computer illerate. My name is Ron but I like to go under the handle of Bad Knees. I grew up with Lombardi's Packers and have been a fan for over 50 years. The Packers medical staff is good, they just have a gaping hole in the staff for what I am calling a sprain/strain doctor. I use kinesiology in my practice for finding joint misalignments. Once you learn the technniques these joint misalignments jump out at you and you can easily fix them...AVOIDING SPRAIN/STRAIN INJURIES which ALWAYS occur if the joint is left uncorrected. Without these diganostic procedures you must wait until the player/patient feels joint or muscle inflammation/pain or worse, begin fixing the problem after a major joint/muscle failure occurs. Most joint injuries are avoidable if the athlete is under the care of a qualified sprain/strain doctor. A qualified Dr. can often diagnose the misalignment before the player even knows there is an issue. So relying on the player to tell you he may have an injury is an approach to failure. Since the Packers do not have a qualified sprain/strain doctor on staff joint injuries will be common again this year. Also, if the staff does not know how to correct a joint sprain/strain the injury becomes "nagging" as the joint remains unstable and unable to heal. When a joint is misaligned three things will happen. The joint may fail and become damaged. The ligament may tear. The muscles moving the joint may tear. Or with a major injury all three may what happened to Nick Barnett's knee last year. (Another preventable injury.)It is virtually impossible to injure a stable, aligned joint as they are very strong. I expect a lot of bloggers will jump all over me for my comments but on this issue...I'm right!!

WoodyG's picture

Bad Knees

Your symposium on strains/sprains is interesting but unless you treat professional athletes in a high contact sport such as football, your analysis may be moot.
All NFL teams have strains & sprains. Are you saying all NFL teams are inadequate in their medical approach to players ? Are you saying all NFL teams need a sprain/strain doctor on staff ? Considering that strains/sprains have always been an issue since day 1, somehow, at least one NFL team would have it figured out. Sorry. I'm abit skeptical of your proposal. A professional football player & your 'average Joe' are two different animals.

PackerAaron's picture

"If the Packers had a qualified sprain/strain doctor on staff this injury would have not occurred" - sorry Ron, but this is just silly. I suppose the sprain/strain doctor would be at every workout that each of the 80 players held around the country in their downtime between minicamp and training camp? The guy tweaked his back. It happens. And no amount of medical staff will ever stop that.

bomdad's picture

Interesting assertion Ron/Bad Knees. But lets be realistic with the approach, if a rookie blows out his knee running on the first day of practice, he probably should not be playing football! It takes guys with good joints and the ability to run and that seems like a logical screening process in itself.
Doesn't the new training regimen stress joint health with those full extension exercises, mobility and flexibility routines, etc? What kind of corrective work can be done above and beyond this? Manipulation and pre-emptive surgery? Now lets go back to the practicality of doing this for rookies who might get cut anyway.
I cant see the justification of screening every joint on every player before they get hurt. There is limited time in camp and undergoing that extensive of a screening would take a ton of time and money. These are athletes, not everyday people who come in with a messed up gait or one leg shorter than the other, etc. Shouldn't problems have surfaced in the 10 prior years of playing sports?
So Lombardi had hard training camps. So did his competitors, and they still lost. I am too young to argue about it, but didnt all that motivational talk and being able to execute the sweep have something to do with success? Cause all those posters with Lombardi quotes are getting annoying if all I need to do is suffer more. And how does Hornung spend all those infamous nights out on the town and still be a great player without having leeway from the coach?

Ron La Canne's picture

The back and forth on this post has been very intereting. All of us, me included, are expressing an opinion of just what the best training regemin is. None of us has emperical evidence to support their philosophy. All of us want the Packers to win. I'll stick with the Belichick/Lombardi philosophy myself. We'll see who's right soon enough.

There's an interesting article over at JSOline by Bedard. It's an interview with Profootball Outrsiders that analyzes virtually every aspect of the game. One interesting tidbit is that they find losing a defensive players is less impactful than losing and offensive player to injury. It's also the subject of a post over at Packer Geeks (hope that's ok Aaron).

Bad Knees's picture

I have worked with hockey players on a semi-pro team. When I started, about 1/3 of the way into the season, there were many sprains and strains with most of the athletes. I was not well received by the team surgeon and trainer and I kept out of their way. I never released any player from the injured list. I fixed them and had them report to the team surgeon for final evaluation. Approximately 1/3 of the players accepted my services. They got better and did not have any more down time. and, unlike what the Packers should be doing, I wasn't checking the players daily. I worked with the athletes on their schedule, as happens with semi-pro athletes. The other 2/3 did not want me to touch them...didn't see the value in my treatments and wouldn't give it a try. Hey, it was their choice, I'm OK with that. Their injuries continued and they did not get better over the course of the season...lots of missed games. I've also had to opportunity to work with a handful of world class (Olympic hopefuls)track and field athletes. Same results, fixed them so they could practice and compete. These athletes were supported by some of the large apparel companies and were receiving medical treatment and physical therapy. What they were doing wasn't working, they came to me and got fixed. I have not worked with professional football players, but you know what, it's a lot harder fixing a 50 year old non-athletic body than an athlete in their prime. If you cannot fix an athlete as a doctor you should hang it up...they are by far the easiest patient to correct. I'll say it again, athletes are the easiest to correct. Hope this helps. Again, the Packers have a gaping whole in their medical staff. They need a qualified sprain/strain doctor. I have met, spoken with and learned from doctors more talented than myself. (Lance Armstrong has a very talented sprain/strain doc that travels with him on the tour de France. This doc is awesome, I would love the Packers to hire someone like him. Lance would not be an 8-time champion without him)There are highly trained docs are out there. I'm not chopped liver but not the best. THE PACKERS NEED THE BEST!! TT needs to get a talented one under contract before he and MM lose their jobs as the team loses due to unnecessary injuries. Having a doctor like this is a paradigm shift in the approach to fixing athletes. However it blends in well with the structure the Packers currently have and the surgeon should still have the final say. It is very difficult to be the first one to do it in a major sport. At one time the paradigm was the earth was flat, now that seems kind of funny. Thanks in advance for reading my posts...Ron

Bad Knees's picture

As far as screening the major joints and correcting (a simple "tune-up" on a "healthy athlete") takes about three minutes...when you know what you are doing. That's both knees, acetabulm, pelvic girdle, cervical, thoracic, lumbar spine and shoulder girdle. You really only need to address the feet & toes, ankles, elbow, fingers if there is a known problem or if it hasn't been checked for a while. You are not going to prevent rolling of ankles or injuries like Cullen Jenkins suffered last year. If Harrell would have hooked up with a qualified sprain/strain doctor and had repetitive treatment earlier in his career, he would have been fine. And, TT would received accolades for finding a diamond in the rough. Harrell has now received excellent care from a chiropractor/acupuncturist and improved greatly. If he keep up with regular care from that doc he will do fine. If he only received a treatment or two, he will most likely be injured again this year...regular "tune ups" are very important. This care is not at all expensive or time consuming. What takes time is correcting severely damaged joints, ligaments and muscles. But if a player has a severely damaged joints they are not practicing anyway and can be treated while the healthy players practice. Just think what last years record would have been if the injuries were reduced by 75%. We would all have been very happy. A good sprain/strain doctor can do this.

WoodyG's picture

Somehow it seems like you are working out of your garage or something.
Semi-pro hockey ? Olympic hopefuls ?
Got a link to any of your 'published' articles on this topic ??

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