March 22 is the opening of Oakville Longhorns spring practice. Here’s what it won’t be -social networking. Don’t confuse it with a social gathering. No spectators allowed. Here’s what it will be – workplace. A workplace has two features – auditioning & conditioning.

Audition = no audience. Auditioning is the time to prove your case. S/he who alleges must prove. Prove evidence you have what it takes to be compete at the NFC level, to be an Oakville Longhorn, be a starter, and win a ring.

Conditioning means physical and intellectual. Physical conditioning doesn’t mean starting from scratch at spring practice. It doesn’t mean using spring camp to get in shape. It means reaching a higher level at spring camp. If you’re in poor physical shape, don’t show up, find a hobby, take up golf or any other low-risk activity because you’re a risk to yourself and the team if you’re in horrible shape. Intellectual shape means you will start learning the SWAT system – offense, defense, special teams. March 22 will not be aerobics class. You’ll be working on street-smarts and book-smarts. Total package.

Those unwilling to make the investment will be unwelcome for your good and the team’s good. Don’t make the mistake of believing that football is a fun, recreational activity or participation sport like T-ball. Football is a high-risk sport that carries the potential consequence of catastrophic injury. High-risk training is the only solution. Respect the sport. That means invest respect the danger, respect the league, respect the opponent, respect your teammates, respect yourself, and train accordingly. Don’t fall into the trap of arrogance and ignorance that disrespects the sport. The sport is vicious. It’s a collision sport, a continuum of impacts that can make or break you. Respect the danger – never forget the potential to suffer horrific injury and that survival training is a mandatory prevention plan, not an option. Respect the opponent – this isn’t little league. It isn’t flag football. It’s not fantasy football. You will be playing against dangerous, accomplished athletes. Respect your teammates who are relying on you for backup. And respect your own safety. Disrespecting any or all of the above is a sign of arrogance and ignorance.

Positive thinking is not enough. Talking a good game won’t cut it. Playing the game needs more than talk and good intentions. It needs positive doing. 225RM is one key to off-season success. The other is running. The basics. The choices you make now will determine your standing – first or last. The clock’s ticking. Less than a month left. #ringorloseitsyourchoice

Peace.

Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Head coach – Oakville Longhorns football team
Author – Soul of a Lifter