Aug 6, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT
Former Notre Dame football linebacker Kory Minor (@KMine4) took time out of his busy schedule to write a four-part series chronicling his experiences at off-site training camp facilities with the Irish. Minor, a four-year member of the football squad went on to the NFL for a few years and is currently traveling the country speaking at colleges, universities and corporations on leadership and the concept of winning. Minor’s first book, “Make a Touchdown of Your Life” is due out soon. You can order the book at KoryMinor.com.
Taking part in an off-campus training camp gives you the opportunity to focus and the chance to create a team atmosphere. There are so many distractions on campus that can really derail a squad’s progress and direction. At the University of Notre Dame just being on campus is a distraction. Having everyone committed to one common goal without outside distractions plays for a better success story.
Look at the New Orleans Saints after Katrina in 2005. The city of New Orleans was devastated with people losing everything. Yet in 2006 the stadium reopened and a three-year commitment to excellence was established with the Saints ultimately winning the Super Bowl in 2009. I am certain that the Saints did not have training camp at Culver but playing every game on the road in the 2005 season would be an unfavorable feat especially if the team lacked discipline and togetherness.
Another important act of being away from campus would be the isolation factor. When you are isolated you have no choice but to depend on the people you are most familiar with. Why is this so significant you ask? Because in the heat of battle, when times get tough, knowing each and every player has bought in to be his best at the most crucial time is important. Look, everyone is happy and joyful when things are going well. How you function when everything doesn’t go as planned is what I care most about. How you function when everyone is watching, when the game is on the line and when you are mentally drained will determine if your team has what it takes to be successful. We learned and faced this first hand while off-campus at Culver. Performing at a high level in those circumstances is where you meet greatness.
Lastly, no great team can find any success without overcoming and surviving adversity. Believe me Culver presented tons of adversity. For starters, there were about 12-15 new freshmen recruits and only one pay phone to call home to moms. Yeah, no cell phones! Can you believe it? How pathetic! Just think of 15 rookies, all homesick with shaved heads crying nightly to go home. The second form of adversity would be the heat. Everyday it was at least 600 degrees and no wind at all (maybe a bit of sarcasm here). If a team can focus and develop their mental toughness needed to be successful in these conditions, then no matter what difficult times they face on the field, victory can always be attained.
Check back tomorrow for the final part of Kory’s four-part off-campus story series entitled “Freshmen Melodies.”
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