As the dust settles on another successful Training Camp for the Nighthawks, all eyes turn to Sunday 28th April and an away day at Leicester Falcons.
This past weekend saw the team head back to Sheffield for their 6th residential training camp and every year they seem to get better and better. It is always the first opportunity that we have to get all of our players back together after long pre-seasons, long university campaigns and long coaching campaigns for many of our seasoned veterans. It was also the first opportunity for our rookies to get a feel for what is going to be expected of them in a long, hard Premiership North campaign.
Alongside our regular group of coaches, we also welcomed in some experienced coaches from outside the Nighthawks family. Tom Kharchi, founder of BPA Academy joined us for the first time working with our quarterbacks, whilst Ben ‘Slinky’ Johnson also joined us for a second time working with our offensive line. Last, but certainly not least, we welcomed back GB Lions Head Coach Michael Callan to camp, a role he employed with us back in 2015. That year, Coach Callan spoke to us about staying at the top of the mountain, after we had won our first of two National League titles. This year, we’re looking for Coach Callan to help us up the mountain. We also welcomed Nathan Bloodworth into camp for the first time. Nathan is a Sports Psychologist that has been working with the team over the last 18 months or so and has helped the players and team with goal setting and the behaviours that the team brings to each practice.
The schedule for camp was familiar for most of our returners; team and unit meetings on Friday night, followed by two brutal practices on Saturday morning. Following a short respite for lunch and more unit meetings, the players return for a ‘shells only’ session on Saturday afternoon. This is a great opportunity for players to work on their fundamentals and we saw some players shine under the tutorship of our guest coaches.
Sunday, this year, was a little different to the usual Sunday at camp. We would usually have a team come and work with us on the Sunday, to help both teams to prepare for the forthcoming season. However, with camp this year falling on the weekend that the BAFA leagues started, we were limited to potential opponents. After Leeds Bobcats had to pull out a few weeks ago, citing player numbers, we took the decision to scrimmage against ourselves. The last time that we had done this? The year Coach Callan was with us…
After a few hours of film study in the morning, players checked out of the hotel and headed back to the practice field. A gruelling 3 hour practice ensued and it certainly brought out the best in the players. Practicing when they are tired, irritable and mentally exhausted will certainly help us over the course of this year, and the players know what to expect when we’re really up against it.
For now, the players have earned themselves a weekend off (don’t tell them it’s because of Easter!), before they get back to the training field in game week to prepare for Leicester. Leicester will come into the game at 1-0, having beat Sheffield Giants this past weekend by a scoreline of 21-8.