Sunday, February 12, 2012

Practice is Boring (for me)

Coach Bobbie closed practice Saturday telling the team they've just finished their eighth practice.  "And look at how much we progressed!"  Bobbie gets excited a lot. 

I've been to three practices.  After awhile it gets dull.  Line players running around plastic garbage cans or jumping over tackling dummies.  Not hitting anyone.  Just practicing moves, improving mobility.  Or pushing a truck around the parking log to improve strength.  First time it was fun to watch.  Now, not so much.

Push the truck up the parking lot.

Push it back.  How can both ways be up hill?

Concentrating just as if this were in a game.
The passing practice still keeps my interest.  A little.  Trying to focus the camera on the receiver, trying to snap the shutter just when she catches the ball, trying to catch interesting facial expressions.  Fun but after awhile it gets dull.

Working hard, concentrating.  Practice is serious business.
I do have a confession.  Sometimes the receivers miss the catch.  I only post successful receptions but I have several photos where the ball escapes the receiver's grasp. I don't post them because I'm committed to present the team at it's best, looking good. I don't want to record failures. 

But maybe I should.  Maybe I should point out how hard these women are working at mastering a difficult sport.  The receivers race down the field time after time after time, working on the skills involved in pulling the football out of the air into her arms. 

Practice is hard work.  The Outlaws are working hard. Three times a week, three hours each, running, throwing, catching, (and often missing), building strength, improving reflexes and mobility, learning the techniques, practicing the skills. 

Don't like the mouthpiece.  Another unnamed receiver -
I'll get names eventually.  She impresses me with a stoic
focused approach, running patterns, not showing a lot of
emotion but working working working.

Eyes on the ball.

They are resolute.  A receiver looks like she's limping.  Coach worries.  Are you okay?  Need a break.  No, she insists.  Walking without a limp to the back of the short line, ready to take her next turn.  Another receiver is bent over but out of the line of sight of coaches and teammates.  I recognize the posture, trying to catch her breath after running dozens of pass routes. 

I haven't heard a single player grumble.  I haven't seen anyone dogging it.  Whatever the coach asks, the players do.  They're here to develop into professional football players.  And they're doing whatever it takes. 

There was one bit of fun for the photographer.  Coach Lance was helping Bobbie teach pass defense.  Explaining the technique for keeping track of where the receiver is, knowing when you can look back at the quarterback.  If you check the quarterback at the wrong time the receiver may change route while you're not looking.  Coach decided to demonstrate.  He played receiver.  One of the Outlaws - sorry I'm sooooo bad with names - defended.  It was serious competition.  Lance is good.  GOOD! 

I don't know whether the defender got a piece of the ball or it was just mis-directed.
The key, as coach Bobbie and teammates said, is it went down as an incomplete
pass.  That's the goal of the defensive secondary - incomplete passes.

They're having fun.  Loved the friendly little "gotcha" poke to coach's back. 

But the pass was incomplete.  And everyone cheered for the successful Outlaw. 

Even Coach Lance. 

Especially Coach Lance.

The season opener is April 14 at home against the Tulsa Threat.  This is February 12.  That means the Outlaws have eight weeks to prepare.  Eight weeks, three practice days each. 

When you see the team take the field on April 14, please give a mighty cheer.  They will have been practicing and practicing and practicing - even on cold Saturdays when the photographer was bored.

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