Tiger football summer camps are in full effect

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story included the incorrect first name given for head coach Scott Grinde.
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – It was only 10 a.m., but it was going to be a hot day.
The drenched, worn-out faces of a couple of sophomores sat outside and discussed their weightlifting personal bests. Trainers and coaches buzzed around the field house while locker room chatter echoed through each hall.
Scott Grinde, going into his fourth year as head coach of the Warrensburg Tigers, marched into the dingy facility with sunglasses and his “hair-on-fire” hat after a day of practice. By now, Grinde has an established philosophy on summer football camps.
“I believe you try to put your players in difficult situations,” Grinde said. “Friday nights are difficult.”
That’s the lesson Grinde and his staff pummel into their young team with a harsh, fast-paced atmosphere in each aspect of their Championship Training and practice camps held each summer. The camps span five weeks, with a “dead week” of no practice between each camp.
All players, freshmen and seniors alike, file into the field house at 6 a.m. for weightlifting. If a 5 a.m. alarm didn’t successfully wake the players up, “packing it on for a couple hours” in the weight room should do the trick.
During a camp, rather than Championship Training, players meet with position coaches and playbook study and practice begins. By this time, it’s already a humid 88 degrees, and coach has a lot planned.
“I would like to think our practices are harder than games at some level. When you get out there, it should be second nature — then it becomes fun,” Grinde said. “There is no fun if you don’t train for it.”
Maintaining the type of intensity Grinde demands is only possible when an entire coaching staff has bought into the same philosophy. According to Grinde, that’s not a problem.
“We coach hard,” Grinde said. “We aren’t coaches that just stand with their arms folded. We’re not going to just sit back and say, ‘Go play!’ That’s just not how we do things. We’re asking for maximum effort.”
Teams at every level of competition mimic this high-pressure attitude during summer camps, but what’s the fruit of all this labor — yards, tackles and receptions? Nice stats are obvious goals, but in July, other questions must be answered first.
“By the end of this, I expect (the players) to learn offensive schemes and defensive schemes, and I expect them to be better blockers, tacklers and ball handlers,” Grinde said. “But we also expect leaders to come from this camp. It’s the biggest reason we have them, so we get answers.”
The summer myth of lounging by the pool and chasing ice cream trucks still lives on for some, but after enjoying a dead week the first week of July, Warrensburg Tigers football have some work to do.
“We are better than when we started, but we aren’t game ready,” Grinde said. “That’s OK. We’ve got time.”
Football season relentlessly approaches with every passing week. Soon enough, students and fans will pour into the bleachers during the cool October dusk. Most won’t realize the matchups under those Friday night lights may very well have been decided in July at the Championship Training camps.
“We create an intense environment I think that’s unique to our sport,” Grinde said. “It’s an eye opener for some but I think it’s highly rewarding, not just now but for down the road.”