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First day of football practice

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ColdCat, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    For some states, fall sports practices began today. For others, it will start on Monday.
    I'm still planning on heading out to a few practices next week. It always seemed like a holiday to me, finally getting to write about some football instead of the months on end of writing about youth baseball and 5 K's. But is it still?
    For those of you with prep-heavy sections, how much play does high school training camp get? In years past, it may have been the first chance for a coach to see what kind of team he had, but in the days of summer camps and "voluntary" workouts, you're meeting with coaches who just saw their players a week ago. Is day one still a big deal? Is the first week of practice still a big deal?
  2. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    It makes for good art because it's different than what you've run for the past 6-8 months.

    I'll generally do a scene story. But I'm not going to do a daily camp report like it's an NFL team. I'm spending the time getting acquainted and figuring some story lines that I want to follow as the months unfold. Whatever my readership is now, it'll be double come September, so I'll save my best stuff for later. The exception might be really good off-season developments, like the reserve player who nearly drowned on a rafting trip or the coach coming back from a heart attack.

    If my paper is doing a preseason tab, I'll spend some time gathering info (roster, depth chart, etc.) and setting up the massive photo shoot. The earlier I can get that out of the way, the better.

    What I don't do is try to do my broad season overview just yet. I gather info and save that either for the tab or the daily section closer to the start of the season.
  3. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    The offseason conditioning and summer 7-on-7 leagues have definitely taken a huge edge off the 'fresh new start'/'getting acquainted' storylines which used to carry the opening week of practice.

    Nobody's meeting anybody, nobody's learning anything they didn't know before. Nobody's surprised by anybody being in or out of shape -- and if they say they are, it's either bullshit or you're dealing with a completely oblivious coach.
  4. SFIND

    SFIND Active Member

    We've done six stories in the last four weeks on prep teams in 7-on-7s or team camps. Add in the all-star game we did in June, and it almost feels like we're in the middle of football season instead of the beginning.

    We did a "day one" story yesterday, but it's certainly not as big of a deal as it used to be a couple of decades ago. And really, since I've been in the business (about 10 years), it's not been that big of a deal. There were plenty of 7-on-7s and team camps going on 10 years ago, too, that got as much (or more) coverage.

    Camp actually gets more coverage from us now then it used to. That's because our camp coverage has essentially replaced our tab (our last tab was 2011). Everything basically used to be saved for the tab, which came out a week before the season began. Now, we do 3-4 articles a week during camp and have photo galleries and videos online.
  5. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Well, that's certainly thorough. The only camp story I've ever done was one run by an NFL player.
  6. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    I'm ready for our tab to go away. It's broken even in ad revenue the last few years, at best.

    I'd much rather do a "media tour" countdown in the regular paper leading up to opening day.
  7. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Yeah, that's an interesting approach with pros and cons. People outside of sports rarely realize how much work putting the tab together requires, especially the agate. And, no, you don't get to stop doing the daily in the weeks leading up to the tab deadline. Some of my longest weeks came in August trying to double up like that.

    If you have adequate space in your daily and not much to fill it with in August, that might be the better way to go. One team per day for however many days it takes leading up the kickoff. (Now I realize the major metros have too many schools to do that.)
  8. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    We have only eight schools here, including one that plays 8-man, so thank goodness we don't do a tab. But we'll go to every school once during camp for season previews that start running the week before the season.
  9. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    Hell, our football tab is done and off to the printer. I sent the info sheets out on June 15, about a week after our All-Area baseball team came out. There is no such thing as offseason any more.
  10. BNWriter

    BNWriter Active Member

    The daily I string for went from tab to tour two or three years ago. I got the notice of when the local college is having what it now calls "Social Media Day" next week (same day we can interview HS's. But my editor hasn't contacted me yet).
  11. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    Ours start today.
    But even before the emergence of 7-0n-7 and summer camps, most of our coaches knew what they would have that first day of practice. I've seen very few coaches ever be surprised by anything that opening day.
    About the one worthwhile read was from a coach a few years ago, who in one off season had his star running back transfer after 7-on-7, a star defensive player arrested for a pretty serious felony, and has his QB break his arm in 7-on-7. So the first day of practice meant something for him.
    Otherwise a lot of times its the boring, how many showed up? Any heat issues (this is Texas after all, but today was in the 80s most of the day)? Blah, blah, blah.
    The stories are usually boring, but yes, I like the first day because it does mean the summer boredom is about to be over.

    And I hate our tab. But it sales ads and i sells papers.
  12. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    Kansas high schools don't start until the 18th.
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