Mini Camp & More…

Our week of Mini Camp followed by our 7v7 tournament, Strongman competition, and Oline Challenge saw our team reach the performing stage of Tuckman’s Model sooner than expected, and not just on the field.  The first sign came after the first day of mini camp.  I saw a group of our senior, returning starters taking a few incoming freshmen out with them to Wing Night at a local restaurant, a Monday night tradition.  Welcoming new team members, making them part of the whole is a great indicator of turning “me” oriented individuals into “we” oriented teammates.

As we discussed in last week’s blog, we played (non-football) games to develop team chemistry, increase conditioning and work on agility.  An interesting thing happened on the second day of mini camp, we concluded practice by going into our fieldhouse and breaking up our players by their offensive positions to play pickup basketball.  We did not tell the players the rules or how to pick teams.  We just gave them a court and a ball and told them to play.  On Court 2, the Wide Receiver court, I saw two of our senior, returning starters elect themselves captains and align the others in a pool so that they could select their team.  At first, I thought, “oh no…”  This is exactly what I did not want to happen until I saw what these two seniors did.  They picked their teams in what I would consider reverse order.  The first pick was a young man who has most likely been the last pick every time teams were picked.  They then continued in that manner until the best player in the pool was left.  They clearly understand the shared vision of our program and a strategy of how to execute it.

Mini Camp ended with our 7v7 tournament, Strongman competitions, and OLine Challenge.  Our team went 5-0 on the day, winning the championship game against a very good Mount Mansfield Union team.  On the day, our varsity offense scored on every possession except one, and our defense never gave up more than one touchdown in a game.  Our Tight End/Defensive End won the Strongman competition in the heavyweight division, taking first place in every event.  The OLine Challenge came down to a tie-breaker.  A spirited tug-of-war between the Hilltoppers and the Falcons of North Country Union.  With great energy, effort, and enthusiasm, the Hilltoppers prevailed.  Players in both the OLine Challenge and on the field for the 7v7 showed a high level of interdependence we had not yet seen.

2019-08-01 7v7 champs1

After the first four games of our 7v7 tournament, one of the officials came up to me and said, “this is so much fun.  I do not know why there is not one of these tournaments every weekend all over the state.”   Good question.

The following pictures are the teams from Mount Mansfield Union and North County Union High Schools who earned 2nd and 3rd place, respectively in this past weekend’s tournaments.

2019-08-01 Mount Mansfield 7v7

2019-08-01 North County Union 7v7

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!

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