It’s Sunday for the new Harthausen Mustang football team – the first game in the club’s history. Our employee tried to be a pre-training guest and found out it’s not a sport for the faint of heart.
Fast races, lightning changes in direction – and lots of body contact. American football coaching is multifaceted. After you put on the helmet, mouthguard, and shoulder pads, you’ll get the feeling you need. Ready to land?
It’s Wednesday evening and the Harthausen Mustangs are getting ready together. “At least 30 players are always in training,” said sporting director Axel Baum. There are a total of 69 players on the team. This is an impressive number, as the department has only been inside TSV Harthausen for twelve months. Now the first big performance is approaching. This Sunday, 3pm, it’s time on the pitch at Brandfield against the Redlinger Storks – the first football match in the club’s history.
Two hundred bodies collide
Is that why everyone makes a special effort up front? Two hundred bodies collide. The “adult” to attack against the defensive line. The training program consists of protecting your own center and attacking the opposing midfielder. The actors stand opposite each other, shoulder to shoulder. Not a few weigh more than 100 kilograms. As a training guest, the author of these lines cannot hope to be considered, as he quickly realizes. When it comes to so-called processing, you better not be for the faint of heart.
It appears lighter on wide receivers. They work closely with the midfielders. The latter, the playmakers, throw the ball, and the pass recipients practice a pre-agreed path and try to catch the brown egg. Actually it seems easy. One problem with this: a helmet reduces visibility. And very important: “Diamonds!” Trainers advise shaping the diamond with both hands. This makes it easier to stick with the game.
Head coach with Bundesliga experience
There are a total of eight buses in Harthausen Mustangs. There is a specific coach for each position. It also happens that several groups train separately. Head coach Michael Eichel previously worked for the Stuttgart Scorpions, and also looked after the youngsters there. Nearly half of his new buddies also have football experience, some like top-tier Eichel in Germany. The remaining 50 per cent? They played soccer, handball or ice hockey. It’s a colorful mix that has found a taste of a new challenge.
The actors are expecting a coach for the running appearance. The task of the contestants in the game is to run as far as possible after receiving the ball without it going out. The task for now is: rush to the cone, stop, quickly change direction, and then do the whole thing again. A boom rises in the background. “Here we always go jogging, it’s not like football!” Just standing still and taking a break is not an option.
In the final, the training guest receives the ball once, yes, the ball – this is the official name of the game device. But joy is short-lived. Several styled-faced helmets come behind them, and there’s only one thing left: escape forward. Landing is not enough. But an area gain of about three yards can be seen. You should be able to withstand being thrown into the air during the intervention and then landing hard on the cool artificial turf.
The goal: not to be the last
What is the goal for the next District League season? “Ambitions are secondary,” says Baum. “Sports development is more important,” adds coach Eshel. But in the end you don’t want to be at the bottom of the rankings. When the team gathers in a circle for the last time that evening, the head coach reminds his family of one thing: “You write a small piece of football history on Sunday.” The prediction, according to the general content, is leaked.
The training guest is also excited – from now on, he will again be just in the role of a spectator.