Survival Guide for Rubio Long Snapping Parents

A couple weeks ago, a Rubio Long Snapping mom named Ashely Culbertson asked if she could put together a survival guide for the parents. She stated that there is a ton that goes into being a parent at the camp and lots of stuff to be said. Given, I said “Let it rain!” and she did.

TREMENDOUS job by Ashely and definitely something to sit down and soak in.

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Survival Guide for Rubio Long Snapper/Chris Sailer Kicking Parents: 

Quick Reference for the BIG Questions to the Little Questions Most Parent/Guardians of LS and K/P have.

I’m just a mom. It sounds funny to say that out loud, as any parent knows being a parent is not for the faint of heart, so using the phrase “just a mom” is a HUGE understatement. Equally understated is to use the phrase “just the long snapper/kicker/punter.” So, go ahead and move past the “just” and recognize the vitally important role your son (or possibly daughter, but for the sake of time and space I’ll refer to the student athlete in the male form) plays on his team. Special teams, and specifically the long snapper and kicker/punter have, can, and will make or break a football game. I encourage you to go to www.chrissailerkicking.com and read more in depth blogs on this subject via the link to Rubio’s blog and Sailer’s blog. Another quick and extremely relevant example would be the 2014 college football season during which both regular season and bowl games had outcomes determined by the performance of special teams in the last few seconds. Now, moving forward, I’m just a mom and my kid’s just a long snapper, and the past year and a half has been one of the most exciting journeys…EVER…so buckle up buttercup, here we go!

Your First Rubio/Sailer Camp-

     1. This is typically the one day camp that is held closest to you. You probably googled long snapping or kicking instruction/technique, or heard of Rubio and/or Sailer by word of mouth, and now you’re all signed up for your first Rubio/Sailer Camp for your son. **Prepare to be blown away.** We were. My son had just finished his freshman season, having been pulled to the varsity team and become the starting long snapper for his high school football team. His high school is known for its football program in our state, and my son became a really big fish in a small pond literally overnight. He loved it. We, his parents, thought he was the best thing that had ever happened to long snapping. Once we got to that first camp, the “pond” suddenly got much, much bigger. That’s not to say my son wasn’t good, what I mean is we saw very quickly that if he wanted to get serious about football and college, there was work to be done.

          -This may or may not be your experience and that’s okay. Every situation is unique, and it’s important to take the suggestions that help.

          -You are going to be given A LOT of information. Relax! (You’ll find this to be a recurring theme throughout this experience.) Give it time and it will sink in. Also, Sailer and Rubio are two of the most open and receptive individuals/professionals when it comes to questions. A quick tip, though- after this first camp, when a question comes up, go to the website first. If you still can’t find an answer you are looking for, ask! 

     2. What do I need to take for camp?

Sounds a bit silly, but until you’ve been there, done that, (and now can even get the t-shirt), there are things I definitely would recommend having on hand that I never thought of in the beginning.

          -Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You will be very involved in this experience and while I love my cute sandals and sundresses as much as the next mom (comfortable clothing applies to dads as well; choose clothes you’d wear when at home working with your son), this isn’t a beauty pageant. Get out your socks and tennis/running/athletic shoes, shorts, and a t-shirt and be ready to work and learn with your son.

          -Bring a chair, you’ll need to be in close proximity to the instruction. Usually that means on the sidelines until Sailer or Rubio call parents to the field. Standing all day or sitting on the grass/turf isn’t ideal.

          -If possible, bring a cooler with water. Water is ALWAYS provided, but if you’re at a camp in the heat of summer, a small cooler (even the soft, foldable ones) that can carry water bottles with ice/cold packs definitely comes in handy. Your athlete should be hydrating daily. The reality is, so should parents. If you or your athlete waits to take in water until thirsty, you’re doing it wrong. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! If the camp isn’t close enough to drive to and you are flying, Google the nearest Dollar Store, Dollar General, WalMart, Target, etc. It’s worth the extra ten dollars to have cold water on hand. 

          -Sunscreen. You and your athlete will be outside (weather permitting) for the better part of eight hours. Even if the camp you and your athlete are attending is during one of the cooler months, you may need sunscreen. If it’s a summer camp and you enjoy having a nose, it’s a must.

          -You are going to have about an hour for lunch. Be prepared. Google restaurants close by that you can get in and out of quickly. Another option is bring lunch with you- think tailgating. This can be a good idea for several reasons: you don’t have to rush, your athlete has more time to relax and regroup, and you will likely have the opportunity to get to know others at the camp. It’s important to realize this group of young men will see each other again, and they are building friendships on the field, so build friendships with the parents around you. Be smart, though. If it’s 100* outside, go somewhere out of the heat for this break. Otherwise, I’m confident EMS will gladly take you somewhere cooler- just saying.

          -Bring your camera/phone. Rubio and Sailer are used to taking pictures with athletes at their camps at the end. Even if your kid isn’t big on pictures, DO IT. You’ll look back at some point and realize how far your kid has come, and you’ll be glad you did.

     3. Why does Rubio/Sailer know other kids’ names/parents/families? Will they remember my son? Are they even watching them?

          -Don’t flip out!! Some of the athletes and their families have been working with Rubio/Sailer for years. Just because they know some of the athletes immediately doesn’t mean they aren’t watching your kid. In fact, you just might hear them called by a nickname that will stick (ex. BaconHead, Oregon, MadDawg). Your son may get a “big daddy” thrown his way. This happens because they ARE noticing your kid, and while in that moment they may not use your athlete’s full name, they use these kinds of nicknames because that’s one of the ways they remember the athletes. You may also notice that your athlete is being photographed and videoed…a lot. Relax, Rubio and Sailer are noticing your son from the moment you walk up to the registration table until the moment you leave that afternoon (likely dragging, tired, a little overwhelmed by all the information you’ve been given, and definitely excited and motivated for the future).

           -Remember the big fish/small pond example? This is when you’ll probably realize that while your kid is talented, so are many other kids. Again, relax. At the end of the day, your son has just learned from the best, trained with the best, and been evaluated by the best. Once rankings/evaluations are posted, your athlete is going to have his strengths highlighted while also given constructive criticism. This part of the process ideally will encourage, motivate, and drive your son to put what he has learned to good use if he hasn’t already. Rubio has an excellent blog that explains how his rankings are done, so, again, go to the website, click on Rubio’s blog and search for how his rankings/evaluations are done. It’s fair, honest, and really quite easy to understand.

          -Be patient. Believe me when I say I understand, patience is not one of my virtues. However, Rubio and Sailer will tell the athletes and parents a date their rankings will come out. If you aren’t already, you and your athlete should follow, friend, like, etc. Sailer and Rubio on all social media sources. They will let everyone know via their blogs and social media that the rankings are up. 

     -Get familiar with social media- like yesterday. You will hear it, read it, and maybe wake up repeating it: Be sure your athlete is being appropriate when using social media. Colleges are watching and noting EVERYTHING your athlete is doing if they are a potential recruit. Think of it like Santa Claus (you better watch out…he knows when you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake)- he’s everywhere! Does your kid want to play ball or lose a spot on a team over a retweet? If you don’t know what a retweet is, figure it out right now. 

How often should my son attend a Rubio/Sailer camp? Isn’t once enough? What about Vegas?

     1. I am a parent that looks for a really good reason to do something, I evaluate its worth as well as the sacrifice needed to obtain a goal. My son that I’ve referenced here has three siblings, so a great deal of thought has to go into these decisions. The following are my thoughts as a parent on this subject:

          -When preparing to have our son, my husband and I put a great deal of time and effort into being sure he would have the things he needed to thrive. While my husband (as a new dad) was awesome at helping, and he could change a diaper, the first few weeks of diaper changes were pretty comical. Sure, our son had a diaper on, but with practice he had a diaper on that didn’t fall off when we picked him up. Another example would be when our son got his learner’s permit to drive. He was very diligent about safety, and could get us from point A to B. But with practice, he stopped using the brake like an on/off switch. The point is, your athlete will learn great things at one camp, but if his desire is to be the best he can be or to play football at the next level, giving him more opportunities to fine tune his skills is imperative. Yes, attend more than one camp. 

          -While things like form, speed, accuracy, and consistency are themes that remain unchanged at each camp, I can say with certainty that my son has learned something new each time he’s attended a Rubio/Sailer camp. That could mean learning a new drill all the way to walking up to register by himself and displaying the confidence he is building in himself. The best analogy I can think of for this part of the process is much like when one learns to drive a car with a manual transmission. There’s that really fine, smooth moment you let off the clutch and press the gas pedal. In the beginning, most of us had those “herky, jerky” moments and had to restart, or have heard a parent yell “you’re grinding the gears.” If you only attend one camp, it’s probable that you and your athlete will approach most of the day together. If you attend a second camp, and you nudge your son to handle things himself, depending on the kid, it’s going to be somewhat “herky, jerky.” The more opportunities to practice and fine tune skills on and off the field, the smoother the transition will be for your son to become a confident and independent individual in a very positive way.

     2. Vegas. If I could go back in time, I would have gotten my son to this event sooner. It’s honestly not something one can explain, it’s the experience itself. You will hear Sailer and Rubio say go more than once. ABSOLUTELY! The first time you and your son attend this event, it’s like the first day of high school as a freshman. Most of the time is spent figuring everything out (unless your son is a seasoned world traveler that never gets jet lag and is intimidated by nothing). If you’ve ever seen the movie “Hoosiers” (your son probably has not, but hopefully you saw it back in the day), there is a scene where the team makes it to the BIG championship game. They all walk in the arena looking like a bunch of deer in headlights. The coach has them measure the court, and so on. This is much like that first trip to Vegas. Your son will realize the distance to the target hasn’t changed, Sailer and Rubio haven’t changed, and get more comfortable with what comes along with traveling, navigating this mega event, etc. 

Is it (the camps) really worth it?

     1. The easy, quick answer: YES!

     2. The training experience offered by Chris Sailer and Chris Rubio truly is worth it, and here is why:

          -If we are talking dollars and cents, as well as probability and statistics, then it’s a no-brainer. Add up what you would spend on the camps your son attends in a given year (everything- travel, food, hotel, camp, etc.). Nope, it’s not cheap. Now add up the cost of a four year education (and even pick a school with a lesser tuition, but add in staying on campus, a meal plan, transportation of some sort, etc.). You likely have just seen in black and white how beneficial this can be.

          -Do some research. Look at the options out there. It will quickly become clear NO OTHER CAMP offers the same degree of exposure, education, and instruction, AND educates/involves the parent/guardian (maximizing your athlete’s potential by giving him the tools to work hard and smart after camp is over). This is the real deal. 

          -What your son will take away from the Sailer/Rubio camp experience is priceless on several levels. First, this is my son’s goal, his dream- not mine, not my husband’s- his. If this is your athlete’s passion, you will see great things; if it’s your dream and not your kid’s you’re doing it wrong- stop. Second, this is an awesome opportunity for your son to learn responsibility, confidence, and independence BEFORE he steps out into this big ole world on his own. If my son chose to never pick up a football again, what he has learned and gained is more than we could teach him on our own as parents, and that alone makes every bit worth it. Finally, the day I stood back with my husband and watched our son walk up to a college’s special teams coordinator, shake his hand, look him in the eye and have a conversation with him on his own, I knew we were on the right track.

I cannot stress enough how essential the website (www.chrissailerkicking.com) is. Hopefully you’ve gained some insight and can relax and enjoy this awesome time with your athlete. It’s been one of the best decisions we have ever made.

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Comments

  1. As “just mom” of a Rubio long snapper and a Rubio follower for several years now, I can say that this was RIGHT ON. Rubio camps are hard to add into the budget, and completely worth it. Our son has grown, learner, developed and excelled with the guidance offered him from RUBIO. Also as a parent, a great friend that share the joys of being a successful long snapper.
    This is the BEST and our son is worth only the best!!!!

  2. Great article- been thinking of doing the same thing since we started camps with Rubio. Suggest Rubio add a “Rubio Mom’s corner” to his website. We are Rubio fans glad we found him.

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