SE: Offseason Activities Benefit K-State Football

Football might be a fall sport, but it is prepared for year round. To help offset the amount of time players spend prepping mentally and physically for Saturdays in the fall, K-State’s football staff organizes offseason activities that have nothing to do with the game. 

Most of these activities — ranging from cook-offs to paintballing — still include a competitive aspect. More importantly, they bring the team together in unfamiliar environments, encouraging team camaraderie in the process. 

“It does always help and we’ve always tried to do a variety of different things together that give them time to be together,” said K-State head coach Bill Snyder. “They enjoy those things a great deal and there is a bonding that takes place.”

Of the team-building activities during this summer, paintballing was the overwhelming favorite among players. 

“It’s very beneficial,” added sophomore wide receiver Dominique Heath, whose team went 2-1 in paintball. “That really taught us to compete but at the same time come together as a team outside of football, instead of just in the locker room.”

“We were going at it. We were out there tagging each other,” added senior defensive back Cedric Dozier. His defensive back paintball team didn’t do too much tagging of its opponents, however. “We don’t want to talk about that,” the graduate transfer said, laughing at the group’s record. 

Still, the activity accomplished its goal. 

“They’re strategizing something that they’ve never done. They got to talk, communicate, and then get shot with paintballs. I think there’s a lot of plusses,” said K-State associate head coach/special teams coordinator Sean Snyder, who was part of the staff team. “We didn’t do very well. We beat the receivers, but we didn’t beat anybody else.”

Earlier in the summer, position groups battled in a cook-off on the concourse of Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The competition, which included steak and chicken, offered teammates a chance to show off their skills on a grill. The receivers won the steak competition while the defensive backs took the top spot in chicken. 

“It was very fun. To be honest, I felt like I had the best steak,” Heath said, adding: “Some people had some horrible taste because of their seasoning.” 

Among the wide receivers, Heath also praised Isaiah Zuber’s steak and Corey Sutton’s chicken, while offensive lineman Terrale Johnson’s steak stood out as well. 

More objectively, Heath won the videogame tournament. With NBA 2K being the game of choice, the 5-foot-9 receiver topped Da’Marrio Jackson-Smith in the championship game, using the Golden State Warriors to best the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

“I’m just the best in 2K. Coming in, everybody counted me out because everybody didn’t think I was that good,” Heath said, wearing a smile of half seriousness. “The proof is in the pudding. Like I tell them, I’m the champ around here, so they got to respect me as the champ in 2K.”

All boasting aside, Heath said the summer activities, also including the team’s pool party and workout with the Iron Rangers at Fort Riley, have a profound effect on players. 

“It was all competitiveness, teaching us to compete, but at the same time still being a team and coming together as a family. It was really cool,” he said. “It actually just takes your mind off football for a while. You just get to really enjoy life. Football is fun, we love football, but at the same time there’s other things in life we like to do and that was really cool to get our minds off football.”

Dozier shared similar sentiments. 

“It’s beneficial because we work so hard during the summer, we need to get away sometimes. It’s important that we bond outside of football,” he said. “That’s a big thing. Personally, I feel the closer you are with another guy and the more you know about another guy on the team, that will make you want to work harder for him.”

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