Merging Onto the Freeway: Jim Harbaugh Preps 2024 Chargers Rookies for Veterans

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Los Angeles Chargers head coach, Jim Harbaugh used several analogies attempting to describe what he and the team are trying to accomplish in last weekend’s rookie minicamp. The three-day minicamp serves a dual purpose: immersing fresh draftees in the complexities of professional schemes and providing coaches a valuable window to assess their newest pupils. These sessions are where raw talent gets its first taste of the playbook, the speed of the pro game, and the demands of transitioning from college to the NFL.

Jim Harbaugh Describes His Rookie Onboarding Process

“Think of it this way, we got the veterans who’ve been going for about five weeks,” Harbaugh describes, “and I look at this is my job of we have rookies that coming on to the 405, the traffic is moving fast, and here come these new players and I got Friday, Saturday, Sunday to get them to understand the system to learn the play so that they won’t slow down the veterans they when they merge.” 

While that quote might lead one to believe that Harbaugh leads a grueling and intense rookie minicamp, the opposite is true. In short, Harbaugh offers an easy heuristic, “If you’re wondering how hard you should be going; default to less hard.”

Harbaugh Uses “Glide Theory” To Teach Chargers Rookies

Jim Harbaugh
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This appears to be a part of what he describes as his “Glide Theory.” Here is how Harbaugh describes his theory.

“I don’t believe in bringing guys off of airplanes from all over the country and going 11-on-11. I mean that’s what you’re allowed to do, but it is not not the level I want to go to with these guys. It’s more of like a plane to me taking off of a runway. It starts a dead stop and then it builds speed, builds speed, build speed, build speed and then it going so fast it just has to has to lift off into the air.”

Many think of Harbaugh as an old-school, hard-nosed coach. So why the light approach to onboarding rookies?

Though you can’t win any games on the on the first day of rookie mini camp you could lose one because we could we could lose a player to to injury. It’s been my experience in the past that when you get one early like this then it’s it’s the longlasting kind of injury.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp
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