GREEN BAY – The way Mike McCarthy figures it, giving up a day of minicamp practice was well worth the bonding his players did during the team’s skeet shooting field trip Wednesday.
The Green Bay Packers coach felt so good about the work his players and staff had gotten done during organized team activity practices and the first minicamp practice on Tuesday that he went ahead with his surprise outing, which he revealed to the players Wednesday morning shortly before departing for the gun range.
“You want to do it for all the right reasons, but there was work that needed to be done before that. I felt like we accomplished that, so that’s why we did it,” McCarthy said Thursday, after the second and final practice of the minicamp.
McCarthy isn’t the first coach to do such off-field team-bonding – coach Mike Sherman took his players bowling, golfing and paintballing – and many coaches around the league have done it as well. McCarthy took players bowling one year and had a home-run derby at practice in 2010.
“I think team building is very important,” McCarthy said. “Any time you have an opportunity to be together as a football team, it’s about building relationships. That’s something that goes unsaid, unnoticed. We’ve attempted to do a team-building event almost every year since I’ve been here, and the one (Wednesday) was very unique.”
This year’s outing to shoot clay pigeons was coordinated by club security chief Doug Collins, who made sure there were off-duty law enforcement officers at each shooting station to make sure inexperienced gun handlers didn’t hurt themselves or others.
“There were players on the team that you could tell have been to the gun range and so forth, and individuals that have never shot a gun,” McCarthy said. “It was a unique experience. Just the fact that you had four or five guys on a golf cart, and the time and camaraderie that was spent, it was a very positive day just to get the guys out of here and away from work. It’s important.
“Now, does the fine eye-hand motor skill of skeet shooting help us win football games? I don’t think so. But the opportunity for those guys to be out there in a different environment and continue to build relationships I think is vital to team chemistry. I think it was a great day.”
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