Sam Dunell: St. Kilda’s Boulder Colorado Training Diary – Day 3

I’m only new to the AFL system so I’m still getting a feel for the different lifestyle that comes with being a professional footballer.

There are plenty of pressures and sacrifices you have to make but there are also some privileged days that I would have never otherwise have had.

Today was one of those days.

A few of us took time out of our training schedules to have a meet and greet with the Denver Broncos. Obviously we couldn’t get our whole 70-man touring party along so we had to limit it to a few and I was lucky enough to have my name literally pulled out of the hat.

My initial impression upon walking into the Broncos’ training facility was how well they showed their history. You walk into the main reception area and there were two Superbowl trophies and some Superbowl rings. It’s hard not to take notice of that.

We watched the players warming up on the field and were impressed by their size and athletic ability. You couldn’t help but admire how sharp they were as they ran through their training drills.

It was a real honour to be right on the sidelines being able to watch and hear legendary Quarterback Payton Manning run his drills.

I saw some similarities with the Broncos in the way they structured training according to offence and defence but there were plenty of things we can learn from them as a sporting organisation.

One of the small things we could take on board was the fact they had a timer set up at the end for each of their drills. It helps make a very efficient training session and it is a pretty simple concept that had never occurred to me until I saw it today.

Their facilities were enormous and really the best way to describe them would be to call them an upsized version of what you would see at an AFL club.

As for the players and coaches, I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. I had it in my mind that they’d be very serious guys who had to be tight with their time but they turned out to be very jovial and engaging blokes who seemed to be as interested in us as we were in them.

For a bunch of guys who earn heaps of money while playing for one of the biggest teams in the biggest sport in America, they were surprisingly down to earth and humble.

Only a couple of their players were booked in to come and meet us but there were quite a few others who wandered over to say hello, shake our hands and have a chat when they finished practice.

Veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley was one of those guys who came over. He was very friendly despite how physically imposing he actually is. He’s probably the only man I’ve ever met with bigger guns than Sean Dempster, which is saying something.

I don’t have Foxtel at home so I don’t usually get to see a lot of the NFL but I’ll be following the Broncos very closely from now on, starting with this Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers which our whole squad will be attending.