Football Summer Camp: What ‘Hell’ Week is All About


Photo Courtesy of Sam Gatta

Sam Gatta uses all his strength to push the sled down the field as part of a drill to help players prepare for the season.

Dylan Vanek, News Editor

As summer approaches, training camp for Bulldog football starts. As part of the summer camp schedule, there is a period of time unofficially but aptly titled “hell week,” when practices are twice a day in the morning and evening and significantly harder than any other practice days to help players condition. At Portola, hell week is scheduled to be during two weeks in the heat of August instead of one to make sure the players are ready for the upcoming season.

Originating within the Marines training program, hell week has been adapted to fit the needs of high school football coaches. Despite hell week’s notorious reputation to scare players, it is not seen as punishment by the team.

“Hell week teaches us the fundamentals of tackling and hitting so we don’t injure ourselves during the season,” offensive tackle and junior Sam Gatta said. “I love hell week because I get to hit people.”

Hell week is a sort of initiation to any incoming high school football players to see if they are tough enough to survive the sport. At Portola, veteran junior players have come to look forward to hell week as a time to push their physical limits.

“I think hell week kind of unites the team together because of all the hard work we have to do,” running back and junior Kai Horn said.

I think hell week kind of unites the team together because of all the hard work we have to do

— Kai Horn

The time during hell week is the final push of training before the season starts. Players are meant to start getting used to the parts of football that conditioning cannot prepare them for.

“My first hell week was tough because it was so hard to get used to running in pads, and I almost wanted to quit,” offensive lineman and junior David Chiu said. “Overtime, I have adapted and now look forward to getting in shape during hell week.”