Times changing for CFL camps

Time has done little to help Ben Cahoon make sense of training camp. The Montreal Alouettes’ slotback understands why players must gather and work on getting their timing down for the upcoming season.

Ben Cahoon

Time has done little to help Ben Cahoon make sense of training camp.

The Montreal Alouettes’ slotback understands why players must gather and work on getting their timing down for the upcoming season.

But the 12-year veteran openly wonders about the need to do so with two-a-day workouts in blistering heat and long, sometimes tedious, daily meetings that often combine to beat a player down, both physically and mentally.

“I understand the history of training camp and it used to be to get people into shape,” Cahoon said via telephone from his off-season home in Utah. “But now, that’s not the case. If you show up out of shape, you’re gone.

“Everyone is showing up in shape now and I just question the logic. I can’t remember a training camp I looked forward to. Football is fun, the season is enjoyable but I think if you didn’t have to start it with a three-week training camp your attitude would be a whole lot better approaching the season.”

Cahoon, 36, twice the CFL’s top Canadian and a three-time league all-star, isn’t alone.

Montreal cornerback Davis Sanchez — a nine-year CFL veteran who also spent two seasons with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers — and Saskatchewan offensive lineman Gene Makowsky, entering his 15th campaign with the Roughriders, both openly state their dislike of training camp. But Sanchez, 34, and Makowsky, 36, also agree experience has taught them how to better prepare to face the demands of football head on.

“The last two or three years my No. 1 priority is taking care of my body and getting my body right,” said Sanchez. “I do ART (Active Release Technique) with my chiropractor and its mostly hip stuff that helps keep my body in line.

“If my hips or pelvis are rotated a bit, that’s when I’m apt to pull a hamstring or groin muscle or throw my back out. The old thought process was lifting weights to become bigger and stronger but now it’s about being more flexible, doing more cardio and making sure my body is ticking right.”

So while the five-foot-nine, 188-pound Sanchez — a native of North Delta., B.C., and two-time CFL all-star — still regularly goes to the gym, it’s not just to lift weights.

“When I was younger, I would spend five minutes at the end of my workout doing some stretching,” he said. “Now, I’ll spend 30 or 45 minutes stretching and probably do more stretching than I will working out.”

When the six-foot-three, 300-pound Makowsky, a native of Saskatoon who played collegiately at Saskatchewan, first joined the Roughriders, his off-season regiment consisted of a lot of heavy weightlifting. But the two-time winner of the CFL’s outstanding lineman award says that has changed, too.

“When I first started it was heavy weights with the bench press and squat,” he said. “Thankfully for my body the trend has gone more to balance, stability and core.

“It has helped me because I haven’t loaded up the joints with those heavy weights and instead concentrated on moving my feet more. Strength is important, don’t get me wrong, but being able to move that body weight is very important because some of those defensive linemen are really quick and on that wider field you have to be able to move.”

Just Posted

Innisfail Airport to host convention

2019 Canadian Owners and Pilots Association’s event

Woman bitten at Red Deer dog park

Dog owners reminded to control their pets

Red Deer approves 10 cannabis retail stores

Locations approved around the city

Bike thefts becoming ‘significant problem’ in Red Deer

Residents are sounding the alarm on the growing problem of bike theft… Continue reading

Court hearing on Humboldt Broncos fundraising a first under new Saskatchewan law

SASKATOON — A court hearing related to money raised following the Humboldt… Continue reading

WATCH: A horse was neglected by its owner. Now the horse is suing

ESTACADA, Ore. - Justice is an 8-year-old American quarter horse who used… Continue reading

Nebraska executes first inmate using fentanyl

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska carried out its first execution in more than… Continue reading

Canadian train travellers narrowly avoid deadly Italian bridge collapse

TORONTO — A pair of Canadian student travellers bemoaning what appeared to… Continue reading

Keep bribes quiet for 10 years, FIFA won’t punish you

LONDON — FIFA has officially eradicated corruption. All it took was pressing… Continue reading

Beyoncé honours ailing Aretha Franklin at Detroit concert

DETROIT — Queen Bey dedicated her performance with husband, Jay Z, to… Continue reading

‘Outlaw King’ to open Toronto film fest; ‘Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy’ to close

TORONTO — The world premiere of David Mackenzie’s “Outlaw King,” starring Chris… Continue reading

Male model convicted of murdering rival after online feud

LONDON — A British fashion model has been convicted of murdering a… Continue reading

Red Sox old-timer’s memorabilia going up for sale

BIDDEFORD, Maine — Some items belonging to one of the Boston Red… Continue reading

Rival Korea leaders to meet in Pyongyang in September

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The rival Koreas announced Monday that North… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month