by Todd Walker
“Gentlemen, this is a football.”
Vince Lombardi’s famous opening line to his new team each season seems like the most obvious “duh” statement of the century. Even the youngest rookie gets that it’s a football. I can’t speak for Coach Lombardi, but he was probably aiming his words more to his most seasoned, All-Pro players.
What’s this got to do with preparedness?
Imagine Lombardi standing in front of the prepper community at our first team meet up. He’d begin something like this:
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is water.”
Self-evident eyes begin to roll.
“Why is he wasting our time stating what 2 year-olds already know?”
“What a waste!”
The wise All-Pro preppers on our team quickly see his point. They’ve heard the speech many times. It bears repeating. It’s not lost on them as he leads us out of the air conditioned field house and onto our practice field. He points out the sidelines, goalposts, and the most important chalkline on the field – the goal line.
Thirty minutes in the July heat that’s hotter than fish grease, the message is driven home as he puts his canteen to his dry lips and says…
“We will practice fundamentals… DAILY!”
Practicing fundamentals is boring… but necessary
As an old football coach myself, we practiced the fundamentals and minutia of every stance, step, and play. My boys began dreading the daily drills in our “fundamental period.” I had to constantly coach players to pay attention to little details.
After the first game, win or lose, it clicks!
The defining “aha moment” happens when – the drills, the pain, the ideas, the boredom, the grueling practice – changes the outcome of the game. The players make the connection between being skilled in the fundamentals and victory over determined opponents. At that moment, they view FUNdamentals differently.
I’m not saying they get giggly. But they see the value added to the team when they improve their individual fundamentals.
Coach Lombardi snaps his head and looks through his black-rimmed glasses and says,
“When you ply your trade of prepping, you’ve got to play from the ground up – from your feet to your head. There’s no second place in survival.”
Wise words. Here are four fundamental drills you should be practicing.
Drill #1: The Water Boy
Since water is heavy and hard to store in large quantities, plan on having several methods to make water potable.
- Water filters like the Big Berkey are great for home and permanent locations.
- On the go, you’ll want a mobile filtration system. I happen to own MSR gear. Whatever you carry, make sure it’s the best quality you can afford.
- Collect containers. Repurposing containers is a great way to stock your emergency water supply. Look for soda bottles, gallon jugs, and especially larger containers that are stackable. Learn more here.
Drill #2: Pre-game Meals
The fundamentals of food storage include:
- Store what you eat, eat what you store.
- Take it one step at a time. Buying extra items on grocery shopping trips can add up over time.
- Grow your own. Nows the time to grow your gardening skills. Don’t assume it’s easy if all you’ve ever grown is a Chia Pet. Even a small container garden on the patio adds resilience to your family.
- Buying from local producers strengthens your community and connects you with value-adding people.
- My food storage plan can be seen here.
Drill #3: Game Day Gear and Tools
A great defense is your best offense. Defense slows or stops the opponent and gives the offense great field position and scoring opportunities.
- Handguns, rifles, shotguns, and ammo in common caliber to your location immediately come to mind. These are physical tools needed for defense, critter control, and harvesting meat. Don’t forget archery equipment for silent game harvesting. Also, consider tools for reloading ammunition.
- Practice the fundamentals of marksmanship on a regular basis. Know your tools and how to safely handle them.
- Acquire tools for your unique situation. I don’t own a snow shovel here in the deep south. The right tool can make or break a job.
- Be a DiYer. Here’s a strategy I use. When Dirt Road Girl wants a new project done, I have an opportunity to get new tools ;) As a matter of fact, I often give her hints about DiY projects that might require me to grow my tool collection.
- Take care of you gear and tools.
- When you buy quality tools, you only have to buy them once.
Drill #4: The Field House (shelter)
Houses come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you live in an urban environment or rural homestead, your home is where life happens. Ideally, every home should build redundantly resilient resources in these areas:
- Energy. Have more than one method to produce heat. Wood burning stove, solar, propane, natural gas, etc. Is your plan sustainable?
- Enough storage and living space. Get creative here.
- Defensible. There are pros and cons to every location. Think about setting up a mutual defense plan for your neighborhood. That means you’ll have to actually meet your neighbors.
- Sustainable water supply.
- Plan B for shelter. When you see the glow of the wildfire on the next ridge, leaving your home may be your only option. Where will you go?
The Lombardi Trophy bears his name for a reason. Coach Lombardi drilled the importance of practicing the fundamentals of football in his players, coaches, and organization.
To be an All-Pro prepper, never neglect your bedrock fundamentals. You life, liberty, and happiness may depend on these essential skills soon.
Remember, there’s no second place in survival.
Keep doing the fundamentals,