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A game of Bowden Ball
By Bobby Bowden
Special to

Bobby Bowden and family are at Troy State University in Troy, Ala., this week, running the 15th Annual Bowden Academy for quarterbacks and receivers. Bobby runs the camp with his sons Steve, Tommy, Terry and Jeff and son-in-law Jack. He is writing a daily diary for as he prepares for his 25th season at Florida State.

Thursday, June 21, 2001
One of the things I enjoy the most at the Bowden Academy is the evening practice sessions. In the morning and afternoon, we do extensive drill work on throwing and catching the football. But in the evening, we play a game called Bowden Ball. My boys and I sit on top of the hill overlooking the practice fields and watch the boys have fun playing the game.

Bowden, Bobby
Bowden Ball allows Bobby Bowden to learn the personalities of the young players.
Bowden Ball is a game where we divide the campers up into teams of about 15 players each. These teams play four games a night and at the end of camp, we let the two best teams play in a super bowl.

The rules of the game are very simple. You have four plays to score a touchdown and there are no first downs. It is one-hand touch and on each play, you can throw the ball as many times as you want to advance it down the field. Everybody is a potential quarterback and a potential receiver. Just like in real football, the guys that can run and throw or run and catch are the most dangerous.

The reason that I like this game so much is that I get a chance to see what kind of personalities the boys have. They don't know it, but I can find out almost as much about their potential as a college prospect from this game as I do in the drill work -- especially the quarterbacks.

You see, all great quarterbacks possess a certain amount of intangibles. They are natural leaders, they have enthusiasm and they love to compete. Other players just seem to gravitate toward a great quarterback. That's what I look for in Bowden Ball. I want to see which kids are the leaders, which kids play with great enthusiasm and which kids love to compete. They will be the ones telling everybody else what to do. They will be the ones everybody else wants to follow.

I have been working on a new book all summer that will come out around the first of November. I am very excited about this book because it is the first one that I have ever done where I have really tried to put into words what it takes to be a successful leader. I firmly believe that it will be a great reference book for any coach or business leader who wants to know what it takes to be successful.

In it, I explain that to run a successful business you must be a strong leader, you must be enthusiastic and you must love to compete.

Exactly like what it takes to be a great quarterback.

I'll talk with you again tomorrow.

Bobby Bowden Q&A

Camp diaries: Getting started at the Bowden Academy

Camp diaries: Repetition is the key to success

Camp diaries: It's all in the footwork

Camp diaries: A day of rest

Camp diaries: Important lessons

Tommy Bowden Q&A