Last Updated on August 12, 2021 by Jeremy
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Note: Due to COVID protocols Steelers training camp has been moved to Heinz Field for 2021. We expect the event to return to Latrobe in 2022.
When Pittsburgh Steelers season approaches, we can't help but get excited. Pittsburgh is a football town, and the energy in the air is always wonderful around game days.
But for those who want more football, you have an opportunity at the end of July and early August. All you have to do is make your way to Steelers Training Camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe for the free practice, and in this one we have what you can expect when visiting!
Attending Steelers Training Camp in Latrobe
Practice at Steelers training camp ultimately looks a lot like you'd expect. During my visit, the practice was broken up into multiple segments including stretching, agility training, full-on scrimmages (no tackle), and more.
As I was fortunate enough to be on the sideline for part of the practice, I was able to witness some of the agility training up-close-in-personal. While I am not qualified to speak on the technical level of the skills, it is pretty impressive to see what these athletes can do firsthand as they take what is (likely) an absurdly difficult maneuver and make it look easy (oh, and then catch a ball hurtled from across the field immediately thereafter).
That being said, if you are visiting to watch a specific component of practice it is worth noting that there are multiple fields at camp (oriented side-by-side), and the team has breakout drills across all of them throughout the day.
As such, while you may be able to have one angle where you can see many players doing different practices in one eyeshot, things change every 10-15 minutes and you may find yourself moving around to follow the action. I know I did.
While many attend training camp in order to speculate on who is going to do well in the upcoming season, who may get cut, and the like, unless you are a die-hard fan it really is hard to tell. Personally, I found it a much more interesting experience to simply watch the team practice than attempting to break anything down on a technical level, because at the end of the day it is still just practice and is not nearly as intense as a real game.
Beyond this, there are a few caveats to keep in mind.
The first day of training camp is always an interesting one as many of the Steelers players go big and arrive in unique vehicles in order to make a grand entrance. After that, the first few practices of training camp are done without pads, so this who want to see a fully geared-up practice may want to wait until at least the first Sunday of camp (3rd practice) if not later.
Finally, while the public practice lasts about two hours, it is worth noting that the time goes by fast. The Steelers alternate drills rapidly over this period of time and before you know it practice is over. But if you are lucky on your visit, a few players will come up to the sidelines to do meet-and-greets with fans as well, giving a great incentive to stay until the very end!
Where to Sit for Steelers Training Camp
The great thing about the field at Saint Vincent College is that there are ample seating opportunities in almost every viewing angle.
The vast majority of the seating area is on a grassy hill that wraps its way around the field, so you should plan on bringing a lawn chair or blanket to have the best experience. The closer you get to the field, the steeper the slope, so those who have chairs will likely site a bit further back than those who sit on the grass directly (as is visible in the above photo).
Overall, during my Monday visit you could sit virtually anywhere on the grass and get a close view. I was told that those who visit for a weekend practice will have larger crowds to deal with, but overall seating is never too much of an issue at training camp.
The only two exceptions to this are the dedicated seating in the bleacher area, which is inherently limited, and spots in the shade. For the most part, all seating at Saint Vincent College is uncovered, and as tree-lined areas are few and far between those spots get snapped up quickly (especially important to keep in mind considering temperatures can exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit during some practices).
Finally, the Steelers tend to run out onto the field anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes before practice starts, and those who wish to greet the players along the entrance path may want to grab a spot fairly early. Guests were lining up well over an hour before at this particular spot, and then subsequently moved on to find a seat to watch all of the action.
Parking at Saint Vincent College and Other Details
Public parking is in a large grassy field on Saint Vincent College's campus. Just follow signs once you arrive and you can't miss it.
Before heading to the fields, you'll pass through a number of tents including the meet-and-greet booth, a misting station, reasonably priced concession items, and a large tent selling Steelers gear (of course). While the amenities on-site are a bit sparse, they are quite sufficient for the two-hour practice all the same.
For those who want to make a day of it, be sure to spend some time exploring the campus, including the Coverlet Gallery and the Mr. Rogers Exhibit at the Fred Rogers Center, the stunning basilica, the grist mill, and take a brief walk through the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve. Likewise, if you arrive early and are looking for lunch nearby, The Pier at Sharky's (gastropub) and Dino's Sports Lounge (stellar wings) are two great options we've dined at in recent visits!
Overall, Steelers Training Camp in Latrobe is one of those experiences you need to experience to understand and is perfect for those who just want a bit more football in their lives before the season starts. The practice goes by quick, and is a bit less on the action from a traditional game, but offers a great way to get excited for the upcoming season all the same.
We can't wait to go back next year!
Steelers Training Camp takes place at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe from the end of July to mid-August. Public practice generally lasts from 3 to 5pm, and players take the field at approximately 2:45. Please click the previous link for schedule details! I'd like to thank Westmoreland Heritage and the Laurel Highlands Visitor Bureau for arranging a sideline pass for my visit to get a few of the shots in this article.
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