The NFL is relatively quiet from the end of April until the start of training camp at the end of July. Players and coaches should take advantage of it to increase their energy levels during this time and get ready for camping season.

The OTA refers to this period. So what is OTA in football? What does OTA stand for in football? What are the regulations for NFL OTA? Scott Fujita has got the answer for you. Let’s investigate the specifics in more detail!

What is Ota in Football?

The term “OTA” refers to ten days of scheduled preseason activities put on by NFL football teams. While taking part in this season is entirely optional, all players are urged to do so.

The agreements reached allow each NFL team to participate in a certain number of OTA each offseason. The OTA season is voluntary, so keep in mind that a team cannot penalize a player for declining to participate.

However, the majority of the players typically offer their services as volunteers in situations where an NFL team has the discretion to decide who joins or not. The only exceptions are athletes who sign free-agent contracts or are negotiating new ones.

Nine weeks are the typical length of an OTA season. The majority of teams schedule theirs between April and June.

The Rules Around NFL OTAs

You’ve got the answer to, “What is a football OTA?” The time has come to become familiar with the guidelines that govern it.


There could be “live contacts” during drills during an Teams are prohibited from holding drills that match one defensive player against another during the OTA season. one offensive player. One wide receiver cannot practice against one cornerback alone, for example.

The same holds true for offensive linemen in comparison to. defensive linemen. Rather, OTAs should focus on defensive and offensive team drills and special teams drills without live contact.


Teams may mandate that players wear helmets during an OTA season. However, their players are only permitted to wear this specific type of pad.


Except for the 3-day mandatory minicamp, the voluntary nature of the NFL OTAs is one of their most notable aspects. Therefore, no team can compel players to participate in OTAs or put undue pressure on them to do so.

Instead, these teams are only able to suggest a 2-hour window during which their players should be present at the team facility.

During the OTAs, each player might only spend four hours a day at the team facility. They can choose when to arrive or depart as well.


The OTA season will now allow all team coaches to be on the field. There used to be a cap on the number of coaches that could be present on the field during team activities, but that has since changed.


Why Do Players Do During OTA in Football?

  • To get them ready for games, the OTA season may start with light running and endurance exercises.
  • Players are allowed to wear a t-shirt and shorts without any padding, but they may be asked to wear helmets so they can get accustomed to using them.
  • To lead players through plays and drills for upcoming games, set up classroom-like instructions with whiteboards.
  • OTAs are a great opportunity for coaches to discuss with their players the fundamentals of their position as well as any plans or strategies they have for the upcoming season.
  • Players are divided into groups according to their positions, and coaches will give them more individualized instruction in a casual setting.

OTAs at Other Levels:

There won’t likely be any strict rules governing when and how teams can practice during the offseason in youth football.

Instead, the majority of leagues just decide on a time for practice to begin.

To alleviate the need for players to practice constantly in pads and with a lot of contact, some leagues today are beginning to implement more OTA-like practice time.

NFL OTAs can be used by youth coaches as a model for how to conduct this kind of practice. It’s always a good idea to ease players into the season prior to it beginning.

What You Can Do:

  • To get in game shape, OTAs can begin with light running and endurance exercises.
  • You can make players wear helmets so they can get used to wearing them, but you can also let them play in just shorts and a t-shirt without any protective equipment.
  • Additionally, OTAs are a great opportunity to talk to the players about fundamental job skills and season-long tactics.
  • To walk players through drills and plays for upcoming games, set up classroom-like instruction with white boards.
  • Players should be divided into position groups, with coaches giving more individualized instruction in a more laid-back setting.

This is a good time to learn the fundamentals and spend extra time instructing players the game because the season won’t start for a while.

At the same time, you’ll be enabling players to acclimate to the field, build their endurance, and develop anticipation for the upcoming season.

Sample Spring OTA Schedule

New England Patriots:

  • First Day: April 18
  • OTA Offseason Workouts: May 23-24, May 26, June 1-3, June 13-14, June 16-17
  • Mandatory Minicamp: June 7-9
  • On April 18, the players will start their off-season training regimen, and OTAs will start at the end of May.

Denver Broncos:

  • First Day: April 11
  • Voluntary Minicamp: April 25-27
  • OTA Offseason Workouts: May 23-24, May 26, May 31-June 1, June 3, June 6-7, June 9-10
  • Mandatory Minicamp: June 13-15

Dallas Cowboys:

  • First Day: April 18
  • OTA Offseason Workouts: May 24-25, June 1-2, June 6-7, June 9-10
  • Mandatory Minicamp: June 14-16

What is Minicamp

Teams are permitted one mandatory minicamp for veteran players during Phase Three of the offseason program per Article 22 of the CBA. Teams that have hired a new head coach since the conclusion of the previous season are permitted to hold one voluntary minicamp before the Draft and three weeks after the start of the team’s offseason training regimen. Due to the hiring of Adam Gase as the team’s new head coach this season, Miami was able to host this voluntary camp.

The mandatory minicamp can only last three days and must be held during the work week (Monday through Friday), plus an additional day for physical exams. No practices or workouts are allowed the day of the physicals, which are scheduled for the first day of the minicamp.

Two of the three days of on-field training during the minicamp may be used by teams to hold two-a-day practices, with Friday being a required off-day. A player is only permitted to be on the field for a total of 3.5 hours per day according to the rules, and each practice is only allowed to last for 2.5 hours. After the first practice is finished (but not for longer than 2.5 hours), the second practice can only be a walk-through tutorial.

In addition to the two permitted one-hour meal breaks, players are only permitted to spend a total of 10 hours per day at the team facility. Teams are not allowed to keep players after 8:30 p.m. local time or start working out before 7 a.m. local time.

Once more, no physical contact is permitted, and all restrictions on one-on-one drills and helmets only apply during the minicamp.

A player who skips the required minicamp may be fined $12,765 for the first day they were absent. Every additional day that the penalty is not paid results in an increase of $12,765, making the penalty for two missed days to be $38,290 ($12,765 for the first day plus $25,525 for the second day), and the penalty for three missed days to be $76,580.


OTAs Versus Minicamp

Minicamps are essentially OTAs with more features. Every player will (should) be present because it is now required. Teams can also dictate what time of day the players are at the facility, rather than “suggesting” two hour blocks, and they get to keep the player in the facility for a much longer time period (10 hours for minicamp rather than 4 hours during The practices are still contact- and pad-free, but teams can now practice for 2.5 hours in the morning before going in for lunch and returning later in the day for a 1-hour walk-through, where they can fix anything that went wrong in the morning practice or start setting up things to work on in the next practice.

Although training camp eventually moves into pads, minicamp feels more like training camp than an OTA.

And perhaps the most intriguing distinction between minicamp and OTAs, at least for fans interested in learning more about their team, is the expanded media access during minicamp.

d. Numerous ambiguities and mistakes that define their game are proof of it.

Wrapping It Up: Organized Team Activities

Football teams can benefit greatly from OTAs if they are conducted correctly.

They can unite the group and get everyone on the same page.

They can aid players in developing new skills or honing those they already have.

In the end, OTAs are a great way for teams to get closer before the season.

It won’t be possible to take it easy and step back as much once the season begins.

You’ll be full speed ahead, preparing for every game that’s on the schedule


What is the Main Purpose of the OTA in Football?

The pre-season OTA gives players an excellent opportunity to test playbooks, get to know their teammates, and win over coaches.
It also enables coaches to test out novel plays and schemes to see if their players work well with them.

When Are NFL OTAs?

OTA times will vary depending on the day each team begins its offseason training regimen.

Why Does a Player Miss the OTA in Football?

For a variety of good reasons, such as family time, contract talks, or a preference for private training, a player might forego an OTA season.

Is the OTA Season Mandatory?

OTA participation is optional. It is a part of a nine-week, largely optional block of offseason spring training.

What Difficulties Might Rookies Face When Participating in OTAs?

The opportunity for rookies to interact with seasoned players and learn firsthand what is required to be successful in the league may now be available.
The experienced player typically enters the OTA with well-honed skills that the new players will find it difficult to match.
As soon as the session begins, the game will pick up speed because they are struggling to make the training part of them.
It is not surprising that they experience system overload in this instance.