Vince Lombardi berated players and believed in heavy contact during training camp. Bill Walsh rarely yells and limits the amount of summertime hitting.

Both men won Super Bowls.

Tom Landry brings the Dallas Cowboys into training camp as early as any team in the National Football League. Bud Grant's Minnesota Vikings usually report last.

Both have produced Super Bowl teams.

"One of the hardest things to solve as a coach is how to conduct your camp properly, so that you are prepared just right for the start of the season," said Joe Gibbs, whose Redskin camp was one of the first in the league to open this season. "It's always in the back of your mind, are you doing what you have to so they'll be ready?"

Gibbs' training camp represents a blend of the go-soft approach and the hard-nosed, keep-'em-tense philosophy.

Today's opening practice was only 30 minutes old when the Redskins had their first contact work. Yet there were no temper displays from the assistant coaches or public criticism of players.

Nor were there end-of-practice wind sprints or constant sounds of whistles blowing. Gibbs doesn't believe in whistles. He also would rather have his players expend energy in practice and not in postworkout running sessions.

"I was told by people who had been to a lot of camps that we hit as much as any team in the league," said Gibbs, who last year ran his first camp as a head coach. "We don't make a big deal about it, but you have to hit to be ready. This is a contact sport.

"But what you have to be sure of is to not have so much contact that you are getting too many injuries and wearing the players out. We are searching for that point where they are prepared for games, but not falling out because they are hurt. This is maybe the only sport where you can't constantly create perfect game conditions. If you had contact every day, you wouldn't have a team left. So you have to simulate contact, to make it as close to reality as possible.

"Instead of full scrimmaging we do a lot of half-line contact work, so there are fewer players on the field at the same time. That way, you cut down on the chances of freak injuries and people falling over each other.

"I also don't believe in doing drills that have nothing to do with football. Everything we do should be related in some way to making us a better team and each athlete a better player."

Gibbs says he is motivated by one goal: "We want to make practice as relaxed as possible, so it is the best teaching situation possible. We tell our players we want our tempo to be workman-like, but we are not going to be constantly yelling at them or beating on them."

Unlike Frank Kush, the new Baltimore Colt coach who believes in boot-camp practices and public criticism of his players, Gibbs usually saves his harsh words for meeting rooms. When he occasionally becomes angry, it's a sure sign practice will extend longer than its usual 100 minutes.

Last year's Redskins also discovered Gibbs can fudge on his no-wind-sprint commitment. For example, when Joe Bugel, the line coach, decided his athletes were not in the best condition, they began running after practice until Bugel was satisfied the situation had improved.

"I leave it up to the individual coaches to monitor their players," Gibbs said. "If they think they need the extra work, then they give it to them. I like to stand back and judge what I see going on so I can add some input myself."

Gibbs runs practices largely on "gut instinct." Work periods are outlined before practice, but Gibbs will vary those sessions depending on how the players are performing. His goal is to keep things short, snappy and as interesting as possible.

That is not always easy, considering how unbearable these weeks of training camp can be because of the heat and humidity. The Redskins avoid the hottest part of the day (they practice at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.), and Gibbs will shorten workouts on the worst days "because concentration just falls apart. But we have two preseason games in Florida this year, so we have to be able to handle the humidity and everything as best as we can.

"Looking back to last season, I didn't feel we did much wrong conditioning-wise in training camp," Gibbs said. "We are putting a little more emphasis on cardiovascular work; that's why we had them go on a 12-minute run in minicamp.

"I was pleased by the condition that mostly everyone reported in for this camp. You can see they worked hard in the off-season."

Gibbs was determined that this Redskin team would be stronger than the 1981 version, one reason he hired Dan Riley as his new weight coach. The result is by far the heaviest Washington club in recent memory. For the most part, returning players have added pounds and muscle, a combination Gibbs hopes will allow the Redskins to compete better with more talented opponents.

"All of this won't make you a better team unless you play better on the field," Gibbs said. "We all are aware of that. We teach good practice habits that lead to good game habits. We get people in shape, but we leave them something to play with during the regular season. You accomplish those things in camp, and you've had a successful summer."