BY RUSSELL HUFFMAN
If you are looking for footballs, basketballs, baseballs or volleyballs during Stephenville’s summer strength and conditioning workouts you will be wasting your time as they simply are not there due to the rules established by the University Interscholastic League.
Summer conditioning is exactly that with no sports-specific equipment allowed and coaches supervising workout are not allowed to discuss specific sports skills. Summer conditioning time is limited to six weeks with most schools electing to start in a time frame that allows them to step from conditioning directly into falls sports like football, volleyball and cross country.
Tuesday the Honeybees were hard at it and Tuesday also happened to be the first day newly hired athletic director Jerod Womack was on campus.
“Wow! Just look at this,” Womack said. “I’m impressed with the girls and the coaches out here today. This is really something and I very excited about becoming a part of this type of program.”
Womack was touring the junior high campus along with outgoing athletic director Mike Copeland and said he had been hearing for a while that he had some big shoes to fill.
“That’s a little daunting because coach Copeland is such a great man and has built a legacy here,” Womack said. “I think am up to the challenge and I am sure coach Copeland will help me out if I need it.”
According to coach Kristi Mayes, helping out is really what Stephenville’s summer conditioning program is about.
“The company that was here before did a great job but as coaches, we were missing out on the relationships you develop with athletes,” Mayes said. “Coaching is more than sports it’s about developing relationships, being family, loving and encouraging each other.”
Coach Greg Winder had much the same to say and he also had concerns his own coaching staff might start to feel unmotivated by the lack of direct contact with students.
For coaches its a test of their motivation and planning skills in preparing challenges that keep athletes showing up four days a week.
“You’ve got to present different scenarios for them each week so they are wanting to come back on their own. We can encourage but these guys also have to dig deep and motivate themselves and get off the couch,” Winder said.
UIL rules prevent mandatory workouts and coaches are prohibited from barring a student for trying out and playing a sport based on a lack of participation in summer conditioning.
Coach Mayes is one of than a half dozen coaches overseeing girl’s workouts which has included more than 100 Honeybees showing up for workouts this week and she is pleased with what she is seeing so far.
“The girls have been working to motivate each other and our older girls are starting to show the leadership we hope to see each year from our athletes,” Mayes said. “We start as a group and then break down into four smaller groups. We give the girls something different each day to help change things up so we don’t do the same stuff over and over.”
Each week is overseen by a different coach who brings their own particular set of workouts and challenges for the girls. One thing the coaches failed to mention is their being volunteers which saves athletes money because they had to pay for the company prior to the change to local coaching.
Here is a look at the UIL rules for summer strength and conditioning programs.
The UIL allows schools and school coaches to conduct strength and conditioning programs for students in grades 7-12 from their attendance zone for a total of six weeks under the following conditions:
- Limitations: Sessions may be conducted from the first day of summer vacation until the second Monday in August. A session shall be no more than two consecutive hours per day, Monday through Thursday, and a student shall attend no more than one session of supervised instruction per day for a total of six weeks.
- Activities Allowed: The sessions shall include only strength and conditioning instruction and exercises. No specific sports skills shall be taught and no specific sports equipment, such as balls, dummies, sleds, contact equipment, etc., shall be used. School shorts, shirts and shoes may be provided by the school (local school option).
- Attendance: Attendance in a maximum of one session per day shall be voluntary and not required in order to try out for or participate in any UIL activity. Attendance records shall be kept, however, students shall not be required or allowed to make up missed days or workouts.
- Fees: Fees, if any, shall be established by the superintendent and collected by the school. Any payment to coaches shall be from the school and from no other source.
Important points to remembers for coaches, athletes and parents are as follows:
- Strength and conditioning sessions may be held after the last official day of school until the second Monday in August.
- Sessions may be conducted by school coaches only on Monday through Thursday of each week.
- Sessions conducted by coaches shall be no more than two consecutive hours per day.
- A student shall not attend more than one two-hour session (conducted by a school coach) per day.
- Sessions conducted by school coaches shall only include students who are incoming seventh graders or above from their attendance zone.
- Sessions shall include only strength and conditioning instruction and exercises.
- Sport specific skill instruction is prohibited.
- Sports specific equipment (balls, dummies, sleds, contact equipment) is prohibited.
- School shirts, shorts and shoes may be provided by the school (local school option).
- Attendance shall be voluntary. Coaches shall not require athletes to attend in order to try out for or participate in any UIL sport.
- Attendance records shall be kept, however students shall not be required or allowed to make up missed days. Students may work out on their own, without direction of the school coach.
- Fees, if any, shall be established and approved by the superintendent and collected by the school.
- Any payment for conducting strength and conditioning sessions to school coaches who instruct students from their attendance zone shall be from the school and no other source.
- Schools must take administrative care to prohibit an athlete from working with one school coach for two hours and a separate school coach for another two hours.