The first day of practices for fall sports are about four weeks away, but any successful high school athletic program has had athletes working all through the summer months.
“It’s crucial,” Nocona Athletic Director Rick Weaver said. “It will make or break a program to be honest with you, as well as the success throughout the season.
Athletes lift weights throughout whatever sports season they are in, but coaches cannot not afford to push them too hard so they can be ready for practices and games.
The real strides athletes make as far as getting stronger and more explosive happen during the offseason as max lifts are improved upon and agility drills worked on.
The two months of summer can undo all of that progress unless athletes are staying active and showing up to workouts regularly.
“For them to show up during the summer and build upon the progress they made throughout the year is huge for them and us,” Weaver said.
While most schools athletic programs have summer workouts throughout June as well, most coaches report an uptick in attendance in July as the first day of practice comes closer.
“The closer you get to Aug. 5, the more kids start to showing up,” Bowie Athletic Director Cory Mandrell said.
“It is never as many as you hope,” Weaver said.
Despite this, both new coaches reported good attendance numbers throughout June as they have gotten to know their kids.
Workouts can only be two hours a day and consist of only strength and conditioning up to four times a week. While workouts are not mandatory, they are strongly encouraged.
“You have to place a lot of the responsibility on the older kids, the juniors and seniors,” Mandrell said. “We can’t drag them out of bed. We can’t make them show up, but those teammates can.”
While in the past the University Interscholastic League only allowed coaches to do non sports specific weight and condition training, recent rules allow coaches to schedule two hours a week to work sport specific skills with their athletes.
“Today we threw with some receivers, worked on defensive calls, worked our o-line and everything,” Weaver said. “With basketball, they can go shoot and be put through an organized practice. Same with volleyball so we are not starting from day one come August.”
Working in a rural community coaches get that family matters, summer jobs and vacations will limit some athlete’s availability to make it to workouts. The ones that make it a priority now to make it voluntary workouts when they can will probably be athletes most counted on by their coaches once the season comes around.
To see more pictures of athletes from Bowie and Nocona working out this week, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.