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Hartselle Enquirer

The busy 'off-season'

By Staff
Editor's note: The following is part one of a four-part series on the off season workouts of high school athletics.
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
It's 6 a.m. Do you know where your kids are? If they play football for Brewer or Hartselle High, they're probably working out.
Three times a week, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, Hartselle football players meet at the school at 6 a.m. to work out and get conditioned for the upcoming season. That's late for the football players at Brewer. Their workouts begin at 5:30 a.m. Some Patriot players choose to workout at 5:30 p.m., so head coach Billy Coleman has scheduled two times per day to allow the majority of players a chance to get in condition.
The story is the same at other area schools. At Danville the players can work out at 7 a.m. or 5 p.m. At Falkville and Priceville High Schools, workouts are scheduled at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Although the workouts are not mandatory, coaches say that more than 85-percent of their team's players participate.
"The kids know that this is what it takes to be competitive," Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey said.
The trend of working out year round for high school sports began in the 1980s, according to area coaches.
"It's been this way for the last 12 or 15 years," Danville head coach Joey Burch said.
"I think it started in the late 80s, as far as I recall," Falkville head coach Jeff Miller said. "But I think it's really gotten serious in the last six or eight years. All the schools are doing it now. Even the schools in the smallest classifications work out year round."
The summer workouts are designed to increase strength and speed.
"We work them on agility and are trying to make them more powerful," Godsey said.
"They can run faster and be more explosive if they work out hard, and the kids we have know that."
Most schools ask that their athletes work out year round, but the intensity of the sessions and their frequency decreases once the school year begins.
"We cut back to two days a week," Godsey said. "Once the school year begins, we have them lift twice a week, because they have practice each day."
Most high school football players get two weeks off after the season ends and two more weeks off during final exams.
Family vacations also cut into workout time. During the other 47 or 48 weeks each year the players are involved in some type of training.
Are year round workouts too much? Some coaches are beginning to think so.
"I've heard some talk from coaches who want the kids to have the whole month of June off," Miller said. "Some of them have proposed that the athletic association cut back on summer workouts and not let us work with the kids until July."
Some coaches, who would like to give their athletes more time off, feel they can't do so and stay competitive.
"You know everybody else is doing the summer workouts," Burch said. "So you know you've got to do it to."
Miller doubts that the athletic association will make changes anytime soon.
"I don't know if cutting out the month of the June from the workout schedule will fly," Miller said. "There aren't enough coaches who are for it."

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