High School athletes in Madisonville and across the state will be able to participate in limited sport-specific skill instructions with their coaches this summer thanks to a new rule passed by the University Interscholastic League (UIL) in October.
Coaches will get their athletes for two hours per week during the summer. However, each player can only participate in a total of two hours of sport-specific training per week. Those athletes who play more than one sport will have to evenly divide their hours accordingly.
“I am super excited about it and I think it is going to give us a big advantage,” said MHS basketball coach Chris Reid on the rule change. “I am going to do an hour on Tuesdays and an hour on Thursdays. It will consist of 45 minutes of straight fundamentals and about 15 minutes of team drills.”
The basketball team began their workouts this week. The football team will be able to build off of the drills they ran at the end of the school year on top of their eight designated hours for strength and conditioning.
“We have a good portion of our offense and defense already in place,” said MHS football coach Russell Urbantke. “This year, we will be able to continue that install of our offense and defense throughout the summer instead of having to stop and pick it up in August.”
Urbantke has opted to work with his players 30 minutes each day from Monday through Thursday following the morning’s strength and conditioning session.
“The UIL has done a tremendous job in allowing us coaches to coach our own kids during the summer,” said Urbantke. “It will be a lot of individual drill work but we are also going to put it together with our team session. The only difference between now and August is that you won't be able to have a helmet or shoulder pads.”
Coaches Kristen Hooten of volleyball and Shana Taylor of women’s basketball also weighed in on how the new rule change will impact their preparations for the upcoming seasons.
“We have a schedule in place where we will be working on volleyball skills two days a week for an hour each day,” said Hooten. “This is going to be extremely beneficial for our athletes to continue to improve their skills throughout the summer. I feel that I will see a big difference when August practice begins from last year to this year.”
“We are certainly taking advantage of this opportunity to hone our skills for the upcoming year,” said Taylor. “With the two-hour allowance, the coaches have coordinated a schedule that will give multi-sport athletes the opportunity to practice each sport they are participating in. We will be practicing on Mondays for an hour a week in hopes of perfecting a multiplicity of skills needed to get us ready for the upcoming season. I look forward to competing this season with a more experienced group of young ladies.”
All MHS coaches have created a calendar and will work together with one another throughout the summer to ensure that each of their kids is only participating in the week’s allotted two hours of sport-specific training.