Friday afternoon, the University Interscholastic League, the governing body of public high school athletics in Texas, provided guidance for limited summer strength and conditioning activities to school athletic offices. 

The organization announced Tuesday on Twitter that limited summer strength and conditioning and band activities could resume June 8.

The seven-page guidance summarized the highlights on the top of the first page.

Limitations

Coaches may conduct strength and conditioning, as well as sport-specific instruction for students in grades seven through 12.

Strength and conditioning drills are limited to no more than two consecutive hours Monday through Friday. Students are allowed to attend one session per day.

Coaches may conduct sport-specific instruction in addition to strength and conditioning drills. Sport-specific instruction is limited to 90 minutes per day, and students can participate up to 60 minutes in each sport.

For example, if a student participated in 60 minutes of volleyball-specific instruction, she could participate in an additional 30 minutes of basketball-specific instruction.

Activities allowed

Strength and conditioning sessions are limited to exercises. Specific sports skills cannot be taught, and no equipment such as balls, dummies, sleds and contact equipment can be used in strength and conditioning drills.

Sport-specific skills can include sports equipment except contact equipment.

Schools may provide shirts, shorts and shoes, but it is school-dependent.

Attendance

Schools are not allowed to require attendance to try out for or participate in UIL activity. Schools will keep attendance records, but make-up sessions are not allowed for missed workouts.

Fees

Any applicable fees will be established by a school district’s superintendent, and payments will be made directly to the school. Coaches will take payment from the school only.

Coach reaction

Jerry Edwards, athletics coordinator and head football coach at Harker Heights High School, said there will be a district meeting this week to discuss the guidance provided by UIL.

He commented on what it would mean for his football team in a phone interview Friday.

“If we can come back and do it in a safe manner that won’t put anyone in danger, it would be good to see our kids again and get back into the flow to hit the ground running when we hit the field,” Edwards said.

He also spoke on the difference from a normal summer and what his team would normally be doing at this point in time.

“We’d be getting geared up for summer strength,” Edwards said. “We are looking for the consistency of working out on a daily basis with our kids and talking to them about maintaining their bodies and getting enough rest.”

As for what is being missed most right now, it’s the team aspect, Edwards said.

“The team camaraderie is missed now,” he said. “Football is a team game and you rely on each other and we haven’t been able to have the same team bonding.”

The main thing Edwards stressed was the safety of the players, coaches and everyone involved in high school athletics.

Merdith Shaw-Moore, head volleyball coach at Shoemaker, said no matter the restrictions, she is happy to get going in whatever capacity is allowed.

“You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. It’s a start. You get what you can get at this point. We’re all in this together,” Shaw-Moore said.

Shaw-Moore said she is staying positive and realizes that all sports are in the same position.

As far as keeping the athletes active since activities were suspended, she said, “You just got to send them workouts and you have to hope your kids are doing the workouts.”

Shaw-Moore said that some of her players have called her with concerns about how different things are, but she said the coaches have to be role models and keep their cool.

“If we panic and we break, then our kids will panic and break,” she said.

Echoing Edwards’ comments, Copperas Cove volleyball coach Cari Lowery said what is missed most is the camaraderie.

“More than anything, they’re missing out on the team building, confidence, grit and leadership development that happens during strength and conditioning,” she said via email Friday.

Along with strength and conditioning drills, the Lady Dawgs would have already had spring league for all students between grades one and 12, and the varsity volleyball players would have taught the elementary-aged kids.

The players would’ve had camps and clinics, and the team would normally have started summer pride June 1.

“We would have also been cheering for our volleyball players that are in powerlifting, softball and track,” she said.

Lowery said she has assigned her players activities to work on physically and mentally.

Players are asked to turn in journals, short- and long-term goals and break down game film from the last few years, she said.

They are also asked to submit videos via Schoology of them doing daily conditioning and volleyball-related workouts.

Lowery said she is taking things in stride, since the current situation is out of her control.

“We’re here now, everyone is healthy and the second they let us go, we’re going,” she said. “We’re going to be Lady Dawg volleyball and make the best out of every day we have.”

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