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Summer provides preparation time for local teams

July is a tough time for sports. There just isn’t much going on – at least, not in the typical way we view sports.

What is going on is all the behind-the-scenes work – the things spectators don’t usually see.

For high school athletics, the summer is full of mandated practices and AHSAA sanctioned play dates. The month of June was primarily devoted to basketball, baseball and softball, while July will be dedicated to sports like football and volleyball.

Coaches have spent the summer planning practices, play dates, individual workouts and team workouts, all while trying to have some semblance of a summer vacation. Players have spent the summer practicing, playing, working out on their own or with a trainer or just getting together with teammates and working out together. Many also hold part-time summer jobs, and some players, like my own son, have met with unexpected injuries and are having to rehab their way back to the game as quickly as possible.

Parents and grandparents have spent the summer either shuttling their young ones to practice or making sure the older ones get out of bed for early-morning workouts. You have been going to the summer games and supporting your children and grandchildren – and, obviously, doing so while holding full-time jobs, for many of you.

Summer is the time for self-improvement, team improvement and teambuilding. Those who are not working with their players or teams can fall behind others who are.

But summer is a doubleedged sword for coaches and players.

Coaches have to find a balancing act. Every hour spent on their sports is time away from their own families. They don’t get extra pay for the summer work; the work during the summer is meant to make their teams better during the season.

Sometimes it is frustrating to coaches trying to get their players to buy into working hard during the summer – or to get them to show up at all.

Summer is for enjoying time away from school. It is a time for going on vacations, going to the lake or swimming in the pool. It is a time to earn gas money and runningaround money with a parttime job. For some it is a time to work full time and help their families meet expenses.

So, remember, even if it appears there is nothing going on in the summer, for most there is – hard extra work!

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