New IHSA Policy Limits Practice Time

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By WSIL Sports

WSIL -- There was no football at Anna-Jonesboro's first practice of the year early Wednesday morning. That's because it wasn't really a practice. Instead the Wildcats kicked off the 2013 season with a walk-through.

A new IHSA policy is the reason for the change. Traditional two-a-day's are a thing of the past. Now athletes can only participate in three hours of practice per day for the first week. After that, practice times alternate from three to five hours every other day.

"Personally I don't like it because I don't think for us, for what we were doing it was a problem," Wildcats head coach Brett Detering said. "But the IHSA has to make rules for everybody because not everybody does things the right way."

A-J is one of only a handful of teams across the area practicing in the morning. That's mainly because they don't start school until next Friday. In Marion students have already started classes but that's not stopping head coach Kerry Martin from bringing his players in before school. They have a walk-through at 7 a.m. Then they return after school for their normal three-hour practice.

"It's pretty hectic, having school then practice in the first day," Martin said. "It's been pretty crazy but the kids have handled it really well."

Both coaches agree the changes will force them to be more organized this year. They now have less time with their athletes. That's why Martin stepped up the intensity during his summer contact days.

"Even though there's a lack of two-a-days, I think the summertime has helped prepare them for what's coming up in two and a half weeks," Martin added. "We've really tried to use that time in the summer to our advantage."

Teams will not be in full pads until Tuesday. They are required to have five practice days before full contact can begin, that's two more days than in previous years.
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