No summer vacation for Wildcats
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

June 5, 2004 -- Sulphur Springs football players have had a week off. That's all they're going to get until the middle of July.

Starting Monday, the summer strength and conditioning program begins for athletes who will be going into grades 9-12. Starting last year, the summer program has the UIL blessing.

The UIL, which had banned supervised summer conditioning programs in the past, last year allowed it with certain stipulations such as a calendar and daily time limits. The UIL took the action to make it more fair to all schools, since some circumvented the old rules by hiring professional trainers to conduct summer conditioning.

For Sulphur Springs, it gives the coaches an opportunity to make sure the athletes are getting structured, supervised workouts, said SSHS head football coach Brad Turner.

"The benefit of doing this as opposed to the old way - and the old way was you gave them a package of things and say this is what you've got to do over the summer - is you've got a coach supervising," Turner said. "Anyone works harder when they have someone to answer to."

The SSHS program is very similar to their spring offseason conditioning workouts, Turner explained. It involves weight lifting and concentrates on speed work.

"We'll do just like an offseason workout." he said. "We'll lift, but we concentrate more on speed and conditioning. But, they do strength and speed, just like we did in the offseason. We use our same program that we had."

The coaches conduct the daily workouts at three times during the day: 6 a.m., 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Turner expects about 100 athletes per day. According to the UIL rules, students can attend no more than one, two-hour supervised workout per day, four days a week. The sessions last until July 15.

"We have a bunch of kids who work and whatever, and this is a pretty good variety of times," the coach said. "They can go anytime from six in the morning to six at night.

"Last year, had 80-90 kids per day. As you get later in the summer, it kind of goes down because people go on vacation and whatever. But, we anticipate about 100 kids per day this year."

The UIL also stipulates that roll must be taken, so there will be records to see if students are attending more than the allotted sessions.

If a student makes 90 percent of his workouts, he is exempt from the conditioning testing program given on the first day of two-a-days workouts in August. The 90-percenters also don't have to go through conditioning drills during two-a-days.

"If they come to 90 percent, they'll be in shape. It gives them some incentive to do that," Turner said. "It basically gives them a full week, so they can miss for vacation or whatever, and still be eligible to be exempt from the tests."

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