For fall sports besides football, it was the first day of official practices.
While football began practices last Thursday, Monday was the first day players donned pads and could hit each other.
It was a long time coming for some players, who were chomping at the bit to finally hit. Teams spent three days practicing twice a day and running through similar drills as the previous month and a half of the non-mandatory summer workouts.
The three-day acclimation period is for smaller schools who might not be able to run summer conditioning workouts. The three days allows schools to be on more equal ground in terms of conditioning even though it’s getting to the point where the three days just adds to the anticipation of Monday’s first practice with contact.
“The reality is what they’ve done the last three days is what they’ve done the past six weeks leading up to double-days,” Reed football coach Ernie Howren said. “These mandatory non-padded practices is what they’ve been doing for six weeks in the summer. It’s kind of been there done that, so it makes the idea of putting on pads that much more exciting. It’s a change of pace and it’s why you play the game. You want to be out there hitting someone.”
However, some teams have had such a good first three days of practice that Monday was just another day.
“Our practices are going so well right now that we’re just going day to day,” SSHS football coach Scott Hare said. “I don’t think we’ve talked a lot about pads. That’s the thing now. I think things have changed so much with summer. We went to camp three weeks ago, so we put pads on for a week. I think that was their antsiness to put on pads. Right now, I think they’re just going about business, showing up and doing what they’re told. I’m real pleased right now with their practices.”
While offseason workouts have taken away some of the luster of the first day of official practice, coaches were still glad to get out there and start the season.
“It’s always good to get back into the swing of things. The girls have been working hard for two weeks, and it paid off a little bit in our first conditioning that we had,” Reed girls soccer coach Jason Saville said. “The non-mandatories work. The key group of players coming in look great. The returning players are stepping up a little bit. Numbers are down, but we’ll be more talented than last year. We just won’t have that many bodies on the bench.”
Football squads will scrimmage this weekend, while many local soccer teams will practice this week and next before participating in the annual Howell Memorial preseason tournaments starting on Aug. 26, the same day the football regular season begins.
Cross country, tennis, girls golf and volleyball squads also began practice Monday.