IHS coaches, athletes work under new summer rule

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Change is good. Kansas high school basketball, football and volleyball coaches saw change come to their summer routine this year.
Under a new rule passed last fall by the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA), high school basketball, football and volleyball coaches are allowed to work with their team for the first half of the summer. That means from May 23 to July 17, those coaches can be actively involved with athletes in summer leagues, summer workouts and team camps.
Iola High’s basketball head coaches Becky Carlson and Steve Taylor, Mustang head football coach Rick Horton and Fillies’ head volleyball coach Jodi Grover have taken advantage of the new rule. Until this summer, basketball, volleyball and football high school coaches were limited to work with only three athletes at a time, and had to watch their players from the stands under KSHSAA rules.
“None of us (Iola High coaches) has really over done things this summer,” Taylor said. “We have our conditioning sessions and open gym times for our kids to come in and practice and play.”
All four IHS coaches are veteran coaches and are proceeding easily into the new confines of summer coaching. Grover, starting her first year as head volleyball coach for Iola, said the coaches met in May and discussed what they wanted to do.
“For me, I had my team camp the first week of June then we have open gym every Friday morning. All of us coaches here at Iola want our kids to work hard when we have them but none of us want to burn the kids out over the summer,” Grover said.
“It’s all about having the exposure to the programs and playing. Having the opportunity to see them all at once and being able to work one-on-one with players while others are working on other skills is good.”
All team camps must be complete by July 17. Iola’s volleyball and both basketball camps were in June and the football team camp is next week.
Last year, Horton had to watch from the bleachers as the Iola football players participated in 7-on-7 competitions. Not this summer.
“I was able to coach them in the two 7-on-7 tournaments we went to in June. We’ve been doing some 7-on-7 workouts each week,” Horton said. “Our kids are so busy during the summer with Legion baseball, work so we’ve haven’t really piled it on.
“We’ve had good numbers coming to the weight room every day and conditioning. The only draw back is we have to have the team camp earlier. I liked having my camp at the end of July, give the kids a week off then it’s almost time to get into practices so things are still fresh in their minds.”
Carlson said the basketball girls were working four times a week early in the mornings. The workouts are not mandatory but she has been pleased with the number she’s seeing coming and working.
“It may not be the same kids every day because of work and other commitments. It’s good to be able to work with more than three at a time. They can come in and we work on things together, they shoot the basketball. I can work with individuals on, say, post moves while others are working on free throws,” Carlson said.
Carlson was able to coach a team of her basketball players in a jamboree. She and Taylor are planning to coach teams in this weekend’s MAYB (Mid American Youth Basketball) tournament in Iola.
Taylor said every Tuesday afternoon, he has open gym for his players at Riverside Park’s Community Recreation Building. He said they worked on different things together.
“Then I let them play for about an hour. It’s been nice to be able to coach the kids in situations this summer. We’ll probably won’t see the effect of this coaching rule change for a year or so,” Taylor said.
The Iola coaches agreed that it was important for the athletes to be involved in conditioning programs throughout the summer, and play the game in some way, such as open gym opportunites, traveling teams or summer leagues.
“We had some playing in the Fort Scott summer volleyball league. Being a fall sport coach, I wanted my camp early then have the once-a-week contact with the girls. We’ll get back after it in August,” Grover said.
“The contact with as many kids as we can have during the some the better for the programs,” Carlson said. “As coaches, we want our kids in our program as much as possible but during the summer, we have to step back a bit and realize the kids have other commitments.”