Despite what the sports calendar may say, there isn’t much of an offseason.
Both coaches and players know the only way to get ahead of the competition is through constant work. From individual skill development drills to weight training and conditioning, the majority of that work is accomplished in the summer.
“Kids have opportunities a lot more now than when I was growing up,” said Brian Moon, North Forsyth boys basketball coach. “There are a lot of opportunities for kids to get better. Schools have team camps and weightlifting and such.
“If you don’t touch a basketball [until next season], you’re going to have a hard time competing in today’s world.”
Moon’s varsity team will take part in two team camps during June, including a trip to Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. The team will play nine games in three days there and about 20 over the summer, Moon said.
The Georgia High School Athletic Association places few limitations on summer activities.
The GHSA website states, “During the summer … the only restrictions on practices and competition are that all activities must be strictly voluntary.”
In addition, it continues, “The ‘dead week’ must be observed, as follows: Schools are prohibited from participating in voluntary workouts, camps and/or clinics, weight training or competitions during the week (Sunday through Saturday) in which the Fourth of July falls each year.”
Forsyth Central athletic director Mike Woodard takes a different approach to summer activities. While he acknowledges the significance of games, he thinks it’s more important to teach and hone skills.
“My philosophy is the more games you play, that doesn’t necessarily mean [the] better you’re going to get,” Woodard said. “I think it’s what you do with the kids. What situations you put them in, what skills you choose to practice.
“Any time that you’re in a position that will allow you to be repetitive in the skills that you need to have and tone up on, there’s always going to be an advantage to that based on people who don’t take part in those repetitions.”
Lambert senior Danny Edgeworth, who played football, basketball and baseball, said working with coaches during the summer is vital to improvement.
“It was pretty challenging at first doing [all three sports], but you eventually get in a rhythm,” Edgeworth said. “There were some days were I’d have football in the morning and play three baseball games later, but the coaches were flexible and they all worked with me.
“I benefited every day … It’s voluntary, but you want to impress the coach and get better.”
With nearly every sport offering some sort of opportunity, it can be difficult to keep track of when and where each team is scheduled.
“During the summer, you’ve got all almost all 19 sports doing something at some time,” Woodard said. “We keep a master schedule. Everything is posted on our athletic calendar that’s on our high school home page, so our coaches know … what facilities are available.
“The biggest thing we try to do at Central … is try to sit down and communicate with each other because we still want kids to be able to participate in more than one sport. So if you’re truly going to promote kids playing multiple sports, you’ve got to make sure you’re not asking them to come to football, basketball and baseball all at the same time, so it’s imperative that you stay organized.”