The Kansas State High School Activities Association announced new practice regulations in July for fall sports.
The new heat acclimation rules apply to football, cross country, boys soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, girls tennis and girls golf.
The rules limit only one practice per day in the first five days of practice.
All players must practice only once per day for the first five days, even if a player joins a team late.
Practices cannot be longer than three hours.
Separate walkthroughs are allowed, but can only be up to an hour and must be separated from the regular practice by at least three hours.
After five days of single practices, double practice sessions or two-a-days are allowed.
They cannot be held on consecutive days. The two practices cannot exceed five hours in combined time.
Football has additional rules including a minimum of one rest day during a week and a restriction on what equipment can be used.
The first two practices are helmet only. The next two practices allow shoulder pads. The whistle is to be blown at the moment of contact on the third day and through the moment of contact on the fourth. From the fifth day to the end of the third week, full contact is allowed. Days with two-a-days can only have full contact in one practice.
The changes have had an effect on the early season practices for the various coaches in the Leavenworth area.
“It’s a little bit of a challenge quite honestly,” Basehor-Linwood coach Rod Stallbaumer said. “I know the purpose behind wanting to change some of this stuff, but I feel like the way we were doing it was safer for kids.”
Along with Stallbaumer, Leavenworth coach Mark Littrell is also torn on the new rules.
“It is going to put us behind a couple days,” Littrell said. “We’re going to have to be in a helmet for two days and then helmet and shoulder pads for two days. You get a lot of things done in the summer and then have to take a step backward before the season starts. It is what it is though.”
Initially, Pleasant Ridge coach Patrick McCollim was discouraged on the rules, but he has grown to make the best of the changes.
“At first like everyone else I was a little discouraged we couldn’t have the traditional two-a-days like we grew up having,” McCollim said. “We’ve had walkthroughs in the morning and it’s given us time to make sure the mental side of the game is there. We’ve had more time to explain the assignments. I actually feel like we are using it pretty good.”
The rules didn’t change too much for the Lansing Lions as new head coach Dylan Brown wasn’t big on two-a-days to begin with.
“For me, not much (has changed),” Brown said. “I am not a two-a-day guy anyway, and most of our practices are ‘thud’ rather than full contact, even when we are full go for contact.”