It will be a new-look offseason for athletes in North Zulch as they try to stay on top of their games outside of school in the summer months.
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) passed a new rule in October that allows athletes to participate in two hours of team-specific workouts with their coach per week. One athlete can only do two hours a week regardless of how many sports they play, meaning they would have to split their time evenly among the weekly workouts.
“It is new and it feels kind of strange,” said North Zulch ISD Athletic Director and basketball coach Matt Kirschner. “I have been coaching for 20 years and it feels strange. Hopefully you can get all of your kids there at one time, but in the summer that is obviously difficult.”
Kirschner has also installed an extra day each week for broad strength and conditioning among all athletes. This lasts each morning from 8-10 a.m. from Monday through Thursday. Last year, this was not open on Wednesdays. New rules will also allow strength and conditioning for the entire summer.
“I am trying to give the kids as much time as they can get in there,” said Kirschner. “I believe that if I expect the kids in the gym and weight room, I also have to make it readily available.”
North Zulch basketball and volleyball squads have been keeping busy for the last month or so by competing in summer league contests. While coaches are now allowed two hours a week of sport-specific training with their teams, they can still only play the role of a bystander at summer league games.
Basketball specific instruction has already began and Kirschner is training both the men’s and women’s teams with Coach Michael Stenseth currently out of town. Coach Corina Barrington has also worked with the volleyball team and Kirschner anticipates the sport-specific training exercises will pick up in July.
“I have a feeling that it will continue to change in the next year or two once they get some feedback,” said Kirschner. “I know some coaches are not really doing the individual workouts at the bigger schools. It is really about what your kids need. Mine need all of the skill instruction they can get. But once the kids and parents figure out that there is a chance to improve, it will be better next summer.”