Updated UIL rules allow students to be better prepared for competition

As summer draws closer to an end and school is around the corner, athletes at Slaton High School have been working on improving their overall stamina as well as skills.

This year, the University Interscholastic League enacted an update to their policy regarding strength and conditioning programs and sports specific skill instruction.

In years past, students were only allowed six weeks of strength and conditioning exercises. They also could participate in open gym.

Coaches were not allowed to help students with any sort of training.

This year, the rules have changed to where sports specific skill instruction may be conducted by school coaches Mondays through Thursday of a week. The exception is when it’s specified on the UIL calendar. They also must observe a mandatory “period of no activity,” which UIL sets up during the year. Schools cannot be open to the students to use during that time.

Instruction could begin the first Monday after the last day of school, and can continue until a time UIL sets each year.

It is also for athletes in grades seven through 12 in that attendance zone. Incoming seventh graders may also practice.

Strength and conditioning sessions are specifically for making an athlete stronger. They may not do any type of sports skills during this training session, such as use sports specific equipment, dummies, contact equipment, or other prohibited items.

Athletes can practice their sports skills for a total of two hours per week, with no more than an hour of practice per day. They also can only attend one strength and one conditioning two hour session per day. Open gym without additional coaching is also allowed.

There are only a few days left for the practices, which will end before the first day of school or the first day of sports season.

Athletic director and head football coach Jeff Caffey said during a school board meeting July 8 the students have been taking advantage of the new rule and using the school’s facilities more and more.

The first football scrimmage this season will be Aug. 16, when Slaton faces Abernathy.

The first regular season game will be Aug. 30 at home against Sanford-Fritch. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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