PEORIA, Ill. — If you think high school football season doesn’t really start until mid-August, think again.
The Illinois High School Association allows teams 25 days of practice each summer. And most area teams use at least 20 of those days.
“We use a lot of it for conditioning. So we just do football drills to condition, instead of lining up to do sprints,” said IVC head coach Tim Heinz “No kid likes to do that. I didn’t like it when I played either.”
Teams can even pad up for some of those off-season practices. But most teams are rarely in full pads in the summer.
They wait until mid-August for that.
“The summers are nice, you get the basics out of the way. When you get to camp, you’re on a running start,” said Richwoods head coach Roland Brown. “You’ve got you defenses in, your offenses in and start adding from there with little pieces where you can.”
Fall practice begins Aug. 12 but teams don’t really want that to feel like the first day of practice.
“For our younger guys, it’s a great introduction into high school football,” said Bloomington head coach Scott Godfrey. “It allows us to have the basics of what we do prior to August (12th).”
Summer workouts are very important for new players. They are also critical for new coaches trying to install their playbooks on their players.
“We are treating every practice like an install day of double sessions,” said new Central Catholic coach Kevin Braucht. “We have meetings, we install because we are learning a new playbook, a new system, a new way of thinking.”