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Is it time for the TSSAA to ditch spring football practice?

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Spring football practice has been around for a long time, and it has been a tool for football coaches around the state of Tennessee for years. My question is: Is it time for the TSSAA to finally put the issue of having spring football practice to bed and end it once and for all? You might ask why would I even suggest such a thing, because of the value you think that spring practice has.

My first and foremost reason I think that the TSSAA should move forward and discontinue spring practice is the fact it no longer has any value. I think the main reason for spring practice being devalued is that there are just too many activities and sports for kids to be involved in. At a small school like Huntingdon, kids that are football players are also baseball, track, soccer and basketball players.

I have had this discussion with Eric Swenson, the head football coach at Huntingdon, and he faces the problem of when to have spring football practice. Basketball doesn’t end until late in February, and it’s usually too cold to be productive anyway. Baseball season starts in early March, and Swenson has tried to wait until the end of baseball in May. But baseball is usually too successful, they go deep in the playoffs, and by the time they are through, school is almost out for the summer. And if they make it to the championships, it happens during graduation time.

Another problem is if you have spring practice early in March or late February, then whatever you have covered in practice is quickly forgotten by the time fall workouts begin. To have spring practice in May is better for retaining instructions, but only by a little. So, unless you are changing offenses or putting in a brand-new defense, then the only thing spring practice is good for is finding team depth, and you still have a month to find that out in the fall before you play your first game.

So, my suggestion to the TSSAA is to just end spring practice and let the kids focus on the other spring sports and give football teams and extra few days in the fall to prepare for the season. The rule has always been in the spring that you have 15 school days to get ten days of practice in, and if the weather doesn’t co-operate, then it is non-productive anyway. Again, I believe the time has come to end spring practice, and I also believe the game of football will not be affected.

For more of my ramblings, check out The Beating Around the Bush Podcast available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Facebook and other places you find your podcast.

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