With the Indiana High School Athletic Association now allowing teams to practice and play with their coaches at the helm, summer leagues have sprouted around the area and workouts continue at schools nearly year round at most schools.
Northview and Clay City High Schools are buzzing during the mornings as basketball and football workouts continue around youth camps for each sport as well as baseball and softball.
Terre Haute South High School plays host to a girls' basketball summer league that involves multiple teams from South, North, Northview and Riverton Parke and single teams from South Vermillion and Clay City. The Knight's boys team participates in a league that includes basketball powerhouses like Ben Davis and squads from Bloomington.
These leagues are aimed at allowing teams to remain sharp during the offseason as well as integrating incoming freshman into a higher level of competition with next seasons' teammates.
Some opponents of the new rules governing supervised practices and workouts believe that the added court time takes away from the vacations that the student/athlete should enjoy during the summer. However Northview girls' basketball coach Bob Medworth believes that the added practices and workouts are beneficial to the players as long as they are kept in perspective.
"I think (the practices) have to be in moderation," commented Medworth. "The athletes need to be kids and most of the basketball kids are also in other sports or in bad so they spend a lot of time at school. But the key is that they seem to enjoy it and realize it is necessary to get the results we want next season."
Clay City coach Chris Ross feels that the extra games will pay off for his team in the long run. "We wanted to get into a summer league this year. We would have liked to get into a league with a group of smaller schools but as long as we stay positive about our goals I think we'll be much better for the experience."
For the Northview girls' program, coming off their best season ever, the opportunity to have two complete squads this season will help their younger players progress even quicker with the competition.
"Summer is very important. It is when you begin to blend the new comers in with the returnees," noted Medworth. "It is also when your kids can try and up their game and take a few chances without worrying about making a mistake or costing their team a game."
While the Knights have long had individual players in the Terre Haute South League the ability to have their entire team together for a total of nearly 20 games will only accelerate the learning curve and maintain the excitement created by last season's success. "I think that enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm," said Medworth. "For the most part we have older kids who are outwardly demonstrating their desire to work hard and put in the time and it is rubbing off on the younger kids."
For Clay City, this is the first year that the squad has played as a team in the South League and coach Chris Ross will have to wait to see the results of this summer's experience. "I'd like to believe that this experience will really help us but we'll have to wait and see."