After having two evening practices to start the summer, Edgewood hit the field Thursday morning to wrap up the week. The Wildcats were still getting used to the new guidelines set out by the Alabama Department of Public Health but the coaching staff is continuing to put an emphasis on what needs to be done to keep everyone safe and do their parts to assure a season arrives in August.
“It has been a little bit of a learning curve but we have been pleasantly surprised that everyone is buying into those guidelines to keep us safe,” Edgewood coach Darryl Free said. “Everybody is adjusting.”
Free said the Wildcats spent most of the first day reviewing all the guidelines and restrictions. Although that took up a lot of time, Free knew it was worth taking the extra effort to discuss in depth so it didn’t come up every practice.
“On one side, you’re trying to abide by all the rules and on the other, you’re trying to create some normalcy for them,” Free said. “They may sound drastic on paper but when you do them and know the benefit of them, it’s not that big of a deal. There’s not an option to adjust. You either adjust or you go home and they have done a good job with that.”
The new rules have given the coaching staff have proved challenging for the coaches when putting together practice. The coaches want to be as productive as possible to prepare for the season while also understanding the safety restrictions in place.
“I think it has been a good thing to get our weight and conditioning staff to get creative,” Free said. “You can’t have really heavy weights without a spotter but you still have to figure out what they can do by themselves to get bigger, faster and stronger.”
The Wildcats are also having to ease back into the conditioning side of things as players have been without team workouts since March. Edgewood split into groups while rotating between the weight room, agility drills and doing sprints on the field.
“We want to acclimate them back to the heat,” Free said. “These kids have not been doing the physical activity that they need to be used to doing. We want to slowly get them back adjusted and gradually get them up to full speed. It’s going to be a process.”