Summer practice sessions begin

PARKERSBURG – With the proposal of summer-long practices turned down and shut out by the State Board of Education, coaches across the state are beginning their traditional three-week practice period. Here’s a look at what they are doing so far.

“This is the time where we try to get everything in,” said Williamstown head football coach Terry Smith. “We do some conditioning and some actual practice”

Smith said that the time given during the summer is great for team development.

“It is pretty helpful, It helps everybody get together,” Smith said.

“Skill development, that’s what we do, skill work with skill people,” Ravenswood basketball and football coach Mick Price said.

“What we are doing is putting emphasis on what they can do during the summer,” said Price.”The kids learn how to work out and hydrate themselves, that way they can continue on their own.”

For a sports team just breaking out of its season, Parkersburg South baseball coach Matt Null takes his swing at more welcoming exercises.

“We practice when we can,” Null said, “what we really focus on is maintaining past relationships with kids who have been here and develop new relationships with the upcoming freshmen.”

Legendary Parkersburg High Soccer coach Don Fosselman takes full advantage of this time as well, but in a different way than most.

“Family time, we are a family, it’s our motto,” Fosselman said. For the first night of practice, coach Fosselman allowed the team to work on team bonding along with practicing.

“The first night of practice the boys got together and watched the U.S. beat Ghana,” Fosselman said.

Fosselman not only started PHS’ soccer program, but under his guidance the Big Reds have won 11 Mountain State Athletic Conference championships, 19 sectional championships, 9 regional championships and 6 state championships.

The focus Fosselman brings onto the field is one of repetition.

“It’s just touches,” said Fosselman, “We are focusing on doing simple things well.”

When asked how the three weeks affect his team as a whole, Fosselman said it is a tremendous help.

“It helps in identifying the upcoming kids, we have about 18 potential 8th graders coming out so it shows us where we need to focus,” Fosselman said.

In St. Marys, football coach Jodi Mote prepares for the season ahead both in state and out of state.

“We do some 7 on 7’s, but this Sunday we plan on leaving for Glenville State College’s football camp,” said Mote.

The team plans on staying there until Tuesday to work on offensive systems and developing skills.

With practices seeming to go well, would coaches have preferred to go all summer long?

“I was OK with it,” said Price. “There are enough coaches that would’ve handled it professionally.”

Price said that as head coach of two sports he knows how to schedule around not only multiple sports, but vacations and jobs as well.

On the other hand, however, coach Fosselman believed it would take away summer from the athletes, not allowing them to enjoy being kids.

“I am a three sport advocate,” said Null. “I believe we could’ve made it work.”

“Kids that love to play will practice regardless and play on their travel teams,” Null said.