Summer sports camps are under scrutiny from some local parents who believe the camps aren't necessarily voluntary. The Colorado High School Activities Association handbook states mandatory practices cannot begin before Aug. 11.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Summer sports camps are under scrutiny from some local parents who believe the camps aren't necessarily voluntary. The Colorado High School Activities Association handbook states mandatory practices cannot begin before Aug. 11.

Voluntary or mandatory?

Some parents ask: Who draws the line for summer sports camps?

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— Everybody wants to win.

Coaches, players, parents - everybody involved in sports wants to taste victory.

But at what length will a parent, player or coach go?

The numerous sporting camps conducted by Moffat County High School coaches this summer raised question among some parents about where the line should be drawn between voluntary workouts in the off season and mandatory practice.

Lori Mann, mother of a graduated MCHS athlete, was the only parent interviewed for this story who commented on the record in opposition of the various off-season voluntary workouts.

She said she felt that a lack of a presence at "voluntary workouts" meant a decrease in the chances of her child making a team.

"I feel like it's too much," Mann said. "They don't enjoy their summer, because they feel obligated to go to all of them."

Article 23, Rule 2300.2 of the Colorado High School Activities Association handbook states: "No coach or school representative may directly or by implication direct a student to participate in competition outside of the competitive season as a condition to participating or otherwise influencing a student's opportunity to participate in any school sport."

MCHS girls volleyball coach, Brianna Montgomery, has put her team of summer volunteers through two camps this off-season, a move she said is geared toward getting the girls up to speed.

"Coaches, of course, strongly encourage these camps," Montgomery said. "I can't make any of these camps mandatory, but I do tell girls that I think that it is critical for them to be at these camps and that it's critical that they put the time in during the summer.

"If they don't want to come and they don't want to work as hard as everybody else there is - voluntary without being asked to - then they don't even need to be there."

CHSAA Assistant Commissioner Bert Borgmann said he's sees a few violations each year, but has never had a negative report or complaint filed against MCHS.

"Coaches basically can't say, 'If you want to make the basketball team at Moffat County High School, you have to play all year with us.'" They can't say that.

"They can't make that mandatory."

Borgmann said proving an infraction occurred is difficult.

"Basically, the school would have to help us with an investigation," he said. "But, in most cases, most people have a clear picture of what's right and what's wrong."

The Bulldogs football team hosted two voluntary camps this summer, a third is ongoing and a fourth camp begins Aug. 4.

"By no means do we tell players they have to attend a voluntary camp," football coach Kip Hafey said. "If you want to be a part of the Bulldogs football team, you better be at the mandatory practice Aug. 11, but all the other stuff we've been doing is totally voluntary. We encourage them to go, but we don't tell them they have to."

Borgmann said coaches who violate rules place the team and other teams within the program at risk of a CHSAA disciplinary action, such as probation or even a suspension of playoffs for a school year.

But, for that to happen, a report has to come from the school first.

Rick Penner, first-year MCHS Athletic Director, said he believes the coaches know what they are doing, and he trusts they are able to create a definitive line between voluntary and mandatory.

"They know what's good for the athletes and the team," Penner said. "Everything that we do is governed by CHSAA. I commend our coaches for putting in the time to make all these options available to athletes to get better. In season and out of season, they take the time to work with them.

"They all know the limits they have to stay within, and I'm confident their experience and knowledge guarantees they are following the rules."

The question not only lies within football and volleyball but arises in other sports, as well.

Cross country coach Todd Trapp instilled a voluntary once-a-week team meeting for his runners, during which he answers questions and hands out three-week training routines that can be worked on in runners' spare time.

"To be successful in any sport, especially running, you have to do some kind of summer training," Trapp said. "It's the best way to keep the team motivated. If you workout in the summer, you will definitely feel the benefits. I'm not saying you can't be successful if you don't, but it's harder work to get back into shape."

Of the coaches interviewed for this story, each said voluntary practices are there to give the athletes an opportunity to excel.

And, most of the time, athletes present at voluntary off-season workouts are the athletes who generally have the most success.

So, it's left up to the athlete on how much work he or she chooses to put in, coaches said, and the workouts are an outlet for them.

"In my view, you almost have to show up at the summer practices," Cena Carlson, mother of an MCHS athlete said. "Not because the coaches are telling them they have to, but because of the level of competition. If your kid is playing against a kid who has been working all summer, your kid better be working hard all summer, too.

"If they love their sport, they will do whatever they can to get better."

Mandatory practices for each of the six fall sports teams - boys golf, cross-country, rodeo, football, volleyball and boys soccer - begin Aug. 11.

Until then, it's practice if you want.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

Ray Cartwright 6 years, 4 months ago

Kip Hafey said. "If you want to be a part of the Bulldogs football team, you better be at the mandatory practice Aug. 11, but all the other stuff we've been doing is totally voluntary. We encourage them to go, but we don't tell them they have to."

It goes without saying if you want to be a starter and active player then the voluntary is like the military volunteer program. "You, You, and You are volunteers"

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focus152 6 years, 4 months ago

This is nothing compared to what teams that win State Championships do. Berthoud last years 3A State Champs play in football leagues all summer and travel to several 7on 7 passing tourneys as does teams like Rifle and Palisade. Palisade practices and lifts weights 4days a week all summer and guess what they will kick our butt this year like always because they have kids that are getting better all summer not just with a few camps.Coach Hafey and the other coaches mentioned give our kids the opportunity to get better but still allow them time to enjoy their summer. But hey how about having the MCHS coaches offer nothing in the summer it will give you a reason to complain that our coaches now aren't providing enough opportunities for our kids.

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Ray Cartwright 6 years, 4 months ago

And what about the rancher or farmer that is relying on his son to help on the ranch so he doesn't have to hire someone to keep his work caught up? Oh too bad your child isn't good enough to get that scholarship to go to college.

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grannyrett 6 years, 4 months ago

dented-When my parents-ranchers- had kids in school, they didn't have time for sports any time of the year. We worked out digging post holes, bucking bales of hay and fixing fence. Didn't seem to find time in there for sports. We also didn't sit around and whine that we were bored. Didn't have time for that either.

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focus152 6 years, 4 months ago

dentedfender and granny I agree with you both, I dont want us to have programs that require our kids to be there all summer like the Palisades, thats why only having a few camps like football does gives the kids the option to go if they want. Check out last years program the football team started 5 sophomores last year and they had 12 Seniors out which is more than most 3A schools I really believe these coaches are playing the kids they feel as a staff have earned the right to start, you dont start just because you are a Senior.

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Ray Cartwright 6 years, 4 months ago

Focus, I too, don't want the programs that run all summer. Unfortunately the mindset at least when I was involved was that if you didn't participate during the summer you wouldn't, either have a place on the team or sat the bench. Henceforth the possibility of a scholarship was out of reach.

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oawow 6 years, 4 months ago

It doesn't matter if it's volunteer or mandatory; if you don't want to practice, then don't play. Practice is part of being in a sport, that's how you get better, that's how you turn good players into great players, and that's how you win games. The ones who do attend the practices are the ones who want to win and improve them selves, and those are your players. That's why the coaches have summer practice for those players, you can't teach discipline and work ethic. The reason Palisade beats Moffat County is because the want to be there and practice, they welcome the time to get better, not complain about it. Every player on a team wants to win, but does every player want to contribute?

It's not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.- Bear Bryant 1913-1983, American Football Coach

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