FHSAA rules restrict teams to weightlifting and conditioning.
High school football teams are only allowed to “condition” their players during summer workouts, according to the Florida High School Athletic Association.
Under Article 21-1-3, the FHSAA defines what conditioning is — and what it is not. Conditioning “is NOT teaching sport-specific skills and drills and does NOT involve the use of sport-specific equipment.”
But most high school teams, including the majority of the area’s teams, have found a way around this: Nearly every week throughout the summer, high school football players sign up to compete in 7-on-7 flag football games.
But here’s the problem: While skill players (quarterbacks, receivers, defensive backs, linebackers and so on) can work on their technique at these events, non-skill players — linemen in particular — are left out to dry.
So, should teams be permitted to have full-contact football practices, which the FHSAA prohibits until fall camp, during the summer?
This scenario brings forth both problems and conflict.
On one hand, it could prove beneficial to provide all athletes a chance to work on their skills — not just their conditioning. Is it fair that one group gets to work on the totality of their game, while the other is limited to essentially just weightlifting and running?
However, although summer workouts are not mandatory, should teens be subjugated to additional full-contact practices even after enduring a full season and spring practice? There could be negative side effects healthwise.
But, there should be common ground.
While the health of young athletes should always be No. 1 on the list of priorities, legitimate opportunities should be afforded to all athletes who have a desire to improve their skills.