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Igel believes summers getting out of controlPosted Monday, July 26, 2010, at 6:54 PM
LITTLE CINCINNATI -- Andy Igel, varsity boys basketball coach at Eastern Greene High School and former board member of the Hoosier Basketball Coaches Association, was no different than any prep coach in Indiana -- he felt like he needed more time to instruct his kids, especially in the summer.
It was just about a half dozen or so years ago when the Indiana High School Athletic Association changed the rules about summer contact with players. It was previously forbidden but now coaches can be with their troops most of June and July.
What seemed like a good idea at the time has not worked out that way in reality, according to Igel, who is starting his 21st season as a head coach.
"I was like everybody else," said Igel. "I really pushed for it. I really wanted to have the opportunity to work with the kids in the summer. I felt like we were missing out.
"But to be honest, I would love to go back to the way it was. I would love to have a do over. It started out as a week or two and now it is all summer. You feel like you have to try and keep up with everybody else."
Because of the different rules, Igel said that he knows of some teams that played 60 or 70 games in June and believes the system is spinning out of control.
"June is now is our busiest month of the year. Things are very hectic," said Igel. "It is tough on the kids and their parents.
"We played over 20 games, usually in weekend tournaments. We really are asking so much from these kids. You can't make it mandatory, but."
Between camps, tournament games, open gyms and weight training, there is little time for teenagers to be teenagers, especially when you consider those athletes at smaller schools that play other sports, who also have games or off-season summer workouts.
Igel made a change in his routine this summer because of the current system.
"We gave them every Tuesday off. We don't do anything on Tuesdays," he said. "They need time to be a kid and go to Holiday World, for at least a day."
According to Igel, he has been averaging 16-22 players attending various summer sessions. He said his coaching staff tries to incorporate as many individual skill drills as possible and limit the number of games.
"Because of playing so many games, skills like free-throw shooting have diminished," said Igel. "It would be safe to say that percentages are down across the board.
During open gyms, Igel rarely stops play, letting the players pick sides and call their own fouls.
"When we have open gym, I think it's important to just let them play," he said.
Igel has everybody but two returning from teams that went 13-9 (varsity), 17-3 (junior varsity) and 11-4 (C-team) last season.
"Other than making it tougher on kids and coaches, I think the kids play so many games in the summer that the 22-23 games during the season don't mean as much anymore," said Igel. "Those 20 or so nights where you put on your school's jersey used to be the biggest thing for a high school player. I just don't think it is the same anymore. I think it was more important in the past not to let your school down, especially when you wore your school colors.
"We have gotten to a situation where it is quantity over quality," Igel said. "I would love to see the IHSAA change it."
B.J. Hargis is sports editor of the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812 847-4487, ext. 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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