Indoor high school sports adjust to UIL restrictions


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The Caprock girls basketball team works out Monday morning. [Kale Steed/ Press Pass Sports]

Since the University Interscholastic League allowed high school’s voluntary strength and conditioning summer workouts between coaches and athletes on June 8, the main focus has been primarily football.

But how have the strict UIL restrictions affected indoor sports. The weight room is one thing, while practicing outdoors with a wide open space isn’t a difficult a task as a limited capacity as indoors for volleyball and basketball coaches.

When the UIL released the guidelines it was confusing for coaches to figure out what they’d be allowed to do. Both sports are heavy in passing in their respective sport.

So let’s break it down.

For basketball workouts there is no one-on-one competition. There can be 10 players to one coach in a group on the floor at one time.

Players are allowed to pass and shoot the ball within the group but the balls being used must stay with the same group.

Does this make sense?

Coming into the second week of summer workouts coaches are starting to catch on.

“First off, we just love having everyone back and participating,” Caprock girls basketball coach David Smiley said. “ But when I first saw the rules I thought the players couldn’t pass at all. Then you’d have to keep up with what players are in what group.

“There are a lot of guidelines we have to follow. We are pretty much working on individual skills. It’s like a camp, we start out on ball handling stuff, then we rotate and do skills. So it’s either all shooting, all dribbling or all passing.”

Tascosa boys basketball coach Steve Jackson echoed Smiley’s comments.

“We’ve made sure and split all of the players up, and kept them in a social distance,” Jackson said. “Coach (Betsy) Baughman (Tascosa’s girls basketball coach) and I are working together well on this and have a good plan for our groups so far.”

The Amarillo High girls volleyball team goes over instruction from a social distance Monday. [Kale Steed/ Press Pass Sports]

As for volleyball, it’s the same as basketball. There can be 10 players to a group to one coach. Those players in a group are allowed to hit the balls and pass to each other, however, when they move to a different station the athletes have to keep the same balls at all times.

Coaches also have to sanitize and clean between stations.

“The biggest difficulties we’ve seen is not having any blocking,” Amarillo High coach Mike Moffitt said. “We can’t do 6-on-6, so any of the offense we do is hitting. No one can block or dig around the block. That’s been the biggest hurdle for us is just not having a blocker there. But at the end of the day we’re just glad to have our kids back. We’ve missed the interaction of being around everyone and seeing them develop.”

Randall coach Haleigh Burns agreed.

“We have hand sanitizer spray and we’ve limited touching the net,” Burns said. “After we’re done everything gets sprayed down. It was hard to social distance at first until they noticed it was up to them that there is a bigger picture. They want to have a season so we have been abiding by the rules.”

The hardest part for both basketball and volleyball coaches is having to teach a new way of celebration without touching. A technique that is easier said than done.

“I never thought I’d tell my players no hi-fiving,” Burns said. “There’s been lots of air fives, lots of air knuckles and elbow taps. We’ve all had fun with that. But it’s hard cause that’s all we’ve encouraged since they were little.”

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