Coaches ready for fall sports season

School athletics just a few short weeks away.

“POULSBO – How many helmets have you worn? Asked Chris Franklin, the trainer for North Kitsap High School sports. His hands adjusted the helmet on a football player’s head, trying to make it fit right. The player winced. The helmet was squeezing his head. This is the first, he said. Thursday was the first of two days when equipment was issued for the Vikings’ looming high school season. And as fall approaches, coaches of all sports find themselves making small adjustments to get ready for the season. Scott McKay, a first-year athletic coordinator at the high school, knows the business of fall sports well. He has been a football assistant at North Kitsap, as well as the head coach at Kingston Junior High. This gets to be a really busy time, he said. Specific to football, getting into equipment issue and making sure kids have the gear they need for practice. The season means more than that, McKay added. It means making sure that fields aren’t booked for more than one team at a time. It means equipment is ready for use. I’m sure Teri (Ishihara, the girls’ soccer coach) is making sure the soccer balls are pumped up, McKay added. Once those issues are resolved, McKay said, the first week of practice can still be hectic. We probably spend as much time with paperwork as with kids who are ready to go, McKay said. What that first week of practice is used for, McKay said, depends on the sport. When I was coaching baseball, just to give you an example, the first week is a tryout. You want to do as much teaching and coaching as you can, but you’re looking at making some tough decisions, he remarked. In football, you can jump full-scale into teaching mode. That mode is important, McKay added, because the beginning of the season is less than three weeks away – and to a high school or junior high coach, those can seem like three very short weeks. It’s about knowing you have a limited time, McKay said. They don’t cancel athletic events because you’re not ready. That need to be ready calls for more and more coaches – and athletes – to work in the off season. You’ve got to continually find ways to get better, because you’ve got to believe the other teams are, McKay said. As a coach he believed in keeping in touch with his players in the off season, making sure they were lifting weights, participating in other sports and keeping in shape. As an athletic coordinator he will encourage the coaches he oversees to do the same. In football, you can’t show up Aug. 21 having done nothing for four or five months and expect to perform at your best, he said. Trish Olson, who is a coach with the cross-country team along with head coach Katie Savage, is hoping her athletes know that message too. Katie and I put together a letter that went out in June, she said. When practice was going to be, that kind of information. And Katie put together a workout plan for them. Olson said that many returning athletes know the importance of keeping in shape over the summer. Many, she said, have been running in events in the last few months. But she doesn’t know that about all of them. Olson said, Whether or not they did anything … time will tell. “