Two-a-day high school football practices are banned under new rules approved by the Iowa High School Athletic Association. Beginning this year teams will be limited to one practice and three hours per day.
Todd Tharp of the IHSAA says a lot of coaches think the two-a-days are a rite of passage, but he says the association feels it’s better for the athletes when it comes to safety. Tharp says the change comes following additional research on issues related to heat.
This year, teams that play on what is called “week zero” will start practice on August fifth and the remainder start on August 12th.
He says some of the warmest weather happens in the month of August. “And so we just want our schools to look after our student athletes and do whatever they can to help student athletes out when they do come to football practice,” Tharp says.
Also, full contact will not be allowed until nearly a week into practice. Tharp says the first two days will be helmets only and days three, four and five will be in shoulder pads and helmets.
“They’ll be able to have contact with blocking sleds and dummies and even some contact with other players to work on proper form tackling, to work on proper blocking technique to work on keeping the eyes up and helmet out of blocking and tackling. And then on day six, which will be Saturday, they’ll be able to go to live physical contact,” he says.
Tharp says beginning with the next season schools will be allowed to scrimmage another school after ten days of practice. He says a lot of schools have an intrasquad soap or pop scrimmage already, and now they can bring in another opponent.
Tharp says many schools will use it to replace their traditional “intrasquad scrimmage” that was held a week before the opening game. He says many of the small schools weren’t able to have a scrimmage because of their numbers.
And Tharp says beginning this season the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls will be used in the playoffs for only the semifinal and championship round. The exception is Cedar Falls High School which uses the dome as its home field.