Like any experienced coach, Rita Rouse uses her timeouts judiciously. The Greenfield-Central volleyball program leader dictates exactly at what point in a match her team needs a break in the action.
But, what happens when a time-out is called on an entire season?
The 2012-13 school year will mark the first occasion that all four Hancock County high schools will use a balanced calendar. This new calendar is marked by three distinct changes over the more traditional school schedule: an Aug. 1 start date, a two-week fall break (Oct. 8-19) and a two-week spring break (March 18-29). There’s also a two-week holiday break (Dec.24-Jan. 4), which is in line with past years.
As it applies to sports, the balanced calendar, which has become popular with school corporations around the country and across Indiana, will have an effect. The fall break will land directly at the start of football sectionals, for example.
With the Royals, Cougars, Marauders and Dragons about to embark on their first slide into the balanced calendar, Hancock County athletes, coaches, parents and administrators hope the effect is a positive one, and not a disruption.
With school beginning Aug. 1, as opposed to the mid-August date of former years, two-a-day practices are going by the wayside, at least in the traditional sense.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association lists July 30 as the first day that football, volleyball, soccer, cross country and boys’ tennis teams may practice and July 27 for girls’ golf.
Usually, many of those squads would use the two week run-up to the start of school as a chance to conduct twice daily practices; often a conditioning workout in the morning or early afternoon and a typical practice later in the day.
Some county teams, including the football programs, will still choose to get a workout in before school, but many squads will stick with a lone after-school practice. And while the balanced or “year-round” calendar is trending, the majority of the local teams’ opponents remain on the traditional calendar.
“Schools who start later, in mid-August, will definitely have that advantage (of two-a-day practices),” said Rouse, entering her third year with the Cougars. “That is why our two weeks of practices in July will be so very important.
“Those weeks definitely become our pre-season. We have adjusted the first week of our scheduled matches to help accommodate not having those extra practice sessions in early August.”