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High school and middle school athletics are now in the second week of the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association (TSSAA) mandated dead period, but many local athletes are far from idle during their brief summer break.
TSSAA regulations forbid coach-led practices, weightlifting or conditioning during the two-week, all-sports dead period that annually covers the last week in June and the first week in July. Coaches are not allowed to have contact with athletes during this period or to mandate any type of practice-related activities.
The dead period was implemented several years ago at the request of school administrators who wanted to give coaches and althletes an across-the-board in addition to sport-specific dead times. Mandating the dead period in the summer levels the playing field and gives everyone a break, according to TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress.
“During that time coaches can have no contact with the kids whatsoever,” Childress said. When the rule was ini-tially implemented, some coaches complained, but today some are expressing a desire for the time to be extended, he said. “Two weeks is not that long.”
Coffee County Central High School coaches say they intend to follow both the letter and the spirit of the reaquire-ment. Athletes, however, are being encouraged to keep in shape on their own during the break, and many are actively competing on non-school sports teams.
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