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Over the past three weeks coaches and athletes alike in West Virginia have been trying to put as much work in as possible during the allotted "three-week practice period."

The three-week summer practice period is granted by the WVSSAC every year allows coaches to work with their teams for the upcoming season as much as they want to.

This is valuable time for coaches to work with their returning players and incoming middle school players for the upcoming season, as they are not allowed to work with their team any other time of the year other than this three-week period, during the season, and during limited flex-days.

That means if you are a multi-sport athlete, which many kids have to be at the smaller schools across the state, you are trying to work in baseball, football, and/or basketball practices and games all into one day.

I can recall back in my playing days at Williamson High School when I would wake up early in the morning and have basketball practice at the Fieldhouse, then head up to the old complex for weight training or 7-on-7 work for football, and then head down to Lefty Hamilton Park in the evening for a summer league baseball game.

These were very strenuous days as all of my coaches expected me to be in attendance for their practice and I felt obligated to make everyone, even though I was physically exhausted.

Meanwhile over in Kentucky, high school coaches are allowed to work with their players all year long except for during a "two-week dead period" during the last week of June and the first week of July.

During this time the KHSAA does not permit the use school facilities, uniforms, equipment, transportation, or anything related to athletic programs through midnight July 9.

Following July 9, coaches can once again schedule practices for their specific sport and start working with their players until the upcoming season begins.

Players that are multi-sport athletes typically focus most of their attention on whatever sport is in season but they are also allowed to work with the coaches of the other sports.

For example, during football season at Belfry safety Brett Coleman will focus mainly on football practice and training but he can also get some work in on the side with baseball coach Michael Hagy and hoops coach Mark Thompson.

Meanwhile in West Virginia, if Mingo Central quarterback Daylin "Day Day" Goad wanted to work on his baseball swing with coach Logan Lester during football season, he would not be allowed.

Also teams in Kentucky are allowed to play more games in every sport, minus football, which is another advantage for athletes in the Bluegrass State.

I realize kids can get burnt out or "over-worked" and it shouldn't be held against them if they can't make every off-season workout, but the kids who do like to put in the work or have a chance to gain a college scholarship are the ones that are hurt.

The WVSSAC and the State Board of Education need to figure out a way to give athletes in the Mountain State a chance to be the best player they can be, because right now our kids are at a disadvantage.

Jarrid McCormick is a sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.

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