Monday games controversial

Anne Arundel experiment draws mixed reactions


High Schools

September 10, 2004|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

A new wrinkle in the Anne Arundel County schedules for soccer and field hockey has received mixed reviews from coaches.

Games scheduled for early in the week have been switched from Tuesday to Monday, prompting concerns about preparation time and the possibility of more wear on players.

Marlene Kelly, the county's supervisor of athletics, said it's a one-year experiment and came on the recommendation of coaches.

In recent fall seasons, poor weather and other factors had teams playing a number of games back-to-back in the middle of the week. Playing on Monday will give teams a two-day window before resuming county schedules on Thursday.

"When you play on Tuesday, it really closes down your options as to when you can reschedule a game," Kelly said. "So the thought process for this year was to experiment with Monday games because then we would have that Tuesday as an option rather than just Wednesday as the next playable date."

Severna Park field hockey coach Lil Shelton sees more negatives than positives.

With Sunday a day off, Shelton said she will have to have practices Saturdays to prepare for any big Monday games.

"It's going to be tough on the girls. I just feel they need to rest their bodies more," she said. "To try to get them mentally and physically ready for some tough games on Monday may be difficult."

It could be an even greater challenge for some of the better girls soccer teams, which have a number of players who participate in club ball on the weekends. South River coach Keith Fontaine is already trying to figure out how to plan for his Seahawks' showdown against rival Severna Park on Oct. 4.

"It's going to be frustrating not having a practice session in before a big game, but every team is in the same situation," Fontaine said.

"In years past, I've given the team Fridays off at times, but now we'll have to work hard on Friday to prepare for Monday. I think the girls we have are mature enough that they'll be able to hold the concept of what we want to do until Monday and then we'll have more pre-game preparation to reinforce the plan."

Old Mill boys soccer coach Jeff Martin will be glad to see Wednesday-Thursday games go, which he said have occurred too often in recent years because of inclement weather.

Martin added he won't have to change his practice schedule much, simply adding tactical work on Saturdays, which was usually spent on conditioning. He often gives his players Friday off after a Thursday game.

Kelly will be looking for feedback from coaches and athletic directors on the experiement.

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