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‘Dog Days’ turn into double days

It’s the dog days of summer which mean two things to sports fans – pennant races and beginning of football.

But, for local prep athletes this time of year has a totally different meaning – the opening of fall practices.

Today, 3A-1A schools can begin practicing, while 4A schools have to wait until next week to open training camps.



Many of Whittell’s fall programs will start grinding it out and get in shape for the looming fall slate.

Warrior coaches Steve Maltase, Mike Leeper and Brian Rippet, all of whom have programs on the rise, have already begun strategies to ease their athletes into playing shape.




For Maltase and Leeper, boys and girls soccer coaches, respectively, the opening week of workouts will be conditioning intensive.

“The first four session are mainly to get in shape,” said Leeper, whose team won the Nevada 2A State title a year ago. “We’ll introduce a ball about midway through the week then grind it out with soccer beginning next week.”

All three coaches will use a double-day method, something usually associated with football, but Maltase feels it helps his team get ready in a hurry considering the Warriors’ first game is little over ten days away.

“The kids have to show up because you have to get in ten practices before you can play,” he said. “We want to be ready and not embarrass ourselves out there.”

Although Rippet also employs the two-a-day mentality as well, he uses it for another reason.

“It’s just to make sure everyone can make a practice,” said Rippet who coaches the cross country team. “In the past I’ve only had an afternoon session and found that some of the kids couldn’t make it because of work and other schedule conflicts.”

Rippet also doesn’t stress a lot of intensive conditioning in the beginning, rather he tries to build up his runners’ fitness base before putting on the heavy load.

“We’re kind of the exact opposite of the other sports because we don’t use hell week as something the kids have to survive,” he said. “We have ours right before our first meet, so by then we’re in shape.

“Right now, I just try to go with the stamina level of the kids.”

Maltase and Leeper both feel by getting their kids in shape before introducing a soccer ball into the workouts is the best way for them to get their players in the right state of mind.

“We just try and get everyone out there and working hard,” Leeper said. “The training sessions without the balls really helps them to motivate.”

Maltase said the short amount of time before games begin is the biggest factor in his style of workouts.

“We have to get in 10 practices in two weeks,” he said. “It helps both (soccer) programs become the best conditioned in the state.”


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