Clayton players, coaches take mandated week off

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Drew basketball coach Jarrod Davis says the GHSA “dead week” is needed to give both coaches and athletes a needed break.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Drew basketball coach Jarrod Davis says the GHSA “dead week” is needed to give both coaches and athletes a needed break.

The practice fields and courts have been empty. The weight rooms were closed this week.

School practice facilities have been off limits for coaches and players.

While many coaches and players would’ve rather been utilizing this week for practices, Georgia High School Association rules prohibited it.

This has been the annual “dead week” for GHSA member schools, which put a one-week halt to all organized team activities.

The “dead week” is met with mixed emotions from coaches and players.

“I don’t like it,” Lovejoy defensive end Randy Anyanwu said. “It always takes me a minute to get back into my routine once we have that week off.”

The majority of players would rather be involved in some sort of activity. Coaches say the week-long hiatus gives everybody time to breathe as they head into the final stages of preseason practice.

“We all need a break,” Drew basketball coach Jarrod Davis said. “It gives the players and coaches a chance to recharge, and get ready for a busy month of July.”

Coaches want their players to relax, but also don’t want them to get too far out of their normal routine. Most encouraged their athletes to stay active during the week.

“We want them to rest, but we also want them to do some things to stay somewhat in shape,” said first-year Henry County coach Morris Starr. “Even if it's just running or doing some things like that to stay warm. But I think [dead week] is good because it gives their legs an opportunity to rest.”

Some players said they have gotten together with teammates to exercise and do drills.

Upon returning to offseason drills next week, Jonesboro football coach Tim Floyd said they will start their strength and conditioning testing within the next week.

Drew football coach Jarrett Laws said his team will start transitioning into its regular practice tempo to get ready for the start of preseason practice.

“We are starting to move a little faster now,” he said. “We like the week off for both players and coaches. Our tempo will increase now, so it is important that the players stay in shape.”

Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley said the GHSA-mandated off week is needed.

“Personally, I think it is a good thing that they make us take this time away, because if they didn’t, we'd be out here still working and getting out on the field,” he said.

But Whitley is quick to emphasis that he don’t want any players developing in lazy habits during the off week.

“I tell the guys, we don’t want anyone just sitting on the couch doing nothing during the week, because when we come back on the (July 8), we’re not easing into things,” he said. “We’re going full speed ahead.”

Staff writer Gabriel Stovall contributed to this article.