Chris Moss isn’t that old. But at times, the Good Hope High football coach hears himself talking about how things used to be done.

Like most veteran coaches, Moss remembers when two-a-day practices were common place in high school football.

Just a few years ago, two-a-days were how football programs across the state kicked off their seasons — an event that was popular among coaches and hated players.

Every year, the first week of fall football practice would be devoted to conditioning. Players would report for practice early in the day, and come back in the afternoon for a second session.

Those days are long gone. The two-a-day practice is now a thing of the past.

“The way the schedule is set up today, you can’t hardly have two-a-days anymore,” Moss said. “But everyone else is dealing with the same thing, so you just have to adjust and move on.”

One reason two-a-day practices were so popular was because coaches could put an emphasis on conditioning while preparing the team for its first opponent at the same time.

But as school calenders changed, it became difficult to squeeze in two practices on the same day.

This left coaches with a decision: Do you cut back on conditioning or actual football practice?

Most coaches wanted to do neither. And thanks to a few changes in the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s rule book, coaches didn’t have to.

Instead of cramming everything into one long practice, coaches merely adjusted their schedules — spending more time with their players in the summer months working on strength and conditioning.

“The rules have changed now, so you can spend more time with your players in the summer,” said Addison coach Randy White. “We have our guys up here working out and running during the offseason.

“You pretty much have to do that now, especially since everyone else in the state is doing the same thing. If you don’t have an offseason strength and conditioning program, you’re just putting yourself at a disadvantage.”

A decade ago, high school 7-on-7 camps were basically non-existent in Alabama. And if football players were working out in the summer months, it was supposed to be on a volunteer basis.

That’s not the case anymore.

When the AHSAA implemented the Seven Days of Competition rule a few years ago, it allowed high school coaches to legally work with their players during the summer months.

Now, coaches all across the state are taking advantage of the extra practice time allowed by the AHSAA.

“It gives us a chance to get kids out there and get them coached up, get some things installed and see who might be a playmaker for the regular season,” said Fairview coach George Redding, who has been taking the Aggies to passing camps throughout July.

Passing camps may give coaches a little extra practice time, but it can also be a valuable conditioning tool.

“That’s what we use (passing camps) for,” Moss said. “It’s a good way to get the players in shape.”

Passing camps may be a good conditioning tool for skill position players, but what about everyone else.

Moss said they get their conditioning in during the team’s summer workouts.

“Our guys have been working out all summer, but we also get our running in,” he said. “When the season starts, the players have to be in shape. That’s one of the most important things.

“I actually like the way things are set up now. Our guys should be in good shape when fall practice starts next week. That means we can spend more time working on other things.”

According to White, having a good offseason strength and conditioning program is good in more ways than one.

“Being in shape can help you on the football field,” he said. “But it also helps prevent injuries. That’s as important as anything else.”

With fall practice set to begin on Monday, Aug. 4, most coaches are starting to put the finishing touches on their offseason strength and conditioning programs.

“We’re giving our guys next week off,” White said. “That way they can rest up before practice starts next week. After that, our guys will be going full speed.”

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