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WIAA changes tackling rule for high school practices

By Kelsie Hoitomt

In an effort to cut down on injuries and concussions, the WIAA voted last Thursday, June 26 to scale back on full contact football in high school practices this upcoming season.

Prior to this, there were no restrictions on how long coaches could allow players to have full contact in practices, but the new rules now limit hard hits to just one hour per week.

According to WIAA Deputy Director, Wade Labecki, the new rules do not allow full contact during the first week of practice.

Then during the second week of practice, live contact will be limited to 75 minutes for the week.

And finally, that limit drops down to 60 minutes a week during the third week of practice and remains that way throughout the rest of the season.

The new rule would basically mean, for example, a coach could allow for three days with 20 minutes of full speed football.

According to coach Shane Strong, this new rule will not have much of an affect on the way practices are run in Glenwood City.

“About ten years ago I spent a number of days observing practice at St. John’s University where they have very little full contact in their practices, said Strong. “With our small school numbers, we cannot go full contact on a daily basis because of the risk of injuries.”

Instead of full contact football, the Hilltopper team focuses on technique, footwork, assignments and fundamental skills.

In Boyceville, head coach Brian Roemhild stated that this new rule will definitely impact the way his Bulldog team practices as Tuesday and Wednesdays were typically spent in pads in preparation for games.

Roemhild said that he and assistant coach Jamie Olson are currently working on a way to restructure their practice and make it more play focused for example.