As the first official high school football practice was coming to an end Monday at Snider, coach Kurt Tippmann used the last 10 minutes of team stretching as a teachable moment.
“Stretch, it's important, otherwise wouldn't be doing it,” Tippmann tells his team.
That's what practice No. 1 was all about: learning.
“It's a continual process,” Tippmann said. “If they're not learning a nuance, an added tool or a more in-depth level of how to play their position, then I think we're not doing our jobs as coaches. Our goal is improvement everyday we're here. To do that, we have to acknowledge those (learning) opportunities that are there.”
After a summer of optional workouts, mandatory and official team workouts began Monday. Full contact practices begin Thursday.
“It's almost like you got to slow down a bit, because we were able to wear more equipment during the summer and then today's just helmets,” Tippmann said.
Part of that learning process includes nutrition and healthy eating habits.
“When they leave here we don't see them,” Tippmann said. “It's something we have to talk about all the time and trust that us educating them will get them to understand and believe in it, and then take the necessary steps with their parents ... so they understand well that's a huge part of this process.”
Senior tight end Simon Dellinger knows his team lost a lot of talent from last season's sectional championship team.
“We got a bunch of guys that are hungry,” Dellinger said. “There's a lot of open spots and nothing is set and stone.”
The first official practice gives coaches a chance to see whom they're working with.
“The first day's always exciting. During the summer nothing is mandatory, so you don't always have a great idea all the time what your team will look like. Now it's mandatory and so to get the kids out here you kind of have a feel as to who our guys are going to be for the season,” Concordia coach Tim Mannigel said.
Bishop Dwenger enters with a new head coach and a pack of returning seniors.
“I can't say enough about our 18 seniors; just outstanding young men, who they are before what they do out here on the field,” coach Jason Garrett said.
Senior Joe Tippmann said he's excited to learn under a new head coach and staff Garrett brought with him.
“I'm excited to learn a new way to play football, and a new type of positivity on the field,” Tippmann said. “Some of the coaches may not know our traditions the way we know them, so we can help out guide not only the people below us, but all the other seniors as well.”
Garrett said he and his coaches are trying to get the team to understand the process and that the outcomes will come later.
“Our theme, at least for this week, is the whole idea of pressure versus process,” Garrett said. “I don't want them to feel any pressure and understanding what pressure is.”
Inheriting a veteran team will ease the process of implementing a new coaching format for Garrett.
“You really can't measure the importance of it (the senior class), and that has shown in the summer. Mainly how wiling they've been to embrace some of the new things,” Garrett said.
Garrett said the practice was like “organized chaos,” but that all that chaos marks the official start to the season.