There was a time not too many years ago when high school athletes could show up on the first day of practice and go on to turn in a successful season.
But those times don't exist today.
For a team or individual to excel on the prep level, an off-season program is a must.
Just look around for proof.
Payson High School coaches are spending every waking minute planning weight training sessions, summer tournaments, practices and tutoring sessions for their athletes.
Only days after being appointed football coach, Mike Wheelis was heading a spring program. New girls basketball coach Shaun Hardt's first duty was to institute a summer program. Wrestling coach Dennis Pirch has attracted a national power to Payson and girls soccer coach Linda Gibson is taking some of her team members on a playing tour to Australia.
As always, baseball coach Teddy Pettet has entered his team in a Phoenix-area summer league. Will Dunman is sending his softball players to two University of Arizona-sponsored camps in Prescott. Boys basketball coach Randy Wilcox has three camps, a three-on-three tournament and a high school summer shootout on his busy summer agenda.
Many Rim country track and field athletes, including a team from the Tonto Apache Reservation, will be entered in U.S.A. amateur competitions throughout the next few months.
Some of the best in the sport could travel as far away as Buffalo, New York for national competition.
Today's level of play requires tremendous, time, energy and commitment from young athletes, parents and the coaches.
Everyone can do their share to help the summer programs from Little League to high school wrestling simply by attending these athletic events. Most are free of charge and the youngsters will appreciate your show of support.
Car wash to benefit Horn soccer
Lady Longhorn soccer coach Linda Gibson will take a crew of her players on a 16-day tour of Australia where the team will participate in two tournaments.
In order to earn money for the trip, the girls have been doing odd jobs and benefits around the Rim country. The next such event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 27 at Energy West offices located at 200 W. Longhorn Road. The cost of the wash is $5 and all proceeds go to help the girls make the trip.
It's a great cause - make a point to go by and get the buggy washed.