Now that school has shut down for the summer months, most teenagers will have plenty of free hours to kick back and enjoy time off.
Young athletes who hope to succeed next year, however, should allocate some of their summer time to training for their favorite sport. Training usually takes place in one of three forms weights, conditioning or skill development. All are important in molding successful athletes.
Only a few decades ago, teenagers could turn out for the first day of practice and go on to have a reasonably good season. Today, however, only a handful of a talented few can compete successfully on natural ability alone. Most athletes need the benefits of summer training.
For proof, check out the local athletes who turned in good seasons during the past school year. Almost all participated in some type of off-season program.
One of the secrets behind the 28-year success of former coach Dennis Pirch's wrestling teams was the dedication the athletes showed in the summer months.
Off course, they were urged by coaches to attend camps and training sessions and to compete in freestyle meets. But, that's what good coaches do. Pirch's successor, Dave LaMotte, already has an ambitious summer program under way.
In baseball, as soon as the prep season ends, PHS coach Teddy Pettet has his teams competing in a valley-area amateur league.
Last summer, Lady Longhorn soccer coach Linda Gibson went so far as to take a team to Australia to train and compete.
In football, weight training and summer passing leagues are the stuff state champions are made of.
PHS basketball teams have in past summers traveled around the state and to San Diego for summer competition. This summer, Lady Horn coach Shaun Hardt has brought in Arizona State University assistant Laura Hughes to help at his youth camp.
Ask almost any coach and he or she will tell you great teams are molded in the off season.
Payson has always boasted several summer sports offerings and this year is no exception. Almost every coach at Payson High School has scheduled summer camps, tournaments and competition for youngsters of all ages.
But young people need to take advantage of these offerings and parents need to encourage their children to participate.
Parents also need to support the coaches who are giving their free time in the best interests of youngsters.
Teenagers who take the easy road this summer and refuse to train and improve, could fall by the wayside once the fall season rolls around.
Right name, wrong tune
The musical group that was providing entertainment at the Payson Area Habitat for Humanity's "Home Run" 5K Walk/Run May 12 in Green Valley Park was "Trouble in Paradise" with Chuck and Barb Casey. In this column May 15, we said that it was Rob Martinique. Originally Rob was to appear at the run with "Trouble in Paradise." According to PAHH officials, Rob had to cancel due to health problems.