0516-volleyball teams2.jpg

File / The Outlook Horseshoe Bend is hoping becuase it'll have so many seniors this year, not having playdates this summer won't matter as much.

While there have been so many questions surrounding how football will get played this season and when practice and workouts can begin, teams on the gridiron aren’t the only ones facing the unknowns.

Volleyball teams around the state are still in a holding pattern about when they can begin conditioning together, and now they’ve gotten another cog in their plans as the AHSAA announced Thursday teams will not be allowed to have summer competition this year.

That includes playdates, which are really valuable for volleyball teams.

“It does hinder us a little bit but we’ll be in the same boat as everybody else,” Central Coosa coach Chris Elliott said. “We’re not going to have the benefit of seeing where our team is at against competition. It’s one thing when you’re playing each other but you really get a gauge on where your team is at when you play other teams. But we’ll be in the same boat as everybody else.”

Horseshoe Bend coach Julie Turner is hopeful the lack of playdates won’t affect the Generals as much as it typically would because she’s expected the team to be more senior-laden than usual. But even that’s an uncertainty for her because volleyball teams were left without any kind of spring evaluation or tryout period.

“We’re going to have several seniors I expect to return so it hopefully won’t hurt us that bad,” Turner said. “But playdates give us an opportunity to polish up our skillset, see what kind of offense we’re going to run, work on our communication and that kind of stuff.”

Turner is really hopeful the AHSAA will release more outlined plans soon about when teams can return.

“I still need some clarification from the AHSAA as to when I can have tryouts,” Turner said. “We haven’t even selected our team, so I don’t know who I can depend on to play. What if someone has been playing for years and decides not to play this year? We just don’t know that and that puts us way behind.”

In lieu of a spring evaluation period, the AHSAA did announce recently its new bylaws will include an extra week of practice for fall sports. For this year, that means regular practice can begin July 27 — assuming that date is not pushed back with new guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Even with an extra week, which Turner and the Generals plan to take full advantage of, she’s not sure how much lost time that will make up for.

“That will help but what I worry about is how in shape my girls will be at that point,” Turner said. “We normally have tryouts in April then work out a little bit throughout May before we go full force in June. But now we don’t have anything. We haven’t had anything since March, so we’re going to be way behind and that really concerns me with injuries.”

For Elliott, he’s at a bit of a disadvantage for a different reason. Elliott is entering his second season as head coach and he was basically cheated out of what would’ve been his first full offseason with his girls.

“I’ve thought about that a lot,” Elliott said. “I had big plans this summer for the workouts to get them stronger and everything and build more team unity. We will have some days where we can have some workouts but it’s still going to be limited in what we do. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and getting started. It is kind of a disappointment but we’ll work through it and we’ll make it happen.”

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.