The early bird gets the worm.
That is the philosophy being followed by the Lacombe Composite High School Rams who have already started practicing even though their official season doesn’t begin until the fall.
“This is just prep for the fall,” said Riley Quance, head coach for the Rams. He said the purpose of the spring season is mostly for the coaching staff to evaluate the team. It allows coaches to see what kind of personnel they will have on the team in the fall and then enables them to tweak their systems over the summer.
“I think it’s critical for the success of the program,” said Quance.
Not only is the team practicing early in the year, they have moved practices to early in the morning.
While Quance said it is normal for teams to start practicing this earlier in the year, the Rams usually have held their practices right after school. Quance said the move to morning practices was made to better accommodate the Rams’ new coaching staff.
Coaching is a big part of what makes a program successful, said Quance.
As a teacher, he also sees the similarities between coaching and teaching. He said that, like teachers, coaches should work on the player, not the skill and will see more success in doing so.
“Coaching is teaching,” said Quance. “If you lose sight of the teaching aspect the program is not going to flourish.”
The Rams expanded their coaching staff this year in order to give players more one-on-one coaching.
Quance said that in addition to having defensive and offensive coaches, the team now also has some special positional coaches as well. All the coaches however, said Quance, can coach any of the players to some degree.
This is Quance’s second year as head coach and his fifth on the Rams’ coaching staff. He said that the team has done fairly well in the regular season the last few years and is focused on continuous development.
He said that includes development on and off the field.
“We look at football as an opportunity to build young men,” said Quance. He said football is a sport where players from all backgrounds, shapes and sizes can find a place on the field and that they all need to work together to succeed.
He added football is a sport where teams cannot depend on one superstar to carry the team through.
While the Rams may not focus on the scoreboard as much as development and character building, Quance said winning is still part of a successful season. He said the team will strive to at least make it to provincials and will set other goals as the season rolls on. He added that the Rams have the potential to do well in the regular season.
“Throughout the regular season, we are competitive. We are a team that has a lot of heart.”
This year’s team boasts a strong group of new players, as well as some veterans who have shown great improvement from last year, he said.
“The kids are looking good,” said Quance. He added that the last few weeks of spring practices have been encouraging for him and the rest of the coaching staff.
Right now, the biggest concern the coaching staff has is making sure all the players get enough practice in that they know their positions by memory.
For the spring season, the Rams will not be playing any games outside the jamboree in Lacombe this weekend.
They will then take a break from practicing in June to give students time to focus on exams and begin practicing again in mid-August.
This weekend, the Rams will host a football jamboree beginning at 9 a.m. and running until 5 p.m.
Eight teams will be at the athletic park for some jamboree style action.