New rules for practice contact


Local high school football practices are in full swing with opening games only a couple of weeks away. This year’s practices are governed by new Georgia High School Association rules adopted recently by its executive committee.

Full contact has been limited during practices as well as during activity outside traditional fall practice, according to a recent GHSA statement.

Practice activities fall into the following five categories:

AIR – Players run a drill unopposed without contact.

BAGS – Players run a drill against a bag or another soft-contact surface.

CONTROL – Players run a drill at assigned speed until the moment of contact and one player is pre-determined the “winner” by the coach. Contact remains above the waist and players stay on their feet.

THUD – Players run a drill at competitive speed through the moment of contact with no pre-determined “winner.” Contact remains above the waist, players stay on their feet and a quick whistle ends the drill.

LIVE ACTION – Players run a drill in game-like conditions and is the only time that players are taken to the ground.

FULL CONTACT – Contact which meets the definition of Live Action or Thud.

During preseason practice, full contact is allowed no more than two consecutive practice days per week and is limited to 45 minutes per day and 135 minutes per week. During any twice-daily practice, only one session per day shall include full contact.

For regular season and postseason practice, full contact is allowed a maximum of three practice days per week (not on two consecutive days), 30 minutes per day and 90 minutes per week.

Head coaches must prepared written practice plans in advance that comply with these new rules and keep them on file at the school for one year, subject to review by GHSA officials upon request.

For violators, the first offense means a fine of $500-$2,500 per violation. Upon the second offense, the school is placed on probation and ineligible for postseason play.