knoxville news
knoxville news
menu 2 knoxville food and restaurants about knoxville daily sun knoxville things to do knoxville advertising entertainment knoxville obituaries rss linkedin twitter facebook contact smoky mountains knoxville legal notices knoxville classifieds travel knoxville sports business lifestyle knoxville daily sun
athletic support by eli cranor Athletic Support: Working out over the Dead Weeks?
July 11, 2021

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Please use the “Contact” page at to send in questions for “Athletic Support.”

Dear Athletic Support: My son’s football team just started what his coach calls “Dead Weeks.” In other words, this is our two week break during the summer where there aren’t any football practices, workouts, camps or tournaments. However, my son’s coach has told the players that they should continue to work out during this time. Some of the other boys on the team are even going to the field house to lift weights and use the equipment (I guess they have a key?) The reason I’m writing is because my son was really looking forward to having these two weeks. At this point, he doesn’t even want to think about football, much less keep working out. I can tell he’s tired. This has been a long year for everybody. Don’t you think he deserves a break?

— Dead Tired

Dear Dead: Ah, Dead Weeks… The two glorious weeks over the summer where the Arkansas Activity Board (and most all other activity boards across the country) prohibit any and all high school athletic facilities from opening.

When I was a coach and a player, we used this time for a trip down to Pensacola Beach. Some of my fondest memories are a by-product of Dead Weeks, and no coach should try and take that from his players.

Okay, so maybe your son’s coach isn’t trying to “take” anything. Maybe he’s just trying to do everything he can to ensure that his team is ready come fall. And for the most part, that’s fine.

A coach can urge his players to continue working out from home. He can even share workouts with the team, a template of sorts that will keep the boys’ bodies in peak physical condition over the break.

What he can’t do, however, is open up any facilities, including the field house, or be present while the boys are working out. If we’re really following the letter of the law, the boys shouldn’t even be in the field house during this time. Period. How some of the players have garnered access to the field house (without adult supervision) is another question.

In regard to your son and his reluctance to continue working out over the break — I would say that’s completely up to him. Two weeks is just about the perfect amount of time to rest. Your son won’t lose any significant strength or speed gains over that time. Any longer, and yes, his muscles would start to atrophy.

If I were you, I’d let your son take the lead on this one. Sometimes rest can be just as important as work. Adults know this. That’s why we take the weekends off. That’s why we have vacations.

Young athletes are no different. Despite all the slogans printed on the backs of summer workout t-shirts (“Hard Work Pays Off,” “No Days Off,” etc…), taking time off is extremely important. At this point, the fall is still a good ways off, and when it comes, the football season can become long and grueling.

So, let your son’s body tell him whether or not he needs to continue pushing, or whether it’s best for him to enjoy a little time off.

Previous columns:

Summer School Blues
Practices running late causing problems
Softball games going past midnight
Are athletes getting better with age?
Are team sports a vital part of childhood?
Summer schedule way too serious
What if I can’t afford private speed camps?
Quarterback lacks speed
Should pro athletes talk politics?
How to take a hit
Wrestling in college, what’s the point?
Removal of mask requirement could cost us games
Overachieving daughter stinks at sports
Why are we playing all the small schools?
Freshmen don’t make varsity, usually
Kids have changed, haven’t they?
Esports and disc golf bigger than football?
Little pitchers have big ears
Pregame music offensive
Fouls in girls basketball
Red Shirting
Coach makes political post
7th grade girls basketball woes
Multi-million-dollar buyouts don’t make sense
Private schools have the upper hand
Best of 2020

Athletic Support Columns 2020

Outside of athletics, kids’ brains are also at risk. Who knows what sort of impact virtual learning will have on their cognition and critical thinking skills. In this regard, I offer one simple tool — a good book! And luckily, I know just the book for kids struggling with the shift to virtual learning:


books make brainz taste badOkay, you caught me… I’m the author of this book. It was published last week and awarded a #1 New Release ranking on Amazon. BMBTB deals directly with the same topic covered in this column, except in a much more lighthearted, kid-friendly way (zombie teachers and brain-munching screens!)

If you end up purchasing this book for your children or grandchildren, I only have one final suggestion — ask them to read it while standing up!

Eli Cranor's new book Books Make Brainz Taste Bad has just been released. ZOMBIES HATE BOOKS! Especially the zombie teachers at Haven Middle School. That's why they're using VR headsets to fry kids' brainz. Luckily, Dash Storey knows how to save his classmates from the zombie teachers—BOOKS! They make brainz taste bad!

"Eli Cranor has an almost unbeatable advantage. He can remember how it felt to think like a twelve-year-old and he can see the very same events like the adult he is. Don't try to resist this book!"
- Jack Butler, Pulitzer-Prize nominated author


knoxville daily sun Knoxville Daily Sun
2021 Image Builders
User Agreement | Privacy Policy