Football, cross country, volleyball and golf all start in the heat of August and continue through the month of October as the weather changes.

Abruptly, many fall athletes then transition to being winter athletes.

The transition can be a challenging one for athletes who play two or three sports and have to use different muscles and different conditioning while recovering from bumps and bruises inherent in their fall sport.

Pymatuning Valley boys basketball coach Ryan Shontz said it can be a challenge to get the team ready, especially if fall sports have success and enter the playoff picture.

"We try not to make it too much of an adjustment," he said.

Shontz offers open gym before school before fall sports end to get some shooting done and golf and cross country participants arrive earlier than football players. He said the athletes put in a lot of effort in a lot of places (school and extra curricular activities) so he sometimes has to protect them from themselves.

Robert Verba, who had many roles in the Lakers' football game plans, always arrives ready to go.

"I have to give him some time. He carried such a load for that football team," he said.

St. John girls basketball coach Nick Iarocci has numerous Heralds coming from other fall sports. One is sophomore tennis player Alyssa Cevera, who won the Ashtabula County Tennis Tournament, but is now a fixture on the basketball court.

Iarocci is also the school's athletic director and found a solution. He said he used to get frustrated because girls couldn't be at practice, so he decided to change the team's game schedule.

"I got smart and we don't start up [games] until Dec. 2," he said.

Iarocci said he is able to backload his schedule and better prepare for the tournament season.

Conneaut wrestling coach Keith Sherman said the difference between the sports can be huge.

"They aren't in shape for wrestling. It is so different than football shape," he said.

During the first day of practice on Friday, Sherman was working with the squad stretching and conditioning. He said the six minutes of all-out competition is different than football's short bursts.

"It takes a kid time to get in shape," he said.

Jefferson Area High School quarterback Grant Hitchcock said he was able to bridge the transition with some time off.

"My coach gave me a week off," he said.

Getting into basketball shape does take some adjustment, Hitchcock said.

"Basketball is a lot more tiring," he said.

Hitchcock said the skills, like shooting and dribbling, come back pretty quickly.

"It takes just a couple days to ease back in," he said.

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