Monday marked the beginning of the two-week hands-off period for Maine high school athletes and coaches. The rule, implemented by the Maine Principals’ Association in the 1980s, prohibits high school coaches from contacting athletes except to continue to supervise an off-season conditioning program that they supervised before the start of the hands-off period.

But what about when a coach and player live under the same roof? In the Kendrick household, where father Troy is entering his 28th season as Richmond High School girls soccer coach and daughter Caitlin is about to enter her sophomore season, hands-off provides some welcome down time, but soccer never gets swept under the rug.

“We kind of take a break from it for a little bit,” Caitlin said. “But as soon as the season starts again, he’s getting back on me for running and kicking the ball around and things like that.”

The intent of the rule, according to the MPA website, is to give fall athletes and coaches a window of personal time similar to the time available before the winter and spring seasons. Athletes are allowed to attend camps during the period as long as their coach does not work at the camp, and can use school protective gear or track and field equipment. Coaches who maintain contact with athletes for conditioning can not implement sport-specific drills into the program and can not organize or be involved in any team activities.

Troy Kendrick handed out off-season workout programs for his players to follow in hopes they return in two weeks “in some semblance of shape.” But as a veteran coach and father, he understands the need for some down time for the athletes.

“Caitlin is a pretty busy girl,” he said. “We’re at a small high school and like a lot of small schools, you have kids playing multiple sports. She played soccer two nights a week and basketball two nights a week for most of the summer, and she plays club soccer, too, for quite a bit of the year, so I try to give her some time off and really encourage her and the other girls to just be teenagers.”

It’s tough for athletes and coaches to completely escape all things sports during the hiatus. Many schools hold fall sports meetings for athletes and parents during the break, and athletes are allowed to stay in contact with school trainers. But otherwise, they are on their own until preseason practices start August 15.

Some athletes continue to work out on their own. Athletes are permitted to use school property for workouts, as long as it is part of their conditioning program and not organized by coaches, parents or boosters.While “captains practices” are specifically prohibited by the MPA, players aren’t prohibited from working out together. And in this age of Twitter and other social media, getting teammates coordinated and motivated to meet in the weight room or on the field isn’t very difficult.

“We don’t get them excited. They’re excited themselves for the most part,” Cony senior football player Taylor Heath said.

Caitlin Kendrick spent the first day of the break hanging out with friends, but soccer wasn’t far from her mind.

“It’s nice to have a break, but I do miss the games and the practices and the team,” she said.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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