Lyne Enget's 18 years of coaching football at Stanley-Powers Lake do nothing to blunt the excitement of seeing his players put on pads for the first time each season.
"It's always hard to sleep that first night before practice and see what kind of shape those kids (arrive) in," said Enget, whose team went 12-0 and won a Class A state championship in 2011. "It's always exciting to have those one or two surprises a year where a kid's gotten a lot bigger and stronger from the last year, and you see who can maybe have a big year for you."
High school practices open Wednesday, but the preparation for most area coaches has started.
Eighth-year Minot High coach Barry Holmen and his staff attended a Trinity Health concussion seminar Monday night after handing out pads to players Monday morning. They've also made practice schedules.
"One of the challenges at Minot High is to handle a lot of kids, because we're fortunate to have a lot of kids," Holmen said. "One of the things we do is try to get a lot of kids some reps. We have a lot of kids at every level - from freshmen on up - and we have to do a lot of things to get people some experience in practice."
Twenty-three members of Lewis & Clark-Our Redeemer's participated in the team's first summer weightlifting program. Coach George Duenas said seniors Dalton Njos and Logan Gunderson "put up some big numbers." Njos lifted a combined 935 pounds in the squat, power clean and bench press and Gunderson hoisted 820 pounds.
"I think it'll be a huge payoff," Duenas said of the lifting sessions.
On Wednesday, coaches finally will get a glimpse at how their players' offseason training translates to the gridiron.
"You see 'em getting bigger and you see 'em getting stronger," Enget said, "but you have no idea how that correlates to the football field."
Like Enget, Holmen is an experienced coach but no stranger to first-practice jitters.
"The juices are flowing and I think that would be true for a lot of the assistant coaches too," Holmen said. "We're raring to go. We like football, and we like to be with the kids. As soon as you lose that feeling, I think it's time for you to go."