Monday, October 18, 2021

Football practice in the southwestern heat


In California and Arizona, an unrelenting heat wave has caused football coaches at several schools to pay careful attention to heat-related illness during football practices and to make adjustments as needed.

National Weather Service high temperature data for Sunday, Aug 16 (NOAA)

In Los Angeles and across the Southland, where temps soared well above 100°F and even above 110°F, the heat wave caused residents to seek refuge at beaches, pools, and indoor cooling centers, the Daily News reports.

The coordinator of interscholastic athletics for the Los Angeles Unified School District, Trent Cornelius, urged football programs to move their preseason practices to the early morning in order to minimize the risk of heat-related illness and injury, according to an article in USA Today. “The message is going to be a strong recommendation to move practices to the morning,” he was quoted as saying.

Schools near Dallas, Texas, issued similar warnings earlier in the week, when high temperatures there climbed to about 105°F.

After a two-hour morning practice Monday, Reginald Samples, the football coach at Duncanville High School, just outside the Dallas-Fort Worth beltway on the southwest side, sent his players home at 9:30 AM. “Make sure you go home and drink plenty of water,” the Dallas Morning News quoted him as saying. The temperature had already gone north of 100°F.

In Southern California later in the week, football teams had to cope with just as much heat, sometimes more. ABC-7 Eyewitness News quoted coach Alonso Arreola, of Reseda High School, which is maybe 15 miles as the crow flies northwest of Los Angeles, as saying his team practiced in the afternoon on Wednesday, and the heat made it tough for the student-athletes.

“They dragged a little bit because it was pretty hot, but they’re a resilient bunch of kids so they don’t necessarily let the elements dictate their performance,” he told the news station. He added that he typically gets a much more productive practice from his team when they work out in the early morning, since conditions are cooler at that time of day.

Maybe it’s not that much cooler, though. So how can coaches ensure adequate hydration for student-athletes during football practices? Read this informational article entitled “Hydration strategies for spring competition” by USA Football, and see Common Core writing standard WHST.11-12.2.B for more information.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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