Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Be Careful When Practicing In Heat

Practice during the heat. Let’s be honest – it sucks!

Today it reached 85, so we are still in that zone for some warm practice time. Let’s review a few pointers that might help with HOT practices.

- First and foremost – water, water, water! Make sure to give the players water breaks every 15 to 20 minutes. You might have to err toward 15 minutes on days of 90 degrees or more. Furthermore, encourage players to drink water throughout the day before practice as a form of hydration.
- While you can encourage players to bring their own water bottles, bring a water cooler and cups yourself to ensure there’s water for everyone – even those who forget!
- Cramps are common during the heat, so be ready to assist those requiring extra stretching as a result of the heat.
- If a player is reacting negatively to the heat, let them recover. So often coaches rush to the judgment of “you’re a wimp” or “you’re not hustling” when oppressive heat is hindering the performance of a player. Allowing a player to “work through” or “rest” a bit through excessive heat will most often yield positive results. Remember, early in the year of fall sports, players may not be in primary condition for intense practice in intense weather.

Chris Stewart, ready to be a star on the Douglass High School team in Oklahoma City, passed away recently after suffering from heat stroke at practice. (http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/PreventiveCare/tb/1564)

With a little attention and care, we can hopefully prevent these tragedies from happening.

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