Beating the Heat in Prep Football

Beating the Heat in Prep Football

Vince Lombardi was famous for motivating players to the point they would run through walls.
MEMPHIS, TN – Vince Lombardi was famous for motivating his football players to the point they would run through walls.

But, when it comes to playing in Mid-South heat—sometimes you have to curb your enthusiasm.

Mother nature has warmed up the last few days—leaving local football players gasping for air as they get ready for the season and search for ways to beat the heat.

Sometimes running through a wall of heat is tougher than running through a brick wall; so players and coaches have to be smart, educated—and prepared.

Tennessee’s high school athletic association has guidelines; if the heat index climbs to 105 or above all outside practice is to be stopped immediately.

“We’re going to do all the things we’re supposed to do,” said Fairley H.S. football coach Rahnmann Slocum, “because we don’t want on the news for bad things.”

The right things include plenty of water, breaks in which to drink it, iced towels to drape across necks and lots of education about hydrating throughout the day—not just at practice.

Beating the heat is always uppermost in the coaches minds.

“We start by educating players,” said Arlington H.S. coach Chris Wiley, “about drinking water, Gatorade—staying away from sodas and anything carbonated. And we build breaks into every practice.”

“You have to get breaks every 15 minutes,” Central High coach Lynord Crutchfield told, “you have to make sure the kids are hydrated.”

The breaks are definitely needed.

Arlington defensive back Sidney Austin, transferred from Hawaii and got a rude awakening.

“I knew it was going to be hot,” Austin told, “but like this—not even close.”

“Back in our day,” said Slocum, “when we played high school football there were no such things as water breaks; if you took a water break you were weak.”

Thankfully that outlook has evolved.

“This is a big safety thing,” said Wiley, “all of us have had players with dehydration problems.”

“I’m always thinking about that next water break.” Austin said.

All the coaches were dedicated to safety procedures to beat the heat.

That’s good—because even though the players are aware of heat dangers they try to push through them; so the coaches have to save the players from their own enthusiasm.

The high school football season starts August 23rd.

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