On the day the LHSAA released a list of preventative measures designed to guide teams through the current heat wave, some local football coaches started making alternative practice plans.
“What they put out there really wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before,” Denham Springs coach Dru Nettles said. “We had already started talking about what to do with our athletic trainer when we saw it.
“Something we did earlier this summer was have 6:30 a.m. practices. Our athletic P.E. class is first hour, and we can have them (players) come in early and get a practice in that way.
“Monday is supposed to be the worst day. They’re saying the temperature is supposed to be 104. We’ll definitely go early on Monday and probably on some other days too.”
The memo put together by the LHSAA’s Sports Advisory Committee includes a number of points/suggestions. Moving practices to times when it is cooler was one key point. Adding hydration breaks and taking every measure to make sure players drink plenty of fluids also was listed.
Coaches are encouraged to weigh players in the same gear before and after practices to make sure they have not lost too much weight. The memo also reminded coaches that energy drinks should not be used for hydration.
McKinley’s Robert Signater and Livonia’s Guy Mistretta aren’t planning to alter their practice times. Both plan to change their practice structure during the next week as temperatures are expected to rise to triple digits on most days.
By LHSAA rules, players can wear helmets and shoulder pads Monday through Wednesday. Thursday, Aug. 13, is the first day LHSAA football teams can wear full gear.
“We’ve done a lot of work in the heat over the last two months, and hopefully that has prepared us,” Signater said. “We are going to insert more water breaks. We’ll stop every 10 minutes or so and give five minutes to cool down. We’ll take our time, and if we feel like there needs to be more breaks, we’ll take them.”
Like McKinley, Livonia has a school-day structure that doesn’t allow for a practice time change.
“We’ll go out in helmets and shorts and do light work for the first 45 minutes, starting at 3:45 p.m.,” Mistretta said. “We’ll take water breaks. At 4:30 p.m., we’ll bring them into the field house where it’s air-conditioned and let them cool down and rehydrate.
“Then around 5 p.m. we’ll go back out with pads and work for another 45 minutes to an hour. There will be plenty of water breaks during that time.”