Among the many things high school football coaches have to worry about this time of year, one of them won’t be the weather, at least not this first full week of practice where most teams conduct two-a-day practices.
It’s been a fairly mild summer in terms of heat and humidity and that trend is scheduled to continue this week. The weather forecast for the week in Madison County has temperatures hovering around 80 degrees with relatively low humidity.
Not having to worry about the barometer and thermostat and being able to concentrate on offensive execution and defensive scheme comes as a pleasant change for area coaches.
“From a safety standpoint it’s been nice,” West Jefferson coach Shawn Buescher said. “You don’t have to worry about kids over-heating and exhaustion, but in the same sense you want it to be warm because you know (hot humid weather is) coming at some point in time. From a standpoint of two-a-days you’d rather have it like this than in the 90s.”
West Jefferson, Jonathan Alder and London all kicked off their two-a-day schedule on Friday, Aug. 1, the first official day they could do so. Madison-Plains held a family night on Friday and got going full-steam ahead on Monday. But instead of conducting your typical practice in the morning and again in the afternoon or evening, the Golden Eagles are going with a practice where the players will be at the school for a longer duration.
Madison-Plains High School plans on practicing from 2 to 9 p.m all week. Second-year coach Jason Hunt has a couple reasons for his decision, one being the fact that the evening practices will be ultimately be cool.
“Coach (Scott) Bartholomew is over at Logan Elm and I listened to him talk and he started going evenings because he has community coaches and we have a lot of community coaches as well,” Hunt said. “He said when you gets the kids in the evening, your coaches can get here. Also when you start when we do kids aren’t late. If we were to start at 7 or 7:30 in the morning someone is always going to be late.
“Also we work them pretty hard, so that when they go home from here they’re tired. They’ll go home, hopefully eat something and go to bed. They’re not going out, they’re not doing anything else, it’s been great. We have one practice in the heat of the day, but if you’re going two-a-days, everybody has that. Our last practice is cool and it’s comfortable. We play our games in the evening and so every day we’ll be out here practicing in the evening.”
Hunt said even though the whether this summer hasn’t been extreme and extreme temperatures aren’t expected this week he said coaching staffs do need to continue to be cautious.
“We’re lucky with the weather,” Hunt said. “It’s been a nice summer, all this week is going to be fantastic, which is great for two-a-days. But we always follow the guidelines but this week shouldn’t be a problem.
“(Heat exhaustion) is still a concern even though the weather isn’t a concern. There are kids that aren’t in the best shape so you have to be careful. We still have to stress hydration, but it’s nice to know it’s less likely to become a serious problem because it’s not hot.
Madison-Plains High School also has keeps its athletes there the entire seven or so hours instead of allowing them to leave in the middle of the day.
“Some coaches will let their kids leave, but when our guys get here we keep them until the end,” Hunt said. “They bring their lunch and we give them a break of an hour or so, but they’ll be here the whole time.”
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.