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Area football coaches find ways to beat the heat

Posted: August 9, 2017 - 12:20am
Football players at Augusta Prep take a break during a morning practice last week. Staying hydrated is one of the main things athletes need to do beat the heat.
Football players at Augusta Prep take a break during a morning practice last week. Staying hydrated is one of the main things athletes need to do beat the heat.

When it comes to football season this time of year, local teams have been finding different ways to beat the heat.

Grovetown held a midnight practice last week and then practiced three days in the morning. Augusta Prep held overnight camps and then practiced at different times of the day. Greenbrier practiced in the morning, while Augusta Christian and Harlem went in the evening. Only Evans and Lakeside practiced in the afternoon.

At Augusta Christian, coach Keith Walton said practicing in the Georgia heat has become routine. Programs are required to follow the wet bulb globe readings, which places more restrictions on practices the hotter it gets outside. Walton said he and his coaches have been making sure his players always stayed hydrated before, during and after practice. Still, he always makes sure to abide by the wet bulb globe.

"If it's a certain temperature on the wet bulb, when we take our breaks they have to take their helmet and pads off. They can't just sit there with their helmet on and drink water," he said. "Coolers are provided on the sideline. The kids can drink the cool water."

Augusta Prep plays the earliest of any of the Columbia County teams. The Cavaliers start their season Friday night at Bethesda Academy.

Augusta Prep coach Harry Bacheller said dealing with the heat is manageable, especially by slowly conditioning the players to the summer sun. He said his players went outside for various time increments in June and worked their way up.

Heat acclimation starts in June for most of the players, who attend different camps. That's become a big help, Harlem coach Todd Booker said.

"We still watch out for the heat, but the kids are more acclimated to it now," he said. "Everybody is out doing 7-on-7 or lineman camps. So it's really not a big deal."

Booker said coolers are lined all around Harlem's practice field. If any players feels the need to get water outside of a break, he has permission.

"We really stress nutrition and hydration with our kids," Booker said. "They do a good job with it."

Greenbrier coach Tony Kramer coach said his program has cooling stations to beat the heat. Also, there's built-in breaks during practice to help the players remain hydrated. Also, his coaches always keep a close watch on players to make sure everything is OK.

"If we feel like we need to do something like shed shoulder pads, we'll do that," Kramer said. "Safety for the kids, first and foremost, is most important for us."

 

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