Coaches Adjust to New Rule Of Practice
Mon. August 13, 2012 at 1:34 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
By JUSTIN KLINE | LEDGER CORRESPONDENT
When high school football practices began last week, some things weren't the same.
Thanks to a new rule implemented by the National Federation of State High School Associations, two-a-days are no longer allowed during the first week of practice.
The organization cited heatstroke as its chief concern, noting the deaths of 35 student-athletes between 1995 and 2010. After the first week, a day with two practices must be followed with one practice the next day.
"It kind of sets you back a little on conditioning," Lakeland coach Bill Castle said. "Last year, we did four two-a-days, total, with conditioning in the morning and football-related stuff in the afternoon. It's all heat-related stuff, so it is what it is."
Castle said he isn't terribly concerned with the rule change, and many Polk coaches share his sentiments.
"It's not hurting us, really," Bartow coach Brett Biggs said. "It helped, having two-a-days last year, but you have to just structure your practices differently. We're doing things a little bit more up-tempo."
The coaches know that Florida's heat and humidity are not to be taken lightly, so they've taken steps to ensure that the players will stay hydrated.
"We never had water when I was playing," Castle said, "but the mentality of coaching back in those days was different. If you took water breaks, you weren't tough."
That was in the early 1960s. Fifty years later, things have changed.
Lakeland held workouts three days a week this summer, and will switch to afternoon practices next week in order to coincide with teacher work week. This is because all of the Dreadnaughts' coaches are also teachers.
Bartow schedules four water breaks per session, each lasting five minutes. They have water bottles behind each work station, and Biggs also walks around with a bag full of them.
"You try to keep your kids in shape for the summer, so when it comes time to conditioning, you don't have any problems." Castle said. "The heat is a serious problem. It's no joke."