The body cools itself by evaporating sweat; on hot, humid days the air is so saturated the sweat can’t evaporate and the body won’t be able to cool itself effectively. If you think it’s hot and humid, children will feel worse because those under 12 have more difficulty regulating their body temperature than older children. Take the proper precautions:
- Adjust training sessions according to the weather; schedule more frequent and longer breaks during hotter, more humid days
- Acclimate players to high heat and humidity by holding practices to low or moderate levels of activity and give fluid breaks every 20 minutes
- Lighter colored-clothing helps to keep them cooler. Dark-colored clothing absorbs the sun and will increase a player’s temperature.
- Identify and monitor players who are prone to heat-related illnesses.Overweight, heavily muscled, out-of-shape or players who work especially hard are more at risk, so monitor these players closely and give them more frequent fluid breaks.
- Make sure players replenish their fluids lost through sweat. Players should drink 17 - 20 ounces of fluids 2 - 3 hours before practices or games and 7 - 10 ounces every 20 minutes during and after practice. They should then drink 16 - 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during exercise after physical activity ends. Water and sports drinks are preferable forms of fluids; sugary drinks or sodas are not recommended.
Children’s bodies are 45 - 65% water, so even a small amount of water can cause dehydration. The time to drink is not when a player is thirsty, because by then they’re long overdue for a drink.
Cold weather can cause a player’s temperature to drop below normal, causing shivering which is the body’s way of warming itself. Players should wear under armuor or dress in layers Hats are also recommended when playing in cold weather to prevent the loss of heat through a player’s head, which is the primary source of lost heat in the body.
Wind increases the effect of cold temperatures on the body. As a general rule, when temperatures are below 40 degrees Fareinheit, each 5 miles per hour of wind will decrease the actual temperature on the skin by 5 additional degrees, with increasing intensity as the actual temperature drops. Keep this in mind when playing on cold, windy days.
Lightning is an extremely dangerous factor to consider. You and your coaches need to make sure that you always have cell phone numbers available in case of a sudden interruption in practice when parents may not be present.
Every 5-seconds between when you hear thunder and when you see lightning means that the lightning is 1 mile away. If there are 10 seconds between thunder and lightning that means that the lightning is 2 miles away, etc. Safe places to hide in the event of lightning include:
- Fully enclosed metal vehicles with the windows up
- Enclosed buildings
- Low ground (under cover)
You should avoid the following places when lightning is near:
- Metal objects
- Light poles
- Flag poles
- Metal storage containers
- Open fields
Don’t try to get in the last 10 minutes of practice when dark clouds are threatening; severe storms can approach quickly, so always remember that your players are primarily your responsibility while on the field, so keep them safe.
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Courtesy of WWPSA