SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — High School football teams are interested in beating the heat, not an opponent, during the opening days of practice.
Roosevelt Head Coach Kim Nelson has spent more than four decades on the sidelines. Water breaks used to come few and far between, but that’s no longer the case.
“I just tell them the first day, if you need water you just go get it, just tell your coach I need some water, go get it, come right back and we don’t even slow down,” Nelson said.
Despite an unlimited supply of water, the staff still keeps an eye out for players who are struggling.
“Somebody that’s taking their helmet off all the time and really sucking air and looks more tired than maybe other kids,” Nelson said.
“Being here every day you know what their normal routine is and if you see a kid start to struggle, they’re not as peppy as they used to be or should be, that’s when you start to really keep an eye on them and make sure they’re doing ok and check on them and talk to them and make sure they’re feeling good,” Certified Athletic Trainer Scott Roggenbuck said.
As valuable as water is on the field, Roggenbuck says proper hydration doesn’t start at practice.
“A lot of times kids will get up 15 minutes before practice starts and roll in and they haven’t done any of that, so they’ve gone the entire night, early morning without drinking anything, so they start practice dehydrated,” Roggenbuck said.
“You can’t fix it at practice, you need to hydrate the night before, the days before, the morning before you come out,” Nelson said.
Teams also ease into the season with one practice per day for the first five days.
“I think we have a pretty good guideline now to start slow and gradually add more pads and add more contact, add more movement as the week goes on and then next Monday we’re pretty much full go,” Nelson said.
After losing to Harrisburg in the semifinals last year, Roosevelt opens the new season Saturday, August 28th at rival O’Gorman.