Two-a-days: the phrase says it all. You think of Texas level heat on a football field, and two practices a day in blistering heat meant to forge a team together “Remember the Titans”-style. Those types of practices might slowly be becoming a thing of the past.
Alabama, Texas, Florida, and Georgia have all barred back-to-back two-a-days, following the suit of the NCAA and NFL revised rules.
“Last year, there was a 12-day stretch that we probably had the most number of heat-related football deaths we were ever aware of,” said Douglas Casa, a professor of kinesiology and CEO of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut. “I definitely think those deaths forced a lot of states’ hands. Obviously having big-time football states adopt (National Athletic Trainers’ Association) guidelines makes it easier for other states to follow.”
The new rules are meant to protect our youth football players, which is absolutely commendable. The coaches now, however, have to adjust to more limited practice time.
“Because of the new rules, we had to walk through our offense, not run through it,” DeSoto coach Claude Mathis said. “We were already making changes to how we did things because we saw last year they were starting to go this route. Now, with having only one practice every other day, I think a lot more teams are forced to add spring football to get ready and put their offense in.”
Some coaches are adjusting by putting more emphasis on Spring practices, but others did not like two-a-days to begin with and the change is welcome.
“It’s backward, but I’m almost required to practice twice a day to get them ready under those rules,” Santa Margarita Head Coach Harry Welch said. “I don’t care for two-a-days. It’s healthier for them to practice one day and absorb what they’ve learned.”