Coaching Management 14.4
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Coaching ManagementF O O T B A L L P R E S E A S O N E D I T I O N 2 0 0 6
VOL. XIV NO. 4 $5.00
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CONTENTS Coaching ManagementFootball EditionPreseason 2006
Vol. XIV, No. 4
Advertising Sales AssociatesDiedra Harkenrider, (607) 257-6970, ext. 24Rob Schoffel, (607) 257-6970, ext. 21
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The Coaching Management Football edition is pub lished in November and April by MAG, Inc. and is distributed free to college and high school coaches in the United States and Canada. Copyright 2006 by MAG, Inc. All rights reserved. Text may not be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the permission of the publisher. Unsolicited materials will not be returned unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Coaching Management is printed by Banta Publications Group, Kansas City, MO. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Coaching Management, P.O. Box 4806, Ithaca, N.Y. 14852.
Printed in the U.S.A.
Publisher Mark Goldberg
Marketing Director Sheryl Shaffer
Marketing/Sales Assistant Danielle Catalano
Art Director Pamela Crawford
Photo ResearchDina Stander, Signs of Life Studio
Editor-in-Chief Eleanor FrankelAssociate Editor Dennis ReadAssistant Editors R.J. AndersonKenny BerkowitzAbigail FunkDavid HillGreg ScholandLaura Smith
Business ManagerPennie Small
Special Projects Dave Wohlhueter
Administrative AssistantSharon Barbell
Circulation Director Dave Dubin
Circulation Manager John Callaghan
Production Manager Bridget Mundy
Production Assistant Jonni Campbell
Prepress Manager Adam Berenstain
Asst. Prepress ManagerJim Harper
IT Manager Mark Nye
LOCKER ROOM Bulletin Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2N.J. coach fights to recognize team prayers Northwestern College wins two games in one day Helping play-ers succeed off the field A 10-1 defense leads to a state title Indy schools seek stronger feeder programs.
Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12Fifteen years after he left coaching to spend more time with his family, Don Carthel returned to the sidelines and led West Texas A&M to a conference title.
GUIDE TO TURF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54FOOTBALL FACILITIES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56WEB NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59TECHNOLOGY PRODUCTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60STRENGTH & CONDITIONING AIDS . . . . . . . . . . . 62INJURY PREVENTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64UNIFORMS & APPAREL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67TEAM EQUIPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70MORE PRODUCTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
ADVERTISERS DIRECTORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
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COVER STORYFacing Changes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20Whether by choice or by rule, coaches are altering preseason practice schedules to help their players beat the heat while still getting ready for the opener.
CAREER CHOICESTime to Reflect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30If you dont look forward to the first day of practice, it might be time to ask yourself whether you need new challenges or to just reassess how you work.
STRENGTH & CONDITIONINGA Strong Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40A collegiate strength coach explains how to design and outfit a weightroom so players can make the most of their workout time.
HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONS
Double-Winging It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48Jeff Matthews used an old-school offense to lead Sidney (N.Y.) High School to new grounda state title.
HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIP SOLUTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
COVER PHOTO: MIKE LUDWIG/ST. OLAF COLLEGE
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government is endorsing reli-gion? Or does that mean hes being a good football coach?
Until the lawsuit is resolved, Borden will continue as head coach, and will follow district policy by standing quietly and not moving during student-led team prayers.
Two Games in One Day?Initially, it didnt take long for Northwestern College (Minn.) Athletic Director Matt Hill to handle a call from Macalester College looking for a game on Oct. 8 last fall. Hill declined the offer since his team already had a game scheduled against Trinity Bible College on that date. After further thought, however, Hill went to the college president and Head Coach Kirk Talley to dis-cuss the possibility of playing two games in one day.
We were already scheduled to play Trinity, who was aver-aging about 25 players on
the coach of the team, so I want to be there with them.
Theres a gray area about what school employees can do while the students are praying, Riccio continues. The case law says they cant participate, but it doesnt say exactly what that means.
Riccio says Borden does not want to lead prayers for his athletes. But when a prayer is student-initiated, he wants the right to join in by tak-ing a knee with his players in the locker room or bowing his head during grace before meals. Ultimately, it will be for the court to decide whether those acts constitute endorse-ment, and thus are illegal.
If a reasonable observer wouldnt see what hes doing as promoting religion, were asking why he should be excluded from this team activ-ity, says Riccio. What mes-sage is being sent when the coach bows his head or bends his knee? Does that mean hes praying? Does that mean the
Marcus Borden, Head Coach at East Brunswick (N.J.) High School, has filed a lawsuit asking that he be allowed to recognize player-initiated team prayers by bowing his head or taking a knee. Borden resigned his coaching position last fall when he was told he could no longer partici-pate in team prayers, but returned to his post two weeks later.
Prayer Battle Goes to CourtFew high school football coaches have received more attention in the past year than East Brunswick (N.J.) High Schools Marcus Borden. But Borden wasnt in the spotlight for his on-field success. Though hes won a state title and five conference championships in his 23-year career, Borden made national headlines for doing something many coaches across the country do all the timepraying with his team.
In October 2005, East Bruns-wicks district superintendent informed Borden that he could no longer lead or participate in prayers with his players at team meals or in the locker room. The superintendent was acting on advice from the school boards attorney, who warned that the practice vio-lated federal laws separating church and state. Borden immediately resigned his coaching position, but returned to his post two weeks later and quickly took the issue to court. Hes now seeking to force the school district to rescind its policy barring coaches from participating in voluntary team prayers.
I have strong beliefs and prin-ciples. I dont want anybody to think that I backed down on them, Borden told the Central New Jersey Home News Tri-bune after he returned to the sidelines. What we do is nothing more than Americana Its part of football tradi-tion. Indeed, Grant Teaff, President of the American Football Coaches Association, estimates that more than half of high school football coaches nationwide engage in some type of prayer with their players.
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For the school district, the central issue is religious endorsement. If students inde-pendently choose to initiate a prayerin the locker room, before a team meal, or in the stands during a game, for instancethey are protected by the First Amendments Free Exercise Clause, which says government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion. If, however, the school or its employees are seen as endors-ing the prayer, that violates the Establishment Clause, which essentially prohibits the government from promoting religion.
It can be helpful to think about this as poles at either end of a continuum, explains Alan Brownstein, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of California-Davis and an expert on church-state separation issues. At one end, you have school-direct-ed prayer, and thats clearly beyond what the constitution allows. A coach or teacher cannot say Let us pray and provide the words of the prayer. On the other end, it is clearly permissible for an indi-vidual student to express a prayer or other religious senti-ments of his or her own in the locker room before a game. That is a protected activity.
Ron Riccio, Bordens attorney and former dean of the Seton Hall University Law School, believes the school district is interpreting the church-state separation principle too strict-ly. Its true that if the gov-ernment is seen as giving its endorsement to a prayer, or if the prayer is coerced, then theres a problem, he says. But Coach Borden is not say-ing, I want to practice my religion. His argument is, My athletes want to pray, and Im
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For a longer look at issues surrounding prayer and athletic teams, go to our Web site at www.AthleticSearch.com and enter Praying in Public in the search window to read an article from our sister publication, Athletic Management.
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hard enough to get ready for one game, so we really tried not to think about that Satur-day or do any prep for it until that week, he says. Working with the two groups was fairly easy the first day because we just watch film and do walk-throughs. But because we had swing players on both squads, it got a little confusing as the week went on. Some of the organizational aspects didnt go as smoothly as we wanted, but we expected that to hap-pen since nobody had done this before. We just tried to have fun with it.
The first game began at noon. Northwestern ended up beat-ing Trinity Bible 59-0 at home, then hanging around in the hallway outside of the locker room for a few hours to eat and nap before heading seven miles away for a 7 p.m. game with Macalester, who they defeated 47-14. Talley recalls that Saturday having a strange feeling, kind of like a sleep over, but says the best part of it was that every one of his 73 players was revved up and ready to play.
When asked if hed do it again, however, Talley quick-ly responded, No. This was definitely a once in a lifetime deal. Its just too much.
The doubleheader appeared to have no lingering effects. The Eagles won their next three games and finished the season with an 8-3 record. Northwestern also won the Upper Midwest Athletic Con-ference title and earned a berth in the National Christian College Athletic Association Victory Bowl.
Northwestern College (Minn.) players take the field for the nightcap of a unique football twin bill on Oct. 8, 2005. The Eagles beat Trinity Bible College, 59-0, earlier that day at home before traveling seven miles to Macalester College for a night game. Northwestern, which finished the season 8-3 and won the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference title, beat Macalester, 47-14.
their roster for the past two or three years, says Talley. So it seemed that if we split our team up, two games in one day could maybe work. We decided to do it, not expect-ing it to be a big deal.
But it did turn into a very big deal. Northwesterns quest caught the attention of the countrys media outlets, enough so that the college put up a Web page with links to national newspaper and magazine stories about the doubleheader day. The team even had an ESPN.com col-umnist follow it around the locker room and the sideline. And Talley, his team, and the entire athletic department got a crash course in big-event media relations.
It spread like wildfire, Talley says. It was kind of fun and exciting, yet it did get a little bit away from what we believe in here at Northwestern: just playing the best you can and learning about life as you go.
But our athletic director and director of sports information did a great job of dealing with the whole thing, he contin-ues. They did good work in shielding us from the media, but then making it easy for us when we needed to be involved. It was like theyd been putting together press conferences for years.
Northwesterns athletic staff wasnt handling only media inquiries for interviews, but also questions about the schools motive for taking on two opponents in one day: Were they trying to be the first? Were they trying to make Macalester and Trinity Bible look like lesser teams? Werent those other schools insulted?
The answers were no, no, and no. Hill had no idea that no other college team had played two games in one day until he called the NCAA to make sure the move wouldnt violate any rules. And Hill called the Trinity coach to make sure he
was okay with the decision to squeeze two games into one Saturday.
We didnt want to rub it in anyones face, Talley says. In fact, we tried to bend over backwards as far as help-ing Trinity out, but still, some people didnt appreciate the fact that we did it. People will always have their own ideas about things.
As soon as Talley and the ath-letic department made the decision to schedule both games for Oct. 8, he called a team meeting. The players were excited about the idea and also a little concerned, he says. They had a lot of questions and didnt want it to look like we were trying to be better than somebody else.
Talley decided to split both the team and the coaching staff into two squads with a few swing players, but did not do so until the week of the doubleheader. Its already
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To read more about North-westerns doubleheader day, go to: nwc.nwc.edu/index.php?id=2713.
To read the ESPN.com article, visit: sports.espn. go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2185866.
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This Defense Never RestsButch Ford has led his team to a 50-4 record during his four years as Head Coach at Celina (Texas) High School, including a 16-0 season last year capped by a Class 2A Division II Texas state championshipFords first state title as head coach. Perhaps even more impres-sive, Celina allowed only 75 points over the entire season, an average of less than five points per game.
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idea, we always had a chance to win.
The idea is simple: The defense lines up in gaps and plays man-to-man cover. Theres no great secret to it, he says. Its giving a player a simple assignment and turning him loose to go play. We dont put reins on themwe believe in being very, very aggressive.
The Bobcats defense didnt allow an opponent to score until their fifth game of the
Celina. The two coaches start-ed using a 10-1 formation their first year working together, but dont take credit for coming up with anything original.
All coaches steal or borrow from other coaches, Ford explains. We got the idea from somewhere else and applied it to our own situation. Our defense is actually very similar to the Chicago Bears famous 46 defense and the New York Jets defense when Bill Parcells was coach-ing there.
backsweve had to adjust our approach a little depend-ing on the situation, he says. But we still keep the same concept of what were trying to do. And thats to fill gaps, be aggressive, and come after you. Its up to the offense to decide what theyre going to do about us.
Whether its because they grew up playing the 10-1 defense or because of the suc-cess theyve enjoyed, Fords players love the defense and its simplicity. Most defensive tackles have specific scenarios they have to learn, Ford says. A lot of, If this player does this or that, you do that. We dont practice a lot of ifs. We just get them motivated and fired up to play. My players tell the coaches and local report-ers they love the excitement of playing this type of defense and that its fun for themlike football should be.
Coaching for Off-field SuccessWorried that the culture of athletics is sending more and more student-athletes down the wrong path, Mark Richt decided to take a proactive step when he became Head Coach at the University of Georgia in 2001. To address the issue, Richt brought in Bobby Lankford, a character education coordinator from a company called Winning with Character.
Employed as an independent contractor, Lankford is viewed by Bulldog players as an assis-tant coach. Though he has nothing to do with offensive or defensive schemes, Lank-ford is on the sidelines at every practice and game, encourag-ing and counseling Georgia players. His area of expertise is character development.
Every week of every semester, players, who are grouped by class level, meet with Lankford and other Georgia coaches
But of all the numbers attached to the Celina pro-gram, the most eye-catching may be 10-1, which repre-sents the teams defensive formation. Our scheme gives us a chance to win even if the other team has the better talent, Ford says. We werent the most talented team every time we played, but I still wanted to win, and as long as my players believed in the
Celina (Texas) High School defenders converge on a Pewitt High School (Omaha, Texas) running back during the University Interscholastic League Class 2A Division II championship game. Celinas 10-1 defense allowed only 75 points in 16 games as the undefeated Bobcats won the state title.
season, when they gave up a field goal at the end of the first half. Any fear of the defense being derailed because the streak ended was washed away by the 50-3 final score.
Ford had been a defensive coordinator for 27 years, 25 of them under legendary Texas high school coach G.A. Moore. In 2002, Ford succeed-ed Moore as head coach at
Its not common, but its easy to learn, he continues. The peewee, junior high, and j.v. teams here use it, so by the time the kids get to the varsity level, they fall right in line.
His defense hasnt been exact-ly the same since the 70s though, as Ford has made continual adjustments. With all the new offensesthe one-backs, shotguns, and low-
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Bobby Lankford, a partner in Winning with Character, serves as a character and leadership coach for the University of Georgia football team. Lankford meets with players during weekly char-acter development sessions.
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to talk about values such as honesty, fairness, and respon-sibility. During the 30-minute sessions, which are held on Thursdays, players examine how they can improve their decision making in those areas.
We deal with the tough issues that kids are facing today, says Lankford. We get into issues like recreation-al sex, STDs, drugs and alco-hol, respecting and honoring women, and unplanned preg-nancies. A lot of the issues we address are constantly chang-ing, and we adjust our pro-gram to keep up with those changes.
One lesson that consistently strikes a nerve with coaches at all levels teaches athletes about responsible sex. The program teaches male ath-letes to treat women the way they would want their sister treated.
We find most of our current issues in the newspapers and on TV and also bring in person-al experiences from the coach-es, says Lankford. For certain lessons we bring in outside speakers. For example, when we did the drug and alcohol lesson here at Georgia, we brought in our county sheriff. When we did the STD lessons we brought in an expert from our local board of health.
The Winning with Character program is available to high schools and colleges, no matter their size. In addition to Geor-gia, the program is also used at the University of Maryland, the University of Alabama, and about 20 high schools across the United States. This year the Atlanta Braves will imple-ment the program into all lev-els of its farm system.
High schools employing the program usually have a rep-
resentative from the school, typically a coach, trained by Winning with Char-acter to administer the lessons. At Divi-sion I schools, there is usually a point per-son from the com-pany, someone like Lankford, trained to lead the program and bring assistant coaches up to speed on facilitating the cur-riculum.
We teach the same things at both the college and high school level, says Lankford. But at Division I schools we custom design the program to fit their history and tradition.
Dr. Sharon Stoll, CEO and founder of the
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Center for Ethical Theory and Honor In Competition and Sport (E.T.H.I.C.S.) at the Uni-versity of Idaho, and a partner with Lankford in the Winning with Character company, draws up the lesson plans for Georgia and other schools offering the program. Stoll has long researched the values and morals of athletes, and in 2004 she concluded a 17-year study in which 72,000 ath-letesfrom junior high to col-lege-agecompleted question-naires designed to measure their moral reasoning.
In sport we have moved away from honorable behav-ior, and theres more of an emphasis on winning at all costs, Stoll told The Associat-ed Press. Stolls study conclud-
ed the environment of athlet-ics has not been supportive of teaching and modeling moral knowing, moral valuing, and moral action.
To encourage coaches to share their personal experiences, and to further develop the curricu-lum, the company sends out a monthly report asking each coach what they see at their school. In an effort to broaden the educational efforts, coach-es are also asked to raise these topics informally with players. We send the lessons to the coaches in advance and try to make them understand that its not a lecture and that if they bring these topics up and facili-tate discussion, the kids will want to talk about them, Lankford says.
While the program is suitable for the entire athletic depart-ment, Lankford says schools should take their time before expanding it. We recommend that schools use the foot-ball team as a pilot program for at least the first semester, and ideally the first full year, before incorporating it in the entire athletic department, says Lankford. That gives the coaches some experience and time to work out the bugs.
Indy City Schools Plot ComebackCoaches know that foot-ball can be a common tar-get whenever schools look to streamline their athletics bud-gets. But when the Indianapo-lis Public Schools (IPS) pro-posed fielding football teams in only three of the systems high schools as part of a plan
to reconfigure athletics, the community said no. So the administration modified its proposal, keeping the sport at all seven city high schools, while bolstering feeder pro-grams and support services.
The decision to preserve foot-ball at all schools was part of a larger initiative to improve athletics in the public schools of Indianas largest city. First-year Superintendent Eugene White, a former basketball player at Alabama A&M, con-vened a meeting of the dis-trict athletic directors last summer and, along with Curt Ervin, the district Supervisor of Athletics, wrote a proposal to take to the school board.
Whites plan was prompted largely by a near drought in state titles in several sports by once-competitive IPS pro-grams, and the idea that dis-
For more information on the Winning with Character pro-gram, go to: www.winningwithcharacter.com.
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trict students were at an unfair disadvantage because their schools, where 82 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, lack the feeder programs and facil-ities found at wealthier subur-ban schools. In addition, India-napolis media outlets have publicized cases of talented athletes leaving IPS for more prosperous school districts in the past few years. At the same time, several parochial schools in the city have built strong athletic traditions.
The core component of Whites current proposal is the introduction of fifth- and sixth-grade feeder programs in football as well as in track, cross country, basketball, vol-leyball, and soccer. The most recent plan calls for putting each elementary school into newly created athletic districts based on the feeder paths for each high school and sup-
plying each with a program coordinator. The high school head coaches would serve as facilitators in their respective sports, with coaching pro-vided by high school assistant coaches, high school athletes, and parent and community volunteers. To encourage high school coaches to take part, the elementary seasons would be held outside the traditional high school seasonsfootball, for example, would be held March through May, with sum-mer clinics from June through August.
Thats a positive move, because a lot of kids need to learn the fundamentals, says Ken McMichel, Head Foot-ball Coach at Northwest High School. A lot of kids want to punt, pass, and kick the ball, which is fine, but when they get to a competitive situa-tion, they dont know what the defensive line does or SA
what the offensive line does. Once kids understand the game, that can help them immensely.
A main thrust of the pre-high school plan is to give IPS students more opportu-nities to learn and play sports, matching pro-grams that are common in sub-urban schools, where there are more likely to be summer leagues. While the citys Police Athletic League runs a youth football program in India-napolis, the first exposure to orga-nized football for many players is high school, says Mike Akers, Head Football Coach at Washington Com-munity School.
To supplement the spring season for fifth and sixth grades, IPS football coaches plan a series of summer clin-ics funded by the NFL Junior Player Development program. Were trying to find a way to teach the fundamentals in the lower grades, says Akers. Some of our varsity players will help run the clin-ics. Theyre a way to provide some sense of belonging to the younger kids and develop them like some of the other successful programs have with their youth football. We have some youth football programs now, but by the time they fin-ish middle school, the better kids are getting taken in by the other schools. Thats one thing were trying to prevent.
Whites plan calls for phasing in changes beginning with the 2006-07 school year. The ini-tial fifth- and sixth-grade foot-ball season would be in spring
2007. High school football teams would also be allotted a sixth paid assistant-coach position for the 2008 fall sea-son. There would be addi-tional spending for improved strength and conditioning facilities and stipends for ele-mentary athletics coordinators in each athletic district. Head coaches would also see sti-pend increases to reflect their added role as coordinator.
Much of the money for these improvements would come from savings obtained by applying the magnet school model to other sports. In addi-tion to football, each of the seven high schools would have boys and girls teams in bas-ketball and track and field. But volleyball, golf, and soccer would be offered at only four schools. Baseball, softball, wrestling, cross country, and tennis would be offered at three schools, and only two schools would have swimming teams. This spring, the IPS plans a series of public meetings to explain the proposals details and to get feedback on it.
The true bright spot for Indi-anapolis football coaches seems to be saving the sport district wide while giving it, and other sports, more atten-tion in the all-important ear-lier grades. There are a lot of businesses surrounding our school community, and were trying to reach out and get them involved in the games, in partnerships, and things of that nature, McMichel says. If they see were seri-ous about it, theyll be serious about it, too.
Were excited about the pro-gram, Akers says. Its going to take a lot of work for us to get started with this fifth- and sixth-grade program, and we may not see the fruits of our labors for four or five years. But in the end, we hope well be competitive like the IPS once was.
Cedric Lloyd, Head Coach at Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis, celebrates a win. Lloyd and his colleagues in the Indianapolis Public Schools hope proposed changes, including new feeder programs for fifth- and sixth-graders overseen by high school coaches and players, will lead to more winning celebrations in the future.
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CM: Why did you decide to leave coaching 15 years ago?Carthel: I really enjoyed what I was doing except for the time I was missing with my two kids, Colby and Courtney. Im all or nothing when I do somethingon Friday nights as a college coach, I had team meetings, watched film, and pretty much put my players to bed. I wasnt going to sacrifice those responsibilities to see my son or daughter play football or basketball. I decided that I had to give up coaching in order to really watch and enjoy their high school careers. I thor-oughly enjoy what Im doing now, but I dont regret leaving.
Coaching never really left my blood, though. Id find high school players and send recruiting lists to my friends still in college coaching. I was asked to coach a Division II all-star gamethe Snow Bowl, in Fargo, N.D. [now the Cactus Bowl in Kingsville, Texas]. It was a college all-star game for players hoping to be drafted. Then, after Colby finished playing at San Angelo State, he took a coaching job at Abilene Christian, and they asked me to be a volunteer coach on Saturdays. Id drive 280 miles every weekendmore if they were playing out of town. I did that for four years to get my coaching fix. Then the Dusters asked me to be their coach and general manager.
What did you take out of your experi-ence with the Dusters?This past year at WT, we had a great offense and a porous defense, but I was used to high-scoring games from arena football. The coaching philosophy I used in arena footballtaking chances with on-side kicks and two-point plays, and doing anything and everything to out-
score the opponentwas pretty valuable. Managing the clock wisely in the last two minutes is of great importance in arena football, and I think Ive been able to carry that over to the college game.
Did you think about coaching in high school when colleges were turning you down?No. I did three years of high school coach-ing, and I enjoyed it. But I was president of the school board at Friona when I was farming and ranching, and I saw how some parents treat high school coaches. I wasnt too interested in getting back into those situations.
Having been president of your local school board, what advice would you give coaches as they deal with board members and administrators?I think as long as they treat kids rightthe way that they would want a coach to treat their son or daughterthey wont have problems with parents, or at least not with their school board members and principals. Its especially important that they have a good relationship with their principal.
How do you cope with the long hours on the road recruiting?Believe it or not, I enjoy it. I love meet-ing people, going places, finding good restaurants. But its seasonal. A couple of months recruiting is like harvest time on the farm: You work from sunup to sundown, though in this case youre not even sleeping at home. Youre usually in a motel Monday through Friday, at least.
What did you do to turn the team around this year?The first thing was to put together a coaching staff of good men who treat the
Q AIts not unusual for a coach fresh off winning his schools first conference title to move on to greener pastures. This usually means taking over a more established program or stepping up to the next level. But for Don Carthel, it meant moving to an actual pasture. Just weeks after leading his Eastern New Mexico University football team to the 1990 Lone Star Con-ference title, Carthel left coaching to spend more time with his children and tend to the family ranch in Friona, Texas.
When his children, both accomplished athletes, finished their playing days, he wanted to return to college coaching. But he was repeatedly turned down, often told hed been out of the game too long. In 2004, he turned to arena football, leading the Amarillo Dusters to a championship in the now-defunct Intense Football League.
Then in April 2005, West Texas A&M University offered Carthel its head coach-ing job. He jumped at the chance and picked up right where hed left off 14 years before. After winning a total of seven games over the previous four sea-sons, the Buffaloes shocked the Lone Star Conference by going 10-1 in the regular season, winning the LSC title for the first time since 1986, and soaring as high as seventh in the NCAA Division II rankings.
In this interview, Carthel discusses his decisions to leave coaching and then return, coaching against his son, and help-ing assistant coaches start their careers.
& Don Carthel West Texas A&M University
West Texas A&M quarterback Dalton Bell was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, awarded to the top NCAA Division II player, after throwing for 3,799 yards and 30 touchdowns and leading his team to the Lone Star Conference title.
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players well. We show players that were interested in their lives, not just their football skills. I think if you treat players that way, theyll respond well, and good team morale and chemistry will follow.
Plus, our community was hungry for a winner. When they saw the heart and the passion that our kids played with, they responded. We led the nation in aver-age attendance with more than 13,000 per game and set a league record with 22,993 at one of our games. Having that type of excitement and interest from the community made our players play that much harder.
What brought the fans out?Number one, we were winning. Num-ber two was the way we were winning. Our defense was flying around, creating turnovers, and our offense scored a lot
Did you play that kind of game earlier in your coaching career?No. We use the same Air Raid offense that Texas Tech is running. Its very exciting, very explosive, and our guys bought into it. The team had been running this offense for two years prior to my coming here, but for whatever reason they just werent able to finish a game or put a lot of points on the board. Everything just kind of fell into place this year. We had some good receivers and a very good quarterback who hadnt played much for three years but played extremely well this season.
Your team made the Division II playoffs for the first time, earning the top seed in the Southwest region, where you lost to Pittsburg State. What did you tell your team after that loss?Of all the colleges that play football, theres only one thats happy at the end of the year. And right now, its the University of Texas in Division I-A, and at our level, Grand Valley State. Everybody else falls by the wayside sooner or later. So youve got to look at the whole season. Thank the players for their effort and dont dwell on
Were looking for players who Division I schools backed away from at the last minute. We try to pick their spirits up, tell them how good they are, and offer them a partial scholarship. We also seek Division I transfers who didnt make it at that level for whatever reason. We show them theyre great athletes who just need a fresh start in a new environment.
of points and threw the ball all over the place. We led the nation in passing this year and were in the top 10 nationally in scoring and turnover ratio. The combina-tion of that type of offense and some very exciting finishesin six wins we were behind in the third quarter, and in three we won on the last play of the gamemade us fun to watch, and I think the fans appreciated that and kept coming back.
14 COACHING MANAGEMENT
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the one game or the one loss. To the play-ers who are coming back, we said, Lets learn from this opportunity and make sure were prepared to make a better run for the national championship next year.
Do you encounter many athletes who think that they should be playing in Division I?That is the type of athlete were trying to get. Were looking for players who Division I schools flirted with and then backed away from at the last minute. We
come in and try to pick their spirits up, tell them how good they are, and offer them a partial scholarship. We also seek
Division I transfers who didnt make it at that level for whatever reason. We bring them in and show them theyre great athletes who just need an opportunity or a fresh start in a new environment.
What was it like to coach against Colby?My son and I have always talked on the phone quite a bit, for 30 minutes or an hour at a time. My wife will be on the phone with us, but after about five minutes, shell say, Well, Ill let yall talk football. It seems like thats all youre
going to do, anyway. This year it was quite different because after five minutes or so I was the one saying, Im gonna let yall talk, because I didnt want to spill any beans about my strategies or recruits or anything like that. Our phone bill was way down, and my wife enjoyed talking more to our son this year.
We both rooted for each other every week but one. Thats the one we both wanted to win. It was all businessthere
wasnt any chitchat. [West Texas A&M defeated Abilene Christian, 40-24.]
How do you help assistant coaches maintain family life while being dedi-cated to coaching?I try to make it as enjoyable for them as it was for me as an assistant. So I give them advice, visit with them often, and give them a lot of responsibility within their areas.
A lot of these guys are student coaches or graduate assistants. Once they get their degree, its time for them to get a full-time job and start providing for their families. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of young coaches lives, helping each one develop his philosophies as he starts his coaching career.
If a person enjoys athletics and enjoys being around people, you couldnt find a better profession than coaching because of the highs and lows and the excitement of being part of a high school or a college program like Ive been involved with. You cant go wrong in a career like this.
16 COACHING MANAGEMENT
To the players who are coming back, we said, Lets learn from this oppor-tunity and make sure were prepared to make a better run for the national championship next year.
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Few things worry Greg Nesbitt, Head Coach at Hickman (Mo.) High School, as much as the effect of heat on his players during preseason practices. After enduring a number of scares over the years in which he had to take overheated and underhydrated players to the emergency room, Nesbitt decided in 2000 that it was time to rethink his preseason philosophy.
Since that time, Nesbitt has approached the preseason with an eye toward acclimatizing his players to the heat, their uniforms, and the rigors of rounding into game shape. Nesbitt, whose team won the 2004 Missouri 5A state title, has used what he calls a com-mon sense approach to practices: fewer two-a-days and more pads-free practices to help players get used to exerting intense effort in the heat.
This approach is similar to what college coaches have done following sweeping changesincluding a ban on consecutive days of double sessions and an increased acclimatization periodmade to NCAA rules governing pre-season practices three years ago. Now it appears that high school coaches may soon face similar restrictions. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently recommended strict-er controls on preseason high school football practices, and the University Interscholastic League (UIL), which regulates most high school football in Texas, has adopted many of those rec-ommendations beginning this summer.
The details and timing will vary greatly by state, but it appears likely that rules to protect players from the dan-ger of heat illness will only get stricter. Coaches are left to wonder: What kind of changes will be made? Why are these changes necessary? And how can I best prepare my team while keeping my players safe?
Addressing a Hot TopicHeat illness has received plenty of
media attention over the last few yearsespecially since 2001, when Minnesota
Vikings tackle Korey Stringer died after suffering heat exhaustion in the teams second preseason practice. Despite many newspaper articles and TV reports chronicling Stringers death and the dangers presented by heat illness, young athletes continue to perish. Since 2003, heat stroke has claimed the lives of at least four high school players. During the 2005 preseason, two severe inci-dents, one resulting in death, occurred. And in nearly every case, the incidents took place during the first couple of practices, when most players hadnt yet reached prime physical condition.
Michael Bergeron, Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia and a fellow at the ACSM, grew tired of reading about young athletes losing their lives to heat illness and decided to do something about it. As chair of an ACSM roundtable of sports medi-cine experts, Bergeron was the primary author of a paper recommending new standards for high school preseason practices that appeared in the August 2005 issue of ACSMs journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
According to the ACSM article, The overwhelming majority of serious heat illnesses occur in the first four days of preseason football practice (especially on the first and second days), when players are not acclimatized to the heat, the intensity/duration of practice, or the uniform. Similar to NCAA rules, the ACSM recommendations would prohibit two-a-days during the first week and multiple workouts on consecutive days after that. The ACSMs guidelines also include recommendations to:
Limit single on-field practices to no more than three hours, including conditioning drills.
Limit total practice time for multiple sessions to no more than five hours a day.
Require a minimum of three hours between sessions.
R.J. Anderson is an Assistant Editor at Coaching Management. He can be reached at: [email protected]
Whether by choice or by rule, coaches at all levels are altering preseason practice schedules to help their players beat the heat while still getting ready for the opener.
BY R.J. ANDERSON
COACHING MANAGEMENT 21
22 COACHING MANAGEMENT
Prohibit wearing full uniforms and pads, which can increase the risk of heat illness, until day six.
Prohibit full-contact practices until week two.Since its release in August of 2005, the ACSMs message
has caught the attention of high school association officials at both the state and national levels. Jerry Diehl, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Assistant Director and staff liaison to the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, says that management of heat illness is a point of concern for his organization. Along with re-evaluating its cur-rent guidelines, which do not include any language pertaining to two-a-day practices or session length, the NFHS is examining the ACSMs recommendations, Diehl says.
Bergeron hopes the ACSM proposals will gain traction and that regulations will find their way onto high school fields within the next couple of years. Hopefully with the NFHSs support, we can get a lot more attention for this so that the guidelines can make an impact, says Bergeron. Were hoping to make the guidelines available on the NFHS Web site, and were working on a poster that would include an abbreviated version of the recommendations that could be sent directly to every state association or the schools themselves.
Bergeron says since the NCAA adopted its guidelines, there is evidence of players losing less practice time due to heat-related problems. Theres no reason to think the same thing wouldnt happen at high schools, he adds.
After examining the dangers of heat stress and dealing with heat-related fatalities, some state associations are taking steps to address the issue. In Texas, where a player died of heat stroke in 2004, the UIL recently adopted some of the ACSMs recommen-dations. Starting this preseason, Texas high schools will adhere to the three- and five-hour limits on practice times. Weve also added mandatory time breaks between two practices if they are held on the same day, says Mark Cousins, Athletic Coordinator of the UIL. And according to Cousins, the UIL is considering more preseason changes within the next couple of years.
The Early DangerTo grasp the intentions behind the ACSMs recommenda-
tions, Bergeron feels its important that coaches take the time to consider the risks and scenarios that prompt a player to collapse or die. Its not just the heat, Bergeron explains. Its acclimatizing to the intensity and duration of practices, as well as the uniform and all of the protective gear that they wear. When you read about somebody being taken to the hospital or dying, usually its on the first day or two of practice and theyve gone three hours or even six hours during those first few ses-sions wearing full gearincluding helmets and pads.
Mike Ferrara, an athletic trainer and a kinesiology professor at the University of Georgia, is entering the final year of a four-year
I havent noticed any drop in our conditioning and preparedness since we did away with con-secutive two-a-days ... I think the reduced prac-tice time has been well offset by a decrease in injuries and by the freshness of our players.
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study examining heat illness in college football. Athletic trainers from 28 Division I and III teams record heat injuries on a day-to-day basis along with the envi-ronmental conditions surrounding the injuries.
Since beginning the study in 2003, Ferrara has noticed a few trends from his initial data analysis. One is a spike in heat-related injuries on the second day of preseason. They go through their first day without too many prob-lems, then on day two we see a bit of an upward trend in the number of heat illness cases, says Ferrara. There is an increase on day two, then it comes down on days three, four, and five.
Ferrara has also noticed a gradual increase in the number of heat-related illnesses during the second week, when teams are allowed to start full sessions with pads as well as two-a-daysthough not on consecutive days. Theres a grad-ual uptick to about day 12, then it goes down, says Ferrara, who thinks that the decrease is a result of players getting used to practicing in the heat and wear-ing all of their protective equipment.
Bergeron says these figures should give pause to coaches who like to use preseason practices to weed out the weak. Coaches have to recognize that their players need to be gradually intro-duced to the environment, the intensity and duration of the workouts, and the uniform configuration in a very progres-sive manner, says Bergeron. Unlike in college football, where athletes tend to be better conditioned when they begin camp, high school kids often come in fairly unfit. When you take somebody whos not fit and not acclimatized to the heat, and you give him a hard, long workout in a uniform, or even a partial uniform, youre asking for trouble.
The effects of helmets and pads should not be overlooked. Bergeron says itll take more research to pin down the thresholds of weather and uniform con-ditions that trigger heat-related injury. But its already clear, he says, that coaches need to understand that football equip-ment can dangerously compromise the bodys cooling system and needs to be gradually introduced in preseason. Im not sure that people really appreciate the degree of stress that a uniform and helmet put on a person, he says.
Nesbitt agrees. In Missouri, the only equipment that can be worn for the first
COACHING MANAGEMENT 25
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three days of practice is a helmet. We take it a step further, says Nesbitt. We might wear helmets the first day, then only wear shorts and T-shirts on the sec-ond day or during the second session of a two-a-day so their bodies can adjust to the temperature without overheating.
And we always tell our players to take off their helmets between drills to help cool down, says Nesbitt. We feel that if we can get them through those first three
or four days, the odds are in our favor that theyll be better adjusted to the heat and minimize their chance of injury.
Avoiding Double TroubleCoaches from the high school to
professional level are also approaching preseason scheduling differently than their predecessors. In Atlanta, Falcons Head Coach Jim Mora begins camp with a single afternoon practice, followed by
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26 COACHING MANAGEMENT
a double session on the second day, then alternates single-double-single sessions each day after that. Mora also tries to avoid holding padded workouts during both parts of a double session.
Mora is not alone in his two-a-day cutbacks. An informal poll conducted by ESPN.com concluded that two-thirds of NFL teams have eliminated consecu-tive two-a-days. The reasons behind the changes include ramped up off-season conditioning programs and a desire to reduce injuries.
Its just being smarter in managing your time, getting things accomplished when youre on the field, then getting your players out of the sun, Mora told ESPN.com. Sure, its a break from tradi-tion. But everything changes. When you get to September, you dont want a team
thats already burned out because of what it did in July and August.
As Mora points out, the benefits of changing the preseason routine may go beyond reducing the risk of heat illness. By gradually bringing his players along and getting them used to both the heat and the intensity of practice, Nesbitt has experienced fewer problems with strains and sprains during those first couple of weeks.
However, Nesbitt says he didnt always operate his preseason with such restraint, and before scaling back on two-a-days in 2000, such injuries were a big hin-drance to his preseason preparation. I used to come out and bust you like the dickens that first day and work you till you dropped, says Nesbitt, the 2004 Missouri 5A Coach of the Year. Then,
invariably, wed have injuries. Wed have a couple of hip flexors, a groin pull, and maybe a bad hamstring or two. Theres nothing worse than having eight or 10 guys standing on the sidelines during that first week of practice.
Now we place an emphasis on accli-matizing to the conditioning as well as the heat, he continues. We start a little slower, but by the middle of the second week, we have it completely ratcheted up and are doing full-fledged condition-ing sessions at the end of practice.
Nesbitt says that since eliminating consecutive two-a-days and implement-ing a stricter preseason acclimatization period, the number of heat-related epi-sodes has dramatically decreased, and his team has not suffered physically. I havent noticed any drop in our condi-tioning and preparedness since we did away with consecutive two-a-days, he adds. Weve been ready and prepared in our openers. The practice or two that we take off certainly hasnt gotten us behind, and I think the reduced practice time has been well offset by a decrease in injuries and by the freshness of our players.
Learning From ExperienceHigh school coaches seeking exam-
ples of how to adjust their preseason practice routines can also look to their colleagues at the college level. Since NCAA restrictions on preseason prac-tices went into effect in 2003, college coaches have been working to find the right formula to prepare players for competition. While most coaches have their routines dialed in at this point, it hasnt always been smooth sailing.
Steve Mohr, Head Coach at Trinity University, a Division III school in San Antonio, Texas, says that the rule chang-es caught him off guard initially and that the 2003 preseason was a bumpy one for his team and his staff. We found in the first year that we had more non-heat-related injuries with the restrictions than before, says Mohr. I dont know if it was a fluke, but for some reason it took a long time for our kids to attain optimal conditioning.
One reason for that, says Mohr, is that many players didnt come to camp in adequate shape. In anticipation of the five-day acclimatization period, which banned two-a-days, protective equip-ment, and practicing longer than three
A leading contributor to heat illness injuries, includ-ing cramping, is dehydration. And it often results from players not sufficiently restoring their hydration levels between workouts. Michael Bergeron, Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia and a fellow at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), says his studies have shown that during a two-hour practice players typically lose at least one percent of their body weight despite consuming two liters of water during that time. He says that in most cases, the players failed to replace that weight before the next practice session.
We found that athletes are often dehydrated even before that first practice, says Bergeron. Then they come back the next day, and its even worse. I can take any group of athletes in any sport and prior to a practice or a game more than half of them are dehydratedand to a fairly significant level.
So how do you make sure your players are rehydrating adequately? Greg Nesbitt, Head Coach at Hickman (Mo.) High School, says its not enough to simply have water and sports drinks available throughout practice and to weigh athletes before and after each session. Nesbitt feels coaches need to preach a message that is repetitive, reviewed, and starts at the top. We harp on it constantly, says Nesbitt, who emphasizes the importance of hydration at a parents meeting held the night before the first preseason practice.
I tell the parents about bad experiences Ive had and I talk about the experience of taking a kid to the emer-gency room with cramps, he adds. Even if its not life-threatening, it can be a very scary situation. I tell parents
that as a coach, Im not around the kids once practice ends, so they need to take the baton and make sure their kids are getting enough fluids when they go home at night.
HARPING ON HYDRATION
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hours, Mohr says its possible that his players may have slacked off a bit in their summer conditioning, even if sub-consciously.
Mohr and his staff remedied that problem by taking a new approach to the summer workouts they gave the team. Before the 2004 preseason, we stepped up the conditioning compo-nent of the workouts that we gave them to take home in the summer, says Mohr. We asked them to do more run-ning and I think it paid off. Probably 80 percent of the kids followed it pretty diligently, came back in a lot better shape, and helped start our season on a much better foot.
With fewer two-a-days and an overall crunch on practice time, coaches across the NCAA were forced to change the structure of their preseason workouts. The most obvious thing is that we have many more meetings and get the Xs and Os of our offense and defense done on the chalk board, says Scot Dapp, Head Coach at Moravian College. For the multiple sessions, we vary them so that we break the day. Well have a day with a couple of two-and-a-half-hour practices, but we might follow it up with a day consisting of a two-hour practice, then a one-hour practice, then wrap up with another two-hour session. To me, its all about utilizing every moment youre allowed with your guys.
One adaptation that Mohr and Dapp both made was placing more emphasis on weightlifting during the preseason. Before, many coaches would have their players work hard in the weightroom coming into the start of preseason camp, then cut back on their lifting once camp starts because there isnt as much time and the players are worn down, says Dapp. As a result, players usually lost
strength during that time. Now, we can schedule weight training sessions on days we dont have two-a-days, which allows players to maintain their strength throughout the course of camp.
While spending less time on the practice field bothers both Mohr and Dapp, Nesbitt feels that the reduced preseason workload has really helped his high schoolers. I didnt see any disadvantage to how weve changed our preseason approach, says Nesbitt. When I first made the changes, I was a little concerned because I knew I would end up with three or four fewer prac-tices than opposing coaches.
But Ive realized that if you have an organized system, eliminating three or four practices isnt going to make a difference in winning or losing if youre practicing smart and hard, Nesbitt adds. To me, its all about quality over quantity.
By running organized, fast-paced practices, and giving his players more recovery time, Nesbitt is able to stay away from the emergency room and prepare his team for the season. Believe me, he says, by the time our first game rolls around, our kids are in shapejust ask our opponents.
28 COACHING MANAGEMENT
For more detail on American College of Sports Medicine recommendations for avoiding heat stress, go to: www.acsm.org/publications/newsreleases2005/GuideFootball.htm.
For a list of definitions for varying stages of heat stress and accompanying treat-ment options, go to: www.nfhs.org and type heat stress into the search window.
For articles on heat illness and cooling from our sister publication Training & Conditioning, go to our Web site at: www.AthleticSearch.com and type heat illness into the search window.
R E S O U R C E S
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Now, we can schedule weight training sessions on days we dont have two-a-days, which allows players to maintain their strength throughout the course of camp.
www.gssiweb.orgELECTROLYTES ARE V ITAL FORSAFETY AND PERFORMANCE:PRACTICAL RESEARCH Y IELDSIMPORTANT LESSONS FOR ATHLETES
SODIUM AND HEAT CRAMPINGMajor heat cramping involving widespread painful spasms of muscles can takeathletes out of the game. In the past, some have recommended increasing potas-sium intake as the key to preventing heat cramps1. But forget the bananas andoranges. New research has shown sodium, not potassium, is critical in preventingmajor heat cramping in sports2.
Research with the University of Oklahomafootball team shows that sodium loss insweat is a key culprit in heat cramping inathletes. Through on-field studies of Sooner football players inaction, researchers measured sweat ratesand sweat electrolyte losses in two-a-daypractices in August. In hot and humid con-ditions, they compared cramp-prone playerswith teammates who had no history of heatcramping.
Results showed both groups lost small andsimilar amounts of potassium in sweat, buttheir sweat sodium losses were starkly dif-ferent. Crampers were salty sweaters, losing
twice the sodium in sweat as noncrampers. In one day of two-a-day practice sessions, the crampers lost an average of
five teaspoons of salt (sodium chloride). In an extreme example, one athletelost nine teaspoons.
Football crampers also had higher sweat rates and dehydrated more thannoncrampers.
THE WATER HAZARDIf an athlete does lock up with major heat cramping, athletic trainers and othersport professionals should think twice before instructing the athlete to drink plentyof plain water. Over-ingestion of plain water can worsen the problem by dilutingthe blood sodium concentration and causing hyponatremia.
Proper treatment protocol involves administration of sodium chloride through fluid,either orally or intravenously. Fluids taken orally are the first line of defense. Ifdrinking is impaired or it is an emergency situation, fluids can be administeredintravenously. Athletic trainers and other sport professionals should never treat heat cramping
with only plain water. To prevent heat cramping, encourage athletes to salt their food and consume
sodium-rich foods like tomato juice, canned soup, and pretzels. Further preven-tion should include weighing athlete pre and post practice to determine fluidweight loss.
During on-field situations, the use of sports drinks containing sodium, likeGatorade, will continue to help athletes meet their electrolyte needs.
ELECTROLYTES MAINTAIN BLOOD VOLUMEAlthough athletes should avoid overdrinking, athletes in action tend not to drinkenough fluid to stay fully hydrated. Sodium in a sports drink helps keep athleteshydrated. Beverages containing sodium are better retained by the body because the blood
sodium concentration is maintained. This helps hold fluid in the bloodstream,preventing a fall in blood volume. In contrast, sodium-free beverages like
water are eliminated more quickly in theurine, because they rapidly dilute theblood sodium concentration7.
The sodium in sports drinks like Gatoradealso helps maintain the physiologicaldrive to drink, so athletes drink more andhydrate better.
FLUID TURNOVER ANDHOMEOSTASISResearch shows that Sooner football playersturn over huge amounts of fluid during two-a-day practices8. Basically, they lose andneed to replace an average of 10 quarts offluid a day. Up to 70% of this daily fluid
loss is sweat; the rest is mostly urine. Sweat comprises more than just water. It also contains electrolytes, mainly
sodium and chloride, but also potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Replacing the fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat is vital to maintain proper
hydration and cardiovascular control, help regulate body temperature, andensure top athletic performance9.
ELECTROLYTES BEAT PLAIN WATER IN THEATHLETIC ARENA Sodium is vital to prevent major heat cramping in athletes. Beverages with sodium stay in the body better than sodium-free fluids. Electrolytes are imperative to maintain a healthy fluid balance and keep ath-
letes performing at their peak.
E. Randy Eichner, MD, Team Internist, Oklahoma Sooners
Data from laboratory and field research on typical amateur and professional athletes togauge sweat sodium loss during typical workouts for each sport. Sweat sodium loss infootball is represented for noncrampers; cramp-prone players lose twice this much sodium.
SODIUM NEEDS OF ATHLETESIntensity and duration of workouts can add up to substantial sodium loss.
For more information, please visit www.gssiweb.org.REFERENCES1Arnheim, D, &,Prentice, W. Principles of Ahletic Trianing (9th ed).St. Louis: McGraw-Hill (1997): 266. 2Stofan JR, ZAchwiega JJ, Horswill CA, Lacambra M, Murray R, Eichner ER, Anderson S. Sweat and sodi-um losses in NCAA Division 1 football players with a history of whole-body muscle cramping. In Press: JSports Nutr Exer Metab.3Maughan RJ, Merson SJ, Broad NP, Shirreffs SM. Fluid and electrolyte intake and loss in elite soccerplayers during training. Int. J. Sports Nutr. 14:333-346, 2004. 4Maughan RJ, Shirreffs SM, Merson SJ, Horswill CA. Fluid and electrolyte balance in elite male football(soccer) players training in a cool environment. J. Sports Sci. 23:73-79, 20055Phanke MD, Trinity JD, Batty JJ Zachwieja JJ, Stofan JF, Hiller WD, Coyle EF. Variability in sweat rate andsodium concentration in ultra-enduracne athletes during exercise. Texas-chapter ACSM meeting,February 2004. 6GSSI in house research on Olympic marathon runners.7Maughan RJ, Leiper, JB, Sodium intake and post exercise rehydration in man. Eur. J. Appl. PhysiolOccup. Physiol. 71(4):311-9, 1995.8Montain SJ and Coyle EF. Influence of graded dehydration on hypertension and cardiovascular driftduring exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 73:1340-1350, 1992.9Stofan JR, ZAchwiega JJ, Horswill CA, Lacambra M, Murray R, Eichner ER, Anderson S. Fluid turnoverduring two-a-day practices in college football. MSSE, 37:S168, 2005.
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ouve finished up an incred-ibly tough season and youre ready to throw in the towel. The athletes didnt seem motivated, their parents drove you crazy, and your athletic director was out playing golf whenever you needed a helping hand. You
worked your tail off for the team and all you got in return were complaints.
Youre about to hand in your letter of resignation, but then again, youre not really sure you want out. You do love coachingworking with the kids and the thrill of the competition.
Ever have a season like that? Most coaches have. How do you decide wheth-er its time to leave and start over?
I recently left the school where Id been coaching for 16 years. It was a difficult decision, but one that was ulti-mately in my best interest. It took a lot of reflection, thinking about my options, and getting ready for new challenges.
What Went Wrong? There are many reasons a coach might
want to resign. Sometimes it is because a painful situation arose with parents. Maybe the time commitment has become too overwhelming. For some, lack of sup-
Lem Elway just completed his second season as Head Football Coach at Rochester (Wash.) High School, where he teaches special educa-tion. He is also Head Baseball Coach at Black Hills High School in Tumwater, Wash. A mem-ber of the Washington State Coaches Hall of Fame, he has coached at the middle school, high school, and college levels.
BY LEM ELWAY
TIME TO REFLECT
If you dont look forward to the first day of practice every yearand all that goes with itit might be time to step back and ask yourself whether you need new challenges, a new coaching job, or just to reassess how you work.
30 COACHING MANAGEMENT
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port from administration or a shrinking budget is the impetus. Others just feel theyve lost their passion for coaching.
Before you write that resignation let-ter, its important to reflect on why you are thinking about quitting. A critical and unemotional look at the situation is essential to making the right choice. This is the only way to figure out if you truly want to quit coaching altogether, if you should move to another school, or
if you just need to change some of your strategies before the next season starts. Here are some areas to think about:
Parents: When I started coaching, working with athletes parents was not an issue. Parents rarely dared to question a coach and were quickly told to mind their own business if they did. Today, working with parents is a big part of the job and can run even a veteran coach ragged.
32 COACHING MANAGEMENT
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Parents in another district are proba-bly not going to be much different. Every team has parents who will question your decisions, overprotect their children, and not understand the greater good. The truth is you need to embrace working with parents if you want to continue coaching.
However, some schools are better at supporting their coaches than others. If your current administration lacks proce-dures for parent questions and does not back you up in parental disagreements, you might want to look for an adminis-tration that will.
This issue can be especially sensitive when it comes to disciplining athletes who break school or team rules. One rea-son I left my former school was that I was verbally attacked (as were members of my family) after the administration dis-ciplined five seniors from my team who were caught breaking the team no-drink-ing rule. Some parents were relentless in trying to get me fired. Although the administration backed me and I stayed at the school for another five years (and we continued to have a winning program), the negativity took its toll. I needed a fresh start to preserve my enthusiasm for coaching.
School Climate: A coach I know relo-cated after seeing his budget cut year after year and the administration with-holding the support he needed. He joined a school with a strong athletic director and a community committed to high school athletics.
On the flip side, some coaches become frustrated with a climate that puts too much emphasis on winning. A new gen-eration of parents who want the team to bring home a regional championship every year might not be your idea of a good time. If thats more pressure than you want, it may be time to say good-bye.
Time Commitments: Being a head coach is much more time-consuming than it was 10 years ago. If you arent spending enough time with your family, youve got a very good reason to take a break from coaching. Whether youre juggling childcare with your spouse or taking your kids on weekend college visits, there are things in your family life that you cant afford to miss.
In most cases, you can return to coaching when the time is right. Even if your old job has gone to someone else,
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there will be opportunities to coach in just about every community. Ive seen head baseball coaches leave their post, then return to coach the schools newly formed softball team. Ive also seen former head coaches return as assistant coaches with great success.
Mistakes Made: This is hard to do, but its critical that you think about the mistakes youve made that contributed to the negative situation. We all make mistakes, but only those who can analyze their missteps will learn how to grow from them. Conduct a critical evalua-tion of yourself and write down what you could have done differently.
For example, maybe you didnt make your expectations clear enough at the beginning of the season. Maybe you are struggling with evaluating the tal-ent on your team. Maybe your strate-gies werent well thought out. Maybe you havent found the right balance of
being strict yet understanding with your athletes. Maybe you tried to skirt parents questions. Maybe you neglected to ask for help. Maybe your practices werent focused enough.
Be honest with yourself about the mistakes youve made. And then be honest about figuring out your role in avoiding similar problems in the future.
Is Repair Possible?: With a complete understanding of what went wrong and your role in the problem, you next need to think about whether the situation can be repaired. If you feel that you can avoid the same problems by doing things differently next year, then write down your goals for how you want to change and stay where you are. In some
cases, you might also need to talk to people to repair any damage done.
If you honestly dont feel the prob-lems will go away no matter what you do, then hand in that resignation letter and think about your next step: Do you stop coaching altogether or look for a new position? To help make this deci-sion, think about going to practice next season at a new school: Are you pumped up as you imagine yourself meeting new players (and parents)? Or would you be forcing yourself to get excited at that first meeting? If the former is true, then keep reading.
Putting Out Your Resume Before you decide to look for anoth-
er job, understand that there is work to be done and decisions to be made. First of all, think about your parameters. Is it possible to relocate or do I need to look for a job in the area? What are my financial needs? What are my familys needs?
Think about what you want in a job, as well as about your coaching goals.
Be honest with yourself about the mistakes youve made. And then be hon-est about figuring out your role in avoiding similar problems in the future.
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What has your current school taught you about what gives you job satisfac-tion? What has it shown you about find-ing a suitable work environment? What have you learned about the qualities to look for in your next athletic director? How has your experience prepared you to take the next step?
Some coaches consider the college level. Advantages include teaching more-skilled athletes and becoming a parent-away-from-home, having more
assistants and administrative help, and few if any in-class duties. On the other hand, college coaching requires more time commitment and travel, and break-in salaries can be lower than those for many new scholastic teacher-coaches.
Once you know what you want, start researching and networking. I found it helpful to talk to other coaches at schools that had openings and in com-munities I was interested in moving to. I asked them about working with the
athletic director and other administra-tors, how problems with parents are handled, what type of students attend the school, whether coaches on the staff get along, and the history of the sport at the school.
Next, get your resume and a list of personal recommendations in order. Review your interview skills, and talk to others who have recently gone through the process for tips. For example, in todays world, questions about handling parents and program philosophy are at the top of the list. Make sure you have practiced answers to a list of possible high-priority interview questions. This will give you interview confidence. (See Interview Questions at left.)
New Coach on the Block Once you have secured a new posi-
tion, plan to work hard in that first year to get things off on the right foot. When taking leadership of a program, there is much to learn and communicate.
To start, establish relationships with as many people as you can:
36 COACHING MANAGEMENT
Here are eight questions you should be prepared to answer as a coaching candidate:
Why should anyone hire you?
How are you different from other candidates?
What can you offer to make a program better?
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
How do you handle problems with parents?
How do you deal with conflict?
What is your coaching philosophy?
I N T E RV I E W Q U E S T I O N S
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Meet with prospective athletes to introduce yourself and learn about their goals and objectives.
If possible, meet with the former coach of the team to get his perspective on the history of the program.
Meet teachers, counselors, and sec-retaries in the building to establish pro-fessional relationships.
Establish lines of communication with parents who might be involved with your program in any way. Make sure there are multiple ways they can contact and communicate with you.
Meet with local radio and newspa-per outlets to introduce yourself and facilitate ways to satisfy their needs for information.
Attend and be visible at as many school and community activities as pos-sible to show your support for other programs.
Meet with the booster club to get members sense of the program and begin to work on projects together.
Meet with feeder coaches to pro-vide leadership, information, and sup-port for their programs.
Talk to the principal and admin-istration about the issues they see as important.
As you talk with people, find out the history of the sport at the school and any significant issues from the past. For example, understand why the for-mer coach left and what people liked or disliked about him. Get a sense of whether the best athletes at the school are involved in your sport, and if not, why not. Find out how problems have been handled in the past and how par-ents have responded.
Its also a good idea to understand the coaching dynamics in your new school. As time passes, you can put your personal touch on the program to reflect your style, but to start, follow the standards set by veteran coaches. For example, if tidy uniforms are important to the coaches of other sports, make sure your kids are tucking in their shirts and looking sharp. If coaches are sup-po