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The weather in July has been unseasonably cool. Some days have felt more like October than the middle of summer.
While most people have enjoyed the cooler, less humid weather, area high school football coaches are worried this will actually hurt their teams as they prepare for season opening games, most coming on Friday, Aug. 22.
Monday is one of the biggest days in preparing for the season, as high school teams in Tennessee will practice in full pads for the first time, but the temperature is expected to be in the low-to-mid 80s instead of mid 90s, which isn’t uncommon this time of year in East Tennessee.
“It kills you,” Rockwood head coach John Webb said of cooler weather. “I hate the heat, but cooler, less humid weather does us no good. It needs to be hot this time of year so your players can get used to it. If it stays 75 (degrees) every day then all would be fine, but we know it’s going to heat up again.”
Webb’s longtime coaching foe, Harriman head coach Travis Tapp agrees with Webb’s assessment.
“It’s two fold,” Tapp said. “You’re glad because you know the temperature is safe for the kids, but you also know the heat is coming back. The biggest thing you need is to have your kids get acclimated to the heat and it hurts them if the weather is cool because we know the 90s are coming back.”
While both coaches can’t control the weather, they are taking steps to have their team in the best possible physical condition if the mercury in the thermometer takes an upward swing in August.
“We preach to our kids every day about drinking water and eating healthy,” Tapp said. “We give all of our kids information sheets on what food to eat, what will upset their stomachs and how much they need to drink. We got out in the morning this time of year and you can tell the kids that don’t eat breakfast. They have no energy.”
“Hopefully, the conditioning we did throughout the summer will help us tremendously,” Webb added. “The key is to be prepared and hydrate well throughout the day. When it does get hot again, we want all our players to be prepared.”