It is time for football teams across the nation to start fall season practice. Players dream big over championship trophy but coaches and trainers worry about their best players. Injuries are a part and parcel of any football season. Bad injuries ruin the entire season for an individual or team. It can make or break coaches or trainers’ careers.
1. Follow the Latest USA Football Regulations
Are you aware of new changes introduced by USA Football – official governing body of amateur football?
- Allow no more than seven players on field per team
- No special team
- No mandatory rotation for positions
- Two coaches can now organize players
- Players lining up against each other must be equal size
- New field length and width is 40 X 35 yards
This pilot program will help adapt to future rules enhancing player safety.
2. Designate a Player Safety Coach
PSC or player safety coach as recommended by USA Football will ensure safer practice sessions. PSC’s role is to lead safety clinics and raise concussion awareness. They will also monitor hydration and provide proper tips on wearing proper fitting equipment correctly. The PSC position is expected to prevent injuries and hold coaches accountable for their choices endangering player safety.
3. Set Heat Index Guidelines for Your Area
Brooke de Lench created a chart for monitoring the heat index and maintaining safety of players. If heat index exceeds 104 degrees, outdoor sports must be stopped immediately to prevent heat stroke or fainting. Coaches often rely on outside temperature only. It is necessary to track heat index, which is a combination of heat and humidity.
4. Emphasize the Value of Good Fundamentals
Fundamentals of a sport such as football is of the utmost significance. A player may know how to run a few plays, but if they are struggling to block, tackle or catch the ball then they will encounter difficulties entering a new setting every time. Giving kids a playbook to memorize within a 6 week season is not possible. But laying a solid foundation will set them up for future success in a rewarding football career.
5. Develop a Zero-Tolerance Policy for Bad Hits
According to American Academy of Pediatrics, coaches and trainers must encourage their teams to develop a zero-tolerance approach to bad hits. They need to discourage illegal tackles and heat first hits at practice and during games. Bench a player for leading with his head. Create incentives to discourage such behavior.
6. Create an Emergency Action Plan
Emergency actions plans may prove to be the best solution for dealing with potential worst-case scenarios likely to occur on field. Have a plan for severe weather, collecting and updating parent contact information, keeping maps of the facility handy and knowing routes that emergency vehicles will take. EAPs also handle most important issues of cardiac arrest and traumatic injuries. This may require practice and planning. Communicate these plans and run drills, which can reduce panic and speed up critical care in a real emergency.
Most tips require minimal changes to organization, but they affect player safety and set team up for a great season.