IMPORTANT FOOTBALL INFORMATION:
Football practices around Florida began today and while the concerns over concussions is in the headlines, heat-related issues are real and dangerous, too.
Coaches must be educated in the signs of heat stress and trained to handle a situation should it arise. High temperatures and, more importantly, high humidity are dangerous for outdoor sports and must be taken into consideration when determining practice times and length of practice. Here are some practice FAQS from the FHSAA website:
Here are the 2013 changes:
• Helmets only the first two days of practice.
• Shoulder pads added on days 3-5.
• Full gear and body contact begin on day 6.
• Six practice sessions are required before any student-athlete is available to participate in a contest.
• During first five days of practice, arm shields, tackling and blocking dummies, sleds and other devices can only be used for teaching. Deliberate body-to-body contact is prohibited
And here are the updates for 2014:
• Changing the time limit to three hours for a practice during the first two weeks in order to stay consistent with NCAA rules which use the three-hour benchmark.
• Walk-throughs are not permitted on days that have two practice sessions.
• Weekly practice time shall not exceed 24 hours for days 8-14.
• Voluntary conditioning — defined as prior to the first official date of practice — is recommended not to exceed three hours.
For more information or rules regarding high school football in Florida, go to www.fhsaa.org/sports/football.
SUBTLE VOLLEYBALL RULE CHANGES:
Volleyball rule changes for 2014 are relegated more to uniforms and officials. Here are those rule changes to be aware of:
The committee approved the addition of a school name or mascot reference to be placed on the sleeve(s) of solid-colored jerseys, providing it appears in either 4-by-4 inch or 3-by-5 inch space. The solid-colored jersey, as specified in Rule 4-2-2 Note, is required in 2016 but is currently permitted.
Another rule change approved by the committee was clarifying the responsibility of the second referee to whistle and signal out-of-bounds for an antenna fault on his or her side of the net.
Much simpler rule changes when the sport is played indoors and without contact!
DON’T FORGET THESE TWO:
While football and volleyball are the most played and popular sports in Gadsden County (and in Florida and the U.S.), cross country and golf are two sports that also have teams fielded in our county schools. Golf practices begin on August 4 and Cross Country practices on August 11. There are no rule changes for these sports at this time.
A GOOD ATHLETIC DIRECTOR:
This upcoming month will be huge for high school athletic directors. Getting a new school year off the ground is no small undertaking. I won’t even go into all that must be done to prepare a new year but if you want to know the top three characteristics in which you can evaluate your school’s athletic director, here they are:
1) Organized: The responsibilities are overwhelming and an A.D. couldn't function without good organizational ability.
2) Integrity: There will always be times when he will be called upon to enforce policies that are neither popular nor easy to do but are still the absolute right thing to do.
You cannot overstate the importance of giving your word and having everyone be able to count on it, no matter how difficult or painful it may be at the time.
3) Effective Communicator: Effective communication means that you also have to listen to the questions and concerns of everyone connected to the school’s atheltic program, and make explanations, educate, do public speaking, and inform others via the written form.