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The Summer: Dealing With The Heat | Coaching Youth (age 13-18)

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Posted in: Coaching Youth (age 13-18), General Forum

The Summer: Dealing With The Heat

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  • Hey guys,

    I hope everyone is enjoying a bit of sun and warm weather for as long as it manages to last. Hopefully the weather's not too bad for those of us who aren't as lucky.

    I had a hard session yesterday afternoon out on the track under the sun (as an athlete!). Although I'm lucky enough to have a considerate coach who managed to tone down the session considerably - I'm still feeling the effects of the heat today with another session due tomorrow!

    Reflecting as a coach it got me thinking... it would be handy to know the different ways all of us handle our sessions, advice and athletes in the heat. So feel free to share your tips and experiences here - whether it be motherly advice such as wearing a cap or something out of the ordinary such as soaking in fresh water in a steeplechase pit (I've seen it happen). 

    Thought I'd put this here as teen training is a mix of competitive training and a lack of athlete initiative, although this info could be useful for all ages.

    Look forward to hearing all your thoughts and experiences!

    Jonathan Benjamin

    Birchfield Harriers - Athletics Coach

    Newman University - Sports Student

  • BarbAugustin

    Rob asked me to contribute as I'm from the sunny land downunder, so I must be an expert in training in the heat.

    It was a bit cruel of him as we're in the middle of Winter at the moment and I spent yesterday at a cross-country meet rugged up with thick boots, scarf, gloves, long coat, etc. However, maybe thinking about hot weather will warm me up :-)

    Below is an email I send my athletes when the first hot weather for the season arrives:

    "Whenever the bureau is predicting a temperature >35 degrees, I will send an email around advising what you should do. 

    On any warm day, you need to start hydrating the night before. But don’t drink too much in the 2 hours before going to bed or you won’t get much sleep :-) 

    During the day, make sure you drink a lot so that you come to the session well hydrated – your wee should be light yellow, or paler.

    On a hot day, the sessions will be short: drink and splash water on yourself and use the shade wherever possible. Adults should drink 600-1000ml about 30 minutes before the session and maybe 500ml just before warming up and 250ml before training proper. Kids may not be able to drink this much, but should drink what they can.

    After the session, drink, splash cold water on yourself and get home and have a cool shower and/or immerse as much of the body as possible in cool water, eg go to the beach.  Relax for the rest of the evening. Remember to rehydrate – have one bottle of Gatorade and lots of water.

    On a hot day, you may not have eaten much. You still need to eat but you could have watermelon or frozen yoghurt, etc."

    Useful resources are: http://smartplay.com.au/Pub/pStart.asp and 
    http://sma.org.au/resources-advice/policies-guidelines/hot-weather/ These talk about wet bulb globe temperature, ambient heat and relative humidity. Our weather bureau provides these observations, I don't know if yours does. You will also see there are links to policies instigated by various sports.

    The other thing to bear in mind is what people are used to. Someone from a cold climate will suffer at a lower temperature than someone from a warmer climate. Even the type of heat (humid vs dry) can make a difference - those from tropical climes may suffer in hot, dry heat and vice versa. As the heat spell goes on, people's ability to cope with it improves so that training that would have caused undue suffering on the first day of Summer is bearable by the end.

    Finally, I've found that short but hard workouts are a good way of ensuring that athletes don't detrain but you get them out of the heat quickly. I think it's better to do that than a less hard workout that goes on for a long time.

    Regards from mid-Winter in Melbourne, Australia.


  • Thanks for the input Barb,

    All of that sounds ideal! Never really thought about preparing athletes for the heat before they get to training. I guess not much importance is placed on it in the UK since it never really gets too hot, but as you said since we're not used to the heat I've found we all suffer quite badly in the summer sessions.

    Thank you very much for all the ideas, actually can't wait to see if I can use them to help my athletes!

    Jonathan Benjamin

    Birchfield Harriers - Athletics Coach

    Newman University - Sports Student

  • andrewb62

    Given the vagaries of the British weather, I thought the following might be relevant to this topic.

    The ECB Association of Cricket Officials issued the following guidelines to umpires, with regard to playing when there is a risk of lightning strikes.

    • Play should not start or resume, or should be suspended and shelter immediately sought, when there are 40 seconds or less between the flash of lightning and the associated thunder clap.
    • It is generally safe to return to the field of play a minimum of 30 minutes after the final flash of lightning or clap of thunder has been seen or heard.

    I suspect this advice might err on the side of caution (seeking shelter when a lightning storm comes within 8 miles) but on a safety issue this has to be correct.

  • andrewb62

    For anyone coaching an athlete who is fasting during Ramadan - this advice on nutrition and hydration, from cricketstrength.com, might be helpful.

  • BarbAugustin

    Now we've gone off topic, I thought this article from the BBC about playing sport during Ramadan might be helpful: http://www.bbc.com/sport/rowing/34125890

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