Trying to beat the heat in Southern California

La Mirada football heat

With extreme heat throughout the entire Los Angeles area, high school football programs are making adjustments to their practice schedules this week

The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning through Thursday with temperatures in some spots reaching as high as 108 degrees. While temperatures are expected to cool a few degrees on Friday, teams will have to be prepared to play their games in very warm conditions.

When I was at La Mirada High School (La Mirada, CA) this afternoon, the air temperature was 102 degrees, which kept head coach Mike Moschetti’s troops off-the field.  Instead of battling the heat outside, the Matadores did a walk-through inside in a multi-purpose room and lifted in their covered outside weight room.

Listen to what Moschetti told me what he’ll do to combat the heat below.

In the Inland Empire Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, California, afternoon temperatures will be in triple-digits when the Mustangs hit the field. Head coach Jeff Steinberg told me that his team will be outside for practice.

“We are high-tempo during all of our practices, but change things up in the heat with more breaks and water,” said Steinberg. “We do not do any conditioning when there is a heat advisory in effect. Also have liquids, fruit and food available right after practice.”

At Servite High School in Anaheim, head coach Scott Meyer said he and his staff will check the heat before they go out for their 4 o’clock practice and then make decisions.

“We may go in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets, said Meyer. “We may also practice on our natural grass field, instead of our artificial turf.”

San Clemente High School, which is extremely close to the Pacific Ocean was expected to top-out around 90, according to the National Weather Service, which is very hot for a beach town. Head coach Jaime Ortiz, who likes to say that San Clemente is where the turf meets the surf, says hydration is the topic for the day.

“We actually have a coach who monitors the weather,” said Ortiz.  “We send constant reminders to the kids about making sure they stay hydrated.  We do this through social media and other ways.  Proper hydration is key 48-hours before the game — not right before, which is a mistake made by many players.”

In Southern California’s High Desert, Chris Fore, Special Teams Coordinator for Sultana High School told me, “The most important things to consider when the heat rises here in the High Desert is practice length, be prepared with extra water, and reminding the boys to hydrate away from football. We have just a few scheduled water breaks. Our philosophy is for players to hydrate whenever they need it. So, we have water bottles with position groups so that kids can get water as needed, whenever they want during practice.”

And in Corona, Centennial, ranked #3 in the High School Football America Top 25 changed their practice schedule.  Corona Centennial head coach Matt Logan, who will be looking for his 200th win this Friday against Orange Lutheran, said he decided to practice later to avoid the heat.

Logan will be a guest on Thursday’s High School Football America Radio Show.

Finally, we reached-out to Orange Lutheran High School‘s team doctor, Dr. Chris Koutures about things players and coaches should keep in-mind in the heat….

  • Kids should enter practice and games adequately hydrated, which means not being thirsty
  • Let thirst at minimum be the guide for drinking during activity
  • Players should get regular breaks for fluids and shade, and all players (not just the fastest ones) should have free and full access
  • Ice towels can be helpful in the heat
  • Lighter uniforms and removing pads can reduce heat burden
  • Big fan of fruits and vegetables for fluid and salt replacement
  • Berries and cherries are also good for reducing post-workout soreness
  • Water usually best choice for hydration during exercise — sport beverages more recommended for exercise over an hour for those athletes who have salt losses (salt taste to sweat, sweat marks on uniform)
  • Chocolate milk has been studied as a solid post-exercise beverage to provide protein, carbohydrate, vitamin D, calcium and fluid sources to working muscle

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.