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On the Beat: West Ranch football finds way to fight the heat

Posted: August 4, 2014 10:40 p.m.
Updated: August 4, 2014 10:40 p.m.

West Ranch head football head coach Jan Miller doesn’t want to hear about how hot it is.

That’s not to say he doesn’t care about his team practicing in triple-digit temperatures, but Miller has taken steps to ensure that the heat and dehydrated players will never be an issue.

“We have water all over the field,” he said. “The players can drink whenever they want because we don’t have typical water breaks. It eliminates them having to ask for water and all the coaches are told that as long as they’re paying attention, they can drink all they want.”

West Ranch has two 55-gallon water drums, six five-gallon Gatorade jugs full of ice water and 16 six-packs of water bottles constantly being refilled to ensure every station is well hydrated.

Every station gets at least two six-packs of water bottles, while the linemen get four or five.

Miller estimates that the team goes through 80-100 gallons of water every day “easily.”

As a retired Marine, Miller knows what real heat is.

“I tell the players all the time, ‘You may think it’s hot out here but I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan and trust me, that’s hot. There are soldiers wearing all that gear in that heat and we’re dealing with 100-degree weather. It’s not that bad.’”

In the Marines, Miller would drink water from camel packs that he carried with him at all times. So he thought it made sense to transition that to the football field.

“If you take a water break after 45 minutes of real exertion, all that water you just drank is almost gone by the time you get back on the field because you’re sweating so much. A water break is a quick fix. This way we have water in them all the time so their body isn’t trying to catch up.”

“My kids sweat from the time they start practice to the time they finish. They’re not dry because their body has run out of sweat.”

Miller’s strategy seems to have worked because, according to him, the team doesn’t complain about the heat.

“If a kid was to ever go down for dehydration on my field I can say with 100 percent certainty it wasn’t because there wasn’t any water around,” Miller said. “They understand that everyone else is practicing in the same heat they are. So we do the best we can to make sure it’s not even an issue.”


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