Happy Thursday, Coaches. Let’s get right to the required reading.
1. Verbal abuse blamed for decline in officials (Newsday)
Coaches — We’re going to dive more into this topic as we get closer to the football season, but it’s become clear that something must be done to improve the communication between coaches or parents and game officials.
High school sports umpires, referees and other officials on Long Island are being targeted for verbal abuse as never before by parents, spectators and coaches, which has led to a decline in their ranks, more than two dozen coaches, referees, umpires and school administrators said in interviews. Statistics from Nassau and Suffolk counties show that there has been a steep drop in the number of people willing to officiate since 2011-12.
“Just because we’re out on the sports field doesn’t give you the right to scream and yell at me in a way you wouldn’t anywhere else,” Wallace said. “Maybe the call was wrong. Absolutely, no one is perfect. But it doesn’t give you the right to turn around and scream and yell at us.
“That is absolutely the number one reason for decline of officials, the abuse that they receive from both coaches and parents.”
Social media platforms such as Twitter have ratcheted up the tone and tenor of commentary, especially when users can remain anonymous.
There were 23 coaches and six spectators ejected from games during the fall and winter sports seasons this school year. Spring season figures have not been tabulated yet. Boys soccer had the most ejections, with seven coaches and two spectators, followed by boys basketball with seven coaches and one spectator ejection.
Coaches — How do you prevent verbal abuse of game officials from parents and/or coaches?
2. UIW Cardinals putting greater emphasis on strength training, with fun twist (San Antonio Express-News)
Here’s a lede that will catch your eye if you’re considering ways to bring energy, enthusiasm and creativity to your strength program.
As Incarnate Word’s football players approached the weight room at Benson Stadium for their final workout before spring break, they were stopped by rope barriers and an imposing figure wearing sunglasses and a black shirt with “SECURITY” printed across the front in white lettering.
A former offensive lineman listed at nearly 270 pounds during his playing days at Texas, graduate assistant strength coach Clark Orren was acting as the weight room’s bouncer. The players were told to arrive for the workout dressed like they were going to the beach, but they likely weren’t expecting “Club Benson.”
After Orren checked his clipboard and marked an X on each players’ hand, the Cardinals entered. The windows were blocked out by black trash bags, and six strobe lights flashed as electronic dance music blared through the speakers.
UIW played its spring game on March 2 — before some teams had even begun their spring workouts — to allow more time for offseason strength training. UIW coach Eric Morris said adding muscle will be key if the Cardinals want to take the next step in 2019.
Huth and UIW’s players say the results are starting to show, but the increased commitment to strength training hasn’t stopped them from having a little fun, too.
Huth and his assistants wrangled the strobe lights from UIW’s other student organizations and snagged the rope barrier from the McDermott Center.
The regimens are hardly uncommon: four days a week of power lifts such as cleans, bench presses, squats and dead lifts. Videos of standout sets are posted on Huth’s Twitter account, totaling hundreds of likes and retweets.
What are you doing to keep things interesting in the weight room this spring?
3. This Electronic Glove Gets a Grip on Human Touch (PBS)
A team of researchers from MIT has unveiled an invention that might finally be capturing a bit of that much-needed human touch: an electronic glove equipped with nearly 550 pressure sensors that, when worn, can learn to identify individual objects and estimate their weights through tactile information alone.
As development on the glove progresses, though, the list of potential applications is only growing. Wearable sensing devices would likely have markets in personal health care and sports. Similar technology could also aid medical robots or devices that need to perform tricky procedures—for instance, by mapping out the amount of force that needs to be applied to more delicate tissues, Russo says.
If this holds true, the future of football could be tackling robots with sensory gloves catching and throwing the ball while student-athletes learn to tackle in a safe way.
While this idea is most certainly in the future, it may not be TOO far in the future — particularly with this price tag.
But the product is easy and economical to manufacture, carrying a wallet-friendly price tag of only $10 per glove, and could someday inform the design of prosthetics, surgical tools, and more.
What other yet-to-be-invented wearables could help you track your player’s skill sets?
What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk!