FNF Coaches Talk — Fans need to behave, Connecticut’s push for 7 on 7, stay connected with players

FNF Coaches Talk

Good afternoon, Coach! We’ve got three stories for you.

1. ‘Don’t blow this for everyone else’: Doctor talks return of high school football (WTVY.com)

Many of us have seen the photos of fans not wearing masks and ignoring social distancing guidelines at the opening week of football in Alabama. A local doctor is urging fans to change their behavior before they ruin it for coaches, players and fans in other states.

“Please don’t blow this for everyone else because you’re not able to socially distance appropriately, because you’re not able to wear a mask,” Harris said. “Most Alabamians are doing a good job. I think most Alabamians get it and understand.”

Harris said there are examples of football programs where rules were being followed.

“It certainly wasn’t every football stadium that had large crowds of people that weren’t following the rules, but when you see those people who are doing that, I would say the word is not surprised, but disappointment,” Harris said.

Read the entire story.

How will you ensure fans are following the safety guidelines if you let them attend games?

2. Connecticut state health officials suggest 7-on-7 high school football (Hartford Courant)

High school sports conditioning was halted over a week ago in Connecticut amid concerns related to coronavirus, including its spread through athletic activities and the resumption of in-person learning in the coming weeks. The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Committee board decided Sunday night, following the guidance of the state Department of Public Health, to move forward with workouts, but will continue to discuss whether all sports are played in the upcoming season.

DPH commissioner Deidre Gifford wrote in a letter to the CIAC: “With that in mind, DPH’s recommendations do not reflect a need to abandon the idea of having any fall interscholastic athletic activities this year.”

Gifford “encourages CIAC to work with their coaches, athletic directors, and board members” to make changes that would lower the risk level of football and volleyball, including moving volleyball outside and only moving forward with a seven-on-seven football style that would not involve tackling or line play. The change to football, if approved, would significantly reduce close contact and reduce the sport to a “moderate risk” level, based on national guidelines.”

The start of the full contact practice and games is still up in the air, as more school districts have moved their starting dates back last week. Originally, the plan was to start full contact practice Sept. 10 and games Sept. 24. DPH preferred not holding activities until two weeks after school started, but the start date varies by district.

“If some schools are starting Aug. 31 and others aren’t starting until Sept. 14 or 21, we have to figure where each of our member schools fall in this time frame,” Lungarini said. “Then we have to have some conversations.

Read the entire story.

Which would you prefer: Playing 7 on 7 this fall or moving the season to the spring?

3. NFHS Executive Director Karissa Niehoff addresses return to play in high school sports nationwide, stresses importance of coaches having contact with players (Mass Live)

NFHS Executive Director Dr. Karissa Niehoff held a virtual media availability session on Tuesday to discuss recent national developments in return to play efforts nationwide for high school sports and how sports can play a role in a virtual learning setting.

According to the NFHS, 37 states are modifying their sports seasons due to coronavirus, including 17 states who are not playing football this fall. Fourteen states have not implemented any significant changes, but that can still change.

Niehoff made it a point to say multiple times during the session that no state has cancelled its fall season outright.

As the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts, Niehoff took a firm stance on her and the organization’s belief activities that fall under either designation should be incorporated into schools with fully remote learning this fall.

“If learning is all virtual, it is essential that a virtual connection is there for students in sports and performing arts,” Niehoff said. “Virtual belonging is important.”

The NFHS values the idea of coaches having the ability to be in contact with their players out of season in this current climate.

“Re-connecting with coaches, whether virtually or in-person, is so important for high school athletes,” said Niehoff. “”Coaches need to be engaged with their players right now. … We hope teams are engaged and that kids are doing some sort of physical conditioning.”

Read the entire story.

What’s your plan for connecting with players if you won’t see them in person in the coming weeks?

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