FNF Coaches Talk — Shorten HS Football Season, Use GPS Monitoring, A Team’s Championship Helps Community After Tragedy

Welcome back, Coaches. We think you’re going to like these three stories.

1. High school football season should not be longer than college football season (The Orange County Register)

Here’s an interesting take that we hadn’t really considered since exceptionally LONG football seasons are not really an issue in every state.

California is, in fact, one of those states with long seasons. The state championship games in California will not conclude for another 12 days.

This columnist, Steve Fryer, says that’s too long.

High school football teams have been playing games since August. This is too much football for high school boys.
The CIF State website’s front page has a “SPORTS MEDICINE” tab at the top of the page. Move your browser to the top of that tab and the fourth sub-tab down is “Concussions.”
The CIF State and its 10 sections are great at educating its member schools about concussions. However, a logical way to reduce concussions is to reduce the number of potential concussion incidents. Adding football games creates more exposure to potential concussions and perhaps health problems in the future.

Fryer argues that the length of the football season also makes it impossible for football players to play winter sports.

Corona del Mar’s star quarterback, Ethan Garbers, and star receiver, John Humphreys, played on the school’s basketball team last season. Corona del Mar basketball coach Ryan Schachter is doubtful that Garbers and Humphreys will return to basketball once their football season, which has lasted 106 days so far, is finished.
Both, if they play basketball this season, are projected by Schachter to be starters for the Sea Kings. This long football season might make a long break more appealing than transitioning right away to basketball.

When is the right time to conclude the high school football season so that athletes can play winter sports?

2. Building a Program Through Player Monitoring (USA Football Blogs)

USA Football is starting a series in which its contributors look at the way technology is impacting the game and changing the way we are able to monitor our players both on and off the field. This particular columns takes a deep dive into the world of wearable technology, specifically player monitoring GPS systems.

Anything from total distance, impacts and top speed can be reviewed and utilized to create highly individualized practice loads for each player. We used to use the eye test to estimate game speed and fatigue, but that info can now be pinpointed and measured to the nearest decimal. The ability to not only get immediate feedback on a player’s overall performance but whether your practice application is aligned with your practice philosophy is an invaluable tool.

Here’s the information that can be pulled from GPS technology.

  • Sessions – each session can be named so that you can track specific days of the week or workouts.
  • Session Summary – gives you a thumbnail of the work from total miles covered, top speed and power movement. The large number (43) in the circle is a composite score based on a full game. Think of it as a grade out of 100 on physical effort.
  • Activity Chart – shows the athletes speed minute-by-minute throughout practice. This is a useful tool when looking at the mesh point of your practice philosophy and application. For example, if a walk-through period shows your athlete average speed at 17mph, then it’s not a walk through! At St. Charles North, our practice model has certain days that we utilize a wave pattern workload that alternates between high-intensity work and periods of rest (as shown). This data supports our goal of allowing rest opportunities during practice.
  • Heat index – the football field with the red, yellow, blue and green spots shows the players’ body temperatures during the workout and the location on the field for each heat index. This is helpful when looking for “hot spots” of practice from a workload standpoint.
  • GPS tracking – this literally tracks every step the players take and color codes it by speed. We have found this helpful for limiting players steps in practice. When you see how much ground a player travels during practice, you begin to find ways to reduce the volume of movements. For example, we now structure practice so that players do not have to move much when transitioning from segment-to-segment. In our world, every step matters so even water is put close to athletes so that they do not have to walk to it.

How are you using GPS technology for your program?

3. Ohio team’s championship helps community heal from tornado losses (Dayton Daily News)

We’ve been doing stories like this for the last few weeks, and here’s another example of a football team bringing a community together after a tragedy.

About six months ago, Trotwood-Madison High School football players lifted up trees and other debris from city neighborhoods to help the community in the immediate aftermath of the Memorial Day tornadoes.

In the months since then, those players lifted the spirits of the Trotwood community with a season that ended Friday with a state championship.

“I know there were a lot of people who were doubting them based on what we have been through,” longtime city resident Tony Smith said. “But by them putting in the work and seeing their effort and their grind, their determination, everyone in the city should be rooting for them. This is huge for the city, and really all of Montgomery County. It’s bringing people together.”

Trotwood was at the center of one of the worst natural disasters in Montgomery County history. Fifteen tornadoes destroyed homes, businesses and lives in southwest Ohio on Memorial Day. The cleanup is ongoing, and many wonder if life will ever be the same.

Trotwood-Madison Acting Superintendent Marlon Howard said he doesn’t believe the tragedy has propelled the student-athletes to success, but instead the adversity has shown the character of the team and the school.

“They are our kids, they are our champions,” Howard said. “They believe in this community, and it’s not just the football team. The choir, the band, ROTC, all the kids came together and helped and volunteered after the tragedy. Everyone got a real chance to see what this community means to our students.”

How have you seen your football team bring your community together this fall?

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