LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The pads were popping, whistles blowing and sweat dripping at the Oak Grove Youth Football practice.
Aaron Phillips, Athletic Director of the team says they are in their third week of practice for the 2022 year.
The third week means these players have endured a lot of heat. The Natural state has seen several days with triple-digit temperatures recently, and adjustments to practice have been made.
Phillips says if it’s too hot they will practice without pads. If the heat exceeds that, they will postpone practice or just have a chalk talk to go over plays.
Coaches also stay in contact with Brian Maupin, head football coach of Maumelle High School to adopt ways of staying safe, yet staying locked in.
For example, do some “intense drills and then do some talking.” Coach says they will wear the “kids out and then test their focus. it just goes along with football.”
But the main thing they’re doing to beat the heat is simple, and that’s trusting their players.
Phillips says they “tell the kids to listen to their bodies” so they can know if they’re feeling bad or hurt.
Another thing is trusting the parents because “parents know their kids better than anybody,” said Phillips.
Corinthinan Williams’ son is on the team and says the heat brings a worry, but she knows she just has to keep her son prepared to be in it.
“I always try to make sure that he’s hydrated throughout the day.” Williams says she works from home so is “able to make sure that he’s getting the liquids that he needs.”
It’s a two-way street between coaches and parents. As the coaches trust the parents to make the right choice for their child, parents like Louis Petit trust the coaches as well.
Petit says “it’s not like the old school coaches where you had to earn your water break. There is so much knowledge that the coaches are on the up and up about” which gives him confidence that his kids will be safe.
Coach Phillips says the team practices Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays and have a team trainer come out at least twice a week.
If you’re interested in signing your child up for football, the Oak Grove hornets are still accepting players.
You can send them a message on Facebook.