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County prep coaches deal with hot first week of practice

The first week of the prep sports season has very warm and very humid, more so than it has been in many years. Pierce County prep coaches have had to add the weather among the many adjustments they make in the first week.

Usually the first week, which opens with football, girls golf and girls tennis, has to work around the Pierce County Fair. Coaches schedule practice times so that kids showing animals in the fair can do so.

This week, such practice times have been early in the morning or later in the afternoon as they try to avoid the hottest parts of a summer day. The practices themselves are also adjusted.

"We take a lot of water breaks and we as coaches have to keep a close eye on our team," Spring Valley head coach Matt Ducklow said. "You have to keep a close eye on the players to make sure they're healthy but the team as well. If you can't run simple plays, you're not getting your work done. You have to slow down and rest a bit before going strong again."

Plum City's Troy Ingli likes to schedule more team meetings and film work during these hot days of the first week.

"You err on the side of caution because it's a long season," Ingli said. "You don't want to see injuries if kids aren't playing at full speed or are dragging it because of the heat. Luckily, the first few practices are in shorts and t-shirt so it makes it a little easier on them."

Heat isn't just an issue for football. Ellsworth girls' golf coach Jan Pavloski says dealing with warm weather is something her squad deals with not just in practice but the meets as well. The Panthers open their season tomorrow at the Barron Scramble, the traditional kick-off of the prep sports season.

"The kids need know how to play in this kind of weather," Pavloski said. "We play the bulk of our meets in August and knowing how to pace yourself and stay hydrated carrying your clubs up and down hills and still be able to make key putts, hit the ball well and stay in the fairways."