Being Cold is No Fun
It's amazing to me how many parents I see every year on the sidelines who are unprepared for the weather. I expect this from my teenaged kids, but when I see full grown adults shivering on the sidelines, I think I need to do an episode on this subject. There is no good reason for you to be cold on the sidelines of a soccer field. The weather will adjust the way you dress for it, but warmth is your right. Teeth chattering is probably not encouraged by the American Dental Association. And blue finger tips are not attractive.
Weather is Relative
There is a big difference between running around in 50 degree temperatures vs sitting on a cloth chair in 50 degrees. Your activity level make a huge difference in how you feel at a game. If you're sitting still in 50 degree weather, be prepared to be cold. If you're running around in 50 degree weather, you're probably grateful to have things a little cooler.
A wet 50 degree day is much colder that a dry 50 degree day thanks to the added evaporative effect of wet clothing against the skin. Windy days can penetrate layers. Hill tops or large flat surfaces like a soccer field with no wind break can amplify the wind effect.
Take this stuff seriously. People can and have suffered hypothermia in 50 degree temperatures - especially when they're wet from sweat or other bad weather like rain or snow.
Taking Care of Players
Players have special needs. Here are a few thoughts on players:
Benched players will be colder than players who are actively running.
Wet (sweaty) players will lose any heat they have quickly and can suffer shivering cold easily if not cared for on the bench
Goalkeepers will likely be colder than field players - especially if they are not seeing much action.
Injuries are more likely when players are not warmed up and their muscles, ligaments, and tendons are not activated before strenuous play
Wet balls slap and hurt!
Slippery wet fields make players prone to injury.
Players are wearing light weight wicking clothing in most cases - regardless of the weather
Dehydrated players don't have as much fluid in their bodies to circulate and keep them warm as hydrated players
Here are some things that make cold days a little more manageable for players:
Proper warm ups are important. It's not good to take human bodies form cold and stiff to full on game-like activities levels too quickly. I suggest having players show up a little earlier on cold days. Get the soccer cleats on. Get some activation exercises like lunges, opening-the-gate, closing-the-gate, high kicks, etc. going. Next, move players into some activities that encourages touches on the ball: rondos, passing exercises, etc. Don't forget about your goalkeepers! Keepers need to be loose and limber, gloves warmed up, bodies warmed up, etc.
Hydrate well the day before a game. This is true for every game, but it's even more important when players are going to be exposed to extremes in weather. Water helps the blood to circulate - which helps to keep the muscles well fueled and the body thermostat in good working order.
Have a blanket for the bench. Benches can be pretty cold and they will suck the heat right out of players if they're allowed to sit on a cold bench for a prolonged period.
Keep players who are getting ready to go in warmed up. Make them do jogs or high knees down to the corner flags and back. It's never a good idea to let people sit and get cold. Better to warm up through moving, than by huddling up under a blanket and getting stiff. Though a blanket is better than not having one.
When players come off, have them sip some water. We need to keep replenishing the body with fluids to keep the kids hydrated and moving.
Keep an eye on your goalkeepers during games. Any player that's not working hard will cool down quickly and start getting stiff. This is when injuries happen. Keep everyone loose and limber.
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