Question: What summer-time weather conditions will prompt me, as a coach, to make changes to my practice routine?
Answer: There is no one right answer and Rancho Cordova Youth Soccer Club (RCSC) encourages each of our coaches to use their own best judgment. With that in mind, RCSC offers the following suggestions and ideas on how to evaluate and respond to hot and/or unhealthy air days.
Temperature: If the ambient outside air temperature is greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (100°F) at the time of practice as measured on www.weather.com (typing in Rancho Cordova, CA) coaches are encouraged to modify or cancel their practice.
Suggested modifications if practice is not cancelled:
Limit running and focus on stretching and ball control skills that can be done in the shade. Have more frequent water breaks, and encourage the kids to get water at any point in practice that they feel thirsty (this is a good call on any day). Move practice to a home and watch a soccer training video or recorded (or live) soccer game, talk about the skills, passing, teamwork, etc.. Move practice to a home with a pool, focus on ball handling skills for a short duration and use a swimming pool to cross exercise the kids – not to mention having a very fun practice. Bring water balloons to practice and break half way through for some water balloon fun. Helps the kids cool off and makes it a practice they will talk about for a while. In all cases, keep a close eye on the kids and make sure they do not show any signs of heat-related illness.
If the temperature is greater than 105 ° F leading up to practice time, we recommend cancelling practice.
Air Quality: The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a measure of the ground level ozone. For the Sacramento region, the air quality forecast can be checked the day before practice at www.sparetheair.com. We strongly advise that you check the AQI in the afternoon the days of your practices and sign up for air alerts via email at www.sparetheair.com. Ground level ozone can irritate and damage the lungs. Ozone levels are typically higher in the Sacramento region in the afternoon and early evening hours and people of all ages who exercise or work vigorously outdoors (soccer practice) are considered a “sensitive group” as they will have a higher level of exposure to ozone than people who are less active outdoors. Typically, the air quality in our portion of the greater Sacramento area diminishes significantly during the late afternoon/early evening time period (right at soccer practice time).
It is recommended that you take precautions (see the list above for hot days) if the AQI is forecasted to be greater than 127 (unhealthy for sensitive groups) and strongly recommended that you cancel practice if it is forecasted to be greater than 150 (unhealthy for all groups).