HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - It is not even 8:00 a.m., and already the Lee-Davis football team has been on the practice field for an hour and a half. But the early wake-up call isn't their only secret for beating the heat. When practice began at six thirty in the morning it wasn't just the players, being tested. So was the Lee Davis football team's off season training program.
For several weeks in the spring and summer, players took part in running drills, and were scored not just on their physical fitness but on their body's aerobic potential.
"To have a better baseline to know, when a kid is dogging it, and when a kid is not." said Mike Craven, the team's strength and conditioning coach.
Players with lower scores - were identified ahead of time, as more likely to suffer from heat-related injuries in practice.
"You can't tell by looking which kids have the highest or lower. That means you don't train too hard, you don't train too easy. You stay prescriptive to you." said Craven.
So coaches are now better equipped to know when to push and when to ease off. Players say the scientific approach to the off season will also pay dividends when the games begin.
"I think we'll be able to last longer against other teams. If you're in shape, you can outwork the other team." said senior Will Connerley.
"It was different, very different, I wasn't used to that because we didn't used to do that before here at Lee-Davis. It's a new thing, but I'm glad we're doing it." said Craven.
Ultimately, the training is about the safety of the players.
"We believe it's gonna put these kids in a better position to make it through camp." said Head Coach Jason Meade.
And discovering, early on, that there's more to preventing heat stroke than water.
"The time's coming where all of them are going to be doing it." said Craven.
The coaches' goals include tracking MET scores all season long to make sure as best they can that heat related injuries are prevented.