Video: The 2016 Mud Bowl
No amount of towels could help players in this California contest.
Are you prepared for a rain game? It's a question coaches across the country are likely to ask at some point in the season.
Don't trust your 9-year-old ball boy to keep the balls dry, coach! Be prepared. Follow these three most important things to consider when playing in the rain.Game plan changes?
If you know it's going to rain, go over your game plan to see what kind of adjustments you might need to make. For instance, if you are throwing the ball in seven of the first 10 scripted plays, you might want to think about changing that script a bit, unless you have a very proficient passer and feel comfortable with him throwing that much in the rain.
Think hard about simply onside kicking the ball every time. The odds of recovering an onside kick in the rain rise dramatically, in fact I would even say you have a 50/50 shot at recovering an onside kick. And covering a kick in the rain is much harder than returning the kick, so the return team has an automatic advantage in the rain.
Get with your staff either the day before the game if you know it's going to be a wet night, or the day of the game if a storm moves in. Get together as early as you can to discuss any game plan changes so that you are all on one page with any new approaches being dictated by the weather.Towels, towels, towels, towels, towels, towels, towels, towels, towels, towels, towels!!
I'm amazed to see coaches not prepared for the rain by not having towels on just about every player on the field. This is one of those things you need to get together in the summer. Get your "rain bag" with a bunch of strips of towels that can be taped to your players' belts. It's best to put part of the towel up through the belt, pull it out about 4 inches, and tape it to the other part of the towel. Tape it really tight so that it just simply can't come off the belt.
A rain game where only one player on the field has a towel is a sign of an unprepared coach.
Remember to save some towels for the second half too! Sometimes a team goes through all of its towels in the first half because no directions were given to the ball boy. Part of your "rain bag" needs to be a lot of towels for the balls. In fact, you really can't have too many towels. And leave half of them in the locker room so that you are set for the second half.Keep balls dry
Seems obvious enough right? I've seen coaches getting after ball boys for not keeping the balls dry. But have those same coaches ever instructed their ball boys on how to do this? Did they tell them what to do with the balls when the defense is out on the field?
One idea is to have a large Tupperware storage bin on the sideline to keep the balls in, one that seals up with a lid. Keep the balls in this, not a bag that will just get as wet. Some teams use an EZ-up on their sideline as well, a very good idea.
Also, remember to keep 3-4 in the locker room for the second half. Think ahead, plan ahead. Put an assistant in charge of those balls. Keeping a bag of balls and towels (player and ball) in the locker room is advised so that you are starting out fresh for the second half.Chris Fore is a veteran Head Football Coach and Athletic Director from Southern California. He consults coaches and programs nationwide through his business Eight Laces Consulting.