Kids across Connecticut didn’t let the warm weather stop them from having fun at their sports camps Thursday.
“It’s like really, really hot and hard to run,” said Leah Lucey, a fourth grader from Glastonbury.
Running comes with the territory in soccer.
“They’re doing passing, shooting, dribbling, goal keeping,” explained David Farrell, the director of the Oakwood Select Soccer Academies.
When the summer sun is beating down on players at the Oakwood Soccer Academy in Portland, their instructors find ways to help them beat the heat.
“We’ll make the space that they play in a little bit smaller so they’re doing less running,” said Nina Aglico, one of the assistant coaches and counselors for the soccer camp.
“I like it a lot when we get water breaks because we get to go in the shade,” said Myra Stanfield, a West Hartford fifth grader.
Players lined up to take extra water breaks, have a cool summer treat, and a run through the sprinkler. They also took rests in the shade and a break inside to watch the Women’s World Cup.
“We have some industrial fans underneath the tent over there and they’re pretty good about hydration,” Farrell pointed out.
Leah explained that she works up a sweat playing in cool weather. During the dog days of summer, “You’ve got to push yourself out of your comfort zone to play in this kind of heat,” she said.
Still, the children said summer is their favorite time of the year to play.
“I’ll tell you something, it’s better than playing in the freezing cold,” third grader Lucca Macchio said frankly.
Farrell pointed out that it’s not just the summer sun they worry about, but also the heat radiating up from the turf. NBC Connecticut used a radar thermometer to test the temperature of the turf and found it hovering between 150 and 160 degrees at 2 p.m.
“You get a reflective quality off of the turf, that brings the heat coming back up off the turf and then the kids are getting it from behind as well on the top of their head,” explained Farrell.
He said instructors take the air and turf temperature into account when planning the day’s drills. Instead of playing full soccer games for hours on end, they do short drills with regular breaks in the shade in between.
“It’s been really hard but you can still do it if you really put in the effort,” said Logan Humphries, a sixth grader from East Haddam.
Logan said he tries not to wear black on hot days and listens to his dad.
“On a day like today, I tell him always drink a lot of water, don’t just drink Powerade the whole time drink water too,” said his father Eric Humphries.
Luckily, their instructors have spent time under the summer sun in soccer cleats themselves.
“I definitely remember when I played camps I was very hot so that’s why I try to give them more water breaks and keep it light and fun,” said Erin Goss, and assistant coach councilor for the program.
All of the staff are trained to look for heat stroke and heat exhaustion. There is also an ice bath on hand.