INDIANAPOLIS, IN (October 24, 2014) – The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has added a course for swimming coaches to its lineup of sport-specific online courses available through the NFHS Learning Center at www.nfhslearn.com.
“Coaching Swimming” was developed with assistance from the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) and focuses on how to administer a student-first swimming program.
Topics covered in Coaching Swimming include recruitment, pre-event management, interscholastic coaching philosophy, differences in club and high school teams, communication and risk management. The course also teaches the basics of the four competitive swimming strokes, start variations and flip turns, and it highlights information from the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Book.
“It is important that coaches have a strong foundation in skills and a strong concern for the safety of their athletes,” said Arvel McElroy, NISCA president-elect. “Completing [Coaching Swimming] provides this opportunity. I applaud the NFHS for its forward-thinking vision to provide certification programs for coaches.”
NISCA is a volunteer organization that supports high school coaches of all aquatic sports. It is dedicated to coaches education and athlete recognition.
“The NFHS is pleased to partner with NISCA and looks forward to offering Coaching Swimming to coaches nationwide,” said Dan Schuster, director of NFHS Coach Education.
With the addition of Coaching Swimming, the NFHS now has 35 online courses, including two core courses – Fundamentals of Coaching and First Aid, Health and Safety – and 16 sport-specific courses.
Gill Athletics Announced as NFHS Corporate Partner
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (October 1, 2014) — Gill Athletics, the oldest and largest manufacturer of track and field equipment in the United States and around the world, has entered into a three-year agreement with the National Federation of State High School Associations as an NFHS Corporate Partner.
As a part of the agreement, Gill Athletics, based in Champaign, Illinois, will be the exclusive NFHS partner for track and field, which will include coverage in the sport’s rules book, case book, rules poster, scorebook and rules PowerPoint.
“We are pleased to have Gill Athletics join the NFHS as a corporate partner and to be our exclusive sponsor of track and field,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “In the high school market, Gill has been the leading supplier of track and field equipment for many years, so we believe this is a great partnership for both organizations. Track and field is No. 2 in school sponsorship for both boys and girls, so it is great to have Gill on board with the NFHS. We look forward to working with Gill over the next three years.”
Started by Harry Gill in 1918, Gill Athletics is the largest producer of track and field equipment in the world. Gill is the Official Equipment Supplier of USA Track and Field and currently produces more International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)-certified products than any company in the industry.
“Gill Athletics considers it an honor to partner with the NFHS as its track and field equipment sponsor,” said Fred Dixon, national sales manager for Gill Athletics. “We could not have any greater appreciation for the work done by the NFHS, and we look forward to providing our full support for years to come.”
Ample hydration before and during practice and play is key for safety and optimal athletic performance, especially in the heat. However, the recent death of a high school football player reportedly from drinking far too much fluid, in an apparent attempt to resolve his muscle cramping, is a grim reminder that over-hydration, while rare, should never be encouraged or dismissed as harmless.
Ready access to water and sports drinks during practice and competition is always recommended for any athletic or other strenuous physical activity. But drinking too much in a short period of time – in this tragic case, reportedly two gallons of water and two more gallons of a sports drink – can be far more than the body can handle. As a result, too much water in the blood can lead to brain swelling followed by seizure, coma and even death. This potentially deadly condition is called hyponatremia. Early symptoms typically include headache and nausea; although an athlete could be feeling this way for other reasons.
How can you avoid hyponatremia?
Bottom line: Hydrate regularly and wisely – but don’t overdrink!
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 28, 2014) — The number of participants in high school sports increased for the 25th consecutive year in 2013-14 with a record total of almost 7.8 million, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Based on figures from the 51 NFHS member state high school associations, which includes the District of Columbia, sports participation for the 2013-14 school year reached an all-time high of 7,795,658 – an increase of 82,081 from the previous year. This one-year increase was the highest since 2009-10.
Girls participation increased for the 25th consecutive year with an additional 44,941 participants from 2012-13 and set an all-time record of 3,267,664. Boys participation eclipsed 4.5 million for the first time (4,527,994), breaking the mark of 4,494,406 in 2010-11.
The increase in boys participation was due in part to the first increase in football numbers in five years. An additional 6,607 boys participated in 11-player football in 2013-14, pushing this past year’s total to 1,093,234. In addition, another 1,715 girls participated in 11-player football last year, an increase of 184 from the previous year.
“We are pleased with the increase in participation numbers in the sport of football for the 2013-14 school year,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “With the precautions that are in place nationwide to address concussions in all high school sports, including football, we have maintained that the risk of injury is as low as it ever has been. Certainly, this rise in football numbers is a confirmation of those beliefs and indicates the strong continued interest nationwide in high school football.”
Among the top 10 boys sports, baseball registered the largest gain with an additional 7,838 participants, followed by football and soccer (6,437). The top 10 boys sports remained unchanged from last year: football, outdoor track and field, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, cross country, tennis, golf, and swimming and diving.
Volleyball gained the most participants among girls sports (9,426) from the previous year, and its total of 429,634 was within 3,710 of basketball for the No. 2 position. Track and field, with an additional 5,946 participants from 2012-13, remained the No. 1 sport for girls, followed by basketball, volleyball, soccer, fast-pitch softball, cross country, tennis, swimming and diving, competitive spirit squads and lacrosse.
“This past year’s report on sports participation in our nation’s high schools was another great statement about the importance of these education-based programs,” Gardner said. “We are encouraged that schools are continuing to respond to the funding challenges, and are particularly pleased to see that the increase this past year was evenly distributed between boys and girls.”
In terms of combined participation, lacrosse continued to register sizeable increases as overall participation for boys and girls increased by 9,744 to 188,689. The sport ranks 10th for girls and 11th for boys.
The top 10 states by participants remained in the same order as last year, with Texas and California topping the list with 805,299 and 783,008, respectively. The remainder of the top 10 was New York (389,475), Illinois (343,757), Ohio (325,448), Pennsylvania (317,318), Michigan (299,246), New Jersey (285,020), Florida (268,266) and Minnesota (232,909). Overall, 33 states reported higher figures from the previous year, up from 30 states that had increases the previous year.
The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations. The complete 2013-14 High School Athletics Participation Survey is attached in PDF format and will be posted soon on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.
Jewelry Prohibition Lifted in High School Track and Field
INDIANAPOLIS — Effective with the 2015 high school track and field season, the prohibition of jewelry will be eliminated. This was one of several rules changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Track and Field Rules Committee at its June 16-18 meeting in Indianapolis. The committee’s recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
Becky Oakes, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Track and Field Rules Committee, said the committee determined that prohibiting jewelry in high school track and field and cross country is not necessary.
“The wearing of jewelry ordinarily presents little risk of injury to either the competitor or opponents,” Oakes said. “Elimination of the rule allows officials to focus on meet administration directly related to actual competition. Coaches continue to have the obligation to see that competitors are properly equipped.”
In other changes, language regarding the time limit to initiate a trial in the throwing and jumping events was revised. Previously, competitors in these events had to initiate a trial and carry it to completion within one minute. Beginning next year, participants must only initiate the trial within the one-minute time limit. Completion of the event will be allowed beyond the prescribed time.
Another change was made in field events involving implements. In events such as the shot put, discus, javelin and pole vault, an additional trial will be allowed when an implement breaks – and thus becomes illegal – during competition due to no fault of the competitor.
The revised note in Rules 6-2-17 and 7-2-17 reads as follows: “If a legal implement breaks during an attempt in accordance with the rules, no penalty shall be counted against the competitor and a replacement trial shall be awarded. If the implement breaks upon completion of the trial, a replacement attempt shall not be awarded and the results of the trial shall be recorded, provided it was made in accordance with the rules.”
In the discus throw, it no longer will be a foul if a competitor is out of control when exiting the back half of the circle. Also, in the discus, shot put and javelin, the requirement for the judge to call “mark” was eliminated.
Another change involves the high jump and pole vault events. A new article in Rule 7-2 will state that “a crossbar displaced by a force disassociated with the competitor after he/she is legally and clearly over the crossbar shall not be a fault and is considered a successful attempt.”
In Rule 8 involving special events, the committee approved the 1,500-meter run as an alternate for the 1,600-meter run in the decathlon and pentathlon. Oakes said when using the IAAF standard scoring, the 1,500-meter run is the standard distance. In addition, the indoor weight throw was approved for the listing of special events.
The final change involves Rule 1-4 on indoor track. Since many indoor meets are held in college facilities, the committee approved the 60-meter high hurdles and dash as alternates for the 55-meter high hurdles and dash. Oakes said this option eliminates special marking of the facilities for the hurdles and dash.