Saturday I took my son to football practice. He really didn't want to go. He'd had practice the night before and stayed up till between 10 and 11 and was just really tired. Sat practice was at 9am. I made him go, had to drag him there. About 50min into practice he came over begging to go home. I gave him some water then noticed the coach yelling at him. Since he'd gone to get water w/o his team, they *all* had to run a lap. I pulled DS along and ran with him. 5 or 10 minutes later they got a water break (finally).
I took the opportunity to do laps myself. I ran outside the field on two sides where there was a sidewalk, then along the edge or just off it the other two sides: 1 lap = .22mi. I did something akin to my latest C25K workout, but I forgot to stop my watch right after the 8th lap. I caught it after a couple more minutes.
In the second half of practice, the kids were broken out into groups according to their positions, and my son's group was down at the other end of the field. My son was still having a hard time at practice, complaining about a headache too. His coaches checked his helmet, but it was fitting the way it should. In an effort to show solidarity with him, I did another couple of laps. On the second one, as I moved from the sidewalk to the field, he came over to me, crying, so I walked back over to the group, apologizing. His coach and the neighbor pulled him back into practice. I finished my lap but felt like crying too. I already felt they weren't giving enough water breaks.
I continued to watched how practice was going, but without going down near the end of the field again. I saw my son and other boy get pulled aside for some high knees/drop action. My son was actually doing the drill faster than the other boy. (!) Back in the group, they were paired off to do some defensive stuff. I saw my son get pushed way back by another kid. I didn't know, though, if that's how he was supposed to respond or if he should have been pushing back harder. The smallest kids had another water break (2nd) after ~40 min, then the next smallest boys. At the 2 hour mark the other two groups got a break too. My son came over and got a drink; happily, he was feeling much better and finally enjoying himself. Then this "short" practice continued for another 45 min, but the last part was relay races, and my son one at least one of them, so he was back to his old "I'm so good aren't I" self. :P
I talked to my husband later about my concerns about the kids' hydration, esp since they're in their pads and helmets the whole time except for water breaks. (The sweat can't evaporate and cool them.) He talked to the neighbor who was surprised to find out that the breaks were that far apart. My husband said when he played football as a kid, the had short breaks every 15-20 minutes. I hope our neighbor remembers to be more aware of the time between breaks next time. He's not one of the coaches, but he helps out.