High school football: Were players tougher in past?

Thousands of kids representing more than 350 Georgia teams will take the field this week for the first practice of the high school football season. Taking precautions to prevent heat-related problems is paramount.

Were yesterday’s high school football players better equipped to handle the early season heat than today’s players? Some coaches say yes because more kids used to spend summers playing outdoors than do today’s youth. Do you agree? Why or why not?

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Ken Rogers

July 29th, 2009
12:47 pm

Yes kids played outdors more and did not have Wii or playstation etc. I also believe no matter what the kids were like back then vs now that when the heat index reaches high levels it is a danger to everyone and hydration is so important. Kids need to realize if they are thirsty it is probably too late, you need to get your fluids (clear) in your body throughout the day not just a glass of water when you are excercising. It is not about how tough you are it is about being smart and recognizing warning signs. STAY COOL!

Big Dawg

July 30th, 2009
9:41 am

I agree that players of yester year were tougher due to the fact of being outside all the time growing up in the state of N.C. We practiced in the heat and had only water and salt tablets, with full pads and helmets each day. No shorts like these days. As a kid i didn’t see the inside of my parent’s home until mornings and late in the evenings otherwise you’re outside working in a tobacco field or playing some type of sports with your friends, even the girls were tougher than most kids today.


July 31st, 2009
11:49 am

I know we were tougher. As mentioned: we didn’t have X-Box and all that junk; we played ball to pass the time. Our coaches didn’t have a problem getting in your face or slapping you to get your attention. We played hurt too; not because we were made to, but because we WANTED to. Kid’s today have no heart. While they may be better conditioned they’re not even close to being as mentally and physically tough as their fathers.


July 31st, 2009
7:22 pm

Back in the day coaches didn’t have to be so political and have to worry about little jimmy’s mom fussing every time the coach has to raise his voice to the kid.When I played you either did your job or he would put his foot up your a$$,now in my opinion that’s how you build character and respect for others but I see and hear more and more kids getting in the coaches face and there’s nothing he can do about it without having to worry about getting fired. I’m not a coach but I am a parent who witnessed this act of disrespect a lot last season and I was shocked at how players talk to and around the coaches.


August 1st, 2009
11:05 am

players no-a-days are wusses compared to players 25 to 30 years ago. They lay up in the house drinking soft drinks and eating junk food playing video games or watching raunchy MTV. We stayed outside playing sports all day and into the night and we never had heat related problems when I played football and we had heat indexes that got up to 118 degrees. Kids today are following the trend of this country…straight down the drain to the septic tank. We all will live in a third world country within 5 years and athletic heat related issues will be no more. The only heat related issues will be working and fighting to stay alive.

Kevin King

August 2nd, 2009
2:06 pm

Kids were waaaay mentally tougher in the past. as a reasult, they became physically tougher. Today’s kids overall are bigger and stronger. Mostly because we have learned how to isolate muscle groups and train more efficiently. But, as a group they are not nearly as tough. For all the reasons already mentioned AND — Many more of them played full time, both ways. You want to see what a kids’ got, have him line up on every snap (offense, defense, kicks, punts, conversions and returns). I watch some kids do this every week still in some of the Independent school games. It takes a look of heart to WANT to play like that all the time….


August 3rd, 2009
8:37 am

Yes we were a lot tougher back in the late 70’s and 80’s but the coaches were a lot uneducated and used water as a way of telling us that if we were thursty we were weak. Thats why i am glad things have changed for the kids comming up today. The rules in place today are because of the abuses done to highschool players in the past and i have witnessed coaches abusing players on the feild knowing that the players were tired and exhausted but tried to push them to the limit of death thinking that this will make them a better player and it never does.


August 4th, 2009
11:07 am

How soon most people forget. Kids are just as tough today as they were “back in the day.” The workouts that these kids go through and the off-season weight lifting and running make them much tougher than in the 70s. Playing football has never been easy, but the premiere high school programs push kids hard. No coach in the 70s required their players to attend 50 summer sessions for weight training and agility, and to participate in a passing league. It takes more dedication to play football now than it ever has.

what about it

August 4th, 2009
1:44 pm

I just went through 8 years my boys doing summer conditioning. If it hadn’t been for football they would have been working in the mill or in construction. Would they have been football strong, no, but they would have been strong. They would have done the same as me, work my shift, do some running and play softball at night. Use all the muscle groups instead of over working some of them. When it came time for summer camp we didn’t know it was hot because all we had at home was window fans to stir the air. NOw they ‘work out’ then go home and sit in the air conditioning. We had 2 water hoses and we got salt tablets and the only ones that cramped were the ones that had enjoyed the brew the night before.


August 4th, 2009
10:54 pm

Tarheelchuck, are you out of your mind? Not only did we have to work all day, picking watermelons, peaches, tobacco, etc., but I also worked as a Bellhop at night. And furthermore, we all had to maintain a C+ average to be able to participate. And to top it all off, we had to stay in shape running all summer, because you didn’t dare show up to August practice out-of-shape, because you’d either be running all practice or sent home. If we didn’t work back then, we actually hurt our families because of loss of income and increased work on siblings, etc.


August 4th, 2009
10:56 pm

And I also disagree with the way today’s coaches want their players to “get thick”. As a teacher and coach for the past 17 years, I’ve seen way too many young men develop a serious weight problem from packing on the pounds. And all of this for what? Did you read Thomas Dimitroff’s BFR (Brutal Facts of Life) on how many make it to Division I or the Pros? Get real.


August 8th, 2009
9:54 am

How well I remember playing in the heat of the day in south Georgia with no water (wet towel to suck on if you did well) salt tablets. The three a days in summer camp during the sixties. Weight training was consisted of hauling hay or picking watermellons or seeing who could bench press the front of a Massey Fergeson tracker as apposed to lifting weights in an air conditioned weight room. Yes the players of today are bigger, faster and stronger..tougher no way! Trying fielding a team of 23 and playing a game where you never came off the field. We played teams like of Tifton, Lowndes, Thomasville, Fitzgerald and Americus..

Big Boy

August 10th, 2009
1:08 pm

Kids to today are cream puffs, compared to when I was in High School. We did not have all the video games and other things that keep you in the house, and all we wanted to do was play ball take names and kick azz. I coach High School football in Gwinnett and I can tell you that these kids would not make it where I come from,

Big Boy

August 10th, 2009
1:11 pm

South, Ga. I got maybe 2 or 3 years left here in Gwinnett before I head back down South, where the real football is played. Does this School rings a bell CHARLTON COUNTY INDIANS!!!!!!


August 11th, 2009
6:12 pm

yes, not only are teens spending more time on indoor entertainment such as video games and large tv screens, the air quality is much worse now! huge issue!


August 12th, 2009
8:05 pm

To me this arguement is too generalized. There were probably a lot of people who weren’t tough back then too. Today it has become the exception not the trend to be mentally and physically tough but there are still a lot of kids as tough as their father’s generation. I currently play linebacker and i am very very undersized (i weigh about 170 on a good day). Still i line up across from 300 pound linemen everyday even though i am already dehydrated and worn out from the group session with the linebacker coach. I have two bad shoulders and i dislocate or subluxate both of them more than once a practice. No i do not have a job. I am fortunate enough to come from a family where i don’t need to work. However, i happen to know many of my teammates support there moms and siblings as the man of the house. I would also argue that a job does not have much of an impact on how tough you are despite the character it instills. Correct me if i am dillusional, but I believe that i am probably as tough as many of the guys who played in the old days and so are some of my teammates.