METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
Weather has an important influence on a football game. Weather is not so much of a factor within indoor artificial grass stadiums but weather
can have a huge impact on outside games in natural grass conditions. Below are several factors and how they can influence the game:
Rain: Rain makes the ball slicker. This can lead to an increase of turnovers and incomplete passes. Players can adjust to this by wearing
special gloves that increases the grip on the ball. Rain can also make a natural grass field muddy and slippery. It can be more difficult
to run on a muddy and slippery field. Players adjust to this by wearing the proper cleats for the field conditions.
Wind: Wind influences the ball on kicks. This can cause the ball to travel much further if with the wind and much less far against the
wind as compared to a typical kick. To help eliminate some of this issue a kicker may try to kick the ball on a trajectory that is
closer to the ground when kicking into the wind and kick it higher in the air when with the wind. Wind will always influence the trajectory
of passes. Incomplete passes are more common in windy conditions. A team may elect to have more running plays since passing is more
difficult in windy conditions.
Sun: Even a nice sunny day can create issues. Especially when the sun angle is low, the sun can get in the eyes of a player that is trying
to catch a ball. The sun is typically not an issue but at times it can cause costly turnovers or incomplete passes when a player loses
the ball in the sun.
Ice: Ice can come in the form of sleet, snow or freezing rain. Ice slows the ability to run at optimum speed and increases the chance
for turnovers. To counteract this it is important to wear the proper cleats and wear gloves that increase the grip with the ball. Icy
conditions can sometimes produce a more defensive and lower scoring game since coaches will often be inclined to run the ball more
and this uses up the game clock more quickly.
Thunderstorm: Teams typically do not play in thunderstorm conditions due to the risk of a lightning strike on the field. Thunderstorms
though can alter the playing conditions of the field once the storm passes. The storm also produces an inconvenience in having a delay
that some players can adjust to better than others.
Cold: Cold temperatures can make it more difficult to grip and throw the ball. It can also make the ball more difficult to catch. To
counteract this, players can wear extra clothing and gloves that will keep them warmer. Also on the bench there can be heated clothing
and heaters to help keep the players warm.
Heat: Heat can lead to an increase of cramping, heat exhaustion, and problems with endurance. It is important for players to drink plenty
of fluids before, during and after the game. It is also easier to overexert during excessive heat which can lead to serious heat
stroke and death. Players that are beyond their normal fatigue level need to have periods of rest during the game.