One of the frustrating things about shin guards is the way they’re constantly slipping down your leg while you’re playing soccer. Unless you have a very expensive pair of shin guards, you’re going to struggle with keeping these pads in place. And while socks are intended to help support shin guards by keeping them tight against your legs, most of the time this just results in your socks going down with the shin guards. But there is an easy way to keep your shin guards up: by using tape.
Slip on your socks. Place the shin guards under the socks in position on your leg. Readjust the shin guards if necessary.
Unroll the tape and wrap it around the sock just the bottom of the shin guard. Wrap several full rotations around your leg, making sure that the tape is tight but not restricting blood flow. Tear the tape from the roll and smooth it onto the wrap.
Unroll more tape spool and apply it to the sock between the calves and the knee, above the shin guard. Tape several rotations around your leg, then tear off the tape from the roll. Repeat on your other leg.
A simple blood test can check liver enzyme levels. Elevated levels can indicate liver damage; liver function is usually tightly regulated, but a damaged liver can “leak” extra enzymes into the bloodstream because its function is compromised. This liver damage can be acute or chronic. With either type of liver damage, many physiological functions, including blood sugar control, can be affected. It is important to correct the underlying cause of the liver dysfunction to prevent serious, long-term consequences.
The pancreas and liver regulate blood sugar. During digestion, all carbohydrates are eventually broken down into glucose, which is released into the bloodstream. The pancreas senses this increase in blood sugar and signals the secretion of insulin to the surface of cells throughout the body; insulin helps pull glucose from the blood and into the cell where it can be used for energy. Excess glucose is sent to the liver, where it is stored as glycogen; glycogen is used for energy during a state of starvation.
The liver is located in the upper right portion of the abdomen, and plays a very important and diverse role in the body. It has many functions, including creating bile to digest fat, regulating blood clotting and blood sugar, and producing and regulating proteins, cholesterol and fat transporters. Additionally, all drugs and chemicals that enter the body are first filtered by the liver; harmful substances are broken down and excreted by the kidneys.
The liver is where excess glucose is brought and stored as glycogen, and it works closely with other organ systems to regulate blood sugar. In a healthy person, the pancreas senses when blood sugar is low, and releases glucagon — a hormone that signals to the liver to release glycogen to raise blood sugar to a normal level. Typically, this happens during sleep or times of fasting — even between meals — when blood sugar becomes low due to lack of food. However, if liver enzymes are high, then the liver is malfunctioning. A damaged liver can lose control over this tight regulation of glycogen, and can release it even when it is unneeded, causing high blood sugar.
High blood sugar and high liver enzymes can indicate a serious problem. Your doctor will most likely run further tests to determine the underlying cause of the abnormal lab data. Some causes of elevated liver enzymes are hepatitis A, B and C, alcoholism, cirrhosis and liver cancer. If liver damage is causing your high blood sugar, it is likely that your blood sugar will return to normal once your liver condition is diagnosed and under control.
While Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League have extensive minor-league systems, and even the National Basketball Association has adopted a developmental league, the National Football League has no such system to support its product. The NFL relies on college football to supply the vast majority of its players. Yet football does exist outside the NFL. Numerous adult football leagues have sprung up across the U.S., providing players a chance to compete in the sport they love for fun and even career advancement.
A standard adult football league permits players 18 and older to compete in tackle football, living their dreams of NFL glory on a much smaller scale. The majority of adult football leagues don¡¯t pay their players any salary whatsoever, with participants competing strictly for the love of the game. Adult football league teams often wear helmets and uniforms on par with the professionals and sport unique names like the Outlaws, Vipers, Thunderbolts and Crusaders.
Most adult football leagues follow the official NFL rules and regulations in an attempt to mirror the NFL experience for their players and their fans. Scheduling remains one major difference between adult league football and the pros. Since they admire the NFL so much, adult football leagues seldom schedule games during the NFL season, with most adult league seasons beginning in March and running into June.
Aside from providing a chance to continue playing organized football well into adulthood, adult football leagues also offer aspiring professionals a chance to continue practicing their craft in hopes of catching the eye of an NFL scout or college recruiter. Without a viable minor-league system in place, scouts and recruiters often keep tabs on adult football leagues in hopes of unearthing hidden gems. Adult leagues allow players to stay in shape and improve their skills in case they ever do get a shot at stardom.
Adult football leagues have paved the road to success for more than a few players. Center Bryan Pittman won two national championships with the Puget Sound Jets of the Northwest Football League before landing a job as a longsnapper with the Houston Texans of the NFL. Pittman played seven seasons in the NFL, snapping for the Texans and briefly with the Atlanta Falcons. Sam Jones, who reached national prominence as the star of the 1980 film ¡°Flash Gordon,¡± also competed in the Northwest Football League, playing for the Burien Flyers.
Not just adults are overweight. Teenage obesity is a dangerous problem that can promote serious medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to shed excess pounds without counting calories or spending numerous hours in a gym. You can quickly lose weight by changing bad habits — and creating a few new positive ones.
Exercise for at least an hour every day to shed pounds quickly. You can exercise for 60 minutes straight — or break it up into shorter increments. Any type of physical activity counts such as dancing, jogging, riding a bike to school, shooting baskets at lunch or walking home instead of driving. You can also join a school sport or community program such as gymnastics or ballet. At home, stay active with chores or even interactive video games that are designed to get you physically moving.
Reduce your meal and snack portion sizes to quickly lose unwanted weight. Restaurants, school lunches and packaged foods are sometimes served in larger portion sizes, making it easy to overeat without even realizing it. Check the suggested serving size on food labels so that you don¡¯t end up eating two or more servings. It can take up to 10 minutes before you get the signal from your brain that you are full — so eat slowly and stop eating when you no longer feel hungry.
Eat breakfast every day. A nutritious breakfast can increase your metabolism, helping you to burn more calories throughout the whole day. Although high-fiber cereals and whole-wheat products are ideal, you can also snack on last night¡¯s dinner or on nuts and fruit. Breakfast can also keep you feeling fuller longer, preventing you from overeating at meal times or indulging in unhealthy snacks in between meals.
Avoid talking on the phone, watching TV, texting or playing video games while you eat. These types of distractions prevent you from hearing your brain¡¯s fullness cues. Instead, sit in the cafeteria or at the kitchen table during meals and snack breaks. Eat slowly, savoring every bite so that you feel satisfied even if you have less food on your plate than usual. Use silverware, taking time to cut up your food if possible — this will help you to focus on your food and make it last longer.
Speed and strength are two athletic abilities that help a football player significantly improve his performance on the field. How fast and strong you are will partly depend on your body type and genetic makeup, but you can make notable strides by incorporating weight training, plyometrics and speed work into your regimen.
To see significant strides in both speed and strength, begin your training during the offseason and schedule four workouts into your regimen per week. You¡¯ll focus on weight training on two days, allowing two days off in between, such as in a Monday and Thursday routine. The other two days, which could fall on Tuesday and Friday, you¡¯ll focus on plyometrics and speed work. Before each workout, use 15 minutes to properly warm up so that your body is ready when it¡¯s time to work out. Begin with five minutes of cardio, such as jumping rope, and then do 10 minutes of dynamic stretches, which could include high knees, butt kicks, body-weight squats, skipping, arm circles and leg swings.
Although bodybuilders focus on particular muscle groups during each session, as a football player all of your muscles have to work together when you¡¯re performing movements on the field. Therefore, your weight-training workout should consist of mostly compound exercises, which means they require movement at multiple joints. Incorporate back squats, lunges, deadlifts and step-ups to simultaneously develop your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. Use pullups and rows for your back and dumbbell bench presses, military presses to work your chest and shoulders. Perform four sets of five to eight reps of every exercise, using a weight that makes reaching eight reps difficult. Give your muscles three minutes of rest between sets.
Plyometric exercises will develop explosive power in your hips and legs, which in turn will help you sprint faster. Do your plyometric work before you move onto speed activities. After your warm-up, incorporate hurdle hops, box jumps and bounds. For hurdle hops, set a collection of small hurdles or cones in a line and hop with two feet over them as quickly as you can. For box jumps, stand in front of a plyo box. Lower into a squat and then explode up into a maximum-height jump, landing with both feet atop the box. Step down and repeat. To perform bounds, lower into a quarter squat and then jump as far forward as possible. As soon as you land, lower down into the next rep. Complete each exercise for three sets of eight reps, resting two to three minutes in between each set.
Although you may be motivated to do many speed drills in an attempt to see notable results quickly, it¡¯s important that you begin at a low volume and then gradually increase your workload as you progress. Incorporate sprints done at 20 and 40 yards, which are distances common in football competition. Perform five sets of each, resting two minutes in between each set so that you¡¯re fully recovered. Sprinting up stairs or stadium steps develops hip explosion and can improve speed. Perform six to eight sets, resting two minutes in between each one.
When a football play or scrimmage down starts, an offensive player on the line, usually the center, snaps the ball backward to a backfield teammate. The ball can be handed, thrown or even rolled to a player behind the line of scrimmage. NFL rules allow centers to snap the ball in one of two ways.
The snapping technique used most often is with the center squatting over the ball, legs spread, shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and grasping the ball with one or two hands. The ball is then snapped through his legs in one continuous motion.
The rules state that the ball doesn’t have to be snapped between the legs of the center. An alternate technique is with the snapper standing to the side of the ball with his shoulders perpendicular to the line of scrimmage. Instead of snapping the ball through his legs, he snaps it off to the side of his body in one continuous motion.
Snapping the ball off to the side is not the best strategy. A gap in the line is created when the center is sideways to the line of scrimmage. The center is then unable to effectively block the defensive players or protect the quarterback.
Coaching youth football comes with a lot of responsibilities — teaching the fundamentals of the game, the rules, how to be a good sport and most important, the basic skills. For very young kids who have never played a sport, the first must-know skill to teach is how to properly catch the football. A good teaching approach is to demonstrate and discuss the proper football catching mechanics and then conduct a few catching drills.
Show your players how to hold their hands to catch a ball that is waist high or higher. Have them hold their hands up in front of their body and spread their fingers. Ask them to angle their palms inward, point their pinkies forward and put their index fingers and thumbs together to form a diamond shape.
Demonstrate how to catch a low ball. Have the kids hold their hands below their waist and open their hands with their palms facing forward. Instruct them to point their fingers down and form a basket with their pinkies touching each other.
Show the kids how to catch the ball with soft hands, to absorb the force like a cushion. Tell them it helps to relax their fingers, keep them flexible and to bend and give with their elbows. Explain that with stiff fingers and no give, a hard thrown ball will bounce out of their hands.
Discuss the importance of extending their arms to catch the ball instead of catching it against their body. Explain how the ball can bounce off their pads if they try to catch the ball with their body.
Stress the importance of securing the ball against their body after they’ve caught it. Show the kids how to watch the ball all the way into their hands, quickly lock it between their hand, forearm and elbow and then squeeze it against their bodies.
Improve your players’ hand-eye coordination and catching skills with a wall drill. Give the kids tennis balls and have them stand 6 feet away from a wall. Have them gently throw the ball against the wall and catch it with both hands five times, five times with just their right hand and then five times with their left hand.
Perform a back-and-forth catching drill with your players — this time, with footballs. Have the kids stand in a line, 6 feet away. Instruct the kids to hold their hands up in front of their body and form a diamond with their fingers. Gently throw a chest-high ball to the first player and instruct him to catch, tuck the ball and then throw it back to you. Repeat with each player in the line. As their skills improve, throw the ball at different heights and put more distance between you and your players.
Conduct a blind-catch drill once your players can catch the football with good form and consistency. Have your players stand in a line, 10 feet away, with their backs toward you. Gently throw the ball toward to the first player and say either “left” or “right.” Your player must turn in whichever direction you called, catch, tuck the ball and throw it back. Repeat with each player in the line.
Soccer is an anaerobic sport that consists of rapid bursts of activity followed by short periods of rest. To be successful, a soccer player must have pure sprinting speed but also the ability to dodge other players and make tackles, which requires agility. Speed and agility are best developed during the off-season so players start the competitive period as well prepared as possible.
Soccer players seldom run in straight lines. They need to be able to dodge opposing players trying to tackle them for possession of the ball. To improve your multidirectional running ability, perform zig-zag sprints. Place 10 cones or flexible poles in a row with 6 feet between each. From a standing start 10 yards before the first cone, accelerate toward the first marker and then sprint through the cones as fast as you can. Stay as close to the obstacles as possible and focus on sidestepping rather than wide, sweeping turns. You can make this exercise more challenging by reducing the distance between the markers or by dribbling a soccer ball.
This drill is a variation of “suicides” used in basketball training and develops sprinting speed while also addressing the ability to change direction quickly — both of which are essential in soccer. Place five cones on the ground 5 yards apart. Stand next to the first cone. On go, sprint to the first cone and back to the beginning. Immediately run out to the second cone and then back. Repeat the process and run to cone No. 3 and then cone No. 4. The drill is complete when you get back to the beginning, having covered 100 yards. Rest for a minute and repeat.
This drill will improve your running tempo and knee lift, which transfers to a faster sprinting speed and is best performed using an agility training ladder. An agility ladder is a flat framework of boxes that can be used for a variety of drills. Stand 10 yards from the end of the ladder and begin jogging on the spot. Lift your knees high so your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your knees up and run forward while focusing on a fast foot strike rate rather than forward speed. Run the length of the ladder, ensuring you step in each box once with each foot. At the end of the ladder, accelerate and sprint 20 yards. Walk back to the beginning and repeat.
T-sprints teach you to change direction quickly and also help with multidirectional sprinting speed. Make a large “T” shape using marker cones. The horizontal and vertical axis should be 10 yards in length. Stand at the bottom of the vertical axis. On go, sprint forward and touch the first cone. Sidestep to your left and touch the left cone. Sidestep to your right and touch the right cone. Sidestep to your left to return to the center cone. After touching it, run backward to your starting position. Rest a minute and repeat. You should always face forward when performing the drill.
Smoothies might seem like the perfect snack or between-meal drink for an athlete, seeing as they’re full of nutritious fruit. While smoothies can be beneficial for some athletes under certain circumstances, they may not always be the best choice. Whether a smoothie will help you reach your goals depends on a number of factors.
When you’re coming up to a big event or competition, loading up on carbohydrates in the few days before can increase your glycogen stores, giving you more energy on the day. Getting in enough carbs from whole foods like bread and pasta can be difficult, as they’re filling and may make you feel bloated, so liquid carbs might be better. Australia’s AIS Sports Nutrition recommends having a smoothie made with bananas, low-fat milk and honey as a staple snack on a carb-loading day.
Drinking smoothies is an easy way to ensure you’re getting plenty of vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables to support immune function, recovery and general health. Tara Ostrowe, nutritionist to the New York Giants, regularly includes smoothies in the Giants players’ diets. She recommends adding plenty of fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, kale, lemons, beets, celery, watermelon, apples and blueberries.
For athletes competing in strength- and power-based sports or those where carrying extra muscle bulk is advantageous, it can be tricky ingesting enough calories through whole foods alone. Sports nutritionist Anita Bean recommends using smoothies in this instance, adding that milk-based drinks increase muscle protein manufacture after exercise. A good post-workout smoothie could include one or two fruits, one or two vegetables, skim milk and optional additions of protein powder, peanut butter or crushed nuts to boost the calorie content.
On the face of it, smoothies can appear to be the perfect addition to any athlete’s diet. Exercise caution, though, warns dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot. Premade smoothies can contain up to 600 calories, the majority of which come from sugar. This could be a disaster for an athlete who needs to keep weight down or doesn’t require a lot of calories. A better option is to make smoothies at home so you can control the exact ingredients.
The violence in boxing has led many people to question whether the sport is safe enough for people to participate in it. People have died as a result of head trauma from boxing, and some have questioned whether long-term brain damage happens as a result of the constant forces that impact the head. In 2010 and 2011, researchers began tracing the long-term effects of the sport on the brain and the course of brain damage throughout a fighter’s life.
In the journal article entitled “Boxing — Acute Complications and Late Sequalae,” Hans Forstl, M.D. and his team of researchers in Germany reported that there have been an average of 10 boxing deaths per year since 1900. Of these deaths, over 80 percent were due to head and neck injuries suffered in the ring. These injuries included ruptures in brain vessels, epidural hemorrhages and subdural hematomas, in which bleeding occurs in the brain.
According to BBC Health, brain damage may happen immediately, which can lead to death, or it can occur gradually over time due to the sustained trauma to the head. They state that a chemical called neurofilament light, which is released when nerve cells are damaged, is four times higher than normal in boxers after a fight. It can be up to eight times higher when there have been more than 15 high-impact hits to the head. Although boxers can recover from some injuries, brain tissue that becomes damaged remains damaged.
In addition to permanent brain damage, noticeable cognitive deficits have been found in many boxers. According to the study by Forstl’s team of researchers, a comparison of 82 amateur boxers found that those who had been knocked out performed significantly worse in visual-spatial and mathematics exercises afterward. In addition, 18 professional boxers had significantly impaired performance in information processing and verbal fluency one month after a knockout.
Although much is known about permanent brain damage in boxers, there is still little known about the course of neurodegenerative diseases throughout boxers’ careers. However, researchers have found that severe traumatic brain injury in boxers has been linked to dementia pugilistica. This clinical syndrome has been linked to increased tau proteins in the brain, which are associated with dementia, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Muhammad Ali, perhaps the greatest fighter of all time, has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease; he is perhaps the most famous example of the neurodegenerative issues present in ex-fighters.