If your youngster has signed up for a football league, you’ll want to protect him with the best sports gear available. For most football players, this means donning quality shoulder pads, compression gear, gloves and a helmet. You may be tempted to use hand-me-downs or team equipment, but some gear, such as shoulder pads, really need to be fitted to an individual to provide the best protection. So if you’re in the market for some football pads, there are a few features to look for to make sure you’re making the best purchase.
The first consideration when purchasing shoulder pads is your player’s position, because different positions require different functionality. A quarterback will generally want low-profile, lightweight pads that allow for maximum speed and movement. Punters and kickers can also wear quarterback pads because they allow for the greatest mobility. Skilled positions, such as running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs, also need lightweight gear, but their shoulder pads should offer slightly better protection. Linemen require the heaviest, most durable pads to protect their bodies against hard tackles and hits.
During summer practices, temperatures on the field can become unbearably hot, especially under heavy shoulder pads. In hot climates, a major consideration when purchasing gear is breathability and heat retention. Purchase pads that allow enough room for slight air circulation to prevent heat from becoming trapped against the skin. A 2008 study from the “American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine” found that cool air circulating between an athlete and his pads can dramatically reduce core body temperature . Cutting-edge gear utilizes the same technology used by space programs to protect astronauts. These materials, specifically aluminized polyester, can even be inserted into existing shoulder pads to make the gear less hot for players.
The best shoulder pads must be properly fitted to a player. Youth sizes range from extra small to extra large and are based on weight, shoulder and chest measurements. You can use a tape measure and size chart to give you an idea of the right size, but it’s critical to actually try on the gear to make sure the pads you select provide enough coverage during play.
According to recommendations made by Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports, shoulder pads should always be used for the athlete they were fitted for. Unless an athlete outgrows his pads or the become damaged, keep them in the same pads to ensure that the gear is providing the best possible protection. Be sure to regularly inspect the plastics and other materials of the shoulder pads for frays, cracks or loose rivets, and replace them as soon as these signs of wear appear.
Baseball may be a team sport, but you can practice some skills on your own. Performing solo baseball drills outside of your regular team practices lets you improve your skills faster than players who don¡¯t put in the extra work. You may also impress your coach by going above and beyond the standard team workouts. Most importantly, if you enjoy the game, the solo drills may provide the best possible chance to maximize your potential.
Although there¡¯s no complete substitute for hitting against live pitching, you can improve your swing and your timing by doing solo hitting drills. The closest substitute for live pitching is hitting against a pitching machine. Some machines throw both fastballs and curves at various speeds and in different locations. If your team doesn¡¯t have a pitching machine, you can find them at many commercial batting cages or sports training centers. You can also practice your swing by hitting off of a tee. Place the tee on different parts of the plate to practice swinging at high, low, inside and outside pitches. If you¡¯re practicing on a field, focus on an area 5 to 7 feet above the pitcher¡¯s mound as you begin your swing, then move your eyes back toward the tee, as if you were tracking a pitch. If you¡¯re indoors, put some tape on a wall to simulate a pitcher¡¯s release point.
As with hitting, you can practice fielding techniques with machines at baseball training centers. Some machines throw ground balls while others toss pop-ups or short flies. Alternatively, throw a rubber ball against a wall and catch the ball as it rebounds. To practice grounders, throw the ball in different locations, forcing you to move to your left and right. Throw the ball low against the wall to practice low-bouncing grounders, or throw it higher for longer bounces or to produce balls you must field off a short hop.
You can also use a wall to practice your throwing accuracy. Make a target on the wall, using erasable chalk or tape, and simply throw to the target. Combine fielding and throwing drills by throwing a ground ball, fielding it and then throwing to the target, as if you were trying to throw a runner out at first base. Alternatively, place a ball on a batting tee and try to hit the ball with your throws from a variety of distances.
To improve your pitching accuracy, use chalk or tape to replicate a strike zone on a wall and try to hit different spots within the zone. You¡¯ll also find various commercial targets, such as nets or wooden boards, that you can set up in front of home plate on a regular field. To improve your balance and throwing mechanics, take your normal position on the pitching rubber and execute the first part of your delivery, up to the point at which you lift your front leg to its highest level. Stop at that point and try to remain steady for five seconds.
Teen guys who get active at least 60 minutes a day are more likely to feel good, maintain a healthier weight and age better than their sedentary peers, according to TeensHealth. Doing at least an hour of exercise a day may sound like a lot, but it won¡¯t be if you break it up and include various enjoyable exercises in your daily workout.
Most of your 60-plus daily minutes of exercise should be cardiovascular, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This type of exercise, which improves your heart¡¯s strength and improves oxygen delivery throughout your body, is any kind that speeds up your breathing and gets your heart pumping. You may already be getting in enough cardiovascular exercise, also called cardio, if you go to daily practice for a team sport such as football or basketball. However, you don¡¯t have to be an athlete to get cardio. Try activities such as swimming, running, hiking and biking.
Your weekly workout plan should include strengthening activities at least three days a week as part of your 60-plus minutes of activity. Having stronger muscles helps you stay active, reduces your risk of injuries and improves your ability to burn calories. Activities such as crunches, pullups, squats and pushups are just a few examples of strengthening exercises you can do without going to the gym.
Lifting weights is another effective way to build your strength, but don¡¯t head for a weight machine or try to lift a barbell without getting tips from a coach or trainer. Your fitness coach will likely recommend you start with 20 to 30 minutes of weightlifting two or three days a week and do eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise. He will also recommend gradually increasing the weight you lift, only adding extra weight after you can do 15 repetitions without strain. Bear in mind that you won’t ¡°bulk up¡± from lifting weights until your body produces enough testosterone as you go through puberty.
Stretching exercises help improve your muscles¡¯ and joints¡¯ ability to bend, which reduces your risk of developing painful strains. One way to effectively stretch your muscles is to do it after every workout. Your muscles will be more receptive to stretching at this point because they will already be warm. You will also improve your flexibility if you participate in a sport or hobby that emphasizes flexibility. Examples of such activities are gymnastics and martial arts.
Start out any new exercise gradually and closely observe your body for signs of overexertion. You may be tempted to put in an extra 30 minutes a day to improve your football performance or go down a weight class for wrestling — but you will do it at the expense of your health if you don’t build up slowly. Some symptoms of overtraining include increased fatigue, reduced appetite, trouble sleeping, depression and increased soreness during and between workouts, according to the American Council on Exercise.
Physical education is an important component for any age, but middle school students are at an in-between period where fitness can have a big impact on their physical health and overall outlook. Middle school is an awkward time of physical development and often significant changes in social relationships. Middle school sports programs give kids a chance to use some energy, boost self-esteem, get fit and develop the confidence needed to live life as a teen.
According to the University of Michigan, an average child in the United States gets 43 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, yet spends approximately 20 percent of her time overall watching television. Middle school sports are important outlets for exercise that promote cardiovascular fitness and weight management among kids between the ages of 12 and 16. Middle school students have reached the age where their health habits change. They may be less active than they were while in elementary school. Implementing middle school sports programs helps kids to practice healthy behaviors that can turn into good habits.
Middle school students can enjoy many different types of sports, depending on what is available through the school or community. Many schools or local fitness centers offer sports leagues for middle school-aged kids, such as basketball, volleyball, football and soccer. These types of team sports offer social interaction and a feeling of teamwork with other kids of similar age. For students with fewer options for school leagues, some other sports may be available that can still provide plenty of exercise. Examples include running, biking, karate or golf.
Because some schools do not offer sports as part of the regular curriculum, middle school students may need to find sports activities outside of the regular school day. Encouraging middle school kids to participate in sports provides an outlet for exercise and social gathering. Some options for sports for middle school students include community sports leagues or special teen memberships at fitness facilities. Parents who recognize that they are role models for their children and who regularly exercise are more likely to have kids in middle school who are also more active.
Some middle school students may be moving away from participating in sports activities if it is no longer required in school. As kids move into middle school, recess times that once were a regular part of elementary school days become a thing of the past. Additionally, some schools change their curriculum to allow less physical education as part of middle school requirements. Many middle school students who do take gym class are also learning other modules at the same time, such as health, nutrition or sex education. While these courses are important, they typically do not involve true physical activities or sports during the day for middle school students.
The game of football gives players and fans the chance to experience exciting plays, thrilling wins and heartbreaking losses. Football has become the most popular sport in the U.S., with a fan base in countries all around the world. Fans have a greater appreciation of the game once they learn about the responsibilities of the different football positions.
One of the main aspects of football is the running game. The running backs, normally a fullback and a halfback, stand behind the offensive line. While their main duty is to run the ball down the field, running backs also catch passes and make blocks to protect the quarterback. As leaders of the offense, quarterbacks call plays, hand the ball to the running backs, and make passes to the receivers. Quarterbacks can run with the ball, especially if there’s not an open receiver down field.
Offensive linemen protect the quarterback and open holes for running backs. The center’s job is to snap the ball to the quarterback, to make blocks and to protect the quarterback. The guards and tackles make blocks for running backs and protect their quarterback while he throws passes. The tight end is an offensive lineman that blocks, but he also catches passes.
Quarterbacks throw passes to the wide receivers. The role of the receiver is to run pass routes. They use their speed and quickness to evade the other team’s defensive players as they try to get open to catch passes. Receivers also make blocks for the quarterback, for other receivers and for the running backs.
Defensive tackles, defensive ends and the nose guard make up the defensive line. The nose guard plays in the center of the defensive line. His job is to stop the run up the middle. Tackles play on either side of the nose guard and try to stop the run play. In some cases, they can break through and hurry or sack the quarterback. Defensive ends play at the end of the defensive line. Ends work to sack the quarterback and try to prevent running backs from getting farther down the field.
Linebackers are usually the best tacklers on the team. They play behind the defensive line and are responsible for defending both run and pass plays. The defensive backfield is made up of cornerbacks and safeties. Their job is to cover the wide receivers, to break up passes and to make interceptions. They also make tackles, work to stop the run and try to sack the quarterback.
The special teams, often the key to success in football games, are made up of a kicker, a punter, a long snapper and a place holder. The kicker’s job is to kick the ball off at the opening of the game and after every score. He also kicks the extra points after touchdowns, and he kicks field goals when the offense cannot score a touchdown. Place holders catch the ball from the center and hold it for the kicker as he kicks extra points or field goals. Punters kick the ball when the team does not score, and the long snapper is the center who snaps the ball during punts.