Month: April 2017

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Percentage of Kids Who Are Injured in Football

At the beginning of each football season, players eagerly rush out onto the field while their parents worry that they may sustain a serious injury from the sport. The good news is that when injuries do occur, they are rarely severe and usually do not require a doctor’s care. Following basic safety rules can allow your child to play youth football with risk of severe injury.
The Journal of Athletic Training reported in 2007 that an estimated 28 percent of the 5.5 million youth football players between the ages of 5 and 14 are injured each year. About 187,000 of these injuries require emergency medical care. In 2013, USA Football released preliminary findings after the first year of a multi-year study. They note that fewer than 10 percent of youth football players incur an injury, and of those injuries, 64 percent are considered minor injuries. In general, younger and lighter players are at less risk of injury than older, heavier players. This may be because heavier players exert more force on themselves and each other in the case of a collision.
The most common types of injuries in youth football players are bruises, ligament sprains and muscle strains. Contusions are more common than ligament and muscle strains, according to the USA Football preliminary findings. The most common areas of the body for injuries are the hand and wrist, ankle, foot and knee. Concussions and other head injuries as well as spinal and neck injuries are less common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report there are 55,007 concussions from youth football each year — 0.47 concussions per 1000 athletes.
Youth may suffer overuse injuries, especially in the beginning of the football season, when they haven’t yet been properly conditioned and may be pushing themselves too hard. Another common problem is heat stress, particularly during hot and humid weather. Children should have medical check-ups before the season begins to screen them for potential health issues that may lead to injury or illness.
Coaches and parents can prevent many football injuries by insisting on proper behavior and appropriate safety equipment use. Helmets, mouth guards, padding and footwear are all important tools to keep children safe while playing football. The playing fields should be well-maintained. The coaches should be trained in first aid and CPR, since most injuries that occur can be managed on the field. Children should understand good sportsmanship and safety rules and warm up before playing to reduce the incidence of injury.


Weight Room Workouts for Pitchers

Getting the right weight room regimen can significantly improve a game on the mound. Pitching is one of the most physically taxing positions in all of sports. The high velocity movements and full body repetitive motions required by the position, make it critical to get the right weight routine for the pre-season and season.
Pre-season routines should include weightlifting three times per week and should start several months prior to the first practice to allow enough time for muscle development. Karl Kuhn, pitching coach for the number one ranked University of Virginia baseball team, points out that starters should lift within 48 hours of a start, and get a second, light lift, in on day four after a start. Kuhn’s relievers hit the weights two to three times per week, but never on or before a throwing day.
Coach Kuhn has his staff, which has garnered the top ERA in the country over the last six years, perform three sets of moderate weight at 15 repetitions during the season–designed to be in line with the projected number of pitches per inning.
Many pitchers, to their surprise, actually have much weaker shoulders on their throwing side. Pitchers must include a moderate intensity shoulder routine as many as five times per week. Perform two sets of 12 repetitions of exercises including shrugs, lateral shoulder raise, front shoulder raise, suprispinatus shoulder raises, overhead dumbbell press, and internal and external rotator cuff exercises. Never use heavy weight and focus on form and moving the weight in a controlled motion at all times.
Jeff Kamrath, former professional right-handed pitcher and current pitching instructor, often sees younger pitchers with poor abdominal strength, which is a limiting factor in performance. The Virginia Cavaliers’ pitching staff integrates connective tissue chords along with core body work five times a week throughout the season according to Coach Kuhn.
Include a full body stretching routine twice a week. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds or longer. It is critical to stretch properly, with the correct force and time, to increase plastic elongation of soft tissue. The American Council on Exercise suggests using a static stretch of low force, and holding that stretch for an extended period of time (greater than 30 seconds).


How to Run Faster in Football

Speed in football is an important factor in determining the outcome of games. A running back who can get to the corner and turn upfield faster than the defense can get there has a great opportunity to make a big play. A receiver who can catch a ball in stride and turn on the speed can make a memorable touchdown. Building speed in football is a function of drills to build speed and the ability to rise to the moment so you can overpower and outrun your competition.
Run football shuttle drills to build explosive speed and stamina in games. Start at the goal line and sprint to the 10-yard line and back. Then turn and sprint to the 20 and back, the 30 and back, and the 40 and back. Take a one-minute break and repeat the set.
Run hills to build speed and explosive strength in your legs. Run 60 feet uphill to build power and explosiveness and run 60 feet downhill to build a consistent stride and balance. Perform five reps of hill running per day during the offseason to become and explosive runner on the field. This was the practice of Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Walter Payton throughout their careers.
Build explosive power in your legs by working in the weight room. The stronger you are in your legs, hips and core muscles the faster you will be able to run. To build speed with weight training, do exercises like the leg press, lunge and dead lift to build speed. Take a barbell on the back of your shoulders to perform the lunge. Place your right foot about 18 inches in front of your left foot. Lunge forward so your left leg is straight and your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Do this 10 times and then there peat the drill with your left foot in front of your right.
Run team relays to build team speed and competitiveness. Place two footballs at midfield. Line half your team up at one 25-yard line and the other half at the opposite 25. On the coach’s whistle, the first player in each line will sprint to midfield and pick up the football. They will then sprint back and hand it to the second player waiting on line at the 25-yard line. That player will sprint to midfield with the ball, lay it down at that spot and sprint back to the 25, and tag the hand of the next player in line. The drill will go on in that manner until all players have run. That team that completes the drill first with all runners going at full speed wins the exercise.


Developmental Differences in Boys and Girls

Pink and blue, dolls and trucks. Girls and boys may not be as different as toy aisles make them out to be. Not all girls like ballet and nail polish, and not all boys want to grow up to be firemen and football players. However, research indicates that they aren¡¯t exactly blank slates, free of gender predispositions, when they are born. For example, a girl raised to be rough-and-tumble may end up a tomboy, but she is also still likely to excel at skills unique to girls. Parents should be sensitive to their children¡¯s unique attributes while keeping in mind that gender does make at least a small difference.
According to the BabyCenter website, boys and girls grow physically at a similar pace until their late elementary years. In late elementary school, girls generally gain height at a more rapid pace than boys, but in a few years, boys hit their growth spurt and grow taller than girls. Whereas girls grow about 3 inches in a year, boys grow between 3 and 4 inches in a year.
Boys develop gross motor skills such as running and balancing at a slightly faster pace than girls, says BabyCenter online. Girls develop fine motor skills such as writing and holding a pencil at a faster pace than boys. According to the 2009 edition of ¡°Child Development Principles and Perspectives¡± by J. L. Cook and G. Cook, boys tend to show higher levels of physical activity than girls from the time they are infants until later in life. Since girls are less active and since they develop fine motor skills faster, they may be at an advantage over some boys when it comes to school.
Although differences in most skills are generally insignificant¡ªand some have actually changed due to the way society treats people based on gender¡ªone major difference between the genders is that males perform better than girls on tests of spatial skills, according to Cook and Cook. One example of spatial skills is the ability to mentally envision an object if it were viewed from a different angle. Boys begin to excel at this between the ages of 9 and 13 years and into adolescence.
Although males have the upper hand when it comes to spatial skills, females excel at verbal and language skills. Anita Sethi, Ph.D. writes on Parenting online that girls have a tendency to talk at an earlier age, use more words, and exhibit a higher level of language understanding and language complexity than boys in their early years. For example, girls tend to produce up to 100 words by age 16 months, whereas boys of the same age may produce around 30. This extends into the school arena, where writing, spelling, and overall language tends to come easier to girls than boys. Some differences in these skills diminish over time, but skills such as writing remain consistently advanced through the years.
Girls mature into teenagers and adults faster than boys do, according to BabyCenter online. Some girls begin puberty, developing breast buds and pubic hair around age 8, but others may not start until around age 12. Girls then have a growth spurt and menstruate within five years of developing breasts. Boys don¡¯t generally see the first signs of puberty (testicular enlargement, then penis growth and pubic hair) until around or after age 9.


Girdles for Weight Loss

One of the many weight loss fads that resurfaces from time to time is the idea that you can lose weight with a girdle. Women also use girdles and other shapewear to hold in and smooth out body fat, and some use them in efforts to lose weight and tighten up their bodies after having a baby. A girdle might provide some aesthetic results, but it won’t be enough on its own to help you lose weight.
The trend of wearing a corset or slimming wrap is not new, as various cultures have used this method over the centuries, especially to deal with pregnancy weight gain. Many girdles work by sucking in body fat and compressing the body. Some girdles include heat. A “Fox News Magazine” article explains that one wrap designed to slim the waist claims to take off as much as 4 inches from the belly through sweating.
There might be some weight to this fad. In the “Fox News Magazine” article, nutritionist Franci Cohen and Cora Harrington, founder and chief editor of the blog, “The Lingerie Addict,” discussed wearing a girdle or similar type of restraining garment. They explained that it prevents you from eating large meals or bloating foods because it is pushing on your waist and that it brings in the waist muscles and gives them support. This might help you take in fewer calories — which could conceivably help you lose some weight — and create stronger abdominal muscles.
Wearing a restricting garment like a girdle might also cause some health problems. For example, it can cause a lack of blood flow to organs and push the organs into an abnormal position. It can also cause compression of the nerves, bladder infections and reflux. To reduce the risk, wear the undergarment for no longer than three hours at a time. If a girdle is painful or too tight, opt for a lighter, less-constraining version.
The healthiest and most effective way to lose weight is through diet and exercise. You should strive to perform cardiovascular exercise and strength training to lose weight and fat throughout your body. A healthy diet will also help you lose weight. The Weight-Control Information Network explains that 1/2 to 2 pounds a week is a healthy rate of weight loss following your initial efforts, during which you might lose more weight in a faster period of time.


Difference Between a Legal & Illegal Football Tackle

Tackling remains one of the fundamental skills in football, as it occurs on nearly every play. Rules exist to ensure the legality of all tackles performed during a game. Football players have the responsibility to tackle opponents in a legal manner, and the league¡¯s officials have the responsibly to enforce these rules at all times.
In football, defensive players must stop the offensive team by tackling the ball carrier. They can do so in almost any manner, although some exceptions do exist. When making a tackle, the defensive player can grab his opponent¡¯s jersey or body in an attempt to stop his forward process. This includes grabbing the player¡¯s legs to trip him or hitting him with your shoulder. The play stops once the defensive player has the offensive player on the ground or has stopped the offensive player from moving forward.
Offensive players cannot tackle players on the defense, unless the defensive player first gains possession of the ball. An offensive lineman, for example, can use his hands to keep the defensive player in front of him, but he cannot drag that player to the ground, or the offensive player will be flagged for holding. This penalty usually occurs as a defensive player approaches the quarterback, as the offensive lineman must do everything in his power to prevent a sack. Offensive holding results in a 10-yard penalty.
In some cases, players tackle opponents dangerously, which leads to a penalty. A tackler receives a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness for leading with his helmet; for hitting an offensive player in the head during a tackle; for tackling a player who’s out of bounds; or for tackling a player after the whistle has blown. Defenders receive 15-yard penalties for roughing the passer for tackling a quarterback after he throws the ball. Defensive players are penalized 15 yards if they grab the back of a player’s shoulder pads to make a tackle — known as a “horse collar” tackle. Players receive either a 5- or 15-yard penalty if they hold the facemask of a player’s helmet when making a tackle.
The NFL has implemented new tackling rules to protect its players, which led to the league handing out a number of fines. Linebacker Jerome Harrison threatened to retire in 2010 because of these rules, since he did not know if he could still play the game effectively. The league fined Harrison for tackles that did not receive a penalty during the game, which blurs the line between legal and illegal tackles. These tackles involved Harrison striking opposing players in the head with his helmet, causing injuries to two different players in one game.


History of Flag Football

Modern football and flag football ¡ª also called touch football ¡ª parted ways in 1905. Until then, it was all one game, played without protective equipment and with virtually no physical restraint. When 18 young men died from the violent play, President Theodore Roosevelt stepped in to bring order to the sport. Modern football, with its rules and protective equipment, was born. But some men never stopped playing the old way, without helmets and shoulder pads, and these were the forefathers of flag football.
Webster¡¯s Dictionary officially dates flag football to 1933. Not long afterward, by the 1940s, it was all the rage on U.S. military bases as servicemen chose up sides and played against each other. Since America could not send football-battered soldiers into combat, tackling a ball carrier to stop him was replaced with the safer practice of grabbing a flag attached to his clothing. When the flag was taken, the player was stopped.
When men left the military and went home to their families, they took flag football with them. The game spread to America¡¯s cities and suburbs. Early recreational leagues were in place by the 1950s. A decade later, in the 1960s, the first flag football organization, the National Touch Football League, formed in St. Louis. The NTFL tweaked the rules a little so that a ball carrier was stopped by touching him, eliminating the flags attached to players¡¯ clothing.
By the 1970s, flag football had infiltrated college campuses and intramural teams formed, with students at each school playing against each other. The University of New Orleans hosted the first National Collegiate Flag Football Championship in 1979. Two years later, in 1981, the sport opened up to allow schools to play each other when the inaugural National Collegiate Flag Football Championship took place in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The NTFL was still going strong in 1988 when its regional director left the organization to form the United States Flag Touch Football League. In 1989, the United States Flag Football League Semipro formed in North Carolina. Going ¡°semipro¡± allowed teams to represent their cities and winners to take cash prizes, though they were not actually paid for their play. The American Flag Touch Football League came together in 1991. In 1997, all the organizations joined and formed the Professional Flag Football League, Inc. and flag football went pro. The first PFFL Pro Flag Bowl took place in 1997, and the first PFFL season with a travel schedule began in 1999 with six teams representing Buffalo, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Toledo, Dayton and Columbus, Ohio.


How to Get in Shape for Football

The living isn¡¯t easy in summertime for football players — but it¡¯s fun in its own way. That¡¯s because the offseason is when you get in shape for the gridiron. This time away from the rigors and fatigue of competition is when you build strength and hone your conditioning, working to be at your peak for the first game. It¡¯s hard work, but it¡¯s worth it when you are in your stance, trying to be faster, stronger, bigger and better than your opponents.
You can work in the weight room and on the field to get strong. ¡°In high school, it¡¯s a lot of squats and the sled push,¡± said Brandon Franklin, a certified personal trainer at the Mac Harbor East in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as a former high school football wide receiver. In addition, you do barbell deadlifts, power cleans and the Olympic lifts: the snatch, and the clean and jerk. You won¡¯t be doing isolations, such as the biceps curl — your focus is on whole-body work. A buddy can come in handy for tough exercises like the fireman¡¯s carry — where you carry a teammate down the field on your back. The farmer¡¯s walk is similarly no-frills — you carry significantly heavy dumbbells or plates in each hand, and trundle for a certain distance down the field.
It¡¯s no secret that the 40-yard dash is the basic distance for sprinting in football, hence its role at the NFL combine to screen the fastest players. You can work on your speed, and your speed endurance, by mixing up your speed training. Do 10 reps of 40-yard-dashes, as well as various reps of 100s and 200s, Franklin recommends. Also pair with a teammate to run routes, taking turns as both passer and receiver. This will give you a double carryover into games of both speed and skills if you are at a skills position.
Every position is a bit different. You want to make footwork on agility ladders a priority if you are a running back or wide receiver, Franklin notes. Alternatively, you can do five-cone drills in the summer, advises ¡°Complete Conditioning for Football.¡± Set the cones in a square with 10 yards on each side, and a final cone in the middle. Run in varied patterns, including a star, crisscross and little squares, running forward, laterally and backpedaling. If you are a lineman or a kicker, agility work is less important, Franklin states. Linemen need to perform specific drills that focus on blocking and hand movement instead.
You¡¯ll be busy three days a week in the weight room if you follow the recommendations of ¡°Complete Conditioning for Football¡± for offseason conditioning. Try for Monday, Wednesday and Friday for total-body strength workouts. Your running workout and agility training can be Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Your coach may test your strength progress on Fridays compared to benchmarks for your position.


How to Get in Shape Quick

You¡¯ve been procrastinating and now you are forced to get in shape quick. In order to speed up your fitness results, you¡¯ll need to follow a systematic approach to improve your results and limit the amount of wasted time. An essential component to getting in shape quick is determining your fitness goals before designing the workout program. But getting ¡°in shape¡± is relative to the individual and how quickly you get there depends on your current fitness level, workout program and dedication. If executed properly, you can improve your fitness level in four to six weeks, but that is only the beginning of creating a lifetime of health and wellness.
Build a balanced workout program that combines aerobic activities and strength training. This combination of workouts promotes fat loss while building lean muscle.
Plan for about 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and two or more days of strength training per week. Split this time frame evenly throughout the week and incorporate the workouts into your daily routine.
Warm up before every workout for five to 10 minutes. A proper warmup prepares the muscles for the workout and maximizes the results from the actual workout.
Perform aerobic exercise by running, cycling, swimming or rowing. Focus on high-intensity interval training to increase your heart rate and burn fat while building lean muscle.
Use compound functional exercises for your strength-training workouts. These compound exercises maximize muscle activation for quick performance gains. The best exercises include squats and lunges for the lower body and pullups and pushups for the upper body.
Rest one to two days per week so your body and muscles can recover. Without sufficient recovery, you can become injured, which will prevent you from getting in shape.
Follow a detailed nutrition plan to promote fat loss and lean muscle growth. Eat complex carbohydrates from whole grains and vegetables, lean protein from fish and chicken and healthy fats from nuts and seeds.


How to Be a Good Football Kicker

The kicker on the football team is often overlooked as an essential component. However, a good football kicker is just as important as the quarterback or a strong defense. Being a good football kicker requires athleticism, combined with a work ethic to learn, practice and refine the skills required. In the end, becoming a good kicker gives your team another component for consistently putting points on the scoreboard to win games.
Learn proper kicking form and use good form during every practice or drill. Focus on consistency with every practice attempt while keeping your head down and finishing with a full follow-through.
Practice the kicking form with drills during every practice. The kicking drills are designed to improve kicking power and distance along with accuracy. Gradually increase the distance of the drills from the goal posts, but continue to focus on kicking the football in the middle of the goal posts.
Strengthen your lower body and core for improved kicking power, leg speed and balance. Single-leg squats and stability ball exercises for core strength and stability are key regimens. Incorporate additional exercises that strengthen the quadriceps and hip flexors, since these muscles are the most important for kicking distance.
Improve hip and hamstring flexibility with a consistent stretching and mobility routine. Take 10 to 15 minutes during every practice and strength training session to perform a variety of leg and hip stretches, along with leg swings and dynamic stretches. By improving the mobility of the hips and legs, your leg will swing more freely during every kick.

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