Month: July 2017

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5 Javelin Throw Tips

The javelin throw can be extremely strenuous and tough. At first glance, it may simply seem as if you are throwing a long rod; in reality, a lot of athletic ability and strategy go into throwing the javelin. But there are ways to improve your javelin throwing. Here are a few tips.
When sprinters reach the second half of the 100-meter dash, they relax their bodies, which allows them to move faster. The same principle applies to javelin throwing. As you throw, relax your throwing arm. This will help you move it more smoothly and faster. Relaxing your arm can add 0.5m to 1.5m to your throws.
The most important thing you can do to improve your javelin throwing is to practice while standing still. In a meet, javelin throwers take a running start before they throw. But if you practice while standing still, you can increase your arm strengthen and improve your technique. Practice standing still every time you practice for about 10 to 15 minutes and your distances will increase dramatically.
Javelin throwing is not based on force–like the shot put. Instead, it is a velocity-based sport. The most important things are moving your arm fast, and how much weight you can throw. Bulking up with weights may make your body look great, but it won’t perform as well.
When a professional throws the javelin, his legs and hips jut forward, giving the impression his body is leaning backward. This is an optical illusion. When you throw, you should never lean back. Beginners make this mistake all the time. Leaning back adds air time to the throw and reduces your distance. Keep your body as upright as you can when you throw.
When you throw, your entire body should be engaged. As you near your release point, tighten your abdominal muscles, flex your back and feel the core of your body strengthening. If your core is engaged, the javelin will go farther. It will also protect you from straining your spine.


What Is the Role of Sports in Socialization?

Socialization is ¡°the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status,¡± according to Merriam-Webster. Research suggests sports play both a positive and negative role in socialization, not only between young athletes and their peer group, but also between children and adults. Research also indicates that sports play differing roles in socialization for boys and girls.
Sports foster identity and friendship. ¡°Sports participation helps create a social identity,¡± Ann Rosewater wrote in a 2009 study published by Team-Up for Youth. She cited previous research where ¡°high school youth participating in organized sports activities viewed sports as providing a place to meet other young people ¡®who had at least one shared interest.¡¯¡± Indeed, a Wheelock/Boston Youth Sports Initiative 2010 study said ¡°that quality sport programs can help to develop and maintain healthy relationships amongst youth.¡±
Sports may help boys and girls socialize in different ways, and this may be either a positive or a negative. Rosewater writes, ¡°Sports participation socializes boys into traditional gender roles, while similar participation socializes girls into nontraditional gender roles.¡± She says sports have an additional social benefit for female high school student-athletes, who ¡°find participation in sports to be a way to break gender stereotypes, enhancing their sense of possibility.¡±
Youth sports can also help children learn to interact with adults such as parents and their teachers. The Wheelock/BYSI study reports that the same ¡°quality sport programs¡± that can benefit interactions between children may also benefit exchanges between ¡°youth and adults.¡± Rosewater¡¯s research suggests a ripple effect. ¡°Parents promote children¡¯s social development and social skills by enrolling them in programs,¡± she wrote. ¡°(These) skills can improve children¡¯s relationships with their teachers.¡±
Athletes might participate in unhealthy social activities: ¡°skipping school, cutting classes, having someone from home called to the school for disciplinary purposes, and being sent to the principal¡¯s office,¡± Rosewater reported. She also noted, ¡°Abuse of alcohol by adolescents who participate in competitive sports is a social phenomenon ¡ª that is, a function of the peer group with which the students are associated.¡± But she said, ¡°Some studies also show that teens participating in sports report lower use of alcohol than those who are not involved in sports activities.¡±


Strategies for Winning Volleyball Matches

Volleyball strategies range from simple and obvious to highly complex. Matching strategies to the skill level is the critical first step. Teams must develop appropriate tactics for serving, receiving, offense, hitting and defense. Master the basics, then blend in more elaborate concepts. Team strategies evolve as the team evolves. The higher the skill level, the more tactical the game becomes.
Keep the opponent off balance by hitting a variety of serves. Rotate servers at the novice level to create different looks. Use the whole service arsenal at more advanced levels. Serve short to force hitters to receive. Aim for aces at the deep corners. Mix in shots straight down the lines, giving the receiving team less time to react. Serve between players to force movement and communication. Mix in deep float serves, which can fool the receiving team with their knuckleball action. Use jump serves, which have greater downward movement than float serves. Jump serves hit deep can be difficult to return because they appear to be going out. Spot serves targeting vulnerable players or zones are also effective.
Use serve receive formations to set up the offense. Two basic formations are the “W,” which uses five players lined up like a “W,” and the “U,” using four, with two players up front and two in back. The “U” formation works best when players are larger and/or more skilled. There are endless variations on these formations and others. Use the formation that best helps the team set up its attack. For instance, the split “W” formation works well when the middle player is very capable.
Select offensive schemes that fit the team’s talent. The 6-2 scheme uses two setters and six hitters. Because each setter also hits when she moves up in the rotation, the scheme effectively deploys six hitters. This is a good system for teams with versatile players. The 5-1 scheme has a single setter who never hits. This is used a lot at higher levels, since it allows a single setter to run the offense.
Change up while hitting at the net. Power is a weapon at the higher levels, but finesse is just as important. Tips to open areas of the court are very effective. So is the roll shot, struck with the palm of the hand underneath the center of the ball. As hitters become more capable, they can read the defense while rising up to hit and aim the ball away from the block. The cut shot — a cross-court hit at a sharper angle — is a good example of that.
Decide whether area blocking or read blocking at the net is best for the front end of the defense. Area blockers protect a designated area. Read blockers watch the hitters and move accordingly to thwart them. Beginning teams might opt for a basic rotation defense, using two blockers up front and four defending players rotating to cover the other zones of the court.


Negative Effects of Parents That Push Their Children Into Playing Sports

Dreams of multimillion-dollar contracts, Olympic glory and college scholarships have many parents pushing their children harder than ever to play sports. Kids are being entered in sports leagues at younger ages; some are forced to participate year-round in the hopes of creating the next superstar. Involving your child in sports has many positive benefits. However, pushing children into playing sports can negatively impact their emotional development and damage the parent-child bond.
Parents generally are the worst judges of their child¡¯s ability. The emotional investment clouds judgment and blinds parents from seeing that their child may not be gifted in sports. Instead of identifying this lack of ability, some parents push harder and end up pushing the child too far. When children lack ability but are forced to compete, they are placed in humiliating situations where they continually fail. Instead of cultivating healthy self-esteem from sports participation, the repeated embarrassment can cause the child to become stressed, anxious, withdrawn and depressed. The child also may develop a negative sense of self due to the poor performances, instead of looking to character traits, actions and other abilities to build healthy self-esteem.
Pushing a child to participate in a sport increases the likelihood that the child will develop sports-related burnout. Rather than advancing in overall development, forced participation can inhibit the child from enjoying the activity, decrease a desire to succeed at it and increase the risk of injury. The child may begin to view sports negatively and lose interest in competing altogether. The negative connotation may cause the child to miss out on the many positive attributes associated with healthy sports participation. Being pushed to participate also can prevent the child from learning to manage his life and naturally develop interests. These factors can damage the child’s overall wellness and productivity while stunting creativity.
Nothing is more important than your child¡¯s happiness, and if you push the child into a sport, he may end up resenting you. Instead of enjoying rides to practices and games or practicing drills with you in the yard, the child may avoid the sport and you altogether. The resentment may strain the parent-child bond, thereby causing him to stop voicing his needs to you. As a parent, the lines of communication must remain open to ensure that his needs are being met. If the child cannot talk openly with you, he may keep his feelings bottled up or become emotionally dependent on peers who don¡¯t have his best interest at heart.
Make sure it¡¯s your child¡¯s dream to participate in a sport to avoid pushing him in a negative way. If your child is involved in a sport, ease up or let him quit if the joy has been taken out of the activity. Don¡¯t force your child to do anything. Provide guidance and encouragement by listening to — and observing — his needs, while exposing him to a range of activities. Steer clear of projecting your own achievement needs onto the child. Instead of fixating on his success in sports, find fulfillment in your own life and let him gravitate naturally to the things that interest him.


How to Care for Pumice Stones

Pumice stones are formed from volcanic rock. They are extremely lightweight and will float in water. Although the stones are used in construction, clothes manufacturing and landscaping, they are mostly associated with skin care. Pumice stones help you exfoliate or remove areas of dead, hardened skin on your feet and hands. Proper care of pumice stones lengthens their usefulness and reduces the risk of skin infection.
Wet your pumice stones before every use. Using a dry pumice stone can damage your skin and increase the risk of breaking the stone. Always check your stone for jagged edges or cracks before using it to remove corns or calluses.
Rinse often during use to remove dead skin cell flakes and prevent dulling of the stone. Hold the stone under warm, running water until all loose particles wash away.
Clean pumice stones after every use to remove dead skin and other debris. Wet the stone and a toothbrush with warm water. Apply liquid dish detergent to the toothbrush, and then use the brush to scrub all sides of the stone for several minutes. Rinse the stone well in warm water to remove soap, dirt and oil.
Sterilize pumice stones to eliminate bacteria and fungus and prevent skin infections during use. Boil the stone in a small pot of water for five minutes. You can also soak the stone in a solution of 4 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of bleach for three to five minutes. Rinse the stone very well before drying or using.
Allow pumice stones to air dry completely before storing. Storing your stone while wet will encourage growth of fungus. Place the stone on a small, clean towel after washing to encourage air circulation around the stone. Alternatively, you can place the stone outside in the sun to dry.


Can Exercising Postpone Your Period?

The menstrual cycle is typically 21 to 28 days; however, the amount of days in the menstrual cycle can change due to medical conditions, stress, illness, medication and lifestyle changes with exercising and dieting. Exercising excessively or participating in strenuous sports can delay your period.
Menstrual cycle lengths vary from woman to woman; however, the average menstrual cycle occurs every 28 days with between four and seven days of bleeding. The menstrual cycle can change lengths because of stress, hormonal changes and medication side effects or from having reproductive diseases like polycystic ovary syndrome or uterine fibroids. Exercise can help regulate irregular menstrual cycles.
Absent menstrual cycles that occur after a woman previously had regular menstrual cycles comprise secondary amenorrhea, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Symptoms that may accompany a period’s absence are headache, vaginal dryness, weight gain, weight loss and voice changes. Significant weight gain or loss and too much exercise can result in absent menstrual cycles, according to the university.
Bleeding between periods, bleeding after having sex, and menstrual cycles that are less than 28 days or more than 35 days apart are all considered abnormal conditions. Some women experience abnormal menstrual cycles while taking birth control pills, after pregnancy or from changes in diet or exercise routine, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Although exercise is prescribed for women with irregular menstrual cycles, suddenly adding exercise to your lifestyle to lose weight, or exercising too much, can cause menstrual irregularities, which may be temporary.
While exercise may affect normal menstrual cycles, excessive exercise can delay or even stop your cycles completely. Professional athletes often suffer from a lack of menstruation or irregular menstruation, in part due to their low body fat. A woman’s body is meant to have a certain amount of fat stores in order to function properly. If your percentage of body fat falls too low, your body thinks that you’re starving and conserves its remaining energy, or fat stores. Reproduction is not an essential function, therefore your body slows or stops fueling the reproductive system.
Reducing your physical activity, in some cases, may be enough to restore menses. You may also need to increase your calorie intake to restore your body’s energy reserves. Once the body receives the necessary calories for its daily functions, it can restore your reproductive functions. Discuss prolonged cases of delayed, irregular or lack of menstruation with your physician. She may prescribe birth control pills or hormone pills to reinstate the menstrual cycle.


Does a Lack of Sleep Affect an Athlete’s Performance?

An athlete relies on many different factors for creating success, such as diet, strength training and practice. However, an often overlooked underlying factor which may also have an effect is the amount of sleep an athlete gets each night. With the Better Sleep Council reporting that seven in 10 Americans are not getting enough sleep to physically perform at their best each day, it’s no wonder that sleep has become a buzz word in many athletic teams and organizations.
One area of athletic performance that can be affected by not enough sleep is overall reaction time. Performance is markedly affected after staying awake for about three nights, notes Hans Van Dongen, Ph.D., and David Dinges, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. However reaction time performance can also be affected if small amounts of sleep are lost over time — such as an hour of sleep a night — creating what researchers call a “sleep debt.” Reaction time is necessary for everything from quick movements to catching a ball in sports.
Another area of athletic performance that may be affected by a lack of sleep is the ability to stay focused on the game. Along with reaction time, sustained attention also becomes affected after 88 hour of awake time or with the accrual of a substantial sleep debt.
Sleep is also necessary for the body to heal and recover after a physically demanding athletic training session, suggests athletic performance coordinator David Knight from the University of Wisconsin. Sleep allows the body to spend less energy resources on body processes needed while awake, and more energy resources towards helping muscles and other tissues heal and recover.
Athletes that get at least 10 hours of sleep during the weeks surrounding training and competition have been shown to perform better, states Cheri Mah of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory. If 10 hours is not an option, aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night; teen and young adult athletes should aim for nine or more hours. Use naps to help reduce tiredness, but note that naps can also cause “sleep inertia,” or a feeling of fogginess or clumsiness right after waking up from the nap. Therefore, avoid taking naps directly before training or competition.


Pronation Foot Exercises

Pronation, or flattening of the arch of the foot, occurs every time you take a step. Overpronation, or excessive flattening of the arch of the foot, can lead to poor posture and pain in the foot, leg, hip, and spine. Exercise can strengthen the foot muscles, correct poor foot bio-mechanics, and reduce the risk of injuries, such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and iliotibial band syndrome. Perform such exercises correctly and consistently, start slowly, and gradually increase the intensity.
Sit with good posture and both feet on the floor in front of you, a small towel under your right foot. Curl your toes and grab the towel between your toes and forefoot, while raising the arch of your foot off the floor. Perform 10 repetitions, relaxing your toes between reps. Switch to the left foot for 10 reps. This exercise strengthens the muscles that raise the longitudinal arch of the feet.
The short foot exercise is recommended by postural expert Vladimir Janda in his book “Muscle Function Testing,” to build strength, stability and endurance in the muscles and tendons that support the arch. Sit with good posture in a sturdy chair with both feet on the floor, your toes facing straight forward, and your knees bent to 90 degrees. Inhale, contract the muscles on the bottom of your right foot and lower legs to raise the arch of your foot without curling your toes. This position is called the short foot position. Hold this isometric muscle contraction for six seconds, then exhale and relax. Turn your lower leg slightly outward, inhale and again come to the short foot position. Hold for six seconds, exhale and relax. Next turn your lower leg inward, and perform another isometric contraction for six seconds. Repeat the identical series of exercises with your left foot. Reposition your feet an inch farther away from the chair, and perform repetitions in the straight, outward and inward ankle positions with both feet. After each series, inch your foot forward until you perform a total of five series with each foot. Sliding your feet farther away from the chair with each rep works the muscles at slightly different angles.
Stand in the shallow end of a pool. Start at one end and sprint to the other end, pushing off with your feet as hard as you can with each step. The water adds resistance, so your push-off stresses the muscles of the lower leg and foot more than ground running. For best results in strengthening the structures that support the arch, the water should be between waist- and chest-deep.
Walking or running in the sand targets the foot and leg muscles. The foot sinks into the soft surface, so you have to push off harder than when on solid ground, thus forcing the muscles that compose the arch of the foot to work harder. Start by walking, then progress to jogging, then sprinting, then finally to sprinting barefoot.


Rehabilitation From Tibial Plateau Knee Surgery

The tibial plateau is located on the upper surface of your tibia just below your kneecap. This region of your tibia is prone to fracture in high-impact accidents in sports such as football and skiing, or in car accidents. The tibial plateau is located inside your knee joint capsule, therefore a fracture to this region can also damage structures of your knee. Therefore, rehabilitation from a tibial plateau fracture may involve more than just allowing the bone to heal. The ligaments and tendons located inside your knee joint capsule may have suffered damage as well, making rehabilitation from a tibial plateau injury more involved. Always seek immediate medical attention after incurring a tibial plateau injury.
In the first stage of rehabilitation from a tibial plateau fracture, your knee must be immobilized for six to eight weeks to allow your tibial plateau to heal. This is usually done by placing your knee in a cast or solid brace. Like any bone fracture, you must allow the bone to heal by keeping it still. Failure to properly immobilize your knee after a tibial plateau fracture may result in a non-union fracture in which your bone will not heal properly, or the healing process will be significantly delayed.
Once your tibial plateau has fused together, your cast or hard brace may be removed. This marks the end of the first stage of rehab and the beginning of the second. In this stage, you will attempt to regain range of motion in your knee with flexibility training. Flexibility training may involve passive and active stretching. Passive and active stretching are techniques used by physical therapists to regain range of motion in your knee following months of immobilization. In passive stretching, a physical therapist will manually move your knee in different directions while you lie or sit passively on a table. In active stretching, you will move your knee through its range of motion under your own power.
As you begin to regain range of motion in your knee joint, it is also necessary to strengthen the muscles that support your knee. After months of immobilization following a tibial plateau fracture, the muscles that support your knee will atrophy, or lose size and strength. Because a tibial plateau fracture is often associated with other joint capsule injuries, every muscle that crosses your knee joint should be strengthened to increase the stability of your joint capsule. This includes your hamstrings and calves in addition to your quadriceps. Your physical therapist will direct you through the proper strengthening exercises that are specific to your needs.
Once your physician has determined that your tibia bone has completely fused and your physical therapist has determined that you have regained adequate range of motion and strength around your knee, you may return to normal activity. However, your physical therapist may require that you continue the range of motion and strength training exercises you completed during stages two and three of your rehabilitation to maintain flexibility and strength. This may protect your tibial plateau and knee joint capsule from re-injury and ensure long-term recovery.


Exercises a Quarterback Can Do to Improve His Throwing Arm

A quarterback¡¯s throwing arm is his main asset. In addition to strength, a quarterback needs flexibility, speed and accuracy. To improve your throwing arm, create workouts for muscle building, muscular endurance and speed, and train differently throughout the year.
Muscle-building workouts require different loads than muscular endurance workouts. Speed-training exercises take place at a higher intensity than strength or power drills. Work on strength during the off-season. Emphasize muscular endurance two months before your season begins. The month before your first game, focus on quickness exercises.
Build your throwing arm with biceps curls, kneeling rows, pushups, chair dips and chinups, which help work the front of your upper arm and shoulder. Perform triceps extensions, kickbacks, pullups and bench dips to work the back of your upper arm. Use arm raises to build your forearms. Use heavy weight loads and perform three to five reps on one exercise per set. After a break, do two or three more sets of the same exercise before you move to a new one. For biceps curls, raise the weight slowly, hold it for two seconds, then lower it slowly, stopping before your arm is completely straight. Not completing the downlift all the way makes you use muscular effort to slow and stop and provides a more beneficial muscle contraction. Hold a dumbbell behind your back, between your shoulder blades, then raise it up and turn our forearm outward so your palm faces forward. This mimics the pronation that occurs during a throw.
Muscular endurance helps you use your arm for the duration of a game with less fatigue, including cramping. Use the same exercises you used for muscle building, but use roughly 50 percent of your maximum weight or effort so you can perform more reps. Do approximately 12 reps on one exercise, take a one-minute break, then begin reps of a different exercise. Create a 30-minute circuit training workout using different exercises each circuit, or repeat several exercises, but not in a row.
Using weights lighter or heavier than a football will help train your central nervous system to work faster than normal, according to Richard Schonborn, former chief coach of the German Tennis Federation. Use a lightweight football, such as a foam ball, and throw six long passes. Immediately begin throwing a regulation-size football, throwing six passes. After your throw the light ball, your nervous system will be set to resist a lighter weight and will use more muscle speed to throw that light weight. This effect only lasts for a limited number of throws. Repeat this progression three times. Use a 2- or 3-pound medicine ball and throw it using the same motion you use to pass a football. You can use your second hand to help balance the ball as you throw it. Perform six throws, then begin throwing a regulation football. Your nervous system will be set to resist the heavier weight and use more power to move your muscles. Repeat this drill three times per practices.

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