Month: January 2017

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What Does “Sandbagging” Mean?

“Sandbagging” in sports is a form of chicanery, in which a player deliberately misrepresents and downplays his ability, in order to derive an advantage over his opponents. The term has been associated with golf, auto racing, poker and paintball, among others. Sometimes, sandbagging is incorrectly used to describe strategic maneuvers. A person who “slow plays” a great poker hand to encourage others to bet and built up the pot is merely bluffing, an accepted and honorable part of the game.
The term sandbagger has its roots in the 19th century, when gangs and street toughs roamed the cities. Sandbags — a sock or a bag filled with wet sand — were used as weapons against rival gangs or unwary citizens who ventured into the wrong neighborhood. Sandbagging also derives from the early days of auto racing, when actual sand bags were used to surround the track.
By manipulating your handicap upwards, you can obtain an advantage over more honest golfers who do not manipulate the scores they post. In short, if you are playing a match against a 20-handicap, and you manipulated the system to also be a 20-handicap, even though your true ability is that of a 8-handicap, you are cheating by obtaining an 12-stroke advantage. If you play a match for big money, you are almost certain to win. Sandbagging is also employed in amateur tournaments, when prizes or prestige is on the line.
In the early days of motor racing, some drivers would brush the sand bags a few times during qualifying laps in order to ensure a slow qualifying speed. In many events, the slowest cars were given spots at the front of the pack to start the race. There are ways for drag racing drivers to manipulate their speeds to obtain an advantage over an opponent, but it is a tricky maneuver that can easily get a driver disqualified.
Any sport that sorts contestants into ability categories is susceptible to sandbaggers. In BMX bike racing, sandbaggers who intentionally lose races to stay in the same category are castigated for not being proper sportsmen who do their best to improve and attain the next level of excellence. Paintball tournaments classify contestants as rookies, novices, amateurs and professionals. Dropping back a category by losing games in order to have a better chance in top tournaments is prohibited, but it can be hard to catch a clever sandbagger.
If you are hustled out of a bet or a trophy by a sandbagger, it’s likely that no punishment seems too severe in your eyes. However, sandbagging stories are a great source of sports lore. Around 1995, Bill Gates created a stir when he posted an 87 in a Seattle area charity event despite a 30-handicap, a result called “impossible” by Dean Knuth, director of the United States Golf Association handicap system. On the other hand, since Gates is now spending his vast fortune to attempt to rid the world of poverty, disease and pollution, his sandbagging crime seems forgivable.


Football Drills to Increase Speed & Agility

To excel at football, you¡¯ve got to have exceptional speed and agility. On offense, you¡¯ll be able to run faster down the field and dodge opponents. Defensively, you¡¯ll be better able to stay on a wide receiver and track down a running back. How fast and nimble you are partly depends on genetics and body type, but you can make significant improvements with training. Begin each workout by warming up for 10 to 15 minutes.
The shuttle drill forces you to accelerate, stop and change directions quickly, just like you¡¯ll have to do on the football field. You¡¯ll need three cones. Culver-Stockton College recommends setting the three cones 5-yards apart from each other in a line. Begin at the center cone. Sprint towards the cone on your right. Touch it, then change directions and sprint 10 yards to the cone on the left. Touch that cone and then sprint back to the middle cone where you started. Wait 60 seconds and then do the drill again, this time starting out by sprinting to the cone on the left.
When playing defense, you¡¯ve got to quickly transition between backpedaling and sprinting. Set four cones in the shape of a square so each cone is 5-yards apart. Begin at one of the cones at the top of the square. Backpedal to the cone directly behind you. Once you reach it, sprint diagonally to a cone. Backpedal toward the cone behind you and then sprint diagonally to another cone. Wait 60 seconds and repeat the drill.
During football, you don¡¯t know when and how you¡¯re going to sprint, stop and change directions. The 1-2-3 drill forces you to change directions while reacting quickly like you would have to during a game. You¡¯ll need a partner to call out commands. Set three cones in a straight line so that they¡¯re 5-yards apart. Position a fourth cone 3 yards behind the middle cone, which is where you¡¯re going to start. Each of the three cones in a line is given a number and your partner should call out “one,” “two” or “three.” For example, if he were to call out “two,” you¡¯d run to the middle cone. Your partner will continue to call out the numbers. If he yells ¡°back,¡± you¡¯ve got to backpedal to the back cone. Continue the drill for 20 seconds and repeat two times.
The flying 20 drill improves your speed and develops your conditioning. You¡¯ll need 50 yards of space. Set a cone at the 30-yard mark. From the starting line to the 30-yard line, slowly build up speed, accelerating continuously so that when you hit the 30-yard mark, you¡¯re at an all-out sprint as you complete the final 20 yards. Rest 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat until you¡¯ve finished five reps.


Healthy Eating: How Much Salmon Should I Eat Per Week?

Salmon is a peach/pink fatty fish with a flaky consistency. Salmon contains important protein and unsaturated fats, which have health benefits. Low in mercury, you can eat salmon several times a week and, according to the Health Unit website, you can eat salmon up to 14 times per week.
Salmon is part of the protein food group. Protein-based food sources contain amino acids, which work to create proteins within the body. These proteins are used in cells and tissue production. Salmon also contains unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential because the body cannot make them and you can only get them from food. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body, which lowers the risk of developing diseases such as heart disease and arthritis. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish, such as salmon, at least two times per week. The recommended serving size of fish is 3.5 ounces cooked or 3/4 cup of fish flaked. To reap the most health benefits from salmon, prepare it by baking, steaming or grilling. The American Heart Association states that salmon contains two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids, which work to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Although salmon contains mercury, it is at a low level. Fresh or frozen salmon is generally low in mercury with a measurement of 0.01 parts per million mean mercury concentration in a 3-ounce serving. Cook your salmon fully before eating it to minimize contaminants. Buy wild salmon to minimize the mercury content.
Instead of buying prepared salmon, buy fresh or frozen salmon to get the most from the nutrients. For an added boost in polyunsaturated fat health benefits, pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto your salmon after cooking it. Olive oil is high in unsaturated fat and works to reduce the risk of inflammation and heart disease.


Football Helmet Safety Improvements

Football players are regularly involved in collisions that exert forces at twice the energy of a crash test dummy hitting a wall at 35 mph. A college football player may take around 1,000 shots to the helmet every season, while a pro might get 1,500. As players get bigger and faster these collisions only worsen, and as they do, scientists and engineers continue to develop technology to keep players as safe as possible.
The grainy, black-and-white footage of football¡¯s early years stars players adorned in rudimentary leather helmets — those who bothered to wear a helmet at all, that is. John Riddell developed the first plastic helmet in 1939 and added chinstraps the following year. Still, players continued to play without headgear until the National Football League required that all players wear helmets in 1943. By 1955, those plastic helmets were outfitted with a single-bar facemask and by 1962 facemasks were on all NFL helmets. Riddell added air bladders to their plastic shells in 1971 to help soften the impact of collisions.
Riddell became an official partner of the NFL in 1989, and made further strides in 2002 with an advancement called Concussion Reducing Technology. The Riddell 360 model, released in 2011, added extra padding around the front and sides of the helmet, and took out the screws from the forehead area to increase the flexibility of the facemask. Riddell also patented Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) to evaluate the effectiveness of their products and curb direct future research and development.
As concussions entered the discourse surrounding player safety, other companies threw their hats — or helmets — into the ring. Xenith’s X2 helmet replaced traditional foam padding with air-filled cylinders. Schutt¡¯s Ion 4D model added a urethane cushion, while Rawlings added room between the helmet¡¯s shell and the player¡¯s head to accommodate more padding in its Quantum Plus model. Bill Simpson, recognized as the ¡°Godfather of Safety¡± in auto racing, released his SGH Helmet in 2011. It was made of a carbon fiber and Kevlar shell over a layer of proprietary adaptive foam, making it the lightest on the market that year.
Kevin Guskiewicz, a professor of sports science at the University of North Carolina suggests it ¡°might be impossible to design a helmet that completely eliminates concussions.¡± Peter Halldin, a biomechanics engineer at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, began trying to prove Guskiewicz wrong in 2001. His Multidirectional Impact Protection System (MIPS) mimics the human head¡¯s natural protective system. In Halldin’s design, a helmet¡¯s shell is separate from the inside protection. This allows the shell to rotate, while the inner protection stabilizes the player¡¯s head. MIPS technology reduced brain rotation, the force attributed to causing concussions, by as much as 50 percent.


Rules for Goalkeeper in Soccer

As a soccer goalie, you must adhere to most of the same fundamental rules as the rest of the players. There are certain rules that apply only to goalkeepers, most of which relate to the fact that you are able to handle the ball with your hands inside the penalty box, whereas field players are not. You also must abide by certain equipment rules if the team or league you play in follows the Federation Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA regulations.
According to FIFA’s Laws of the Game, a goalie must wear a different color uniform that distinguishes you from the rest of your team, as well as the opposing team and referees. Just like field players, goalies must wear appropriate stockings, shin guards and soccer cleats. Jewelry is not allowed.
As a goalkeeper, you are allowed to handle the ball with your hands within your penalty area. You can catch any ball that is shot, headed or passed by the opposing team within this area. You also can handle the ball after it has touched one of your teammates, as long as the ball was not deliberately passed to you. In some cases, it is unclear if the ball is passed, at which point the referee makes a judgment call. If a teammate passes the ball, you must dribble the ball first and gain control. Only thereafter can you pick up the ball. You may not handle a ball from a teammate’s throw-in; but a ball that is headed to you by a teammate can be handled. You can distribute the ball back into play after gaining control of it by throwing or kicking it. If you throw the ball and it remains in the penalty area, you cannot handle the ball again. You have six seconds to distribute the ball from the moment you gain control. If you deliberately take more time, you may receive a verbal warning from the referee and a yellow card caution on subsequent infractions.
When the ball is kicked out of bounds past the goal line by the opposing team, a goal kick is awarded to your team. In general, the goalie takes the goal kick but is not required to. If you take the goal kick, you can place the ball anywhere along the 6-yard box line — the smaller box inside of the penalty area. Once the ball is kicked, if it by chance remains inside of the penalty area, you are not allowed to handle it.
Though goalkeepers receive a little more leeway from referees when defending, a goalie can commit a foul just like field players. If you intentionally impede an attacker from moving about the pitch, either by tripping, pushing or pulling on his jersey, a referee can call you for a foul. If the foul occurs within the penalty area, you may receive a yellow or red card, depending on the severity of the foul. If a foul is given within the penalty area, a penalty kick is awarded to the opposing team.
Goalies are allowed to come out of their penalty area and participate in field play. Once you leave your penalty area, you are no longer allowed to handle the ball. Certain game situations lend themselves to the goalie leaving his penalty area. This is common during close game situations when a goal is needed to tie or win the game. One instance you might come out of your penalty area to support the rest of your team in the opposing team’s penalty area is during a corner kick.
You must remain on the goal line between the goal posts before the ball is kicked during a penalty kick. Once the ball is kicked, you can move your body forward in an effort to cut down the shooting angle. As a goalie, you also may take penalty kicks if one is awarded to your team.


Why Do Athletes Wear Jockstraps?

An athletic supporter, commonly referred to as a jockstrap, is a male undergarment intended to support and protect the male genitals. Some designs feature a small pocket in the front where a protective cup can be placed. The jockstrap was originally designed for use by bicycle jockeys, which is how the nickname developed. Proper athletic supporters are required by most leagues of football, soccer, baseball and other high-impact sports to prevent injury; however, many athletes are moving away from the traditional design.
Testicular torsion is a rare problem that occurs when the testicle twists inside the scrotum. This cuts off blood flow through the spermatic cord and can result in death of the testicle. Testicular torsion is considered a medical emergency. Although torsion is a result of a congenital condition that leaves men without the connective tissue that supports the testicles within the scrotum, and it can occur at any time, athletic supporters may reduce the risk of injury.
The danger of blunt trauma is considered the main reason to wear a jockstrap. Many models allow for the placement of a hard, plastic cup that protects the testicles from impact. Blunt trauma to the testicles can result in a series of complications, including rupture and internal bleeding. Chris Woolston, M.S., in writing for HealthDay, also warns that trauma could even cause testicular torsion.
Jockstraps are available in a number of materials and cuts to allow for the best performance in various sports. Thick waistbands or moisture-controlling fabric may be unwanted or unnecessary to swimmers but desirable to football players. Many professional leagues no longer require the traditional jockstraps and allow for the use of alternatives.
Compression shorts are preferred by many professional athletes, because they provide support, moisture control and a more comfortable fit. Many compression shorts are also available with a pocket for a protective cup.


Fun Games to Play in a Scramble Golf Tournament

If you are playing in a corporate or charitable golf outing, you may be playing in a scramble golf tournament. In a scramble event, players of all ability levels have the opportunity to contribute to their team’s performance. Scramble tournaments are usually played in a best ball format, which means each player hits from the spot of the best previous shot taken among members of a golf foursome.
In a Peoria scramble — also known as the Blind Peoria or Banker’s scramble — the tournament organizer pulls the number of six holes out of a hat. None of the players know in advance which holes have been selected. On those six holes, the player’s scores are added up and multiplied by 1.5 and then subtracted from the final score. The player with the lowest final score wins. In this system, you are rewarded by playing poorly on the Peoria holes and well on the other 12 holes.
This game has been popularized as a televised pro tournament — usually at the end of the golf season — but it is also popular in scramble format as well. In a Skins Game, each player will get a point if he wins a hole outright in the round. However, if there is a tie, nobody wins a point and the points carry over to the next hole. So if player A wins the first hole he gets a point. If players B and C tie for the lowest score on the second hole, nobody gets a point. Then the foursome plays for two points on the third hole. If players C and D tie, then the group plays for three points on fourth hole. The tournament goes on in this manner until one player wins a hole outright. As soon as that happens, the winning player gets all the points and the next hole is worth one point.
In this game, you can go all out on every shot. You get a point if your tee shot lands in the fairway. You get a point if you get to your green in regulation and you also get a point if you have the fewest putts of your foursome on a given hole. You have a chance to win three points on any hole in the tournament. If you hit a poor drive and don’t make the fairway, you can make up for it by getting to the green in regulation. If you hit a poor drive and did not get to the green in regulation, you can still earn a point by making your putt and having the fewest putts of any member of your foursome. The player with the most points at the end of 18 holes wins the Bingo, Bango, Bongo tournament.
Before the start of the tournament, every player puts a set amount of money into the pot. Before the round begins, each player makes a prediction on what his final score will be. The player who comes the closest to predicting his actual score wins the pot and gets first prize. In a variation of the game, you predict your own score and for one other member of your foursome. You not only have to know your own game, but you also have to know your playing partner’s game.
Be prepared to spend a long day on the golf course in any scramble tournament. Because all players will be playing all shots from the location of the best previous shot, participants must walk to their ball and pick it up and then bring it to the new location. This takes time. When the scramble has a full field, an 18-hole round that normally takes less than four hours can take nearly seven hours.


Olympic Games Information for Kids

The Olympic Games that we know today are very different from the original Olympics that took place in Olympia, Greece, more than 2,700 years ago. Since then, they have been held all over the world, been attended by more than 200 countries and have included many different sports. Some Olympic information might be particularly interesting to children.
The Olympic Games were created and first held in 776 B.C. in ancient Greece in honor of the king and queen of the Greek gods, Zeus and Hera, and only men could compete. The first official modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. Since then, the Summer Olympic Games have been held every four years in many major cities around the world. In 1924 the first Winter Olympics were held. They also take place every four years but are held two years after the Summer Olympics. The city where the games are held is called the ¡°host city.¡± Women were allowed to compete in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1928.
The number of sports played at the Olympics changes from year to year. Some of the most popular Summer Olympic sports are swimming, cycling, gymnastics, volleyball and horse riding. There also are many events collectively known as athletics, such as the 100-meter dash, the marathon, hurdling, relay racing, the long jump, the high jump and the pole vault. The Winter Olympic sports include downhill and cross-country skiing, bobsledding, figure skating, ice hockey, snowboarding and ski jumping. Sports that are no longer played in the games include golf, lacrosse, rugby union and water motor sports. If a sport is very popular among spectators and there are a lot of athletes qualified to compete, the International Olympic Committee might decide to introduce it in the next Olympic Games, which usually means that one of the less-popular sports must be dropped.
The opening ceremony of the games usually is a dramatic celebration involving hundreds of people. The opening ceremony begins with the raising of the flag of the host country and the singing of its national anthem. There is then a performance involving music, dance and colorful costumes, along with a high-tech lighting and special effects show. After that, every athlete marches into the stadium under the banner of his country. At the end of the opening ceremony, the Olympic torch is passed to the last carrier, who lights a huge fire to open the games.
The Olympic torch is a symbol of the ancient Greek Olympic Games. The flame is lit in Greece several weeks before the games and travels around the world to the host city of the games. It usually is carried by runners, but has traveled by ship, camel, airplane and canoe. In 2000, the torch traveled underwater for the first time, as a diver brought it past the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
The Paralympic Games are held just after both the summer and winter games and are for athletes with a physical disability. The Special Olympics is a competition held every two years and all athletes are intellectually disabled.


Coughing After Exercising

A really tough workout can leave you breathing hard, but you shouldn’t be coughing or struggling to breathe after exercise. Coughing after exercising can be caused by a number of factors, from exercising too strenuously to a health condition. If you find that you can’t exercise without a coughing fit, or if you have any trouble breathing, check in with your doctor for an exam and diagnosis and tips to make exercising easier.
If you’re shoveling snow, raking leaves on a chilly day or heading out for a winter run, you’re sucking some pretty icy air into your lungs. That cold, dry air is thought to be one reason why coughing after exercise and exercise-induced asthma occur, according to KidsHealth. The cold air makes airways narrow, which means that less air can get through, making breathing difficult.
Exercise-induced asthma is a major reason why people cough after exercise. Exercise-induced asthma occurs in people who have asthma. Other symptoms of exercise-induced asthma include difficulty breathing after exercise, wheezing, chest pain and tightness in the chest. KidsHealth notes that coughing and other symptoms can last for a few minutes or as long as several hours after exercise.
Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, or EIB, cause the same types of symptoms as exercise-induced asthma, but in people who don’t have asthma. The airways become narrower as you exercise, and cause asthma symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction can be caused by exercising in dry, cold air, or when pollutants in the air or outdoor allergens are high. Having a viral respiratory infection can also cause EIB.
Being sick with a respiratory infection caused by a virus can cause coughing and trouble breathing after a workout, as can having problems with the vocal chords or suffering from allergies. You may also cough or have trouble breathing after exercise if you’re in poor physical shape and have exercised beyond your physical capabilities.
Treating any underlying medical problem, such as asthma, a respiratory infection or allergies, can help manage coughing and other symptoms after exercise. You can also try sticking to exercising in warm, humid weather, or try swimming for your workout. Avoid exercises that require long periods of physical activity, such as basketball or running, and try playing basketball, biking or hiking instead.


What Makes Up a Basketball?

While industry materials have changed a basketball’s composition over time, the design concepts underlying the ball’s construction have remained constant since the Spalding Corporation first patented the design in 1929. Like their 20th-century predecessors, modern basketballs are composed from three layers of materials that vary slightly by manufacturer and model.
The composition of the outer layer, or ball cover, varies depending on the style of basketball and the intended playing surface. Quality basketballs that are destined for indoor play have a soft leather outer shell that offers superior grip. However, leather covers tend to wear very quickly on asphalt surfaces, so outdoor balls instead feature more durable rubber covers.
A layer of thread insulates the area between the outside ball cover and the inner bladder, adding a layer of protection that helps the ball retain its spherical shape. Nylon and polyester are typically used to create a symmetrical layer of winding over the bladder.
When you use a pump to inflate your basketball, the air travels inside the ball to inflate a spherical bladder housed under its surface. Bladders are typically made from butyl rubber, a synthetic type of rubber that retains air more efficiently than natural rubber.

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