Month: October 2016

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How Did Football Get Started in America?

When football first arrived in America, it resembled the rugby-style game played in England. But with rule changes implemented in the late 19th and early 20th century by football star Walter Camp, football evolved into the game enjoyed by millions today. Integral elements of modern football, such as the touchdown, forward pass, downs and distance rules, were not part of the original game.
The earliest games of football were mostly unorganized college students playing traditional ¡°mob football,¡± similar to that played in England. Each group had its own set of rules. The underlying theme throughout the game was violence. In fact, its severity caused outrage among local citizens, forcing many cities to ban the game the 1860s. The first official football team formed in 1862 and played what was known as ¡°The Boston Game.¡± This form of football was spread throughout the 1860s through the help of the press.
Collegiate football become a legitimate program in 1876, when Columbia, Yale, Harvard and Princeton agreed on a standardized set of rules for the game. Yale refused to join the Intercollegiate Football Association at the meeting due to a disagreement over the number of players each group could field. Walter Camp, known as the father of football, introduced a series of rule changes in 1880, including lowering the number of players on the field, the line of scrimmage and snapping the football to the quarterback, which helped shape the current game of football. These rule changes on the collegiate level transformed the game from a variation of rugby to American football.
The first payment to a professional football player was in 1892. Paying a football player was considered unsportsmanlike; payments to players were kept secret. In 1895, the first fully professional game was played in Pennsylvania. The first National Football League, which has no ties to the modern league, began fielding teams in 1902. The World Series of Football took place in December 1902 at Madison Square Garden, but the series only lasted two seasons.
The earliest occurrence of youth football was in 1929 in Philadelphia. The Junior Football League was formed to keep teenage boys busy in sports, rather than vandalizing a local factory. By 1933, the league included 16 teams and was renamed the Pop Warner Conference after Temple head coach Pop Warner. The National Federation of State High School Associations, formed in 1920 to govern high school sports, established the first official high school football rules in 1932.


The Fundamental Skills Used in Playing Volleyball

Volleyball is a sport that requires you to master a complex skill set. Because you rotate from playing front line positions to back line positions, you constantly are shifting from setting up offensive plays to completing offensive plays. You also must shift quickly from offense to defense. During any given sequence in volleyball, a player must be prepared to execute a variety of skills.
A properly executed serve provides the serving team with a significant advantage over the receiving team. A serve that is properly placed can cause players on the receiving team to get out of position or attempt awkward returns. The server must stand behind the service line at the end of the court. There are three serving styles in volleyball. The underhand serve, the overhand serve and the jump serve. The underhand serve generally is a relatively slow serve that travels high in the air toward the rear of the court. Both the overhand serve and the jump serve are fast serves frequently struck with top spin.
Passing also is known as “bumping” in an offensive sequence and “digging” when used to defend an offensive shot. Passing is executed by interlocking your fingers, holding your arms straight and away from your body. Make contact with the ball on your forearms and follow through to your target. The only allowable service return is a pass, so it is frequently the first shot in a three-shot sequence.
Setting, or overhead passing, typically is the second shot in a three-shot sequence. A properly executed set is placed close and above the net. You want to place the ball about four feet from the net so on the third shot, typically a spike, your teammate won’t hit the net on her follow through.
Generally, you want to hit the ball with the greatest force possible on the third shot of a sequence. When the ball is struck forcefully downward, above the height of the net, it is referred to as a “spike” or “kill” shot. To execute a kill shot, a player may use either a two- or three-step approach. Strike the ball at the top of your vertical leap, using the heel of your palm, followed by wrapping your hand on the ball with your fingers and snapping your wrist.
Blocking is a defensive play made close to the net. The object of a block is to deflect an offensive shot directly back toward your opponent. Block attempts can be made by individual players or pairs of players. Blocking is not allowed on serves. Blocks often are utilized as a defense against “kill” shots.


Earl Campbell

Described as a “one-man demolition team,” Earl Campbell was a punishing runner. He packed 36-inch thighs on a 5’11”, 233-pound frame to make him the most feared running back of his time.
Campbell (born 1955) won the 1977 Heisman Trophy while playing for the University of Texas, leading the nation with 1,744 yards rushing.
He was the first player chosen in the 1978 NFL draft. Selected by the Houston Oilers, Campbell blossomed immediately, rushing for a league-best 1,450 yards. It was the first time a rookie led the league in rushing since Jim Brown did it 21 seasons earlier.
For his efforts, Campbell was named Rookie of the Year, All-Pro, and the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. It was more of the same the next two seasons, with rushing titles, MVP honors, and consensus All-Pro acclaim each year.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Joe Greene claimed that Campbell could inflict more damage on a team than any back he had ever faced.
Although he rushed for more than 1,000 yards in five of his first six seasons, Campbell’s finest season came in 1980, when he rushed for an incredible 1,934 yards, the third-best rushing performance in NFL history. That year, the bruising back rumbled for more than 200 yards in a record four games.
Campbell¡¯s most famous single-game performance, however, came in a Monday night game against the Miami Dolphins in his rookie season. That night, in front of a national television audience, he ran for 199 yards and four touchdowns, including a picturesque 81-yard dash late in the game that sealed a 35-30 victory over the Dolphins.
Unfortunately, the constant pounding Campbell absorbed during his eight-year career finally took its toll. In 1985, after a season and a half with the New Orleans Saints, Campbell announced his retirement. Five years later, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


What Are Key Defensive End Drills, Tips & Secrets?

The defensive end is one of the most important players on the football field. The defensive end has two major responsibilities: He must be able to stop the opponent’s running game, and he must put significant pressure on opposing quarterbacks. His goal is to “sack,” or tackle, the quarterback, or get a hand on a thrown ball so his teammates can intercept the deflected pass.
The defensive end must find a way to control the offensive tackle with his hands. In this drill, you will start with your hands on the outside portion of the offensive tackle’s shoulders. On the coach’s whistle, you will try to turn his shoulders so his back is toward the center of the line. At the same time, he will try to keep you from doing this by staying in a position where his chest is facing your chest. If you can turn him, you can sprint past him and into the opponent’s backfield and get after the quarterback. If you can’t, the tackle offensive tackle has neutralized you. Do this 10 times; to be successful, you must win at least half the battles.
This is one of the best moves a defensive end can use to throw off the tackle and get to the quarterback. In this drill, you will have to get past three tackling dummies. Line up the tackling dummies about three yards away from each other. On the coach’s whistle, sprint to the first one. As you get to the dummy, push it to the left with a hard, two-hand blow. Hammer the second dummy with a hard two-hand blow to the right, then hammer the third dummy to the left and get after the quarterback. The key is to do this drill with speed and quickness. You must get the dummy on the ground, and you can’t slow down. This will help you work on your speed, quickness, hand-eye coordination and power.
In order to be an effective defensive end, you must win the battle of leverage with the offensive tackle who is trying to block you. When you line up at defensive end, you have a bit of an edge over the tackle because you can line up two steps to the outside and get a running start in your effort to get past. He will try to hammer your inside shoulder as you attempt to speed-rush him. If you can get your shoulder lower than his pads, however, you will have the edge in leverage, and make it difficult for him to stop your pass rush. This will make you a dominant and consistent pass rusher.


How RACEf/x Works

The millions of NASCAR fans that tune in to watch Winston Cup races every weekend of the NASCAR season are watching the races like never before. The race cars of their favorite drivers are glowing as they whip around the track at breakneck speeds. What’s causing this mysterious glow?
SportvisionTM, the same company that brought you the superimposed 1st and TenTM line in football, has created RACEf/xTM technology to enhance the viewer’s experience.
RACEf/x is similar to the hockey puck tracking technology that Fox once used in televising National Hockey League games. That puck-tracking system used television cameras to track the hockey puck on the ice rink, making it appear to TV viewers that the puck was glowing. Sportvision is doing the same thing to your favorite NASCAR race cars. As you watch the race on TV, commentators choose a car that they are talking about. Then, using GPS satellite receivers in car sensors and television cameras, the RACEf/x system tracks that car and places a glowing halo around it. Viewers can also see graphics superimposed on the screen above the car, showing statistical information of the car’s performance.
In this edition of HowStuffWorks, you’ll learn how the RACEf/x system tracks cars flying around a race track at speeds of up to 200 mph. We’ll examine the benefits this technology offers the television audience as well as what future applications are in store for RACEf/x that will make television viewing even more interactive.


Can There Be a Baseball Triple Play Without the Defense Touching the Ball?

Never say never, as Yogi might have said. In theory, it is possible for a triple play to occur without a defensive player touching the ball. In practice, it has never happened. Triple plays are an unusual event, but not particularly rare. There have, however, been some twists on the “normal” triple play that are rare. So a triple play that occurs without a defensive player touching the ball may happen some day — but don’t hold your breath waiting for it.
There have been more than 660 triple plays recorded in the history of the major leagues as of 2011, a handful per season. Unassisted triple plays are much more rare. And a triple play that occurs without the ball touching the bat of a hitter is a once in a blue moon — or Haley’s Comet — event.
An unassisted triple play, when one fielder records all three outs during one at-bat, has only occurred 15 times in major league history through 2010. Most involve a second baseman or shortstop. For example: With runners on first and second base, the fielder catches a line drive, touches second to force out a runner who has left the bag, and then tags out the runner coming from first. Probably the most unusual unassisted triple play happened in 1927. First baseman Johnny Neun, one of two men at that position credited with an unassisted triple play, caught a line drive, tagged the runner who had left first and then forced out the runner at second before he returned to the bag. As a capper, the play ended the game.
One of the great rarities in baseball, a triple play without the batter touching the ball, occurred in 2006 in a game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays. With runners on first and third, Mariner Raul Ibanez was called out on strikes. The runner on first tried to steal and was cut down by catcher Dioner Navarro. Then the runner on third broke for home and was gunned down at the plate by shortstop Ben Zobrist. It was the first 2-6-2 triple play in history.
In theory, according to Hardball Times, this type of triple play could occur if you have runners on first and second base with no one out. A batter pops one up on the infield. The infield fly rule is called, so the batter is automatically out. So far, so normal. Then the bizarre stuff begins. The runner on first, who doesn’t see the ball, blasts pass the runner on second and is called out for overtaking a runner in front of him. Two outs. Then the falling pop-up lands on the head or shoulders of the runner at second, who is out because he is hit by a batted ball. Three outs. Chances of this happening in real life? Astronomical, and we’re not referring to the Houston Astros. But never say never.


Can a Body Get Back in Shape At 50 Years Old?

Perhaps you were once a competitive runner, a heavy lifter, a football quarterback or a dancing queen. But as the demands of work, kids and life crept in during your 30s and 40s, fitness fell by the wayside. Colin Milner, founder of the International Council of Active Aging, told Experience Life that just one in four people over the age of 50 exercises. This takes a toll on health, weight and independence. However, your body is resilient and will adapt to the challenges you put on it. It’s never too late to regain what you’ve lost. You may not run at the same pace or lift the same size weights you did as when you were 20, but you can get your body back into impressive shape at 50. Use this time, when your kids are more independent and you’re more secure in your career, to spend some time working on you.
If you don’t exercise, you’re guaranteed to lose muscle mass, become more inflexible as muscles and connective tissues tighten, and experience an increased risk of osteoporosis or osteopenia. Men start to experience lower levels of testosterone while women are usually in some stage of menopause. These hormonal changes affect how quickly muscle grows and where fat accumulates. It takes longer to build muscle at age 50, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Women may notice that fat accumulates more in the midsection, but you can mitigate that gain with dedicated exercise and smart dietary choices. Although these complications loom large, your body isn’t as much of a barrier to returning to fitness as your mind. Getting yourself back into shape requires some humility as you remember where you were and realize how far you let yourself go. If you’ve lost significant stamina and strength, you’ll have to start slowly and moderately and build back up over time. The good news is that your ego will recover once you see your body start bouncing back.
Before you embark on a new exercise program, consult with your doctor to make sure you don’t have any conditions that will complicate your efforts and require specific precautions. Arthritis, menopause and heart disease can provide added challenges, but don’t preclude exercise. Certain medications can also affect your exercise tolerance and stamina, too. Schedule one or more sessions with a fitness professional to give you some direction when you’ve taken a long hiatus from exercise. Science changes, so the workouts you did in football practice 30 years ago have likely been improved upon, and a trainer can help enlighten you as to more current trends. A fitness professional can also help guide your form and discourage you from pushing too far and causing injury. At 50, your back, knees and other joints may not be as resilient as they once were. You’ll also benefit from structured sessions that provide optimal recovery. Your need for recovery also increases at 50. This means you may need more time between workouts and commitment to a healthy amount of sleep.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, lifting weights is essential to regaining your fitness at age 50. Strength training helps stimulate and regulate testosterone release. It also mitigates the natural loss of muscle that occurs with aging and curbs weight gain in the belly. Regular strength training strengthens the bones and helps offset osteopenia and osteoporosis. Aim for at least two sessions per week with at least 48 hours between training specific muscle groups. Include exercises in your regimen that target your core strength and balance, which diminish with age. For example, do biceps curls while standing on one foot. Another important strategy to get back into shape at 50 is cardiovascular exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, weekly. Once you’ve mastered this level of exercise, gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercise sessions to work towards the your final fitness goal. The CDC notes that 300 minutes or more of cardiovascular exercise per week elicits greater health benefits.
When you were younger, you may have neglected optimal nutrition and still saw performance improvements and aesthetic benefits from exercise. In your 50s, nutrition is paramount to getting those same results. A diet that consists primarily of whole, unprocessed foods fuels your body optimally and discourages the accumulation of belly fat. Include lots of colorful fruits and vegetables in your menu plan because they contain micronutrients, phytonutrients and antioxidants that assist in the reduction of inflammation and enhance recovery from workouts. Your daily metabolic rate usually reduces after your reach the age of 50, even if you exercise, so you may notice that you can’t eat as much as you used to without gaining weight. Nutritional deficiencies from an unhealthful diet may make you feel like you can’t get back into shape. If you feel sluggish or experience frequent injuries and illness, it’s not an inevitable result of aging. Be sure you’re getting optimal levels of calcium and vitamins D and B-12. Make these nutrients a priority by consuming foods such as fortified milk, yogurt, and lean meats and fish. Dehydration can also make you feel sluggish and unable to perform at the gym. As you age, thirst sensors diminish so you’ll consciously have to stay hydrated.

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