Former NBA point guard Darrell Armstrong was known to drink six cups of coffee before every game. Another NBA point guard, Rod Strickland, was known for eating hot dogs before games–and sometimes at halftime as well. These odd diets worked for them, but what should you be eating and drinking before you hit the hardwood?
It’s understandable if you don’t want to gorge yourself before a game because it makes you feel slow and lethargic, but don’t skip eating before playing altogether. Feed your body before asking it to perform. It’ll help boost your stamina.
As with any fast-paced athletic endeavor, take in plenty of fluids in order to avoid dehydration, which can lead to cramping and fatigue. Water has no negative properties. Gatorade, the most popular sports drink, has sugar in it but it also helps replace electrolytes, which keep your muscles and nerves working properly. And as ill-advised as it might sound, Armstrong’s coffee habit might not have been such a bad idea. Some athletes swear the caffeine in coffee makes the rigors of their sports seem a bit more effortless.
Eat foods high in complex carbohydrates, which keep your blood sugar at an even level and promote a feeling of fullness so you don’t get hungry during the game. Some foods rich in complex carbs are leafy greens, all forms of whole grain–oatmeal, for instance–and berries. Rice is another good option and is more filling than fruits and vegetables.
Starchy foods such as potatoes are recommended. The starch digests easily and keeps blood sugar levels high, which is important in vigorous competition. Foods with protein, such as nuts and chicken breast, stimulate insulin and help energize your brain.
Avoid eating foods high in fat. Fatty foods take longer than lean foods for your body to digest and convert them into energy. By the time you’re getting any fuel from your pre-game meal, the game might be over. Also avoid high-fiber foods such as bran, which can lead to cramping and the need for unexpected bathroom breaks. Also avoid salty foods, which will cause you to retain water and feel bloated.
Youth soccer tryouts should offer an opportunity to display both individual skill and team skill. Use drills that allow the youngsters to work on their own and with others to find the players most suitable for your team. As the tryout progresses, put your more talented players together to see how well they work as a team and evaluate the rest of the group separately for final cuts.
Set up a square grid with two players inside. Each player has a ball and starts from opposite corners of the grid. One player starts as the “cat” and tries to tag the “mouse” while dribbling the ball. If the player is tagged, re-start at opposite corners. Justsoccerdrills.com recommends playing for one minute before switching roles.
This drill looks at individual skill and shooting. Form two lines at either side of the goalpost. Place two cones even with each line at the top of the goal box. Start the drill by blowing a whistle and roll a soccer ball to the middle of the box. One player from each line sprints around their cone and tries to gain possession of the ball for a shot, according to the online site SoccerXpert. Play to 10 goals or set a time limit.
Set up two square grids opposite each other. Start two teams passing and moving around the grid. Assign numbers to each team member and call one number at a time. The player runs to the opposite grid once her number is called and tries to steal the opposing team’s ball. Justsoccerdrills.com recommends awarding one point for a steal and an additional three points if the player dribbles or passes the ball back to their own grid.
Use teams of two or individual teams. Start with one ball and punt it in the air. The players try to gain possession and score on one goal with a goalkeeper defending. Once a player or team scores, they sit out for the rest of the round. The last team not to score is eliminated, and a new round begins.
Rugby is a strenuous contact sport similar to American football, with two teams kicking, throwing and carrying the ball across the field in an attempt to score. Games last 80 minutes, and players require a significant amount of strength, speed and endurance on the field. Approaching your rugby game in the right frame of mind can keep your body healthy and help you bring your team to victory.
Training to be a rugby player can be intense and includes a massive amount of strength-building and endurance drills. However, giving yourself time to rest and gear up for your game is just as important as practicing your moves and building up your muscles. Mike McGurn of the “London Telegraph” stresses the importance of resting before a game. Get a good night’s sleep of at least eight hours to ensure you’ll have a bright start to your day and energy to sustain you during the match. Don’t schedule any vigorous activity for the morning before an afternoon match; lay low and reserve your energy for later.
Finding the right balance of nutrition is an important thing to do before a rugby game. Eating too much or too heavy a meal before playing rugby can cause all of the usual gastrointestinal complaints, including cramping and gas. A good-sized, protein-based meal, such as eggs, fruit, cheese and yogurt early in the day provides you with the energy you’ll need later as you’re playing. Eat another snack or mini-meal about three hours before game time that includes carbohydrates that digest easily. Hydration is key when preparing for a rugby practice or match. The amount of energy you put forth during play, combined with a potentially hot day, can sap you of strength and fluids. Start drinking water early on game day and continue until match time.
Warming up your muscles with a stretching routine prevents injuries during the game. The United Kingdom’s Rugby Football Union suggests a 20- to 25-minute warm-up that includes low-intensity movement like jogging to raise your body temperature and loosen muscles, range of motion exercises to promote flexibility, footwork drills and a five-minute, high-intensity, full-contact drill to wrap up the warm-up session. Range of motion exercises can include head and neck rotations, shoulder shrugs, knee bends and leg lifts.
Prepare for the big game the night before by getting your gear together. Pack your bag with your jersey, socks, shoes, ball, a towel and a change of clothes for after the game. If you can buy a bag with a waterproof portion, you can store your muddy clothes there after the game.
The ring toss game at a fair is often flanked by large and expensive prizes, usually because it can be difficult to conquer. The game consists of glass bottles lined up side-by-side. The aim of the game is to toss a ring and have it land over the mouth and neck of one of the bottles. Unfortunately, the close proximity and size of the spaces between the bottles can make it a tricky game to win and a profitable game to run.
Ask the facilitator for the rules of the game. While most ring toss games are similar, some may have different rules about fault lines and the amount of turns you're allowed for each ring. Make sure that you obey all of the rules for the best chance at winning the game.
Hold the ring in your dominant hand. Situate the ring in the crease between your thumb and forefinger, with your thumb on top. The way you hold it should be much like holding a flying disc. The trick to losing the ring toss, says Thinkquest's Scam Portal, is that the ring is only large enough to land on a bottle top when it is completely flat. Any angling of the ring will result in it hitting two bottle tops at once and bouncing away.
Aim the ring for one of the rings near the edge of the grouping of bottles. The less bottles around the one you're aiming for, the less chance that the ring will ricochet off of a neighboring bottle and ruin your chances of winning.
Flick your wrist rapidly and release the ring when your wrist is straight. The quicker you flick your wrist, the more of a spin you'll put on the ring as it flies through the air. The spin stabilizes the ring, so it has less of a chance of tipping when it lands.
Watch for your winning throw. It might take a few turns to get the hang of it. Try again if possible. Ask the facilitator if you can throw two rings at once, and place one on top of the other. The extra weight may be able to keep the ring straight to give you a winning edge on the ring toss fair game.
The fast-moving sport of hockey is rooted firmly in Canada and across the United States, with National Hockey League franchises scattered across the continent from Canada to California. Professional, Junior, college, high school and house leagues fill the stands with excited spectators in every state and province. Depending on the league and age levels, hockey may be played as a checking or non-checking game and house leagues are often played year-round. But like every sport, hockey has its advantages and disadvantages.
Hockey provides a cardiovascular workout as you race up and down the rink, pushing the limits of your heart rate and lung capacity. Thirty minutes on the ice burns 240 calories in a 125-pound player and 355 calories in a 185-pound player. It strengthens your leg and back muscles, and builds up your arms when dangling your way through the defense and shooting the puck. The quick moves and direction changes in hockey also improve your balance and coordination.
Even in a non-checking league, hockey players suffer from concussions, shoulder, elbow, back, hip, knee and ankle injuries. Whether checking or non-checking, the fast-moving sport still has plenty of contact and spills on the ice. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that there are three times as many injuries in youth leagues that allow contact than those that don¡¯t and among teen hockey players, body checking accounted for 86 percent of hockey-related injuries, and 23 percent of those were to the head and neck.
Participating in any team sport develops a sense of teamwork and good sportsmanship. Tempers may run hot and the penalties abound during the game, but a time-out in the penalty box teaches players the direct correlation between action, reaction and the consequences. When the game is over, a long-standing tradition in hockey is the handshake line at the end of a game or a series. The players, from kids on up to the pros, shake hands one by one with their opponents. Hockey teaches you how to play hard, but when the game is over, you treat each other with respect.
Casual fans think of hockey as a game often marred by fighting and cheap shots. While fighting is only a small part of the game, players and teams use it to settle differences and defend teammates. In international play and college hockey, fighting is seldom seen, but in North American minor leagues, Junior hockey and to a lesser degree the NHL, fights are a longtime component of the game. Many people are turned off by this aspect of the game and some parents may discourage their kids from participating in a sport that allows the occasional fisticuffs.
Hockey is a part of the fabric of life in Canada and the U.S. Players begin playing in roller or ice hockey leagues between ages 5 and 8 and continue playing into their 80s and 90s. In 2013, a Canadian ice hockey tournament that allowed only players ages 80 and up had over 100 teams entered in the competition.
During a soccer match, the number of offensive and defensive players on the field varies depending on the age of the players. While adults play with the standard number per team, the US Youth Soccer recommends that children younger than age 12 play “small-sided games” — the games involve fewer players and are played on a smaller field.
For children age 6 and younger, six players are on the field — each team consists of three players and no goalie. Eight players are on the field for children’s division age 8 and younger — four players and no goalie per team. For age 10 and younger, 12 players are on the field — each team has six players including a goalie. Sixteen players are on the field for children’s division age 12 and younger — teams have eight players each including a goalie. The only children’s division playing with full teams, 11 players per team including a goalie, is age 13 and older.
In regular adult and professional soccer matches, 22 players are on the field. The Federation Internationale de Football Association rules state that a soccer match is between two teams, with each team having no more than 11 players. One of the 11 is the goalie.
Motor skills occur when the brain, nervous system and muscles all work together to make movements. Your child will develop fine and gross motor skills through directed activities and periods of free and independent play. Although every child is different, there are certain milestones usually reached at specific ages. If you are concerned about your child¡¯s development, ask his doctor for guidance.
Fine motor skills entail small movements and require hand-eye coordination. Examples of fine motor skills include picking things up with fingers, doing puzzles and using tools or instruments. Gross motor skills involve using the whole body to make large movements, such as running, jumping, catching, throwing, kicking and hopping. Young children need concentration and time to learn these skills, especially gross motor skills that require balance. Your child eventually will become coordinated enough to do more than one gross motor skill at once, such as hopping backward.
Motor skills develop rapidly in the first year of your child¡¯s life. When she is born, she can do little else than lie there helplessly. Within a few months, she may be able to sit unassisted and roll over. She will also begin crawling around 7 months of age. She will use her fine motor skills to pick things up and will develop her pincher grasp, which allows her to pick up small objects like cereal using her thumb and index finger. According to Medline Plus, she may stand alone by 12 months of age.
Your child likely will begin walking somewhere between 12 and 15 months. This gross motor skill will take some time to perfect and tune, but his coordination will improve continually. Medline Plus states that he may be able to use fine motor skills to build a block tower at around 15 months, and scribble on a piece of paper between 15 and 18 months. By age 16 to 18 months, he will be able to walk backward and go up or down steps with assistance.
A child age 18 to 24 months may be able to throw and kick a ball. She may not be accurate, but this gross motor skill will improve over time. She will be able to jump in place by the time she is 2 years old. Her fine motor skills are improving as well, and she may be able to feed herself with a spoon and use a regular cup to drink liquids. Other fine motor skills at age 2 include stacking, using puzzles and washing her hands. She will also be able to turn a doorknob, hold a crayon and draw a horizontal line.
By 3 years of age, your child¡¯s gross motor skills have developed to include standing on one foot and riding a tricycle. He may also be able to dress and undress himself. His fine motor skills involve feeding himself, using large puzzles, pouring liquids, stringing beads, brushing his teeth, drawing shapes and folding paper. He will be able to use child-safe scissors and might be able to make the letters in his name. His gross and fine motor skills will continue to improve and will become smoother as he gets older.
Flaxseed is a rich store of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid and lignan–a powerful antioxidant. Flax oil does not contain the beneficial lignans and eating the seeds, ground or whole, will give you benefits. Health experts often recommend adding some ground flaxseed to smoothies, cereals, soups, salads and other foods. Making this food a regular part of your diet might reap several benefits though some purported uses require more research to substantiate health claims.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been well-documented for their anti-inflammatory properties. Flax seed serves as one of the richest nonanimal sources, perfect if you cannot or do not want to consume fatty fish. Regularly consuming flaxseed might benefit arthritis and other conditions influenced by inflammation. The University of Maryland Medical Center, however, notes that this sort of fatty acid might not work as well as the type found in fish oil. The body can convert ALA to the fatty acids found in fish but it probably does not reap the same benefits as directly eating foods that contain them.
Research indicates that the antioxidant properties of lignan might offer protection against some cancers, according to the UMMC. MayoClinic.com explains that lignan has estrogen-like properties and might bind to estrogen receptors in breast cells; this would prevent estrogen in the body from attaching and fueling tumor growth. This connection requires further study in human subjects.
Flaxseed represents a rich source of fiber and research indicates it might have a laxative effect. Taking too much flaxseed or any fiber-rich food or supplement without sufficient water intake can lead to constipation and possible bowel obstruction. Healthcastle.com, a website written by registered dietitians notes research that indicates flaxseed might help irritable bowel syndrome by reducing intestinal inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been touted as powerful tools for improving overall heart health and flaxseed might help lower cholesterol but the UMMC notes that studies have produced mixed results. It also notes evidence that shows people who eat a diet rich in ALA have a decreased risk of dying from a heart attack. Flaxseed appears to work in several ways to promote heart health including reducing blood clotting, inflammation and improving blood vessel health.
Exercising is the only way to build and maintain physical fitness. While the popular “no pain, no gain” slogan is overstated, it’s true that working the muscles vigorously enough to make them stronger requires breaking down weaker muscle fibers so that your body can replace them with hardier ones. An inevitable part of this load-compensation cycle is soreness in stressed muscles, and since your butt muscles are among the largest in your body, and are used in a variety of different exercises, they can be a real pain in the you-know-where.
The primary muscles of the butt are, in descending order of size, the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. Layered roughly atop one another, their job is to extend the hip — that is, move the rear of your leg closer to your back, as when drawing back to kick something — and laterally rotate the hip joint, i.e., move your leg in a way so that your toe points outward. The gluteus maximus is the largest and strongest muscle in the body.
Cycling is a great no-impact form of aerobic exercise, but you’d never know it from the way your butt can hurt after a long ride. Sitting for a number of hours on a bicycle seat leads to reduced blood flow in the glutes because of mechanical pressure, and the reduced ventilation combined with sweating can compound the problem through chafing. The website BicyclingLife.com includes various tips on avoiding the pain of “saddle seat,” including angling the saddle differently or adjusting the seat upward or downward.
Many people focus on working their gluteal muscles for the purpose of developing a firmer, more shapely backside, and as a consequence they incur a great deal of muscle soreness, especially if they are not used to doing these specific exercises. Common exercises to target the butt include jump squats, lunges, calf raises, squats, and various exercises done without the use of weights, including stair-climbing, running up hills, and squat thrusts.
Very common among distance runners, piriformis syndrome affects a small butt muscle beneath the glutes called the piriformis, which helps stabilize the pelvis during exercise. The repetitive motion of running in concert with the small size of the piriformis results in tightening, inflammation, and pain between the center of the buttock and the hip bone, usually on one side. Treatment includes rest, massage, and the use of anti-inflammatory medications as directed by a health professional.
Most children¡¯s games provide children with simple entertainment. Games are an enjoyable way to pass time, and they enhance socialization skills with other players. Games can also enhance learning skills, such as basic letter, number and word recognition, and behavioral skills, such as taking turns and obedience. If your child has problems listening and obeying, certain games can help.
Red Light, Green Light requires children to obey the “stoplight,” a player at the end of the track, throughout the game to win. Designate a start line and finish line, with about 25 feet of distance in between. The stoplight, a volunteer player or adult, stands at the finish line. Have all children line up beside each other at the start line. The stoplight will then say “green light,” and players will start walking toward him. Upon his decision to call out “red light,” players must stop immediately. Any player who does not stop is disqualified. The stoplight continues calling out commands in any order he chooses until one player has reached him or until all players are disqualified. The winner is the player who reaches the stoplight first; this player then gets to become the stoplight in the next round. If all players are disqualified, the stoplight keeps his position during the next round. This game is an outdoor activity, but you can adjust the track length to play inside.
Simon Says requires children to obey “Simon,” an adult or another player. This game can be played outdoors or indoors. Simon stands in front of the other participants, then instructs them to perform a certain action, such as jumping up and down or making certain movements. They players must perform the actions only if Simon precedes them with “Simon says.” Any player who does not meet the requirements Simon has laid out, or moves without hearing “Simon says” before the command, is disqualified. The game ends when one player is left or when all players have been disqualified. For added obedience, have an adult present to set guidelines for Simon¡¯s commands.
Musical chairs requires children to obey the music player¡¯s commands to win. It is best performed in a large room or outdoors, and requires one less chair than the number of players. Designate a player or an adult to handle the music player. Start by placing the backs of two chairs against one another, so both chairs are touching but facing the opposite direction. Line other chairs up in a similar fashion, with the one odd chair placed at the end and facing outward. Have children line up around the chairs. When the music player plays the music, children start walking in a single file line around the chairs without stopping. When the music player stops the music, children sit in any available seat close to them. If they cannot find one, they must circle around until they do. The child who does not find a chair is out of the game. At this point, children must remove a chair from the group and push together the remaining chairs in the same formation. The game continues in this manner until there is one child left. If at any time a child stops while the music is playing, he is out.