Football is a fun sport for all seasons and a popular American pastime. You can play full-contact football with tackling and blocking or play two-hand touch rules with flags at your waist. The rules of the game change slightly for the different variations, but the goal remains the same — try to score points when your team is on offense, and try to stop you opponent from scoring when you are on defense. The team with the most points wins.
In flag football, the field is divided into four or five, 20-yard zones. In full-contact football, the zone lines are kept in 10-yard increments. The offense has four attempts to pass the “first-down” line, which is 10 yards, or it must turn over the ball to the other team on downs or by punting. Kicking the ball through the goalposts gives your team three points, which is called a field goal. A six-point touchdown is awarded to the team that can cross the end zone at the opposite end of the field. A point after touchdown is added by a kicker by kicking the ball through the goalposts, or your team can choose to run a play for two points after a touchdown.
Defensive players can use tackling to bring an opponent down to the ground. You can’t use your fists or tackle a player once the referee calls an end to the play. Offensive players can block defenders, but they can’t hold or hit a player below the knees. In flag football, you are not allowed to tackle another player at all. Once a player’s flag is removed, they are considered down and the play is over.
For full-contact football, safety equipment is required. Football players must wear a helmet with face mask, as well as pads over the shoulders, chest and midsection, hips, thighs and knees. In flag football, there is less contact on the field, so helmets and shoulder pads are not permitted. Instead, each player wears two brightly colored flags.
Football involves aggressive physical contact, but also requires speed and agility. Equipment manufacturers strive to find new ways to protect football players without cumbersome padding and extra clothing. One such innovation has been the football girdle, whose advancements in material and design technology make the garment less inhibiting and more protective than previous versions of football undergarments.
The football girdle is a thin sleeve of material worn under the outer shell of football pants. The traditional girdle, basically a pair of pants beneath the football pants, features stitched pockets to hold a protective cup and pads for the thighs, hips and tailbone. Once standard equipment, girdles faded from popularity as many players moved away from wearing lower-body padding in an effort to gain speed.
Although some football players find the idea of wearing another layer of clothing too restrictive, the football girdle provides improved safety, particularly for running backs and players who receive excessive contact. The girdle¡¯s main benefit is that it keeps all padding in place, ensuring optimum protection. Without a girdle, thigh pads, hip pads and tailbone pads may shift, exposing the body to injury. New girdle designs enhance protection even further, adding extra padding at key contact points.
Modern football girdles do more than simply provide secure pockets for padding. Manufacturers make girdles from compression material, allowing the girdle to flex and move with the body. The fabric¡¯s design often delivers improved air flow and moisture wicking to keep athletes cool and dry, while antimicrobial fibers help reduce odor. Many newer girdles also feature a series of small hexagon-shaped foam pads stitched directly into the girdle to protect the hips and tailbone; these allow for protection without the weight of a bulky external pad.
When deciding whether or not to wear a football girdle, weigh your need for comfort against your desire for protection. Some players, especially wide receivers who line up on the outside and who rarely venture over the middle, may prefer to not wear a girdle for fear of losing quickness, since they seldom take big hits to the legs. However, thanks to technology, girdles have become lighter and more comfortable, perhaps making the decision to not wear a girdle an unnecessary risk in a contact sport.
Pants are some of the most expensive garments in your wardrobe, so when your favorite pair rips, you’re naturally reluctant to throw it out. If you know how to sew, you don’t need to replace your pants or send them away for professional mending. Large, odd-shaped holes tend to look better when patched, but if the tear is thin or small, you can fix it with only a needle and thread.
Cut away the frayed threads surrounding the tear using a sharp pair of scissors. Do not cut into the fabric itself.
Cut a piece of thread that is a few inches longer than the tear.
Hold a medium-length sewing needle by the tip with the eye pointing up. Moisten the eye of the needle, if desired. This will make threading the needle easier.
Grasp the end of the thread and guide it through the eye of the needle. If you have trouble doing this, try holding the needle and thread against a contrasting background to make them easier to see. Alternatively, apply a small amount of beeswax to the end of the thread. This stiffens it, allowing it to slip through the eye.
Tie a knot at the end of the thread so it stays secure in the fabric.
Insert the needle into the pants from the inside about 1/2 inch to the right of the tear.
Pull the thread through the tear to make an upward stitch, then turn the needle down. Pull it through the tear to the left of the first stitch to make a downward stitch. You may need to make some stitches longer than others depending on the shape of the rip. Continue making stitches until you reach the end of the tear, then pull the tread taut.
Make a few tiny stitches to about 1/2 inch past the left end of the tear. Pull the treat taut again to make the stitches look almost invisible.
Cut or untie the thread from the needle. Tie a knot at the end of the thread to secure the stitches.
Face guarding occurs when a defender blocks or disrupts the vision of the offensive player, whether that player has the basketball or not. If you place your hand in front of the eyes of a player in the act of shooting rather than defending the ball, you are guilty of face guarding. Similarly, when you are guarding a player away from the ball, if you block his vision to prevent him from receiving the pass, it is a violation.
The NBA does not specifically outlaw face guarding in theory, though if any contact is made while a defender is waving or placing the hand in front of the face of an opponent, a personal foul is called. Flagrant contact to the head or face often results in ejection and possible suspension for the offending player. NBA officials, as most fans know, are not in the habit of calling a foul when there is no contact to the face.
The NCAA defines face guarding as, ¡°Purposely obstructing an opponent’s vision by waving or placing hand(s) near his or her eyes¡± in Rule 10, Section 6, Article 1 in the official rules, which cover both men¡¯s and women¡¯s basketball. The offender is penalized with a technical foul resulting in a free throw for the opposing team.
The National Federation of State High School Associations first outlawed face guarding back in 1913, and it has left little room for interpretation of the rules since then. In 2004, the NFHS highlighted face guarding in its 2004 ¡°Points of Emphasis¡± release for referees when the rule was modified to include actions occurring away from the ball. The release notes that placing a hand in the air while defending a player in the post is legal, but deliberately blocking the vision of the offensive player is not.
The International Basketball Federation¡¯s rules follow closely to those of the NCAA and NFHS. Face guarding is explicitly prohibited by rule 38.3.1 which states, in part, ¡°baiting an opponent or obstructing his vision by waving his hands near the eyes¡± is a technical foul against the offender resulting in a free throw opportunity for the opponent.
Most football players have a lot of down time. If you are playing high school football, the season lasts only about four months. Even the pros, who play 18 games and exhibitions and perhaps a number of playoff games, have an off-season of about six months. The work that you put in during the off-season is crucial to your game performance. Off-season workouts can make you stronger, faster and less susceptible to injuries. If you work hard in the off-season, you will have an edge over players who treat their down time as a vacation.
An off-season football workout routine developed by the Muscle and Strength website is geared toward younger players who have done some light weight training. If you plan to try out for your high school team, this is a four-day routine that will increase your strength and power. These workouts feature heavy weights, a low number of repetitions, excellent form and sufficient rest between workouts. On Monday and Thursday, you work the legs, back and biceps. Do sets of squats, leg presses, lat pull downs, bent over rows and preacher curls. You work your chest, triceps, calves and abs on Tuesday and Friday with barbell bench presses, dumbbell flys, lying triceps extensions, seated calf raises and sit-ups from a declining position.
If you are an experienced football player, you need a more rigorous off-season workout routine. The University of Florida’s strength-training department recommends an advanced workout program. Begin with a warm-up that includes jumping rope and a variety of dynamic stretches for the muscles you’ll work that day. Alternate pushing and pulling exercises in each workout, including squats, dumbbell incline presses, dumbbell shoulder presses, barbell incline presses and bench presses. Work out four days per week but don’t work the same muscle group on consecutive days.
For speed, power and explosiveness, an off-season workout routine devised by pro football player Bill Martens stresses you to the max. Martens recommends an extensive stretching routine and a slow run to warm up your muscles. The workout itself begins with 10 sets of sprints from 5 yards to 40 yards with very short rest breaks between sets. Then it’s a series of shuttle runs, in which you run 10, 15 or 20 yards, touch the ground, then run back and touch the starting line. A grueling set of stair runs follows, then a series of sprints at three-quarter speed from 10 to 100 yards, then a fartlek run, also called in and outs, which requires you to all-out sprint the straight portions of a 1/4 mile track and slowly jog the curves, repeating five times. Then comes the Full Monty, sprinting 100 yards, turning around and sprinting back, repeating four more times if you can. Finish up with an easy one-mile jog to cool down and allow your muscles to recover.
If you haven’t done an off-season power or speed workout before, you should see your doctor for a physical exam before starting one. Working out with a teammate or under the supervision of a coach is always a good idea. You and your teammate can push and encourage each other to keep going when fatigue sets in, and a coach can ensure that you are using proper form when weight training.
Hyperventilation is a state of uncontrolled, rapid breathing. The fast-paced breathing expels more carbon dioxide from your body than usual, causing your blood’s carbon dioxide level to drop and its pH to rise. As a result, the arteries constrict, causing feelings of dizziness or light-headiness. Other symptoms of hyperventilation include chest pain, numbness or tingling in the arms, weakness and confusion. Hyperventilation can be brought on as a result of the changes that occur in your body during exercise.
A certain workload — intensity along with duration of exercise — induces hyperventilation, according to findings by “The British Journal of Sports Medicine.” This onset during exercise is caused by changes that your body undergoes to prepare for the increase in activity. In anticipation of exercise, your brain sends signals to the respiratory center to increase breathing to meet oxygen demands. In certain situations, such as panic or accumulation of lactic acid from intense exercise, breathing may become abnormally rapid and hyperventilation occurs.
Panic is a common cause of hyperventilation, according to the National Library of Medicine. During intense exercise, you might experience feelings of panic if the effort becomes too hard. Discomfort felt in overly working muscles and labored breathing may also produce panic. The University of Iowa found that during overexertion, if people think they are having trouble breathing, they will breathe faster to compensate. The perception of pain from intense exercise can cause panic and may result in rapid breathing and hyperventilation.
A study by the University of Iowa found that the accumulation of lactic acid in fatiguing muscles during exercise causes blood pH — concentration of hydrogen ions — to drop below normal.The mechanisms in the blood that normally buffer — prevent changes in pH — are overridden by the rate of lactate production during intense exercise, and pH continues to drop. Breathing rate is increased and hyperventilation occurs to rid the body of excess hydrogen along with carbon dioxide, and to compensate for the drop in pH.
Carbon dioxide levels in the blood must be restored to correct hyperventilation, according to Kenneth Saladin, author of “Anatomy and Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function.” Breathing in and out of a paper bag — the expelled air contains carbon dioxide — is one recommended method. Covering your mouth and breathing through one nostril is another method. Hyperventilation onset by panic should be corrected by attempting to remain calm and inhaling deeply.
Shedding unsightly back dimples, or pockets of back fat, can be accomplished through diet and exercise. Spot reduction won’t work, but lowering your overall body fat helps you shed fat throughout your physique, including the back area. Eat a nutritious, balanced diet, exercise aerobically and train with free weights to boost your metabolism, burn calories and get rid of your back dimples. Talk to your doctor before starting a diet or exercise program.
Eat fewer calories than you burn to create a caloric deficit. You can lose weight at the rate of one to two pounds per week by burning 500 to 1,000 more calories than you consume each day. Maintain this deficit by working out and eating low-calorie foods that are dense in nutrients.
Run, walk or jog 30 minutes on most days of the week to burn calories and lose your back dimples. Cardiovascular activity tones your physique, boosts your mood and improves heart health. Play sports like soccer and tennis; go rollerblading to liven up your aerobic exercise sessions and firm up your back.
Do dead lifts to boost your metabolism and add definition to your back muscles. Squat down and grasp a barbell, maintaining a shoulder width, overhand grip. Extend your hips and knees to lift the bar from the floor. Avoid rounding your back, which could lead to injury. Continue movement until you stand up straight. Bend your hips and knees, lowering the bar to the floor. Do four sets of 15 repetitions to tone your back. Rest 40 seconds between sets.
Eat healthy fats like natural peanut butter and lean proteins. Consume complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, fruits and vegetables to lower you caloric intake and shed back fat. Healthy fats help you feel full by delaying the rate at which your stomach empties. Lean proteins provide fuel for your muscles, helping you power through resistance training workouts and burn more calories. Complex carbohydrates keep your blood sugar levels steady, preventing insulin spikes which can lead to fat accumulation in the back area.
Competitive sports require serious nutrition to provide the extra energy your body needs. Strength, speed, stamina and recovery all depend on proper nutrition, says Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Football players need to be conscious of carbohydrate and caloric intake, along with hydration.
Calorie requirements increase no matter what position you play. The American Dietetic Association estimates that, especially during preseason training, football players need 5,000 to 9,000 calories a day. Of these, Bonci recommends that 55 percent to 60 percent come from carbohydrates, 15 percent from protein and 30 percent from fat. To help you get the right proportions, Bonci suggests dividing your plate in thirds and filling one-third with protein foods, such as red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, dried beans, nuts or soy products. Add starchy carbohydrates such as rice, pasta or potatoes in another third, and fill the final third of your plate with fruits and vegetables.
Hydration does not mean pouring cold water over your head. Depending on the air temperature and intensity of your practice session or game, the ADA says you can lose 10 liters of body fluids per day. In addition, one practice in hot weather can result in a loss of 12 pounds through sweating. Bonci recommends a hydration plan that includes water and sports drinks, as these help replace electrolytes you lose through sweating. To ensure adequate hydration, drink one 16-ounce sports drink an hour before practice and 20 to 40 oz. of either water or a sports drink for each hour of practice. Weigh yourself immediately following each practice or game and for each pound of weight loss, drink 24 oz. of either water or a sports drink.
Be careful when incorporating nutritional supplements into your diet. Check with your coach or review the governing body rule book as many ban supplements, even if they list all natural ingredients. One nutritional supplement the ADA lists as common for players over age 18 is creatine, according to Lehigh University Athletics. Creatine may help increase muscle energy without side effects, but high school players under age 18 should not use creatine supplements. The ADA says there is not enough evidence to ensure the supplements are safe for young players. If you incorporate creatine into your sports nutrition plan, do not exceed 3 to 5 g per day.
Another important aspect of sports nutrition for football players is a regular schedule of meals and snacks. Bonci advises that you create and stick to a plan that includes three meals a day with snacks in between. Before each game, you should consume a low-fat, lean-protein and carbohydrate-rich meal, and include a postgame snack, such as peanut butter crackers, trail mix, yogurt with cereal, a bagel with cream cheese or a sports bar within 30 minutes of finishing practice or a game.
Numbness and tingling in the extremities is an annoying symptom with many causes. Diabetes, tight shoes and a vitamin deficiency can all be culprits. Before talking to your health-care provider, take careful note of your other symptoms to help indicate a diagnosis. Most causes of tingling and numbness in the feet can be successfully treated.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin necessary to maintain nerve health. B12 participates in metabolizing fatty acids to make myelin, the sheath surrounding nerves. It occurs naturally in dairy and proteins, but is not stored in the body the way fat-soluble vitamins are. A small amount of B12 is stored in the liver, according to the Vegetarian Society, but the vitamin needs to be replenished daily.
Diagnosing a vitamin B12 deficiency is essential before beginning treatment. Symptoms for the deficiency include burning, tingling and numbness in the feet or hands as well as mental confusion, anemia, irregular menstrual cycles and sore tongue. You don’t need to have all of the symptoms to have a B12 deficiency, and it is usually easily diagnosed with a blood test.
Adults need 1.5mcg per day to maintain healthy body function. A vitamin B12 deficiency can be avoided by eating a diet rich in meat, dairy and eggs. Other foods, such as breads and some pastas, are fortified with the vitamin. Supplementation is especially important for vegetarians and vegans, who usually don’t get enough B12 through their diet.
The benefit of vitamin B12 supplementation is that it can quickly bring blood levels of the vitamin up to normal. Vitamin B12 can be administered in pill form that is swallowed, pill form that is dissolved under the tongue, nasal spray or as an injection. Dosages vary depending on the level of the deficiency. Your doctor will need to prescribe a large dose of B12, according to the health-care providers at MayoClinic.com. Blood tests will show if your body is getting enough B12 to maintain health.
Vitamin B12 is usually not toxic even in high doses because it isn’t stored in the body, according to Drugs.com. However, there are side effects that can be annoying. They include headache, nausea, joint pain, fever and rash. Some people are allergic to cobalt, which is a component of B12. Always consult with your health-care provider before taking any supplements.
With 265 million active players, soccer is bound to have effects in societies at large. The game arouses passionate devotion in its fans and great riches for its players and team owners, with impacts that can uplift or disrupt lives and nations.
Modern soccer was born in England in 1863 when a group of players agreed on rules for a kicking game. The simplicity of soccer, with its 17 rules and need for only a ball and a patch of ground, allowed players of humble origin to play and excel at the game. Soccer became linked to Britain¡¯s class system, as the working class gravitated to ¡°football¡± while the upper classes preferred cricket and rugby. From the 1960s onward, hooligans fueled by heavy drinking and sometimes nationalism rampaged at and near soccer stadiums. Fans organized themselves into command-and-control structures called ¡°firms¡± attached to specific clubs to engage in ritual combat.
Soccer made its way across the English Channel to become wildly popular in Continental Europe. During the 1914 Christmas truce of World War I, German and British troops put down their weapons and played a soccer game. German and Dutch fans in the 1980s and 1990s also engaged in hooliganism, and in 1985 English clubs and fans began a five-year ban from continental play after a wall collapse during violent riots at a Brussels stadium killed 39 fans.
Mahatma Gandhi realized soccer¡¯s appeal to the disenfranchised. Before moving to India to lead its independence drive, in 1904 he established soccer clubs, each named the Passive Resisters Soccer Club, in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg. He is credited with involving non-whites in sporting activities, laying a foundation more than a century later for the 2010 World Cup, held in South Africa. As of 2010, an estimated 1,000 African soccer players make their living in European pro leagues. Along with Brazil¡¯s 5,000 pros in Europe, they provide a talent upgrade to clubs at all levels.
Soccer passions burn brightly in Latin America. Stadiums such as Mexico City¡¯s 105,000-capacity Azteca create a hostile environment for visiting teams trying to qualify for the World Cup. In 1969, Salvador and Honduras went to war for four days in the wake of a violent World Cup qualifying match. Colombia¡¯s national squad performed exceptionally well in the 1980s and early 1990s, with improvements funded by drug lords who created training camps and improved national soccer standards. Tragedy ensued with the slaying of Colombia phenomenon Andres Escobar after he accidentally committed an own goal in a 1994 World Cup match against the United States. The region also features success stories, such as Brazil¡¯s Ronaldinho, who earns $35 million a year and inspires millions of aspiring players in his home country.
Though soccer swiftly arrived in the United States right after its invention in England, the game remained in the shadows of baseball and basketball. In 1996, American women vastly increased appreciation for the sport with a gripping gold-medal performance at the Olympic games in Atlanta. Ranked No. 1 in the world as of 2010, the United States dominates women¡¯s soccer at the Olympic and international levels. Stars such as Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy and Abby Wambach strive to inspire young female athletes.