Football players must undergo a workout regimen that includes various types of training: weight, speed, conditioning, agility and flexibility. These workouts keep football players in top physical shape throughout the season, increasing strength, size, stamina, speed and quickness. When performing these workouts, make sure you use the same amount of intensity you would during a football game or practice. Performing all the drills and exercises as fast as possible will prepare the body to play four quarters of football.
Work on your speed with sprints three to four days weekly. Stay on the balls of your feet and keep your body leaning forward. Keep your strides short and powerful. Perform drills such as 100-yard sprints, 50-yard sprints and 20-yard sprints. Alternating the distance improves your starting speed and breakaway speed. The drills will also help simulate playing in a football game, helping you get into top physical condition.
Perform agility exercises such as cone drills, zigzag runs, power hops and the square drill. These drills will improve your agility, coordination, balance and foot quickness. When you improve in these areas, you will be able to elude tacklers, cover receivers, make tackles and run faster routes. Do agility training three to four days weekly.
Perform weight training exercises to increase strength ¡ª an important factor for football players. Four days per week, complete exercises such as power cleans, squats, snatches, dead lifts and overhead presses. These exercises are multiple joint movements that train the entire body. Strength Coach Dos Remedios states, “Focus on total body movements such as power cleans, jerks, snatches, squats, etc. Remember, football is a POWER sport that is played on your feet; this necessitates the inclusion of specific explosive training in your weight workouts.”
Perform stretching exercises. Complete one for each muscle group. Stetching helps prevent injuries and promotes recovery. Stretch each muscle group between 15 and 30 seconds for between two and three sets. Stretch before and after training.
Casual football fans may be familiar with the terms “lineman” and “linebacker” in reference to positions, but not know exactly which players line up where and what their responsibilities are. The exact formation and duties of lineman and linebackers vary depending on the scheme and formation the team is running.
The two most common defensive schemes in professional football are the 3-4 and 4-3, which designates how many linemen and linebackers, respectively, are on the field at one time. The 3-4 scheme entails three linemen and four linebackers behind them, while the 4-3 scheme plays with three linebackers and four linemen. Both schemes have four defensive backs to round out the 11 players on the defensive side of the ball. There are also five linemen on the offensive side of the ball, who protect the quarterback and try to make holes for the running backs to run through.
Linemen are typically very large players, often upward of 300 pounds. Defensive linemen are typically broken up into two groups, tackles and ends. Tackles play in the middle of the defensive line, charged with clogging up the middle of the field to prevent running backs from gaining yards going straight forward, as well as trying to push the offensive linemen backward and to collapse the pocket on passing plays. Defensive ends typically have the role of containing the run toward the outside and pressuring the quarterback in an attempt to record a sack.
Linebackers are classified as Mike, Will or Sam linebackers, which is a shorthand way of saying middle, weak side and strong side linebackers. Both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes have weak side and strong side linebackers, with the strong side being the side of the field that corresponds with the quarterback’s dominant hand. There is only one middle linebacker when there are three linebackers on the field, and two middles in a 3-4 scheme. The linebackers are charged with filling gaps that happen in the line and preventing receivers from running freely across the middle of the field.
The numbering system adopted by the NFL can help you differentiate between linemen and linebackers as well. Guards and tackles on the offensive line wear numbers 60 through 79, and centers are allowed to wear 50 to 59 as well. Defensive linemen are required to wear between 60 and 79 or between 90 and 99, whereas linebackers have to wear numbers between 50 and 59 or 90 to 99. The system is not foolproof in differentiating a lineman from a linebacker as there is some overlap, but it can help you tell who is who on the defensive side of the ball.
In 1526, the first recorded sport shoe was a “football boot” in King Henry VIII’s Great Wardrobe. In so many words, this was an early pair of soccer shoes. Over the next 500 years, sports shoes changed considerably, evolving to today’s cleats and turf shoes found in football, soccer, baseball, lacrosse and other sports.
Cleats consist of a standard designed shoe on all sides and come in high top and low-top heights. The bottom of the shoe varies in stiffness depending on the make and manufacturer, and is usually covered with eight to 15 cleat studs. Cleat studs can be made of metal or rubber, depending on the sport, and are limited to a length of a half inch by most leagues. Turf shoes are designed with maximum mobility in mind and offer very little stiffness on the sole of the shoe. The height of turf shoes is mostly low-top, and the underside of the shoe features dozens of small rubber studs with very little spacing between each stud.
The main purpose of a cleat is to provide you with maximum traction in a soft grass or mud laden field. The height of the shoe varies depending on the amount of ankle support you desire. Low tops provide minimal ankle support but allow maximum mobility, while high tops provide strong ankle support but severely limit your mobility. The cleat studs are meant to dig into ground upon impact to help avoid slippage. Turf shoes are designed specifically for artificial turf surfaces. The small rubber studs grip the turf surface and assist in pushing off on a foot with minimal slippage.
On a sloppy, muddy field, cleats can provide you with traction and the ability to change direction without falling or pulling a muscle due to an unexpected slip. The sole sturdiness of cleats also reduces your chance of pulling a muscle on the bottom of your foot or suffering from turf toe. Turf shoes, while on muddy fields may be rendered useless, can be ideal on artificial turf. Thanks to the gripping action of the tiny rubber cleats, you can achieve much higher speeds than if you were wearing running in shoes or cleats.
Some sports such as baseball sometimes involve a field that consists of both artificial turf and dirt. While turf shoes may provide excellent traction on the artificial turf in the outfield, you may find that cleats allow for much better traction on the dirt infield. Take into account your position on the field when choosing your type of shoe.
Injuries are unfortunately a common drawback of playing competitive sports, especially those involving intense physical activity. It’s not uncommon for even well-trained professional athletes to take one misstep and twist or break an ankle while wearing low-top shoes. Turf shoes also provide very little sole support, and while they may allow for more mobility and traction, they have been known to cause a much higher number of turf toe injuries than cleats.
Among the many great vacation spots on the West Coast of the United States is the lovely city of San Francisco. Surrounded by water, and built on a series of hills, San Francisco enjoys unique weather and breathtaking vistas. Add to that world-class restaurants, museums, the country’s only mobile landmark, and even a famous prison, and you have a city like no other. Take our quiz to learn more about the beautiful city of San Francisco.
There’s no doubt volleyball has gained popularity in recent years, in large part thanks to Olympic beach volleyball. However, indoor volleyball has been played as an Olympic sport since 1964. The International Olympic Committee awards medals in volleyball to men and women for both indoor and outdoor volleyball. The game features two teams playing at a time, and each team tries to win a match by winning three of five sets for indoor volleyball and two of three sets in beach volleyball. Olympic volleyball uses the same rules as the International Volleyball Federation.
In the Olympics, the indoor volleyball court is 18 by 9 meters (59 by 29 feet). The court is divided by a net in the center of the court, where the top is 2.43 meters (about 8 feet) high in the men’s game and 2.24 meters (about 7 feet) high in the women’s game. For indoor volleyball, there are six players on a team and three players in two rows. The player in the rear right position serves when his team has the ball, and a team regains the serve by winning a point after the opponent has served. The team rotates in a clockwise manner. The player in the rear right moves to rear center. The player in the rear center moves to rear left. The player in the rear left moves to front left and the rest of the team moves in a similar manner. In beach volleyball, there are only two players per team. They switch off serving every time the ball returns to them for a new rally.
In Olympic volleyball, indoor volleyball is played under the rally system of scoring. This means that both the serving and defending team has a chance to score a point on the play. Whichever team wins the point also wins the serve. The first team to get to 25 points and lead by at least two points wins the set. Whoever wins three sets first, wins the match. However, if there’s a 2-2 tie going into the fifth set, they only play to 15 points (with a lead of at least two). In beach volleyball, teams only play to 21 points, but they must still be leading by 2 points. Just like indoor volleyball, if a tie-breaking match is needed, they will only play to 15 points.
Each rally is started by the player in the rear right portion of the court who serves the ball (called putting the ball in service). He or she must toss the ball overhead and hit it directly over the net. The opponent has three hits to return the ball to the opponent, and the rally continues in this manner until the ball hits the floor or a team cannot make it over the net in three hits. A player may go out of bounds to hit the ball, but the ball must cross the net and land in bounds for it to be considered a legal return. A ball that does not travel over the net counts as a point for the opponent. After each set ends, indoor teams switch sides of the court. For beach volleyball, team switch sides of the net after every 7 points in set 1 and 2 and every 5 points in set 3.
Mental health problems cause struggles within the psyche. Take a look at various types of mental disorders and famous people who have them, along with causes and treatments.
A balmy morning was warming into a sunny afternoon just as the RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage began. The 882-foot (269-meter) vessel stretching the length of two-and-a-half football fields churned away from its port at Southampton, England, bound for New York City. After docking in France and Ireland, the steam-powered Titanic was loaded with cargo, coal and a manifest that had grown to 2,240 passengers and crew members.
Just before midnight on April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck a massive iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean and sank about 400 miles (644 kilometers) south of Newfoundland, Canada. More than 1,500 men, women and children died. Among the debris of the ship littering the ocean floor was a single piece of equipment that could very well have saved their lives: binoculars [source: History].
In the years that followed one of history’s most enduring disasters, one question would dog the Titanic. Could the use of binoculars have prevented the Titanic disaster? If a crew member in the crow’s nest would have used them, he could’ve spotted the iceberg in time to change course, saving the lives of everyone on board.
There were binoculars aboard the Titanic, but unfortunately, no one knew it. The binoculars were stashed in a locker in the crow’s nest — where they were most needed — but the key to the locker wasn’t on board. That’s because a sailor named David Blair, who was reassigned to another ship at the last minute, forgot to leave the key behind when he left. The key was in Blair’s pocket.
Lookout Fred Fleet, who survived the Titanic disaster, would later insist that if binoculars had been available, the iceberg would have been spotted in enough time for the ship to take evasive action. The use of binoculars would have given “enough time to get out of the way,” Fleet reportedly said [source: Salkeld]. Others contend the binoculars wouldn’t have helped because it was too dark as the ship approached the iceberg. Although the night sky was clear, there wasn’t a moon to light the way. And there was no wind, creating a glassy sea that failed to give off telltale ripples around floating icebergs [source: Lipman].
In 2007, the crow’s nest locker key and a postcard Blair wrote expressing his disappointment at not being on the Titanic’s maiden voyage sold for $145,000 to a collector in China [sources: Belfast Telegraph, Salkeld].
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, an extension of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, was built to display the thousands of aviation and space travel artifacts that could not possibly fit into the popular Washington, D.C., museum. Opened in December 2003 in Chantilly, Virginia, it showcases famous aircraft, spacecraft, rockets, and satellites, and a wide assortment of other space exploration memorabilia.
The centerpiece of the museum is a cavernous hangar that is more than three football fields in length and ten stories high. It houses the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima; a Concorde that once traveled in and out of adjacent Dulles Airport; the world’s fastest jet; and dozens of other aircraft displayed on three levels. The top levels can best be viewed from the elevated skywalks placed around the hangar. The space shuttle Enterprise, the Gemini VII space capsule, and the Mobile Quarantine Unit used when the Apollo 11 crew returned are also on display in the museum. Interactive exhibits include a simulation of a shuttle flight. Special activities for families are offered throughout the year.
Address: 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, VA
Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., daily
Learn more about family vacations:
Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.
Soccer and football involve aerobic exercise that can help to develop and maintain a strong and healthy body, but players in both sports run considerable risk of serious injury. The risk of injury, and the types of injury most typically sustained, vary between the two sports.
The mode of play differs in football and soccer, which affects the likelihood and type of physical injuries suffered by players. Soccer is a considered a noncontact sport, but there’s plenty of contact between players during games. Soccer players jog or run constantly throughout a game, in which a round ball is kicked around a field measuring approximately 140 by 100 yards. By contrast, football is a contact sport in which players can kick, throw or carry the ball in their hands. Players push, block and tackle one another and the flow of the sport is play-by-play. However, football players are not in constant motion throughout a game.
In 2011, the Bleacher Report ranked soccer at sixth place in the top 10 most dangerous sports. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s statistics for 2009 reveal that 88,000 soccer players between the ages of 5 and 14 were seen in emergency rooms for sports injuries. In 2011, Safe Kids Worldwide reported that 104,190 soccer players between ages 12 and 17 were seen in emergency rooms, with 13 percent of those injuries involving concussions. The types of injuries most commonly sustained by soccer players are musculoskeletal injuries to the lower body.
Football was ranked as the third most dangerous sport in 2011 by the Bleacher Report, due to the sheer numbers of football related injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that in 2009, 212,000 children were seen in emergency rooms for football injuries. By 2011, there were 275,050 emergency room visits for football players between ages 12 and 17, with 13 percent involving concussions. Knee injuries are relatively common among football players, with lower-extremity injuries overall accounting for half of all injuries. Thirty percent of other injuries involve the upper body. Strains, sprains, contusions, fractures and concussions are the most common types of injury sustained.
Both sports carry a risk of injury, and it is impossible to quantify an individual player’s overall risk of injury during a game of a season. In general, both sports take a relatively heavy toll on the knees and lower extremities. The risk of injury to the upper extremities is much higher in football than in soccer — with the exception of the goalkeeper, soccer players do not use their hands and arms to handle the ball. However, concussion injuries are equally likely in soccer and football players. Football players are more likely to suffer injuries to the cervical spine, which can be catastrophic or life-threatening.
Lifting weights and football go hand in hand. During off-season, most teams lift hard to prepare for the coming season. The players and teams that get bigger and stronger have an advantage over their opponents when the new season starts. But it’s not those who work the hardest that get the biggest payoff — more often, it’s the team that plans and works the smartest. When planning a strength training for your football team, keep some essentials in mind.
If you’ve had a one-size-fits-all approach to your team’s strength training, it’s time to change that. What works for one football player will not necessarily work for all. Evaluate your athletes to see what each of their strengths and weaknesses are, and form a training regimen around that. Don’t be afraid to abandon or change up a weightlifting program if it’s not working for some of your players.
If you use only squats, bench press, incline and power-clean, break out some new lifts. While these four lifts should be a part of your weight workouts, they should not be the only ones. Add lifts that apply specifically to football. Because football requires tremendous mobility, have your team members do forward and side lunges, farmer carries, firemen carries and sled pushes to your strength training as a starting point for implementing movement-based lifts.
Pullups, pushups and dips are body-weight exercises that can help football players on the field. When playing football, players constantly moving through crowds of other players, pushing, pulling and using their body as leverage. The better players are at managing and controlling their own body weight, the more control they have over their opponents. Players that are strong for their weight can use body-weight exercises to develop leverage, sustain balance and decrease the risk for injury.
An athlete’s core is the connecting point between his upper and lower extremities. If the middle of a player’s body is weak, both his upper and his lower body will be compromised. The core also helps with balance and with bracing the body when being hit or tackled. Rows, chin pulls, abdominal work and chinups or pullups in a football training program help strengthen each team member’s core.
Strength training should not be rushed; it takes time to see the effort pay off. Pace your athletes’ program to enhance their growth and prevent overtraining. If your players are constantly sore, they are probably not getting an adequate amount of recovery time. If muscles are not allowed to recover, a plateau in fitness may result. Most exercise professionals recommend 48 hours between strength-training sessions.