• The Five Principles of Attacking & Defending in Soccer

    Like all sports, soccer has developed its contemporary tactical systems through generations of evolution. Although they may not be definitive, that the five principles of attacking and defending were put to paper and submitted officially in a book endorsed by the highest soccer governing body in England gives the principles a credibility that led to a central role in any discussion of tactics or coaching strategy in the sport.
    The five principles of attacking and defending in soccer were first posited in a manual published originally in 1967 by Allen Wade called “The F.A. Guide to Training and Coaching.” “F.A” is the English Football Association, British soccer’s governing body. The book is one of the central texts in the history of soccer’s tactical evolution.
    The five principles of attacking and defending are a fundamental basis for a soccer coach to focus his team’s broader objectives and strategies. According to Allen Wade and other proponents of the principles, every practice and match depends on the successful execution of the principles, so they are indispensable to success in the sport.
    The five attacking principles are penetration, support/depth, mobility, width and creativity/improvisation. Penetration refers to getting inside and behind the defense’s shape. Mobility is an offense’s movement and flexibility, so its shape and direction are never predictable or repetitive. Width is the ability of an offense to use the entire width of the field to spread out a defense and enable penetration or dangerous one-on-one isolation around the field. Creativity or improvisation are the offense’s attacking freedom. As much as the principles is critical, following rote attacking directions make an offense easy to oppose. Improvisation allows attackers to express themselves, be unpredictable and find new ways to forge chances.
    The five defensive principles are delay, depth, balance, concentration and composure/discipline/patience. Delay is the defense’s ability to slow down an offense to disrupt the pace and/or numerical advantage of an attack. Depth is a defense’s placement on the field — too deep and there is too much space for an offense to hold the ball in front of them, too shallow and there is too much space for an offense to get behind. Balance refers to a defense’s strength all over the field, not just those directly defending the ball. Concentration is a defense’s focus, which is critical to avoid simple mistakes like miskicks that can give opponents undeserved opportunities. Composure/discipline/patience is an intangible that an entire team must possess to maintain defensive shape and the other four principles even while under constant pressure.

  • The History of Baseball in California

    Baseball or “townball” was a popular game in 19th century England and soon made its way to the U.S. Alexander Cartwright, born in New York, is known as the father of modern baseball. He was quite passionate about the informal game of townball and in 1845, Cartwright established the first professional club and official set of rules in baseball. Cartwright moved to California in 1849, seeking a fortune in the gold rush and bringing his passion for baseball along for the ride.
    The Los Angeles Angels were the first professional baseball team in California playing under the Pacific Coast League from 1903 to 1957. This club however, has no relation to the Los Angeles Angels of 1961, who played under the American League. William K. Wrigley Jr., the chewing gum mogul, owned the Chicago Cubs and purchased the Los Angeles Angels in 1921. Four years later he opened a new multi-million dollar stadium in Los Angeles for his newly acquired team.
    On the corner of 42nd Place and Avalon Boulevard in South Los Angeles, Wrigley Field was home to the Los Angeles Angeles from 1925 to 1961. Similar in design to Wrigley Field in Chicago, this stadium held host to the most successful club in the PCL as 21,500 fans filled stadium capacity for decades to to watch the mighty Los Angeles Angels play until the park closed in 1961. It was demolished five years later.
    New York Gotham was the new National League team formed in 1883. As the season progressed, they became known as the New York Giants. After 70 years of playing in New York, the Giants were considering relocating, since their rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, were planning to move to Los Angeles. Then in 1958, San Francisco greeted its new baseball team with a huge parade. Gaining millions of fans worldwide, the Giants became the 2010 World Series Champions; winning their first championship since the 1958 move.
    While originally from Brooklyn, the Dodgers moved to the West Coast to become the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958. The Dodgers ruled the National League in the 1950s, winning five National League pennants and two World Championships in 1955 and 1959. The Dodgers have remained competitive throughout the years, showcasing the talents of legendary players, such as Don Newcombe, Sandy Koufax and Fernando Valenzuela. The last time the Dodgers won the World Series was in 1988.

  • The HBO Original Programming Quiz

    Feeling guilty for binge-watching “Game of Thrones” in one weekend, only to follow it with a week of “Girls” episodes and revisiting “The Wire” for the fourth time? Make all that couch-sitting worthwhile by acing this HBO Original Programming Quiz.

  • Football Shotgun Snapping Drills

    Neglecting your skills in the shotgun snap can lead to your team losing the game. This type of snap might appear routine, but it’s often integral to the correct execution of a play in football. In practice, players must practice this skill as much as their teammates practice running, throwing, and blocking.
    The repeat snap drill helps you with your release point and accuracy on shotgun snaps. Place eight to 10 footballs in a line on the ground in front of you and position them the way you grip them when snapping. Get into the snapping position and have a teammate or coach act as quarterback as you snap footballs to him continuously. Have a second coach or teammate place the balls in front of you quickly as you snap each one. Keep practicing until your snaps become increasingly consistent and straight.
    The distance snap drill is similar to the repeat snap drill, but you don’t need any teammates or coaches to help you. Place several balls on the ground in front of you. Take your time snapping them to an imaginary quarterback in the shotgun position. Take your time to focus on your approach, grip and stance when performing each snap. Snap each football as far and as straight as you can, and keep practicing until you become more consistent.
    Practicing the goal post drill with your team or when you’re working on your skills alone improves your accuracy. Line up several footballs about 15 yards away from the goal post. Get into your center stance and snap each football and try to hit the goal post behind you. Pretend the goal post is the quarterback and try to hit the post around the area where his hands would be. Focus on your grip and stance when snapping each ball. As you get better and more accurate, try to snap the balls with more speed. Keep practicing until you are able to hit the goal post with almost every snap.

  • The Ultimate ‘Madden NFL’ Quiz

    This football game series tackled the competition and won the sports gaming market. How much do you know about “Madden NFL”?

  • Soccer Rules & Regulations on Yellow Cards

    Soccer referees use yellow cards to communicate an official caution to a player, substitute or substituted player. Unlike a verbal warning, a yellow card can have more drastic and long-lasting effects. A referee might show a player a yellow card for a number of different reasons.
    A referee will show a player a yellow card for a number of standard offenses, as defined by FIFA¡¯s Laws of the Game. Delaying the restart of play is a yellow card offense, as is a failure to maintain the required distance from a restart. Both potential cautions apply to corner kicks, free kicks and throw-ins. According to FIFA, a player always must receive permission from the referee before entering, re-entering or deliberately leaving the field of play.
    The referee uses his discretion when deciding to caution a player for unsporting behavior or dissent. Unsporting behavior includes any attempt to cheat or circumvent the laws of the game. It also covers acts of aggression such as swearing, spitting or striking another player. Dissent includes any word or action that shows disdain for or opposition to the referee¡¯s rulings. Arguing with the referee often leads to a yellow card, but the boundaries are not always clear. If a player uses foul language when talking directly to the referee, she almost certainly will receive a yellow card. Dissent by action includes any physical display of anger after a refereeing decision. For example, kicking the ball away in anger, throwing a water bottle or striking a corner flag could result in a yellow card.
    Some actions, such as overly aggressive tackles, might result only in a free kick to the opposition. If a player continues to foul in this manner, though, the referee might decide to show him a yellow card for persistent infringement of the laws.
    The referee can caution players even if they are not on the pitch. This includes substitute players sitting in the dugout or warming up on the touchline. These players can be cautioned for unsporting behavior, dissent by word or action or delaying the restart of play.
    If a player receives a second yellow card during the course of a single match, the referee will immediately show her a red card and order her off the field of play. The player cannot return to the field of play during the match, and her team will have no option but to play with one fewer player. And in many professional leagues, a player will receive a fine, suspension or both if he receives a certain number of yellow cards during the season. Both fines and suspensions occur in Major League Soccer, for example.

  • Image Gallery: The Art of Yoga

    Yoga is well-known as a stress-busting workout, and many people in the workforce with financial worries during the U.S. economic downturn have taken advantage of its benefits. Here, a yoga class takes place by the ocean in Miami Beach, Fla., in 2008.

  • Jim Brown

    Every couple of years, when some young turk is tearing up NFL gridirons, someone polls various experts to name “the greatest runner of all time, and the consensus is always the same — Jim Brown.
    Paul Brown, his coach with Cleveland from 1957-62, said: “As a pure runner, Jim Brown was the best ever. He had a combination of power, intense speed, and a shuffling foot action that made it difficult to stop him.
    Jim rarely fumbled, and his durability was unusual.” In nine NFL seasons, he never missed a game. In 1958, 1963, and 1965, he was named the league’s MVP.
    After an All-American senior season at Syracuse, Brown (born 1936) was Cleveland’s first draft choice in 1957, but only because the quarterback they coveted had already been picked.
    Brown led the NFL in rushing as a rookie, a feat he would accomplish in all but one of his pro seasons. In seven of his nine seasons, he rushed for over 1,000 yards even though the NFL played only 12-game seasons until 1961.
    Despite consistently leading all rushers in attempts, he was never seriously injured, not only because of his remarkable durability but also because of his intelligence; he always knew where everyone was on the field and thus knew exactly where a hit was likely to come from.
    Eventually, he and coach Brown disagreed over Cleveland’s carefully scripted offense. Jim believed the attack had become too predictable. When Blanton Collier replaced Paul Brown as Cleveland coach in 1963, he installed a “run-to-daylight” offense that gave Jim more options. Brown responded with his greatest season — 1,863 rushing yards. In 1964, Cleveland won the NFL championship, then followed with a division title the next year.
    When Jim retired from football to pursue a movie career before the 1966 season, he held most of the NFL’s career and single-season rushing records. Though others with longer careers and 16-game seasons have surpassed his career totals, his lifetime 5.2 average per carry is still the best in NFL history. No other player with more than 1,000 carries has cracked the 5.0 barrier.

  • Can you get fired for that?

    You might think your handlebar mustache is the epitome of cool, but your boss at the frozen yogurt shop disagrees. Can you get fired for personal flair? And if so, what other kinds of seemingly innocent behavior can get you sacked? Take our quiz and find out!