• Drills for Football Fullbacks

    Football games can be won or lost in the trenches. Amongst the big bodies, the unsung heroes of the offense — the fullbacks — make their bread, often going unnoticed and seldom getting the credit they deserve. To be a successful fullback, you need to work hard in practice to develop strength and blocking techniques, while becoming a viable option to carry the ball in short yardage situations and a reliable receiver in the passing game.
    Lead blocking is as much about technique and body position as it is about size and strength. At the coach¡¯s whistle or snap count, explode out of your three-point stance, staying low and in an athletic position. When engaging the sled or dummy, lead with your shoulder, keep your head up and hands inside, and drive with your legs. Keep your feet moving and continue to drive the sled until the coach¡¯s whistle. Repeated reps on the sled will encourage proper blocking technique and finishing your blocks will become second nature.
    Practice blocking with sleds and dummies throughout the season, but blocking an actual defender will also pay off. Have a coach position cones or pads along the line of scrimmage to simulate the offensive linemen. Line up about 3 yards from the line of scrimmage, with another player at the linebacker position about 3 yards on the opposite side of the ball. At the whistle or snap count, meet the linebacker in one of the holes. Using the techniques that you learned on the sleds, work on driving the linebacker out of the hole or steer the linebacker toward the sideline.
    The most common pass a fullback will catch is a swing pass in either flat. At the whistle or snap count, come out of your stance in an arcing path, rather than a lateral sprint, so that your momentum is moving up field before you catch the ball. Work on quickly getting your head around to look for the pass. Catch the ball with your hands and quickly tuck it away and look up field so you are ready to make a play once you have possession.
    A coach should position a number of players, some outfitted with blocking pads, in two lines about a yard apart each. Line up behind the quarterback or coach and take the handoff. Stay low and drive your feet through the defenders, who will attempt to knock you off balance or strip the ball. Protect the ball with both arms until clear of the last defender and always finish the play by continuing to run until you hear a whistle or reach the end zone.

  • How to Improve in the Triple Jump

    As a triple jumper, you must develop the feel and rhythm of the event to improve on your jump distance. You must learn to transition smoothly from the approach, to the hop phase and to the jump itself. Different drills that break up the elements allow you to concentrate on each rather than always working on the jump as a whole. Once you develop and master each element, combine them to increase your distance and make your triple jump appear effortless.
    Find your most comfortable foot combination by standing on one of the yard lines of a football field. Stand on your left foot with your right foot off the ground. Hop off then land on the left foot. Hop off the left foot once again then land on your right foot. Hop off the right foot and land with both feet together.
    Repeat this drill by starting on the right foot. Repeat the drill until you can determine which foot combination feels more comfortable: left, left, right, together or right, right, left, together.
    Initiate a run up to the yard line beginning with a two-step start. Move two steps back from the yard line and begin your triple jump foot combination at the yard line. Repeat this drill by backing up 5 and then 10 yards to feel your bound rhythm and foot strike pattern.
    Work on building your speed down the runway while still staying in control of your movements. Run too fast and miss the takeoff line; too slow, you cannot maintain height and forward momentum.
    Practice from the starting line and landing on the takeoff line with your takeoff foot. Repeat over and over, making an effort to increase your speed each time.
    Learn the proper bounding technique with the help of a grocery store shopping cart. Push the cart down the running track as you hop from the right foot to the left.
    Try to make each hop larger than the hop before, bringing the knee of the forward leg up to and parallel with the handle of the shopping cart. This is not a speed drill, but a drill to help with timing and a smooth bounding motion.
    Learn to take off and land in the sand correctly. Start at least 10 yards back from the sand pit. Run to the takeoff line and hop into the sand. Keep your eyes focused on the horizon and work on moving horizontally rather than vertically.
    Work on bringing the heel of the takeoff leg to the butt, pulling the takeoff leg back to the front of your body with the thigh horizontal to the ground, then stretching the heel of the takeoff leg out in front of your body for the landing, almost in a cycling motion.
    Learn the jump portion by running to the takeoff line, taking off and making two hops on your dominant leg. Drive off the takeoff leg at the second hop as your pull your free leg to waist level in front of your body.
    Drive your arms forward and keep your body perpendicular to the ground during the jump. Pull your knees up and swing your legs forward, allowing your heels to hit the sand. Let your knees collapse as your hips rise, sliding your body forward in the sand.
    Repeat the jump portion slowly at first to get the rhythm of landing in the sand correctly. You must learn to fall forward during the jump rather than back. Use the swinging motion of your arms to help increase your forward motion as well as keep your balance as you complete the jump.

  • Basketball Drills for a Power Forward

    The power forward has become one of the most important players on the basketball court. The power forward has to be a presence on the offensive end, must be stalwart defensively and must be a battler when it comes to rebounding. While aggressiveness is a big part of a power forward’s game — particularly on the offensive end — the defensive technique must be one that allows him to cut off his opponent’s angle to the basket. As a rebounder, he must be a worker from the start of the game to the finish.
    In this drill, the power forward will position himself in the low blocks — also known as the post area — with his back to the basket. In this drill, he must receive the basketball from a teammate and take one dribble before spinning and shooting. This drill will enable the power forward to get familiar with the post area so he can release the ball quickly when he shoots. Catch 10 passes from your teammate and take five shots spinning to the left and five shots spinning to the right. Don’t take more than one dribble.
    The power forward must be decisive when he makes a move with the basketball in his hand. That move will almost always come from the wing area and he will drive down the baseline for a dunk, a layup or reverse layup. This calls for a quick first step to get started and power once the move is underway. In this drill, the power forward must make a jab step fake to the inside, then cut to the baseline with one or two dribbles, then explode to the hoop. Try this five times from the right wing and five times from the left wing. The power forward has to develop his dribble with both hands or else he will be easy to defend.
    In this drill, the power forward will use his size and strength to defend in an outnumbered situation. The opposing point guard will dribble the ball past midcourt and pass to a teammate the frontcourt. The two offensive teammates must complete three passes before attempting to shoot. The power forward must steal the ball, force a turnover, force a missed shot or get the rebound to be successful in this drill. If the defensive player can defeat the 2-on-1 three times out of 10 attempts, he has been successful.
    To help your team control the boards and demonstrate its power and strength, you must get to the correct spot on the floor. In this drill, the defensive player starts in the middle of the defensive lane and the opponent will shoot the ball. The defender must get himself into the ideal rebounding position, which is at a 45-degree angle to the basket on the side opposite of the shooter. The opponent will pass the ball to get a good shot, so the defender must pay attention to where the shot comes from. He must get himself in the proper position by getting away from his opponent on eight-of-10 shots to be successful in this drill.
    A good power forward will be able to finish the fast break whenever the opportunity comes. To do this, the power forward has to have the ability to command extra speed at the correct moment. This demands outstanding conditioning because the opportunity may come late in the fourth quarter when fatigue is an issue. That can’t stop the power forward. In this drill the power forward must run from his baseline to the free throw line and back, then from the baseline to mid-court and back, then from the baseline to the far free-throw line and finally from the baseline to the opposing baseline and back. When the power forward is returning on the final leg of this drill, a coach or teammate will pass him the ball at mid-court, and he must drive with the ball for a layup or dunk.

  • The Difference Between Muscular Strength & Muscular Endurance

    Building muscle is challenging and complicated. Understanding the difference between muscular strength and muscular endurance helps you to devise a strength training plan to meet your fitness goals. Many people desire a specific outcome from their workouts but unknowingly perform a workout that is contrary to their goals.
    Muscular endurance refers to the ability to perform a specific muscular action for a prolonged period of time. For example, your ability to run a marathon or to pump out 100 squats with no added weight is due to muscular endurance. Muscular strength is a muscle¡¯s capacity to exert force against resistance. Your ability to bench press a barbell weighing 200 lbs. for one repetition is a measure of your muscular strength.
    Muscles are made up of different types of fibers called slow twitch¡ªor type 1¡ªand fast twitch¡ªor type 2. Slow twitch fibers are responsible for endurance¡ªthe ability to go long on a treadmill or cycle. Fast twitch come in types A and B. Type A help you to endure a long sprint or carry a heavy object across the room, while type B are recruited for short, explosive moves, such as jumping or heaving a very heavy weight. According to exercise physiologist Jason Karp, Ph.D. on the IDEA Health and Fitness website, genetics determine what proportion of each fibers make up your muscles.
    If you have a predomination of slow twitch fibers, you are better adapted to muscular endurance¡ªyou are able to perform long cardio sessions and multiple repetitions of a lighter weight. A person with more fast-twitch fibers is more adept at muscular strength–lifting heavy weights for a few repetitions or short, very high intensity anaerobic exercise. Karp notes, however, that if an endurance specialist wants to increase strength and speed¡ªhe can lift progressively increased weight during resistance training and add intervals of speed to their cardio routines. Similarly, if a person who excels at strength wants to increase their endurance, he should gradually increase cardio workout length and numbers of repetitions of resistance exercises as the workouts move forward.
    Whether you emphasize strength or endurance training depends on your goals. If you are a bodybuilder or are looking to build muscle, then muscular strength should be your focus. Certain athletes, such as like power lifters, football players and rugby players, need strength and bulk to perform their sports. Athletes such as tennis players, basketball players and martial artists are best served by focusing on both endurance and strength training–specifically type A fast twitch fibers. They need power in short spurts to return a shot or sprint down a court, but they do not want to build huge muscles that impede their agility. Endurance training is best for triathletes, distance runners and rowers, reports the Sports Fitness Advisor website.
    Women often train with light weights and multiple repetitions believing that this will result in toned, sculpted muscles and avoid creating ¡°bulk.¡± While this does enhance the ability of your muscles to lift light weights for more and more repetitions, it does not build muscle. In the book ¡°The New Rules of Lifting for Women,¡± fitness expert Lou Schuler points out that if you use weights that are unchallenging, your muscles will not grow. If you do not build muscle, you have nothing to sculpt and will not look lean and toned. Women, for the most part, do not have the muscle fiber size and type or the testosterone that creates ¡°huge¡± unfeminine muscles.

  • How to Cool Nerves Before a Game

    Sports performance often has to do as much with how a person handles pressure in demanding situations as with the physical abilities displayed by the competitors. For many athletes, from young people to seasoned professionals, nerves can wreak havoc on an athlete¡¯s ability to perform at his best. But the best performers have figured out how to calm their nerves just enough so that they do not affect their physical performance, which allows them to perform at their peak. Much of this training comes in preparation for the game or match where the nervousness likely will come. By preparing your mind for what to expect before the game, you can ease your nervousness and perform at your best when the time comes.
    Train your mind to handle difficult situations while you practice. This can be accomplished by introducing competition into your practice routines in which the winners and losers have real motivation for winning and consequences for losing. For team sports, having players scrimmage at the end of practice with the losers having to run extra sprints can help breed competition and provide practice for performing under pressure.
    Spend time each night envisioning the best possible outcome of the upcoming event. Imagine your thoughts and feelings during the big moments and envision yourself performing well under stress.
    Develop a routine before your competition that becomes familiar. Sticking to something that is familiar can help you calm your nerves and help you get into the right mind-set before competition. Most athletes believe that a bit of nervousness is needed to provide the adrenaline to perform at your best and a routine will help you harness that energy. PGA Tour players are an excellent example. They all have a consistent routine as they prepare for a tournament and a pre-shot routine for every shot, from their drives to putts.
    Breathe deeply during your pregame routine. Remembering simple physiological cues can help lower your heart rate and help you calm down.
    Focus on the now instead of the past or future. A major part of reducing your stress level in sports is to focus on what you can control instead of dwelling on the past or thinking about the future. This will help you get comfortable by allowing your mind to let go of your worries and focus just on your physical abilities, which have been worked on in practice.

  • Difference Between a Legal & Illegal Football Tackle

    Tackling remains one of the fundamental skills in football, as it occurs on nearly every play. Rules exist to ensure the legality of all tackles performed during a game. Football players have the responsibility to tackle opponents in a legal manner, and the league¡¯s officials have the responsibly to enforce these rules at all times.
    In football, defensive players must stop the offensive team by tackling the ball carrier. They can do so in almost any manner, although some exceptions do exist. When making a tackle, the defensive player can grab his opponent¡¯s jersey or body in an attempt to stop his forward process. This includes grabbing the player¡¯s legs to trip him or hitting him with your shoulder. The play stops once the defensive player has the offensive player on the ground or has stopped the offensive player from moving forward.
    Offensive players cannot tackle players on the defense, unless the defensive player first gains possession of the ball. An offensive lineman, for example, can use his hands to keep the defensive player in front of him, but he cannot drag that player to the ground, or the offensive player will be flagged for holding. This penalty usually occurs as a defensive player approaches the quarterback, as the offensive lineman must do everything in his power to prevent a sack. Offensive holding results in a 10-yard penalty.
    In some cases, players tackle opponents dangerously, which leads to a penalty. A tackler receives a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness for leading with his helmet; for hitting an offensive player in the head during a tackle; for tackling a player who’s out of bounds; or for tackling a player after the whistle has blown. Defenders receive 15-yard penalties for roughing the passer for tackling a quarterback after he throws the ball. Defensive players are penalized 15 yards if they grab the back of a player’s shoulder pads to make a tackle — known as a “horse collar” tackle. Players receive either a 5- or 15-yard penalty if they hold the facemask of a player’s helmet when making a tackle.
    The NFL has implemented new tackling rules to protect its players, which led to the league handing out a number of fines. Linebacker Jerome Harrison threatened to retire in 2010 because of these rules, since he did not know if he could still play the game effectively. The league fined Harrison for tackles that did not receive a penalty during the game, which blurs the line between legal and illegal tackles. These tackles involved Harrison striking opposing players in the head with his helmet, causing injuries to two different players in one game.

  • Rules of Scoring a Soccer Game

    Rules for soccer scoring seem simple — when the ball crosses the goal line, a point is scored. In some situation, though, getting the ball into the goal does not count as a point. The referee is responsible for making the call as to whether a goal is scored, and he records the goals in a notebook. Most soccer organizations follow scoring rules set by FIFA, the international governing body of soccer.
    The entire ball must pass over the goal line and between the goal posts for a point to be scored. The ball also must pass under the crossbar. The winning team is the one that scores the highest number of goals. The match is a draw if an equal number of goals is scored or if no goals are scored.
    Any part of the body can be used to score a goal except for the arm or hand. Usually, players use the head or a foot.
    Points are not awarded if a player who kicks the ball in is in an offside position, meaning she is closer to her opponent¡¯s goal line than both the second-last opponent and the ball. A point is not awarded if a throw-in passes the goal line, either. On an indirect free kick, a goal is only counted if the ball touches another player before crossing the goal line. A goal is awarded, though, when a direct free kick is shot directly into an opponent¡¯s goal.
    Goals do not count if there is interference from an ¡°outside agent.¡± This can include an animal, a spectator or an object. However, the referee is considered a neutral object, so a goal is awarded if it bounces off the ref and goes in.

  • Environmental Games to Play with Children Outdoors

    Environmental games aim to raise awareness about the importance of caring for the Earth in an entertaining and engaging way. Playing these games outdoors offers a natural setting, which emphasizes a positive environmental message that often lasts beyond the game. Many enjoyable environmental games adapt to fit children of different ages and genders.
    Scavenger hunts offer a way for kids to get out into nature, which helps raise their awareness of the importance of protecting the planet. Create a list for the hunt based on the location. Sanborn Western Camps suggests including something old, seeds, items with different textures and something people cannot live without. If possible, include examples of damage to the environment, such as litter or pollution from a factory. These items give the participants a firsthand look at how our actions impact the Earth. To help preserve the natural environment, use a digital camera to take a picture of each natural item without disturbing it. The first team to find all items on the list wins. Use the scavenger hunt as a springboard for a discussion on reasons and methods of protecting the environment.
    The litter race environmental game helps clean up the outdoor location where you are playing—a park, school playground or neighborhood works well. The children collect litter in teams, wearing gloves as protection. Instruct kids to avoid sharp items. Trash picking tools also protect the kids. The goal is to collect the most litter. If you're collecting a large amount of litter, you will likely have to estimate or weigh the bags of trash. For smaller cleanup efforts, count the pieces of litter collected by each team. The team that collects the most litter is the winner. The environment also wins since this game removes litter from the area. Discuss the importance of cleaning up your own trash instead of throwing it on the ground, including the impacts of trash left outdoors. Another way to play the game is to sort out the recyclable items from the other trash. This game works well indoors, with the kids sorting through trash collected around the home or school. The team that finds the most recyclable items is the winner. Show the kids how many items were able to stay out of trash as a result of sorting out the recyclables. This helps reduce the amount of trash sent to the landfill by sending at least part of it to the recycling plant.
    Nature Balance is a variation of tag that teaches kids about the balance of nature, according to the Sanborn Western Camps. The kids break up into three groups: bobcats, grass and mice. A visible marker, such as a different color ribbon, helps the kids identify one another. The mice try to tag the grass since mice eat grass. The bobcats tag mice, since bobcats eat mice. The grass players tag the bobcats because bobcats provide nutrients to the grass when they die. If a player is tagged, he becomes the next species in the chain. For example, if a bobcat is tagged, he becomes grass. Stop the game periodically to determine the balance of each species. This leads to a discussion about how balance impacts real plants and animals. If there are too many mice and not enough grass, the mice have more competition for the grass that is available.

  • The Average Cost of Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

    As with most surgical procedures, the cost of carpal tunnel release surgery varies widely. The cost of open release surgery is generally less expensive–but more traumatic–than endoscopic release surgery. The cost of each procedure depends primarily on the type of hospital, insurance carrier and geographical location. The costs can be broken down into physician services, hospital fees and anesthesia services.
    In the United States, the costs for carpal tunnel release surgery will vary from region to region as well as whether you have the surgery in a hospital or an ambulatory center. Also, each health insurance carrier negotiates its own fees with particular providers, so if you have health insurance you may find that you will pay nothing or you may be required to bear most of the cost yourself. In addition, if there are complications during or after surgery, the fees can increase dramatically. Most costs for a routine operation are generally broken down into physician services, facility fees and anesthesia services. These usually are billed to you separately.
    The average physician services in an ambulatory center are $746, which includes routine postoperative care. The ambulatory center costs are $1,291 on an outpatient basis. An overnight stay costs extra. The anesthesia services are $408 for an average 45-minute surgery. The price may vary according to the duration of the surgery. This total is $2,445.
    The average physician services in a hospital are $746, which includes routine postoperative care. The hospital costs are $4,200, and this includes a two-day stay. Each day is approximately $1,800. The anesthesia services are $408 calculated for a routine 45-minute procedure. The total is $5,354. This total cost is in contrast to the Medicare database estimate, where the total average cost of the surgery is $8,185.
    Comparing the United States with other countries, carpal tunnel release surgery is almost always more expensive. Sometimes, as with India, the differences can be several-fold. Obviously, the quality of the surgical team and their experience with modern techniques must be considered in any country.
    Carpal tunnel release surgery alone is not the full treatment for relieving carpal tunnel syndrome. Rehabilitation and therapy are almost always required after surgery. Depending on how quickly the patient recovers, rehabilitation and therapy can vary from a couple weeks to many months. It is not unusual for rehabilitation and therapy to represent the majority of the final cost of surgically treating carpal tunnel syndrome. In the end, an individual case, including surgery, rehabilitation and therapy, and other work-related expenses can cost up to $29,000.

  • Discus Throwing Exercises

    A good discus thrower needs to master the technique and strength required for successful throws. Repetition is vital, of course, but there are specific exercises and drills you can do to help bolster your ability to get the most out of every throw. And the focus of a number of these maneuvers is getting your body — in particular, your hands and arms — comfortable with the throwing motion and the smooth release necessary for great throws.
    This exercise is both a good warm-up and a way to help a discus thrower get the feel for centrifugal force, according to the National Throws Coaches Association. To start, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with the discus in your throwing hand. Swing the discus back, rotating your body, and then bring the discus around and catch it in your opposite hand. The thrower should get to know the feel of the discus pushing out from the throwing hand.
    Another favorite of the National Throws Coaches Association, this exercise includes two discus throwers at a time, can be done indoors and focuses on a key part of the throw. To begin, have two throwers about 15 feet apart in a gymnasium. The first thrower will attempt to “bowl” the discus on the ground to his partner, with special attention to having the discus roll off the index finger without wobbling. The key to good throws is a firm and steady release, so that should be the focus in this drill. When the throwers are efficient at bowling the discus from 15 feet apart, have them back up a few feet, but only if their rolls are wobble-free.
    This is a great exercise to strengthen your core muscles, which is key for discus throwers, says certified personal trainer and Level II USA Track and Field Coach Ian Graham. To start, lie face down on a mat and support your body on your forearms and toes. Try to hold the position for 30 seconds without arching your back or moving your body at all.
    The ability to stay balanced while turning in the circle before and during your throw is crucial, and Blinn College track and field coach Tommy Bardon, also a contributing writer to “Track and Field News” suggests some basic drills in the circle to develop your balance. To help your body get used to staying balanced and in control while spinning, start by facing the back of the circle. Wind up the discus and, with your left leg bent and your right leg pressing outward, turn a complete 360 degrees using your left foot as a pivot. Another balance drill you can practice involves a partner, such as a coach. Start by having your coach hold a ball in his hand on the outside of the circle. Then, as you turn, kick the ball out with your right foot.