Brazilian soccer legend Pele played as a child with a grapefruit or a ball of rags, and even today¡¯s pickup games with a real ball may rely on just plastic cones or driftwood to serve as goals. While soccer¡¯s minimalist equipment list allows it to be played worldwide, including in the poorest hamlets, official league games and internationally sanctioned matches follow equipment rules set down by FIFA, the international governing body of soccer.
Soccer at the adult and over-12 age levels requires two goals measuring 8 feet tall by 24 feet wide draped with a net. Slender, flexible flags mark the four corners of the pitch. Younger players can use smaller goals, measuring as little as about 4 by 6 feet for under-6 players, and No. 3 or No. 4 balls, while the adult ball size is a No. 5. Summer tournaments involving five players or less often use small, portable goals, similar to the U-6 size.
Mandatory shinguards protect players from errant kicks and hard-struck balls. Official league games also require the wearing of numbered jerseys, shorts, footwear and long socks to cover the shinguards. The referee must inspect and approve other equipment, such as arm casts, although state soccer associations may ban these altogether. Protective headgear, facemasks and knee and arm protectors made of soft materials are permitted under FIFA rules, as is protective eyewear. Footwear must be appropriate to the playing surface, with outdoor cleats not permitted on indoor artificial surfaces, which require special indoor shoes.
Radio technology allowing communication between players and technical staff is not permitted. Clothing and gear cannot feature political slogans. You cannot wear jewelry, including necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, leather bands and rubber bands. Jewelry must be removed and cannot be covered with tape. Wedding bands, however, are usually acceptable. The referees as well cannot wear any jewelry except a watch.
Goalkeepers need gloves that protect their hands from the ball¡¯s impact and allow a firm grasp of the typically synthetic surface of a modern ball. They must also wear a jersey of a different color to either team¡¯s field players. They are permitted to wear tracksuit bottoms.
Coaches can make ample use of plastic cones, plastic disks and training bibs called pinnies to organize a practice. Small portable goals and rebounding nets can enable more touches on the ball for the players. At higher levels, trainers may set up agility ladders and use speed parachutes to improve speed.
Ensuring that your child does a range of leg exercises can help him build needed muscle. In addition to maintaining healthy fitness levels, leg exercises for children can also help with sports by reducing the risk of injury. Bodyweight exercises for kids are ideal, as they will not excessively strain your child’s young muscles and will help instill good exercise habits.
The basic squat is an easy bodyweight exercise that builds strength in your child’s glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. The exercise is safe for children to do, but make sure that their knees never extend past their toes. Have your child stand with their feet hip-width apart, hands on the hips, and slowly sink down, bending at their knees and hips. Make sure their back is straight, and have them sink as low as possible without letting their knees go past the ends of their toes. Have them slowly rise back to standing position, and repeat 10 times for two sets.
Calf raises strengthen your child’s calf muscles, which tend to get less attention than the thigh or hip muscles. With their feet spaced hip-width apart, have your child place their hands on their hips and lift their heels off the ground. Standing on the balls of their feet for eight seconds, slowly lower back down, returning their feet to the floor. Repeat 10 times for three sets.
Lying leg raises are a classic leg exercise, as they build strength in your child’s hip and thigh muscles. Lying on the left side of their body, have them place their right leg over the top of their left, keeping the body fully extended and straight. Lying with their head resting on their left arm for support, lift the right leg straight up into the air. Have them raise their leg as high as possible, forming a 90-degree angle between their legs if it is not too challenging. Have them slowly lower their right leg back down onto their left before repeating the raise 10 times for three sets per leg.
Jumping jacks are a high-energy exercise that builds all of your child’s leg and hip muscles while also working their upper body muscles and giving them a good cardio workout. Standing with their arms along the sides of their body, tell them to keep their legs together and their back straight. Have your child ¡°jump¡± up by pushing off the ground with both feet and raising both their arms out to the side at the same time, so that their legs spread open in an upside down ¡°V¡± shape. Have them and with their legs in an inverted ¡°V¡± shape. Their feet should be spread shoulder-width apart, and their arms need to be fully extended upwards along the side of their head. Jumping again, have them bring their arms and legs back alongside their body, returning to starting position. This is one jumping jack. Have them do 10 jumping jacks for three sets.
The living isn¡¯t easy in summertime for football players — but it¡¯s fun in its own way. That¡¯s because the offseason is when you get in shape for the gridiron. This time away from the rigors and fatigue of competition is when you build strength and hone your conditioning, working to be at your peak for the first game. It¡¯s hard work, but it¡¯s worth it when you are in your stance, trying to be faster, stronger, bigger and better than your opponents.
You can work in the weight room and on the field to get strong. ¡°In high school, it¡¯s a lot of squats and the sled push,¡± said Brandon Franklin, a certified personal trainer at the Mac Harbor East in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as a former high school football wide receiver. In addition, you do barbell deadlifts, power cleans and the Olympic lifts: the snatch, and the clean and jerk. You won¡¯t be doing isolations, such as the biceps curl — your focus is on whole-body work. A buddy can come in handy for tough exercises like the fireman¡¯s carry — where you carry a teammate down the field on your back. The farmer¡¯s walk is similarly no-frills — you carry significantly heavy dumbbells or plates in each hand, and trundle for a certain distance down the field.
It¡¯s no secret that the 40-yard dash is the basic distance for sprinting in football, hence its role at the NFL combine to screen the fastest players. You can work on your speed, and your speed endurance, by mixing up your speed training. Do 10 reps of 40-yard-dashes, as well as various reps of 100s and 200s, Franklin recommends. Also pair with a teammate to run routes, taking turns as both passer and receiver. This will give you a double carryover into games of both speed and skills if you are at a skills position.
Every position is a bit different. You want to make footwork on agility ladders a priority if you are a running back or wide receiver, Franklin notes. Alternatively, you can do five-cone drills in the summer, advises ¡°Complete Conditioning for Football.¡± Set the cones in a square with 10 yards on each side, and a final cone in the middle. Run in varied patterns, including a star, crisscross and little squares, running forward, laterally and backpedaling. If you are a lineman or a kicker, agility work is less important, Franklin states. Linemen need to perform specific drills that focus on blocking and hand movement instead.
You¡¯ll be busy three days a week in the weight room if you follow the recommendations of ¡°Complete Conditioning for Football¡± for offseason conditioning. Try for Monday, Wednesday and Friday for total-body strength workouts. Your running workout and agility training can be Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Your coach may test your strength progress on Fridays compared to benchmarks for your position.
As a parent, you may be struggling to find a sports team for your child to play on. An important concern is whether your kid should play on a single-sex team or a co-ed team. A team mixed with boys and girls has many benefits, including friendship building and stereotype smashing.
Child psychologist Laura E. Berk claims in her book “Child Development” that somewhere between ages 9 and 11 kids begin to develop gender stereotypes. Involving them in coed sports early is an opportunity to curb those notions before they start, according to Sam Snow of Soccer America’s “Youth Soccer Insider.” Berk suggests it’s best to separate prepubescent girls and boys based on ability and cognitive development rather than gender.
Sports for girls in general has many benefits, including better grades, better body image, less depression and higher chance of graduating from high school, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Allowing girls to compete alongside and against boys enhances their view of themselves and makes them more resilient according to Jeffrey Rhoads, author of “The Joy of Youth Sports: Creating the Best Youth Sports Experience for Your Child.”
Allowing boys and girls to play sports together builds friendships that might not otherwise exist. Learning to view the opposite sex as a friend and not something intimidating is something kids can carry with them for life, wrote Steve Sampsell in “KidSports Magazine.” Sports at this prepubescent age is social; the kids are meant to have fun and get some exercise and the camaraderie will serve them well, according to Tim McCoy, director of member services at PA West U.S. Youth Soccer.
There is no one-size-fits-all time when genders should be separated in sports. Some girls develop faster than boys and may be able to compete with boys their age well into puberty. An example of such a case was a 12-year-old Ohio girl named Makhaela Jenkins, who in 2013 fought her school’s district in court over her right to play on a boys-only football team. She won. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, there were more than 1,500 girls playing on boys football teams that year, and the trend was growing with a 17 percent uptick since 2009.
Soccer players must learn fundamental skills and tactical awareness to succeed during competitive games. Important soccer skills to master include ball control, passing, dribbling, shooting and defending. Tactical awareness involves the ability to know your role and have positional awareness on the field, and possessing the ability to make good decisions.
The fundamental skills of soccer are vital to the development of a soccer player. You must have the ability to trap the ball and keep possession for your team to be effective during a competitive game. A high level of repetition is the best way to learn fundamental soccer skills. Soccer skills should be practiced initially under no defensive pressure, with the coach focusing on correct technique. For example, to practice dribbling, the coach should have players dribble a ball around a 20-yard box focusing on technique and keeping the ball under control. Passive resistance should be added by placing a number of cones down and teaching turns to avoid the obstacles. You can next pracrtice dribbling with two or three defenders inside the box attempting to win the ball, and providing game-like defensive pressure.
Tactical awareness largely refers to a soccer player having the ability to make effective decisions during a soccer game. You can practice soccer tactics by using group drills that work on skills and forcing players to make decisions quickly in game-like situations. Playing three attackers against two defenders toward the goal can be good tactical practice. The attacking team can begin each repetition 25 yards out from goal. On the coach’s signal, they begin play, attempting to score a goal with the two defenders attempting to stop them. The soccer coach can use this drill to practice teaching players when to dribble and when it is best to pass to a teammate. The decision of when to shoot should also be taught in this drill.
Players should have an understanding of their role on the field, whether it be defender, midfielder or attacker. Regardless of position, all soccer players should have the tactical awareness to get open and provide a passing option when a teammate is in possession of the ball. When defending, a soccer player must have the ability to put pressure on the ball if they are the nearest defender, or to cover an off-the-ball runner, providing defensive balance.
Soccer is a fast-paced game requiring speed, good footwork skills and accurate passing. The kind of pass you choose to execute depends on the defense and positioning of your opponents. Some passes are used to create a strong offensive drive and scoring opportunities, while defensive passes are used to slow down the game or maintain possession of the ball when under pressure. A good soccer player has the ability to kick several types of passes.
Sometimes referred to as a direct pass, this is probably one of the most-used passes in soccer. It tends to be a safe pass and is typically executed when you’re near teammates. The best technique for the push pass is to first plant your nonkicking foot alongside the ball and point it in the direction you want the ball to go. When you contact the ball, use the inside of your kicking foot. You want to hit the middle of the ball with your kicking heel down and the toe pointing up.
The long pass is used to clear the ball to the opposite side of the field to a teammate who is open and has no defenders around her. This changes the area of play and gives your team the opportunity to begin a counterattack. Executing a long pass involves hitting the ball with accuracy and power. A good technique to use is to lock the ankle of your kicking foot, hit the middle of the ball with the laces of your cleats and follow through toward your teammate with your kicking leg.
This is a defensive pass and is used when defending players have closed off all forward passing possibilities. It is also used when defenders put pressure on the offensive ball carrier, hoping to steal the ball or cause a passing error. The backward pass is a way to neutralize the pressure and still maintain control of the ball. The ball is passed backward with the heel or sole of your foot to another teammate.
The piercing pass is also referred to as a tunnel pass or a through pass. The opportunity to use a piercing pass does not happen often when playing against a good defense because the defenders typically position themselves to avoid an open space, or tunnel, from the ball carrier to her attacking teammate. This pass requires good timing between teammates because the receiving teammate must not be in an offside position when the ball is passed. This is where the receiving player is closer to the goal than the last defender. When the opportunity does arise, the attacker quickly passes the ball, penetrating the defenders. This creates a scoring potential.
This is a combination pass involving two teammates and is sometimes referred to as a one-two pass. This type of pass involves a wing player and an inside teammate. The wing player’s position usually runs along the outside of the field. When the wall pass is executed properly, the wing player passes the ball from the outside of the field to a teammate playing a position toward the inner part of the field. This player acts as a wall and quickly passes the ball back in front of the wing player. Wall passes are most effective against slower defenses.
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.
The spinal column is made up of small bones — called vertebrae — stacked on top of each other. Nerves exit the spine between each of these bones — one nerve on each side. These spinal nerves can be compressed by surrounding structures causing symptoms that may interfere with daily tasks. See your doctor if you suspect you have a pinched nerve.
Pain is a common symptom associated with L5-S1 pinched nerves. This may feel like a dull ache or a sharp pain. L5 nerve compression causes pain along the outer border of the back of your thigh, while S1 nerve compression causes pain in your calf and the bottom of your foot. This pain can range from mild to severe and may be constant or intermittent. Pain often worsens with standing, sitting or while sleeping. Sneezing, coughing or laughing may also increase your pain.
Numbness or tingling in one or both legs typically occurs with L5-S1 pinched nerve. You may feel the sensation of pins and needles between your big toe and second toe and the top of your foot with L5 nerve compression, and the outer edge and bottom of your foot with S1 nerve compression. Numbness can make it difficult to feel pain on the bottom of your foot, which increases your risk of injury.
With prolonged L5-S1 nerve impingement, you may develop weakness in one or both legs as nerve impulses to the muscles are interrupted. This can significantly impact your balance and walking ability. L5 nerve compression makes it difficult for you to lift up your big toe and pull your foot upward while S1 nerve compression may make it difficult to point your foot down and rotate it outward. Surgery may be required to relieve the L5-S1 nerve root compression if weakness has developed.
Effective athletic training requires more technology than most may consider. From the undergarments athletes wear to the shoes they wear, researchers have worked hard to develop the best apparel for maximum performance. Injuries at all sport levels have led to modified development of baseball bats, helmets and other protective gear.
Shoe technology is vital to athletic training. The correct shoe can make a difference in how far a long jumper can jump and how fast a runner runs. Shoe makers have used sports technology to design shoes specific to each sport. The design of the shoe¡¯s sole, the materials used on the side and the location of the laces all help to increase athletic performance. For example, Asics designs running shoes for each type of runner. Its shoe design is based on frequency of training, the natural movement of your foot and performance level.
Athletic training takes place all year long, inside and out. Clothing must therefore keep athletes warm in the cold and cool in the heat without altering movement. Technology in athletic clothing has made performing in all weather possible. Some companies take it one step further with innovative designs to keep you comfortable and dry. Athletic clothing company Under Armour began by developing a t-shirt that wicks sweat from the body rather than absorbs it. It implements the same technology into every piece of training apparel an athlete wears. It has also developed LockerTags which comfortably replaced traditional clothing tabs that display jersey numbers with imprints within the garment.
Technology in tracking athletic performances includes pedometers, sports watches, scales, body fat calculators and heart rate monitors. Tracking helps athletes monitor their success in achieving specific goals such as weight loss or weight gain. Heart rate monitors allow athletes to track their fitness levels based on their heart rates. It also allows individuals to accurately calculate the amount of calories burned. Sports watches with advance technology have the capabilities to tell time, record laps and even control portable music devices.
The age of broom stick baseball bats and leather football helmets are long gone. Today every piece of equipment for every sport has undergone technological advancements. Baseball bats, hockey sticks and lacrosse sticks are designed to maximize power, movement and comfort. Most notably to sport spectators, protective gear has seen an technology overhaul. Helmets and pads that were once almost non-existent are continually being revamped based on the latest technology and injury prevention research. The 2010 ¡°USA Today¡± article Progressions: Evolution of the football helmet since 1946, by Joan Murphy and Sean Dougherty documents the evolution of the simple plastic football helmet in the 1950s to the electronically equipped helmets with breathability and appropriate padding worn in 2010. The current advancements even allow researchers and medical personal to record the impact of hits.
Athletic training programs have evolved with the advancement in technology. The inventions of DVDs, the internet and portable devices have all made training at home more efficient. Thanks to technology, many homes are now equipped with compact home gyms and workout DVDs. Famous personal trainers are delivering every kind of workout imaginable in living rooms around the world. Websites and DVD programs offer exercise videos, tracking tools, email support and nutrition plans that were once only taught in person or by reading books.
The 400-meter relay race is a significant race in major track and field events, such as the Olympics, the World Championships and national championships. Relay races are won by the teams that finish the race in the fastest time, but there are other factors involved besides speed. A relay team must be well-coordinated and possess the ability to pass a baton from one member of the team to the next without dropping it while maintaining maximum speed.
A full lap around a world-class outdoor track is 400-meters. During this race, each runner runs 100 meters with a baton in-hand and stays in his own lane. Because tracks curve, it looks like the runners in the outside lanes have a significant lead on those running in inside lanes, but each runner runs the same distance throughout the race.
The leadoff runners in this race start off in starting blocks. They hold the baton in one hand and take off when they hear the starter’s gun. If a runner leaves the starting blocks early, the gun fires a second time to indicate a false start, and the race must start again. If a runner makes a second false start, his team is disqualified from the race.
After each runner runs his leg of the 400-meter relay race, he hands off the baton to his teammate. That teammate must receive the baton within a 20-meter area. If the pass comes before or after that area, the pass is considered illegal, and the team is disqualified. Also, if a runner drops the baton while passing or in the middle of the race, the team is disqualified.
The team that completes four separate baton passes legally and successfully and has its last runner cross the finish line first wins the race. Because the 400-meter relay involves such fast and decisive passes, judges sometimes have to review recordings of significant races (Olympics, World Championships, national championships, Olympic Trials) before declaring a winner.