In case you haven’t heard, London will be the hosting city for the 2012 Summer Olympics! There hasn’t been much news about it, but it is right around the corner. The opening ceremonies have been scheduled to be on July 27. I’m getting pretty excited for it, the Summer Games have always been my favorite to watch and having been on the swim team in high school, you can probably guess which event I most enjoy watching. You could also guess what the main topic is here… yep, Michael Phelps, but we’ll get to him later.
Track and Field is one of the more popular events in the Olympics and at the last Summer Games Usain Bolt made quite a name for himself. He won 3 gold medals in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay. Although being pretty cocky, he is actually a really fast runner. He set world records in all of those races. Who is going to take on this incredibly fast man this summer? He surely can’t win every event he is entered in, can he? I must admit, I would thoroughly enjoy watching someone knock him down a notch!
Michael made himself a legend at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by winning eight gold medals. Then shortly after the Olympics, the media had gotten a hold of photos that showed Michael Phelps doing disreputable things. Michael Phelps’ performance after that has been a roller coaster ride; he “lost” his stroke, then found it, struggled again, and came back, so on and so forth. The big question is: How is he going to match his performance in 2008; or better yet, can he? It almost sounds as if he thinks he’s become the world’s greatest swimmer and has given up on progressing. The problem with this is, he’s being challenged. Ryan Lochte was basically second-best in Beijing, behind Phelps all the way, but after a recent loss to Lochte, it seems as if Phelps’ title of being the greatest swimmer is being challenged. Michael has got some serious work to do if he wants to beat Lochte in London this year. I’m not a big fan of Lochte, he seems pretty arrogant for being second-best. Sure, Michael has made some mistakes in the past, but him being an incredible swimmer is an indisputable fact.
It will definitely be entertaining to watch how these athletes will do in the games. I can’t say the same for Bolt, but I hope Phelps can do as well, or even better than he did in 2008.
Being here in America, people are only exposed to the popular sports like football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. Well there’s a whole world of sports out there that we don’t know about. Some may seem a little weird, but in different cultures it is just as popular as football. Here I’m going to give you 5 interesting sports from around the world.
1. Caber Toss
“Ooh this sounds like a technical sport, what is a caber?” you may ask. While it sounds rather exotic and refined, it’s really not. Caber toss is just a fancy term for Scottish Log Throwing, that is also renowned in Ireland. These rather large Scots and Irishmen merely throw this log as far and high as they can. Nothing else to it. Of course not every average Joe can just go and pick up a 150 pound, 18 foot long pole, toss it and win. It takes some serious strength to hurl that thing, not to mention you have to toss it with precision so it can’t tilt either way or there will be a deduction of points, yes they have points… They look at it as a clock, you launch the log at 12 o’ clock and if it doesn’t land at 12 o’ clock, you don’t get as many points. Form is also a big part of the scoring process, I suppose that the better you look while launching the log, the better your score will be. Some people think that this is one manly sport, but since the Scots wear kilts it makes it less manly. All I can say is, it takes one heck of a man to wear a skirt in front of a crowd.
2. Ear Pull
This one is more of a tradition of the Inuit Indians. So there isn’t much to it; the participants put one rubber band over each of their ears and it goes around the other person’s ears too. The participants then lean back which stretches the string on their ears, the winner of this contest is whoever doesn’t give up. As you can imagine, this puts the contestants through a lot of pain. They say that this helps prepare you for the harsh conditions of their homeland.
3. Pato, or Horseball
This is the national sport of Argentina. It is a team sport that takes place on horses, there is a ball-like object that is called a “duck”. It is thrown in the air and the competitors on horse-back try to grab it. After they have the duck, it is their goal to throw it into the opponents net to score points. It is kind of like Rugby on horses. Teammates pass the duck to each other and try to keep it from the other team and score a goal. It sounds kind of crazy when you throw horses into it, and it is very crazy.
This is a sport that is pretty popular around the world, except for in America. It is most popular in Great Britain, and Australia. Cricket is a bat-and-ball type game, much like baseball. Like in baseball, a person from one team “bowls”(pitches) the ball to the person at bat. It’s different from pitching though in that it is actually bowled on the ground, like a bowling ball. The person hitting the ball must time his hit to one of the ball’s bounces. The rest of the game is pretty similar to baseball.
This game is also popular in Australia. It is a lawn game version of the winter sport: Curling. There is a small white, or yellow, ball placed a certain distance from the competitors. The goal of each team is to roll their bowls to get as close that small ball as they can. However many of your bowls are closest to the small ball, is how many points you are going to get, after each end; much like curling. Unlike curling, there is no way to control where your bowl goes after you roll it.
Well I hope you enjoyed this brief exposure to foreign cultures. Maybe some of these interest you and you want to start a club in your city, wouldn’t that be great? I think we should give a little more of our attention to these less-known sports, rather than having it all about football and basketball. There is a whole other world of sports out there that we have no idea exists!
It’s that time again where everybody makes a bunch of goals that they rarely stick with. You hear a bunch of people saying that they are going to turn over a new leaf and start getting healthier (or whatever their resolution is); 2 weeks later, you see these people sitting on their couch eating a bag of potato chips. I’m not saying this is the case for anyone who has ever made a resolution to get fit; just most people. Hopefully I can give you some advice and inspiration about sticking to your resolution. I’m sure that you have all heard of the SMART goal acronym, well that is what I’m going to show you because it just so happens that goals are pretty similar to New Years resolutions!
The first step in making and achieving your goals/New Years Resolutions is making it specific. An example of what NOT to say is: “My New Years Resolution is to lose some weight.” Okay… that’s not a bad thing to pursue; but how much weight? If you don’t give yourself a specific mark to hit, your goal will never happen. In order to stick with your resolution you need to be working to a single, specific goal. “I want to lose 25 pounds”, this is an example of a decent goal. Now you need to set a specific time which leads us to the “M” in SMART.
The second thing you need to be sure of when making a resolution is that it is measurable. This one is closely related to the first. It means that you need to make a goal that you can set a specific time limit on. Although saying that you want to lose 25 pounds is alright, it most likely won’t work unless you set a specific time frame in which you want to lose that weight in.
You also want to make this goal something that you can achieve. Something that is within your range of capabilities; something easy but also difficult. One that isn’t too daunting of an idea, so that you can stay motivated to pursue it; but also one that takes work to achieve.
This one is pretty similar to the last. Choose something that is down to earth that you absolutely know you can accomplish. You should stay away from making a goal that is far-out, and not achievable. This is important because how you accomplish one goal will affect how well you accomplish any other goals. If you set an unrealistic goal that you can’t achieve, you may get discouraged from setting goals altogether.
The last part of this acronym is for a goal to be timely. I would recommend that you stick to more short-term goals. If you have a short-term goal, you are more likely to achieve it. Having a long-term goal makes it hard to keep it in sight and stick to it, and you may give up on it altogether because it is too far off. If you do want to set a long-term goal, it can also be used by setting a bunch of short-term goals. Achieve your long-term goal in increments of smaller goals.
Another great tip in setting New Years Resolutions is to write it down. It’s sounds simple and meaningless but if you never write it down, it will most likely be forgotten. If you have set a resolution to get fit and maybe lose a few pounds I would recommend using some home gym equipment; something like a treadmill. Check out some of the equipment NordicTrack has to offer if you feel like getting healthier and losing some weight. Good luck with your New Years Resolutions!
Christmas is a time where there is great food, and time to relax. This makes it very difficult to remain in your exceptional physique. It’s much too easy to bag your fitness routine and just pig out on all of the delicious Christmas food. This is not recommended. It will ruin the performance of any athlete. You need to keep your fitness level up, even during the holiday season.
I suggest you take up swimming. This exercise is not only fun, but gives your body one heck of a workout. You may be thinking that this is an exercise that one should not do during the Winter season. When it is quite the contrary, for most swimming organizations the season goes through Winter. Now obviously they don’t compete outside during the Winter time, that’s what indoor pools are for! Granted these pools are still freezing cold, but not to the point of hypothermia. Now you may be thinking: “Uh, I’m a football player, how is this going to help me?”. The answer is that swimming helps your body in so many ways; how many cardio exercises give your whole body a workout as well? Swimming improves your physical fitness, endurance, and is also an aerobic exercise which helps with flexibility; every sport requires some flexibility. Having been a fairly successful high school swimmer; I’m going to give you some tips on getting the right swimming technique to optimize your workout. I’ll break it down into the four main strokes and explain correct technique for each.
These two strokes are pretty similar except one is done facing down on the water and the other is done on your back. As it goes for all strokes, kicking is very important. If you don’t have a good kick, then you don’t have a very good stroke; it’s kind of a tradeoff type thing, you can’t do well at one without doing well at another. You want to start off working on your kicking by taking a kick board to the pool and just doing some laps just kicking. A common mistake that most people do is that they want to kick from their knees; this is not the correct way. In order to have good technique and to get the most out of each kick, you want to kick out from your thighs rather than your knees. Having your whole leg move instead of just from the knee down is much more beneficial. The next thing to work on is your stroke. It’s a pretty basic concept, but if you don’t do a couple of things it can really ruin your stroke. The basic idea of stroking is, with your arms, reach out and grab a handful of water and throw it down towards your feet. That’s a primitive way to stroke, but for the best results it would be a little more refined than that. You want your arms to pull back as if you were going to punch someone, then reach out to the water and pull it down towards your feet; do this with alternating your arms, otherwise it is pointless. Those are the two foundations of freestyle of backstroke, without those it’s hard to go anywhere. A couple more things to remember for freestyle is to always keep your body level with the water, to act as if there is a pole going through you; keep your body straight and your head down, this will make it easier to keep your whole body level with the surface of the water. A couple things to remember when you do backstroke as well; obviously you are in a different position so you need to adjust your stroke accordingly. Remember to rotate your body as if you had a pole going through you.
This one is a little more difficult to master. Again, kick technique is essential; so just grab a kick board and practice at the pool. This kick is a little difficult to explain, but here goes, you want to have your legs straight, then sort of flick them out and bring them back together; I guess just try making the shape of a heart with your feet. Bend your knees slightly to bring your feet up, then extend them quickly and snap your feet together. The only thing I can really compare it to would be the way a frog kicks in the water; if you know what that looks like. Okay now for the stroke. Bend your arms at the elbow and position them under your chest, reach out in front of you and scoop the water down to your feet again. One thing to remember while doing this stroke is to alternate your kick and stroke so that you don’t do them at the same time. Also, just like freestyle, you want to keep your head down to not cause any unnecessary drag.
I never really got good at this stroke. I understood how to do it and everything, but when it came to actually performing, I didn’t do so great. So I’ll just explain it to you and you can try it out for yourself. Once more, kicking is key. This kick is what a mermaid does with her tail. Instead of moving both legs independently, you actually keep them together; a good way to ensure your legs stay together, that my coach came up with, is to tie them together with something! It sounds like a dramatic thing to do, but some people really have trouble with this. Now the stroke is what a lot of people find difficult and combining the stroke with the kick is even harder. For the stroke, your arms aren’t together like your legs, but they are doing the same motions at the same time. It’s like doing the freestyle stroke with both arms at the same time. Putting all of these things together into a smooth rhythmic motion is very difficult. Check out this video for a more in depth look at the butterfly.
Hopefully this has inspired you to try swimming. It’s a fantastic cardio exercise that gives your whole body a workout. Remember to not get lazy and forget your workout routine through the holidays, be safe and have a Merry Christmas!
Looking for another sport to do this winter season? Here are some of the most popular winter sports.
Snowboarding would be classified under your ‘Extreme Sports’. It is where one stands on a flat board and straps his/her legs to the boots that are bolted to the board. Then you make your way to a snowy slope and just ride down it on your snowboard. The more you do it, and practice, the better you will be; and who knows maybe next you will be going off of the huge jumps doing flips and tricks. Snowboarding is great because it helps increase your balance and is also considered a aerobic exercise, so it helps improve your cardiovascular system and increases your endurance.
Alpine/Cross Country Skiing
Skiing is a little different than snowboarding in which you are standing on two separate boards (which look more like thin wooden slats). The skier propels and directs them self by using two poles. Also zig-zagging while going down a slope improves your ability to direct yourself while speeding down the mountain. Cross-country skiing requires the same equipment, but instead of just going down the slope and using the poles to direct yourself; you use the poles to push yourself across a snowy country side. While both have healthy benefits, cross-country skiing is a great exercise on your body. Having to propel your own self through the snowy country really does a number on your body. It is an exceptional cardio exercise that could improve your endurance immensely.
Ice hockey is one of the more popular of winter sports. Hockey is just as, or even more, brutal as football. In hockey, players have a stick that they try to hit the puck (a small, flat, weighted object used to score a goal). While doing this they are on ice skates, skating around the ice rink. This is one intense sport if I do say so myself. Players must have exceptional physical strength, balance, and extraordinary mental quickness. The players have to be able to take a huge hit and keep going, know exactly where the puck is every second of the game, all while balancing on ice skates; which is no easy task. As you can imagine this is a recipe for huge hits, collisions, and injuries. This is why whenever people think of hockey players; they think of a large man with a broken nose and missing teeth.
Curling is a sport that takes place on ice. It could be summed up as shuffleboard on ice. It is where the participant slides a large, round, flat stone on the ice towards a large target. Points are judged by the position at which the stone stops on the target. It is essentially a team sport; the person who slides the stone must communicate with the “sweepers” (team members that use brooms to direct the path for the stone) and direct them on how hard, and where to sweep in order to get the most points possible. While this may seem like a sport that requires no physical effort, it is really quite the contrary. The slider must be very steady and have a very good sense of aim, these lay heavily upon the body. The sweepers must have at least some endurance to push the broom back and forth very quickly. The competition is between two teams, and seeing a team bump the opposing team’s stone out of the scoring section with their own is a common strategy.
So if you are thinking of taking up a new sport this winter season, maybe consider doing one or all of these. They are all fun sports to watch and participate in.
As many of you know, the New York City Marathon took place last Sunday on the 6th of November. It was about 45 degrees that day, some consider “the perfect running weather”. The top five male finishers were: Geoffrey Mutai, Emmanuel Mutai, Tsegaye Kebede, Gebre Gebremariam, and Jaouad Gharib; all of African ethnicity. The top five female finishers were: Firehiwot Dado, Buzunesh Deba, and Mary Keitany from Africa as well; Ana Dulce Felix, from Portugal, and from the USA Kim Smith. Congratulations to all those runners for completing this marathon in under 2 hours and 30 minutes, and the men who finished under 2 hours 10 minutes. That is an incredible feat to finish a marathon in that amount of time. Some scientists say that we are only about15-25 years from witnessing a runner break the 2 hour mark. They also predict that it will be someone from Africa to break that record; seeing that the top five finishers of this marathon were African, I’d say we aren’t too far off from this record-break from happening.
The course starts on Staten Island, goes across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge; it makes it’s way up Brooklyn, through Bay Ridge and Sunset park, moves up to Queens and crosses the bridge to Manhattan. The course then makes a loop up to the Bronx, then coming back into Manhattan and runs next to Central Park, finishing on the lower-Eastern part of the park. Now that is one heck of a course. It never ceases to amaze me how dedicated these runners are. I could never imagine putting my body through the torment of a marathon. I suppose it is a good way to get out and see the sights of New York, since the course covers a lot of it.
If you’re interested in training for a marathon, or even just to get into shape; check out this coupon for the NordicTrack T7.0 treadmill and save some money on a treadmill! Good Luck!
As I’m sure all of you know, Winter is fast approaching. This is also when a lot of sports activities you might participate in, happen. Being Winter, this makes it hard to train for you sports! Some people still brave the harsh conditions freezing their buns off in negative temperatures! These people must be crazy, I would much rather get my workout inside where it’s a nice, comfortable temperature. That’s why I would suggest indoor training. Yes, it is a great alternative to the freezing temps outside, and you’re still getting your workout. Why brave the outside weather when you can get a perfectly good workout in your home, or in a gym.
There are many options when you want to train indoors. You can buy a membership at a gym, you can also get your own gym equipment in your home; that way you can get your whole workout in without having to leave the comfort of your own home, there’s no need to wait for some other gym freak to get finished with a machine so you can use it. Everything you need is in your home. Maybe you want to get a weight set. Just about every workout that uses a machine in a gym can be done in your own home with a couple of dumbbells.
I’m sure that you all know that cardio exercises are equally important as weight lifting. “But hey”, you might say “we’re indoors, how the heck are we supposed to get our cardio in?”. Well the answer is simple. Use a treadmill! Treadmills and ellipticals are a great way to get your cardio workout. You may be thinking that you don’t know the first place to look for a treadmill. No worries, I got your back. Just go to Treadmill Reviews. There, you can compare different treadmills from brands like ProForm, NordicTrack, and HealthRider. So while your opposing competitors are sitting in their home, not getting a workout from the daunting prospect of those harsh temperatures. You’ll be getting bigger, faster, and stronger with the help of your home gym!
Now many of you may not think that bowling is a sport, so I’m about to shatter your universe! Bowling is as much a sport as football, basketball, and baseball. Now it may not require as much physical strength and endurance as these sports. But good technique and mental quickness are present in this sport. Also, exceptional hand and wrist strength is required because the bowling ball is heavier than you think. In this sport you must have decent hand-eye coordination so you can do the same routine every time you hurl the ball down the alley.
While a lot of people just go bowling with their friends to have fun on the weekends, there are also people who bowl competitively. These are usually called leagues. I’m sure you’ve heard of them, they’re the ones that always have lanes reserved on every day you want to go! You may think that watching a bunch of people bowl would be very boring; but it is actually very entertaining to watch. It is interesting watch those guys put a bunch of spin on the ball, or just throw that ball as hard as they can down the alley, and then watching those pins shatter into a million pieces! Well, maybe not shatter, but it looks like they should.
The sport of bowling is so competitive that there is even a PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) World Series! This is where the most talented bowlers compete to win. This competition starts on November 5 and goes to November 20. It’s kind of a big deal. I’m sure that the competition is going to be fierce. It’ll be very interesting to find out who wins it this year. So the next time you go bowling, and think that it is stupid, try to think how much work the professionals put into the game, and have fun with it.
Barefoot running is exactly what the name implies, running with no shoes. Now people runners are crazy enough for running those long distances, but this definitely takes the cake. Running with no shoes!? That’s preposterous. But it’s true, people do it. You would think that these barefoot runners would only run shorter races while barefoot, but they run long races as well; like marathons. These runners think that it is the “natural” way to run, some because they don’t like shoes, and others because they like the challenge that it presents. These people think that shoes harm our feet and posture, or something like that. Giving up on shoes is sure a radical thing to do when planning to run a marathon!
As I said people hang up their shoes for many different reasons, whether it be for the concern for personal health, or just wanting a new challenge. Apparently for these people, 26.2 mile marathons in extreme weather isn’t enough of a challenge! That is a little difficult grasp, that some runners don’t think 26.2 miles of running is a challenge. These people make it sound like a marathon is a normal daily routine, their home life probably sounds something like this: “Hey honey, I’m going to run another marathon see you in a few hours. Oh and I’m not wearing shoes.” No big deal.
You’ve gotta give these people their due though, running barefoot through very harsh conditions, such as; snow, rain, excessive heat, gravel, and anything that is basically scattered on the route. They must have superior mental quickness as well, constantly checking the ground that they are stepping on for thorns and sharp rocks, among other things. These people must be in great shape as well, by thinking that marathons are no big deal! Crazy endurance, super tough feet, and the mental quickness of a mongoose, describe these runners. If you want to get in this kind of shape check out the NordicTrack C900 Pro treadmill, it’ll get you in long distance running shape in no time! Those of you who do or want to run barefoot, good luck!
The St. George Marathon has officially come and gone. It began at 5 A.M the Saturday morning of October 1st. I was there at an aid station 19, handing out gallons upon gallons of water and Gatorade. Despite the heat, energetic youth in my group, and the long hours volunteering, it was a great experience. It’s amazing watching these people accomplish such a feat. I think it sparks inspiration inside all of us to watch people accomplish something amazing. I know it does for me. After the marathon it makes me feel like I should be out there climbing Mt. Everest, or even running a marathon myself.
The weather wasn’t too bad. The morning started off cool, the temperature that marathon runners prefer. But as the day went on it transformed into a sweltering afternoon. The heat was affecting all of the runners; some of them were running to the tables of water themselves, instead of taking them from us volunteers. And some even had to take a break from all of the running. There were also more serious cases, people suffering from heat exhaustion. I recall one lady who, just by the look of her, wasn’t doing so well. She looked almost delirious and about to cry, one of the men from my group helped her over to the emergency aid station to get her escorted out by the emergency shuttles they had available. While it is sad she did not get to finish, it is phenomenal to get that far. 19 miles is an incredible distance to run.
Now the best part of the marathon is always the clean-up, sarcasm of course. Crushed water and Gatorade cups seem to stretch on for miles with no end. This is definitely one of the most tedious parts of volunteering at the marathon, especially if you have youth in your group that like to play around instead of cleaning up!
It was a great experience once again, the feeling of accomplishment and inspiration is worth the long time you are there, and I’m sure that this year won’t be my last volunteering at the St. George Marathon.