How to Build Stamina for Soccer

Soccer is a physically demanding game that requires a great level of physical fitness. Soccer requires you to walk, sprint and jog for a range of distance over a prolonged period of time. A high level of stamina is required to be a successful soccer player. Soccer players must have the ability to dribble, pass or get into open space when their team is in possession. Players must have the ability to quickly recover and track runs when possession is lost and their team is defending.
Perform regular cardiovascular exercise to build stamina for soccer. The Sports Fitness Advisor website cited research performed by Umbro Conditioning in 1997. The research studied professional players and stated over a 90 minute soccer game, the average player spent 40 to 59 minutes jogging or running. Bearing this in mind, it is wise for you to simulate these distances in your stamina training. Youth soccer games run typically for 70 minutes with variations according to age. You should aim for 30 to 50 minutes of cardiovascular exercise to simulate a soccer game. If you find that challenging, you could split into two separate runs. Vary your cardiovascular routine by incorporating cycling or swimming if it becomes repetitive.
Include sprinting in your training to build stamina for playing soccer. The research by Umbro Conditioning states that 10 percent to 15 percent of a soccer game is spent sprinting. To build stamina for soccer you must adjust your body to sprinting and recovering quickly to jog or sprint again. The Sports Fitness Advisor website recommends a series of 15 to 20 yards of sprinting with recovery time in between. An example of sprint training would be to perform 10 sets of 20-yard sprints with a 30 second break between. This would build stamina and increase your recovery rate after a sprint.
Incorporate circuit training onto your physical fitness training. Circuit training increases stamina and also builds muscle strength with the use of resistance exercises using your own body weight. For the game of soccer, Sports Fitness Advisor recommends stations that require you to exercise for 30 to 60 seconds between rest periods. Exercises included in circuit training can be push-ups, sit-ups and squat jumps.
Consume a healthy and balanced diet. Your stamina and physical fitness levels will be directly impacted by the fuel you put into your body. Foods low in fat and high in carbohydrates make up the core of a good diet for a soccer player. A healthy diet will significantly impact your ability to build stamina, and you should avoid soda and sugary snacks. You should also stay fully hydrated at all times with water or sports drink.
Conduct a regular stretching and flexibility routine. It is crucial that you stretch thoroughly before and after your training to build stamina. Proper stretching will keep you healthy. Muscle stretches and pulls can result from not stretching properly. An injury will halt your training routine and hinder your ability to build stamina.

The Best Workout Programs for a Quarterback

Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States, and one of the most physical. As a quarterback and the team’s leader, you must be in top condition to perform at your highest level. By incorporating exercises into daily workouts — including pointers for core strength, shoulder raises, and circle drills to improve throwing ability — you will be on your way to a more successful season.
Pointers build up core strength, which plays a major factor in the strength and development of the quarterback’s throwing motion. Position yourself on your hands and knees. Lift your left arm and your right leg raised so they are parallel to the ground. Hold for two seconds, then repeat with the opposite limbs; this is one repetition.
This exercise boosts shoulder stability, and, more importantly, develops the strength of the shoulders. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, your arms at your sides. With palms facing your legs and arms straight, raise your arms laterally until they are shoulder level. As you are raising the dumbbells, turn the dumbbells so that your thumbs point toward the ceiling. Do not go above shoulder level.
This drill improves the quarterback’s ability to throw and run at the same time. Position one receiver in the field, about 15 yards from the quarterback. The quarterback should begin running in a circle as he is throwing the football to the receiver. Once the receiver catches the football, he should return it to the quarterback. The quarterback, meanwhile, should continue running in the circle, and not stop moving — even when the ball is being returned. One repetition is when one circle has been completed.

A List of Football Equipment

When football began to be popular in the late 1800s, the uniforms and equipment were similar to those used in rugby. It wasn’t until 1939 that football helmets were even considered mandatory. Present-day football has evolved considerably, and safety is a key issue. Whether you are playing for fun or for competition, a fair amount of equipment will be needed to safely enjoy the sport.
Even the most rudimentary style of tackle football will require some equipment to play with a reduced risk of injury. The basic list of what will be needed for any position includes a helmet, jockstrap and cup, thigh, hip and knee pads, a neck collar, gloves, a mouth guard and shoulder pads. Neck collars are especially important for defensive linemen and linebackers because they protect against whiplash.
For extra protection, visors and jaw pads can be attached to a helmet. Face masks are mandatory for football helmets. When purchasing a helmet, make sure it is of good quality and certified. The helmet should be recertified each year to ensure that it is still safe to use. Helmet maintenance should be performed with water only, and helmets should never be shared between other players or friends.
Generally, two types of shoulder pads are manufactured for football play. Cantilevered shoulder pads are of a larger size and are made especially for the offensive and defensive line, as well as linebackers. Cantilevered pads are also more restrictive in movement. Flat shoulder pads are designed primarily for wide receivers and quarterbacks, and they are of a smaller size. There is also a difference in gloves. There are receiving gloves with a grip made specifically for those who catch the ball, and gloves for linemen that are designed more for protection and safety.
Those who may be organizing an official football team will need to invest in much more than the mandatory equipment. Jerseys, belts, girdles, and laces will be needed for uniforms. Field equipment will also be required, such as tackling dummies, scrimmage vests, sideline markers and pylons. Teams also need equipment bags and water bottles.
According to the University of Nebraska, the approximate cost to equip and clothe each member of the Cornhuskers’ football team is $1,000 per person. The biggest expenses will be the helmet and shoulder pads. A quality pair of shoulder pads may be roughly $350 and the helmet may be approximately $340. With safety being the most important concern, however, these investments will far outweigh the possible consequences of playing without the proper equipment.

What Does It Take to Be an NFL Player?

The NFL is the pinnacle of organized football. It employs the best players in the world, and the game itself unfolds under the biggest of media spotlights. Yet every one of those professional players had a moment where they stepped onto a football field for the first time, with dreams of the NFL so far away. Several attributes are shared by those that have made the ascent successfully through youth and college football to the professional ranks. Keep in mind, however, the process exists to separate the rare few who are qualified from all the players who aren’t.
The path to the NFL begins at the youth level. While many players begin playing football in high school, the competitive nature of college recruiting has created a cottage industry of personal coaching and instruction for children playing in Pop Warner as young as 5 years old. The players who can make the biggest impact at the high school level, and who can garner conference and state recognition for their play, have the best chance to get recruited by college teams. The more experience and development players get before high school usually helps those players stand out.
Players who rise to the top of their high school conferences get noticed by college recruiters. Obviously, this takes a strong work ethic, athletic skills, talent for the sport itself and the ability to execute consistently while minimizing mistakes. College programs often cull local, state and sometimes national prep football headlines, looking for the playmakers who appear consistently. Players who make all-league, all-state or all-American honors receive heavy attention from college teams. The college recruiting process can be difficult for players; the best will have multiple options for college play. This choice is often the most important one to make. Factors such as playing time, the coaching staff¡¯s NFL experience, the prominence of the college program and the amount of media attention potentially available are all factors requiring careful consideration. Mid-level players may receive scouting and offers from smaller colleges, but those players will have to make an effort to sell their talents more than top players usually do.
The scouting and recruiting process leads the best and most talented players to the college ranks. But players who didn¡¯t make it successfully through this process to gain a scholarship with a college team have options. Many teams try out groups of walk-on players throughout the preseason to add depth, fill out the practice squad and find additional impact players without using valuable scholarships that are set by the NCAA. To make it onto the starting roster of a college team as a walk-on takes talent and considerable drive, and a number of walk-on players have used that dedication and drive to make it to the NFL.
The college players who perform at the highest level consistently while garnering national media attention, and players who win collegiate awards and are named to all-conference and all-star teams will have a leg up and be considered as NFL Draft potential for the league’s 32 teams. Three years following a player¡¯s high school graduation date, he is eligible to declare for the NFL Draft. Many players will have a sense where they will rate in the draft, although this is by no means a lock. Some players who declare won¡¯t be drafted at all and can sign as an undrafted free agent with NFL teams. Drafted players and undrafted free agents go to NFL training camps in July, where open competition for roster slots and practice squad assignments take place.

How Do Your Muscular & Skeletal Systems Help You Kick a Soccer Ball?

A 4-year-old can manage to amble up and lightly tap a soccer ball, while an elite player can scorch it at 70 mph into the corner of the net past the goalkeeper¡¯s extended hands. The strongest skeletal muscle in the body, the quadriceps, gets ample help from muscles elsewhere to create an explosive impact of shoe on ball and blast it so it can raise a team¡¯s fortunes.
The biomechanics of kicking a soccer ball involves stages, beginning with the approach as you run up to the ball. Your plant foot digs into the ground a foot to the side of the ball, and the heel of your kicking foot swings back almost to touch the buttocks in a process called swing-limb loading. All that energy gathers as the hip flexes and knee extends, followed by foot contact with the ball and follow-through. Your torso leans back, and the kicking foot rises to around chest level.
The knee extensors, which work to straighten the lower leg, display maximum eccentric activity, meaning activity while lengthening, during swing-limb loading. Your body prepares to transfer as much force as possible to the ball. The extensors next powerfully contract to swing the foot to the ball. At the time of foot contact, 15 percent of the energy of the swinging leg transfers to the ball, and your hamstring uses the rest to slow the limb down. Follow-through lengthens the time your foot stays in contact with the ball and serves to avoid injury as the forces of the kicking motion dissipate.
In a right-footed kick, the abdominals, erector spinae and psoas major stabilize the trunk. Right hip flexion or bending is controlled by the rectus femoris, the psoas, the iliacus, adductor group and sartorius, an oblique muscle on the inside of the thigh associated with sitting cross-legged. The extension of the left hip is guided by the largest muscle in the body, the gluteus. The powerful quadriceps extends the left and right knees, while the plantarflexors flex the right ankle. The anterior deltoid, biceps brachii and pectoralis major move the left shoulder toward the midline of the body. During follow-through, the hamstrings, gluteus and nearby piriformis rotate and extend the right hip, while the hamstring group flexes the right knee.
Sense organs within the joints, tendons and muscles provide information to the central nervous system about their motions, so the body can act on this feedback to control the joint angles and muscular involvement during the kick and address the ball correctly. The hips rotate through the front and horizontal planes. The knee typically goes through 140 degrees of flexion and extension. The arms, extended to the sides, work to help you keep your balance by placing your center of gravity over your support foot.

Hamstring Hyperextension

The hamstrings are a group of muscles found at the back of the thigh. Three muscles are in this group: the biceps femoris, the semitendinosus and the semimembranosus. The function of these muscles is to bend the knee and to extend the hip. It is common for these muscles to become hyperextended and injured.
Hamstring hyperextension is often associated with sports, including track and field (particularly sprinting and hurdles), tennis, basketball, rugby and football. Ballet and gymnastics are also prime activities for causing hamstring hyperextension. For hamstring hyperextension to occur, the leg is raised, and the foot is moved away from the body while the knee is bent, usually in a quick movement or sudden change in direction. Hamstring hyperextension is often caused by tight hamstrings or an imbalance in muscle strength as the hamstrings are generally much weaker than the quadriceps, which reside in the front of the thigh. The best way to avoid hamstring hyperextension is to ensure the muscles are warmed up and stretched adequately prior to activity.
Hamstring hyperextension results in pulled hamstrings. Symptoms of hamstring hyperextension include hamstring pain, muscle stiffness, swelling, bruising and a palpable mass. When the injury happens there will be a sudden sharp pain in the hamstrings, and the knee may not be able to extend past 30 to 40 degrees. The severity of the injury will dictate level of pain, range of motion and walking ability.
Hamstring hyperextension is usually diagnosed by means of a physical examination. This is performed by doing a palpation of the muscles to determine if there are tender or painful areas. The therapist or doctor may also have the patient do a straight leg raise, a resisted knee flexion and a slump test, all of which are used to assess hamstring tightness and level of pain. In addition to these tests, the therapist or doctor will get a patient’s medical history, history of injury and the details of the current injury.
Treatment for hamstring hyperextension must begin immediately. The first 48 hours are the most crucial for treatment. RICE is used —  rest, ice, compression and elevation. The pain and swelling associated with hamstring hyperextension are treated with rest and ice, and a compression bandage can be used to minimize intramuscular bleeding. Excessive pain and swelling may be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs. Once pain diminishes, range of motion and strengthening exercises should be introduced to regain use of the hamstrings. Physical therapy may also be required to ensure a full recovery.

Pros & Cons of Artificial Turf in Sports

Artificial turf is an innovative surface that replicates the look and feel of natural grass. It is created from synthetic fibers and used in a variety of sports, such as field hockey, football, lacrosse and soccer. Artificial turf is easy to care for, but can also pose a greater risk to an athlete’s health than natural grass.
The Synthetic Turf Council has a vested interest in promoting artificial turf of course. But it insists it is environmentally friendly because it doesn’t need to be watered, thus playing a major role in water conservation. Also, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to maintain artificial turf. According to the Town of Wellesley, Massachusetts, it costs $45,000 less to maintain artificial turf, compared to natural grass.
More injuries can occur when athletes train or compete on artificial turf. According to Reuters, NFL players suffer more leg injuries when practicing or competing on artificial turf because the footing was less secure than on natural grass. Artificial turf can cause other injuries to occur. The New Jersey Work Environment Council says artificial turf can reach temperatures of up to 150 degrees, which can make athletes more susceptible to burns, dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Types of Kicking in Soccer

With no opportunity to use your hands as a field player in soccer, kicking provides your means of advancing the ball for a dribble, pass or shot. The more types of kicks you master, the more weapons you have during a game. Players such as David Beckham of the LA Galaxy have built their careers on practicing their kicking so that they can land a pass of 40 yards or more right on a dime. You can work against a wall, a rebounder or with a friend to practice the various types of kicks.
The push kick, or inside-of-the-foot kick, allows you to send a highly accurate, short pass to a teammate. Players use this pass an estimated 70 percent of the game, writes Jin Wang, coordinator of coaching information at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, in his book ¡°Soccer Made Easy.¡± Contact the centerline of the ball with the inside of your kicking foot held perpendicular to your plant foot, using your foot almost like a golf putter to accurately push the ball.
The instep kick relies on the upper surface of your foot, also called ¡°the laces.¡± Mainly used for shooting, the instep kick entails running straight to the ball, placing your support foot beside the ball and swinging your kicking leg swiftly forward. Contact the ball with your laces, keeping your ankles locked. When used by beginners, the instep kick can be inaccurate, so the push pass is often a better choice, according to coach Alan Hargreaves in ¡°Skills and Strategies for Coaching Soccer.¡± Long passing drills involving a static partner and later a moving one can help you work on the instep kick.
For long-distance passes or shots, this kick works well, offering slightly more foot contact area and control than the regular laces kick. Run up to the ball at a 45-degree angle, place your support foot beside and behind the ball, contact the ball with the inner side of your instep, and kick the ball with an appropriate force for the ball to reach your target. Lock your ankle as firmly as possible.
If you want to surprise and deceive your opponent, who is more likely to expect a push kick, use the outside of your foot instead. Wang says this a kick is more likely to be used and mastered at the elite level. While typically used as a short shovel pass to nearby teammate, once you master it you can also employ the outside kick for shooting, corner kicks or distance kicking. Take a long approach stride and contact the ball with the outside of your foot, keeping your ankle locked.
While coaches typically try to wean youth players off toe kicks, they offer another way of moving the ball deceptively. If you want to have the ball travel a short distance for a shot or pass, flick the center of the ball with the tip of your toes, using a quick motion.
The back heel kick wins style points for its flair and can be as effective as any other pass, because the defender screened by your body cannot see it well. In fact, given its unexpectedness, a well-placed back heel kick to a skilled forward sets up a fair number of goals. Step over the ball, and poke it to a teammate using your heel.

What Is the Difference Between a Lineman & a Linebacker?

Casual football fans may be familiar with the terms “lineman” and “linebacker” in reference to positions, but not know exactly which players line up where and what their responsibilities are. The exact formation and duties of lineman and linebackers vary depending on the scheme and formation the team is running.
The two most common defensive schemes in professional football are the 3-4 and 4-3, which designates how many linemen and linebackers, respectively, are on the field at one time. The 3-4 scheme entails three linemen and four linebackers behind them, while the 4-3 scheme plays with three linebackers and four linemen. Both schemes have four defensive backs to round out the 11 players on the defensive side of the ball. There are also five linemen on the offensive side of the ball, who protect the quarterback and try to make holes for the running backs to run through.
Linemen are typically very large players, often upward of 300 pounds. Defensive linemen are typically broken up into two groups, tackles and ends. Tackles play in the middle of the defensive line, charged with clogging up the middle of the field to prevent running backs from gaining yards going straight forward, as well as trying to push the offensive linemen backward and to collapse the pocket on passing plays. Defensive ends typically have the role of containing the run toward the outside and pressuring the quarterback in an attempt to record a sack.
Linebackers are classified as Mike, Will or Sam linebackers, which is a shorthand way of saying middle, weak side and strong side linebackers. Both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes have weak side and strong side linebackers, with the strong side being the side of the field that corresponds with the quarterback’s dominant hand. There is only one middle linebacker when there are three linebackers on the field, and two middles in a 3-4 scheme. The linebackers are charged with filling gaps that happen in the line and preventing receivers from running freely across the middle of the field.
The numbering system adopted by the NFL can help you differentiate between linemen and linebackers as well. Guards and tackles on the offensive line wear numbers 60 through 79, and centers are allowed to wear 50 to 59 as well. Defensive linemen are required to wear between 60 and 79 or between 90 and 99, whereas linebackers have to wear numbers between 50 and 59 or 90 to 99. The system is not foolproof in differentiating a lineman from a linebacker as there is some overlap, but it can help you tell who is who on the defensive side of the ball.

The Best Baseball Workout Routine

The best baseball players aren¡¯t always the players with the most talent. Sometimes, they are the players who are dedicated to their training program. A baseball training program must include sport-specific exercises blended together to improve overall performance. The best baseball workout routine is broken down into several phases spread throughout the year, individualized exercises and workouts that train each aspect of the sport.
The baseball season only lasts a few months, but the best workout routine includes several phases throughout the year. Each phase has a specific goal and focus for improving performance during the playing season. The first phase occurs for four to eight weeks during the off-season and is designed to build foundational strength. The second phase progresses to building maximal strength for six weeks during the pre-season phase. The third phase incorporates power training for four weeks leading into the season. The final phase is maintenance and occurs during the playing season.
Strength training sessions are an essential component of the best baseball workout routine. The exercises should be performed using free weights such as barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells to maximize range of motion and to maintain your upper body strength. Strength training workouts should take place about two to three days per week, with no workouts on game days. The best strength training exercises for baseball players include total body functional movements such as squats, lunges, dumbbell rows, pushups, pullups and core exercises. Compound exercises will help your body to move as a cohesive unit.
Another essential component to the best baseball workout routine is speed exercises that train speed, agility, footwork and quickness. Speed training and conditioning exercises are a specific focus during the off-season and pre-season training phases. The best exercises include plyometrics such as lateral jumps and box jumps along with agility exercises using footwork ladders or marking cones.
The best workout routine for a professional baseball player doesn¡¯t always mean it¡¯s the best workout routine for a youth player. Players have a wide range of ability levels, resulting in the best workout routine being designed around each individual player. The position of each players also affects the design of the best program. For example, a youth pitcher has a different routine than a college outfielder.