Monthly Archives: May 2016

Tennis Equipment

Tennis is a ball game, which can be played by two people or even four. When played between two people it is called “singles” and when played by four people (two people in each team), it is called “doubles”. To hit the ball each player has a racquet (racket) and there is a net in between the two teams in the middle of the court. Tennis can be classified as an indoor as well as an outdoor game. It is one of the most popular games in the world and the players of this game are nothing less than celebrities. Their fan following can be a matter of envy for the cine stars as well. Tennis was initially played by the aristocrats and was called court tennis in the USA; in France it is called Jeu de Paume and in Australia it is called Royal Tennis. In Great Britain it was called Real Tennis and the modern Lawn Tennis is derived from the same.

The court plays a significant role in the whole game. It is rectangular in shape and it is divided into two equal halves by the net that lies in the middle of the court. The length varies with the number of players playing, for singles ‘it is thinner than in doubles. To be precise the court is 23.77 m long and 8.23 m wide for singles matches, and 10.97m wide for doubles matches. Additional space is provided for the players to access overrun balls.

Tennis courts are of three types:


Clay courts can be of two types:

-Red clay
-Green clay

Red clay courts are made of compressed brick particles and are covered with a layer of loose particles. This kind of court is common in Europe and South America. The French Open is played on a red clay court. The other kind is a green clay court, which is not very different from a red clay except for the fact that Har-Tru(C) or American Clay is used to make the underlying bed and then it is covered with red clay. Green clay courts are mostly found in the Eastern and Southern parts of United States.

Hard Courts are made of cement, plastic, asphalt and even concrete are an advantage for people who play speedy games and like to hit the ball hard. The US Open in played on a hardcourt surface and these are quite common in West America and California and the Australian Open is played on a Rebound Ace, which is a synthetic hardcourt. There lies a difference between the Rebound Ace and the ordinary hardcourt as they differ in the degree of hardness. Rebound ace is softer as a result of which when the ball bounces the first time its speed decreases. The speed and friction also depends on the materials that are used to prepare the top layer of the court.

Grass courts can be made of synthetic or natural grass and the bounce of the ball would be dependent on the quality of grass that the court has .Synthetic grass court is similar to Astro Turf that is used for football matches. Grass courts are expensive to maintain. The ball does not bounce well but takes on good pace. Grass courts are used in Wimbledon.

Tennis equipment is made by big brands and a lot of detailing is involved in the manufacturing. It has now become such a grand sport that everything associated with it also assumes a lot of importance.

Tennis Ball: A tennis ball can be yellow, green or white in color (colors approved by the USTA) and has fixed standards for size ,weight and deformation. These balls are made of pressurized rubber covered with high quality cloth, which is made of wool and nylon. These balls are kept under pressure of two atmospheres before initial use.
Tennis Ball Machine: This is practice equipment, which is used by the players to train themselves. It helps the players to practice the footwork and handle all kinds of shots that the opponent might use. These machines come in different models and are quite a help.
Tennis rackets (racquets): To play tennis the first things that are elementary are the racket and the ball. A racket in general has a handle and an oval frame, across which a network of strings is stretched. The size of a modern racket for an adult would be 27″ to 27.5″. Tennis is a power game and requires a lot of stamina and strength for only to hold the racket since handling such a heavy device becomes quite a challenge. When choosing a tennis racket the following things have to be kept in mind like the grip, the head size, length, flex, string tension, weight, and balance.
Bag: This is one of the most neglected but important accessories related to the game. Whenever a bag is brought, the space that is needed, the feature that would suit the best and the style that is required should all be kept in mind. Too small or too biog a bag can be equally useless. Price for a good quality bag varies from $50 to $60.
Tennis Apparel: Tennis apparel has gone through a metamorphosis as has done the perception of the game, wherein the former definitely contributes to the latter. Initially men played the game in long trousers and women wore long dresses and stockings whereas now tennis players are style icons and the apparels are designed by brands that have made it quite fashionable. Any fashion brand would have a different section for tennis apparel, one only has to go and choose the apparel one is comfortable in.
Tennis Shoes: When buying shoes for this game, one should go for a proper shoes. The shoes should be court specific, since its conformity and compatibility differs from one pair to the other. Shoes, like apparel, should also be comfortable and should ensure that the feet are protected. The toe area should have better protection than the other parts of the foot as a tennis player uses his toes for foreground grand strokes. Nowadays shoes come with special cushioning and moisture absorbing mechanism as well. Since the game requires a lot of sudden movements, shoes should support the feet and protect it to an extent.

All these and many more comprise the tennis gear, I hope this article gives an insight to the beginners as to what exactly is and requires.

Choose the Perfect Tennis Shoes

Stan enrolled his teenage son Jamey for a tennis class. The new coach handed them a list of mandatory sports gear for playing tennis. They spent a lot of time cruising through the mall and bought some new sportswear but fell short of time when they wished to buy tennis shoes. Upon reaching home, Stan went online and bought the best looking pair of tennis shoes for Jamey. The tennis class began. However, a week later, Jamey started complaining of severe foot pain and had to be taken to a podiatrist. Do you feel this problem could have been avoided? Yes, it could have been avoided. Read more to get some tips for choosing the perfect pair of tennis shoes.

For Getting Perfect Pair of Tennis Shoes

Expert podiatrist around the world unanimously say that tennis shoes will always differ from normal athletic shoes. Here is how you can get the perfect pair of tennis shoes.

Understand Foot Type
One of the first and foremost thing to do, is to understand the kind of feet that you have. There are people with either arched feet or flat feet. The shoe designs differ for both feet types. Ideally, flat feet are prone to more foot pain without proper heal support and therefore, shoes for flat feet need to be chosen with care.

Purchasing Time
The tissues in our feet tend to contract during the cooler night times and expand throughout the day on account of blood circulation and climatic heat. This expansion rises by approximately 10% during strenuous activities like running or playing tennis. Therefore, the best time to shop for tennis shoes is usually after you have finished playing tennis for the day or in late afternoons or evenings. This is the time when your feet will have expanded to their full limit.

Foot Sizes
This is again a crucial criterion for selection of perfect tennis shoes. What most of us do not realize is that our feet are dissimilar in size, length and width wise. In such a case, ask your podiatrist or shoe expert to measure your feet before you go out shoe shopping. Now look out for shoes that fit the larger foot perfectly. Often, this tends to be your perfect shoes size. You may also carry along your old comfortable pair of tennis shoes and socks to help you understand how well these new shoes fit you.

Nature of Game
One important factor that helps point out the best pair of tennis shoes is the nature of tennis court that you play on. There are separate shoe varieties to suit hard court players and clay court players.

Shoe Trials
It is recommended that you should try out tennis shoes in a standing position rather than a sitting position. This is because, our feet spread out when they take full body weight than when we are sitting. Also, these trials can be used to get an idea of comfort level offered by a pair of shoes in tennis foot positions like pivoting, cutting and on balls of feet. One should ideally walk or jog around the store to understand if the shoes are comfortable or not. There needs to be a minimum gap of 2 fingers between the tip of your longest toe (usually your big toe or hallux) and the inner edge of the shoe.

Material and Finishing Touches
It is essential that the materials used in making your shoes should be as airy as possible so as to let your foot breathe. You definitely don’t want your feet to feel stuffy and sweaty after a long game. Put in your hand inside the shoes and watch out for some rough inner edges and prominent seams that are likely to cause shoe bites. You definitely want to avoid nursing a bad shoe bite after spending so many dollars on new shoes! Look out for added features like foot pads and lighter shoe weight.

Players need to listen to their heart and especially their feet when finalizing their shoes. Judge the knowledge of sales personnel in shoe shops before you rely on their advice for purchasing new variety shoes. Always buy shoes with a shorter break-in time to ensure quicker foot comfort.

Make Your Tennis Shoes Slip-resistant

If you have been landing up head over heels on slippery surfaces, thanks to the footwear you possess, it is time you reevaluate your condition. Making your shoes slip-resistant is what this article is all about. Let’s take a quick look at the various ways in which you maybe able to escape from the embarrassment that you have been facing.
The last thing you would ever ask for is seeing yourself somersault when you are in the company of dignitaries who have been waiting for you in the conference room so that you may begin your presentation on potential business propositions. Imagine if this scenario takes place where you have landed up flat on the veneer flooring instead of the presentation dice. Well, thanks to you, here is a bunch of embarrassed souls in the room; you and your audience! Or wait a moment, is it thanks to you or is it your non slip-resistant shoes that are at fault? If you have an innate ability to fall and trip at every step, you are to be blamed; however, if this was an accident that has become a repeat telecast of sorts, it is courtesy the shoes you wear.
We are often negligent and pay very little attention to the kind of footwear we sport. Some are of the view that as far as the shoes protect our feet, they are perfectly all right. However, does the term ‘all right’ work in terms of choosing the right pair, especially when you are exposed to an environment that demands you to walk on slippery surfaces all day long? It is time that we switch to shoes that make us feel comfortable and give us the very precious peace of mind when we are walking. I am sure you will keep this in mind the next time you think of making a shoddy shoe buy. However, there are footgear available, that are extremely comfortable; it is just that they do not arm us enough to resist slipping over. It is when they are in great condition that you do not want to show them the sight of the door.
Tips to Make Your Shoes Skid-resistant
~ If you have a bad fall almost every time you sport a particular pair of shoes, try to stick two bandages – the adhesive ones, at the back of the anterior part of the shoe. Place them on the heel as well for an enhanced grip. This will prevent further falls. It is also a quick fix when you are running short of time and have no other option but to wear heels that are currently the most presentable ones available with you.

Non-slip soles
~ Another very interesting and long-lasting method to have you navigate safe and sound is to attach non-slip soles on the outsides of the shoe. Along with providing comfort and safety from slipping and skidding it also keeps the shoe soles from wearing out and keeping them in good condition for years together. One may obtain a pair of slip-resistant soles in $7 approximately. Not harsh on your wallet either!
~ If you have soles that are increasingly slippery, refusing to let you stay in place, you may become a bit art-y in nature and get your scissors to crisscross over the shoe soles. Do not go overboard and make it too deep so as to let your feet virtually have no soles at all! Just a few abrasions may do the trick for you.
~ If all this does not work, you may well try some beauty potions to make it finally do the trick. You may certainly blow some hairspray on the soles of the shoe. Do not wear the shoes instantly. Let them dry well.

Ankle strap for a pair of high-heeled sandals
~ Try to fix an ankle strap that helps you retain your balance while you are on a roll all over the place. Ankle straps can give you the required grip and lessen the chances of you falling.
~ Another option is to rub the bottom of your footwear with sandpaper. This may sound as though it may damage your shoes, however, it will not if you are sensible enough not to scrub the sandpaper on the tangible footwear material.
With these tips, you have understood how to make your shoes slip-resistant and you are sure to have navigated the place safely and cautiously. No more somersaults and no more stunts await you; besides, you don’t have to fall head over heels to show how dedicated you are towards your job

Super Bowl Tickets

The Super Bowl, which is the National Football League (NFL)’s championship game, is one of the biggest events in professional American Football. One of the quirks of Super Bowl is that each event is marked by Roman Numerical. The NFL season usually tends to extend beyond the New Year, so the sports events are not accounted for by the year.

Past Super Bowl Winners

-Pittsburgh Steelers
-Washington Redskins
-Green Bay Packers
-New England Patriots
-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-New York Giants
-Dallas Cowboys
-Denver Broncos
-Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts
-New York Jets
-Kansas City Chiefs
-Miami Dolphins
-Chicago Bears
-San Francisco 49ers
-L.A./Oakland Raiders
-St. Louis Rams
-Baltimore Ravens

The first Super Bowl ever played took place on 15 January 1967 between the championship teams of the NFL and its then rival, the American Football League (AFL); the two merged later in 1970. Since then Super Bowl Sunday, which encompasses both the championship and the pre-game and halftime festivities, has become the most watched live sports telecast in the USA. It has also become customary for some of the leading musicians from around the world to perform during the Super Bowl’s pre-game and halftime ceremonies. In recent times, performers like Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake – of the star-spangled nipple fame – and Sir Paul McCartney have performed at the such events. Watching these matches on T.V. is one thing and actually attending a game is a quite different and immeasurably more exciting proposition. If you get the chance to attend, you definitely should. Given the sheer popularity of these games, however, the tickets are the most sought after and the most difficult to get.

Super Bowl tickets, as mentioned, are not easy to come by. The majority of the tickets are first distributed amongst the participating teams, the other NFL teams and the tam hosting the event. The National Football League teams participating in the Super Bowl get about 75 percent of the Super Bowl Tickets. The hosting team gets around 9 percent of the tickets. Other NFL teams, who are not participating in the Super Bowl, are given around 1 percent of the tickets. The National Football League gives the remaining 25 percent of tickets to season ticket holders, VIPs, sponsors, media, charities, companies affiliated with the NFL, and the Host Committee.

Random Drawing
The National Football League sells tickets to the general public only through the Super Bowl Random Drawing process. You cannot get Super Bowl tickets any other way. Keep in mind that the National Football League does not sell tickets to ticket vendors or agents, so if you find anyone offering you any, they’re probably out to stiff you. Only about 500 pairs of these tickets are available through the Random Drawing and practically every single American Football fan out there will be scrambling for them, so be prepared for a very stiff competition. Each ticket costs around $400. The Super Bowl Random Drawing may seem like a lottery, but actually there is no fee for participation. You can send in only one request per household; if you send in more than requests, they will simply discard them. In order to participate, you must write – or better yet, type out – a letter requesting tickets to the NFL and send it either by certified postal mail or registered postal mail to –

Super Bowl Random Drawing
P.O. Box 49140
Strongsville, OH 44149-0140

If your letter is not sent by certified/registered postal service, it will not be considered. Be sure to include your name, address, and phone number in your letter, and send the letter between 1 February and 1 June as this is the period in which NFL accepts the entries for the Super Bowl Random Drawing. You will receive an acknowledgment for your letter from the NFL and, later, will receive a notification of the Super Bowl Random Drawing results. The Random Drawing takes place in October usually.

If you’re lucky and get picked in the Super Bowl Random Drawing, you will get the chance to buy two Super Bowl tickets, attend a championship game on the upcoming Super Bowl Sunday, hopefully see a new record being made in Super Bowl history, and watch the winning team receive the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Football Helmets for Kids

Once your kid has started playing football, one of the most important things you need to do is get a helmet for him. These are important not just for the safety of the child but also for making the child feel like a real football player. When the child is wearing the complete helmet and football gear, he/she will inevitably play better and take the game more seriously. It lends a more professional touch to the child’s game.

American football, by nature, is a contact sport, and many parents are daunted, letting their child play the game at a very young age due to the inherent fear of injuries. This can be viewed as a pressing concern, because having a protective padding on vital sections of the body does not necessarily preclude injuries. However, a sound counter acting measure greatly reduces the severity of injuries as far as possible. As a parent, protection of their nipper while playing, especially minor football, which includes physical percussion ranks high on the agenda of their daily schedule.

Educating the Kids Important Aspects of the Game
As a parent, advising the kids about the possible risks and dangers of the sport is needed. They should be well aware of the consequences they could face, before they start playing youth football. Prudence in counseling a child is advisable to avoid the possibility of evoking bias against the game. The whole point of educating them about the possible dangers is to ensure that they adhere to the rules of the game, do not hurt anyone on purpose, and also don the right equipment and safety gear while playing. After all, there is a reason why there is so much safety gear involved for the sport of football.

The more coaching and training you give your kid, the better prepared he will be. If your child has joined the school team, then he will most certainly be provided with the necessary equipment,

There is no shortage of such equipment in the market, and you can easily buy the hardware and other safety gear at any regular sports store. There are a variety of makes, sizes, and colors available. Try not being picky here, as the better football helmets will obviously cost a bit more. A few more dollars are worth spending when it is the safety of your child involved. Many parents often make the mistake of buying inferior and cheap ones because they cost less. Try not to be that way, and go for the best option possible.

Tips and Pointers
Keep the following guidelines in mind, and remember the most important thing here is to keep your child informed. Talk to him/her constantly, not only about the advantages of wearing the helmet, but also about the dangers of not wearing it too.

-Show the child some videos or pictures about what can happen if they do not wear protective gear. They will not believe you, unless they see it for themselves.
-If you are out playing with your kid, wear a helmet yourself. Make an example for the kids to follow and learn.
-Educate the kids about the game, the famous footballers, and the way the football gear is worn. Pantomime if necessary. These guys are heroes and role models, and if they are seen donning a helmet, then it will have a bigger impact.
-When playing with your kid, or coaching him/her, stress on the roughness of the game, and once in a while and point out that wearing helmets can help them avoid serious injuries.

Find the right size and buy one whose design they like. Involve them in the buying process and let them make a decision about which one is best, out of a few you have selected. At the end of the day, every responsible parent who is actively involved in their child’s welfare will ensure that they wear the right gear while playing the game. They will also ensure that the child is adequately groomed about the importance of these football gear, as well as the dangers of not wearing them.

Diet Menu for Athletes

To get a fit body, you need to have good metabolism, which can be achieved by keeping your body active. This is the general equation for common person. However, for those who indulge in a great deal of physical activity like athletes, it is important that they eat less and get more energy. They cannot afford to have those heavy and really filling meals. Also, they cannot compromise on the essential nutrients and the energy which they need. Striking a balance between all the essential nutrients and carbohydrates, then becomes really difficult.

Nutritional and Healthy Menu for Runners and Athletes

It goes without saying that the diet for an athlete/runner must provide him/her with enough energy. The core of fitness and nutrition for these people is the same all across the globe.

Essential Intake

-Drinking Water
-Focus on complex carbohydrates
-Protein intake ranging from moderate to high
-High or moderate fiber
-Other essential nutrients – vitamins and minerals.

Of course, the diet is not restricted to just the aforementioned aspects, however, these are the fundamentals of an athlete’s diet. There are different aspects of the activity levels and energy required.

Diet for that Explosive Strength
Sustained energy is not needed for sprinters, triathlon athletes, and jumpers. They need not rack their brains about prolonged and slow-digesting carbohydrates. So, athletes who are into explosive activity, need the energy at a particular time only and not throughout a long period of time. In such cases, creatine-rich foods should be included in the diet. It immediately boosts the depot of instant energy in the muscle.

Diet Menu for Recovery
Recovery time after exercising is very crucial. Nutrition for athletes should be chalked out keeping this factor in mind. Eating within two hours after the workout is crucial for an athlete, as his/her muscles need to recover, and glycogen needs to be restored. Eating within first 30 minutes is even better. A correct balance should be maintained between the protein and carbohydrates in the diet. The carbohydrates to protein ratio in a meal should be 3:1. 30 – 90 grams of high quality complex carbohydrates and 10 – 30 grams of protein should be included in the diet. Ideally, whey isolate is perfect for ensuring a speedy recovery of the muscles.

Sample Menu


1 orange
1 boiled egg
1 oz./ 30 g wholemeal bread
2 tsp. low-fat spread


3 oz./90 g tuna fish
Salad of lettuce, onions and 1 tomato
2 celery sticks
1 oz./ 30 g beetroot
2 tsp. salad cream
2 crisp bread slices
1 apple


3 oz./ 90 g chicken without skin cook in casserole
3 oz./90 g carrots
4 oz./120 g onions
2 oz./60 g parsnips
3 oz./90 g turnips
3 oz./90 g jacket potato
4 oz./120 g cooked green vegetable
1 pear

This was just an example, as to how the menu for an athlete should be. However, it can be modified according to personal requirements. It needs a conscious effort to chalk out a diet plan, as per the requirements of an athlete. It can be best managed by an athlete himself. Nevertheless, a brief description about what an athletes diet should be, is described here.

-65% complex carbohydrates including vegetables, fruits, and grains either raw or cooked
-10 to 15% fat from vegetables
-10% protein through meats or fish or fowl or lamb
-Vitamins, minerals, and oxygen-enhancing nutrients, which include a formula containing potassium, magnesium, alpha ketoglutarate, inosine, malic acid, ferulic acid, trimethylglycine, and coenzyme Q10, can be consumed before a sports event.
-Vitamin C with bioflavonoids
-600 mg calcium and 400 mg magnesium
-Zinc and vitamin A approximately 30 mg per day
-2 cod liver oil capsules in a day

Last, but not the least, processed food should be strictly avoided. Also, fruits, nuts, and vegetables should be included in every meal of the day.

Performance Anxiety in Sports

The world of sports has drastically changed from being the entertaining realm, to an ambit of pugnacity. In a competitive game, all physical and mental limits are stretched, providing the inevitable gap for anxiety to fill in. The pressure to retain the top spot and dominate the sport can get to you.

The coordinated movement that is required for athletic events becomes tough if your body is in a tense state. Certain amount of worry is okay and can help your performance, but too much of it can induce negative thoughts, affecting your self-confidence. If your performance during practice sessions and competitions displays a significant difference, anxiety may be affecting your performance. Although you may not totally get the better of it, there are many things you can try to reduce anxiety.

What is Performance Anxiety?

The feeling of restlessness and nervousness gradually leading to self-doubt is known as performance anxiety. It is common in stage artists and sportspersons, who are required to present themselves and their skills to a large crowd. It is believed that the pressure of attaining excellence as marked by the audience is one of the greatest triggers that causes a sportsperson to choke.

Types of Sports Anxiety
According to ‘Athletic Insight’, a journal of sports psychology, anxiety can be classified in two ways: trait anxiety and state anxiety. State anxiety is situational stress induced by situations in the game. A sportsperson’s autonomic nervous system is aroused in this state, which is the natural reaction of any individual. On the other hand, trait anxiety can be thought of as a world view that an individual uses when coping with stress.
In sports, individuals who are state anxious and low on the trait anxiety in tough situations, often deliver good performances consistently. On the other hand, athletes who have higher levels of trait anxiety, added with state anxiety, tend to perform below expectations.
What Causes Performance Anxiety?
Various psychologists have tried to figure out why is it during high tension situations that our brain fails to cope up and leads to a detrimental effect on our performance. Researches have shown that expert athletes behave like amateurs under pressure.
Unfamiliar Environment
During training and preparing for any competition, an athlete focuses on improving skills in a familiar environment. All the efforts taken and practice done are, thus, stored in the procedural memory. However, in a real competitive setup, the conscious awareness of unfamiliar grounds and the presence of a crowd corrupts the memory of the practiced game. It is also found that with more involved and encouraging crowds, the pressure to achieve the best is accentuated.
Wrong Perception of Jitters
A reason for career-ending bout of anxiousness is the perception of pre-game jitters. Our body releases certain hormones to accommodate for the upcoming exciting situation, which induce quickening of the heartbeat and sweaty palms. These signs are often misinterpreted by an athlete as fear and lack of ability to perform. Over thinking a situation and trying to control the practiced movements can trigger and result in a full-fledged panic attack.
Undermining Oneself
While training, some athletes set unrealistic targets for themselves. Failure to achieve those targets is perceived as lack of skill and puts the athlete in self-denial of one’s own improvement. Even if they are fully prepared for an event, they tend to underestimate their capabilities. Such reactions can convert any professional player into a novice, thus, derailing their performance.
How to Overcome Performance Anxiety
With many elite players falling prey to the adverse psychology of pre-game anxiousness, sports authorities and teams have started taking measures to contain the effects to minimum.
Distracting Oneself
For every sportsperson, it is very essential to recognize the jitters felt before, or during the game, and accept that these jitters are absolutely natural. One of the best ways to overcome such a situation is distraction. As soon as you have the awareness of anxiety setting in, distract your attention to something else―may be singing or asking a fellow sportsperson about something that is not related to the game.
One example is from the final moments of 1989 Super Bowl. Joe Montana, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, recognized the pressure his teammates were facing. Instead of giving in to the anxiety, he fought it back with distraction. He recognized John Candy, a Canadian actor and comedian, in the crowd and called out to him. This simple gesture completely changed the focus point of the team. They forgot about the pressure and played a wonderful game.
Winning Over Anxiety
A sportsperson whose mind interprets anxiety as a debacle often ends up losing. The dominant and top players of the game convert their anxiety into excitement, which stimulates the positive hormones, resulting in winning performances. They take anxiety arousal as a facilitator to come up with a better performance.
Small Effective Steps
~ Practice, practice, and practice.
~ Cut down on caffeine and sugar. Have a carbohydrate-rich meal before the game to preserve energy.
~ Focus on what you can do rather than what might go wrong on the field.
~ Always try to practice in competition-like settings.
~ Avoid thoughts of self-doubt. Think about your capabilities and strengths.
Sports psychology has become an area of deep study and research. The competition, especially at the international level, has induced a great deal of anxiety-related problems. The game is played on two fields; the playing field and the mental field. For example, sportsmen, like Rafael Nadal (lawn tennis), Michael Phelps (swimmer), or the US basketball team are at the helm of their affairs, not because of their talent alone. It is their balanced mental state, which gives them an edge over their equally, or perhaps more talented athletes.

Experts believe, and it has been proved, that talent and ability can take you only to a certain level in sports. In fact, after you cross a certain threshold of performance, talent becomes almost an ‘useless’ virtue to possess, because it breeds pride, complacency, and hence, ignorance. It is only the hardworking and the most stable minds with only a spark of talent, who rule sports.

Performing to the best of one’s abilities has become more relevant in today’s sport, because of the extensive media exposure. Sports are at the peak of their popularity all throughout the world, cutting across the barriers of richness, or poverty, nationality, race, or religion. In order to sustain the tremendous expectations of the fans and also to maintain a high ranking in the international arena, it is important to perform well. Self-confidence, strong resolve, humility to accept defeat, and experience are the best tools to counter the effects of anxiety. Anxiety is not a disease that a sportsperson can get rid of once and for all. It has to be used as a booster to improve performance so as to achieve sporting glory.

Proper Nutrition for Athletes

The term ‘athlete’ is used in a general, as well as specific sense. In general, it means any sports person – one who regularly participates in sports. More specifically, the word is used to describe participants in track and field events, such as events involving jumping, running, and throwing. Athletes have above average physical abilities. To achieve and maintain these abilities, they need to undertake a vigorous exercise routine, proper dietary intake, and adequate rest. They need to be very disciplined about all these aspects. Neglect of any one component can result in a below-par performance.

While food is what we eat, nutrition is what we need. Although the nutrition requirements vary according to the event in which the athlete participates, there are certain general guidelines regarding the diet of athletes. A healthy diet includes the following elements.


Carbohydrates are the chief providers (about 50%) of energy during the early stages of a medium level exercise, and when the exercise is of a short duration (about 1 to 1.5 hours). Carbohydrates provide more energy, for the same amount of oxygen consumed, as compared to fats. Oxygen is obtained from inhaled air; thus burning of carbohydrates results in less exhaustion. Carbohydrates are available in honey, fruit, milk, cereals, potatoes, lasagna, other grain products, and sugar.

Fats are the main energy providers during long duration exercises; free fatty acids supply half of the energy expended during moderate exercise (the other half being provided by carbohydrates). Fats are a concentrated source of energy and their use in providing energy helps avoid the use of protein for the same purpose. This is useful since protein is required for the growth of tissues.

Proteins are the building blocks of the body, and perform the task of building and repairing tissue and muscles. They, along with carbohydrates and fats, provide energy and play a significant role in strengthening the immune system. The intake of proteins may have to be increased for an athlete. However, excessive intake of proteins results in increased water requirement for eliminating nitrogen through urine, thus leading to dehydration. Extra protein intake also results in a higher metabolic rate that requires more oxygen.

Minerals are an important constituent of an athlete’s diet. Potassium is one of the essential minerals that regulates muscle activity. Potassium-rich foods like oranges, bananas, and potatoes provide enough quantity of the mineral. However, excessive intake leads to hyperkalemia, thereby causing muscle weakness and palpitations.

Iron is required for the formation of hemoglobin and therefore in carrying oxygen. It is contained in meat, poultry, fish, and some vegetarian diets as well. Excessive intake of iron can lead to constipation. Calcium is essential for building strong teeth and bones, and zinc is required for normal growth and for energy production in muscle cells. Dairy products are a good source of calcium. A normal diet is enough to replenish the loss of sodium due to sweating. Excessive sodium intake should be avoided.

Vitamins assist in better absorption of iron and play an important role in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Fruits and vegetables in general, contain vitamins. Fibers keep the bowels regular and reduce blood cholesterol. Vitamins act as antioxidants, thereby preventing cell damage. Athletes are more vulnerable to cell damage as they inhale more oxygen.

And last but not the least, water. Water levels directly affect fluidity of blood which transports nutrients, and therefore energy, inside the body. It also regulates the body temperature. Low temperature fluids should be preferred as a source of water as they are absorbed quickly. It is better to consume water at regular intervals during the day and not wait until the thirst makes itself felt, because by then, the athlete is exhausted. This is in addition to the ad hoc consumption during exercise.

Apart from the nutritional requirements, certain dietary practices are of great help. To start the day on a high metabolism and keep the hunger in check, it’s necessary to have a healthy and adequate breakfast. Ideally, five meals should be eaten daily. This spreads out the intake, helps digestion, and keeps the energy levels high. Post-exercise meals aid in quick recovery of lost energy. Also, it is advisable to stay away from canned and fried foods.

Proper nutrition goes a long way in determining the output potential of an athlete. It’s one of the most important factors that will determine his or her success story.

Soccer Safety: Precautions to Avoid Injuries

Soccer SafetyIn contact sports, the number of sports injuries is always on the higher side. Taking safety measures while playing contact sports will ensure that one does not suffer from grievous injuries, and is also able to avoid causing injuries to other players. One contact sport where these safety measures have an important role to play is soccer, for there are always high chances of injuries happening on the soccer field.

There are many advantages of playing different sports, among them is being healthy and fit. Group sports entice a lot of people for it helps to make friends and instills team spirit. Due to the many advantages, it is seen that a number of people have turned towards sports to keep themselves fit, physically and mentally. However, along with reaping benefits of sports, one will also have to take protective measures to reduce the risk of injuries. In this write-up, we will concentrate on preventing injuries while playing soccer. Although physical contact between players is not a planned part of the game, the contact is inevitable during a sport like soccer. The injuries can range from minor to major.

If one has to look at the sports from the spectators point of view, it may not necessarily seem to be a sport where one can be seriously injured. This can be attributed to the fact that there are some players who have mastered the art of gliding through the matches without any physical contact with other players. However, this is true for very few players as most of them have suffered cuts and bruises or have crashed into the ground or have bounced off due to a collision with another player. Hence, safety precautions to be taken while playing soccer have gained immense importance.

Prevention of Soccer Injuries

In soccer, there is a sudden and quick change of direction which leads to contact with the other players. At times, some players can become reckless. Therefore, safety measures have to be in place to protect the player.

Using Protective Gear

The soccer equipment has an important role to play in preventing soccer injuries. If one observes the players when they are on the field, it will be noticed that very few players will have taken the pains to wear the entire set of necessary protective gear. However, to protect oneself from injuries, it makes sense to wear the complete set of protective soccer gear.

Soccer Shoes: Soccer shoes are available in three types, namely molded cleats, ribbed soles, and screw-in cleats. It is recommended that one opts either for molded cleats or ribbed soles. The use of screw-in cleats should be limited and should be used when one is playing in a wet field or on a field with tall grass in it. It is often seen that players do not use the right-sized soccer shoes. Using the right-sized shoes will help in minimizing injuries to a good extent.

Shin Guard: It is seen that shins are the most injured part of the body in a soccer match. The shin guard helps in preventing the common soccer injury, namely the injured shin bone. They protect the legs up to the knees. They can be bought in plastic, rubber, and other forms. Often socks are used to cover the shins which lends necessary protection to the lower legs.

Mouthguard: Other than leg injuries, it is the dental injuries that are commonly seen in soccer. Although it is not mandatory to wear a mouthguard, it is recommended that one wears mouth guards to prevent orofacial injuries. This will also help in protecting the other players from concussions, in case of a collision.

Goalie Gear: Goalies are prone to injuries, therefore, they will have to wear the goalie gear to protect themselves from soccer balls, kicks, collisions, etc. Equipment is also available to protect the wrist, hand, and fingers, which can get severely injured when the goalie is trying to prevent the soccer ball from making its way into the goal post. The clothes a goalie wears should have light padding, so that the other parts of the body are protected as well.

Protecting Yourself and Others

In all the excitement of playing soccer, soccer players often do not inspect the soccer field before taking to it. Making sure the field does not have holes or any other obstacle which can cause injury is important. Obstacles, if any, should be stored away from the field to keep injuries at bay.

The goal post should be well padded to prevent head injuries caused by possible and accidental collision with the post. Although goal posts are firmly entrenched in the ground, it is important to lock the posts so that it does not trip on the players.

It is the duty of the coaches to make sure that all the rules of the game are followed, while the game is being played. At the same time, it is the duty of each player to make sure that he adheres to the rules of the game. It will not only help in preventing injuries to other players but also to oneself. One of the rules followed by most of the leagues is not to use the sliding tackles from behind. This has caused serious injuries in the past, therefore, it has been prohibited.

Care should be taken when one is using heading techniques. There have been many injuries when a player has tried to head the ball and hurt another player in the process. It can also lead to neck injuries due to the impact. Along with head and neck injuries, one has to make sure that one protects the teeth, mouth, and tongue while heading the ball.

Along with taking care when one is heading the ball, one should be careful and avoid head-on collisions. The first precautionary measure that has to be taken is not to charge down the field without paying attention to the position and movements of other players. The next measure is to keep the head up and always be attentive of the players from your team as well as from the opposing team.

Some Essentials Not To Be Overlooked

Now is the time to check the measures that have to be taken to avoid personal injuries during soccer. The first measure that is to be taken is to maintain the fitness levels. If one is not at the optimum fitness level, the chances of injuries rise incredibly. One must have a fitness program in place, which will include aerobic exercise along with strength training. The other aspect of the fitness program is flexibility. If one has not trained in a long time, it is best to increase the training period gradually. This will help in building up the fitness levels.

Stretching is an important part of the fitness regime, which is a ‘must do’ part of the precautions to be taken when one is playing soccer. However, it is commonly seen that most players do not stretch before as well as after the game. When the muscles are stretched properly, tearing and pulling of ligaments and muscles are prevented. Hence, stretching has to be a part of the warm-up as well as cool-down. However, before you stretch before a practice or a game, it is important that you warm up the muscles a little. If the muscles are cold, it increases the chances of injury manifold.

Dehydration is often the cause of muscles cramps. Therefore, it is important that the player is well hydrated. However, it does not mean that one gulps down huge quantities of water at one go. Water should be consumed by sipping small quantities. Often, dehydration causes cramps. In case of a cramp, it is best that the player leaves the field and comes back only after the cramping feeling has subsided completely.

Following basic soccer ethics will go a long way in preventing soccer injuries. Here is a list of DOs and DON’Ts:

-Passing negative or personal comments about the players from the opposing team can insinuate a verbal battle, which in turn can turn physical and violent. Hence, it is necessary that one refrains from passing any hurtful comments.
-Often fights between team members ensue because a particular player does not pay attention to the spirit of the game. At the end of the day, it is important to note that one is after all playing only a game. Avoid cheating in the game. When a match is lost, you will learn from the mistakes, which will help in improving your game to a large extent, rather than cheating and winning the game.
-As a sports player, each soccer player should have and display sportsman spirit, which is the most important soccer etiquette. This should clearly be evident in case of a defeat. Defeat should be accepted with dignity. It is important that the opponent team is congratulated on their win. While accepting the congratulatory wishes, the winning team members should refrain from taunting the members of the opposing team and remember it is ‘just’ a game.
-Players should avoid getting into brawls on the field as well as off the field. Often it is small spats which become ugly. All that happens on the soccer field is best left there itself.

In spite of taking all the required soccer safety precautions, accidents are bound to happen given the nature of the game. Hence, it is important to have first aid kits handy in case of an untoward accident so that the basic treatment can be handed out to the player before he gets proper medical attention. Last but not the least, it is the duty of the players to protect themselves and the other players during the game of soccer and avoid any untoward incident.

Choose the Right Soccer Ball

All soccer balls might seem the same, but there are some major differences in the brands that you need to consider while buying the perfect one for your playing needs. In this article, you will come to know how to choose the right soccer ball for you or your team.

Soccer, also known as football in some countries, is believed to be one of the most popular sports in the world. Watching professionals play this game is certainly fun. Many people are impressed by the skills and stamina involved in this game and decide to start playing. However, you need to know that professional are trained athletes who have the best coaching and gear. If you are thinking about starting to play soccer, the first thing to do is to choose an appropriate ball. Though it may seem that all balls are the same; they might differ in size, quality, and some other factors. Beginners might go for a particular ball by looking at its color and design, which is not a good way of choosing the perfect ball.

Tips on Choosing the Right Soccer Ball

Seasoned football professionals say that there are four factors in determining a good soccer ball: the type, size, the bladder and brand.

Type of Soccer Sport
You need to decide on the level of playing you would be opting for, that is outdoor playing or indoor playing. Outdoor balls are made as per professional soccer standards and the wear and tear they happen to go through. On the other hand, indoor soccer balls are manufactured to suit indoor conditions. For example, these balls are made in a way that they would bounce about 30% less than their outdoor counterparts. Besides, the covering of these balls is made up with a material that is quite similar to that of tennis balls.

Size of the Ball
Next comes soccer ball sizes, which is generally classified in three, four and five. The smallest-sized balls range from 23 to 24 inches, and are most suitable for children. As per standards, these are good choices for those below 8 years. Balls of size four are a little bigger than the previous ones and are most suitable for soccer enthusiasts between 8 to 12 years. Those which have international standards come in size five which is the biggest. These are appropriate for anyone above 12 years.

The Cover or Surface Type
The cover and bladder are two major parts of a soccer ball, which differ significantly in ball types. Traditionally, the surface of the ball is made out of materials namely the synthetic Polyurethane (PU), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), and rubber. Those made with rubber are most suitable for practice and daily playing. Those made up of Polyurethane are more durable and have good water resistance qualities. Soccer balls whose surface is manufactured using PVC material are light and more durable.

The Bladder Type
The bladder is the main material that keeps the ball inflated and in proper shape. It has a valve for filling air. Soccer balls made for practice are manufactured using a combination of butyl and rubber. They do hold air much better than latex ones, but are not light and have a heavy feel on the feet. Professional ones have bladders made with latex, which make the balls more responsive both with the feet and head. They are soft on the feet and maintain the shape of the ball for a long time.

Choosing the Brand
If you are just playing for the sake of exercise, you can simply go into a sports shop and choose a locally made brand. However, if you are thinking about serious matches and practice, there are few good options like Nike, Adidas, Puma, and Umbro. Those from Nike and Adidas are used in professional league sports. However, you will have to pay a decent price for a soccer ball from these world famous brands.

For better control, practice with a ball which is of the same size like the one that you are going to play a match with. While practicing for a match, use the complete gear, to get a feel of the game and increase interest. For better control of the ball, choose good quality soccer shoes which fit you well. Choosing a ball with FIFA Approved or FIFA Inspected logo will ensure utmost durability and quality.