Basketball Positions & Their Roles

The development of the game of basketball has given each position on the court specific responsibilities. For many generations, each team had two guards, two forwards and a center. However, by the mid-1980s, designation of positions like point guard, shooting guard and power forward were commonplace.
The point guard is responsible for handling the ball and triggering his team’s offense. While other players will handle, dribble and pass the ball, the point guard will do the majority of that work. He will also shoot on occasion, but the point guard’s primary job is to get his teammates involved in the offense. On the defensive side, he will usually attempt to stop the opponent’s point guard by harassing his dribble and getting into the passing lanes to create steals. Former Laker great Magic Johnson was one of the best point guards in basketball history.
The ideal shooting guard is a player who can score a lot of points in a short period of time. While the shooting guard must be able to handle the ball and pass successfully, his greatest contribution is as a scorer. The shooting guard must be able to drive to the hoop and hit the outside shot as well. The greatest shooting guard in NBA history was Michael Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles.
The description of small forward usually has nothing to do with a player’s height; it has to do with a player’s ability to make plays with the ball. The small forward has to be able to dribble the ball, drive the ball to the basket and make outside shots. A small forward is often compared to a shooting guard in that they have similar jobs, but a small forward will usually help out more on rebounding and do his job closer to the rim than the shooting guard. Hall of Fame Celtics forward Larry Bird was a great all-around player who was often labeled as a small forward.
The power forward is a big and powerful individual who can dominate rebounding and inside scoring. Most of the power forward’s shots are taken from inside 12 feet and many are within just a few feet of the rim. The power forward must help his team block shots and box opponents out when going for rebounds. Former Utah Jazz star Karl Malone is one of the greatest power forwards in basketball history.
The center is almost always the biggest man on the court–a player who can alter the opponent’s offensive game by his presence, size and wingspan. These factors allow him to accomplish the tasks of blocking and changing shots. A center should also be a good scoring option when his team gets the ball near the basket. Top centers develop an array of offensive moves like the drop step and hook shot to rack up points. Players like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal rank among the best centers in NBA history.

Which Cardio Workouts Burn the Most Calories?

Cardiovascular exercise — you know you need to do it to stay healthy and manage your weight, but you can never seem to find enough time between work, family and social obligations. The good news is you don¡¯t need to spend hours plodding away on the treadmill — you just need to choose the right workout. Activities that use more muscle mass and that involve some sort of resistance will be more taxing and burn a greater amount of calories. In addition, the higher the intensity, the more calories you¡¯ll burn. Take a look at our top 10 picks for cardiovascular exercises that give you the most bang for your buck.
Running, biking or swimming at a steady state is enough to burn some serious calories, especially if you¡¯re just starting out. But if you up your pace for periods of time during your workout and you¡¯ll increase the burn even more. ¡°Sprinting burns a massive amount of calories, but it can only be kept up for a certain amount of time,¡± explains American College of Sports Medicine spokesperson Jim White. A 155-pound person who runs at a pace of 7.5 miles per hour can burn 465 calories in 30 minutes. Try alternating between two minutes at an all-out pace (or the fastest you can sustain for that long), and then recover with one minute of jogging, White recommends.
Tabata training is a high-intensity exercise modality that burns a lot of calories in a short period of time. The protocol consists of doing 20 seconds of work at an all-out pace, followed by 10 seconds of recovery. You repeat this eight times. Almost any activity can be done in a Tabata-training style. A typical Tabata workout might include four exercises — for example, push-ups, squats, jumping rope and crunches. Although the first round might seem easy, just wait. By round eight, your muscles will be screaming! A study conducted by the American Council on Exercise determined that a typical Tabata workout can burn an average of 15 calories per minute, or 450 calories per half hour (workouts usually don’t last longer than 20 to 30 minutes).
Every muscle in your body, from the tips of your fingers to the ends of your toes, is working when you’re climbing a rock wall — whether you’re in a climbing gym or in the great outdoors. The large muscles of the back and legs are the primary movers, requiring energy in the form of calories to get you from the bottom to the top. A 155-pound person climbing for 30 minutes burns approximately 409 calories. Climbing at a good pace or on a really challenging route can increase your total burn.
Your whole body works while you’re swimming. Your legs kick, your arms stroke, your core contracts to keep you afloat. With that much muscle recruitment, it ranks as one of the top calorie-burning cardio exercises you can do. But your stroke choice can make a difference. A 155-pound person burns 372 calories in 30 minutes doing the breast stroke — an impressive number. But that same person doing the butterfly for 30 minutes will burn 409 calories. Where you swim makes a difference too. ¡°Swimming in the ocean where you’re going against the current — that would be a really, really intense workout,¡± says ACSM spokesperson Jim White.
Whether you’re biking or running, throw some resistance in the mix to significantly boost your calorie burn. ¡°Running up a steep hill recruits more muscle fibers,¡± says ACSM spokesperson Jim White. ¡°It’s going to be taxing, and it’s going to definitely burn more calories.¡± In fact, you’ll burn about 10 percent more calories for each degree of incline versus running on a flat surface. That means a 155-pound person running at a five-mph pace will burn 373 calories every half hour at a five-percent grade versus 298 calories at the same speed on a flat surface. Get those glutes firing even more and up your calorie burn at the same time by incorporating more hills into your workout.
You already know running is hard, which might be why you¡¯ve been avoiding it. But, barring any physical limitations like illness or injury, you should definitely make friends with running, because it¡¯s a top calorie burner. ¡°Because you’re moving your body over the ground, running typically has higher rate of caloric expenditure than a lot of other exercises,¡± says Andy Doyle, Ph.D., associate professor of exercise science at Georgia State University. Running at a steady pace of six miles per hour, a 155-pound person can burn 372 calories in 30 minutes. The faster you run, the more calories you’ll burn.
Although it may have seemed effortless as a kid, jumping rope is a highly taxing activity that most people can’t sustain for more than a few minutes at a time. It’s one of ACSM spokesperson Jim White’s top picks for big-time calorie burners. ¡°When you’re jumping like that, it’s almost like full sprinting,¡± he says. A 155-pound person can burn 372 calories in 30 minutes. But, because it’s hard to do for an extended period of time, White recommends doing it in intervals, where you jump rope vigorously for a few minutes and then recover by jogging in place for a minute or two.
¡°Rowing is one of the biggest calorie burners,¡± says ACSM spokesperson Jim White. ¡°You’re using your legs, which is a huge muscle; you’re using your shoulders, your back. It’s continuous; it’s one of the chart toppers.¡± In fact, rowing uses nine major muscle groups, including the hamstrings, quads, glutes, core, lats, shoulders, back, triceps and biceps. Of course, it all depends on the intensity at which you row and the conditions. Rowing inside on an ergometer, where conditions are controlled, may be less challenging than rowing on a lake on a windy day. A 155-pound person rowing on an ergometer at a vigorous pace can burn about 316 calories per 30 minutes.
Cross-country skiing is a winner on professor Andy Doyle’s list of top calorie-burning exercises. He explains that like running, you’re moving your body over the ground when you’re cross-country skiing, which automatically makes it intense. ¡°But now you’re using your arms — poling — as well as your legs with the skis. If you look at doing that going uphill versus on the flat, then that increases the rate of energy expenditure even further.¡± A person who weighs 155 pounds can burn 298 calories cross-country skiing for 30 minutes.
If you don’t know what burpees are, first, be thankful. But to clarify: A burpee is a full-body exercise that entails squatting down, kicking your feet out into a push-up position, doing a push-up, jumping your feet back to your hands, then jumping up into the air and reaching your hands over head. Just doing one or two is no big deal, but doing them continuously for a period of time gives you one serious calorie-burning workout. Although difficult to quantify in terms of calorie burn because of all the variables, burpees involve all the ingredients for major calorie burn: full-body muscle recruitment, resistance and intensity. A 155-pound person can burn 298 calories per half hour doing vigorous calisthenics, similar to burpees, for 30 minutes. Do them continuously, if you can, or break them up into intervals interspersed with another activity such as jogging or jumping rope.
¡°If you’re short on time, your best bang for the buck is to go at as hard an intensity as you can for whatever time period you have,¡± says professor Andy Doyle. Use a heart-rate monitor,fitness tracker or an app like Livestrong.com’s MyPlate to get a more accurate estimate of calories burned. Even if you’re limited to walking because of a medical condition or injury, walk as fast as you can or walk up hills, and you’re going to burn more calories than if you stroll at an easy pace. Push yourself to your limit, and you’ll reap the rewards of a fitter, leaner body.
What is your favorite calorie-burning cardio workout? Do you do any of these from the list? Which are your least favorite? Were you surprised at how many calories your favorite cardio workout burns? Do you use a fitness tracker or heart-rate monitor to track your calorie expenditure during a workout? Share your thoughts, suggestions and experiences with the Livestrong.com community by leaving a comment below.

How to Fix a Leak in a Basketball

Basketballs go through plenty of wear-and-tear during games and practices, not to mention just shooting hoops in the driveway. As such, it should come as no surprise when your ball begins to leak. If you enjoy fixing things yourself, can’t afford to replace the ball or if the ball has some special value, you may choose to repair rather than replace it. It doesn’t matter if ball itself springs a leak or if the valve is leaking — either way, you can fix it.
Submerge the basketball in a tub of water and rotate it, watching for exiting air bubbles to indicate the source of your leak.
Dry the area off and mark the leak with pencil or tape.
Heat the tip of an old, dull knife by holding it over an open flame, moving it back and forth.
Swipe the hot knife across the leak on the basketball until the vinyl begins to melt.
Allow the vinyl to cool and solidify for at least 5 minutes.
Push the inflator needle into the ball’s valve hole, then re-inflate the ball gently by using a hand pump. Fill the ball to its recommended pressure setting and do not over-inflate.
Insert a wet inflating needle into the valve hole several times to clean dirt from the valve.
Insert a toothpick into the valve hole if the leak persists.
Break off the end of the toothpick, leaving the valve plugged.
Purchase a ball repair sealant with a syringe.
Fill the syringe with the sealant according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Insert the syringe into the ball’s valve hole.
Depress the plunger on the syringe, then bounce ball vigorously.

How to Develop Your Opposite Soccer Foot

Just as most people are either left-handed or right-handed, they also have a dominant foot. In soccer, most players tend to rely on their dominant foot for tasks that require precision and power. While perfectly natural, this means that players may miss opportunities to shoot or pass with their weaker opposite foot. With practice, though, it’s possible to improve the performance of the opposite foot.
Many players don’t notice that the way they touch the ball with their opposite foot, even in routine actions such as dribbling, is different from the way they touch the ball with their dominant foot. Watching this difference during ball-control drills or dribbling can help to close the gap between the two. Try imitating the motion of the dominant foot using the opposite foot and observe how this changes performance. It isn’t always easy to monitor the foot while dribbling; recording the action may be useful.
A simple drill can improve shooting with either foot. A small group of players or coaches is needed. A player begins by running and receiving a pass from a player to the right of the goal, then shooting. Without waiting, she continues running to the left to receive a pass from a player standing by the side of the goal. The first player then shoots with the left foot. The drill should be reversed for players whose dominant foot is the left.
Shooting isn’t the only skill that needs to be developed for both feet. Passing, trapping and even dribbling can all benefit from extra emphasis on the opposite foot. Practice simple drills such as juggling the ball in the air using the opposite foot or bouncing the ball from a wall and then trapping it. Most soccer players do these drills regularly; the only real difference here is that you are concentrating on using them to develop the opposite foot.
Most people spend their lives favoring their dominant foot. This isn’t limited to the soccer field but occurs in all walks of life. As a result, the opposite foot, and the opposite leg in general, are not going to be as strong or coordinated as the dominant leg and foot. It’s important not to expect immediate results; it will take time and practice to produce stronger skills with the opposite foot. The dominant foot may always be stronger, but an improved opposite foot will help make you more versatile.

Rules & Regulations of Cal Ripken Baseball Leagues

The Cal Ripken Baseball leagues are youth baseball organizations named for former Baltimore Orioles star Cal Ripken, a Hall of Fame player who set a major league record by playing in 2,632 consecutive games. The Ripken leagues adopt most standard baseball rules, but they make a few changes to serve the youth community.
The bases are 90 feet apart on standard baseball diamonds with outfield fences at least 300 feet from the plate. The Ripken leagues call for field sizes that suit the age of the players. The Coach Pitch and T-Ball divisions set bases 45 to 50 feet apart with fences about 150 to 175 feet from home. The bases are 60 feet apart and the fences no more than 200 feet in the Rookies division, for kids 8 and younger and the 10-and-under Minors division. The bases are 70 feet apart in the Majors division for players 12 and under.
Mature arms have to pitch a ball 60 feet, 6 inches from the plate on a mound 10 inches high. In the Ripken leagues, the pitcher¡¯s rubber is 6 inches high and 46 feet from the plate in the Minors division. The rubber is 8 inches high and 50 feet from the plate in the Majors division.
Unlike standard baseball rules, a Ripken League starter can leave a game and return once, although some local jurisdictions prohibit pitchers from re-entering the game to pitch again. The pitching rules are set up to protect young arms. Ripken League pitchers may not throw more than six innings in one calendar week, which begins Monday and runs through Sunday. Additionally, pitchers who throw at least three innings in a game can’t pitch again for two calendar days.
Leading off isn’t allowed — base runners have to stay put until the pitch reaches home plate. When a catcher drops a third strike, the batter can’t run to first. Additionally, runners in motion must avoid what Ripken League rules refer to as ¡°malicious¡± contact with defensive players. This is a safety measure to avoid collisions in which a runner tries to knock the ball out of a fielder¡¯s glove.
Batters and base runners must wear helmets at all times. Catchers must wear headgear that includes a helmet, face mask and throat protector and an athletic cup. Bats can’t be larger than 33 inches long and 2 1/4 inches in diameter.

Impulsive Aggressive Behavior

Impulsive aggressive behavior, or actions that can’t be controlled and are aimed at harming the self or others, can be detrimental to relationships and lives. People suffering from impulsive aggression often feel that they can¡¯t contain their rage and lash out without even thinking about their actions. Environmental situations, genetic dispositions and even impaired brain functioning can cause impulsive aggression. Treatment may be available for sufferers.
Dr. Larry Siever of the Mount Sanai School of Medicine in New York says impulsive aggression is a characteristic of many medically diagnosable personality disorders found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the book psychiatrists use to diagnose mental health disorders. Ranging from borderline personality disorder to narcissistic personality disorder, impulsive aggression can be self-directed, often a result of a hurt ego or severe emotional pain, envy or trauma. Aggression can also be directed at others, leaving some with anti-social personality disorder in jail.
In an article published in the January 2003 issue of Psychiatric News, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, researchers Antonia New and Siever found that certain systems in the brain that inhibit aggression were impaired in people who exhibited impulsive aggression. Much research shows that when certain areas of the brain– the amygdala, orbital regions of the prefrontal cortex and the temporal lobe–are impaired by lesions, tumors or other obstructions, it can lead to aggressive behavior and rage. According to New, research evidence suggests that serotonin receptors may be impaired in subjects who lack the ability to control aggressive impulses.
In the same issue of the Psychiatric News, another article by Christine Lehmann says impulsive aggression may have a genetic background. Studying twins, the researchers found that genetic makeup can explain up to 65 percent of impulsive aggression. However, Antonia New also said that genetic background is only a small factor when coupled with environmental factors.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a debilitating condition. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it’s characterized by mood swings, unstable relationships, broken self-esteem or self-image and erratic behavior. One of the main symptoms of BPD is compulsive aggression. Because a person with BPD suffers from intense instability, depression, anxiety and anger that can last for moments to days, self-directed aggression is common. BPD causes emotional vulnerabilities that, when touched during an event or situation, can cause a severe and aggressive reaction.
Treatment is difficult when it comes to depression. According to Dr. Martin Korn, MAO inhibitors, SSRIs, lithium, anti-depressants and benzodiazepines all show some positive signs of helping those suffering from impulsive aggression, but all have serious side effects. A new drug called divalproex has been tested at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and it shows promise for use as treatment. Most often, aggression is treated as a symptom of something else. Whether a indication of anger management issues or borderline personality disorder, the disorder itself is treated in the hopes of managing aggression and any other symptoms associated with the disorder.

What Are Three Good Positions in Football for Small Players?

While the common conception of football is that it’s only for tall players, the fact is that the versatility of the game provides an avenue for athletes of all shapes and sizes to shine. Smaller players have three important positions in which they can excel, where elusiveness can more than make up for a lack of width or height. While there are a number of positions where smaller players can contribute, three such positions rise to the top of the list for importance to the execution of offense, defense and special teams.
Small is, of course, a relative term. Depending on what level you intend to play, you may find that you’re smaller than the average teammate in one group, and a powerhouse in another. In college and the professional ranks, 6-foot-2 is the average height, meaning half the players are taller and half are shorter. In high school, the averages are too variable to arrive at a definitive height range, because that age group experiences bursts of growth. However, anything shorter than 5-foot-8 is generally considered small. In general, if you are several inches shorter with a slighter build and less mass than other players on the field, you can group yourself in the ¡°small¡± player segment. If you’re an athlete with speed, agility or even relentless determination, a team can use those skills to outwit the opposing team in some particular phase of the game.
The position of safety is the last line of defense for a football team. When the defense is on the field, a two-safety tandem will often play well back from the line of scrimmage, and their responsibility is to contain offensive players if they have pushed past all other defenders, if the offense is throwing a deep pass, or if the offense needs to use a safety blitz to attack the line of scrimmage. The position requires speed rather than size, and a small player with quick feet can cut the opponent’s progress before it reaches the end zone.
Another position where speed and elusiveness is more important than mass and strength is punt returner. The punt returner plays on a team’s special teams unit. The special teams unit handles what’s considered as transition plays, such as kickoffs and punt returns. Basically, whenever the ball changes possession from one team to the other, barring an in-play turnover, a special teams unit handles the transition. The position requires the punt returner to field a punted ball cleanly, evade the first wave of the opponent’s coverage, then work upfield to gain as many positive yards as possible. Speed, elusiveness and low center of gravity are extremely helpful in evading the opponent’s coverage and in fighting for extra yardage after the catch.
In many offensive systems, a running back can succeed as long long as that player can find gaps, maintain balance, outrun defenders and remain hidden. A small player can excel in the roll of running back, because defenders often lose sight of the smaller player when he is hidden behind his own large offensive linemen. Combine this with an increased chance of pushing through the holes between defensive linemen since the smaller player often will make contact below the shoulders, smaller players can gain significant yardage past the line of scrimmage in the right offensive system.

How Do Energy Force Bands Work?

Energy force bands are popular fashion, and sports, accessories. Manufacturers and marketers of the bands claim they improve balance and athletic performance. Sports superstars, such as NBA basketball player Shaquille O’Neal and Major League Soccer player David Beckham, wear them and say the bracelets help them perform better. Others say that they do nothing to improve performance.
Manufacturers of energy force bands ¡ª also called power balance bracelets ¡ª state that the world is tuned to an electromagnetic frequency. Energy Force USA, a marketer of the bracelets, says that the frequency is 7.3814 hertz. The bracelets claim to assist in tuning your electromagnetic frequency to that same universal frequency. “The totality of our existence,” Energy Force USA says in its marketing material, “depends on the efficient exchange and balance of positive and negative electrical charges called ions.”
The bracelet puts your body’s electrical charges in better balance, according to one bracelet retailer who sells to golfers. Those electrical charges are called ions. The bracelets are said to produce negative ions to reduce the impact on the body of an onslaught of positive ions from computers, pollution, cell phones and other sources that put you out of balance in the first place.
There are multiple benefits that manufacturers claim the bracelets provide by putting you in better balance with the world’s frequency. The bracelets improve physical balance and muscle power. They also claim to give you more range of motion. In addition, there are claims of mental benefits, including greater focus, more intense concentration and improved awareness.
Researchers in a study at the School of Health Science at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology found that energy force bands had “no effect on balance and stability.” Researchers at the school further extrapolated results from the study on 42 subjects to examine claims about the bracelet’s primary benefit, which is improving balance. Because balance didn’t improve in the study, according to the chief investigator, Dr. Simon Brice, “the validity of other purported benefits seems highly unlikely.”

Longest Winning Streaks in Baseball History

A baseball winning streak refers to an uninterrupted number of games won. As a former major league player John Lowenstein stated, ¡°The secret to keeping winning streaks going is to maximize the victories while at the same time minimizing the defeats¡± There may be no other sport out there that has any greater history and tradition than baseball.
The 1916 the New York Giants won 26 games in row, with one tie on Sept. 18, 1916. Major League Baseball rules exclude games that end in a tie from being documented as official statistics. The official MLB longest winning streak belongs to the 1935 Chicago Cubs at 21 games. In the American League the 2002 Oakland Athletics hold the longest winning streak at 20 games.
The NCAA all division single season consecutive win record for baseball is 46 games set by the Division II 2000 Savannah State University Tigers. In NCAA Division I the 1977 Texas Longhorns and the 1999 Florida Atlantic Owls both won 34 consecutive games. In 2008 the Trinity College Bantams set the NCAA Division III record with a 44-game winning streak.
The longest winning streak in the World Championship belongs to the Cuban National team. The streak started in 1984 and ended in 2007, with Cuba winning 9 consecutive World Cup titles. Team Cuba was on display for the entire World to see as the record was established. The streak ended 2007 in Taipei City, as USA defeated Cuba 6-3.
Each winning streak in baseball is meant to have an ending. The records are a part of history and represent the standard set for the next record breaker. An article written by Robert Ayzin in “Baseball Digest” reminds us that, ¡°some parts of baseball record books will stand the test of time remaining unchanged and constant.¡±

Walking Shoes & Foot Pain

Correcting foot pain associated with walking could be as simple as investing in a new pair of shoes. Foot pain during walking is not a sign that your shoes need to be broken in. The right pair of walking shoes should be comfortable from the start, according to outdoor outfitter REI.com.
Walking is a low-impact, effective exercise option that requires minimal investment. Wearing improper shoes during walking, however, can lead to injury and discomfort. According to the Big Peach Running Co., “The three most common causes of injury in runners and walkers are doing too much too soon, not stretching enough and improper footwear.” Selecting walking shoes that are right for your gait is your first defense against foot pain and injury. A visit to a specialty shoe store can help you identify whether your foot collapses to the inside, outside or falls in a neutral position when walking. This pronation determines the type of shoes you need, the Big Peach Running Co. says.
According to REI.com, “72 percent of Americans wear shoes that don’t fit properly,” and “up to 40 percent of these people get foot problems as a result.” Even if you’ve been fitted for shoes before, factors including age, pregnancy, changes in weight and an increase in athletic activity can lead to a change in foot size. To get the right fit, wear the same style sock you plan to walk in, try on both shoes and walk around the store. If possible, walk outside. The shoes should fit comfortably without shifting on your heel.
A common cause of heel pain for walkers is plantar fascitiis, an inflammation of the plantar fascia that runs along the foot’s sole, according to John Hopkins Medicine. The onset of plantar fasciitis is associated with an increase in walking, or, in some cases, aging. Recovery time might be as long as six to 12 weeks, according to John Hopkins Medicine, and treatments require cutting back on walking distance or switching to activities such as swimming or cycling that reduce stress on the feet. Other possible sources of pain in the feet include, but are not limited to, bone spurs, black toe and fallen arches. If pain in your feet continues after you switch to the right style of walking shoe, visit a physician.
Walking shoes are designed to last 400 to 500 miles. Signs of excessive wear include stretched heels and worn outsoles. According to REI.com, “pain in your feet, legs, hips or back” after walking could signify that it’s time for a new pair of shoes. REI.com advises that to extend the life of your walking shoes, you should use them only during exercise and unlace your shoes each time you remove them.
Even though walking is a low-impact form of exercise, you still need to increase your mileage gradually. Walking long distances without a proper investment of time and training could lead to injury. Add a few minutes to your walk each day until you reach your distance or time goal. Invest in socks made from breathable, moisture-wicking fabric, and wear them every time you walk to avoid blisters. Replace socks that are thinning or that are beginning to develop holes.