What Is a Good Pregame Meal for a Basketball Player?

A good pregame meal for a basketball player should consist of a combination of protein and carbohydrates and should keep fats to a minimum. Players should avoid empty calories from high-fat and sugary foods such as potato chips, cheeseburgers and cupcakes. Providing your body with nutritious food before a game will pay dividends during the game, allowing your muscles to operate at peak performance levels.
Proteins come in a variety of foods, including meats, dairy products and nuts, and are vital to muscle performance. Choose a lean meat, such as turkey or chicken, when building your pregame meal but do not include deep-fried options of these lean selections. A sandwich is a good way to work lean meat into a meal without adding unnecessary fat and cholesterol. Meats also can be worked into a meal as part of a pasta dish or in a soup that¡¯s loaded with vegetables. A tall glass of milk or a handful of nuts are other staples you can work into your pregame meal to provide your body with the needed protein to help your muscles perform optimally.
Carbohydrates break down quickly in the body, providing it with an effective source of nutrition, which comes in a variety of forms, including pasta, bread, fruits and vegetables. Pasta dishes, such as spaghetti and fettuccine, are good sources of carbohydrates and, by nature, are low in fat as long as no or lean meat is used to accompany the dish. When using bread, be sure to choose whole-wheat, high-fiber breads as these types typically contain fewer preservatives and promote digestive health. Fruits and vegetables make effective additions to a pregame meal and offer a satisfied feeling without making you feel weighed down.
A six-inch ham, turkey and Swiss sub sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes and green peppers makes a good pregame meal that is both nutritious and tasty. Avoid the mayo and other high-fat condiments and add a banana or apple with some carrot sticks to this meal to round out the meal¡¯s nutritional value. If you¡¯ve got a hankering for a cheeseburger before tip-off, opt for lean ground beef and be sure to include veggies on the burger. Cheese is high in fat, but a slice will not offset the overall nutritional value of these sample meals. Although sports drinks may be a good choice during a game because of their replenishing and quick-energy qualities, they should be avoided before a game. Water and milk are ideal beverages for a pregame meal.
Pregame meals should be eaten two to three hours before tip-off for optimal blood sugar and nutritional levels to have an impact on performance. As a rule, the closer to game time, the smaller the meal. Because they digest slowly, keep fats and protein to a minimum. Your pregame meals should consist of foods you are familiar with and that will not cause digestive problems. Avoid foods that are known to cause gas, such as vegetables from the cabbage family and cooked beans. Choose low-glycemic foods, which digest quickly, helping to regulate your blood sugar levels.

How to Become a Faster Soccer Player

Speed is an essential skill for soccer players. As with other aspects of physical fitness, regular practice and proper nutrition will make you a faster player. If possible, practice speed drills under the guidance of an experienced coach, who can push you to work hard in a safe manner. Typically, a normal, healthy diet is sufficient, though eating a carbohydrate-rich snack before your workouts might give you an energy boost.
Wear cleats, which provide greater traction than normal athletic shoes. They will help you run faster and make direction changes without slipping. If you’re playing on a team, find out if your league has regulations governing what type of cleats you can wear.
Practice quick direction changes, which will help you fool defenders so you can speed past them. An effective drill is to run back and forth between two points on the field that are several yards apart. Focus on sprinting as quickly as possible from one spot to the other without overshooting either.
Sprint up hills. Soccer matches take place on flat fields, but running up an incline develops your muscles quicker than running on a level surface.
Perform downhill sprints to teach your nervous system to coordinate fast leg movements. Sprinting down an incline forces your nervous system to send quick signals to your leg muscles to maintain balance. Perform a sprint on a flat surface immediately after your downhill sprint to help your body incorporate the faster signaling into normal running situations.
Dribble a soccer ball while you sprint. It’s not easy to keep the soccer ball near you while you run fast, so focus on controlling the ball. The ability to run fast while maintaining control of the ball makes you an effective player.
Perform running drills with other players to spur your competitive streak. For example, develop explosive running power by performing 30- to 40-foot sprints as a team. Develop maximum acceleration over short distances by sprinting 80 to 100 feet.

Diuretic Foods for Ankle & Leg Swelling

There are many reasons why your ankles and legs might become swollen. Pregnancy, a diet high in salt, sunburn, heart failure, kidney disease, liver problems and certain medications may be to blame. You should always see your doctor if you have swelling, especially if you already have any medical conditions or are taking medications. Otherwise, eating certain foods, such as watermelon, celery and leeks, may help your body get rid of some of the water it’s holding onto and reduce the swelling in your limbs.
Water retention, also called edema, occurs when fluid builds up between the body’s cells or in the circulatory system. There are two types of edema — generalized, where the whole body retains water, and localized, in which only certain areas retain water. The feet, ankles and legs are the most common areas people experience localized water retention. Older individuals and pregnant woman are more likely to experience edema, but anyone of any age may retain water.
Your doctor may prescribe diuretic medications, which, theoretically, do the same thing that diuretic foods do — they make you urinate to get rid of water your body is holding onto. The difference is that prescription medications have been scientifically proven to work, where as there is no scientific evidence that eating certain foods will do any good. The good thing about diuretic foods, however, is that they add nutrients to to your diet and won’t do you any harm, whereas diuretic medications can cause nutrient deficiencies and can have other serious side effects. However, if you’re already being treated for swelling, discuss any dietary changes with your doctor because some foods that are natural diuretics may interact with your diuretic medications.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vegetables with diuretic properties include asparagus, parsley, beets, grapes, green beans, leafy greens, pineapples, pumpkins, onions, leeks and garlic. Registered dietitian David Grotto told the Fitness magazine website that watermelon is a natural diuretic, and JJ Virgin, author of “The Virgin Diet,” told the Fox News website that cucumber and watercress have diuretic properties. In the same article, health expert Dr. Lori L. Shemek told Fox News that dandelion is a natural diuretic.
Certain dietary and lifestyle changes can help reduce swelling. If your water retention is the result of a high-salt diet, reduce your intake of salty foods and increase your intake of potassium-rich foods such as bananas and oranges. Potassium helps flush sodium from the body to restore balanced fluid levels. The University of Maryland Medical Center also recommends limiting your intake of refined foods like white bread, rice and pasta, avoiding alcohol and exercising lightly five days a week.

How to Make Your Arms Not Hurt During Volleyball

Indoor, grass and beach volleyball is an exciting sport and effective workout. This team sport does not require top athletic conditioning but does make use of several body muscle groups as volleying, hitting and spiking the ball involves jumping and lunging. Volleyball also requires maneuvering and hitting the ball forcefully with the hands and forearms. This can lead to sore and reddened arms. However, using correct body positioning techniques can help decrease sore arms and improve your volleyball game.
Wear protective wrist padding on both wrists. Wrist pads for volleyball are lightly padded elastic terrycloth bands that provide a buffer between the bony areas of your wrist and the volleyball. Stretch your arms, shoulders and legs to warm up your muscles before beginning a game of volleyball.
Bend your knees into a crouch before lunging upward to hit or spike the ball. Hold your arms low and behind you as you jump to get more height. Raise your arms to hit the ball as you reach the top of your jump. This helps to propel your body upward and hit the ball with force from your entire body, not just your arm and hand strength.
Hold your non-dominant hand in front of you and your dominant hand behind your head as you prepare to spike the volleyball with one hand. Swing your dominant hand straight out to hit the ball. Your non-dominant hand helps to balance your body. Holding your other hand behind you, give it more momentum as you reach out to hit the ball. After spiking or hitting the ball, bring your hand straight down. Letting your arm go across your body can injure your arm or shoulder.

What Does PRK Stand for in Football?

With so many sports statistics available online these days, it’s not uncommon to see an abbreviation you don’t recognize. One such statistic in football is PRK, sometimes abbreviated as RK, which can mean player rank or position rank. This statistic is very significant, because it can tell you a lot about a player in relation to the rest of the league.
PRK can tell you how a particular player is performing against the other players in the league. This ranking is usually based around one key statistic; for example, a quarterback’s PRK might be based on quarterback rating, whereas a running back’s PRK is usually based on rushing yards. Most websites will allow you to filter by a specific stat so the PRK will be based on the stat you want to analyze.
The more useful purpose of PRK is to break down which players are the best at their respective positions. Some sites use an overall rank to show which players are the league’s best, then a position rank to indicate the top performers at that position. This is especially useful if you’re looking at a list of an entire player pool, but just want to see who the elite players are at a specific position.
The main use of PRK is in fantasy football, where players must draft and sign real-life players for their fantasy teams. Usually, the player selections are done from a main screen that shows all of the available players to select. PRK can help players to find the best players at the position they want to fill. Because different positions have different levels of value in fantasy football, this stat is essential to having a winning team.
While PRK tends to be a fantasy-centric stat, it does have its purpose in other types of football, such as non-fantasy pro football. For instance, PRK can tell you if your team’s star receiver is one of the league’s best. PRK can also help you to see a player’s contributions outside of his usual skill area, such as a quarterback’s rushing yards or a running back’s receiving statistics.

What Are the Health Benefits of Being a Football Player?

Football is a dangerous game because of the high speed and collisions. Players regularly suffer knee, shoulder and ankle injuries and the possibility of catastrophic injury is one that players and their families must consider. Players prepare to play football by getting in excellent physical condition. Despite the dangers, football players enjoy greater strength and cardiovascular health, not only during the regular playing season, but during the off-season when in training.
Football players work on improving their cardiovascular condition throughout the season. One of the ways this is done is with interval sprint training. Coaches line their players up at the goal line and sprint to the 10-yard line and back, the 20-yard line and back, the 30-yard line and back and then the 40-yard line and back. After completing these sprints, players get a one-minute break and repeat the sprints.
All football players lift weights and do exercises to get stronger. This is especially essential for linemen and linebackers. Lifting free weights helps players build explosive strength, and some of the top strength-building exercises include the bench press, arm curls, dead lifts and lunges. Players also do pushups, burpees and bear crawls to build strength that can be used in games. When players increase their strength and power levels, they can make explosive movements on the field that can increase the likelihood of big plays.
The most effective players are the ones who have the most speed and quickness. This is especially true of running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs. Increasing speed can be done by running hills, running with resistance and plyometric training. Hill running will build strength and power when you run uphill and balance and technique when running downhill. Resistance training can be provided by running with a parachute attached to your back. Box jumping will give you a significant plyometric workout and build up the key speed-building muscles in your calves, hamstrings and glutes.
Whether a player is a starter or a bench-warmer in football, going through the process of training to get ready for a full season is a confidence builder. You will go through strenuous workouts that not everyone can finish successfully. The work you do will help you get bigger, stronger and faster and this will pay off in confidence in everyday life. Walking through your daily activities with confidence can improve your mental outlook and help make you happier and healthier.
No matter how much you improve your condition, football remains a dangerous game. This is especially true of players who play at the high school level and above. Players at those levels are fast, strong and powerful, making collisions more violent. Never lead with your helmet when tackling, don’t take anabolic steroids to build strength and don’t over-train. If you are lifting weights three times per week, you won’t get twice as strong by lifting six times per week. That will overwork your muscles and lead to injuries and cause your muscle fibers to breakdown.

What Are the Duties of Football Coaches?

Head football coaches are often stereotyped as simple taskmasters, but in reality, their jobs are anything but simple. In addition to running games, head football coaches must deal with players, assistants and team or school officials, all while providing a face for the team. While coaches manage their teams in different ways, there are some key fundamental duties they all must handle.
In ¡°the buck stops here¡± fashion, head football coaches are responsible for a team¡¯s overall offensive and defensive strategies. Because football teams are typically large — from around 20 players at smaller high schools to more than 100 at major colleges — football head coaches typically delegate plenty of responsibility to coordinators. But, with a week between most games, head football coaches typically sign off on any pre-game strategies they don¡¯t create themselves.
The head coach generally outlines what the team does during practice, even though assistant coaches handle most of the individual instruction. Head coaches typically have the final say on personnel matters, such as which players make the team and which become starters. The head coach also sets the team¡¯s rules, and the consequences for breaking those rules. In many ways, head football coaches act as CEOs, setting the overall tone for the team while others execute their plans.
Coaches at huge prep programs can take on elements of the CEO model. But at most levels, head coaches often supervise areas such as weight training, break down video of future opponents and buy equipment. They may also work with booster clubs and deal with parents who may not be happy with their sons¡¯ playing time. Regardless of a school’s size, high school coaches deal with less experienced players, so they must do more fundamental teaching than coaches at higher levels.
The key difference in college is the head football coach must be his team¡¯s key recruiter. Assistants may coordinate and even start the recruiting process, but the head coach must act as the closer. As a result, college head coaches must be familiar with NCAA recruiting rules. Coaches at all levels have fundraising duties, such as appearing at events for school donors. They also have to deal with unscrupulous agents and others who may try to take advantage of star players.
Coaches at the professional level have large staffs of assistants and help from small armies of scouts and personnel experts. Nevertheless, a professional head coach must work very long hours viewing video of opponents, holding meetings with players and assistants, and running practices. Pro head coaches are also involved in personnel decisions, such as which players to select during the college draft and which free agents to sign. On the field, the head coach is the final decision maker for his team, and the only one who may challenge an official’s ruling.

5 Basic Elements of Physical Fitness

Physical fitness is not limited to a lean or buff appearance. Fitness is determeined by the ability of the muscular, circulatory and respiratory systems to meet increased intensity demands. There are five basic elements that, together, lead to overall fitness. With optimal fitness levels, come numerous health benefits — improved quality of life, the staying power to perform everyday tasks without undue fatigue, and a reduced risk of illness and injury.
Cardiovascular endurance is measured by how efficiently your heart and lungs provide fuel, in the form of blood and oxygen, to your tissues and cells to sustain continuous movement. You can keep track of cardiovascular fitness by tacking your heart rate while performing continuous movement using large muscle groups — while running on a treadmill, for example. Other assessments measure distances traveled while jogging or the time taken to complete a specified distance. Improved cardiovascular endurance results in a reduced risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and other heart-related problems.
Muscular fitness is based on the ability of your muscles to exert force to overcome resistance. Check muscle strength by measuring the amount of force needed to overcome maximal resistance in an exercise in one effort. An example is the amount of weight that can be lifted in a one-repetition bench press. Build muscle endurance by performing many repetitions of a lower resistance exercise with a less than maximal amount of force. An example is the number of pushups that can be performed using your body weight as resistance. Optimal strength and endurance help to increase muscle mass, improve posture and alignment, and reduce the risk of back problems and joint injuries.
Defined as the range of motion of your joints, surrounding muscles and connective tissue, flexibility is joint specific, so no one test can assess overall flexibility. Evaluations, such as the sit and reach, are based on the distance that your body covers while performing stretches. While sitting with your legs extended in front, hinge at the hips to extend your upper body towards your feet. If you can touch your toes, your hamstrings, the large muscles along the back of your thighs, are flexible. Adequate flexibility enhances physical performance while lowering the risk of injuries.
Compare lean body mass to body fat to determine body composition. Assessments are based on the percentage of body fat to total body weight. Recommended body fat percentages depending on age, according to Sports Fitness Advisor, range from 14 to 25 percent for women and nine to 19 percent for men. Excess body fat percentages increase the risk of obesity and health-related problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Body composition levels can be managed with a combination of exercise and proper nutrition.

Does Exercise Improve Learning in Children?

Obesity has been on the rise in both children and adults in America, making learning the impacts of being physically fit a necessity. Sitting in the classroom helps increase learning in one way, but being physically fit has also been found to not just work out the body, but also the mind.
When children increase blood flow that means there is a better flow of blood throughout the entire body. Though better blood flow is achieved with a healthy diet — full of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables — exercise helps the body maintain that flow. Dr. Majid Fotuhi, the Chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Health and Fitness in Baltimore, states that exercise that exercise in children not only increases blood flow but promotes neurogenesis, a process that generates neurons in the brain. Essentially, exercise is great for a child’s developing brain. (Ref 1)
Along with better blood flow through the body and brain, exercise can also aid the memory process. Exercise like walking or cycling have been found to have major effects on the performance of children in school. Art Kramer of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois says that fit children are better at multitasking and think more efficiently, functions directly related to memory, than those children who don’t exercise . (Ref 2)
Cognitive control — the ability to pay attention — is a correlated with exercise too. Charles Hillman, the director of the Neurocognitive Kinesiology Laboratory at Illinois, has completed research that indicates children who engage in physical activity may increase their ability to improve their cognitive control. (Ref 3) For children who have trouble paying attention — or have disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder — exercise may be a viable solution. A study performed by a Michigan State University researcher, showed that children who have ADHD can better drone out distractions and focus on a task after a brief exercise session. (Ref 4)
Though academic achievement and concentration go hand-in-hand, sports have been found to help learning functions. Participation in sports and other forms of physical activities enhance areas like information processing, behavior, and memory. Research on the correlation between physical activity and enhanced learning and better grades is on the rise. It may be that even more vigorous physical activity may further enhance learning in children. (Ref 5)

Calf & Thigh Pain When I Touch and Flex

Calf and thigh pain upon touching and flexing can result for a number of reasons, including sciatica, which produces pain along the path of your sciatic nerve that can be painful to the touch. Muscle cramps, strains and tears may also cause pain in your thighs and calves. Treatment and prevention options, such as cold packs, hot packs and stretching exercises, may help alleviate and prevent this discomfort in your legs. Consult your doctor regarding the specific nature of your pain.
Sciatica occurs due to compression of the sciatic nerve that runs from your lower back to your calves. This painful symptom commonly results from a tear in the outer covering of a disk in your back and the subsequent leakage of its contents, which puts pressure on the nerve¡¯s root. Sciatica can produce a dull ache in your lower back, hip, buttocks, thighs, calves, ankles, feet or toes, as well as a shooting pain that runs from your lower back down your leg. This nerve pain ranges from mild to severe and may occur after periods of prolonged sitting, physical exertion or when flexing your back. Moreover, the affected area may be sensitive and sore to the touch. Contact your doctor if you experience extreme or progressive pain that lasts longer than a week or if your pain occurs in conjunction with numbness or muscle weakness in your legs.
Muscle cramps are forcible, involuntary contractions of your muscles that can produce minor to severe pain that can last 15 minutes or longer. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, muscle cramps most commonly occur in the gastrocnemius muscles in the back of your calves, in the hamstrings on the back of your thighs, and in the quadriceps muscles on the front of your thighs. However, cramps can also occur in your hands, feet and other parts of your body. During a cramp, you may feel a hard, painful lump of muscle tissue. Spasms can appear while you complete exercises, such as knee-to-chest bends, as well as while you sit, walk and sleep. An increased risk of muscle cramps occurs in well-trained athletes, along with infants, young children, older adults and overweight individuals. If you experience frequent, severe pain that isn¡¯t related to an obvious cause, such as exercise, consult your doctor.
Your hamstrings — muscles that run from your pelvis, through your knees and stop at the top of your calves ¨C- help you bend your knees. The pulling, straining or tearing of these muscles may also cause pain in your calves and thighs. Hamstring injuries often result from overuse or overstretching through participating in activities, such as soccer, football, basketball, sprinting and running. A hamstring injury can result in sudden, sharp pain in the back of your thigh followed by swelling and tenderness. You may also experience a sense of popping or tearing. A direct hit on your muscles as they contract can result in a hamstring tear. A severe tear may produce a knot of tissue on your thigh and pain when you bend your knee or touch the affected area. Minor pain can gradually progress each time you repeat the activity that initially caused the injury. Depending on the severity of your injury, a full recovery may take up to three months.
Whether the pain in your legs results from sciatica, painful muscles or from other reasons, several at-home remedies may help reduce your discomfort and prevent further injuries. For instance, applying an ice pack up to 20 minutes several times per day may reduce inflammation. You can also apply a hot pack or alternate hot and cold treatments. In addition, over-the-counter medications, gentle stretching and massages might relieve pain in your calves and thighs. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends completing regular flexibility exercises before and after you exercise. Exercises that stretch the muscles in your calves and thighs can promote more efficient muscle contractions and lessen your chances of muscle injury or cramping. One calf-muscle stretch involves leaning forward with your hands against a wall, one leg in front of the other and your heels flat. In addition, riding a stationary bicycle before bed can also help reduce muscle and nerve pain. Consult your doctor before attempting to treat your painful legs at home.