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.
Most adults in the United States don’t consume enough magnesium, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Your body needs magnesium to strengthen bones and teeth, to aid in energy metabolism, to regulate blood pressure and to help the nervous and muscular systems function appropriately. If you lack adequate magnesium, you may experience trouble sleeping, mental agitation, an abnormal heartbeat, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and frequent muscle cramps, including foot cramps. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your magnesium intake.
While most people don’t get the magnesium they need, those who are severely deficient in the mineral are the most likely to develop muscle spasms and foot cramps. The elderly, Type 2 diabetics, chronic alcoholics and people with hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis and gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease are at the greatest risk for magnesium deficiency. You may also have abnormally low magnesium levels if you regularly consume a high amount of soda, coffee or salt.
Some health experts recommend supplementing with magnesium to ward off deficiency and to prevent symptoms like foot cramps. However, a review study published in 2012 in the “Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews” found that magnesium supplementation did not appear to be a reliable way of preventing muscle cramps in older adults or pregnant women. The researchers also concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to determine if supplemental magnesium can effectively and safely treat cramps that are caused by disease or exercise.
Do not attempt to self-treat foot cramps with supplemental magnesium until you’ve spoken to your doctor. Magnesium supplements may cause nausea, stomach pain and diarrhea. They may also interfere with the function of tetracycline antibiotics, diuretics, bisphosphonates used in the treatment of osteoporosis, digoxin, penicillamine and the tranquilizer chlorpromazine. Avoid supplemental magnesium if you have kidney or heart disease, and never consume more than the recommended dosage. Adults who take more than 350 milligrams of magnesium supplements daily may have an increased risk of heart and kidney problems and low blood pressure.
The best way to ensure you get the magnesium you need to avoid problems like foot cramps is to eat a diet that includes a variety of magnesium-rich foods. Good sources include bran breakfast cereals, brown rice, fish, nuts and vegetables like Swiss chard and spinach. A 1/2-cup serving of a ready-to-eat bran cereal contains approximately 112 milligrams of magnesium, or 28 percent of the recommended daily allowance for a 19- to 30-year-old man and 36 percent of the requirement for a woman of the same age.
Similar to American football, rugby features two competing teams attempting to score points by touching a large, oval ball to the ground inside the opposing goal or by kicking the ball through goal posts. Players run with the ball until tackled, although they may pitch or kick the ball to teammates who are behind them. While the sport can be physically brutal, rugby coaches can use several fun games to help teach the sport¡¯s necessary skills.
In this variation of the Bangladesh game called Kabaddi, two teams of seven players take to a small field no larger than 35 feet wide and 30 feet long. A line divides the field in half. On the whistle, a player from the offensive team carries the ball into the other half of the field and attempts to touch a defender. Once he touches someone, the ball-carrier attempts to race back to his half of the field and touch down the ball before the defenders can tackle him. Each successful return or tackle earns the team a point.
Designate a large square, measuring at least 30 feet by 30 feet, on the field. Place three defenders in the square and four attackers along each side of the square, with the attacking groups named A, B, C and D. Each attacking group has one ball. When the coach calls out a letter, the respective attacking group races into the box and attempts to evade the defenders and score across the opposite side of the square. Attackers may pass the ball, but they can¡¯t kick towards the goal. The three defenders must work together to try and stop them from scoring, with play ending on a tackle or turnover. Once play stops, the coach calls out another attacking group, and the defenders must brace for another immediate assault.
Designed to teach young rugby players evasive skills, tiger tails requires each player to wear a tail, which can be a plastic flag or simple piece of cloth tucked into the back of his shorts. On the coach¡¯s whistle, the players must run around inside a designated area and attempt to collect as many tiger tails as they can. Whenever a player swipes another tail, he must tuck it into the back of his shorts so it¡¯s once again free to grab. The player with the most tails when the coach calls time wins.
Another fun game for young players, rugby tennis stresses the fundamentals of passing, catching and kicking. Players divide into two teams and occupy opposite sides of the field. The game begins with one team passing the ball amongst itself three times, with the third player then firing a pass over an imaginary tennis net to the other team. The ball must be passed waist high to give the other team a fair chance to catch it. If the ball touches the ground, the passing team wins a point. The ball may also be kicked across for added difficulty.
Most people don’t think about their lung capacity until they go running and find that they’re out of breath in 10 minutes. Improving your lung capacity is a sure way to give you more wind for running. There are a few trendy gadgets and breathing techniques for increasing your lung capacity, but nothing works better than regular exercise.
When you’re acclimated to training at a lower elevations and then move to a higher elevation, you might notice symptoms of altitude sickness, such as dizziness and fatigue. That’s because your lungs are working harder to process a thinner mixture of oxygen in the air. By running and training at higher altitudes, you can condition your body to build up a higher level of red blood cells, thus improving your overall lung capacity. However, this is just a short fix. Your lung capacity improves for roughly a two-week period, making this method ideal for pre-race improvements but not a long-term solution.
If you’re a serious runner and looking for additional ways to improve lung capacity, you might consider using a respiratory training apparatus. These devices might have gimmicky names and unsightly appearances, but the science behind them is quite sound. Training masks are designed to simulate elevation training by partially blocking airways, adding resistance to your normal breathing. By forcing your diaphragm to work harder, these breathing masks actually improve lung capacity. Some respiratory trainers resemble snorkeling tubes and are both small and portable. They are also designed to create breathing resistance. Unlike the mask, the tube devices can adjust the level of resistance for breathing. These devices might give some endurance runners a competitive edge, but the trick is finding the ideal balance for your training session.
The more permanent solution to improving your lung capacity is maintaining a regular schedule of cardiovascular activity. If you’re already a runner, then keep up the pace, and your lung capacity will gradually improve over time. If you are looking to start running and don’t think you have the wind for it, start slowly and work your way up to a more challenging regimen. Sprinting in short, powerful bursts, also called sprint interval training, is one way to build up your cardiovascular capacity. Sprint interval training minimizes the physical impact on your body while achieving the same results as traditional endurance training. Exercises such as cycling, swimming and skiing are also cardiovascular activities that can improve your lung function over time. The key is to get moving and push yourself so that your heart and lungs get exercise, too.
Perhaps the worst thing you can do to decrease your lung capacity is to smoke. In 2013 the HealthGuidance website includes quitting smoking in its list of the top three ways to improve lung capacity. Smoking damages your lungs by leaving deposits of tar and other carcinogens in your breathing passages. Smoking also constricts the airways, making your lungs work harder to absorb oxygen. Even second-hand smoke can take its toll on the body and take seconds off your run time. There are runners and fitness enthusiasts who smoke, but avoiding smoke is one of the most proactive things you can do to improve your own healthy lifestyle.
Losing weight involves following a plan where you increase physical activity and exercise to burn more calories and reduce the number of calories you ingest. By engaging in cardiovascular activity and eating a balanced, nutritious diet you can shed fat, maintain lean muscle mass and increase heart health. Before adopting a diet or exercise program please consult a physician.
As you burn more calories than you take in, you set up a caloric deficit which can result in weight loss. You can reduce calorie intake by eating healthier or less food, or you can bump up energy expenditure by increasing exercise. Consistently maintaining a caloric deficit allows you to permanently shed excess pounds.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggests losing weight at the safe and realistic rate of 1 to 2 lbs. per week. Since 3,500 calories equals approximately 1 lb. of fat, losing 1 to 2 lbs. each week requires you to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you take in daily. Eat smaller, frequent meals and engage in regular exercise to make up this deficit. Set process goals like exercising regularly and outcome goals like losing a specific amount of weight to change your habits and remain motivated.
Exercising regularly helps you expend calories that can’t be cut through dieting. Engaging in cardiovascular activity also increases heart health, reduces blood pressure and elevates your mood. The National Institutes of Health suggests performing moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking for 20-minute sessions, three times per week. Walk instead of driving and take the stairs instead of the elevator to increase the number of calories you burn.
Eat a nutritious diet rich with complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats to reduce the number of calories you ingest. Consume fruits, vegetables and whole grains to receive the proper amount of vitamins and minerals and power up your workouts. Take in healthy fats like nut butters and olive oils to increase heart health and consume lean proteins like chicken breast and salmon to provide your muscles with vital amino acids.
Stay way from fad diets promising rapid weight loss. Many of these diets restrict carbohydrates and other food groups, resulting in water weight loss. Once the body is rehydrated the weight returns. Cut out rich foods high in sugar and fat and reduce alcohol consumption to moderate your calories.
Even if you don’t play volleyball competitively, casual play in the backyard or on a beach requires athleticism. Jumping and running, as well as serving and spiking the ball, all require strong muscles and flexible joints. If you want to concentrate on building your volleyball muscles and on stretching to improve flexibility in the necessary joints, you’ll benefit from a program that focuses on full-body flexibility and strength.
You’ll do a lot of running and jumping during a game of volleyball. Flexible ankles help you to pivot and turn quickly without incurring an injury. Running also requires flexible and limber hips, knees and ankle joints to pick up your legs and put them down where you want them. When you crouch down to explode upward and spike the ball, those same lower body joints are called into action.
All the interaction with the volleyball itself requires some movement from your shoulder joint, whether you’re serving, setting, passing or spiking it. Your elbow joints lock or bend depending on which way you’re trying to hit the ball. The wrist joints play a part, too, flexing or bracing to serve, receive a serve, pass the ball to a team member or block a spike.
Your leg muscles are your foundation when you play volleyball. You’ll recruit all of them at one point or another during the game. Your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors are all essential for running, but they also play a vital part in quick, explosive jumps. Strong leg muscles give you the power you need to elevate your jumps for effective jump serves, setting, spiking and blocking.
Your upper body is where a lot of essential volleyball action happens. Your biceps and forearms engage to move your arms during any ball-hitting action like the serve or receiving, setting, passing and spiking. Your chest engages during forceful forward and upward arm movements. With the full range of motion your arms go through in a game, the fact that you engage your shoulder muscles is no surprise. They even work with your back muscles to keep your arms from moving back when blocking a ball. Strong back muscles, such as the scapular stabilizers around your shoulder blades, help with arm movement and stabilization, and the latissimus dorsi muscles, which run down your back from just below the shoulder blades to your waist, are useful for stabilizing in addition to moving your upper body.
Many sports are similar, branching off from a common source. Although soccer and field hockey do not appear to have developed from the same root, there are more than a few commonalities between the two. Both have the same objective — to outscore the opposing team — and fundamental similarities in field and team structure, although the equipment and playing time in each game differs.
The field in each sport is often referred to as the “pitch.” A field hockey field is 100 by 55 or 60 yards, while soccer fields must be at least 100 by 50 yards, but can reach a maximum of 130 by 100 yards. Both sports have two goals, one at each end of the field, but field hockey goals are smaller in comparison. A half-circle marks the ground in front of a field hockey goal. Soccer goals are surrounded by rectangles, the six and 18 yard boxes, respectively. Soccer and field hockey fields are marked with a 50 yard or half line; field hockey also marks the field 25 yards from each end line.
In each sport you will find 11 players on a side — 10 field players and a goalie or goalkeeper. Soccer and field hockey are fluid sports in which players run over all areas of the field to score and defend against goals. Defense and offense-specific players exist in both sports, as do players in the middle, or midfielders. Although technically able to roam anywhere on the field, defenders or fullbacks mainly play defense while offensive players or forwards look to score. Goalies typically stay around the goal. However, in soccer the goalie can use his hands anywhere in the 18-yard box, but he must use his feet if he goes outside that area.
Compared to soccer, field hockey requires more equipment. Each player carries a stick with a flat and rounded side; players can only touch the ball with the flat side. Field hockey balls are small and hard, consisting of solid plastic. Field players are required to wear mouth guards and shin guards for protection, while goalies must wear goalie pads that include shin and chest protectors, facemask, throat protector and other optional padding. In soccer, everyone on the field, including the goalkeeper, must wear shin guards. Goalies also wear gloves and long sleeve jerseys with minimal padding on the arms. Soccer balls are larger and filled with air.
Soccer and field hockey are divided into two halves of play — professional soccer halves last 45 minutes while professional field hockey halves are 35 minutes. If the score is tied at the end of regular play, soccer and field hockey teams get two additional periods in which to score. In field hockey, the number of players on the field is reduced and the first team to score wins. In soccer, the number of players remains the same, and you typically play out all the time allowed. If the score remains tied in either sport, the game moves into “penalty” play in which each team selects five players to shoot — in a one vs. one opportunity — on the goalie.
Finding the correct time to eat small meals and snacks is just as important as choosing healthy foods to fuel your body before, during and after a workout. A personal trainer or nutritionist can help you choose a meal plan, including what foods to eat and when to eat them, that will help you reach your personal fitness goals.
Make it a practice to eat large meals at least three to 4 hours before working out. If you have a smaller sized meal, you can work out two to 3 hours after eating. Light snacks are typically fine when eaten right before and even during exercise. When you are done working out, you can enjoy a meal immediately.
By waiting to work out for a few hours after eating a meal, you can avoid getting stomach pain, cramping and diarrhea.. Eating lots of food right before exercising can also cause you to feel heavy and tired because your digestive system and the muscles you use to exercise are competing for energy. However, it’s important to eat something before you work out and avoid skipping meals. Passing on a meal before you exercise could cause you to become weak or slow your reaction times.
Healthy carbohydrates are the best foods to eat before exercising. Get your carbohydrates from whole-grain cereals, pastas and breads as well as fresh vegetables. Avoid eating foods very high in fiber and fructose right before working out. Eating high-fiber legumes before exercising could cause you to develop uncomfortable gas, while fruit that is high in fiber and fructose could cause you to experience diarrhea after working out.
You should avoid eating fatty foods right before working out since fat takes longer to digest and can lead to stomach upset during exercise. Although fat and protein are important parts of any diet, it’s more important that you fuel your body with healthy carbohydrates right before working out.
In an article on the ABC News website, sports nutritionist, Molly Kimball, suggests developing a schedule for eating and exercising that works for you. Kimball claims that you may be able to eat a meal and then work out immediately afterward without experiencing stomach upset or other ill effects. Try doing a test run by eating a meal and then performing moderate exercise. If you experience stomach cramps, stop exercising and try again later.
In most sports, the best players must quickly diagnose a play and react decisively. But reaction time is especially important in football, because plays develop quickly, last only a short time and feature massive athletes racing all about the field. Regardless of your position on the team, the quicker you’re able to react to any set of circumstances, the better your chances of making the play.
There’s no position in football in which reaction time is more important than quarterback. In a 2011 study of standout college quarterbacks by ESPN’s Sports Science, the average time it took them to react to an infrared beam of light was two-thirds of a second. Although quarterbacks may have slightly more time to pass the ball in real-game situations, they also must react to oncoming pass-rushers, locate open receivers and make sure no defensive backs are lying in wait before quickly unleashing one accurate throw after another.
There’s a football saying that states that cornerbacks must be able to “play on an island.” Unlike other players who play in the middle of the field, cornerbacks often find there’s no one there to help them. Meanwhile they must maintain stride-for-stride coverage of speedy wide receivers, who have the advantage of knowing which direction they’re headed in. A cornerback must also quickly determine whether the play is a running or passing play and react by either sprinting toward the line to make a tackle, or quickly backpedal and stay in front of the receiver.
Linemen are thought of as the big lugs of a football team, relaying more on raw strength and toughness than cat-like reflexes. But that’s not necessarily the case. Linemen have the disadvantage of starting the play in a three-point stance, hunched at the waist with one hand in the dirt. From there, they must uncoil their often-mammoth bodies and explode into an athletic stance within a millisecond of the ball being snapped. A defensive lineman slow to react to the snap is usually neutralized, whereas a lumbering offensive lineman will be blamed for his man racing past him and chasing down the ball carrier.
Punt returners are often the quickest players on their teams. The reason: While the punt returner stands, eyes trained on the earthbound ball in the sky, the opposing team is racing down the field with the sole objective of knocking his head off. By the time a punt returner catches the ball, there are often several players within a few yards, sprinting toward him with 40 yards worth of momentum at their backs. The punt returner must keep his eye on the ball, catch it and then quickly dart in and out of traffic while diagnosing his best running lanes based on the location of the defenders and his blockers.
Statistics provide a snapshot of information, and often apply only to the time period for which the statistics are gathered. However, a snapshot can be useful, especially if your child is proving to be a phenomenal basketball player. While the numbers may vary, the percentage of high school players who make it the NBA is always very small. Keep in mind that a 2006 rule requires that players who participate in the draft are at least one year out of high school and must be at least 19 to play.
Male players are drafted into the National Basketball Association and female players are drafted into the Women’s National Basketball Association. According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, neither have a very high probability of being drafted. For men, about three out of 10,000 male high school basketball players will be drafted into the NBA, or about .03 percent. For women, the numbers are similar. One out of 5,000 players, or .02 percent, will be drafted into the WNBA.
If you evaluate this statistic as information for your high school player, keep in mind a few other intriguing statistics. Just 10.6 percent of the 2010-11 rosters include players who have just one year of experience. Players with four or fewer years of experience make up the largest part of the team rosters at 52.1 percent. Only 10.6 percent of players have more than four years of experience, which makes a long-term career in the NBA a long shot for most players.
If your high school player is drafted for the NBA at age 19 or after one or two years of college, he can still get a college education. An October 2009 article in “The New York Times” covered the return of many NBA players to college during the offseason. Many players and coaches consider returning to college a smart move for a player. The rigors of professional sports and chance of basketball-ending injuries make a college or vocational education essential for a good career after the NBA.
The good news is that team sports of almost any variety are very healthy for kids, regardless of their professional aspirations. Beyond the physical benefits, which can be significant given the spiraling statistics in childhood obesity levels, youth sports also provide significant social and emotional benefits. Youth players, regardless of gender, have stronger social development skills, moral development and are less likely to engage in gang behavior.