Monday, March 03, 2014

Sports Equipment that is not "One Size Fits All"

Some sports equipment really is “one size fits all” and some really isn’t. Soccer balls are a standard size and weight depending upon the age of the players, ditto volley-balls and basketballs. Tennis rackets are available in many different sizes and weights to suit the player and can make a big difference to your game.
Here are a few of the pieces of sports equipment which really do need to be fitted correctly for the best performance, comfort and safety.

Baseball bats – are available in many different lengths and weights to suit the age and needs of the player. Bats start at around 24” for younger players from around 5 years up to the full length bat which measures 34”. Having the right size of baseball bat is important for the safety and performance of the player and allows the younger player to really work on their technique and form becoming a good all round player.

• If a young player has difficulty holding the bat out for more than around 20 seconds without their arm shaking it’s too heavy.
• Lighter bats mean larger “sweet spots” – new players need to learn to hit the ball as close to the “sweet spot” as possible so the larger the “sweet spot” the better in the beginning.
• The bat needs to be light enough to hit the ball with speed and power – light is always the way to go when learning.

bowlingball – any keen bowler must have the right weight and size of bowlingball – with finger holes of the correct size. If the finger holes are too small their fingers could become trapped which is an extremely painful experience. The right size hole and ball will also result in a better game. Bowling balls are available in a variety of sizes to suit the strength and size of the individual. Using a ball which is too heavy will result in the player becoming over tired and not being able to use sufficient power, it can also cause wrist problems. Check out the great selection at Bowlers Paradise – they know all there is to know about finding the right bowling balls.

Exercise ball – there is also an optimum size to choose when selecting an exercise ball. This type of gym equipment is a fabulous addition to any exercise routine just so long as you’ve got the right size. As a rule of thumb a person measuring between 5’ and 5’4” needs a ball of 55 cm, someone a little taller between 5’4” and 5’11” should get a ball of 65 cm and anyone over 6’ tall will need a 75 cm ball.

Helmets – are important for many sports like baseball, hockey, football, skateboarding, skiing, softball, biking . . . loads of sports. It is important that you choose a helmet for the specific sport you play (different helmets are designed for different types of impact and accident) and that your chosen helmet fits snugly on the head without tilting forwards or backwards.

Mouthguards – are a vital piece of equipment in many sports to protect the teeth, gums and tongue. These can be purchased at many sports stores in a variety of sizes, it is important that you find a mouthguard of the correct size for it to work efficiently.

Jump ropes – even skipping or jump ropes are available in a variety of lengths and weights for the perfect fit – if your jump rope is too short to reach the ground it will trip you, if it is too long it will trip you too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Exciting Family Activities Even Surly Teens Will Love

The teenage years are the time that every parent dreads. As kids grow up, they want to spend less time with their family and more with their friends. They may shun family outings or make everyone else miserable. There are family activities that you can do that will entertain even the grumpiest of teenagers and keep parents from going nuts.

Many teenagers love going skiing or snowboarding. Not only can they have time away from the family if they want to go on the harder trails, but they get the adrenaline rush because of the speed associated with the sport. If you go on a ski trip with your family to a farther away resort, your teen will be less likely to pretend that they don't know you because they won't be as worried about running into friends. Not only will skiing and snowboarding entertain your teen but after a day in the cold, they will enjoy a hot chocolate by the fire in the condo or hotel afterwards, not worrying about seeming so cool.

Bowling is a great way for the family to get to together and enjoy each other. Kids love the competition, and for a relatively small investment in gear like bowling balls, bowling ball bags, and shoes, you can take the sport from a leisurely weekend sport to possibly a league or some sort of weekly play. By letting your kids enjoy a sport that just about every activity level can do; they will enjoy family time more and actually have a good time with the family. Find your family's bowling supplies at .

Set aside a family game night and unplug from the TV, tablets and cell phones. Put away the electronics and bring out the board games. While your teen may object to spending the evening out of contact with their friends at first, they will soon begin to enjoy whatever games you have chosen for the night. Board games are relatively inexpensive and you can get games that are appropriate for younger children and teens alike that everyone will love. Do this on a weekly basis so that your entire family can enjoy a night looking at something other than Facebook.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Book Review: Football Nation

I got the chance to read Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America's Game, and it was a very cool book.

There are many great pictures and stories in the book, which would make for a great coffee table book. It really shows the evolvement of the game from its inception, in both pro and college football.

It starts with its earliest mention in 20th century London, all the way to the behemoth that football is today in our society across all levels, from Pop Warner to the NFL. It comes from the Library of Congress, so the resources and research are unparalleled.

It is a book I would recommend for the football fan.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Historic First Telerobotic Pitch that Stole our Hearts

In our modern life, as a result of social media sites, it has become too easy to focus simply on the controversial and negativity when it comes to sport. With the rush to be the first to break the story and have the most views, it seems that the world has lost sight of what really matters. Between the drug lawsuits and investigations, the on-field brawls and player suspensions, it seems that we have forgotten the amazing positives sport brings to the world. With a shared passion and love for their favourite team and their sporting heroes, sport brings people together. It is not often we get reminded of this, but just like on, every once in awhile, everything lines up and the world stops and shares in the beauty that sport brings to each and every person.

Meet Nick LeGrande, a regular 13-year-old from Kansas City who loves baseball and everything about it. Sadly though, he is fighting a serious illness. Nick suffers from severe aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder which has not only made it difficult for him to play the sport that he loves but also made it impossible for him to attend games due to his weakened immune system. This has not dampened Nick’s spirits though, as he became the first person in the history of the Major League Baseball to throw the first pitch telerobotically 1800 miles from Kansas City to Oakland A’s reliever Ryan Cook’s hands at the Coliseum in Oakland.

With help from Google Fiber, a mini-stadium was built, complete with real grass and a real dirt mound. LeGrande stepped up onto the mound in Kansas sporting his baseball cap and pitched with all his heart. The robotic arm in Oakland copied Nick’s pitching motion via sensors, completing the world record breaking pitch perfectly.

For Nick and everyone watching, the records were not important, instead, with teary eyes, everyone forgot all the negativity and focused only on the innocent and heart-warming events that unfolded. To make the surprise even greater for Nick, he only realised what was actually happening about two hours before his pitch. He was told that he was off to visit his grandmother, but was driven instead to the Google offices where he was given the opportunity to pitch to the reliever of his favourite team. Ryan Cook and all the other players topped off the event by signing the ball and sending it back to Nick.

By Jason Swindon

Monday, April 01, 2013

College Football Schedules

The best team will again be Alabama, who return a lot of talent from the team that won the national championship a year ago. They will have AJ McCaron, who could be one of the leaders in the race to win the Heisman Trophy. He is experienced, and has explosive playmakers (such as TJ Yeldon) around him to take the pressure off. They will also have a great defense, as Nick Saban always seems to recruit great players for that side of the ball.

Another fun team to watch will be Texas A&M, as they return Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football. He is the best dual threat quarterback in the country, and he can hurt you just as much with his legs as with his arm. He is the biggest reason why the Aggies were the only team to knock off Alabama last year, and that will be a great game once again. You will not want to miss watching Manziel play.

Oregon is always very fun to watch, even though Chip Kelly has left to coach the Philadelphia Eagles. With guys like D'Anthony Thomas, their offense should remain very explosive. They will be put up a ton of points under Mark Herzlich, with the question remaining their defense. Stanford will be a great team as well out of the Pac-12, and those two look to battle it out for the conference title and possibly a BCS title game berth. They are that good, and their game will be a must-watch.

LSU always seems to be in contention for the title, and they will be again even with a lot of losses. Les Miles is a great recruiter, and they always seem to rebuild. They will likely be very physical again, and ready to rebound from a disappointing year. Notre Dame will be one of the most watched teams in the country, as they look to bounce back from their title game loss. They return a lot of great talent defensively. Their biggest key will be the maturation of QB Everett Golson. He had a lot of great moments as a freshman, and will need to continue that strong play in his sophomore year.

There are always lots of great storylines in college football, and this season will be no exception. From the rise of the the powerhouse of Alabama, to all the other teams trying to bring them down, there will be no shortage of great games to watch for on the schedule. Is college football here yet?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review: "The Extra 2%" by Jonah Keri

This book review was originally posted on Reed Reads.

I got the chance to read The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First by Jonah Keri and thought this it was a fantastic book.

The book begins by talking about the early parts of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays franchise - how they came to be, and how they first ran things under the initial owner and general manager. It was a period marked by futility, alternating strategies, and a lot of losing. Fans lost interest, and the D-Rays were a joke of an MLB franchise.

Around the mid 2000s, they were sold to a buyer that had a history on Wall Street. The people he hired to run the team also had extensive experience on Wall Street, which is where the title of the book comes from. It talks about some of the areas where the Rays looked for inefficiencies in the market to build the baseball team, since they knew they would not have the financial resources to compete against teams like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox.

The book's most obvious comparison is Moneyball by Michael Lewis. It wants to be like that, and reaches out for the same fans that liked Moneyball. It is not that good - the detail into what makes the Rays successful is not shown in nearly as much detail as Lewis' famous book, but it is a great look into an MLB franchise. I would recommend it to baseball fans.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

College Football Bowl Games

The college football regular season has ended, which means it is time for the postseason. Of course, in FBS football, this does not mean a playoff, which is what everyone wants.

It means College Football Bowl Games. There are a lot of good ones out there, but other than the national title game, the best one looks like the Fiesta Bowl, which has Oregon taking on Kansas State.

Both teams will enter the game with one loss. Oregon fell to Stanford, while Kansas State lost to Baylor. They are both 11-1, 8-1 in their respective conferences. Oregon is coached by Chip Kelly, who is expected to become an NFL head coach next season. They play a fast-paced, run-oriented offense that has been the darling of college football the past few years. They are the most explosive offense in college football and can score from anywhere on the field.

Kansas State's head coach is Bill Snyder, who is in his 70s and already retired once. If they win, they will need a big game from Collin Klein, who was a Heisman finalist. He is a dual threat QB in the mold of Tim Tebow. He is a power runner, and can throw just well enough to keep defenses honest.

It should be a fascinating by two teams that employ a spread offense, but they will look a lot different than each other. I think Oregon will win a high scoring game, but it will be one of the most exciting college football games of the season.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Miami Heat Are the NBA Title Favorites

For years, NBA fans have been asking the question, “When will LeBron James win an NBA championship.” He had clearly made himself into the best basketball player in the world, and had MVP trophies to back that up. However, the one glaring thing missing from his resume was that he did not have an NBA title to his name. That all changed last June, when the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to capture the championship.

That brings us to the current year, where there are no shortage of contenders for the NBA title, which brings up interesting decisions if you are doing online betting (click here) at TopBet. If you look at last year’s NBA standings, you see that three teams – the Miami Heat, OKC Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs looked like the main contenders. This year, you can add the Los Angeles Lakers to the mix as well.

The Heat have to be considered the favorite because they still have LeBron. He is the best and most talented player in the league, and makes everyone around him better. In addition to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat also picked up Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen, which should make their offense even more dangerous. Now that they have embraced some small ball with James playing the four, they are tough to beat.

The Thunder will be the top challenger, as they were a threat to win it last year, and should be even better with another year of experience. Kevin Durant is the second best player in the NBA, and he has some talented guys alongside him. The Lakers look to be their main competitors, after the addition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. They may have the most talented starting lineup in the league, but it will be interesting to see if they can fit all of the pieces together, and whether they will have enough depth to win it all. The Spurs are another team that people always want to count out, but they always seem to be in the thick of the race.

It will be an exciting NBA season, with more legitimate contenders and elite teams that I can remember heading into a year. The Heat are the favorites, but it will be a great year in the NBA.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Who Will Win The Super Bowl?

The Super Bowl has become the biggest event in American sports, as good is the new American past time. As a result, everybody has a prediction about who is going to win the Super Bowl. But who do the oddsmakers project as most likely to win the Super Bowl? You can find some odds here.

The Green Bay Packers are the Super Bowl favorites, and it is easy to understand why. They had the best record in the NFL last year, and looked like the team that was going to win the Super Bowl before their shocking defeat to the New York Giants. They have the MVP of the NFL and its best player in quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is playing at an extremely high level. With some great receivers, the offense is explosive. The defense struggled last year, but they took steps to make that better heading into this season. That makes them the favorites.

The New York Giants also have to be considered one of the favorites, simply because they have shown they can do it. They made a surprise run to win the Super Bowl last year, and that was the second time it had happened in the last five years. The core of their team remains, including quarterback Eli Manning and perhaps the best pass rush in the NFL. Nobody will be taking these guys lightly in the playoffs.

New England seems to be a mainstay in the Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck Era, and this year will be no exception. They have even more weapons offensively, as they added deep threat Brandon Lloyd. Along with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, they can hurt you in a lot of ways in the passing game. Defensively, they have invested some high draft picks, and it looks like it may pay dividends. They will be hungry after losing a close game in the Super Bowl last season.

A popular pick this year is the Baltimore Ravens, who were so close to making it to the big game last season. Joe Flacco is a year older, and if he takes the next step and becomes an elite quarterback, the Ravens might be the most complete team in the NFL. Ray Rice is the best running back in the NFL, and the defense should again be very good. They will be an interesting team to watch.

As always, we are in store for a great NFL season. Who do you think is going to win the Super Bowl?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

"Stillpower" by Garret Kramer Review

This Stillpower book review is also posted over at Reed Reads

I got the chance to get an early copy of the book Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life by Garret Kramer, and I have to say that I enjoyed it. It was not my favorite book, but I think it is worth reading for athletes and coaches on the chance that they are able to glean one or two insights from the book that will really help them out.

The book talks all about recognizing that motivation is internal, whether it is in sports or in life, and we cannot seek external motivations. If we do that, it will be fleeting, and we will soon find ourselves performing worse. If we look to things happening to us as getting us down or up, we are not relying enough on the internal factors of performance. One story that I enjoyed from the book which talks about being motivated and satisfied by the right things was a story about former Argentinian golfer Robert De Vicenzo. The story from the book goes:
Robert De Vicenzo, the renowned Argentinian professional golfer, once won a tournament with a substantial cash prize. After receiving his check and smiling through interviews and photos, he went to the clubhouse and was prepared to leave. Sometime later, as he walked to his car in the parking lot, he was approached by a young woman. She offered well wishes on the victory and then told him that her baby was seriously ill and near death, but she had no money to pay the doctors' bills and hospital expenses De Vicenzo was so moved by her story that right on the spot, he took out a pen and endorsed the winning check over to the woman. "Make some good days for the child," he said as he pressed the check into her hand.
The following week, De Vicenzo was having lunch at the next tour stop when a PGA official approached him. "Several members of the parking lot crew told me you met a young woman after the tournament last week."
De Vicenzo nodded. "Well," said the official, "I hate to tell you, she's a phony. She has no sick kid. I'm sorry, my friend, but that girl fleeced you."
De Vixenzo responded, "You mean there's no dying baby?"
"That's right."
"That's the best news I've heard all week," De Vicenzo responded.