Category Archives: Sports & Recreation

How can a beginner goalkeeper rapidly improve skills?

Summary: Constant practice with drills is the fastest way for a young goalkeeper to improve. Improving passing, handling, dealing with incoming crosses, stopping shots, and improving reaction times are some great drills to practice.

Here are a few suggested goalkeeper specific drills that will help unlock the full potential of a young player:

Improve passing range

The goal of this drill is improve the technical ability of the goalkeeper when passing over short and long The purpose is to improve the chances of starting a counter attack.

Improve handling

The only way to improve handling for a goalkeeper is practice defending multiple shots. With this drill, a server will shoot in quick succession, improving hand-eye coordination and practicing saves.

Dealing with the cross

The cross in a crowded penalty box is a nightmare for a young goalkeeper. Simulating a match-like environment will give the player the confidence to deal with similar situations in a game.

Shot stopper

The game winning save could be one of the several types of shots. This drill helps the goalkeeper train with three different types of shots, sent in by players from different

Reaction speed

A good drill to improve reaction speed involves two servers. One sends a ball to the other, who sits at the penalty position. The second server will deflect the ball in different directions, forcing the goalkeeper to adjust to last minute deflections.

Fernando Alonso’s options for 2018

We are at the summer break of the 2017 Formula one season, and there is still no indication of where Fernando Alonso will drive in 2018. We know that he wants a winning car and will only join a team that is capable of producing one. There are very few teams on the grid that have the budget and the means to produce a championship winning car, considerably limiting his options. Let’s take a look at each one:

Mercedes

Short of a shock retirement by Lewis Hamilton, it is unlikely that Mercedes would change the current pairing. The Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton rivalry was unsettling for the team, and there is almost no chance that Mercedes would bring Alonso in alongside Hamilton. There is just too much potential for chaos, and Mercedes does not need that right now.

Ferrari

At Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel looks like he will be retained, probably alongside Kimi Raikkonen. The only issue working against the Finn is his cost, but that would only lead to Ferrari signing a younger driver. There are drivers like Ocon who are fast and cheap. Ferrari has young drivers like Leclerc and Giovanazzi would make the jump.

Red Bull

As far as Alonso is concerned Red Bull is a closed shop. The team has a young driver program and a junior team and has no room for outside drivers. Red Bull looks at building its world champions themselves. Even if there was a shock exit of a driver like Ricciardo, one of the junior drivers will make the jump to the senior team.

Youth Soccer Development: The Mental Impact of Juggling

Summary: Juggling is a skill that requires agility, balance, and mental awareness.

Developing the proper juggling skills in training provides key benefits to players like balance, agility, and touch. This guide will over all the aspects individually to help you train your youth soccer team.

The Importance of Juggling

When you juggle, you need to combine both body control and touch. Being able to make quick, on-the-spot, decisions and adjustments with your large and small muscles is a requirement for juggling, and players that have elite balance are the ones that bring their game to a whole new level. For instance, if one of your players develops the right tendencies, you’ll see him or her be able to drive to the right but also be able to stop on the dime and shoot with his or her left without losing balance. It’s a critical aspect that plays an important role in the game.

The Power of Touch

The pro players can essentially feel the ball through their shoes. They know what part of the foot touches the ball and how each stroke of contact will affect the ball’s velocity and direction. This is done through practice and muscle memory. For instance, tossing a ball from back and forth from one hand to another can be done relatively easy, right? What makes you think that you can’t train your players to do the same with a soccer ball instead? Your mind is essentially your fingertips. By encouraging juggling, you’ll develop touch, which translates into a more well-rounded game for any player. Passes will become more accurate, opponents will have a more difficult time defending, and pressure won’t equate to anything as your players will be able to successfully hold the ball without fear of it getting ripped from them.

An Agile Nature and a Sharp Mind

The ability to change directions on the fly is a crucial component of soccer. As stated before, juggling increase balance and can also improve one’s overall agility. Combining both agile nature and fluid motion can help improve one’s passing and striking ability. Be sure to incorporate plenty o group juggling exercises that incorporate both movement and control. The key to these exercises is challenging the players and making them think about what they’re going to do with each step. This forces the body to contort in ways they’re not accustomed to. And, with enough practice, it’ll become second nature to them – turning them into a versatile weapon that can be used on every part of the field.

 

What it takes to bid for the Rugby World Cup

At the moment, countries are bidding to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023. The three countries competing the tournament are Ireland, France and South Africa.

Bidding and organizing the RWC starts early, like other large events. The expression of interest phase began back in May 2015 and closed a month later in June. During the expression of interest, there is a knowledge-sharing process which leads up to the submission of bids by May 2016.

Each bid pays an application fee of 28 million Euros to World Rugby, who will announce the decision of the winning bid in November this year.

One of the primary conditions is that the tournament is underwritten completely. The Irish authorities expect that it will get 480,000 visitors with economic benefit to the nation of around 800 million Euros, should it win the bid.

Here are the seven areas, that the selection committee uses to decide the winning bid:

Venues and infrastructure commensurate with a top-tier major event.

Comprehensive and enforceable public and private sector guarantees.

A commercially successful event with a fully funded, robust financial model.

Operational excellence through an integrated and experienced delivery team.

A vision that engages and inspires domestic and international audiences and contributes
to the growth of rugby at all levels.

An enabling environment of political and financial stability that respects the diversity of Rugby World Cup’s global stakeholders.

An environment and climate suited to top-level sport in a geography that allows maximum fan mobility.

Red Bull to introduce new chassis for the Spanish GP

Austrian F1 team Red Bull is a distant third in this year’s Formula One standings after Ferrari and Mercedes. With the introduction of new aerodynamic rules for this year, Red Bull was widely expected to challenge Mercedes. Instead, it is Ferrari that has taken the fight to Mercedes, with Ferrari leading the driver’s world championship after three races. Red Bull hopes to join the lead battle with a new chassis from the Spanish Grand Prix.

Details are a little thin on the new chassis, but the change is expected to be significant enough to require new crash tests. The FIA only requires fresh crash tests when there is a big change in the chassis and aerodynamics. The current Red Bull chassis is said to favor a low-drag configuration.

Red Bull did not expect both Mercedes and Ferrari to produce such finely detailed aerodynamics. The Ferrari side pod is so complicated that Red Bull aero chief Adrian Newey was unsure of what it did when he first saw the design.

What makes the situation worse is that the Renault engine is still down on power compared to the leading teams. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner estimates the power gap to result in a deficit of about half a second per lap.

In addition to the new aero package for Spain, Renault will bring an engine upgrade for the Canadian GP. Red Bull believes that those two changes should propel them to the front of the field where they can battle it out with Ferrari and Mercedes.

Stocking Up for the Season: Tips for Coaches

Whether you’re coaching for your school, your local youth league or for a travelling league, it’s important to stock up on cheap soccer balls and basic equipment you’ll need. Cones, balls, netting and other basics will wear by season’s end. Plus, you’ll need more than one ball for practice purposes.

Basics

You can expect your kids to come equipped with soccer balls, except, kids forget things all the time. Take advantage of soccer balls with free shipping by ordering online. Many retailers will overnight them to you, just in time for your next practice. Probably two to four goal nets should do the trick. A good coach also comes prepared with things the players might forget, like an extra pair of keeper’s gloves.

Carry your equipment in a soccer backpack. Your needs will be different from most of your players, because you have more specific equipment you need. You might need pockets for playbooks and guides, or practice manuals, as well as a ball and your basic equipment for the pitch. The more pockets, the better.

Planning

Another concern is planning snacks and drinks for the game days. It’s not a requirement, but a fun tradition to have snacks after each game. Divvy this duty up among the parents, and make sure there is an agreed upon selection of snacks to choose from.

If you can, use an online app like Google Calendar to keep track of all of these changes. This way, everyone has access and can check which day is their day for snacks.

 

Bottas to Mercedes, Massa to come out of retirement

Valtteri Bottas with lineup alongside Lewis Hamilton at the start of the Formula 1 season in March. The announcement from Mercedes capped a long saga after 2016 Champion Nico Rosberg announced his shock retirement from the sport.

“It’s mega to be driving a Silver Arrow this year,” said Bottas in an address to the workforce at Mercedes’ UK factory in Brackley. “I can’t wait to get working properly.

The second Mercedes seat alongside triple champion Lewis Hamilton is probably the most coveted seat in the sport. Mercedes have been the team to beat for the last three years, taking both the drivers and constructors championships. Even with the extensive rule changes in 2017, their domination of the sport is expected to continue.

Bottas was signed to the Williams F1 team for the 2017 season. His release was conditional on locating an experienced driver. This was made possible by Felipe Massa coming out of retirement to mentor 19-year-old teammate Lance Stroll.

Stroll is the son of a Canadian billionaire and has won every the championship in every category he has competed in thus far. Observers describe him as an exceptional talent. It was important for Williams to have an experience lead driver to temper the young charger.

Speaking of the moves, Claire Williams, Williams’ deputy team principal, said: “I’m delighted that Felipe has agreed to come out of retirement to be a part of our 2017 campaign. With Valtteri having a unique opportunity to join the current constructors’ champions, we have been working hard to ensure that an agreement could be made with Mercedes to give Valtteri this fantastic opportunity.

Williams is also a customer of Mercedes engines and is rumored to have negotiated a significant discount in order to release the highly rated Bottas.

Nico Rosberg is the 2016 Formula One world champion

At the end of a somewhat tense Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg was crowned the 2016 Formula One world champion. He beat his teammate and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton who although having won the race, was too many points behind to take the championship.

The race itself was a relatively uneventful one. The start saw Max Verstappen spin and go all the way down to last place. In what was the only entertainment in the race, he clawed his way back all the way to third. Thanks to a change in strategy he was able to pit once and leapfrog both Ferrari drivers and his teammate. He was eventually overtaken for third place by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel who stopped late and was on fresh tires.

It was this late charge by Vettel that caused the only bit of tension in the championship battle. Until then Hamilton was comfortably leading the race and Rosberg was following not far behind. The only way Hamilton would be able to win the championship is to take the victory and for Rosberg to finish fourth or below.

Hearing of the charge by the Ferrari driver, Hamilton ignored calls from his team and backed his teammate towards the Vettel and Verstappen. Ultimately, Rosberg was able to hold off Vettel for the final two laps and took the championship with his second place finish. His championship comes exactly 34 years since his father took the crown.

What are the physical demands of a professional sportsman?

What does it take to make it in professional sports? We all know that it takes talent and skill to make it up the ladder in sports, but there is also the physical side of it. What we don’t see is the sheer commitment it takes in terms of physical preparation. Here is a breakdown of what a typical professional sport requires:

Training

A typical training regime for such an athlete will involve training almost every day. In some sports, they train at least twice a day. The training will be a balance between sports specific training (like swimming) and other methodologies such as strength training. They are typically intense and grueling. In order to improve, they are pushed constantly to hit new targets.

Diet

The other side of this is diet. In order to repair the body and help recovery, the athletes need to eat the right food at the right time. Even actors that need specific physiques for movies will carry around bags of food given to them by their trainers. This level of eating is painful and is only done to ensure growth. Zac Effron is known to carry a bag with premixed protein shakes to drink every couple of hours.

Recovery

The final part is recovery. The human body can only recover so quickly from all that exercise. Even eating at a surplus and with supplements, we cannot support working out every day, let alone twice a day at those intensities. This is where techniques such as deep tissue massage and ice baths are thrown in between all the working out, eating and sleeping.

Daniel Ricciardo wins the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

In a cruel twist of fate, a rare engine blowout on the Mercedes of British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton allowed the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo to take the win at the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit. Hamilton was cruising to what looked a like a strong lead in the world championship over teammate and rival Nico Rosberg.

A first corner drive by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel sent Rosberg spinning and to the back of the field. This left Hamilton to lead the two Red Bulls for the majority of the race. Kimi Raikkonen’s chances of making a bigger impact took a blow when a stray piece of debris went into his side pod, compromising engine cooling and as a result, they needed to run the engine on a lower setting.

There was a brief but exciting battle between the two Red Bull drivers. They were on the limit and at certain points, side by side going into turns five and six. It was an amazing display of driving between the two drivers, and confirmation that they are the most exciting driver pairing in F1.

A late virtual safety car gave the two Red Bulls a free tire change and cemented the first and second positions. The team did not exercise team orders and let Max Verstappen have a go at getting close to Ricciardo. The two drivers were too evenly matched which meant that Ricciardo kept his lead and got his first victory of the season after his run of bad luck this year.