Monthly Archives: June 2017

Sports Physiology

Refining and perfecting motor skills, developing visual precision, and improving mental sharpness are just a few of the many achievements happening in the young, growing body that contribute significantly to your youngster’s enjoyable and successful reality sports experience. Think about shaking up a soft drink can and not opening the top—there is so much rapid change just waiting to happen in these kids. Sometimes they can sense that they are close to gaining a new skill and they just about burst trying.

Suddenly it happens, and they cheer not only with excitement, but relief. Hopefully you can see that each stage of development varies in the length of time it takes to gain accomplishment with a certain skill and also in the completeness of skills actually developed. Some youth will acquire a skill fairly quickly, while others take longer. Some youth will develop a certain skill very well, while others struggle. That’s why certain kids gravitate toward certain activities—the beauty of the variability of human beings.

Think back to your childhood for a moment. Did you excel at catching and hitting baseballs, or were you hand-eye challenged and avoided that type of activity altogether? Did you throw well, or did you hate dodgeball in PE class when you had to display your lack of ability in front of the whole class? Ah, now you remember. You may see that mirror image in your child, or you may be wondering how on earth he inherited abilities you do not have.

Even with this variability among children of skills for exercise and sports, it is important to allow each child to individually maximize each skill level in his own time before moving on to the next. Each child is unique and should not be pushed faster than the time required to refine a skill needed to acquire a future skill.  Remember not to become impatient and rob your young one of the chance to gain a particular skill that he has been working on so diligently. Sure, your child can occasionally be trying more advanced parts of a sport, but he should not be rushed to get there before the current skills are mastered.

When we were kids in school, next year’s classes were usually built on knowledge from the previous year. Taking calculus before algebra and geometry would not have made as much sense (although for a non–math wizard like me, I am not sure if calculus would have made sense at any time). It is the same with acquiring the different advancing levels of sports techniques, movements, strategies, and training. One step at a time. One throw at a time. One serve at a time. One jump at a time. One kick at a time.

Motor, visual, and mental skills, along with physical growth, only make up part of the overall picture. They are each contributing parts that all fit together. Have you ever searched for that missing piece that allows you to start to assemble the next large chunk of a complicated puzzle? Advancing maturation of the body and brain allow your child to benefit from advancing physical growth.

Sure, these physical changes of growth are obvious. No one is blind to the fact that when friends get your holiday picture this year, Johnny is 6 inches taller than last year’s picture (which is still on their refrigerator). They usually double-check to make sure you did not skip a year. Girls change shape and start looking at boys; boys start to shave, get more muscles, and look at girls.

These physical changes certainly have an effect on their abilities to perform against their opponents as they become stronger, faster, and more skilled. Just growing, however, is not the only answer in the game of sports Jeopardy. Another crucial factor that goes through a process of development is the more invisible chemical realm—physiology, in fancy medical terms.

Aerobic exercise for beginners

 Aerobic training strengthens the heart and lungs and improves muscle function. One goal of aerobic training is to enhance sports performance and to improve training response. The following is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about aerobic training exercises.

What are aerobic training exercises?

Aerobic training exercises are any activities that raise heart rate and make breathing somewhat harder. The activity you are doing must be constant and continuous. Examples of aerobic activities are

  • Walking or hiking
  • Jogging or running
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Rowing
  • In-line skating
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Exercising on a stair-climber or elliptical machine

Other activities, when done in a constant and continuous way, can be aerobic, such as tennis, racquetball, squash, and the martial arts. Weight training, however, is not aerobic because it is done in short bursts of a few minutes at a time.

How does aerobic training improve endurance?

Aerobic training increases the rate at which oxygen inhaled is passed on from the lungs and heart to the bloodstream to be used by the muscles. Aerobically fit athletes can exercise longer and harder before feeling tired. During exercise they have a slower heart rate, slower breathing rate, less muscle fatigue, and more energy. After exercise, recovery happens more quickly. Aerobic fitness can be measured in a laboratory setting while exercising on a treadmill or bicycle. This is called maximal oxygen uptake or VO2 max.

How often and how long should athletes train?

To achieve a training response, athletes should exercise 3 to 5 times per week for at least 20 to 60 minutes. Fitness level can be improved with as little as 10 minutes of exercise if done 2 to 3 times per day. If the goal is also to lose body fat, athletes should exercise for at least 30 to 60 minutes. Athletes who are not fit will need to start with lesser amounts of exercise. They can slowly add more time as their endurance improves. Increasing the level of exercise at about 10% per week is a good goal to prevent overuse injury.

Cross-training can help reduce the risk of overuse injuries. This is done by alternating different kinds of activities. To avoid putting too much stress on the body and help prevent injuries, it is wise to alternate high-impact activities, like running, with low-impact exercises, like walking, cycling, and swimming.

How hard should athletes train?

Training at low to moderate intensity levels is enough to improve endurance. In general, this level of intensity is more enjoyable and less likely to lead to injuries than high-intensity training.

However, aerobic training programs should be designed to match each athlete’s fitness level. There are 3 ways to measure aerobic training intensity.

1. The “talk test.” During a workout, athletes should be able to say a few words comfortably, catch their breath, and resume talking. If it is difficult to say a few words, then athletes should probably slow down. If athletes can talk easily without getting out of breath, then they are probably not training hard enough.

2. Heart rate. Aerobic training occurs when heart rate during exercise is between 60% to 90% of maximal heart rate. Athletes can figure out their maximal heart rate by subtracting their age from 220.

3. Level of difficulty. Athletes can determine how hard the exercise feels on a scale of 1 to 10 using the Borg Scale of perceived exertion. The ideal range for aerobic training is between 2 to 7.

Other factors affecting aerobic training response

  • Baseline fitness level. The more unfit athletes are, the greater the training response. However, as athletes become more fit, it will take higher levels of training to improve further.
  • Genetics. Genetics play a large role in an athlete’s natural fitness level as well as how much he will improve as a result of training.
  • Growth. As children grow, they are able to respond more to aerobic training. However, before puberty, the aerobic training response is much less than during and after puberty. This is why aerobic training is of limited value for improving endurance in young children. Activities should focus more on other goals, such as skill development and fun.

Largest and Best Football Stadium in the world

Football, which was first played by the peasants and poor of England, now attracts million dollar sponsorship from businesses across the world. The game, which initially did not find any existence among the riches, has now become the game of the masses. People from different places across the world are not only interested in watching the game, but also are keen to participate in it. As a large number of people have taken interest in this sport, you can find multiple football clubs across the globe today. With the increasing popularity of the sports, many national teams have taken to this game. This, in turn, has fueled the need for proper grounds and infrastructure to practice the game. And that is the reason, you can find hundreds of football arenas in different parts of the world. If you are a football fan, and want to gather more knowledge about this sport, you can check out the list of top ten football stadiums. Selecting the top ten football stadiums is tricky as every arena has some specialty of its own.

1. Soccer City, Johannesburg, South Africa

FNB stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, popularly known as the Soccer City, was selected as the venue for the FIFA World Cup, opening ceremony. The largest stadium of the country and the continent has the holding capacity of about 94,700 people. Though football fans will remember this stadium for the World Cup matches, it has a deeper history. During Nelson Mandela’s first visit to Johannesburg after his release from jail, this ground was selected for his speech.

2. Estadio do Maracana, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Estadio de Maracana stadium in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil hosted the final match of FIFA World Cup 1950. The stadium, inaugurated for the 1950 World Cup, did not prove to be lucky for the home team, and they lost the final match against Uruguay. The stadium will be renovated for the 2014 FIFA World Cup matches, and is expected to host a crowd nearing 75,000.

3. International Stadium Yokohama, Japan

The International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan hosted 2002 FIFA World Cup’s matches for the first three rounds. This stadium is expected to be popular among the Brazilian fans as their team won 2002 World Cup in this stadium. With 72,327 seats, this stadium boasts of providing more seating capacity than any other stadium in Japan.

Security When Playing Softball

Despite the name, a softball is not soft. A softball is about twelve inches in circumference – three inches larger than a baseball. Thousands of children in the United States are treated in emergency rooms for baseball and softball-related injuries. Softball injuries to the head are involved more than any other part of the body.

The following safety tips are designed to help children play safe and prevent injury on the baseball or softball fields.

Softball Equipment Safety:

Children should use always use proper safety gear when playing. This equipment includes catcher’s gear, athletic supporters and cups, protective eyewear, and proper footware (which may include cleats). Good quality, double-eared helmets should be worn to protect the ear and temple region against ball impact. Catchers should also wear a helmet with full face and throat protection.

Breakaway/quick release bases should be used instead of standard stationary bases to reduce the impact forces generated from of a sliding player.

Protective screening should be used to protect players in dugouts and on benches, and the playing fields and facilities should be well-maintained. The playing field and facilities should be free of garbage and debris, and there should be no sinkholes, stumps or rocks in the infield or outfield. Fences, walls and posts should be padded to help prevent injury if players run in to them when attempting to catch a ball.

All equipment should be inspected regularly to make sure it is in good condition.

Playing The Game:

Children should be taught how to play softball correctly, and they should play with other children of the same skill level, physical maturity and weight. Players should be taught to perform proper streaching and strenghtening techniques before playing.

Players should wear sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher. The sunscreen also should be sweat and water-resistant and reapplied every two to three hours.

The coach should be made away of the player’s medical conditions. A child should not play if he or she is experiencing persistent pain, a loss of motion, or any other abnormalities.

All players need to be kept hydrated. Water should be made available before, during and after all games and practices. Water is best, but sports drinks and juices can be decent alternatives. Avoid caffinated drinks, as caffine is a diuretic, which acts to dehydrate the body.