Tag Archives: sport

LET THE SKIS DO THE TURNING !

By Marty Heckleman, Mr. SkiTips

From SkiTips.com

All the new shaped skis are designed to turn when you put them on their edges and apply some pressure to the skis. Thus to turn these skis, all you need to do is roll your feet and ankles in the direction that you want to turn. By varying the amount of edging and the amount of pressure that you apply to the skis, you can determine how sharp a turn you make. The more the skis are edged and the harder you press on the skis, the tighter will be the radius of the turn (that is, a sharper turn). Conversely, the less the skis are edged, i.e., the flatter the skis, and the less hard that you press, the turn will have a larger radius (a bigger turn).

These two variables, ‘edging’ and ‘pressure’ are essentially what put you in control of your skis, so it would be useful to consciously play around with different combinations while practicing turns and noting what happens each time.

Skiing Exercise:

Turning the skis uphill to a stop

Here is a good exercise to start with to get the feeling of how easily your skis will turn when you roll your feet and ankles.

32C

On an easy intermediate slope, stand with your skis on a shallow traverse track. Be in a good traverse position with your skis spaced apart and very slightly edged (Picture 32C).

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Start to traverse across the slope and gather some speed (pictures 32D).

32E

When you are ready to turn, simply roll your feet and ankles up the hill and hold the ski edges gripping in the snow (picture 32E).

The skis will turn up the hill to a stop (picture 32F).

32F

Repeat the same exercise and this time, when you roll your feet and ankles, hold them for a count of three and then roll them back to their original traverse position and glide again. Then roll them up the hill again. Try to notice how the skis turn when you roll your feet and ankles.

Special Tip: Don’t try to turn the skis by turning your feet in the direction of the turn! Be patient and try to feel yourself ‘riding’ on the edges of the skis as they turn. (The skis turn when you put them on their edges because of their shape and design).

ABOUT Martin Heckelman
Martin Heckelman is the author of the books “The New Guide to Skiing,” “The Hamlyn Guide to Skiing,” and “Step by Step Skiing Skills,” as well as the “SkiTips” video and DVD series, available on his site SkiTips.com, and the “SkiTips” Apps series.  Martin is based in Val d’Isere, France, one of the world’s finest ski resorts.

Meet Skiiers on Zenergo

Zenergo is a free activities-focused social manager for active adults networking through their real-life interests. On Zenergo you can create activities, groups and events around Skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports, as well as other sports and fitness activities, and health, social, group, family, civic, and hobbyist activities. Please visit the site at http://www.zenergo.com to learn how more about how Zenergo can Activate Your Life.

Getting Started as a Youth Soccer Coach

By Kory Barrett

From Soccer For Coaches 

Congratulations on volunteering as a youth soccer coach! Though you may be a bit nervous at first and unsure of what you’ve gotten yourself into, you’ll soon find it to be an incredibly fun and rewarding experience.

The first thing to do is relax, take a deep breath, and tell yourself you can become a great soccer coach. This site is here to help, and this section is where to start. The links to the left will guide you through the following:

I. Coaching Philosophy – Keep the critical goals in mind: for your kids to have fun, develop their soccer skills, and want to come back next season! Everything else will fall in place if you keep your focus on these three goals.

II. Suggested Equipment – As a coach there are a few things you’ll need to run effective practices. Here is a list of items I recommend, along with links of where you can purchase them. Note – I am not trying to sell you anything, and am proud to offer all the information on this site completely for free. However, if you purchase these items by clicking on the links you’ll find, I do get a “commission” from the vendor. This is an easy way for you to help support this website, which I greatly appreciate!

III. Organizing the Season – By planning ahead and taking a little time to organize yourself and your team before that first practice, you’ll give yourself a huge boost towards a successful season. This page helps identify what you need to do first.

IV. Running Practices – Practice can be the toughest part of your job, but with a bit of forethought, they are a lot of fun for everyone. Here you’ll find the issues to consider, as well as a “structure” or “itinerary” for your practices that works really well.

V. Game Day – The culmination of your and your players’ hard work. Game Day is a ton of fun, but there are some things for you to consider. Find these explained here.

Already you may be feeling a bit more at ease by breaking down your task at hand into these five easy sections. Coaching does take a little time to get used to, but after reading the pages listed above, you’ll soon find yourself feeling really confident.

ABOUT
Kory Barrett, licensed coach (NSCAA and U.S. Soccer), currently coaching U11, U9, and U4 teams.

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ZENERGO FOR YOUTH COACHES

Zenergo is a free activities-focused social manager for active adults networking through their real-life interests. On Zenergo you can create activities, groups and events around Soccer and other sports and fitness activities — as well as health, social, group, family, civic, and hobbyist activities.

Zenergo’s Group and Event features, with full privacy levels and the ability to create subgroups, make it a good place to organize teams and leagues, have coach discussions, and manage relations with team parents.  Please visit the site at http://www.zenergo.com to learn more. Zenergo is free to use.

WHY IS THE HALF MARATHON SO POPULAR?

By Jeff Galloway

From Jeff Galloway’s Blog, “Running and Walking Until You’re 100–Injury Free!

• Even after a difficult 13.1 mile (21K) race, runners can usually celebrate that evening

• Beginners who yearn to run a marathon see this distance as the first big step

• Marathoners find that the “half” keeps them in shape for their next “full”

• The distance is enough of a challenge to keep runners focused and energized

• Increasing long runs towards a half marathon race results in faster times at 5K, 10K, etc.

After studying findings of experts who specialize in ancient man, I’ve come to believe that training for long distances connects us directly to our roots. Primitive man had to walk and run for survival—thousands of miles a year. Through millions of years of evolution, the muscles, tendons, bones, energy systems and cardiovascular capacity adapted and expanded. A series of psychological rewards also developed, which make us feel good about ourselves when we run and walk at the correct pace in a consistent training program.

The primary goal of ancient migration was to reach the next destination. Likewise, the greatest joy for half marathoners comes in crossing the finish line.  Finishing 13.1 miles is an elite achievement: only four tenths of one percent of the population does this each year.  The satisfaction and accomplishment are similar to that experienced from the marathon.

Bristol Half Marathon, by Steve GregoryImage via Wikipedia

There are quite a few lessons to be learned as one extends one’s endurance limit beyond 13 miles or 21K: conservation of resources, pacing, fluid intake, blood sugar maintenance, etc. But making a mistake during “half” training does not incur the injury risk or the down time experienced after marathon errors. If you find a way to enjoy a part of every run, your half marathon training can bring joy, satisfaction, achievement, and a positive sense of focus. For many, the challenge teaches individuals that they have unused hidden resources that can be used to deal with other challenges in life. Much of the success and joy comes from a unique endurance blending of body, mind and spirit.

I salute all who put themselves to a realistic challenge, such as the half marathon. If you haven’t done this before, you have one of life’s great rewards waiting for you as you discover that you have much more strength inside than you envisioned.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Olympian Jeff Galloway has helped over a million runners and walkers achieve their endurance goals and has written the popular books HALF MARATHON and RUNNING UNTIL YOU’RE 100.  Sign up for his free e-newsletter at www.JeffGalloway.com

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Running on ZENERGO

Zenergo is a free activities-focused social manager for active adults networking through their real-life interests. On Zenergo you can create activities, groups and events around Running, Jogging, and Walking, and other sports and fitness activities — as well as health, social, group, family, civic, and hobbyist activities. Please visit the site at http://www.zenergo.com to learn how more about how Zenergo can Activate Your Life.

Football (By Any Name) Is Still What We Make It

 From Dave’s Football Blog
Slogan: “It’s Always Football Season Somewhere!”

The best thing about football is that we can play it any way we want it. This is also the worst thing about football.

That’s because fans have this nasty tendency to prattle on about the superiority of their chosen football code like it’s their team. “Our football is the real football!”, they shout as loudly as possible, as if extra decibels can win them the argument.
Of course, they’re all ignoramuses. All those people spouting off about “real football” are completely oblivious to the fact that all football codes share a common ancestry, and that all our modern football games are merely products of their environment. Soccer and rugby both exist because some English schools had wide open fields and others didn’t. Rugby union and rugby league both exist largely because of a dispute between northern and southern Englishmen. The forward pass exists in the gridiron game in part because of one terrified Tar Heel punter. Walter Camp, the father of the gridiron game, thought the forward pass was stupid, but the Yale man’s plan to widen the field instead of adopting the forward pass was trumped by the already-built Harvard Stadium.
We fallible humans made the rules to all these games, and we can adjust those rules to suit their needs — something we do quite frequently. Is the offside rule stifling goal scoring? Let’s loosen it up a bit. Are teams clobbering wide receivers to gain an advantage? Write in an illegal contact rule. The Aussie Rules are rarely ever the same from one year to the next. This all but invalidates the notion that any particular type of football code is “real football.” It’s all just different ways of playing the game.

And people come up with new ways to play football all the time.

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You Can Run Your Football Group
(By Any Name)
on Zenergo!

We’re an activities network — so of course we have Football as one of our Activities! As well as Rugby, and Soccer, and Gaelic Football.

Not to mention Flag/Touch Football, Fantasy Football, High School, College, and Professional Football — even Football Videogaming!

Zenergo is a great place to host your group — whatever kind of foot-oriented ball you prefer. Zenergo is free to join, and lets you quickly and easily set up a group for your team/club/association/casual bunch, then post pictures and documents and maintain a calendar — and set up Events and invite others to them. Recruit more players/fans/enthusiasts! It’s fast, it’s easy — give it a try at http://www.Zenergo.com .

(Yes, we also have Squash and Kickball — and Footbag and 4Square too!)

Getting the Right Bike for Your Cycling

By Steve Drace

It’s worth analyzing why and how you want to ride, and what you hope to get out of it. Unlike running, which requires little more than shoes, socks, shorts, and a top, cycling requires a certain commitment to equipment. But the kind and quality of equipment you choose is a function of the kind of riding you expect to do (and your budget, of course.)

Types of Bicycles

There are a surprisingly large number of bicycle types, but the three basic styles are road bikes, mountain bikes, and utility bikes.

Road Bikes

Steel: Steelman custom frame

Road bikes are essentially racing bikes. They are designed for speed, for covering a given distance in the shortest time possible and with a minimum amount of energy. They use smooth, thin tires and wheels that reduce rolling resistance, and have the drop handle bars and thin seats that mystify noncyclists. This is the style of bike that serious cyclists gravitate towards because it is the style used for both racing and those organized distance rides, usually “centuries” or hundred-mile rides, that your neighbor seems to ride nearly every weekend.

Road bikes used to be made of steel, and traditionalists continue to believe that the most comfortable and responsive ride is on a bike built with steel tubing. But steel is comparatively heavy, and can rust, and for years the alternative was aluminum which, while lighter and impervious to rain, gave an appreciably harsher ride. A second, much more expensive but very light, metal alternative is titanium, known for its uses in the aerospace industry.

Carbon: Cervelo S3

Today, the material all the frame builders have migrated to is carbon fiber. Initially used only in the most expensive frames, it is now possible to consider carbon for even an entry-level bike. Among the many advantages of carbon are very light weight, and weather resistance. Many in the bicycling industry believe that within five years, all mass-produced bike frames will be made of carbon and, but for boutique custom frames, it will be impossible to find a bike made of metal.

Mountain Bikes

Santa Cruz Tallboy

The second most common bike found today is the mountain bike. Designed with front and rear suspension, mountain bikes were created to be ridden off road and come in a variety of styles including cross country and downhill. Rather than the thin, smooth tires of a road bike, mountain bike tires are smaller in diameter, much wider and have a knobby tread to grip the dirt. And rather than the bent-over position common on a road bike, mountain bikes are ridden in a more upright position and the handlebars are straight. For that reason many think the mountain bike would be a good solution for a more ‘reasonable’ ride on the road.

They would be wrong; the knobby tires create a high degree of rolling resistance and the suspension, so useful on a trail, is just added weight on the road. Rather, they should consider a utility bike.

Utility Bikes

Trek Belleville

If the aggressive posture and the thin tires of a road bike seems a bit more than you’re willing to take on, the solution is a utility bike. Utility bikes are utilitarian; they can be used for commuting, running errands, or just peddling around town. They generally have large diameter, 700c wheels, like road bikes but with much wider tires, and the same minimal tread to reduce rolling resistance. They also have a much more relaxed, vertical posture, which helps when playing nice with cars is of maximum importance, as is the case when commuting. Furthermore, unlike road and mountain bikes which have external derailleurs used for shifting into easier or harder gears, utility bikes frequently have internal hub gearing which increases ease of use and maintenance. Finally, utility bikes frequently have front and read fenders as well as chain guards, allowing the rider to ride in street clothes rather than lycra cycling togs.

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This is far from an exhaustive survey on bicycle types; you’ll also see single-speed track bikes, essentially road bikes without multiple gears, first popularized by bicycle messengers, but since adopted by the urban hipster; or BMX bikes, which look like little mountain bikes that are used to race on dirt tracks and for doing tricks that defy belief; or recumbents, whose riders are in what is essentially a horizontal position used by those for a variety of reasons, not least because back problems prohibit them from riding upright. There are touring bikes with saddle bags for long journeys, beach cruisers with fat tires that get riders to and onto the beach, and even unicycles, which are occasionally used even by people who don’t juggle.

Should you have some sense for what kind of riding you want to do and on what kind of bike you want to do it, you can do yourself no greater favor than to find a local bike store that you feel comfortable in. The expertise and passion on offer at the typical neighborhood bike store is invaluable, and their ability and willingness to answer your questions is key to getting the maximum enjoyment out of your new found hobby for years to come.

And this is important, because cycling is truly a life sport, like golf or swimming or tennis. I’ll illustrate with a story: I was back East visiting my friend Ken, and we decided to ride out from DC to Mount Vernon, around 25 miles. This was fairly early in the season, and we were marveling at what physical specimens we were and how, at the drop of a hat, we could grind out 50 miles, no problem. Once we arrived, an elderly gentleman, also in cycling togs, started hovering about and finally approached us, asking if we knew where the closest burger joint might be. Without being rude, but thinking to ourselves; “We don’t eat burgers, our bodies are temples,” we told him we had no idea where the nearest fast food restaurant was. Undeterred, he asked if we had ridden out from DC. With only a slight puffing out of our chests, we assured him that, indeed, we had. He then proceeded to tell us how he had just ridden all the way across the country — from LA north to San Francisco and then across the continent all the way to Delaware — ocean to ocean — with his wife following in a motor home (and no doubt fueled all along the way with hamburgers, fries, and shakes) He was 76 years old and had averaged around 100 miles a day, across the entire continent. He was awesome!

So quit sitting there in your car as we ride by. Join us! You’ll never regret it!

BIO

Steve Drace has competed on a national and intercollegiate level through college. He played and enjoyed those sports that came easy to him (i.e. required no eye-hand coordination and depended on the overabundance of fast twitch muscles in his legs.) After his last season of college football, he quit playing any and all sports for 25 years. Then, at the urging of a friend and with the objective of loosing some weight, he started cycling — and found his passion. He has achieved the coveted California Triple Crown, which requires the completion of three double centuries (200 miles each) in single season. In all of these endeavors, he would finish in the middle of the pack on a good day. Let’s not discuss his bad days…

The curious thing is that while cycling is the first sport he truly loves and the only sport he has so seriously trained for, he has never been better than middling, and this after an early sports career of some distinction. Nothing more dramatically demonstrates that he rides for the love of it.

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Take Your Cycling To Zenergo!

On Zenergo (join! it’s free and it’s easy!) you can bring together your bike-riding friends and post pictures and documents, comment among yourselves, and maintain your cycling calendar. You can also find cycling groups and cycling events in your area.

You can make your cycling profile searchable so biking enthusiasts in our area looking for riding partners can find you (and you, them). Notice how Steve has spelled out his cycling interests — you can add as much or as little detail as you like, which helps in finding just the right partner.

Your Activity Profile lets you spell out as much detail about your interest as you want.

Playing Golf in Snowshoes!

By Kristen Williams
The Golf Chick

Snow in the First Hole

The First Hole...

Since it’s snowing here tonight for the first time since 1989, I thought it a fitting time to tell you about my snowshoe golf experience. That’s right. I said snowshoe golf. What else do you do when there’s 4 feet of snow on the golf course?

Earlier this month, I went to McCall, Idaho to see my sister. It was during the town’s famous Winter Carnival, when tourists pour in and make the tiny town burst. There are all sorts of things to see and do – live music, incredible snow sculptures, comedy, hockey, theater (my sister was the lead in this year’s play), snow bike race, snowmobiling, casino night, even a “monster dog pull.” [Side note: McCall is an extremely dog friendly town, which I love. Businesses have ads in the phone book to showcase the “shop dog.”] But what was I most excited about? Of course it was the snowshoe golf!

I had never heard of such a thing but thought it sounded like terrific fun. They set the snowshoe golf course up at the city course – McCall Golf Club (which, during the winter, transforms into an outdoor winter sports venue for sledding, cross country skiing, and more – and of course dogs are welcome).

They charge $20, and all net proceeds goes to local charities. For your 20 clams, you also get a souvenir cap. You can bring your own snowshoes or use some of theirs. They give you a couple tennis balls, a styrofoam cup, offer you a club or two (why two?) if you didn’t bring your own, and set you on your way. The cup is used to pack snow to make a tee, kinda like they used to do with dirt before tees were invented (bonus trivia tidbit for you). I went with my awesome fraunt (friend/aunt) Jo, who is a local and an all around winter sports fiend! Yep, she even curls. So after a quick stop at the bar for bloody Marys, we strapped on our snowshoes and headed to the first tee. Jo had never played golf before and I had never used snowshoes before. Good pair.

Surprise! It’s hard to hit a tennis ball with a golf club off the snow!

Guess what? You don’t want to hit down on the ball. Doh! That was a struggle for me the whole round. You want to try to hit the middle of the back of the tennis ball with the edge of the club. I think I had a 6 iron. Seems to me a hybrid/utility club might be more suited to this game. Most of my tee shots were decent but beyond that, it was rough out there. We were looking for the beverage cart to refresh our drinks after the first hole. I mentioned that to the group we caught up with on the next tee and they called in our order and let us play through. JJ himself delivered our refills on the next hole. What service!

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The Beverage Cart

The nine-hole course is set up to direct the snowshoe traffic away from the regular tees and greens.  According to the “course architect,” James Johnson, the ball distance is about 1/3, so they set up the holes in feet rather than yards. This year they had 3 par 3’s (100 – 125′), 3 par 4’s (275 – 350′), and 3 par 5’s (400-475′). Par is 36.  The actual holes are buckets dug into the snow with flags next to them.  In case you want to set something like this up at your course, JJ says they try to make it interesting by routing fairways through natural paths through trees and placing greens next to trees and hazards, and using contours. They also use the plowed paths as “water” hazards – play the ball as it lies without grounding club, or take a drop and add a stroke. (Or toss it out and forget it was ever in there, like we did.) One day they had a tournament and the low score was 41. I’m guessing that guy has done this before. I think I shot in the high 60s!

Does it look like I had any fun? I made a promise to Jo that I would come back next year for some more. Looking forward to it already! I’ve got more photos from the trip up on Facebook if you’re interested.

Here is a video from a couple years ago put together by one of the event’s former sponsors. Enjoy! www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFb6pa8FGCI

Kristen Williams is a freelance writer with a serious golf obsession. Her site, The Golf Chick, a journal of her golf thoughts, is one of the longest-running female-written golf blogs. Copyright Kristen Williams.

Golfers: Join Zenergo And bring your golfing friends!

Zenergo.com makes it easy to quickly set up a group for you and your friends — plan, post golfing dates to your Calendar, post your pictures — all in one spot. Sign up (it’s free and quick), then invite your golfing buddies! See you in the snow!