Most pro football players spend at least three years playing college football to hone their skills as well as conform with a National Football League rule requiring the players be at least three years removed from their high school graduation before playing for the NFL. Given the short careers, big money and other issues that face young football players, a college education is one important type of education they should acquire. There are other types of education, aside from their time spent playing college football, that would benefit pro athletes immensely.
Because pro football players tend to make a lot more money than the average person and more than their parents made, knowing how to handle big paychecks and all the baggage that comes with a football career is crucial. For that reason, the NFL sponsors a symposium for rookies every year to cover financial issues. Much of the education seeks to warn players about family members and friends expecting a financial windfall from the player¡¯s success. Players are also advised to do learn about financial planning, investments, contracts, budgeting and various aspects of business, such as entrepreneurship.
The average NFL career lasts less than five years, which means most players are going to have to go out and get a second career when they are done playing. For many athletes, that means a job apart from football. Some players use the offseason to finish their degrees or work on obtaining advanced degrees, which the NFL supports with its Continuing Education Program. The idea is to encourage players to acquire the education and training that will help make their transition out of football a smooth one.
For many young pro football players, their new career means a lot of firsts, such as living on their own, handling big paychecks, buying a new wardrobe, traveling around the country, dealing with the full-time job and injuries that go along with pro football, meeting a lot of new people and dealing with fans and the media. They have more responsibilities and more temptations than they ever did in their lives, so a helpful education in how how stay out of trouble and deal with all these new situations with maturity can be invaluable. That’s one reason why the Life Skills session leads off the annual NFL Rookie symposium.
It’s one thing to play football for a living, working hard during the season and attending training and conditioning sessions during the off-season. And for those players who work on their bachelor’s degrees or advanced degrees, either through colleges near where they live or online, there is one important educational opportunity that could help them later in life. There’s nothing like learning a new career by actually spending some time on the job doing that career. Internships and part-time work can be available to players who use their contacts to learn first-hand about sales or any new job field. In 1991 the NFL launched its Career Internship Program for just such opportunities. Every year, players avail themselves of a chance to learn about other careers, either as a first step in that career or as a way of deciding what’s not right for them.
For the span of its existence, the sport of football has had a love-hate relationship with with the public. It can be a dangerous game, requiring players from Pop Warner to the pros to put their bodies on the line for the good of the team. But it’s also a perennial favorite for fans and players alike. Football provides specific advantages and disadvantages to those who play it, no matter what level they play.
One of the reasons that football is such a prevalent sport at high schools across the United States is that the sport instills an intense sense of teamwork to accomplish a common goal. The lessons of shared responsibility, of each player putting his body on the line for the benefit of his teammates and that selflessness are important lessons learned from playing football, especially at the youth level.
Football is a physically demanding sport, no matter what position you play. It requires strength, speed and agility, and many football teams train year-round. Training for football involves strength training, drills that develop forward, backward and lateral agility, cardiovascular fitness and overall endurance. In-season training is often a six-day-per-week program that also includes significant practice time. Offseason training often involves three to four days per week of training, with a greater focus on improving strength and endurance and less on football-specific drills. Football training is an excellent, total-body method for getting in and staying in shape, as long as you don’t get injured.
The major disadvantage to playing football is the high risk of injury. Even with every possible safety precaution followed to the letter, scrapes, bruises, sprains, joint dislocations, broken bones and concussions are all possible on any play. Although the rules of most leagues at every level make a concerted effort to mitigate the risk of any of these injuries, the physical and often violent nature of the game make it difficult to remove entirely. Such injuries can be painful and may require significant time for rehabilitation.
Another disadvantage to playing football is that the sport requires a significant commitment of time. Often, during the season a player’s schedule revolves entirely around the team — practices, gym workouts, games, film breakdown — and it makes life considerably more hectic. Also, many of the other things you may want to do often have to take a backseat to football, because the team depends on each player to give total dedication to the process.
Having your feet anchored when performing a situp activates your hip flexors, which assist you as you curl your body up from the floor. While this is an effective way to practice the proper situp without the same level of intensity, it increases the strength of your hip flexors and not your abs. It can also strain your lower back. Instead of anchoring your feet, perform modified situps that will strengthen your abdominals and allow you to perform a proper situp.
Perform a situp with proper form. Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Interlace your fingers behind your head and draw your navel in toward your spine. Flatten your back onto the floor by contracting your abdominal muscles. Maintain stability in your lower body and begin curling up, first by lifting your head, then your neck, followed by your shoulder blades, and finally your lower back. Pause for one count and then slowly lower your body back to the starting position while resisting gravity on the way back to the floor.
Perform butterfly situps, a variation of the basic situp. Sit on the floor, bend and flare your knees out to the sides and put the soles of your feet together. Start by extending your arms, putting your palms together and resting your fingertips on your shoes. Slowly lower your back to the floor while keeping your arms forward. When you feel your shoulder blades touch the floor, contract your abdominals and sit back up to the starting position.
Hold a medicine ball or hand weight to increase the intensity of the situp. Sit tall on the floor while holding a light medicine ball or hand weight with both hands. Start by bending your knees, putting your feet flat on the floor, bending your elbows and holding the weight a few inches over your head. While keeping the weight in position, slowly lower your back to the floor. Pause, contract your abdominals, return to the starting position and repeat. Avoid swinging your arms to gain momentum.
Practice core exercises to strengthen your abdominals. The rectus abdominis is the primary muscle used in a situp, but the transverse abdominis, internal and external obliques, and muscles of the lower back assist the movement. Add exercises, such as the plank, cable rotation, back extension and reverse crunch, to your workout routine to strengthen all the muscles of your core.
Perform the situp over a stability ball. Even though there is now the added challenge of balancing on the ball, situps on a stability ball can be easier than performing them on the floor. Lie face up over a stability ball with the natural curve of your spine positioned slightly below the apex of the ball. Interlace your fingers behind your head and engage your abdominals as you would for the basic situp. Curl your body up into a seated position and then slowly lower back to the starting position while keeping the ball from rolling.
If you want to perform well in your races, it’s always best to be well-rested. However, if your schedule includes a lot of practices, multiple sports or other obligations it may not be possible to always be in peak form when it’s time to perform. Having to run on tired legs isn’t conducive to setting personal bests, but you can adopt several strategies to make the best of the situation.
Before attempting to run on tired legs, you should make sure that it is fatigue you are experiencing, and not an injury. Because of the repetitive nature of running, runners are at risk for overuse injuries such as stress fractures, shin splints and runner’s knee. Such injuries can make it difficult to run, which may lead you to conclude that your muscles are simply tired. Running on injured legs can result in even worse injuries, so you should avoid doing so. If you’re not sure if your legs are injured, seek medical attention.
Electrolytes — such as sodium, calcium, and potassium — perform several functions relevant to running. These nutrients help conduct nerve signals through your body, facilitating muscular contractions. Additionally, electrolytes help generate cellular energy and metabolize glycogen, which is stored in your body, into usable energy. These energy-related functions can help you get the most out of your tired legs. The amount and type of electrolytes you’ll need varies with your particular running program; consult a nutritionist for accurate recommendations.
Warming up can also help you tap whatever energy you have left in your tired legs. Performing light cardiovascular exercises such as jumping jacks and squats, as well as stretching your leg muscles for ten minutes before you run can be sufficient for your needs. Such a warm-up will help your muscles contract more forcefully, encourage better blood flow and nutrient delivery to your muscles, and can discourage the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles. Perform stretches for the major muscle groups of your legs — the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.
Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of fuel, so consuming carb-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains can provide more energy for your tired legs. Protein helps promote muscle recovery, so it can support improved performance. Dairy products tend to be rich in protein and the electrolyte calcium as well. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all dietary plan, as dietary needs vary from person to person. Your coach, doctor or nutritionist can help you understand how much protein and carbohydrates you should be consuming. Your legs my be fatigued due to glycogen depletion; you can remedy this issue by refueling with nutrition bars, sports drinks and gels during runs.
The goaltender’s ability to stop shots and direct rebounds out of the prime scoring areas is vital for any team’s chances of winning. However, the goaltender has to do more than stop shots to be proficient at his job. A good goaltender has to handle the puck confidently and start offensive plays for his team. However, National Hockey League rules don’t allow a goaltender to skate into either of the two trapezoid-shaped areas behind the goal lines.
The National Hockey League imposed restrictions before the 2005-06 season on where goaltenders could skate to play the puck. According to NHL rules, the restricted areas are behind the endline in the shape of a trapezoid. They begin 5 feet outside the goal crease with a diagonal painted line that is angled outward toward the boards on the sides of the ice surface.
If the goaltender leaves his crease to play the puck in the restricted area behind the endline, he receives a two-minute penalty for delay of game. When the goaltender gets a penalty in hockey, he does not leave the ice. A teammate serves the penalty for him and the team is short-handed for the duration of the penalty unless the opposing team scores a goal.
The National Hockey League instituted the trapezoid rule before the 2005-06 season. The reason for the rule was to help offensive teams generate more scoring opportunities. Goalies who handled the puck well could easily skate into the area behind the endline and fire the puck out of the zone. The trapezoid rule prevented the goalie from short-circuiting these offensive forays.
Before the institution of the trapezoid rule, scoring in NHL games was down and the league’s rule makers wanted to open the game up for goal scoring. Toronto Maple Leafs president Brian Burke explained that goaltenders would skate quickly into the corner and send the puck out of the zone in a matter of seconds after a “soft chip.” “The game was turning into a tennis match,” Burke told USA Today. “You’d dump it in and the goalie would throw it out. Now with soft chip in the corner, it turns into a puck battle and a forechecking opportunity, and that’s what we wanted.” However, many goaltenders don’t like the rule. New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, the league’s all-time winningest goalie, is among the most outspoken critics of the rule. ”You can’t be happy, taking away something I’ve worked on all my life to do and help my teammates and help my defense,” Brodeur told the New York Times. ”It’s just part of me, playing the puck. So, definitely, you can’t be happy.”
Athletes and others getting into shape commonly incorporate running bleachers into their exercise routines. The intense activity has a variety of health and physical fitness benefits, some of which develop the body more efficiently than running on a flat surface. Although running bleachers shouldn¡¯t be done every day, by sprinkling it in once or twice a week, you will receive numerous benefits.
Running bleachers will quickly increase your heart rate up into the training zone. The activity is much more intense than regular running, so you will find that your heart beats much faster than when you are simply jogging. The activity requires that you exercise at high intensity for short bouts as you run up the bleachers, then rest a bit as you walk back down. This type of workout is similar to interval training and is effective in teaching your cardiovascular system how to recovery quickly, as it needs to get your body ready to be able to work hard again once it is time to run back up.
Because running bleachers raises your heart rate up into its training zone, it is considered a cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercises are effective in burning calories, which in turn facilitate creating a caloric deficit and increases body fat loss. Participating in cardiovascular activities, such as bleacher running, where your heart rate is elevated for at least 30 minutes, is an effective activity to participate in when trying to burn calories.
A big reason that athletes incorporate running bleachers into their routine is because of its effective ability to increase leg power. In certain sports, such as basketball, soccer, football and track, leg power is beneficial to enhancing performance. Climbing up the bleacher stairs quickly requires the quadriceps and glute muscles in the legs to push off each step with large amounts of explosive force. Even long distance runners have seen improvements in their running speed when they fit running bleachers into their workout.
Adding variety to your workout program can help ensure you do not become bored and unmotivated. Especially for runners, finding a local stadium with bleachers can be a much needed break from their same daily route, which will keep them from becoming mentally tired. For those who are not runners, bleachers will work the leg muscles in a way unlike any other activity. Constant variety in workouts prevents muscles from adapting and hitting a plateau. Instead, it allows them to continue development.