How to Learn to Read the Plays During a Football Game

Football plays are not designed to be easily read — if you can read them in the stands or in front of the TV, so can the defense. Teams that provide obvious clues to their plays end up struggling for yardage, and the offensive coordinator¡¯s job ends up on the line. Shrewd quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, who can read the defensive alignment well, change the play with an audible before the snap to further disguise their intentions. Still, experienced analysts of the gridiron do share clues to help you read the plays during a game.
Watch the five offensive linemen — the center and the pairs of tackles and guards — at the moment the center snaps the ball. If they all stand straight up at the snap, the quarterback is going to pass, advises Mark Oristano in ¡°A Sportscaster¡¯s Guide to Watching Football.¡± If the offensive linemen shove forward across the line of scrimmage, a run will follow. The reason behind the different stances is simple; If an offensive lineman moves across the line of scrimmage during a pass play, a penalty for ineligible man downfield follows.
Follow visually the guards who flank the center if the linemen blast forward across the line of scrimmage, signaling a running play. Nine times out of 10 they will lead your eyes to the point of attack, namely where the ball is going, Oristano states. You¡¯ll find where the running back is headed before he gets there — around the same time the defense does.
Look for a spread formation, with three or more receivers lined up wide or to one side in what is called the ¡°trips right¡± or ¡°trips left¡± formation, as a clue that passing play is imminent. A closely bunched formation, with extra blockers creating a fortress around the ball, indicates a quarterback sneak or attempted run for short yardage, most likely by the fullback.
Regard with skepticism movements of linebackers up to line of scrimmage. They are likely faking a blitz and may drop back to their coverage areas. Watch instead the safety who moves up from a deep spot to about 6 yards off the line of scrimmage. Just before the snap, he may start a full-tilt blitz designed to cross the line of scrimmage just after the center delivers the ball to the quarterback.
Study the running back¡¯s eyes just before the snap if a camera provides this shot. Before the ball arrives, he scans the defense from left to right and back again, looking at its alignment. If he inadvertently stares at the point of attack, the middle linebacker may read this and call out to his teammates the gap the back plans to hit.
Watch for the quarterback to react to a blitz by linebackers or safeties by trying to throw a quick pass, designed to avoid the sack, to a receiver who slips into the area vacated by the blitzer.

Bad Sports Contracts Quiz

Test your knowledge of the worst sports contract catastrophes of the past 30 years. If you don’t know an answer, here’s a hint: the most ridiculous option is almost always right!

Muscles Used in a Side Lunge

The side lunge is an effective way to work the muscles of your lower body and can be performed using a barbell, dumbbells or as a bodyweight exercise. Side lunges are a useful exercise for sports players as they involve a side-to-side action not normally associated with forward or backward lunges. Side-to-side movements are a big part of non-linear sports like basketball, tennis, baseball and football. Include side lunges in your workout to complement more traditional leg exercises such as squats and regular lunges.
Side lunges target your butt, or gluteus maximus muscle, known as your glutes. In addition, the smaller but no less important gluteus minimus and gluteus medius also get in on the act. As it’s the glutes on your leading leg that does most the work in this exercise, make sure you do the same number of reps on each leg to work both sides equally.
The muscles on the back of your thighs are your hamstrings and work alongside your glutes to control the hip of your leading leg. There are three muscles that make up your hamstrings: biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus. Your hamstrings help control your descent into the lunge position and then drive you back up into the start position.
Your quadriceps are the muscles on the front of your thigh and are responsible for extending your knee. As you shift your weight onto your lead leg, your quads work to control your descent into the lunge position and then push you upright and back to the starting position. As your set progresses, you’ll probably feel your quadriceps working hard and they may even quake and quiver with fatigue.
Lunging sideways places an additional workload on your adductor muscles which are located on the inside of your thighs. Three muscles make up this particular group: adductor longus, adductor brevis and adductor magnus. While the adductors on your lead leg are working with your quadriceps and hamstrings to control your knee and hip movements, the adductors on your trailing leg, which remains straight, get a good stretch.

Military Pushups & Situps Workout Program

Muscular strength and endurance are important components to meeting the physical demands required to being a member of the United States military. At the core of the military¡¯s workouts are pushups and situps, and both exercises are included in the initial and annual fitness tests. You can follow the military¡¯s training principles and get in shape whether or not you¡¯re a service member.
Complete your pushup and situp workout three days per week and on nonconsecutive day. Each military-style workout features a warmup, the actual workout activity and a cool-down. A 15-minute dynamic warmup prepares your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems for activity. The U.S. Army recommends beginning with some light cardio and then completing warm-up activities that target the core, such as the bent-leg raise, side bridge and back bridge. The cool-down lasts about 10 minutes and consists of light walking and static stretching, which involve holding stretches for 20 seconds each.
After you¡¯re properly warmed up, you¡¯ll move onto the actual workout activity, which will include both pushups and situps. The workout will be organized in a superset structure, meaning you¡¯ll bump from one exercise immediately into the next. Fitness professional Stew Smith of Military.com recommends a workout consisting of traditional pushups, traditional situps, wide pushups, reverse crunches, close-grip pushups and double-crunches. Complete each of these exercises back-to-back, doing 10 repetitions of each. Go through the circuit five times so that you do a total of 150 repetitions of both pushups and situps.
Mastering the technique of the different pushups will help ensure that your training is both effective and safe. To complete the pushup, lie on your stomach on the floor and position your hands so that they¡¯re directly underneath your shoulders. Lift up onto your hands and toes and contract your abs so your trunk doesn¡¯t sag to the floor. Bend your elbows to lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor and then straighten your arms to return to the starting position. Wide pushups are similar, except that your hands are positioned a couple inches outside each of your shoulders. Close-grip pushups involve setting your hands next to each other so that they¡¯re positioned directly under the center of your chest.
The situp is ideally performed with a partner to hold your feet down. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Interlock your fingers and place your hands behind your head. Lift your upper body until it has reached a vertical position and then control your torso back to the floor. The reverse crunch involves keeping your upper body on the floor and instead lifting your hips up off the floor. Double crunch combines both the situp and reverse crunch. With your hands interlocked behind your head, simultaneously lift your shoulders and your hips off the floor.

Foot Injuries From Soccer

As in most sports that involve running or kicking, soccer sees its fair share of foot injuries. Although many of these injuries are the result of collisions or entanglements with other players, many are preventable. Before getting in the game, make sure that you warm up properly by performing the appropriate stretching exercises, wearing proper-fitting cleats and taping your ankles for additional support if you have a history of foot and ankle problems. Finish off a game or practice with a series of cool-down exercises.
The severe twisting and turning of the ankle while playing soccer can cause metatarsal fractures, or breaks in the long bones in the front of the foot. This type of injury is also sometimes caused when one player steps on another player¡¯s foot while running. Pain and swelling is immediate and the foot may appear deformed, but you may not see the onset of bruising for up to 24 hours. X-rays are necessary to diagnose this type of fracture and determine its severity. Treatment involves immobilizing the foot with a cast for boot for anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks, depending on how severe the fracture is. Some injuries can require surgery.
Adolescent boys who play basketball, soccer or participate in gymnastics are prone to Sever¡¯s disease, a condition that affects the back of the heel near the Achilles tendon. This condition usually occurs from over-training without sufficient rest. It results in moderate to severe pain in the heel, which usually worsens when running. Some soccer players continue training, although they may add a stretching routine specific to the heel into their regime and insert a heel pad into their cleats. More severe cases may require x-rays to rule out other conditions, or a hiatus from soccer and running with a gradual reintroduction to the sport.
Repeated striking of the toes against the top of your soccer cleats can cause subungual hematoma, a condition affecting the toenails. This condition occurs when blood accumulates underneath the toenail, and may require that a physician pierce the toenail to drain off the excess blood. The Massachusetts General Hospital for Children reports that it is not uncommon for soccer players to completely lose two or even three toenails each playing season due to this condition.
An October 2003 article in ¡°Podiatry Today¡± places ankle sprains as the most common injuries sustained by soccer athletes. The cause for these injuries are typically running on an uneven surface, making a sharp turn while running down the field, collision with another player or twisting the ankle when landing from a jump. Sprains often swell and bruise quickly; icing the joint can help to alleviate this. Depending on the severity of the injury, your doctor may require you to tape the ankle or wear a compression boot or soft cast for up to three weeks. The use of crutches for the first few days is often encourage as well.
Achilles tendinitis is not technically an injury from soccer; but the condition can be exacerbated by the game. It is characterized by a pain in your heel and the tendon when running; or even walking. It is caused by short calf muscles or increasing the intensity of your activity without preparing your muscles in advance. Tendinitis in your Achilles may even be caused by your athletic shoes — not enough support or ill-fitting. If you suspect an inflamed Achilles tendon, use ice, for 15 to 20 minutes at least 2 to three times a day. But, most importantly, stop playing soccer immediately. If there is a tear or rupture of the Achilles tendon, it may involve surgery. Your doctor can determine the condition of your tendon with an x-ray or MRI scan.

How to Properly Ride a Longboard for Surfing

Surfing is a fun way to get out in the ocean and catch a wave. Surfboard riders come in all shapes and sizes, and the best ones compete on the professional circuit, making big money. Beginning surfers often start on longboards, which are safer and easier to ride than shortboards. Longboards float better than shortboards and offer a more stable ride. Measuring 9 feet or longer in length, longboards are easier for beginning surfers to paddle, stand up on and ride back toward the shore.
Walk the longboard out in the ocean until the water becomes waist deep. Point the nose of the board away from the shore and make sure the bottom fin is in the water. Climb up on the board when the water rises to your waist, lie flat on your stomach and paddle out into the ocean using the crawl stroke — one arm in the water at a time. Longboards are long and heavy, so stay in smoother water to prevent fatigue. Paddle out to areas where big waves already have broken and smaller, foamy waves are forming.
Turn the longboard toward the shore after getting into position in front of oncoming waves. Lie back down on the board and begin paddling as the waves build from behind. Position your body as close to the center of the longboard as possible to prevent getting thrown off into the water. Attach the protective leash to your back ankle for added protection. Remain flat on your stomach and ride the wave to the shore if you are a beginning surfer. Otherwise, push yourself up and stand on the board as it catches the wave .
Balance yourself on the board. Longboards are more stable than shortboards, but proper balance ensures a longer ride. Push your body up and stand on the line running down the center of the board to get the most stable ride. Stand sideways, bend your knees and stay as low as possible on the longboard. Spread your legs a shoulder width apart and grip the board with your feet. Keep your head up and your hands out to the sides for added balance.
Gradually increase the degree of difficulty as you gain experience on the longboard. The board is long and heavy, so effort is needed to turn. Shift your weight to the back leg and rotate your hips. As the longboard turns, shift your weight to the front foot. Walk the longboard. Laterally move your feet up or down the board while maintaining balance. Try to “Hang 10.” A popular surfing move — albeit difficult — is to walk to the front of the longboard while riding the wave and place your 10 toes over the edge. Ride with a partner. The longboard has enough room for two surfers at the same time. Stand close together and maintain the same form and balance.

How to Win the Ring Toss at a Fair

The ring toss game at a fair is often flanked by large and expensive prizes, usually because it can be difficult to conquer. The game consists of glass bottles lined up side-by-side. The aim of the game is to toss a ring and have it land over the mouth and neck of one of the bottles. Unfortunately, the close proximity and size of the spaces between the bottles can make it a tricky game to win and a profitable game to run.
Ask the facilitator for the rules of the game. While most ring toss games are similar, some may have different rules about fault lines and the amount of turns you're allowed for each ring. Make sure that you obey all of the rules for the best chance at winning the game.
Hold the ring in your dominant hand. Situate the ring in the crease between your thumb and forefinger, with your thumb on top. The way you hold it should be much like holding a flying disc. The trick to losing the ring toss, says Thinkquest's Scam Portal, is that the ring is only large enough to land on a bottle top when it is completely flat. Any angling of the ring will result in it hitting two bottle tops at once and bouncing away.
Aim the ring for one of the rings near the edge of the grouping of bottles. The less bottles around the one you're aiming for, the less chance that the ring will ricochet off of a neighboring bottle and ruin your chances of winning.
Flick your wrist rapidly and release the ring when your wrist is straight. The quicker you flick your wrist, the more of a spin you'll put on the ring as it flies through the air. The spin stabilizes the ring, so it has less of a chance of tipping when it lands.
Watch for your winning throw. It might take a few turns to get the hang of it. Try again if possible. Ask the facilitator if you can throw two rings at once, and place one on top of the other. The extra weight may be able to keep the ring straight to give you a winning edge on the ring toss fair game.

A List of All the Positions in Football & Their Responsibilities

The game of football gives players and fans the chance to experience exciting plays, thrilling wins and heartbreaking losses. Football has become the most popular sport in the U.S., with a fan base in countries all around the world. Fans have a greater appreciation of the game once they learn about the responsibilities of the different football positions.
One of the main aspects of football is the running game. The running backs, normally a fullback and a halfback, stand behind the offensive line. While their main duty is to run the ball down the field, running backs also catch passes and make blocks to protect the quarterback. As leaders of the offense, quarterbacks call plays, hand the ball to the running backs, and make passes to the receivers. Quarterbacks can run with the ball, especially if there’s not an open receiver down field.
Offensive linemen protect the quarterback and open holes for running backs. The center’s job is to snap the ball to the quarterback, to make blocks and to protect the quarterback. The guards and tackles make blocks for running backs and protect their quarterback while he throws passes. The tight end is an offensive lineman that blocks, but he also catches passes.
Quarterbacks throw passes to the wide receivers. The role of the receiver is to run pass routes. They use their speed and quickness to evade the other team’s defensive players as they try to get open to catch passes. Receivers also make blocks for the quarterback, for other receivers and for the running backs.
Defensive tackles, defensive ends and the nose guard make up the defensive line. The nose guard plays in the center of the defensive line. His job is to stop the run up the middle. Tackles play on either side of the nose guard and try to stop the run play. In some cases, they can break through and hurry or sack the quarterback. Defensive ends play at the end of the defensive line. Ends work to sack the quarterback and try to prevent running backs from getting farther down the field.
Linebackers are usually the best tacklers on the team. They play behind the defensive line and are responsible for defending both run and pass plays. The defensive backfield is made up of cornerbacks and safeties. Their job is to cover the wide receivers, to break up passes and to make interceptions. They also make tackles, work to stop the run and try to sack the quarterback.
The special teams, often the key to success in football games, are made up of a kicker, a punter, a long snapper and a place holder. The kicker’s job is to kick the ball off at the opening of the game and after every score. He also kicks the extra points after touchdowns, and he kicks field goals when the offense cannot score a touchdown. Place holders catch the ball from the center and hold it for the kicker as he kicks extra points or field goals. Punters kick the ball when the team does not score, and the long snapper is the center who snaps the ball during punts.

How to Hang a Speed Bag

A boxing speed bag is a great tool for teaching boxing and it is also a wonderful cardiovascular tool. Many boxers and non-boxers love working on the speed bag because success on the bag indicates quickness and excellent hand-eye coordination. It’s fairly easy to hang a speed bag in your basement or workout area. If you have about 1 1/2 hours, tools and inclination, you can put up the speed bag without any assistance. The bag and the hanging bracket will weight about 5 lbs.
Pick out the area in your home where you want to hang your speed bag. Putting the speed bag in a somewhat out-of-the-way part of your home is advisable to get away from potential distractions. The corner area of the basement may be one of the less conspicuous spots for your speed bag.
Hang the speed bag bracket on the wall. The bottom part of the speed bag¡ªthe striking area¡ªshould be between nose- and eye-height. Hang the bracket at about forehead height. Mark the screw holes in the wall with a pencil. Then take your power drill and make four holes for the 3/8-inch screws that will hold your bracket.
Attach the bracket using a power screwdriver to secure the four screws to the bracket. Make sure there are no gaps and that the bracket does not wobble. You want a true and straight hang for your bracket so the speed bag moves in the expected manner. Use a level to make sure the bracket is straight and the bag is hanging correctly.
Connect the bag to the hook that is hanging down from the center of the bracket. The loop at the top of the speed bag should go right on the hook. The bag should hang straight down.
Start punching the bag. If you hit the bag with straight punches, it will fly off the back rim and then go straight to the front rim. If your bag does this, you have hung it correctly.

Using the Vertec For Vertical Jumps

In athletics, the vertical jump can make the difference in grabbing a rebound, spiking a volleyball or making a catch. The vertical jump is used in just about every sport, and is trained for using a variety of exercises ranging from resistance training to plyometrics. Some professional sports organizations even use the vertical jump as a marker for drafting a player or signing a contract. The vertec provides an easy and accurate system for measuring a vertical jump, and is the common choice for many sports organizations, including the NFL.
Set up the vertec on a stable surface with enough room to be able to jump and land in a safe position without hitting any other objects or landing on an uneven surface.
Measure your reach using a tape measure against a wall. Try to reach as high as possible to eliminate any inaccuracy between reach and vertical jumping ability.
Raise the vertec so the bottom peg is exactly 10 inches above your reach.
Even all of the pegs facing outward away from the vertec using the vertex stick.
Set yourself underneath the pegs.
Jump as high as you can from a standing position. Do not take a step or use a running start to jump as it will lead to an inaccurate measurement of your vertical jump.
Move as many pegs as possible and land safely after the jump. Do not swat at the pegs because you are more likely to miss or not hit the pegs at your highest point. Simply reach out as far as you can while jumping to move the pegs.
Push all of the pegs you moved and any peg below the highest peg you moved to the inside of the vertec. Straighten the remaining pegs.
Continue Steps 5 through 8 until you are unable to touch a peg during your jump.
Count the number of pegs you moved during your jumping. Each peg represents 1/2 an inch of a jump. So if you moved 15 pegs, for example, multiply 15 by 1/2. Add the result of 7.5 to the initial 10-inch difference between your reach and the bottom peg, and you get 17.5 inches. This is your vertical jump.