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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Do Your Softball Pitchers Out-pitch your Catchers?

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Coach Dave Weaver is founder and director of the New England Catching Camp

As I have observed the game of fast pitch softball for women the past 10 years I have seen an interesting situation develop. There has been an extraordinary emphasis on pitching instruction around the country. The skills I used to see in only the best high school senior pitchers years ago are now being executed by girls as young as 12 and 13.

The 55mph barrier is being broken by younger and younger girls each year and the amount of movement on their pitchers that these young pitchers can achieve is startling.

All this leads me to the question: Do your pitchers out-pitch your catchers? Has the increase in skill of your pitchers out paced the skill of your catchers? Do your pitchers have pitches they can throw for strikes that your catchers have no chance of keeping a strike or maybe even just plain catching?

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Top Soccer Coach Provides Conditioning Tips

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Gatz's new book offers agility insights

Excerpt adapted from Complete Conditioning for Soccer (Human Kinetics, 2009).

Champaign, IL-- Along with accelerating, agility involves reaction time, balance, coordination, stopping, and starting. Agility drills can be either reactive or nonreactive. Nonreactive drills are those in which the athlete can anticipate what is going to happen, whereas reactive drills require the athlete to react to a stimulus and make a split-second decision. Both reactive and nonreactive drills will improve your agility, but as a soccer player you should focus on reactive drills. These are most likely to transfer to the game. The following agility essentials form the framework for designing a training routine for increasing your quickness and ability to change direction.

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Complete Conditioning for Baseball

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Editors Note: This book comes with a DVD, and it even tags the drills in the book as ones that are on DVD. I would have liked to see a few more tagged as the photos do not do justice to the actual technique being described. Unless there is a photo seguence from numerous, I don't think they ever work well in these books.

Overall the actual exercises mirror most others found in the general strength and conditoning books Human Kinetics Publishes. There are some good baseball, or shoulder specific exercises, that are helpful but the the real benefits for sport specific training guides deals with the year round programming - pre-season, in season, off season, training, etc. The issue is that most younger athletes not specializing in one sport are often playing another sport. A good maintenance program should be required by any sport - but if you are playing basketball in the winter, there should be a clear goal to work on shoulder strengthing exercises during the season (without huring your basketball) so that you are not behind the eight ball when spring comes. A book like this should help you and a coach figure that out.

Champaign (IL) - Today’s players are bigger, stronger, and faster than ever before. A focused conditioning program has become essential to on-the-field success. Complete Conditioning for Baseball features a comprehensive training approach that builds players’ physical abilities as well as the baseball-specific skills their positions require.

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New Sport Nutrition Text Caters to Coaches' Specific Needs

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Editors Note: I'll be blunt folks. Sports Nutrition information is great stuff - but if you can't win the last mile, don't bother. The last mile in this case is actualy ability for the athlete to have timely access to the recommended foods for proper nutiton. Many coaches are just worried about their kids getting something to eat at night or in the morning before school, let alone the "optimal sports nutrition". This issue is far greater reaching than sports performance. As a nation, we are aware that hungry students do not learn very well in the classroom, yet we still can't get them all fed and ready to go each day.

Sure, there is nothing wrong with this information and any little bit helps and the Girls Cross County Team at Fayetteville Manlius would likely have this information and the access to any food they need, but that is not the norm. That said, this book does cover some very important topics that encompass more than just an athlete's performance and nutrition. Health issues related to alcohol use, weight gain and loss as well as supplements are covered. This looks to be a nice text for any coach to review and have access to.

Champaign, IL-- Coaches and fitness professionals often have trouble teaching athletes nutrition habits for optimal performance. The upcoming Sport Nutrition for Coaches (Human Kinetics, June 2009) solves that problem. In it, sport nutrition expert Leslie Bonci offers coaches, personal trainers, and fitness specialists an easy-to-understand guide written specifically for people with no previous experience with sport nutrition.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Eye Safety When Exercising and Playing Sports

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David Hurcombe O.DBoard Certified Optometrist, achieved his doctorate at the University of Houston College of Optometry

If you are into sports and suffer from a defect of vision there might be a few question marks regarding the safety of your eyes. For example, are glasses or contact lenses preferred? Or what risks do I expose myself to by wearing glasses? To help you out we have collected a few tips and pointers regarding what there is to think about.

Contact Sports

This is perhaps quite obvious, but glasses are totally out of the question when it comes to contact sports. Glasses will not only disturb much of your movement – they will also be dangerous to wear. Generally your only option here is contact lenses but it is not always easy to know what type of lenses to wear for contact sports. Make sure that you get soft contact lenses as they will fit you comfortably and they will also stand the best chance of staying in your eyes if you were to get hit. Another tip that we can give you is only purchasing soft daily contacts as they are easy to replace if you were to lose a pair while playing.


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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Coaching Tennis Technical & Tactical Skills

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Go beyond tennis coaching basics

Coaching Tennis Technical and Tactical Skills (Human Kinetics, June 2009)

Champaign, IL--Tennis is thriving: Over the past five years tennis participation at the high school level has increased more than 10 percent each year, and total participation is over 14.5 million in the United States alone. Written for high school coaches, Coaching Tennis Technical and Tactical Skills (Human Kinetics, June 2009) guides coaches through basic to intermediate tennis skills in a comprehensive manner. Written by the American Sport Education Program (the leading instructor of coaches with over 1.5 million trained coaches in its ranks) in conjunction with the United States Tennis Association (the largest tennis organization in the world), this book is the practical resource that will help high school coaches improve their coaching.

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Nutrition - Issues for Underperforming Athletes

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The Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD author of
Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook 4th Edition,),
September 2008

“Nutrition is my missing link. I have my training down, but my eating needs help.” Time and again, my clients express this concern when they fail to get desired results from their workouts. These busy people, who range from casual exercisers to competitive athletes, are eating at the wrong times, choosing the wrong balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat, drinking too little fluids, and consuming adequate iron. The question arises: How much better could these athletes perform? The answer is: Lots better! The following article highlights some common missing food links, and provides solutions that can help you to avoid these pitfalls.


Missing link #1: Respect for the power of food

“You know, Nancy, too many athletes show up for training but they don't show up for meals. They might as well not show up for training...” These words, spoken by a winning Boston College hockey coach, are true, indeed. Instead of rushing to practice, only to show up poorly fueled, you'd be better off taking 10 minutes from your training time to fuel properly and be able to get more from your workout. Plan ahead!

Click here for the rest of the Missling Links!

The Catcher's Creed by Coach Dave Weaver

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Coach Dave Weaver is founder and director of the New England Catching Camp

  1. Understanding that as a catcher I must accept my role as the leader of my team.
  2. I hold myself to the 10 points of the Catchers Creed while training or playing.
  3. I will be suited up, stretched, and ready to go 15 minutes before the team is expected to arrive for training or a game.
  4. My equipment will always be clean. I will never drag dirt or mud into any indoor training facility.
  5. My shirt will always be tucked in, whether in a game or at practice.
  6. I will NEVER be heard saying anything disrespectful towards a team mate, opponent, coach, or umpire.

Click here to read the rest of "The Catchers Creed"

Pete Newells Playing Big - The Definitive Guide to Playing Modern Post Basketball

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Written by Human Kinetics
Sunday, 17 May 2009 08:19
The Definitive Guide to Playing Modern Post by Pete Newell and Swen NaterEditors Note: Legendary coach Pete Newell passed away at age 93 in November 2008, but before his passing he left behind this book and the DVD that comes with it. You can hear Newell give an intro on the DVD - most of it features Nader and other Newell Big Man Camp Coaches in action. The DVD is very helpful and I restate my feeling that you should avoid any book that claims to be instructional but lacks a DVD or CD ROM. The added detail you get with video makes the complete package.For example, you see the timing of the footwork and the subtle details that make moves work. Coaches or athletes can read it, but for many, it will not sink in until the see it. One problem is that the book does not ear mark which drills or concepts are also covered in the DVD - unlike other books from Human Kinetics. I find this to be helpful and it should be SOP on these books.

Pete Newell’s Playing Big offers a rare opportunity to learn from a basketball coach who has taught Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Bill Walton the finer points of post play and added new inside dimensions to the perimeter games of Shawn Marion, James Worthy, and Scottie Pippen. With this book and DVD, Pete Newell and Swen Nater show how you too can learn and apply the tactics and techniques from the world’s foremost expert on playing big and dominating the inside game.

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