Saturday, July 01, 2006

Cooling Down Phase for Soccer Training - A Coach's Perspective and Focal Point

Cooling down,I term this the reflection phase. It is a time to prepare for physical and mental relaxation. This includes stretching and flexibility work as well as light group jogging and limbering down exercises.This is the time of mental reflection of the practice, game or even the day's events.This is especially neccesary while at and during tournaments

This important phase is usually over-looked by most teams as they are trying to either celebrate the win or discuss the loss and any related issues. If this aspect is incorporated every practice then it will be a natural process after the games as well. Yes the practices need to incorporate warm up as well as cool down. Apart from the physiology of increasing strength through stretching regimes. This helps the team members understand their bodies and it's needs.

It is also a great time for the coaches to get feed back on the events. This gets the team to contribute to their immediate experiences, whether is be a competition or practice. It helps everybody paint a mental picture of their collective accomplishments.

When a group of individuals gets together and focuses on something other than the immediate task at hand then the task becomes another routine within the training regime.This is switching the focus from the actual cooling down process and focuses on the socialization aspect of cooling down. It deals with the fresh experiences that have just occured. Let the team discuss the events first before the coach talks or the meeting is held in the locker room. Young minds need to also voice opinions to each other before they talk to the larger group. This helps build unity within and a power of responsibility throughout.

It is a time to also talk about the other aspects of sports activities. These are nutritional and additional aspects of concentrating on mental focus.

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Friday, June 30, 2006

The Middle of Your Life

Reaching Middle Age and actually acknowledging the experience are two different feelings.

1. You go thru the fear of approaching it

2. You go into denial that you really have reached this age.

3. You begin to change everything in your life

4. Even if you accept it or not the experiences begin to happen

You really are in the middle of your life. Aging parents whom you thought would never look, act or be any different from what you knew as a child start to change and become vulnerable right in front of your eyes. One day they seem fine and outspoken as ever and the next your looking into the faces of people with ailments and medical charts and more needs than you can handle.

The next experience seems to be that you begin to envision your own mortality. Not something that crossed my mind until my mid forties and realization set in that I was becoming one of the older generation. The selling of my original home that always housed my parents and all my first experiences of life was quite an ordeal. The emotions of letting go are quite vast when you realize you no longer have that physical connection to return to. You are the connection.

The flip side of that middle age is looking at your children that are now adults. Fitting into their lives is another challenge. You don’t want them to go through the same hardships as you but you also have to let them learn and find their own paths in life. You need to remember that even if you don’t think so, there is a generation gap. They’re doing things their way and you know they need but definitely do not always want your opinion or comments. You find you just agree to keep the harmony and just keep reassuring them of how proud you are of who they’ve become.

So you see, you are middle age and haven’t the foggiest idea of what to do next! You realize that now that all those trips or vacations you thought you would always have time for seem more of a chore than a pleasurable opportunity. Your priority list needs to be updated. The time is passing and if you blink, it may no longer be available to you or you may feel to stiff and out of shape to do the most with such valuable time.

It’s time to make a few decisions with yourself in mind. What do you want in your life? Where are your finances at this point in time? Is it time to downsize, remodel or sell? Is it time to bring out those dusty goals and dreams you put away for the future? The future has arrived. Is it time for a makeover of mind, body and homestead?

Just know for sure that you are not alone. Many aging baby boomers exist out there and have as many questions as you. It’s time to build a boomer sitemap of your own and step into the next phase of your life.Enjoy!

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Warm-up for Soccer Training and Games

To improve your soccer coaching skills, you’ve got to make sure your players give their bodies the chance to perform at their best. That means sensible warm-ups and cool-down, before and after a match or a soccer training session of any kind.

Soccer is a demanding physical game. So providing encouragement and instruction and making sure your players do adequate physical preparation is one of the most important responsibilities in soccer coaching.

The warm up is a process to increase awareness, improve co-ordination, improve elasticity and contractibility of muscles, and increase the efficiency of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Soccer training and blood flow to muscles

In a body at rest, the blood flow to the muscles is comparatively low, and the majority of the small blood vessels (capillaries) supplying them are closed. When soccer training or playing begins, the blood flow in the exercising muscles increases markedly, as the capillaries open.

At rest, 15-20% of the blood flow supplies muscles, while after 10-12 minutes of all-round exercise, the percentage of blood flow supplying the muscles rises to 70-75%. A muscle can only achieve maximum performance when all its blood vessels are functional.Physical work increases the energy output and temperature of the muscle, this in turn leads to improved co-ordination with less likelihood of injury.

A warm-up therefore prepares the body by:

• raising muscle temperature towards an optimum level for performance

• enabling metabolic processes in cells to proceed at higher rates

• and allowing nerve messages to travel faster

Why warm-up is important in soccer coaching

Reasons for conducting a thorough warm-up prior to soccer training and games include the following:

• To increase blood flow to muscular tissue

• To increase muscle temperature

• To reduce muscle tightness

• To elevate body temperature

• To stimulate reflex activity related to balance and co-ordination

• To achieve full joint mobility in the specific joints involved in the activity

• To achieve full soft tissue extensibility – muscles, tendons, ligaments

• To enhance the functioning of the neuromuscular system

• To prepare the cardiovascular and respiratory systems

• To prepare the player psychologically for the coming activity

• To familiarize themselves with the environmental conditions

Warm-ups should be intense enough to increase the body temperature, the effects of which will ultimately wear off depending upon its intensity and specificity. The procedure should begin with movements of the large muscle groups, as these are the main areas to which blood is redistributed. These include the following areas:

• Back lower leg: gastrocnemius and soleus

• Front lower leg: peroneals (shin)

• Front thigh: quadriceps

• Back thigh: hamstrings

• Inner thigh: adductors

• Back: erector spinae

• Trunk: abdominal muscles

• Shoulders and chest: deltoids and pectorials

Specialized soccer exercises

After the general warm-up players can begin more specialized exercises including mobilization of the joints and dynamic movements of muscles, particularly of the lower extremity. The final stage of a warm-up concentrates on technique, and/or practicing a specific movement.

Whether warm-ups are performed with or without a ball depends entirely upon the philosophy adopted by the coach. This part of the soccer training session does provide an opportunity to work on specific technical skills in conjunction with mobility work and may also provide a greater mental and neurological stimulus for the players. In soccer coaching generally a lack or improper use of a warm-up and a cool-down is a risk factor for lower extremity overuse muscular injuries, especially during running.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Didier Drogba and the Ivory Coast Men's National Soccer Team

Didier Drogba was a smash hit at the African Nations Cup which was produced by CAF (Confederation of African Football) and hosted in Egypt. The final with Ivory Coast took place on February 10 2006 and was won by the host country Egypt 4-2 on penalty shoot-out.

Didier Drogba had the most impact of any other national player of any other of the participaying teams during the course of the intra African match-ups. He is essentially a centeral force on any of the teams he has played on.. This also includes Chelsea of the English Premier League of which he is also a striker.

For team mate, Toure, Drogba presents a potentially decisive edge in the first competitive meeting between Ivory Coast and Nigeria since the 1994 Nations Cup semi-final won by the Nigerians on penalties.

"Drogba is a really great player and he is something special. We are really proud of what hehas a done for the team". "It's going to be a very hard game. But now we are in the semi-finals, anything can happen. We've got our chance," said defender Toure.

Seconds into the second half, the whole difference was made when Drogba netted his fourth goal of the tournament and the Elephants could afford to sit back for most of the second half. The goal stung the Nigerian bench who immediately replaced Mikel Obi with Jay Jay Okocha and Kanu Nwankwo with Julius Aghahowa, but still the Nigerians could not turn the game round. This is the first time the Ivorians, who have qualified for the World cup, will have played in the final since winning the title in 1992 in Senegal.

The Egyptians must thank goalkeeper Essam EL Hadary for saving two penalties as Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba missed a crucial first spot kick for the Elephants.

COTE D'IVOIRE (Ivory Coast) National Team Line-up

01.Tizie Jean-Jacques Hobrou
02.Akale Kanga Gauthier
03.Boka Etienne Arthur
04.Toure Kolo Abib
05.Zokora Deguy Alain Didier
06.Kouassi Koffiblaise
07.Fae Emerse
09.Kone Arouna
11.Drogba Tebily Didier Yves
21.Eboue Emmanuel
19.Toure Yaya Gnegneri

How many of these following substitutes will make their way to other Premier League teams in Europe and Asia?

10.Yapi Yapo Gilles Donald
08.Kalou Bonaventure
14.Kone Bakari
15.Dindane Aruna
16.Gnanhouan G. Amoukou Okosias
17.Domoraud Depri Cyrille Leandre
18.Tiene Siaka
22.N'dri Koffi Christian Romaric
23.Barry Boubacar
20.Demel Guy Roland
12.Meite Abdoulaye
13.Zoro Kpolo Marc Andre

The battle for African Footballer of the year

Drogba overshadowed Samuel Eto'o, his rival for the African Footballer of the Year award usually held in late February. Didier Drogba scored the decisive penalty to put Ivory Coast into the last four in a dramatic shootout victory over Cameroon in Cairo.However it might be blindsided by a contender from Egypt. Could Mido be in the mix?

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Funerals - Funeral Packages

In this article we're going to discuss something that is becoming more and more popular with families of the deceased. Funeral packages.

Death is something we try not to think about. It isn't a pleasant subject. Unfortunately, it is also inevitable. Also unfortunately, we tend to think about these things at the last minute. Very few people really prepare for the death of a loved one.

One of the reasons, and possibly the main reason, is because there is more involved with what comes after someone dies than most people realize. It is because of the number of things that need to be taken care of that today many corporations, and yes, that's what they are, specialize in what are called "Funeral Packages."

A funeral package is just that. It's a one stop shop for all your funeral needs.

Just what are those needs? More than most people realize.

For starters, there's how you want the deceased to be buried, if at all. There are a number of options to choose from. You can have a standard casket, and even that isn't so standard anymore as there are many casket styles to choose from.

Then there is where you want the deceased buried. You can request a traditional funeral where the deceased is buried in the ground in a cemetery. There is also the option of having the deceased buried in a mausoleum or tomb. And then of course there is always the option of cremation, where there is no burial at all.

Then there is the matter of the funeral service. This all depends on the religion of the deceased. Some form of clergy is going to need to be secured for performing the service itself. That brings us to the matter of where the service is going to take place, a temple or church or even at the funeral parlor itself.

There is also the matter of flowers or other adornments that the deceased family wishes to have at the service. The deceased may belong to a special organization that either requires or allows them to have certain items at the service, such as a Mason who is buried with his white lambskin apron.

All of these things, and a lot more, are usually taken care of separately. But today with the existence of these funeral packages, one company can take care of all the arrangements, from casket to service for you.

The only laws, which are usually state laws, governing the sale of funeral packages is that the cost of each item of the package must be clearly marked in the sales agreement. Nothing is allowed to be left out, not even the flowers. Also, when purchasing a funeral package, if paying it off over time, any interest charges that the deceased family is going to be hit with have to also be clearly itemized on the agreement.

Funeral packages are big business, and while they save the deceased family a lot of time, they can be very costly if the family is not aware of all the costs they are going to be hit with.

Funeral packages are big business and most certainly here to stay. Buyer beware.

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