Tool to Create More Backspin

If you’ve been playing with the same clubs for a while, there could be a simple fix that will allow the ball to bite more on the green; giving you that confidence back and ability to shoot lower scores. Sharp grooves in your club promote the best chance at creating the desired spin that you need while inside the ‘scoring zone’.

You can actually sharpen your grooves with a simple tool that is quite inexpensive to buy. It is called a ‘Grove Sharpener’. However, before you go rushing to buy one, let’s discuss a little about how wedges actually create spin, and then we can determine if the tool is worth buying to bring your equipment back to life.

A quality strike of the golf ball is required for backspin. You want a downward blow that makes contact with the golf ball first and then the turf, which traps the golf ball against ground. Then the golf ball travels up the grooves, which bite into the ball… creating backspin.

Among conditions such as the lie of the ground, (ideally fairway) and firmness of the greens and golf softness ball itself, we need clean and sharp grooves. Dirt that gets embedded in the grooves effect how much they will bite the golf ball. Sharper grooves will allow the player to create maximum backspin.

One solution to bringing more backspin into your golf game is to invest in a¬†Groove Sharpener¬†tool. They aren’t as good as buying new wedges but they are very inexpensive and last a very long time. In fact, I purchased one and only ever needed one because the metal is tough. They certainly do the job in bringing back old wedges to life. You will also walk out on the golf course with an added boost of confidence in your wedge play, which is required to creating backspin.

They are a very sound investment, especially if you practice a lot too, which would include plenty of shots inside the 100 yard mark and over time the grooves would lose some sharpness.

To use the groove sharpener, your simply place the tool into the clubs grooves on an angle, and gently push/pull the tool along the groove. Ensuring that it doesn’t slip, please take care. Most tools will come with instructions on how to use them, so please don’t rush.

Some of you players who enter tournaments might be worried about the tool not conforming to rules of golf, because it actually takes some of the metal out of the club face. The simple answer to this; ensure you purchase a tool that conforms to the rules, and then you don’t need to worry.

Shuttlecock Woes

Ankle Sprains- Although still wanting in detailed statistical studies, some research papers have shown that on an average, ankle sprains constitute more than half of all reported badminton injuries. An ankles sprain can be described as the stretching and or tearing of ligaments and muscles in the ankle. In extreme cases, there may also be damage to tendons, bones and other joint tissues. The resulting bleeding within tissues can cause sudden edema and swelling of the ankle, which in third degree sprains, often takes more than 6 months to heal completely. Ankle sprains are accidental in 99% of the incidences and happen when the player lands on his partner’s foot or on the floor with his own foot turned inwards, outwards or flexed. The extremely quick directional changes required during badminton, often cause the feet to roll over or twist, resulting in a sprained ankle. Fatigue, extra body weight and shoes with more than normal ‘grip’ are frequent contributors to such injuries.

Meniscus Tear- This also goes by the layman-friendly alias ‘Torn Cartilage Knee Injury’ and is as painful as a sprained ankle. During the intricate footwork required during a badminton game, the meniscus or cartilage, which provides a soft cushioning between the thigh and shin bones, sometimes ruptures, causing pain in the joint-line of the knee, swelling and inability to flex the leg completely. This may sometimes also be accompanied by an injured or totally ruptured ligament, which increases the pain factor and healing time. Normally, the swelling and pain settles down easily for most people. However for some sportspersons, the knee can become prone to knee locking or ‘giving way’, in which case, surgery is required.

Muscle Strain- Unexpected movements, such as a sudden overhead smash, may put muscles in various parts of the body under pressure, thereby causing a disruption of fibres in the affected muscle. This can result in pain, swelling, bruising and in extreme case, loss of function. Muscles commonly affected are the hamstring, knee, shoulder and calf, to name a few.

Ocular hurt- A Malaysian study reportedly called badminton the ‘sport which presented the greatest ocular hazard in Malaysia’. Another Canadian study backed up these claims saying that 30-58% of all eye injuries in Canada caused by racquet sports were attributed to badminton. This may seem funny to a layman, since a shuttlecock looks anything but devious, with its lightweight feathery appearance, compared to the heavier balls used in tennis and squash. Although the frequency of eye injuries on an average is more in squash than in badminton, the latter does account for injuries which are greater in severity. This is partly because the bottom round of the shuttlecock fits into the eye orbit and also because of the extremely high speeds achieved during badminton. Badminton is widely considered to be the fastest racquet sport in the world and shuttlecocks have been known to reach speeds of more than 300 km/hour. On 25 September 2009, Malaysia’s Tan Boon Heong set the international smash record of 421 km/hour in the men’s double’s category at the Japan Open 2009. This is 1/3rd the speed of sound at sea level, so one can imagine the effect of a shuttlecock travelling at that speed and hitting one’s eye. It would be painful to say the least.

Fractures- Fractures are fairly rare in badminton, although some have been reported. They normally happen when another player’s racquet hits a player’s arm or leg or if the player himself falls down heavily or if another player missteps and falls/steps on him/her.

Kiteboarding Pro Tips

First things first, you should go out and find yourself an internationally accredited school or instructor. You may think that it’s all about danger and adrenaline, you might think it’s too rock ‘n’ roll for lessons but having a good instructor can save you money and time in the long run. Most accredited schools offer short introductory courses to long-term programs and usually have reasonable equipment rental costs. If you’re an absolute beginner and think it’s as easy as buying a big kite and an old surfboard then be prepared to look foolish. Granted, it may have been how the sport was invented but times and technologies have changed since then. A good instructor will stop you looking like a fool and will definitely save you from a few unnecessary cuts and bruises!

Secondly, you’ve got to be prepared to invest your time into the sport. The old expression that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ is just as applicable to kiteboarding as it is to any other sport, hobby or pastime out there. A beginner student can probably get to grips with the basics in a day or two but it’ll take some serious time on the water to be confident enough to call yourself competent. Commitment is not necessarily a tip or trick as you’ll find yourself an addict within hours! If you live far away from your nearest body of water then now’s the time to save your pennies for gas money!

The third kiteboarding tip on the list is one that you’ll discover on your own: the internet. The internet is undoubtedly the most powerful learning tool of our generation, so make the most of it. If you want to take your surfing skills to the next level with some cunning trickery, such as handle passes, loops and board off maneuvers then try to find some online instructional videos that walk you through the moves step by step. You’ll be airborne in no time and pulling off the trick that you always dreamed of.

If internet and book learning isn’t your thing and you prefer the ‘hands on’ approach then by this stage in your kiteboarding career you’ve probably become acquainted with your fellow kiteboarders and local gurus. The kiteboarding community is one of the most friendly and helpful out there. Almost every kiteboarder on your stretch of beach will be happy to give you tips or let you in on a bit of local knowledge, so it’s definitely worth engaging in the social aspect of the sport too!

Golf Strength Training Exercise

The problem would appear to be the presence of equipment like dumb bells in this sort of strength training. Not everybody is an exercise expert and therefore many people cannot tell the difference between body building exercise and strength building exercises.

The two are very different. They are so different that the difference can be compared to the difference there is between day and night.

Body building has got no part to play in golf strength training exercises. If anything this sort of exercise routine would damage a golfer’s game rather than improve it.

One of the effects of a body building exercise program that includes nothing else is that it causes the body to lose flexibility. Flexibility is very important in golf and that is precisely the reason why stretch exercises are a part of any good and genuine golf strength training exercise program.

In body building the emphasis is on lifting increasingly heavier weights so as to get the muscles to grow in size as quickly as possible. A body building program is usually rigorous and definitely not for everybody.

Muscle strength-building exercises using dumb bells are the exercises that are useful to golfers. Dumb bells play a huge role in golf strength training exercise programs. Only that the weight lifting program is very different from the one used in body building.

Much lighter weights are used and lifted up and down many more times than is the case in weight lifting. Still the sessions are much shorter than body building sessions.

Better Badminton

The game known as “Poona” in India travelled to England during the 1860s when British Army officers stationed in the country took an interest in the sport. A newer version of the game suited for the English made an appearance in 1873 at Badminton House, an establishment owned by the Duke of Beaufort. At that time, the activity was referred to as “The Game of Badminton,” until a shortened version of the name (“Badminton”) became the official label.

Over the years, the English still played under the rules of India until 1887 when a standardized set of regulations were shaped at the Bath Badminton Club. In 1893, the first set of guidelines were published, followed by the first official competition in 1899.

The coming years brought a wealth of changes for the sport, including the 1901 switch in indoor and outdoor play and hourglass-shaped courts becoming rectangular.

Badminton Skills and Attributes

Regardless if one participates in a spirited game of badminton arranged in the backyard or seriously trains for Olympic competition, high levels of play demands a reasonable level of fitness that includes aerobic stamina and speed as well as good hand-eye coordination and polished racket skills.

Perfection of different shots, footwork skill and improved reaction time are key attributes to work on.

Improving the Game

One of the best ways to improve an overall badminton game is to engage in half-court singles, using only half of the space of a standard singles court. Participants should follow normal play with scoring to 15.

A keener sense of anticipation and concentration enhances defensive awareness. The art of deception also comes into play in badminton, as body momentum and timing can be the difference between a victorious and unsuccessful rally.

Learning how to place the feet and body into the correct position where the best follow-through can be accomplished is vital.

There are of course the many benefits that come from developing such mental and physical strategies as, for example, a positive attitude and overall body condition.

Glow in the Dark Badminton

I can’t wait to play it at night myself because it looks so cool. Of course, you have to make sure your eyes had adjusted before you start playing, and it might take a few games to get the hang of, but eventually I believe you could master the sport, and learn quite a bit about your badminton tactics and your personal style by doing this. Not only that, but since you are playing in the dark all the distractions are gone, so you can give it your full attention. And you wouldn’t be able to tell whom you are playing with, which brings up another good point.

As you probably realize there are now badminton robots, and if you played in the dark with a robot, you might forget that you are playing against a machine, and you could play until your heart’s content, for hours on end without the robot getting tired. What an awesome workout, just imagine the amount of calories you could burn off, the weight you could lose, and the agility you could attain. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

What Makes a Great Coach

A coach will play a very important role in the lives of young swimmers. Their actions and attitudes help shape their view of the world and of themselves. For some children the coach will enter their world at a time when they may be striving to reduce their parents’ influence. Children may look to you for considerable support either physically or psychologically. The potential to impact on young lives should not be off-putting.

A common mistake in young coaches is to assume that verbal communication is not only the best form of communication, but it’s the only way to communicate. A further problem is that some coaches frequently talk too much. Verbal communication is vital; but it can lose some of its effectiveness when used unnecessarily – especially during training.

Non verbal communication like facial expressions or gestures by the coach showing anger, frustration, acceptance, empathy, disapproval or pleasure can and do have an effect on swimmers during training and competition. Recent research concludes that young swimmers assume that non-verbal cues are more revealing of a coaches actual feelings and thoughts than words.

The implications for coaching are clear – what you do is far more important than what you say.

In the first three years of our life we learn to talk.

In the next three you learn to read and write.

How much time is spent teaching people to listen?

Learn this skill, then teach your staff and swimmers.

The coach must be a good listener, that is, being attentive to what is being said by the athlete. Individual needs of athletes must be taken into consideration.

The element of respect comes into play here, as the response by the coach will govern the way the athlete will approach you in the future. Every swimmer must receive feedback on technique and performance in every session.

A great coach will have developed their own standards and philosophies in regards to their chosen sport. They will have strong communication skills and be honest and approachable to athletes, parents and fellow coaches.

Knowledge and coaching experience, not necessarily sport specific, are generally very helpful. A great coach will have strong self-discipline and will install a discipline into team members. If a situation arises with a swimmer, they will go after the situation and not the individual. It is important that you discipline in private and reward in public. Make sure that you never bruise the dignity of the individual.

A coach should endeavour to reduce and minimise the need to discipline, by ensuring their programme includes fun, activity and learning. They will have the ability to teach as well as coach. Coaching styles do differ, so don’t try to copy someone else.

The respected swimming coach will instill the highest desirable ideals and character traits into their swimmers. They have the responsibility for maintaining discipline throughout the training session and be self-confident, attentive, consistent, friendly, fair and competent. They should also be able to deal with initial treatment of minor injuries.

A great swimming coach will be very organised for each session, for the week, for the month, the year and be able to justify, if necessary why things are being done.

They will be able to create an environment were success is inevitable by instilling discipline & standards for athletes to observe and commit to. A great coach will have a high level of commitment and discipline and should be the nucleus of their swimming club. The Club’s goals should parallel the coaching program and vice versa and it is important that coach provides what is needed for the club to be successful.

Open and regular communication with parents is vital. A great coach will be approachable for parents and listen to them, but in the end make their own decision. It is important that coaches watch the type of relationship that they have with parents as if they become friends and the coach needs to make a hard decision, then the coach will be in a compromised position.

Coaches also have a legal responsibility to provide a safe environment, ensure facilities and equipment are safe for both the users and others involved in competition and training. Safety in all sport should be the message that we must put into practice in our daily work as coaches. Swimming pools are a dangerous environment to work in and all necessary precautions should be taken for your pool to be safe.

Plan your training sessions carefully to ensure progression of your athletes and limit the risk of injury. Be confident in identifying exercises that are potentially dangerous (eg. Straight leg raises) and provide a safe substitute. Activities must be adequately planned. Impaired learning ability and injury may be the result of unplanned practice sessions.

Young athletes should not be mismatched. Young athletes should be matched not only according to age, but also height, weight and maturity. Skill levels and experience should also be considered.
Safe and proper equipment should be provided and equipment should be in good order and safe to use at all times.

Athletes must be warned of inherent risks of the sport. The participants can only legally accept the inherent risks of a sport if they know, understand and appreciate those risks.

Ensure that activities are closely supervised. Adequate supervision is necessary to ensure the practice environment is as safe as possible.

Coaches should know first aid. Coaches should have knowledge of basic emergency procedures and keep up to date on them.

Develop clear written rules for training and general conduct. Many injuries are the result of fooling around in change rooms and training venues.

Coaches should keep adequate records.
Adequate records are useful aids to planning and are essential in all cases of injury.

Serves Gone Wild

On your serve, did the ball touch the net, the center strap or top tape before hitting the opponent? If so, the ball is considered a let. Why? Because for the ball to be considered out, it has to hit some part of the court after it touches the net, center strap or top tape or net cord.

If it did not touch the net or any part of the fixed court (posts, singles sticks, etc), did the ball cross the net and hit the ground in the correct service box BEFORE it hit your opponent? If the serve was good and the ball hits the opponent receiver or opponent partner, the point is yours.

If the serve did not land in the correct service box, THEN hit your opponent receiver or opponent partner, then the ball was considered out of play (or dead) before it hit the player. If this is the case, you can start your second serve. If that was your second serve, you lose the point and begin your next serve.

IF the ball hit your opponent BEFORE it hit the ground or net, the point is yours. After the ball crosses the net, it needs to hit hit the ground before it is determined to be “out” or “in”. If the opposing players prevent the ball from hitting the ground first, they lose the point and you win the point. It is not so much as the opposing players PREVENT the ball from hitting the ground first as much as they just could not get out of the way of the ball fast enough.

It is odd but if you hit your opponent with the ball, you win the point. Maybe that is why so many players try to hit their opponents.

See you on the courts!

Speedsurfing For Fun

Speedsurfing is a lot of fun, if you have ever windsurfed or not, you can learn the beginnings of speedsurfing in a few lessons at a windsurf school. Speed is about 50km/h on normal days with no extreme wind. Pro speedsurfer can do near 90km/h in extreme wind strength.

There is a lot of gear available for speedsurfers, with over 20 different big manufacturers there is for everybody enough choice.

Speedsurfing is done by people aged from 10 to 70 years old, although the speed can be quite high it is not super dangerous. Most sessions are in a safe environment, the water is not really hard. This makes crashes even fun, but some crash training is advised to crash safe.

Open water at least 1 x 1km, wind between 12-40kn, windsurf gear. And some lessons to learn how a windsurfer works. In the beginning you can start on freeride gear which is easier to use, after having enough experience the formula 1 gear “slalom gear” can be used to gain extra speed.

A nice place to learn speedsurfing is Karphatos Greece, if you already have some windsurfing experience. Without any windsurfing experience any windsurf school will be OK to learn the basics. Try to learn on modern windsurfing gear, the newest gear is much easier to be handled, within 1 hour most can windsurf and turn. Gliding is learned in some more lessons.

Freestyle Stroke Continuum

ELEMENTS OF THE STROKE:

BALANCE: freestyle is swam from side to side, rotating around a central axis which remains stable. Shifting sides means that you will be forcing your core muscles to balance your body so you can apply more force with your extremities. This core balance also allows us to engage more muscles and create more power on each rotation of the stroke. Here are drills to work on core stabilization and rotation:

-Side kick with one arm up front and the other arm on your side, keep the head in a neutral position and your chest facing the wall.

-Side kick with both arms down. Same concept but more challenging.

-Side kick with both arms to the side and rotating every six counts. This will challenge you to keep control of your body as you turn from side to side.

-Dryland: planks in all positions are a great way to activate core muscles.

FLEXIBILITY: the greater range of motion, the easier it will be to achieve greater distance per stroke and better angles to apply force. The shoulders are a special area of concern so emphasis on increasing mobility around this ball and socket joint should be a priority. While kids will have an easier time developing range of motion, every healthy adult has the capacity to do it.

Another necessary element is the ability to plantarflex the ankle joint which means to point your toes without discomfort. Runners in particular have a hard time pointing their toes in the water due to the imbalance in range of motion created by the amount of dorsiflexion while running. Ankle flexibility is key to allow for kicking to propel the body forward instead of holding the body hostage by working as an anchor.

Finally, the ability to press the chest and achieve a long, extended position will allow for greater distance per stroke and capacity for greater core involvement. Working on flexibility and joint mobility is not only beneficial it is necessary in order to achieve correct biomechanics. Yoga and other flexibility programs are very useful for swimmers. In our Wellfit Swim Class, fellow coach and Yoga Instructor Keith Keblacha has designed an specific yoga routine that works on all these key areas.

COORDINATION: this can also be thought as timing. If one arm is trying to surge forward, wouldn’t it make sense that the other should be pushing back? What about the legs, timing a set of beats per stroke is necessary to establish a rhythmic pattern. Depending whether the swimmer is sprinting, swimming a 200 or a mile the ratio of kicking per stroke usually falls between 6 to 2 kicks per each armstroke. Not having a rhythmic pattern makes the swimmer feel off and limits is potential for a good propulsion. Great drills to develop coordination are the catch up stroke and kicking drills that incorporate armstroke such as the overkick and counting to 6 before every stroke. Breathing to both side will also encourage the body to be coordinated and balanced on both sides.

POWER: this last element is all about acceleration. How much water can you move in the least amount of time?. Or to be more precise how far and how fast can you propel your body forward with each stroke?. If a swimmer tries to work on acceleration without developing proper biomechanics or first then the outcome will be wasting energy. It will as if we were trying to pedal as fast as possible on a bicycle with the wrong gear. It can also put pressure in the wrong places and develop injuries. Power should be developed as the last piece of the puzzle but a must have none the least in order to achieve fast swimming. Here is one of my favorite drills that work on acceleration:

-Zero acceleration drill: this is a modification of the hyperextension drill (you can see this drill on the Video section of chicagotrainer.net). It involves catching the water up front and pushing it back with as much power as possible and then letting the stroke glide up front. Glide on each side until you achieve zero momentum (zero acceleration) and then take the next stroke and repeat. This will allow you to see how much power are you indeed capable of producing with each armstroke. The key is to decrease the momentum on each glide to force the swimmer to start from zero and produce maximum rapid force each time.

Another way to improve power is through a dryland program that puts emphasis on applying power to a biomechanically correct freestyle pattern with the help of bands. In our Wellfit class we teach swimmers to breakdown movements and then put them together as a whole while working on a careful mix or power development and muscle endurance.

THE COMPONENTS OF THE ARMSTROKE

The freestyle armstroke is a circular pattern around the shoulder joint. We can call each phase by different names, we must identify them as independent units in a continuous pattern. Here are the phases:

-Pitch and Catch: the arm starts up front with shoulder and elbow extended. It the abducts (moves outwards) to allow for greater acceleration and create a anatomical position that will allow flexion of the elbow without shoulder impingement. The elbow as it flexes should remain high to further set up the next phase of the stroke. The goal of the pitch and catch is to grab the water ahead and anchor the arm to be able to surge forward. This phase is also know as the “anchor” or the “high elbow catch”. Common mistakes include:

+Not abducting the shoulder, in other words no pitch.

+Pushing the arm downwards without a pitch and catch. This has prove effective for some very powerful short course sprinters but even those swimmers revert to a high elbow catch when swimming longer distances.

+Droping the elbow to initiate the catch. This action will ensure that the arm will be slipping through the water and not live to it power production potential. It is one of the most common mistakes in the freestyle stroke and a must to correct if maximum efficiency is a desired outcome.

-Power Phase: right after we catch the water we must press it back to produce the forward surge we desire. This is the least complicated phase but requires strength and muscular endurance. The power phase begins after the catch as the elbow is in a flexed position bringing our arm closer to our center of gravity and therefore in an ideal position for strength production and power application. This phase ends with arm reaching the hip with maximum velocity. There is no need to follow up the full elbow extension with further shoulder extension because this will produce the body to move downwards. The goal in freestyle swimming is to produce movements that will ensure that the body moves through the water in a forward pattern with the least amount of resistance.

-Recovery: the recovery phase begins with two movement which are shoulder extension and elbow flexion. As the power phase ends the swimmer’s goal is to position the arm back in front using the path of least resistance. The position of the body (how extended it is) and shoulder joint mobility and flexibility will affect this movement. After the arm is out of the water on a flexed position, the swimmer rotates the shoulder keeping the elbow bent about 90 degrees and brings it forward. After the arm is brought forward it begins to extend before it enters the water and finishes the extension in the water. Entering the water with arm fully flexed will create maximum resistance at the moment of extension. Doing the opposite will cause the swimmer to overreach and make the pitch and catch more difficult to accomplish. Nonetheless, there are some very fast swimmers that enter the water with the arm fully extended. This action however is not recommend for most beginner, intermediate and even advance swimmers.