Increased Sports Opportunities for Women

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Cal State U. Says in Report That It Has Increased Sports Opportunities for Women


Five years after settling a lawsuit that charged it with discriminating against female athletes, the California State University System is providing more funds, scholarships, and opportunities for participation in women’s sports, according to a report released by the institution Tuesday.

Most of the system’s campuses are in compliance with the terms of the settlement, and those that are not will be within a year or two, according to Ken Swisher, a spokesman for the system.

The changes are in response to a consent decree that settled a lawsuit brought in 1993 by the California chapter of the National Organization for Women. The lawsuit alleged that all of the system’s campuses were discriminating against female athletes by not providing enough money for scholarships for women’s teams, and by not offering enough opportunities for women to play sports. Cal State issued the report on its progress Tuesday in accordance with the terms of the 1993 decree.

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Backswing: Keys to Racket Preparation

Shot preparation is as important to making good shots as the actual execution itself. Without good preparation, your body isn’t capable of producing the power, balance and control needed to hit an effective shot.

Good shot preparation is made up of two key elements: footwork and racket preparation.

Footwork in shot preparation is basically getting to the ball. Most coaches will tell you that you should split-step, pivot the foot that is in the direction where the ball is heading and get to the ball as soon as possible. This is critical for establishing a solid foundation for a properly timed backswing.

Racket preparation is the backswing taken before the point of contact.

It may not sound like much, but racket preparation is a key to generating power because it is the source of your racket head speed, an essential to a hard ball. Here are the keys of getting the most out of your racket preparation.

For your shot to become the most effective, timing is critical. Late and early backswings lead to misplacement of your shots.


How to Keep a Strong Parent-Coach Relationship

Over the years, I’ve found clear communication to be one of the most important factors in giving players the best opportunity to succeed. When coaching youth soccer, taking the time to communicate your philosophy and expectations to the player’s parents gives everyone the chance to be on the same page right up front.

I’m coaching a U13 girls team this fall and recently put together an initial letter to the parents. I asked them to share the letter with their daughters as well so that they could encourage and hold each other accountable throughout the season. Please feel free to borrow any parts of the letter that you might find useful. I’d also love to hear any other ideas from coaches or parents on how to build productive parent/coach/player relationships.


Athletic Scholarships

What is an athletic scholarship?

Athletic as well as academic scholarships are much more common in the US than in most other countries. Athletic scholarships are awarded to athletes  of outstanding performance in order to enable them to finance their studies in the US. The athlete participates fully in practice sessions with the college team and represents the university in various tournaments and competitions. The coaches’ job is to professionally look after the teams; in this sense, he has a similar position to that of a professor and is also paid accordingly.

For what reasons are scholarships awarded?

For generations, American universities have had college teams in all kinds of sports. These teams are professionally managed by specially employed coaches and serve as an advertisement for the respective university in numerous competitions. If a team has regional or even nationwide success, the media will cover its development. That is why college teams are a means to market the university in order to recruit new students. For this reason, the universities provide the coaches with a budget to recruit talented athletes from around the world and help them finance their studies or even their entire stay abroad.

Through Sport Scholarships, students usually receive several athletic scholarship offers and get support throughout the entire recruiting process including enrollment process, Visa application and further help, so you are ready for your ‘student-athlete’ experience.

Swimming and Water Pollution

Swimming in lakes, rivers and the ocean has long been a popular way to cool off as well as to get a great low impact workout. We all have fond memories of cooling off during the summer months by plunging into the water, or that great workout where you set a personal record swimming around the local lake. However, a question not often considered is how that plunge might negatively affect your health. Moreover, how might prolonged periods of exposure and possible ingestion of this water, as might occur during an athlete’s swimming workout or race, impact any potential health risk?

Guidelines for athletes

  • To avoid polluted water during your swim workouts and lessen your risk of negative health effects, observe the following guidelines from the department of health:
  • Be aware of advisories and closures and avoid swimming in those areas.
  • Do not swim or allow children to play in storm drains/storm water (visible runoff). Avoid swimming during and after rainfall.
  • Avoid submerging your head and ingesting water, which may be difficult if an athlete is trying to get in a training session.
  • Avoid swimming if you have an open wound or infection.

Swimming in open waterways is a great form of recreation as well as exercise. However, very little is known and there is no consensus on what the health risks are of such activities. Even in seemingly clear, pristine lakes, rivers and oceans there may be a risk. However, the majority of swimmers will not experience any major illness due to recreating in polluted waters. The bottom line is, as environmentalists, health professionals and the EPA continue to research water quality and human health, when you engage in open water swims, you should follow the above guidelines in order to minimize any potential health risks.

Courtesy: PowerBar

Weight of Our World

There is little argument that being overweight is associated with increased risk for a number of chronic diseases. We have been hearing this message for so long that the urgency of it has become diluted. Although it’s easy to tune out this message, facts are facts: The American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) position stand published in February of 2009 has sounded an alarm. Unfortunately, scientific alarms are mere squeaks compared to the roar of the messages we get that promote unhealthy lifestyles. We need science to get louder.

Overweight and obesity:
Are defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 kg/m and 30 kg/m or greater, respectively
Are exhibited by about 66.3% of adults in the US
Are associated with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, some cancers, as well as psychosocial and economic difficulties
Are estimated to cost the US over $117 billion annually in treatment for weight reduction

If you are or choose to be active, you are on the track to better health. If you are overweight and/or obese, and decide to be inactive, know that it is more likely you’ll have negative health and possibly even financial consequences. Make a good decision.

Courtesy: PowerBar

Athletes Nutrition

When we speak of groups that are at risk, we don’t always think of athletes… but we should. Being an athlete is dangerous to one’s health.

Athletes use up more minerals than do people who are sedentary. An athlete sweats more in 5 years than couch potato’s do in 75 years. And when a person sweats they are not just losing water… their sweat contains 60 essential minerals. They are called essential minerals because if any of them are missing for any length of time, the result can be a degenerative disease, many of which are life threatening. So, if athletes don’t get additional nutrients in their diets, their very lives can be at risk.

If too much of an athletes’ food is empty calories then their vital organs and cells become depleted of minerals and other vital nutrients. This is the cause of heart attacks in athletes — depletion of minerals because nutrition didn’t keep up with bodily demands.

Athletes need more minerals, more amino acids, more enzymes and more phytonutrients and vitamins. They need more antioxidants to protect against the byproducts of exercise. They need more natural Cox-2 inhibitors to protect against inflammation. When these nutrient needs are unmet, cells are damaged. So, if you are active, you need more, not less nutrition.

Avoid Sports Injuries

There have been countless studies demonstrating the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of sports, which are an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any age — whether you’re involved in youth soccer, coaching basketball, or doing football coaching or youth football drills, you’ve witnessed the positive impact sports can make in anyone’s life. However, in order to reap the full benefits, athletes, parents, coaches, and other fitness professionals must work to minimize the risk of injury inherent to athletics.

What’s the risk?

In general, the risk of injury is greater during a competitive athletic event than a practice or scrimmage. Half of all injuries are related to the legs, such as ankle sprains, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, and nonspecific knee pain. Comparatively, 20 percent of injuries are related to the arms and upper extremities, the most common of which are shoulder injuries. Head and neck injuries account for another 10 percent, most commonly concussion. Spinal cord injuries make up the smallest percentage. Other injuries include heat illness and skin infections. Lastly, certain medical conditions can put an athlete at greater risk for injury, such as a heart condition.

Let’s focus on some basic steps that athletes, parents, and coaches can take to ensure a positive, injury-free sports experience.

Good ideas for injury prevention

  • Participate in a conditioning program to build muscle strength and endurance gradually, over time
  • Be sure to follow an appropriate warm-up and cool-down regimen, including flexibility exercises
  • Keep a first aid kit handy, and learn how to treat minor cuts, bruises, and strains
  • Have an emergency plan in place for major injuries while playing and practicing for any sport. Injury can be minimized with immediate medical help
  • Dress in the most appropriate clothing and safety gear to prevent common injuries. Make sure uniforms and protective equipment fits properly, and wear all protective gear correctly at all times
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Use proper technique and follow the rules of your sport, as well as the rules of the facility in which you are practicing/playing
  • Encourage immediate reporting of injuries
  • Check your sporting equipment prior to participation for damage and proper function, and clear away any debris from your playing area


Athletic Training

Athletic trainers try to prevent injuries by educating people on how to reduce their risk for injuries and by advising them on the proper use of equipment, exercises to improve balance and strength, and home exercises and therapy programs. They also help apply protective or injury-preventive devices such as tape, bandages, and braces.

Athletic trainers help prevent and treat injuries for people of all ages. Their patients and clients include everyone from professional athletes to industrial workers. Recognized by the American Medical Association as allied health professionals, athletic trainers specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of muscle and bone injuries and illnesses. Athletic trainers, as one of the first healthcare providers on the scene when injuries occur, must be able to recognize, evaluate, and assess injuries and provide immediate care when needed. Athletic trainers should not be confused with fitness trainers or personal trainers, who are not healthcare workers, but rather train people to become physically fit.

Courtesy:Bureau of Labor Statistics

Disability Athletics

While sport has value in everyone’s life, it is even more important in the life of a person with a disability. This is because of the rehabilitative influence sport can have not only on the physical body but also on rehabilitating people with a disability into society. Furthermore, sport teaches independence. Nowadays, people with a disability participate in high performance as well as in competitive and recreational sport.

The number of people with disabilities involved in sport and physical recreation is steadily increasing around the world with organized sports for athletes with disabilities divided into three main disability groups, sports for the deaf, sports for persons with physical disabilities, and sports for persons with intellectual disabilities.

From the late 1980s, organizations began to include athletes with disabilities in sporting events such as the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games. However, many sports are practiced by persons with a disability outside the formal sports movements, for example: Wheelchair basketball, Wheelchair dancing, Weightlifting, Swimming, and many other sporting activities you can join if you are mentally or physical disabled.