Saturday, January 07, 2006

3 Little Known Tips of Basketball Hoop Shopping
by: Tim Jeffries

I've got a confession to make. I play basketball. I play it very poorly and can't make very many of the shots that I shoot at the basketball hoop. I have a feeling that I am not alone in the world at being a rather poor basketball player. However, one thing that I'm not bad at is comparison shopping. I've mastered the ancient art of comparing prices between merchants and can usually ferret out a fairly good deal with a little bit of leg work. Basketball hoops are no different than other items when it comes to shopping for them.

There are some tips you should know before embarking on your journey to shop for a basketball hoop.

1) New or Used. You really might consider buying a used basketball hoop if you are interested in value. However, make sure you are buying one that hasn't been banged up too bad. Years of basketball practice can only make your rim bent and dirty. Ebay can be a great place to buy used equipment and basketball hoops are regularly for sale on Ebay.

2) Do your homework by comparing different merchant offers on different search engines and different websites. Just because something is advertised for sale on Google doesn't mean its also advertised for sale on Yahoo. Some merchants advertise their good strictly through the Amazon partners program and don't do any other advertising anywhere else. Price vary drastically and the only way you will know that you are getting a good deal is to examine what the different people are selling the same goods for on different websites. Basketball hoops are no exception.

3) Learn about the different types and styles of basketball hoops. Without the knowledge of what you are buying, points #1 and #2 are nearly worthless. Buy your hoop the right way and get a great deal on one by being an informed consumer. Learn how to buy a basketball hoop and you can guarantee that you got a better deal than everyone else.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cycling In the Cold Weather

Well the cold weather is upon us again (for those of us in North) and it is time to get layered. For those of us who want to persist that is the best way to stay warm on the bike. Where I cycle in Calgary, Canada it gets quite cold in mornings and then can warm up considerably during the day during this time of year. You can have up to 40°F differential; this can present a challenge for staying warm and comfortable.

The key is to find clothing that is breathable yet breaks the cold wind in the morning. For my legs I have tried cheap lined nylon pants with my riding shorts underneath. This didn’t work out to well with my legs being soaked in sweat by the end of my ride. That is not a good thing when it is below freezing, you need to find something that will wick the moisture away. It is worth the money to get something better. I went to the Web to find what I was looking for and I found great deal on some fleece cycle tights. Well that solved the leg issue they were great they cut wind and kept the moisture away. The lower half was doing great now! Two points to remember, one, you should have enough room for your cycling pants underneath the fleece tights. This brings me to the second point it is better to have these over your cycling pants because during the evening when it is warmer you will want to remove these to ensure you don’t get overheated heading home. In temperatures below 20°F (-7°C) you may want to add some nylon shell pants to cut the wind more.

The upper body poses a problem since it catches most of the wind but is not moving much. What you need here is a full-featured wind and water resistant shell with ventilated pit zips and a breathable fabric so you can get the most protection and ventilation. A shell with pit zips is great because it easily give you more ventilation if you start to over heat. This type of jacket is also great for locations that get more rain this time of year opening up the pit zips allows that extra ventilation you needs without getting to wet! With a good shell I found I only needed two more layers what these two layers are depends on how cold your ride is. I find that down to about 25°F (-4°C) that a good turtle neck and the shell are enough as long as wind isn’t blowing too hard, if it is blowing you can add a t-shirt under this if you want. When it starts getting colder than this remove the t-shirt, keep the turtleneck and wear a fleece jacket under this, make sure your protective shell has room for this layering process.

The extremities are a real challenge, starting with the hands. At temperatures down to 25°F (-4°C) a pair of lined leather gloves is sufficient. At temperature below 25°F (-4°C) mitts are the best, there is nothing like the having your fingers together to keep them warm. The challenge is the thumb, I occasionally have to pull my thumb out and join it with the rest of the fingers for while to warm it up. Those mitt/glove combinations where the mitt flips over the open finger end might do the trick also but I do not use these. Be careful not to get a mitt with to much bulk you still need dexterity for shifting and braking. Another good choice would be those three finger mitts they would still keep some fingers together for warmth and offer you some good dexterity.

Next is the head, this is the toughest. The main reason for the difficulty is that you still need to wear you helmet and keep those ears from freezing. Anybody who commutes without a helmet should have his head examined (and may have to some day) particularly when things start freezing, ice can form anywhere, so be safe. What you need for this is a quickly adjustable helmet, one that has a ratchet type adjustment at back to allow for the layer you will need under it when it is cold and can be made smaller for your ride home when it may warmer. You can find a great selection of cycling helmets on the Web. The best system is to have two types of balaclavas. One should be a thinner polypropylene type with an open face style that will still cover you chin. This one is good for temperature down to 25°F (-4°C). When the temperature starts sinking below 25°F (-4°C) a fleece balaclava with coverage for your nose should be used. What is difficult for those of us who where glasses is fogging up when wearing the balaclava. I try keeping my glasses further down my nose to allow for more air circulation, this doesn’t completely eliminate it but it helps.

Kevin Redmond is a senior design supervisor with a major engineering company in Canada. He commutes to work as much as the weather will allow. He also runs a great consumers website at check it out and find great deals on bicycles, accesories and everything else from A to Z.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

How To Develop A Strength Training Workout To Swim Faster!

Swimming is a very unique sport to develop a proper strength training workout for. Swimming is one of the few sports that requires more upper body strength for maximum performance. In fact, swimming requires at least 80% of strength from the torso and arms. Strength train correctly for swimming, and watch your speed in the water take off! Here are some tips to help you create the perfect workout.

1. Determine The Body Parts To Emphasize

No matter which swimming stroke you compete in, the body parts to emphasize are the same. The body parts in order of importance, that you will need for swimming are the back, chest, shoulders, arms, abdominals, hips, thighs. When creating a sport specific plan, you will work on these body parts in this order. You still want to train the entire body, because our body’s work as a unit. Although you want to keep all of your body parts strong, try to keep this order when setting up your workout.

2. Select The Best Exercises For The Emphasized Body Parts

When selecting exercises for your swimming strength workout, you should find ones that you are comfortable with. Don’t try to perform exercises that “mimic” the movements required when you swim. You never want your strength training exercises to be “too similar” to the skills for your sport. Just find the 12 best exercises for the body parts above.

3. Organize The Exercises Into A Routine

Take the 12 best exercises and organize them into a workout routine. You can substitute exercises occasionally. Try to select 2 exercises for each body part.

4. Full Body Workouts

Now that you’ve organized your exercises into a routine, you need to perform these full body workouts. If you’re in the off-season, you can do this full body workout on 3 nonconsecutive days per week. If you’re in-season, try to perform a workout every 4-5 days. This additional rest will help you recuperate from the combination of practices, workouts, and competitions. You might even get stronger by training this infrequently.

5. Keep It Progressive

No matter which exercises you’ve decided on, you must keep your workouts progressive. That means you should strive to add an additional repetition with the same weight in successive workouts or keep the number of repetitions the same, and add a little more weight. Try to do this as often as you can.

6. Minimize Momentum

When you’re swimming competitively you want to be fast in the water. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your strength training workouts need to be fast in order to make you faster in the water. Your strength training workouts should be slow and controlled. Always lower a weight twice as slowly as you lift it. This ensures that your form is perfect. Perfect form on your strength training exercises will carry over to improved performances in the water.

Steve Preston is a Sports Performance Specialist in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He specializes in sports-specific strength training programs to improve athletic performances. He is available for phone consultations, and clinics and can be reached through his website at He has recently created a DVD Strength Training Program For Swimmers. It can be viewed at

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

All you need to know for Germany 2006

The coaches and delegations may have left Leipzig during the course of the weekend, but even though the long wait for the Final Draw is over, now there is something far more important to look forward to.

For the tactical minds behind the teams, the preparations for next summer's FIFA World Cup™ will be starting in earnest, but for the fans the questions are somewhat simpler: Where are we playing? What are the teams like in our group? What does our coach think of the draw?

Fortunately, has all the answers in this comprehensive guide. Simply click on the links to find out the information you require and click here for the complete match schedule for Germany 2006.

Group A: Analysis / Reaction
Germany, Costa Rica, Poland, Ecuador

Group B: Analysis / Reaction
England, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, Sweden

Group C: Analysis / Reaction
Argentina, Cote d’Ivoire, Serbia and Montenegro, Netherlands

Group D: Analysis / Reaction
Mexico, Iran, Angola, Portugal

Group E: Analysis / Reaction
Italy, Ghana, USA, Czech Republic

Group F: Analysis / Reaction
Brazil, Croatia, Australia, Japan

Group G: Analysis / Reaction
France, Switzerland, Korea Republic, Togo

Group H: Analysis / Reaction
Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia

Friday, December 09, 2005

Kayak Fishing: Get To Where the Fish Are
By Scott Hamilton

"I keep my eyes clear and I hit 'em where they ain't." This was baseball’s Willie Keeler's famous explanation for his .432 average in 1897. This applies well for baseball, but not fishing. To be successful, you need to be able to get where the fish are, not be “where they ain’t” and a great way to accomplish this to use a kayak.

As a child, I sat on the bank of many a river and many a small lake with my grandpa trying to catch fish. While I cherished the time we spent together, we did not catch as many fish as I would have liked. In fact, I know that I would have enjoyed these trips more if we would have had more action. Now that I have my kayak, I am mobile. If I spot feeding fish I can get to them with just a few short strokes, make a cast, and BINGO “Fish On!” This makes for a much more exciting day.

My favorite lake to fish is Lake Angelus in Michigan. This is a private lake; I am fortunate that my sister has a house on the lake and allows me access. Anyway, my point is that I have discovered where the fish are and now I can get to them. The lake has a “flats” area that cannot be reached by heaving bait as a landlubber. Also complicating things is that the fish are easily spooked from the sounds of boat engines. Consequently, the kayak is the ultimate tool for achieving success. I have literally “snuck up” on 5-pound small mouth bass, seen the lunker lying on the bed, worked my “Texas” rig, through the shallows, and then had the fight of a lifetime. At times, the fish have towed the kayak quite some distance before being landed.

Serenity Now!

For those of you familiar with the comedian Jerry Seinfeld, you may remember the famous episode when one of the characters thought they could obtain peaceful bliss by screaming “SERENITY NOW!” Of course, this did not work, and the character ended up being institutionalized. However, I know how you can obtain bliss, simply take the kayak to a secluded place and enjoy nature. I am a good angler, but I am sure there are many other fishermen who have developed more skills at this sport than I have. Consequently, I do not have a fish on constantly (nor do I want to have a fish on constantly). When things slow down on my quests for fish, I can obtain Serenity by paddling around the lake and observing nature.

I also am a birder and like to identify the different species that gather around the wetlands. My kayaking trips have allowed me to observe birds and other wildlife that could not be seen in suburbia, where I live. Some examples are a bald eagle in Upper Michigan, an elk on the Two-Hearted River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, some loons also in the U.P., and moose and Grizzly bear in Alaska.

Okay, let’s say you don’t like fishing, and birding isn’t your bag either. How about surfing? Or riding the rapids? Or sailing? The kayak can be used in all of these sports. No kidding, I have surfed in the Atlantic Ocean with a kayak. I paddled out to the breakers, timed the wave, and rode it to shore. This was very exciting! I have also taken my kayak through white water on a river, an adrenaline rush. Before you try this, you must make sure you are properly equipped and have the skill to make it through safely.

Sailing is something I have yet to try, but I’ve seen it and want to give it a go. The kayaks really move out on a windy day!

Lastly, I am 5’7” tall and weight 200 pounds (sometimes more). The reason I bring this up is to let you know that I need exercise. Sadly, I do not have the svelte physique I used to have back in the day. The kayak provides me with an aerobic workout opportunity. It helps me keep my weight down and to keep my muscles toned.

The above reasons are why I have the passion for kayaking. Dollar for dollar, the kayak is the best investment you can make if you share the same interests that I do.

Scott Hamilton, Kayak fisherman

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Fast And Furious Go Karts! How To Buy One Cheap!
by: Larry Johnson

Go karts can make your heart pump like almost nothing else. If you’re hooked on the thrill of go karting and you are dying to purchase a sleek new go kart there are a few tricks you need to learn. With a little patience go karts can be bought for as much as 50% off of the regular retail price. They are incredibly fun, and they've become extremely popular these days. You can find go karts at just about every family fun center or amusement park.

Racing go karts or off road gokarts are just plain fun. But you already know how exciting go karts are so let’s get to the nuts and bolts of how to purchase a go kart at rock bottom discount prices.

Finding cheap go karts is a lot easier than you may think, you just have to wait a little longer before you buy. But don’t worry, not too long. It’s really a simple tactic that I call price shopping. Price comparisons are certainly something you have already heard about, but if you do it right you can find some great discounts.

In the olden days you had to call up different stores or actually go visit them to get some price comparisons for racing or off road gokarts. But today we have the internet which makes it a whole lot easier. It still takes a little work and some patience, but the savings can be well worth the wait.

First, go to and type ‘go karts,’ ‘go kart,’ ‘go kart sale’ or ‘discount go karts’ into the search box. You may also want to try 'go carts,' 'go cart,' 'gocarts,' 'gocart,' ‘gokarts’ or ‘gokart’ spelled differently or enter some different gokarting words that may be appropriate. This will yield an unbelievable amount of online dealers. Check out about 10 or 20 of them and make a note of the different models and prices that they offer. Also, you’ll notice on the right side of the Google search web pages there are many sponsored ads. Companies pay a lot of money to advertise there. Many of these sites have great prices and they should be checked out too.

Second, do the same thing Find a few go kart sites that offer the types of go karts that you are searching for and make a note of the models and their prices. Once again, look at the sponsored ads on the page and visit some of them too. Keep track of the cheapest prices you can find.

Third, visit Froogle is an offshoot of Google. It is a giant shopping site where you can find lots of different models. Search for ‘gokart’ and ‘gokarts’ just as you did at Google and Yahoo, making sure to write down the cheap discount prices you find for the go kart models you are most interested in.

Fourth, go to ebay and do another similar search. Look at the different auctions and notice the prices that go karts are actually selling for. This is one of the best ways to determine a selling price. You may have to keep track of a few auctions for a few days, but it will give you a good idea of the value for different types of go karts.

Do you get the idea? All you’re doing is spending a little time locating all of the best prices you can find online. Then you’re keeping track of these prices so that you can compare them. Now here’s the hard part. Wait a week or two and then do it all over again. I know that waiting is hard, but if you try to avoid an impulse buy you can usually find lower prices. After a couple of weeks you will have determined which go kart dealers offer the best prices.

Saving up to 50% on the price of a great go kart is worth waiting a couple of weeks for. Once you’ve done your homework you just might be rewarded with a wonderfully cheap gokart. And once the work is over, it’s fun time.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Power Golf Exercises That Are Proven To Add Distance
by: Mike Pedersen

Power golf exercises are a unique set of exercises that you do not do in a gym on machines, nor do you lift heavy weights. For that matter, you can do simple power golf exercises right in your home with minimal equipment.

You see…to improve the power in your golf swing, you need to look at the mechanics that create the power.

It’s not your arms swinging the club as hard as you can! It’s not your legs driving your body through the swing! And it’s not swinging some funky 50 inch shaft with a 600cc titanium head either.

It’s quite simple!

The power in your golf swing is your CORE!

Your core is the engine to your swing. If your core is weak or inflexible, you will never be able to hit a powerful tee shot. This is harsh…but very true!

The modern power golf swing is one of being “connected” with your upper body. Not letting your letting your arms get separated from your body. Rotating your upper body as a whole, over a somewhat stable lower body will produce maximum power at impact.

So the perfect power golf exercises involve rotational movements with resistance in your core area. The are many exercises you can do that will dramatically improve your driving distance and power…and no gym required!

A simple power golf exercise for your core is my Seated Twist w/Dumbbell:

• Sit upright in your chair.

• Hold single dumbbell straight out from chest with arms fully extended.

• While keeping your head focused straight ahead, rotate your arms to the right, then to the left as far as you can go both ways.

• Do this non-stop for 20 total rotations.

• Pause for 15 seconds and repeat 2 more times.

At first you will feel very restricted in your midsection. That’s a sign of how limited your rotational flexibility really is. But do this exercise daily and you will see improvement quickly.

The next time you step out onto the course, you’ll blast your drives up to 20 yards further!

As you can see above…the key is ROTATIONAL exercises with resistance, whether it be a single dumbbell, exercise tubing or even a weighted golf club.

Doesn’t matter what you use, as long as it is up to 5 pounds in weight and you can handle it easily in both hands. If you’re already in good shape go for 10-15 pounds and increase your rate of speed. This will both improve your “fast-twitch” core muscles and also your range of motion for a bigger backswing and a complete follow through.

So you see…I wasn’t fibbing! It doesn’t take a gym or fancy equipment to do effective and proven power golf exercises!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Soccer Nutrition and Mental Focus;

Food-Brain-Brain-Food link,

We've all heard of the "breakfast on champions".
This is true because it focuses on the daily nurturing of the body to aid the mind in preparation of the events ahead.
It can be a part of a ritual as, proper breathing techniques and adequate liquid consumption.

Focusing on a dietary plan is also preparing the mind for future competitions is a long process.
This is the use of one of the most important issues in life (food), to introduce another important issue (competition), to heighten the all aspects of individual and team performances.

It teaches the players/athletes to cue themselves for their games ahead.
It also prompts acceptable behaviors and fosters conditions of ownership among the players and all those involved in the team.
Nutrition also allows the coaches to use food and other rewards to encourage other acceptable techniques to prepare for a variety of competitions. NO! I'm not encouraging "Pavlovian" psycologial techniques, this is a much longer and indepth process.

Nutrition is only a step in a process towards mental focus.
We have also heard, "strong in body, and strong in mind".
I would suggest that these major components in life are completely intertwined and in fact are, inseperable.
You can win by recognizing this or lose without even knowing that there is a link too or a cause and effect with this issue.

Many of us try and focus on what to eat. This is the first important step in the correct direction.
The flip side to that is what not to eat. This is realizing what is harmful to the player and even the coach.
"Maybe a little more oatmeal and less coffee?" is a good first step towards this solution.

The addition to that is what to eat, and in which combinations.
We have now entered the realm of the ZONE.
This is the area of expertise of the highly qualified nutritionist to deliver the ultimate nutritional plan.
This however can only be successful once the planner knows which competitons lay ahead. The nutritional planner also has to understand the team of athletes and their gender and age specificity.

Steve September of On The Ball Soccer Training has been involved in soccer for over forty years and on three continents. As a player, player coach and high performance coach Steve wants to share the knowledge and experiences with all levels of people involved in the soccer scene. Check out the philosophy and information at

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