Monday, March 4, 2013 10:35:41 PM America/Los_Angeles
Every athlete worries about the day when they face an injury, whether it be temporary or career ending. In order to avoid injury, you should try to follow these five simple guidelines to the best of your ability.
1. Have a Physical: Make sure a doctor checks you out to make sure that you are physically able to compete. If you have any conditions that may prevent you from playing, they should be found out during the physical. Going against the opinion of a professional is a dangerous road to take. Never allow a coach, friend, or parent try to overrule what a doctor says. It’s your body, not theirs.
2. Eat Healthy: Too often, players, especially girls, do not have an adequate diet that would sustain their physical activity. It’s okay to loose a few pounds when you’re playing a sport, but it can adversely affect your life if you are not maintaining enough calories. Check with your doctor on how many calories you need to consume a day in order to keep your body strong.
3. Know the Rules: If you are new to the sport, make sure you know and abide by the rules. Chances are, you are less likely to get hurt if you know what you’re doing out there. There are reasons for the rules, so keep them in mind while you play and practice.
4. Wear Proper Equipment: Remember to wear the proper equipment while participating in the game and in practice. The equipment pertinent to your sport was specifically designed to keep you from injury. Imagine playing softball without helmets! There implementation changed the way the game was played, and for the better. Always have a spare, if necessary, and make sure you check your equipment out prior to absolutely needing it. It’s hard to find an extra shin guard when it’s game time.
5. Rest: Your body can only take so much. Make sure that you properly warm up your body prior to playing, and rest your body when it is injured. You should also take a day off occasionally to allow your body to heal. The more days you train or practice, the higher likelihood of having an injury occur. Also, If you know of a problem area on your body, talk to a trainer on how you can keep from further injury.
Monday, February 25, 2013 10:57:58 AM America/Los_Angeles
Soccer-Not Just For Boys
In recent surveys, soccer has been concluded as the most popular sport for women in the world. In the United States, it is ranked in the top ten sports, falling behind more popular sports, like track, softball, basketball, and volleyball. So why is soccer so popular?
Most countries, particularly those in South America and Europe, play soccer, especially the boys. Women have taken notice, and with the popularity of Women’s Soccer in the Olympics, many countries have developed programs to feed their national team.
In the United States, the popularity of soccer is increasing each year. Each team consists of ten players and a goalie. Some players are meant to score only goals, playing an offensive role. Other players focus on defense by protecting their goal. Then there are those who play both depending on the location of the ball.
Soccer is an aggressive sport that results in a variety of injuries incurred by slide-tackling opponents, heading the ball, and the unevenness of the playing field. Teams play in any type of weather condition, including snow, rain, and high wind.
Like basketball, players are constantly running. There are two halves in a soccer game, each lasting a varying amount of time. In professional soccer, it is usually 45 minute halves of playing time with a possible six additional minutes for stoppage time. High school is generally 35 minutes for each half, making soccer an intense workout for those playing.
If you’re interested in playing, here are a few ideas for what you will need to compete:
1. Cleats: You will need outdoor cleats that are made specifically for soccer. Check your local sports store to purchase them. Be sure to wear them prior to your first practice if you want to avoid some serious blisters.
2. Shin Guards: Do you like the way your legs look? Then you’ll want to buy shin guards. Play for a few minutes without them, and you’ll understand the need for this important piece of equipment. Shin guards protect your shins from major injuries.
3. Shirt and shorts: More than likely, your team plays in a standard shirt and shorts, so you should also practice with the same gear. That way, your body can predict the movement of your clothes prior to when you’re in a game.
4. Spandex shorts: I always wear spandex shorts below my regular shorts because when I slide on the field, these beauties keep me from getting nasty burn marks on my legs. Plus, they keep you warmer on cold days.
5. Sports bra: The truth is, your boobs hurt when you run, and you’re running a lot in soccer. So, treat your lady lumps nicely by buying a really comfortable bra. Plus, when you score a goal, you’ll want something there when you rip your shirt over your head -- Brandi Chastain style.
6. Hair Tie: Many girls use the standard elastic pony tail tie to keep their hair out of their face. For those of you who have fly-aways, like I do, you can also use bandage wrap. It holds your bangs in place and doesn’t slide around, like the standard headband.
7. Socks: Make sure you get yourself a nice pair of soccer socks. They’ve got to be long enough to cover your shin guards, but not so long that you have issues bending your knee. I like having zany socks for practice, but teams usually have standard issued socks.
8. Water bottle: Having one of your own instead of a team one keeps germs and colds from spreading on a team. I like the squirt top ones because when I’m done running, I don’t want to mess with any extra twist or turn lid.
9. Swag Bag: I like a standard draw-string bag that is easy to throw your gear in and not too large to easily carry around. Plus, most draw-string bags are large enough for a ball and your shin guards. What more could you really need in there?
10. Sunscreen: I’m a big advocate for keeping your face protected. While you may live in a colder climate, the sun’s UV rays are still getting to your skin. Make sure to protect it as best you can during the game. I like to swipe some on before the game and at half time, just to be safe. Sure, a golden tan is what is in right now, but think about how beautifully you’ll age in the long run! And don't forget to do your neck, too!
Monday, February 11, 2013 11:11:00 AM America/Los_Angeles
If you haven’t experienced Zumba, you are missing out on an easy and fun way to exercise. Now, let me tell you up front that I am not a fitness fanatic, and I find it difficult to spend more than twenty minutes on doing any exercise without becoming bored.
That has all changed this weekend when I went to my first Zumba class. What is Zumba? It is a fitness program designed by a choreographer who wanted a fun way to work out. It incorporates aerobic exercise with a variety of dance styles.
When I originally heard about Zumba, I thought of my mother wearing spandex and holding two-pound weights for her Dance Aerobics class. It really didn’t sound like fun, and I felt like I was too young to be going. A friend pre-bought me a ticket, so I felt obligated to go, and I’m so glad I did.
Instead of seeing forty-year-old women in spandex, I saw women of all ages, but mostly in their twenties. All of them were super excited to be there, and they were very welcoming. Having had no dance experience at all, I was baffled by some of the moves. Everything from martial arts, to hip-hop, to belly dancing occurred in my two-hour session. The songs were mostly modern, but there were a few Latin beats to really jazz it up. I had danced for an hour and a half before I even noticed I was tired. I kept being surprised at how often I was smiling, singing along, and joining in with others in random cheering.
The next time I go, I will want to wear different clothing. Most people had yoga-style pants on and a tank top. I wore pants and a long-sleeved shirt, so naturally I was sweating a ton. A simple sneaker shoe would be best because you are traveling throughout the dance area and you do a lot of twists and turns, which could be hard on your knees.
The whole experience was fantastic, and I was sore the next day. I never felt embarrassed because I wasn’t the only inexperienced dancer there. If you love to dance at all, and are looking for a fun fitness program, this is for you. Be sure to check out different instructors, because there is no set program for Zumba. Different instructors have different style dances that they teach. We happened to have a showcase of instructors on the night I went, so I was able to see a variety of dances. In the end, I got a great workout, learned some new dance moves, and smiled the whole drive home. I can’t wait to go again.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 11:37:00 PM America/Los_Angeles
You may have seen the movie, Whip It, and thought, roller derby looks like an amazingly fun sport. You’d be right. It is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States for women. While roller derby is over one hundred years old, it has only recently reentered into American pop culture.
Part of the allure of this sport is that it was rejuvenated by a group of women who wanted to create an all-women roller derby league. It began slowly, with just four teams, but blossomed into a wider audience. Another attraction to roller derby is the outrageously fun uniforms they get to wear. Some derby girls wear spandex and a t-shirt, while others don wigs and skirts. The theatrics of it all, mixed with the fun pseudo names of the players and the quick pace of the game, makes this a sport that is worth looking into.
How can you get started in this fantastic sport? Well, the first step is to see if there are any teams in your local area. Once you’ve established your team, you need to come up with a decent name for the track. Some Internet sites give you a derby name generator. When I entered my name, it suggested Amanda SmackAround for my new derby name.
From there, you need to get yourself the gear. Skates, a helmet, and padding are all essential if you want to play the game. However, you should have fun creating your outfit. The following is a list of essentials for a great time on the track:
1. Spandex! Want to breathe, bend, and jump with ease? Spandex will make it possible, not to mention, it will help enhance your assets!
2. Personalized Top! Let people know you are Amanda SmackAround by having it written on all your gear. After all, you want your opponents to know who just knock them on their keester.
3. Derby Knickers. If you choose to wear a skirt, wear some cute derby panties so when you’re knocked down, people still know that you are a true derby girl, even if you just flashed them your underwear.
4. Hoodie. Personalize it or put your team logo on it. At some point, you’ll be glad you had a hoodie made to keep you warm after a particularly rough bout. Go with the phrase, “I Love Derby” or, if you’re sassier, “Talk Derby To Me.”
5. A Swag Bag. Put all your knickknacks into your own derby swag bag. Keep it fun by having your logo placed on the back, or go with your pseudo name. As long as people know you’re a true derby girl at heart, you can’t go wrong!
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 8:28:00 AM America/Los_Angeles
As high school winter sports are finishing up their seasons, we look ahead to one of the more popular spring sports -- girls softball. Whether you’re an infielder or an outfielder, softball is a sport that keeps the adrenaline pumping. While the sport is about finesse, it is also about using a powerful core to throw and hit the ball with speed and accuracy.
As I sit in the stands and watch, I flash back to my years playing catcher and first base. I would idolize Dottie from, A League of Their Own, and imagine creating that perfect catch into the splits. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not the only catcher to image this scenario. While I do wish I could have played at a time when so much change and diversity was occurring, I am glad I never had to don one of those skirt uniforms! Which leaves me wondering what a modern girl who plays softball should have in her arsenal to keep her competing with the best of them.
After doing some research and interviewing players, here is the list of the top ten things girl softball players need to succeed:
1. A Pair of Shoes.
It should come as no surprise that a good shoe is paramount to your playing ability. This piece of equipment stays with you the entire game and must endure different surfaces, like grass, turf and dirt. The right pair of cleats cannot come more highly recommended. You need to keep in mind what position you will be playing most often, and buy a shoe that fits that area of the field. You also need a shoe that is tight-fitting for base running and sliding. Really do your research on your shoes!
2. A Great Glove.
Sure, many of you believe the quality of the glove shouldn’t matter when mixed with pure talent. But even the most talented players in in the major leagues have missed a catch or two. A good glove can only enhance a player’s performance. When I played first base, I dropped several balls in a row. My coach benched me and said I needed to buy a new glove before I went back out there. Knowing that my job was to play first base, I bought a glove that was catered to that area. A catcher’s glove is way different than an outfielder’s glove. Consider where your job is and make sure to buy the right equipment.
3. The Right Bat.
Does the bat make the difference? Absolutely. Having an eye for a pitch is one thing. Being able to swing at the right moment is another. Having a bat that is catered to your strength and reflexes will only better your batting average. Size, weight, and the materials used in your bat will change your swing, even if it’s by a millisecond. Consider looking at professional opinion when picking out your next bat before you spend a ton of money on something that’s completely wrong for you. I used to pick a bat because of how pretty it was. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that my bat’s attractiveness has zero importance on how I’m hitting.
4. A Safe Helmet.
First, let me tell you how often a team receives head lice by sharing helmets. Imagine how often you sweat into your helmet, then you pass that sweat to the next person. No wonder you get clogged pores. Having your own helmet is a smarter approach. It keeps you from passing cooties, but it also allows you to find a helmet that fits to your head. Consider having a faceguard on the front of your helmet to prevent you from damaging your teeth or nose. One girl in our league will forever have false teeth on her bottom jaw from taking a wild pitch to the face.
5. Batting Gloves.
They may make the difference in your swing, especially if you play in a location with ever-changing climate. These beauties help you become more reliant upon your hands for traction and support. Consider a size that fits snuggly, because after so many games, your batting gloves will wear out and stretch.
Whether it is a hat or a visor, you should always wear a hat when you play (with the exception of the catcher). This piece of equipment is vital to keeping not only the sun out of your eyes on important plays, but it also keeps it off your face. Hats guard you from other elements, like wind, dust, or rain, shielding your eyes so that you can focus on the game. When I was younger, many of the girls wouldn’t wear hats because they were worried that it would mess up their hair. When I graduated, the entire senior squad wore a hat. Like batting gloves, a hat helps keep you consistent in what you’re doing on the field.
7. Eye Wear.
Ever wonder how a pitcher can throw into direct sunlight and still see her target? They’re called sun contact lenses. They offer the same concept that a pair of sunglasses do, except they fit conveniently in the eye, like a contact lens. This prevents a pitcher from being hit by a line-drive and shattering her sunglasses, or having them slide or fall off during play. They come in different styles, but are made to be worn specifically for sports. Like the hat, these help protect your eyes from the sun, but also keep your eyes consistent on the field.
8. Wearing Sunscreen.
While it’s fun to have the golden-brown color that softball always seems to provide at the end of summer, it is also terrible for your skin. My sister played softball and soccer, and she never wore sunscreen. Now, she has about a million freckles (and I’m sure a ton of sun damage) on her face. Not only does it damage skin, it can literally give you melanoma. While skin cancer is often treatable, it can sometimes lead to death in extreme cases. Why risk it?
9. Practice Gear.
I was the girl who was always trying to roll her socks or play with one sleeve up just so that my uniform was not like everyone else’s on the field. I loved practice because it allowed me to wear gear that expressed myself. There are a ton of online sites that allow you to customize your gear! It always made dressing up for practice a little like a fashion show. Our coach even allowed us to wear headbands or ribbons to match our uniform in games, which brought up team spirit and united us. Consider something special that you and your teammates can have, like personalize team jackets or warm-ups.
10. Snacks. Now, if you’re a real lover of softball, chances are you’re either addicted to gum or sunflower seeds. Only the softball gods can tell you why a player must be chewing on something while she watches the game. It seems that everyone on my team was addicted. We used to collect our gum wad on the side of the dugout just to see how big it would get. The inside of my mouth would peel from the amount of sunflower seeds I was consuming. I even became a connoisseur, describing which brand had small seeds, the most flavor, the strangest flavor, and which had the most foreign matter. You know, that strange, non-sunflower seed that comes in the bag, which you know you probably shouldn’t eat, but you try it anyways. Though it is addicting, be sure to bring something to snack on during the game. Just don’t try catching and chewing sunflower seeds at the same time. It gets pretty messy.
To all the ladies who are playing the great game of softball, I wish you the best of luck this season. May you have health, happiness, and a lot of stolen bases!
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 9:06:29 AM America/Los_Angeles
It's getting to that time of year when everyone starts thinking about preparing for the spring sports season. Athletes begin conditioning and getting ready for tryouts so that when games start, they are in tip top shape. To help you get excited about the 2013 girls spring sport season, we have lots of new great designs for the most popular girls spring sports - lacrosse, softball, tennis, and soccer. Click on the images below to check out the collection -- there are t-shirts, tanks, hoodies, sweatpants, and accessories in every category!
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 8:19:37 AM America/Los_Angeles
Ever wonder what cowboys are doing with that giant circle of rope hanging from their saddle? Chances are, they are part of a rodeo event called team roping. Team roping consists of two horses, their riders, and a steer.
The steer is traditionally part of the Corrientes breed, though other breeds have been used. Corrientes are used because they are smaller, have horns, and are more hardy than a traditional beef or dairy cow.
The two ropers have very specific jobs to do once the steer is released from his enclosure, or chute. One rider, called the header, has a specific goal of roping the steer’s horns. They may also rope the steer in other areas of the head, like the nose or neck. This is called a “half head.” The header has only three chances to rope the head before he or she is disqualified.
The second roper, called a heeler, has the specific goal of roping the steer around both back feet. As it would seem, this is much harder to do successfully. The heeler must catch at least one leg in order to qualify for a time.
If both header and heeler successfully catch their target, they dally their rope around their saddle horn and then their horses face one another, pulling the rope taut so as to mark their time. Penalties come if the steer is not roped properly or if horses leave their box early. The team with the fastest time wins the competition.
Roping is the only competition that actually requires real teamwork in the rodeo. Participants can be same sex or male and female partners. It has increased in popularity due to it’s high winning payout. While this event has a long history, it can be a relatively short spectacle, lasting between 4 and 12 seconds in pro rodeos.
So, the next time you see a lasso hanging around a saddle, you’ll be able to lean over and say, “Are you a header or a heeler?”
Friday, February 1, 2013 9:17:15 AM America/Los_Angeles
A cute and funny dance video for your Friday!
Click HERE to check out our collection of dance apparel - practice wear, dance t-shirts, dance tanks, dance hoodies, dance sweatpants, customized apparel, accessories and more!
Friday, February 1, 2013 8:18:06 AM America/Los_Angeles
Those who practice yoga have been experiencing the long list of benefits for over 5,000 years, but for many of us, we are just now understanding how much it can improve your life. Here are only some of the many ways...
1. Sense of calm: Breathing/meditation techniques quiet the mind and stimulate a relaxation response versus a fight/flight response that stress brings on.
2. Less aches and pains: Practicing yoga increases strength and flexibility, especially throughout the core, which improves posture and decreases nagging back pain.
3. Better sleep: Research shows that practicing yoga helps people to relax and therefore sleep better.
4. All over toning: Yoga postures build muscle tone throughout your entire body. Poses such as downward dog, upward dog, and plank work the upper body, while the standing poses builds strength in your hamstrings, quadriceps and abdominals.
5. Effects on other medical conditions:
- Lower blood pressure
- Slow the heart rate
- Anti-oxidant effect
- Decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Boost in immune system function
- Relieves symptoms of asthma, back pain, arthritis
- Health benefits for multiple sclerosis
Start practicing today to start enjoying these benefits!
Remember to check out our collection of yoga gear - yoga pants, yoga shorts, yoga tanks, yoga headbands, and more! Click HERE
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 3:58:07 PM America/Los_Angeles
For all of you Bachelor fans out there, maybe you saw Monday night's episode where Sean took a group of girls on a Roller Derby date. It only felt natural to post about this comical scene given that Roller Derby is one of the most popular categories on Activewear (http://www.activewearapparel.com/browse-by-sport/roller-derby-clothes.html).Read More