Tag Archive : camisetas de futbol once

Twice a year when the transfer window opens, the soccer world goes crazy with players changing clubs and newspapers and soccer websites all over the world speculating on the latest superstars playing the game of musical chairs.

While some big name transfers such as Cristiano Ronaldo’s move from Manchester United to Real Madrid finally came to their expected conclusions, one transfer caught my eye this season. That of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s move from Italian champions Inter Milan to Spanish and Champions League winners Barcelona, with Samuel Eto’o going the opposite direction.

Now, Ibrahimovic is not a bad player and on his day can be one of the best players on the planet. But he has failed to live up to his massive hype in my opinion. Who can forget the 2 Champions League matches against Manchester United last season where he was virtually anonymous?

Samuel Eto’o on the other hand has proven himself to be one of the most lethal strikers in the world. Only 28, he has his best years ahead of him and unlike Ibrahimovic, doesn’t choke on the big stage. Don’t forget, it was his goal in last season’s Champions League final that started Barcelona on the road to victory.

On top of the player exchange, Inter Milan also received a transfer fee of 45 million Euros. I have no idea how it was done, but Inter manager Jose Mourinho must surely have negotiated the best deal of the season. Or does Barcelona know something that we don’t? Only time will tell.

Are you are a sneaker fiend that just cannot get enough of the latest sneakers from Nike or Jordan Brand or Supra Footwear? Would you like to love collect more and more sneakers but the only thing stopping you is your money spend? Well, sneakers from big brand names do not come cheap nowadays – especially if it is a collector’s item. Therefore, if you are an artistic aficionado, then come up with your own custom sneakers, something personal to call your own. In addition, who knows, you can build it up to become a shoe empire just like Nike.

Shoes, just like your clothes give a window into your personality and lifestyle. Customizing your sneakers speak out about yourself, they are a means of expressing yourself, just like any other art. You can either do the customization yourself, or get the help of several services that provide the art of customizing your sneakers. You can chose to customize your sneakers ranging from selecting custom colors and fabrics, to having artwork painted on a pair of classic shoes. The art of customizing shoes have brought a range of artists to the foray-those who love designing and have a craze for shoes. Moreover, the craze for shoes do not only apply to girls, men of are time have a fetish for shoes too which range from sneakers to slippers to loafers.

The most prominent in the art of customizing sneakers is having them painted. Several website provides this service and they allow you to choose images from their gallery or you can even work with them to come up with some personalized art that reflects you. Apart from painting on shoes, they even splash color on things like bags, jackets, and other clothing item.

Customizing bags, shoes and other stuff that you can think of is an excellent gift idea. Imagine giving your best friend or that boyfriend/girlfriend a bag or pair shoes that signifies them. Christmas is around the corner anyway, so this might become handy for you as a gift idea.

Realizing this sudden boom in the art of customizing shoes, many prominent brands have all but jumped into the bandwagon of personalization. If you are not feeling adventurous in the footwear department, but still want cool looking shoes to fit your feet in, then you can check out some of the many big player brands that have jumped on the personalization bandwagon.

Of course, you think Nike, the king of sneakers and sports footwear doesn’t fall in this category? Of course they do! Nike has its own line of customization art found at Nike ID. Nike allows you to customize a large number of Nike footwear styles including the Air Force 1, Shox, Air Max, Air Zoom, as well as other models of basketball, soccer, running and general athletic shoes. Choose your colors for everything from the “Nike Swoosh” to the laces and you can even add your name! How cool is that? Obviously, the art of customization has been taken to a completely new level.

It takes time to master a skill. Sport requires these skills, passion, and the right equipment. Luckily the latter of these necessities has been taken care of by Le Coq Sportif so you, the sportsperson, whether it is professional or amateur, or just a fashion connoisseur, can rest assured that you are in the best of the best.

Sport is all about feeling good. It is the thrill of the competition, the joy of clutching the winner’s trophy and knowing that you have challenged yourself beyond your limits. A loss means a reflection of the day and then the desire to train harder with the goal to achieve better next time around, all the while knowing your sport shoes must match the obsession. What better manufacturer to stand up to the task than one who bought out the first jersey suit, created the flannelette shellsuit, set a benchmark by displaying the company’s name on elite sportsmen, experimented with and then used revolutionary new dyes, materials and treatments and been the inaugural partners with a sports player? It is these commitments to sport that the owners, designers and manufacturers pride themselves upon.

It is very fitting that perhaps the most common sport shoe design within Le Coq Sportif trainers collection is the tennis style. After all it was with the tennis superstar Yannick Noah that the company forged its first alliance with. A true tennis shoe is one that is a lightweight, canvas or leather, lace up with a soft rubber, textured sole. The anatomy of the shoe must be such that it provides maximum cushioning, shock absorption, stability, support, flexibility, comfort, grip, breathability, reinforcement, hardwearing tread and durability. All the features provided in Le Coq Sportif trainers but with elegance and style.

The variety available within the shoe range is sure to have even the fussiest person at ease despite their gender. Some examples of existing options include: material used in upper construction, sole and upper colour and fastening method. While some are quite sedate in appearance, suited to those more shy and reserved fashion conscious people, some are quite bold and loud, making quite a statement about those adventurous enough to don a pair.

Other sports that Le Coq specialise in include soccer, running and basketball. While the running and basketball shoes are very similar in style to the tennis variety, being slightly different in height and tread according to the requirements of the activity, the soccer boots are as expected very different. Having to meet the demands of kicking balls and maintaining grip on grassed surfaces, these leather shoes have cleats, stabilising components and a highly reinforced toe box. Despite their use, you can be guaranteed that they are all manufactured using the highest quality materials and to an extremely high standard.

Le Coq Sportif trainers have been at the forefront of innovation since the brand’s conception in 1882. This is a continued tradition that will allow the French company to remain a dominant force in such a competitive market.

A new season kicks off this weekend and see’s the return of Walker’s Word. Another 10 months of non-stop top flight football action begins on Saturday with both the opening and closing matches ripe for picking a couple of shock results at great odds.

Saturday 19 August

Sheffield United vs Liverpool

Sheffield United make their Premiership return after a 12 year absence at lunch time, to kick off another 10 months of top flight action. The bookmakers are predicting a cakewalk for visiting Liverpool, but Blades boss Neil Warnock will have other ideas. During the 2002/03 Carling Cup, United beat Liverpool 2-1 at Bramall Lane, drew 0-0 at home in 1993/94 and beat the Reds 1-0 the previous year in the Premiership’s debut season. Liverpool may have one eye on their Champions League tie against Maccabi Haifa three days later which still hangs in the balance at 2-1 in the Reds favour.

Walker’s Word: A “shock” draw to go against the bookmakers @ 12/5.

Arsenal vs Aston Villa

There is unlikely to be any such shock result at the new Emirates Stadium however. Arsenal have beaten the Villains for the past eight seasons on home soil, including a 5-0 thumping last April. With the takeover at Aston Villa still not completed and new manager Martin O’Neill only recently installed, Villa could continue the form which saw them lose three of their last four matches at the end of last season.

Walker’s Word: Arsenal to christen their new ground with a win @ 3/10.

Everton vs Watford

Watford travel to Goodison Park on their Premiership return in the knowledge they have never beaten Everton on their home turf. Even more daunting is the in the eight times the pair have met in Merseyside, the Toffees have won every single encounter. The last time these two met was in the Premiership was during the 1999/00 campaign where Everton ran out 4-2 winners thanks to two goals apiece from Mark Hughes and USA striker Joe-Max Moore.

Walker’s Word: Everton like playing Watford so back them @ 4/6.

Newcastle United vs Wigan Athletic

Newcastle beat Wigan 3-1 last season in the middle of their five-match winning run towards the end of the campaign. The Magpies will be without the injured Michael Owen and the retired Alan Shearer, who scored twice in that match, but strikers Alberto Luque and Shola Ameobi have been in good form pre season. The Wigan squad has seen numerous changes this summer, including the arrival of record signing Emile Heskey, but it will be the home side cheering by 4-45pm.

Walker’s Word: Newcastle to continue their good form @ 8/11.

Portsmouth vs Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers have not lost at Fratton Park on league or cup duty since an old second division clash in 1990 which saw Pompey win 3-2. Since then, Rovers have enjoyed good fortune on the south coast, including three wins and two draws in their past five visits. Mark Hughes’ side should find the Pompey defence a bit sterner since the arrivals of Sol Campbell and Glen Johnson but new strikers Jason Roberts, who scored at Fratton Park last season, and Benni McCarthy will give them plenty to think about on Saturday afternoon.

Walker’s Word: An away win for Blackburn @ 21/10.

Reading vs Middlesbrough

The last time Reading beat Middlesbrough at home was in 1927 and the duo have rarely met since. The last time they met was in Division One in 1998 where a Paul Gascoigne and Paul Merson-inspired Boro won 1-0 thanks to a Marco Branca goal. However, Reading have improved a lot since then and suffered just one defeat at the Madejski Stadium last season. The Premiership will be a massive step up for them but with opposition manager Gareth Southgate still wet behind the ears, they could send their supporters home happy by holding Boro to an opening day draw.

Walker’s Word: A point for both sides, draw @ 11/5.

West Ham United vs Charlton Athletic

Charlton have a good recent record at Upton Park which will give new manager Iain Dowie optimism as he returns to top-flight management. In their last five visits to East London, the Addicks have won twice and drawn once – a goalless draw last season. The Hammers will be rocked by Dean Ashton’s ankle injury which could keep him out of the game for four months while the evergreen Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and last season’s top English goal scorer, Darren Bent, lines up against them. Add to it Dowie spent four years in two separate spells as a West Ham player and you have all the ingredients for an intriguing encounter.

Walker’s Word: Iain Dowie to get one over on his old side @ 11/4.

Bolton Wanderers vs Tottenham Hotspur

The betting prospects on this match are more interesting than the on pitch action is likely to be, given the 5.15 Saturday kick-offs are usually drab, low scoring affairs. Bolton have beaten Spurs at the Reebok Stadium for the last four seasons yet the bookmakers insist on pricing up the visitors as the favourites.

Walker’s Word: There is value in backing Bolton @ 9/5.

Sunday 20 August

Manchester United vs Fulham

Sunday lunch time pits Alex Ferguson’s title pretenders against Chris Coleman’s unhappy travellers and there is likely to be only one outcome. United have beaten Fulham at Old Trafford for the past five seasons and given the Cottagers dismal away record, which saw them win just once on their travels last season, this run is likely to continue. Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes face a three match ban, but this does not come into effect until after Sunday’s match.

Walker’s Word: One for the big hitters, United @ 3/10.

Chelsea vs Manchester City

Will Chelsea’s domestic dominance continue this season following the summer signings of Germany captain Michael Ballack and AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko? According to the bookmakers, it will, and price Manchester City up at a massive 14/1 to beat the Blues at Stamford Bridge, something no team in the Premiership could do last season. Frankly, it’s an insult considering it’s the opening game of the season and Chelsea haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders pre season, including last Sunday’s Community Shield defeat against Liverpool.

Walker’s Word: Hope for a real upset @ 14/1.

Despite its immense popularity all over the world, soccer has never really captured the imagination of sports fans in the US. The reasons for that may range from its low-scoring nature or because the rules seem complicated. But for serious sports bettors, soccer represents an untapped opportunity to make money, particularly during the World Cup when soccer fever is at its highest pitch and the sports books are doing good business taking wagers on the various teams. If you are interested in making a sports bet on soccer, here are a few basics you need to know.

Because of the low-scoring nature of soccer, sports books don’t use point spreads to handicap the two teams. Instead, they use money lines that require the bettor to make a larger bet if they are betting on the favorite. To illustrate, let’s say the UK is playing Germany with Germany being the favorite. Hence the money line is Germany -1.2 UK +1.5. This means that if you bet on Germany, you have to bet $120 to win $100. On the other hand, if you bet on the UK, you win $150 for every $100. Unlike in point spread bets, the bettor simply bets on which team he believes will win, regardless of the final score.

For tournaments such as the World Cup, you can choose from two-way or three-way betting. In two-way bets, you merely bet on which team you think will win and the payoff is based on the money line. If there is a tie, your bet is returned. On the other hand, in a three-way bet, you can bet on the game being a tie. A money line is also set for the tie option. When the tournament reaches the knockout stage, when teams are eliminated, you can simply bet on which team will advance to the next stage. However, if the game proceeds to a shootout, your bet is a loss since a shootout win is not considered a goal.

Finally, there are also total or over/under bets in soccer, with the total commonly set by the oddsmakers at 2 or 2.5.

Did you know…

Australia has attended all Summer Olympic Games (1896-2004). Unlike Japan, Germany, Norway and the United States, it participated in the Olympic Games in 1980.

Teddy Flack won two gold medals ( 800m and 1500m ) at the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens, the capital city of Grece. Edwin Harold “Teddy” Flack was the first Australian sportspeople to win an Olympic medal.

Dawn Fraser was a great Australian swimmer. She was born on September 4, 1937 in Adelaide, Australia. This sportswoman won four Olympic titles (1956, 1960, 1964). She also won 23 National Championships: 100m (7), 200m (8), 400m (5), 100 m butterfly (2), 200m medley (1). Dawn, the swimming star and idol national, won 8 medals at the 1958 and 1962 Commonwealth Games. During her sports career, Dawn set 27 world records. She was called “The Queen of Swimming” by Pat Besford, one of the best sportswriters of the world.

From 1938 to 2007, Australia has hosted several international competitions:

The British Empire Games (1938)

The Summer Olympic Games (1956)

The Commonwealth Games (1962)

The FIFA World Youth Championship (1981)

The Commonwealth Games (1982)

The World Athletics Cup (1985)

The Pan Pacific Swimming Championship (1987)

The FINA World Championship (1994)

The IAAF World Junior Championship (1996)

The FINA World Championship (1998)

The Pan Pacific Swimming Championship (1999)

The Summer Olympic Games (2000)

The Paralympic Games (2000)

The Commonwealth Games (2006)

The FINA World Championship (2007)

Melissa Wu has Chinese ancestry. Who is Melissa?. She is one of the best youngest divers of the world. She was born on May 3, 1992 in Sydney. Under the leadership of Xiangning Chen (her coach), she won a gold medal in the 10m platform event at the FINA World Junior Championships in Kula Lumpur (Malaysia). Melissa also won a silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne (Australia). Before the Commonwealth Games, Melissa won three gold medals at the 1995 Australian Championship. This athlete resides in Brisbane, Australia. Currently, she is training very hard. “I get let out of school about an hour early each day to come to trining. I do one less subject that the others so I can catch up on homework and assignments.But teachers and school friends understand this demanding daily routine.They are really happye for me!”,she says.

This country has participated in the Commonwealth Games 18 times: Hamilton’1930, London ‘1934, Sydney ‘1938, Auckland ‘1950, Vancouver ‘1954,Cardiff ‘1958, Perth’1962, Kingston’1966, Edinburgh’1970, Christchurch’1974, Edmonton’1978, Brisbane’1982, Edinburgh’1986, Auckland ‘1990, Victoria ‘1994, Kuala Lumpur ‘1998, Manchester ‘2002 and Melbourne’2006.

The Australian men’s volleyball team qualified for the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece. At the Olympic Qualification Tournamente in Tokyo, Australia defeated many teams such as Japan (host country), South Korea and the People’s Republic of China. For the first time, Australia beating Japan, who won three medals at the 1964, 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games. The Australian team was trained by Jon Uriarte (Argentina), who was one of the best volleyball players in the 1980s. The Olympic players were: Brett alderman, David Beard, Matthew Young, Luke Campbell, Zane Christensen, Hidde van Beest, Grant Sorensen, Travis Moran, Dan Howard, Andrew Earl, David Ferguson and Benjamin Hardy.

From 1896 to 1972, Australia won 63 Olympic gold medals.

Catherine “Cathy” Salome Freeman is an iconic figure in Australia’s sports. She become the first Aborigine to win an Olympic gold medal since James Franciscus “Jim” Thorpe (United States) at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games. Like Dawn Frasser (Olympic champion), Sir Frank (Nobel Prize in Medicine), Shane Gould (Olympic champion) and Patrick White (Nobel Prize for Literature), she was elected Australian of the Year (1998).

Date birth:16/2/1973

Place of birth: Slade Point,Mckay,Queensland

Event (track & field): 400m

Distinctions:1st at the 2003 Australian Championship; 1st at the 2000 Grand Prix; 1st at the 2000 Golden League; 1st at the 2000 Olympic Games; 1st at the 2000 Australian Championship; 2nd at the 1999 IAAF World Indoor Championship; 1st at the 1999 Australian Championship; 1st at the 1999 World Athletics Championship; 1st at the 1998 Australian Championship;1st at the 1997 World Athletics Championship;1st at the 1997 Australian Championship; 1st at the 1996 IAAF Grand Prix ; 2nd at the 1996 Olympic Games; 4th at the 1995 World Athletics Championship; 1st at the 1995 Australian Championship; 2nd at the 1994 IAAF Grand Prix; 1st at the Commonwealth Games; 3rd at the 1992 Australian Championship.

This country has great athletes in this century: Libby Lenton (swimming/ world champion, 2007), Nathan Deakes (athletics/world champion, 2007), Chantelle Newbery (diving/ Olympic gold medalist, 2004), Anna Meares (cycling/ Olympic gold medalist, 2004), Simon Fairweather (archery/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000), Ryan Bayley (cycling/ Olympic gold medalist, 2004), Sara Carrigan (cycling/ Olympic gold medalist, 2004), Gail Miller (water polo/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000), Leisel Jones (swimming/ world champion, 2007), Scott McGlory (Olympic gold medalist, 2000). Michael Diamond (shooting/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000), Jana Rawlinson (track & field/ world champion,2007), Matt Welsh (swimming/ world champion, 2007), Philip Dutton (equestrian/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000), Stuart Tinney (equestrian/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000), Ian Thorpe (swimming/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000 and 2004), Kerry Pottharst (beach volleyball/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000),Grant Hacker (swimming/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000 and 2004), Susie O’Neill (swimming/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000), Mark Turboll (sailing/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000), Lauren Burns (taekwondo/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000), Natalie Cook (beach volleyball/ Olympic gold medalist, 2000) and Jessicah Schipper (swimming/ world champion, 2007).

The Australian men’s basketball team is one of the best of the world.

Top performances:

1956 Melbourne Olympic Games-12th place (host country)

1964 Tokyo Olympic Games-9th place

1970 FIBA World Championship-12th place

1972 Munich Olympic Games-9th place

1974 FIBA World Championship-12th place

1976 Montreal Olympic Games-8th place

1978 FIBA World Championship-7th place

1980 Moscow Olympic Games-8th place

1982 FIBA World Championship-5th place

1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games-7th place

1986 FIBA World Championship-17th place

1988 Seoul Olympic Games-4th place

1990 FIBA World Championship-7th place

1992 Barcelona Olympic Games-6th place

1994 FIBA World Championship-5th place

1996 Atlanta Olympic Games-4th place

1998 FIBA World Championship-9th place

2000 Sydney Olympic Games-4th place

2004 Athens Olympic Games-9th place

2006 FIBA World Championship-13rd place



The making of a great city

Although Athens is a busy metropolis, not very long ago, just over a century and a half, the city of Athens was almost a town. Just the place to verify this is to visit the Museum of the City of Athens in its center. Housed in a beautifully preserved neo-classical building, the museum of the city depicts a very different place from that which it has become.

Athens first attained the status of a town in the Middle Hellenic Period, when the worship of Athena was established on the Acropolis. The Dorian invasions were followed by an obscure period during which the Phoenician alphabet was adopted to express Greek in writing. Athens began to emerge as an artistic center around the 8th century BC How the city began to develop over the centuries is quite amazing. Encapsulating centuries into a few pages is not easy but hopefully this will give a brief insight (but a whirlwind tour) into what went into the making of such a great city.

Thanks to the beneficence of a couple of Athenians, the museum was established around 30 years ago to highlight its glorious past and more recent history. Having just celebrated our own Queen's successful Diamond Jubilee, many people do not realize that apart from the few kingdoms that made up Greece before it ever became Greece, royalty was established in Greece by the then powers that be, some 180 years ago. Although royalty is now no longer in Greece, the benefits can be appreciated in that added buildings and plans that helped make up Athens as it is today. Plots and battles, conspiracies and reigns, defeats and triumphs all add to the history of a great city.

As a monument, the Doric Parthenon of the Temple of Athena Polias on the Acropolis is considered to have no equal. It was erected in 447-38 BC as the cardinal feature of Pericles' plan and was designed to provide a new sanctuary for Athena Polias, where her statue might be suitably housed. The 7th century BC is marked by the "Proattic" style of pottery, although sculpture was comparatively little developed then. The "archaic" style of sculpture began to develop by the early 6th century, passed on from the Cyclades to Athens. Solon cleverly re-organized the agriculture of Athens and encourage commerce with lands further afield. The state-owned mines of Lavrion were utilized by Solon to reform the currency. The inspiration for the request of Salamis from Megara soon after 570 BC came from Solon and the victor, Peristratis, closed power following this triumph.

Peristratis and his sons laid the foundations of the Athenian Empire after some victories over neighboring enemies (some of them not so much enemies as simply in their way.) Peristratis' edition of Homer made Athens the literary center of Greece while he instituted the Great Dionysia of the City, the festival from which the drama was born. He began the architectural embellishment of the city and in his reform of the Panathenaic festival (566 BC) heave it a prestige equal to that of the gatherings at Olympia and Delphi.

The reign of Hippias, elder son of Peristratis, had grandiose ideas after the slaying of his brother Hipparchos during the conspiracy of Harmatios and Aristogeiton (514 BC) His overthrow was helped along by the Alkmaenids with the assistance of Kleomenes, King of Sparta. Only by joining the Peloponnesian League was liberty then reaffirmed and Hippias retired to plot at the Court of Darius, King of Persia. Kleomenes meanwhile had a failed expedition against the Athenians who had already defeated Chalkis with the aid of Plataea, who had in turn been aided by the Athenians against Thebes.

Following the overthrow of Hippias, Kleisthenes altered the traditional division of Attica into three districts, the city, the coast and the island Mesogeia, regrouping the inhabitants. When Aristagoras of Miletus appeared for help only Athens and Eritria responded. The Athenians sent twenty ships to take part in the burning of Sardis. Darius despatched a huge army in revenge and a fleet, accompanied by the agreed Hippias, to sack Eretria. The Persian army was met at Marathon while marching on Athens, by 9,000 Athenians and 1000 Plataens under Miltiades, and the Persians were decisively defeated there.

Aegina was at this time supremely powerful at sea and spurned a war against them by the Athenians who had realized her own maritime dangers. Xerxes came to avenge his father's defeat and stormed against Athens in 480 and were attacked at Thermopylae by the heroic Spartans under Leonidas. They repelled the attack and the Athenians were forced to abandon their city and take to their ships. The Acropolis was sacked but the power of the Persians was broken in the famous naval battle at Salamis in 480. The following year at Plataea, the Persians were again defeated on land.

Athens led by Kimon and Aristides, gained a new prestige and assumed the leadership of the naval Confederacy of Delos in 478 BC and the Persian were finally defeated for good in the battle of Eurymedon in 468. Members of the League made a donation to Athens as a tribute and the treasury was thence removed to the Acropolis in 454 BC

Under Pericles, the Athenians put much of the profit towards the aggrandisement of their city and having defeated Aegina and Corinth, signed a 30 year truce with Sparta and Thebes in 445 BC abandoning an unprofitable rivalry on land for commercial expansion at sea. Under Pericles, Athens inspired some of the greatest names in Athenian art and letters including Zeno and Anaxagoras, the visiting Herodotus, Thucydides and Sophocles. Pericles also, wave scope to Pheidias in the design of the Parthenon ..

Rivalry between Sparta and Athens culminated in the Peloponesian War (431-404 BC) and with the demise of Pericles, Athens, the now fully developed democracy, lost its only capable leader. Humiliating conditions of peace were forced on Athens following the disaster of Aegospotami in 405. This was the exit of the Sicilian Expedition (415-414) urged by Alcibiades, destined to fail.

After some years of disaster and lack of democratic rule, Thrassivoulos restored the constitution in 403. Socrates was executed in 399 and Aristophanes wrote his comedies spanning these terrible times (427-387.) Konon was his great victory against Sparta at Cnidos in 394 assisted by Thebes. Athens was then able to re-establish her naval hegemony with the Second Maritime League organized in 378.

In the 4th century, philosophy and oratory reached their apotheosis in the age of Plato, Xenophon and Isocrates. A new threat in the form of Philip of Macedonia loomed following his conquer of three cities nearby. Athens took up the role of champion of liberty, spurred on by the oratory of Demosthenes, but was defeated at Chaeronea in 338.

Alexander the Great treated the city with kindness because his Macedonian tutor taught there at the Lyceum. Athen's bid for independence was foiled after Alexander's death in 323 and the assumption of a cooperating governor, Demetrius of Faliron was installed, placed by the usurper Cassander. Alternate bouts of liberty coupled with subject to Macedonian rule followed. After a defeat by Antigonus Gonatas in the Chremonidian War (266-263) Athens suffered a garrison until 229, although her democratic institutions were respected.

The Romans governed following the fall of Perseus in 168 BC but the city of Athens continued to flourish, retaining many priviledges when the province of Achaia was formed out of Southern Greece after 146. Athens became popular as a fashionable seat of learning to the Romans and Hadrian frequently lived in Athens, adorning it with imperial buildings, Herod Atticus followed his example and Athens remained the center of Greek education until the edict of Justinian in AD 529 closed the school of philosophy.


Athens dwindled to an unimportant small town under Byzantine rule. After the fall of Constantinople in 1204, the Greek provinces north of the Isthmus of Corinth fell to Boniface 111, Marquis of Monferrat, who was entitled King of Thessalonica. Boniface granted Attica and Boetia to Otto de la Roche, a Burgundian Knight with the title of Grand Seigneur of Athens and Thebes.

The Athenians, despite finding peace and prosperity under "Frankish" rule, had no part in affairs; trading priviledges were awarded to Genoese and Venetian merchants. In 1258 Guy 1 accepted the title of duke from St.Louis of France. On the death of Guy 11 in 1308 the duchy passed to his cousin Walter of Brienne. In 1311 he lost the duchy to former allies the Catalans at the battle of Kopais. Sovereignty of Athens and Thebes now came to the Grand Company who placed Roger Deslau at their head. Following a career of consent in northern Greece, they approached Frederick of Aragon, king of Sicily, in 1326, which reflected in Frederick's son Manfred being coming duke after sixty years of mismanagement by Sicily.

A Napolitanized Athens in 1386. Nerio Acciaioli, governor of Corinth and a member of a powerful Napolitan family, took the city along with Thebes and Levadia and in 1394 received the title of duke from Ladislas, king of Naples. Under his son Anthony, and protected by Venice, Athens enjoyed forty years of peace. His weak cousin Nerio 11 became his successor and Nerio held his duchy as a vassal of the Sultan with disastrous results.

After a series of manipulations by Nerio 11's successors, Mehmed 11 ordered Omar, son of Turahan, to seize the Acropolis and annexed Attica to the Ottoman Empire in 1456 and nearly 400 years of Turkish rule followed. 1821 saw the outbreak of the War of Independence in Patras, with the Greek General Odysseus seizing Athens and the Acropolis. It was not until 1834 however, that Athens became the capital of liberated Greece. Lord Byron is revered today in Greece as it's then liberator and although he did not actually save the city of Athens, his renown and activities on their behalf certainly possessed impetus to Greece's War of Independence and 1821 is one of the major historical dates on the mind of most Greeks.

In 1672, the eariest extant plan was drawn up of the city by Pere Bubin, a French Capuchin monk, and in 1675 one Francis Vernon sent the Royal Society in London the first English account of the city. The city of Athens which now occupies the greater part of the Attica plain surrounded by an amphitheater of mountains, is today inhabited by several million people and has modernized over the past two decades to include new airports and a very effective Metro.

* NB: One of the fascinating things about living in such an ancient city is the names still live in on, not only in street names, squares, monuments, but even on people. That children are given ancient names today is a lovely way of keeping the past alive. Even though some may get whittled down to a nickname, the original name still gets used. Alkyviathis becomes "Alkys" Dionysos becomes "Dino", Aristides becomes "Aris", Ariadne becomes "Dina" and so on. No matter, to me this is a great compliment to their ancestry.


The city inspired the museum

The City of Athens Museum is housed in a beautifully restored building built by its founder Lambros Eftaxias, who dedicated both funds and real estate plus many artefacts, books and paintings to the museum, which was to "provide as complete as possible a picture of the history of the city of Athens from the period of the Frankish occupation and to contribute to the preservation of the historical and artistic remains of that period "That's exactly what has been achieved.

The esteemed architect and archaeologist John Travlos undertook the restoration of the building which houses the city museum and which used to be known as the "Old Palace" since King Otto and Queen Amalia lived there from 1836 to 1843. It is now an exact replica of its original.

The Greeks gained their freedom in the 1820's after a long process of struggles and centuries of foreign subject. Their new state was patterned on the European models of the 19th century. With the newly found state came royalty in the form of King Otto, Royal Prince of Bavaria, first king of the Hellenes (b 1857 – d 1897) second son of Louis 1 of Bavaria, placed on the Greek throne by the Great Powers, his rule lasting from 1832 until 1862.

On the second floor of the museum, in an artfully lighted corner sits a bust of the young king by sculptor Enrico Franzoni. The interior of the museum is as pleasant as the exterior. Beginning with the upper floor, the first of several rooms homes paintings by the likes of Edward Lear, the English artist and humorist (1812-1888) Thomas Witlam Atkinson (1799-1861) and Johan Michael Wittmer (1802-1880.) The paintings adorn the walls and depict scenes of Greece from early to mid 19th century. The furniture is authentic of the period and earlier and is an excellent collection including notably a piano, a throne donated by the Baron Jurg Stuker, in the throne room which is by no means ornate, and a delightful backgammon table seemingly awaiting eager players. *

In this room is King Otto's copy of the Greek Constitution, or "Syntagma" of 1843. Although royalists are considered out of fashion these days, denying that royalty was part of Greece's history is not realistic. On a wall in this same room is a map of the "kingdom of Greece" circa 1838, and the ancient Greeks knew all about kingdoms, they had plenty of them way back

The breakfast room is across the hall, a gorgeous marble fireplace with marble and gilt surrounding the mirror above, setting the tone for this peaceful little room in which royalty, particularly Queen Amalia, partook of their morning nourishment. Further down the hall are a quarter of paintings by Andrea Gasparini dated 1843. They show Athenian monuments and sites of the time such as Hadrian's Gate, the Philopappas monument, The Lysicrates Monument and the Tower of the Winds, no doubt the paintings were commissioned at the time.

In a small ante-room are artefacts and coins, books and documents belonging to the royal family or donated to the museum. This room looks out onto the small green garden behind the museum, tucked away from the roar of the city traffic. On the landing is a large painting by one of Greece's well-known artists, Nicholas Gkyzis (1842-1901) entitled "Carnival in Greece" and dated 1892. Since the paintings and furniture, artefacts and books reflect the period, this is a grand way to see how the royal Greeks lived at that time.

A second painting by Karl Whilhelm Von Heideck (1788-1861) painted in 1835 entitled "Ascent to the Acropolis" gives an insight into how this great monument appeared from a close angle in those days. This was only fourteen years after Greece gained her independence. In the lower hall of the building is a bronze bust of King Otto, aged around 40, boasting a moustache, without which he probably would not have looked so regal as he was rather baby faced.

There are six paintings of Athens in this lower hall, again by Gasparini, dated the same time as the scenes mentioned above, and the changes that have taken place around these monuments and sites is clear and quite astonishing. In a room off this hall are displayed kitchen utensils, giving indication of how the meals were prepared and cooked in mid-19th century Greece, not necessarily in a royal kitchen either, some of the utensils are simply of those used in this period. Despite the modern Microwave cookery, most Greek kitchens still utilize many of these items, especially in rural Greece.

Further down the hall is an art gallery, beautifully designed and lit with sensitivity (by Edward Tuttle and Christian Monges) the lighting accentuating carefully the paintings and cartoons, etchings and water colors therein. A scale model of Athens circa 1842 (by John Travlos) makes Athens look even more like a small rambling town, if it were not for the obvious landmark of the Acropolis, one could mistake it for almost any town in the Meditarranean anywhere in its time.

Royal family portraits and paintings typify the dress of the era and are an indication as to how the pace of life must have been in those days (pigeon post, horse and carriage) while in the opposite room the library is stocked by the founder of the library museum with titles in Greek, French, German and English. A charming gilt mirror and side table add charm to this room. The building was also the residence of the Chief banker Stamatis Dekozis Vouros (1792 – 1881) after royalty departed. Another building forms part of the museum, joined by a covered bridge, added to the complex at No 5 on the same street. This building houses collections including original paintings and engravings and items from the Bavarian National Museum.

This interesting era of Greek history has been well recorded and is worth a visit if only to compare then with now. All around the building is the hustle and bustle of Athenian traffic, but inside a kind of peace awaits and gives time to ponder and be fascinated with what the ideals and aspirations of one proud Greek brought to light. In the Eighties when the museum first came into being, I thought that the Greeks could be proud that there was someone interested in exposing all parts of Greek history, not those which suited them at the time. Royalty, whether one is a monarchist or not, played its part in Greek history and an exciting time it was too.

I would urge anyone visiting Athens to visit the City of Athens museum. A quiet place almost overloaded with history. Although the Acropolis and the Parthenon, Sounion and the Archeological Museum are on the list of most visitors, the museum offers much of the city history laid out from early times to the present, spanning many centuries and generations.

NB: Backgammon, or "Tavli" is still played through Greece and in most cafés (kafeniea) and usually by men. However women play it too and I hear even more so in private clubs nowdays.

The City of Athens Museum
Paparingopoulou Street
Klathmonos Square

Reebok is one footwear brand which has registered a strong presence across the globe with its consistent innovation and advanced technology. Reebok has emerged as a global brand for shoes with its impeccably stylish shoes and range of clothing. The brand has some of the best sports shoes in the market.

Here are some finest pairs of Reebok sports shoes:

Reebok Zig-Activate – they have modern looks, superb sole design, better re-bounce, ultra-cushioning, and precise flexibility. Nice pair of men's running shoes from Reebok with lightweight material and daringly blue looks.

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Zig-Encore – these shoes were designed under the supervision of John Wall himself. Reebok Zig-Encore has better stability, stylish high collar, and added rubber on out-sole.

Easy-Tone + Vive – this series is made for the perfect stride. It's high-grade mesh, superior breathability, light weight, and smooth fit make them the finest pair of Reebok shoes for women. Reebok Easy-Tone + Vive is available in purple, pink, and black colors.

Real-Flex Transition – bright blue and super flexible, these Reebok training shoes are lightweight and allow natural movement of feet. The sheer strength of shoe materials helps you hit a nice workout.

Real-Flex Optimal – Here is the pair for kids. Real-Flex Optimal are the perfect Reebok sports shoes for kids. Available in white and black variations, they offer lightweight sole and great performance.

Classic Leather Ultralite – who wanted a classic pair of sports shoes? If you ever did, here is the vintage pair of Reebok shoes with leather finish and latest technology. Essentially black and highly durable, Reebok Classic Leather Ultralite features great looks and strong traction for your feet.

Classic Kamikaze III – Reebok Classic Kamikaze III is another pair of sports footwear with evergreen looks. Designer and stylish, these footwear are nice for those who like a little funk. A stylish dose of sportsmanship for young men!

SL Fitness Ultralite – another pair in the Ultralite series, Reebok SL Fitness has leather upper with fine finish and high collar for a classy look. The gray Nubuck leather looks nice.

These are some finest pairs of Reebok sports shoes for men, women and kids. Reebok has proved its superiority when it comes to sports shoes. But, that is not all. Reebok also manufactures a number of sports equipment, too. Reebok makes world-class cricket bats and endorses some of the most popular crickets from around the world. Reebok also manufactures t-shirts, sports jerseys, football shoes, tennis shoes, caps, etc. They offer cool accessories like Reebok sunglasses and watches, too. Now owned by Adidas, Reebok has been in the competition for a long time. It was founded in 1895 by JW Foster in Massachusetts. Over time, Reebok became one of the prominent sports and footwear company in the world.

There still seems to be many questions on what an effective warm up is and how it should all be put together. I want to share with you what we use at Athletes' Acceleration.

If you want your athletes to be able to perform at a high level in their sport, a proper warm-up is critical. Not only is it our goal to get our athletes ready to compete and perform to their full potential, our role as coaches is first and foremost to prevent injuries. There is nothing more critical in reducing the incidence of injury then putting our athletes through a well structured warm-up program.

What does a properly designed warm-up program mean? Running fast and performing explosive movements are extremely complicated activities from a neuromuscular standpoint, so there are certain things to consider and rules to follow.

Slow to fast, simple to complex

Those are the words to live by when creating your warm-up routine. To prepare your athletes to be ready for practice or a game, you need them slowly work their way up to full speed. As you progress through the warm-up, your athletes will make a simple transition to the more complicated and faster movements. We want to stimulate and create the intensity of the upcoming practice or competition by the end of the warm-up.

A good warm-up should take at least 20 minutes to complete in order to raise the core temperature and really get the muscles fired up and ready to go. We always tell our athletes that their warm-up should have made them break a sweat. If they are not lightly sweating and slightly out of breath as the complete warm up routine, then they are not ready to compete. Too often, I have seen some athletes just going through the motors and they have not prepared themselves to do anything, let alone sprint. This is where injuries happen. Your athletes have to know the importance of the warm-up and how doing it properly will help improve their performance.

We do not want our athletes to be too fast too soon, and this is where a properly designed warm-up comes into play. There is a progress of movements that you must follow in order to get the most out of your warm-up. The purpose of the warm-up is to loosen and bring blood flow to the muscles, take the body through the ranges of motion they are going to compete in, and match the intensity of the competition the body is about to encounter.

The flow created from your warm-up program is going to set the tone for the rest of your workout or game.

Should every workout have the same warm-up routine?

No. When preparing for practice we must take into consideration what our goal is for the day. Is it a speed / power day, a recovery day, a light day (like the day before a game)? how do your athletes feel? (stiff, sore), etc. Different warm-up programs and volumes can be used dependent on all of these issues. There are some drills we like to use each time there is a speed and power day workout – our core drills.

To keep athletes fresh, and not bored with the same old warm up routine, you need to change up your drills and exercises. When athletes get bored of certain exercises they get lazy and their technique sufferers. That being said, try not to add too many new exercises at once. Although we do not want the athletes to get bored and we want to keep the warm-up interesting, we always want them to perform each drill with perfect technique. Make sure your athletes can do the drills properly before adding in new exercises.

Before I show you some sample workouts, I need to address static stretching. Athletes come to us with cold muscles that are not ready to be explosive, so to static stretch right before we want them to perform at a high intensity does not make any sense. Static stretching right before an activity will definitely decrease power output, and that is why I try not to use it before most practices.

So can static stretching be used?

Yes … well sort of. Static stretching before any speed workouts should be avoided although it is not the end of the world if your athletes are performing those stretches now- there are ways around the negative that those drills cause. All I am saying is, I do not think static stretching is ideal to use right before a practice or game.

Some coaches are strict and stand by their static stretching because that is all they know, and you can not change every coaches mind; that's the way it is. You can not change some coaches' minds, so we need to learn how to work with them to achieve the same goal of helping the athletes became successful. Adding a dynamic warm-up right after static stretching will be of great benefit. If those athletes are performing a dynamic warm up routine right after the static stretching, the issue of reduced power output will be less of a problem. If you use a dynamic warm-up right after static stretching, the amount of time it takes to do that warm up, will help decrease / negate the negative effects to explosion caused by the static stretching. So, unless your athletes are performing a vertical jump or running a full sprint right after static stretching, without a dynamic warm-up in between efforts, then you should be all set and can get away with static stretching before practice (although I do not recommend it).

What if your athletes are sore? Would not you want them to static stretch?

Some coaches like to have their athlete's static stretch before practice if they are sore. If my athlete's muscles are sore, then I will have them go through a light workout (not performing anything explosive) and static stretch at the end of the workout. If you have sore athletes and you have them running full speed or working on a lot of power movements then you are asking for an injury. In these circumstances it will take the athlete a lot longer to recover. So, simply put, we would not have our athlete's static stretch on a speed / power workout day because they would not be performing a speed / power workout if they are really sore.

Developing sports training programs for youths requires more profound knowledge, a more involved mind-set and different tools than creating programs for adults. The demand for services that teach young people sports skills – particularly those that help develop motor abilities and basic athletic techniques – is increasing steadily in the United States. Countless performance facilities and fitness centers are running programs for 7- to 16-year-olds, with the main emphasis on speed and agility programs for youths playing baseball, football, soccer and basketball.

Kids’ lack of recreational activity and the alarming trend of early specialization in sports are two of the reasons why sports training programs for youths can be beneficial in terms of movement skill development, weight management and general fitness. However, the quality of the services and the child’s interest are at risk if proper guidelines and specific approaches are neglected in the heat of a profitable moment. It is a fact that creating sports training programs for youths requires more profound knowledge, a more involved mind-set and different tools than creating programs for adults.

With that in mind, the following eight concepts should make up the core philosophy of any successful sports training program for youths:

1. Children Are Not Small Adults

Coaches often are not educated enough in children’s and youth exercise physiology – added to which, they are pressured to always win. Too many of them design training programs according to the goals and abilities of adults. The intensity and duration of the drills, and the drills themselves, often resemble a training session for mature athletes.

I sometimes watch a football team of 10- to 12-year-olds conditioning in the field by my house. When I see the team running sprints in the heat in full gear, running lap after lap and falling to the ground, I begin to ponder the objective of the drill. My guess is that the goals are metabolic development and, possibly, mental toughness. Yet, because of the young body’s inability to respond to the given training modality, it is not clear whether the goal of this training will translate to success on the gridiron. In other words, even if those young athletes develop physically and mentally through that drill, the lack of running technique and poor movement skills under fatigue won’t likely translate in a positive way to the actual playing of the sport. The same drill might be excellent for the athletes who are able to utilize their advanced motor skills and reap the benefits metabolically, but not their younger counterparts. This example demonstrates only one situation in one sport, but it can be seen in one shape or form throughout youth sports.

2. Athletes First, Players Second

Coaches are often tempted to teach and practice game-specific skills more than general athletic skills, since game-specific skills are the ones that eventually determine which team wins and which loses. Limited training time and people’s high expectations of success can also lead to this exaggerated emphasis on developing sport-specific skills. Development of general athletic skills, such as jumping, landing, skipping, lunging, twisting and hopping lay the foundation for game-specific skills and is vital to becoming a healthy and successful athlete. Narrowing the variety of movement skills before the athletic foundation has been laid can risk a child’s long-term development and suffocate his or her true potential.

Injuries – particularly overuse injuries – at an early age are often a sign of excessive game-specific training at the expense of general fitness and motor skills. Learning how to incorporate the components of athletic development in the training program is key to the creation of a successful, child-oriented sports program. It is good to remember that athletes practice these skills throughout their career to improve their game-specific performance and to prevent injuries.

3. An Age-Sensitive Approach

Coordination, balance, speed, flexibility, agility, strength and endurance are all important components of human movement and sport performance. The different stages of a child’s growth and development determine which motor skills should be emphasized in training programs. For example, speed and agility progress optimally during the “skill hungry” years of 8 to 12, whereas strength and endurance become important in subsequent years. A 10-year-old boy is at his peak period to enhance acceleration speed and change of direction through games like tag or short shuttle runs. Drills that incorporate multidirectional hops on a single leg are well absorbed by children age 8 to 12.

During puberty, on the other hand, some of the fine motor skills regress as the body adapts to huge changes in height and muscle mass. A primary objective during this awkward time should therefore be learning basic movement patterns and exercises for dynamic flexibility and foundational strength. Exercises such as lunging or single-leg squat variations in all planes combine the objectives of strength, flexibility and coordination, and help the body maintain and enhance athleticism even during the clumsier periods of physical maturation.

The developmental stages before and during puberty should focus on children’s strengths, not weaknesses. Later, during the high school years, will be the time for youngsters to refine their athletic skills by incorporating all the areas of movement training into the program. Flexibility becomes much more important, and strength and endurance abilities are better absorbed at this stage than earlier.

It is important to recognize, also, that each individual has a different developmental pace. The aggressive push to “peaking” in high school sports, and even earlier, often neglects the physiological needs of potentially great athletes. As a matter of fact, many internationally successful athletes found their specific sport in college or even later.

4. It Must Be Fun

The importance of fun is often neglected or misunderstood in youth sports. A persistent viewpoint in this country is that the only thing that brings results is hard work, even with respect to children and physical activity. Sometimes people’s limited understanding is that fun means telling jokes between drills, or that everyone is laughing hysterically all the time. Often people want to separate result-oriented activity from fun because they cannot connect results and fun in their own minds. What is “fun” – and can it really be an important part of performance enhancement?

It is striking how much better one learns something if one has fun doing it. Emotions are a big part of multi-dimensional human systems. Emotions are tightly connected to physical performance and to the response generated by physical activity. Motivation or inspiration enhances learning on a cognitive as well as on a physiological level, and that is why fun is so important.

“Fun” can be defined as a balanced combination of skill and challenge. A positive, fun experience can be created if the task is challenging enough but rewarding, as well. Sometimes fun is expressed by laughter, but it can also take the form of a deep feeling of inner satisfaction. How do you know if the program you are running is fun? Are the children coming back for more, week after week and month after month? Fun is really the only thing that is going to keep children coming back to practice.

Evaluate your program by the number of children who start and finish it. In addition, see how many come back, and how many refer others to future programs.

5. Long-Term Development, Not Short-Term Success

Are you sure that your coaching philosophy will help the athletes in their careers beyond high school and college? Does your training approach as a coach of a young athlete vary depending on the planned age of peaking? Are your coaching and training methods an important part of the progressive development to athletic maturity? And if so, why?

Coaches might not always realize that the decisions they make in their training programs could be determining when the athletes reach the peak of their competitive careers. Youth coaches tend to look at success early in the athlete’s career as the best measurement of their own efforts. The real challenge, ethically and professionally, is to acknowledge that the coach’s actions today can decide the long-term future of the athlete, and to evaluate the training methods according to the years following high school and possibly college.

A youth coach should always choose training methods with the long-term career in mind, which sometimes might mean compromising short-term success. Are you ready to do this for the good of the child, or is it too important to win today at the expense of tomorrow? Obviously, one can be a successful youth athlete and a successful master athlete – the optimal situation. The greatest dangers to long-term development are premature specialization, high-intensity training or too many competitions. Lack of foundational athletic skills or training at too high an intensity can stunt the development of a young athlete as well.

6. Safety and Productivity

A safe atmosphere is a prerequisite for learning, success and fun – and indeed, everyone says they make safety a priority in their youth programs. While acknowledging that accidents can happen even when risk management is properly handled, planning and running well structured and instructed programs is what secures a program’s physical safety.

Beyond that, mental and social safety are just as important to a program’s success. Mental safety thrives in an atmosphere where there is freedom within boundaries and discipline through caring. A productive mental atmosphere is created by clear rules and instructions, and a “lead by example” attitude. Children need to know and understand the rules, and see that instructors take the rules seriously, too. If a coach tells players to respect their teammates and then proceeds to mock a particular player, the concepts of mutual respect and adherence to rules disappear. More than any other group, young people require that their coaches exhibit a great deal of character and maturity.

The coach is also responsible for the social safety of the group, and each child needs opportunities to express him or herself without negative peer pressure. Bullying cannot be part of a successful children’s program or team. Little “tough guys” on the team cannot be allowed to step up and take charge. The coach has to make the rules clear and follow them, too.

7. Do What You Can Do

How do you teach a new skill? Are you able to demonstrate an exercise or drill with the attitude and technique that you demand from your athletes? The rule of thumb with children is: Only teach what you can do and show yourself. You can explain the drill in great detail, but the demonstration will decide how the drill will be executed. It’s a physically demanding task, but coaches should always prepare to demonstrate the exercise as well as they possibly can.

Work on one area of emphasis at a time and give specific cues such as “lift knees higher” or “hold it for the count of three.” Always initiate the corrective feedback with a positive comment and search for strengths in the performance to accelerate the development in those areas: “Alex, excellent footwork on the shuffle – show me if you can keep the toes pointing forward on the next round.”

The attention span in new learning is short. In teaching, you can move past this potential stumbling block by giving the same exercise repeatedly while modifying it a bit each time. For example, a single leg balance can be practiced as a timed balance test, a passing drill on one leg and a tag game on one leg. After the basic movement skill is taught, it is time to practice it in the more randomized setting of a game. The game will show you whether the skill was really learned, and whether you can expect it to be transferred to the sport situation.

8. Keep It Simple

Rarely does a practice session allow enough time to accomplish everything from athletic development to sport-specific skills. If practice takes place one to three times per week, it is a good idea to give simple tasks as homework. The short bursts of independent exercise will accumulate little by little and show results over the long term. The homework also teaches accountability and the importance of daily physical activity.

It is a great idea to always start the training the same way and create an opening and warm-up protocol so that children can eventually do it without instruction. A combination of exercises done in a logical order will not only prepare the body for the practice, but also switch on the mind so that it is ready to respond and absorb. If you decide to give homework, leave time at practice to observe the learning results, and encourage the most active home students.

Non-programmed recreational play is the most important time to develop motor skills and to help ensure an athletic and healthy future. Youth sports coaches need to accept that playtime with friends might be more beneficial for children than any organized activity offered, including the sport practice that they coach. The culture of free play is vanishing, and youth sports enthusiasts should be in the trenches fighting to preserve it. It is the most important of nature’s athletic reserves, and the best homework coaches can give.

Operational Tips for Youth Sports Training Programs

• Create solid core values for the program. A successful children’s program needs to have a solid foundation of values and guidelines. Everyone affiliated with the program must be able to communicate its core values and objectives. A set of values or a mission statement is the foundation on which all the program variables are based. The ethical foundation gives validity to the program and will enhance its longevity.

• Educate parents and the public. Another role of a successful youth program is to educate the people involved. Every youth sports program looks the same on the advertisement poster or flyer, but the contents vary dramatically. How can parents make educated decisions for their kids if they rely on marketing materials? Administrators and coaches need to arrange situations to meet with the parents to share important knowledge that can benefit their children. Demos and workshops for teachers and other coaches are also an effective way of sharing information. Practical, hands-on situations will make a lasting impression and transfer learning into teaching.

• Choose great role models as instructors. Why do we think that basically anyone without a criminal record can teach children? Does that reflect how we value the future of our children, or just our ignorance? Coaching and teaching children is a far more influential responsibility than instructing adults, and should be taken very seriously. Coaching children does not require a Ph.D., but rather a genuine caring for children and a desire to learn more about coaching, teaching and instructing youths. Who does not remember the elementary school physical education teacher or the coach whose influence still carries over in our lives? Every youth coach is a role model, and hopefully is aware of it.

• Envision the purpose beyond the score. We need to acknowledge that we are in the business of improving children’s quality of life and creating a lifetime interest in health and fitness. We have a crucial role in helping children obtain the physical, mental and social tools and abilities that will help them be successful in the future. Children learn most effectively by doing and moving instead of just sitting and thinking, and the sports field is the classroom where they learn about life. Emotions such as satisfaction and joy, as well as disappointment and frustration, are all part of sports. Youth coaches are in the optimal position to mentor young people with their words of encouragement and correction and, even more so, through their example. Every child benefits from physical activity, athletic or not, and our job is to help them stick to it over time. For some, it means the Olympics. For others, it means simply staying happy and healthy.