Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Published Tuesday, December 13, 2016 with 0 comment

Youth Sports: Mental Training Before the Game


Game day. Kids have practiced well, know the game tactics, have the essential co-ordination and agility, at-least to the best of their capacity. But you are still anxious as to how will the team perform. Along with the physical training kids need mental preparation to overcome performance anxiety and outshine competition.
  • Visualize victory
    When you as the coach or parent are giving prep-talk, show the picture of victory. Do not talk about how bad it would hurt if they lost, rather tell them to visualize themselves as winning the game, with the trophy in hand. Visualization pumps up the body with positive energy and enthusiasm, that reflects in performance. Many top professional athletes use this technique for self-motivation, just before the game.

  • Put your mind in the game
    For most kids, playing is like reacting to the competition’s action. Teach kids to think while they are playing. They should be able to analyze their mistakes while they are playing such that they can make amends on the spot, they should be able to see the shortcomings of the competitor and take advantage on the spot and they should be able to make a game strategy for their own game on the field. If kids start putting their minds into the game and start playing proactive instead of reactive game, they will be able to take their game to the next level.

  • Play it in your mind
    As the kids wake up and start preparing for the game day, they need to play the game mentally. They should focus on how they’ll be facing the competition’s strong points, how they’ll overcome their weaknesses and build upon their strengths. Kids should imagine the action on field, this helps them be prepared for the field.

  • Know competition
    A day or two before the game the kids should be told to focus on the competition’s game. How do their star performers play, their typical winning shots, their shortcomings? This helps kids focus on the strategy. This also helps reduce anxiety.

Game is played mentally as much as it’s played physically on the field. Mental preparation helps players be ready for the challenges on the field. As a coach or parent, make sure you have a mental prep program that you rigorously follow with the players. This will not only boost confidence but will show in their performance.

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Published Tuesday, December 13, 2016 with 0 comment

The Secret of Healthy Children


Is there a child you know of who rarely falls sick, who has never missed a game practice or school on account of being unwell? Is there something that the healthy child’s parents know that you don’t? Perhaps the answer is no. Health is not just about good food, but it is the complete lifestyle. Here are some healthy habits that will make your life so much easier by helping your kids gain overall health and avoid illness.

  • Every morning, serve your child with a wholesome, hearty breakfast. Encourage your child to eat fruits, cereal, eggs, milk, juices, and these sort of things every morning. A good healthy breakfast is the primary key to a fit and fine body.

  • Keep the meal time fixed and try to adhere to the timing as much as you can. With kids being so busy, it becomes difficult at times to stick to timing but try and adjust some activity earlier or later. 

  • While you are going to follow a fixed time for food, set a time for sleep as well. While sleeping, body performs many important functions such as repackaging neurotransmitters and chemicals that cleanse and refresh the body and mind of disease-causing toxins. A good night’s sleep helps prevent obesity, diabetes, cold, learning and attention issues and helps kids perform better in school. 

  • Let your kids have their play time. This does not refer to youth sports games, but friendly games that children play for fun. This is a great stress buster for kids. Plus, the social interaction that kids get out of playing with friends is very healthy for their mind. Children learn to solve their problems, how to behave in public, how to deal with people and become independent and confident.

  • Restrict TV, videogames, tabs and computer time for your child. Children who have access to TV, computers etc. become loners, are exposed to several health problems like obesity, diabetes, hypertension etc.

  • ‘Sharing’ is a great habit to inculcate in kids. While you teach your child to share, you also need to tell your child about things she shouldn’t share like handkerchief, toothbrush, comb, under garments etc.


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Published Tuesday, December 13, 2016 with 0 comment

The Secret of Instilling Discipline in Your Child


Youth sports is more than just the game. The ancillary benefits attached to youth sports training are as important as learning the game skill if not more. Budding athletes learn life skills like discipline, teamwork, confidence, ability to control emotions and perform, aspiration, hard work and so much more.

Furthermore, parents need to need to inculcate certain method and finesse in their parenting style to ensure the skills learned in sports are put to good use and kids are being well nurtured to become confident and happy individuals. Here are a few essential things parents need to know to raise great children.

  • Children need love and acceptance to feel secure. Accept your child for the beautiful package she is, and she will learn to accept the skills and values you want to instill in her. Rejection will only instigate rejection. 

  • Children are learning to navigate in life and are bound to make mistakes. Some mistakes you might be willing to overlook, some you might accept and some you would definitely want to correct. You will have to make your choice. If you try and correct everything, it won’t work. Rather, it will bring out the rebel in her. Also, while you choose to be lenient with some mistakes, you need to be clear about what’s unacceptable. Not loud, just clear.

  • There’s a very fine line between disciplining your child and punishing her. Punishing would mean penalizing but discipline would mean telling the child where she was wrong, why is it not acceptable and how she can correct it. This might involve still punishing the child because going too soft on it will not tell the child the severity of the situation, but it always has to be accompanied by the talk or counselling, however you would want to put it.

  • Do not deprive your child but do set limits. Limits will ensure the child values and is thankful for what she gets. Children cannot distinguish between needs, wants and desires. For them everything they wish is an essential need. You need to explain the difference. Attach nonessential gifts to rewards for achievements. 

  • Set a good example for your kids. They are taking cues to their lives from your behavior and actions. If you want them to respect you, respect them. you want them to be honest, don’t cheat in front of them, even if it results a professional or personal loss. Control your anger and anxiety if you want them to learn to manage their emotions.

Setting in a good start will make them self-disciplined, responsible and happy individuals, the ultimate wish of a parent.

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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Published Wednesday, November 30, 2016 with 0 comment

Celebrating Christmas with Your Team


Christmas is a time of joy, togetherness, sharing and caring, exactly the kind of things you, as a coach or parent, would want your youth sports team to share.

Here are some fun bonding things you can do to bring the spirit of Christmas in your team too.
  • Christmas photo shoot 
    Plan it as a surprise. Call the team for practice, and when everyone arrives, tell them it’s a Christmas photoshoot. Bring in Christmas pros like Santa beard, Santa cap, reindeer horns and so on. Post the pics on social media. Combining it with a surprise Christmas party would be even more awesome. 

  • Joy of giving
    The true spirit of Christmas is in sharing. Ask the team to organize a sharing camp. Ask the team to plan and execute the event. It will be a great team bonding exercise too.

  • Christmas game
    Arrange to play a friendly neighborhood Christmas game with your rival team. After the game have a friendly lunch.

  • Secret Santa
    Secret Santa is not new, but works every time. Ask team members to secretly get gifts for the team mate whose name appeared on the chit they picked up.

  • Christmas picnic
    Take the team out for a Christmas picnic. It could be an adventure trip like hiking or biking, or it could be a typical picnic, Frisbee by the late types. Arrange little picnic packs for each player which would have some eatables and a little surprise activity that they have to do.

While you think, talk and walk the game practically every day, a Christmas celebration could be a refreshing change and a good team bonding exercise. Wishing you and your team a Merry Christmas. May you have a great season.

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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Published Wednesday, November 23, 2016 with 0 comment

Handling Your Little Athlete During Holidays


Holidays can be a curious time. While elders tend to splurge on the warmth of the season with jolly parties and luscious food, kids, especially tweens and teens, tend to have an agenda of their own. Mostly kids spend holidays either playing video games or texting and chatting with friends or on social media.

If you are anxious about your kid’s habits, and particularly how they behave around friends and family, here’s some tried and tested advice to help you have a presumably sorted relation with your kids.

The root cause

Most parents wonder where did the child learn tantrums or misconduct. More so, why are kids at their worst best in front of extended family, friends or even guests? The answer to these questions invariably is, they learn it from us, parents. The child has learned it from a pattern. Kids, as toddlers, throw tantrums for little things. Seeing it as a harmless little wish, we tend to satisfy that demand. Over time kids learn that throwing a tantrum, scorning and misbehaving in public has double the impact. So, practically kids get a remote control in their hands that can control the behavior in public and when they want something, they know which button to press.

How to control it2dsd

If you are helpless with the situation, don’t lose heart. You are not alone. Everybody, almost everybody, who has a tween or teenage kid is going through the same. The first thing you need to do is take control back in your hands. It’s not late yet, actually it’s never too late to take control of things. Give a clear message to the kid, misbehaving will not work, sitting and talking it out will. Do not give into temper tantrums, even if it becomes embarrassing for you in public. Sometimes you might give in because you are too tired to deal with it and giving in is just, plain easy way out. But refrain from doing that. You’ll just give another control to your kid that way.

It is your duty as a parent to teach your kid to learn to deal with problems and demands in a reasonable manner. It will be great life lesson that will help then as adults as well. Here are a few things you can do:


  • Set clear rules against misconduct. Tolerate embarrassment a few times if you have to, but do not give in. Explain the child that talking and explaining will work, misbehaving won’t.

  • Listen to your child, she might be craving your attention for all you know and there might be a genuine problem. For instance, your kid might not be wanting to go to the aunt’s house for the Holiday. Kids have their reasons, don’t undermine them. On the other hand, try and solve the problem, like you’ll let her take her iPad along, or something else. But again, it shouldn’t sound like a bribe, because then you’ll fall in the bribery trap.

  • Do not be loud or threatening while you are setting rules. Be reasonable. Fear will make her insecure and crop emotional problems in the kid.

  • If the conversation turns into an argument and ultimately a fight, walk out of it. Do not allow the child to talk to you in a rude tone. Don’t talk until the kid talks in reasonably respectful manner.  

  • Reward or at least acknowledge her good behavior. 


It won’t happen overnight. But get started now and you’ll be a happy parent as the rationale sets in.

May you have a great time with your loved ones. Happy holidays!

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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Published Wednesday, November 16, 2016 with 0 comment

Thank God for Youth Sports


Thanksgiving is a heartwarming time of the year when you think of all blessings, big and small, that make your life special and show your gratitude for those things. It’s a beautiful emotion.

While I thank the Lord for all things that make our life wonderful, I want to show my gratitude to youth sports and all the wonderful people connected to youth sports who make such an invaluable contribution in our children’s lives. I am really thankful to:

The Coaches who are guides, friends, mentors and trainers as and when needed. Coaches don’t just give training; good coaches give a part of themselves to their teams. They are as involved in our children’s sports careers as we are, if not more. I am thankful to the coaches who dedicate their precious family time, their weekends taking practice games. I am thankful to the coaches who do all this as their duty and not merely as their job.

The Athletic Director for making everything as smooth as breeze so that the coaches and players can concentrate on the game. I thank ADs for taking care of all administrative and management creases and ironing them out. I thank Ads for going all out for our children and making things possible for them

The School for providing our kids the right opportunities. For extending full support to our children so that they can learn and grow. I thank the school for going all out and helping our kids explore life beyond classrooms.

Other parents who have built such a wonderful support system. I thank parents who take competition in the right spirit and treat the team as a unit when it comes to encouraging. I thank parents who help with the carpool. I thank parents who volunteer to help with the practice sessions, snacks at the game, on the stands and with other administrative work.

And lastly, thank you kids for carrying on with youth sports in such a positive manner. I know it gets tough at times, but you act so brave that it melts my heart. You follow a tight schedule, miss out on your socializing and even work harder to catch up on your studies. I understand it must be so difficult to keep up. But you do it. I am thankful for your dedication, I am thankful that you realize this is important for you and I am thankful because you give it your best shot. I am thankful that you are such great children and I am so proud to have you.

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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Published Tuesday, November 15, 2016 with 0 comment

Basic Must-Know First Aid for Parents


If you are a parent reading this, here is some very important information you need know and learn it by heart, especially if your kid is in youth sports. If you are a coach reading this, you might want to forward the article to all parents of your players.

Small cut or scrape

If the cut is bleeding, press hard to stop the bleeding. The timing will depend on how deep the cut is. For a small cut the bleeding should stop in 2-3 minutes. When the bleeding stops, gently clean the bruise with cotton or clean cloth dipped in lukewarm water. Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic like Bacitracin, Neosporin, Polymyxin B or Neomycin. In most cases the wound should be fine but if the bleeding still continues, contact the doctor or rush to an ER. Do the cleaning and dressing for the wound till it is healed. After it has healed, keep the affected area well moisturized, preferably with coconut or olive oil, and the marks will disappear.

Bleeding nose

A bleeding nose can create quiet a havoc amongst kids. Calm the kid and make him sit upright. Do not make the kid lean backwards. Pinch the nostrils together firmly. Stay for 5-7 minutes in that position. Do not check for bleeding in between, this can make the bleeding last longer. Applying ice patch on the sides of the nose’s bridge can also help. If the bleeding still does not stop, rush to an ER or call 911.

Chocking

When someone is chocking, make the person lean forward and slap on their back. Give 4-5 blows on the back and then stomach thrusts such that the object choking the person come out.

To give stomach thrusts make a fist, position the fist with thumbs pointing towards the stomach and place it just above the choking person’s belly button, and push. Do this exercise 2-3 times. If the person still doesn’t feel better, rush to an ER or call 911.

Burn

In case of burn immediately place the affected area under cool running water. Let it be under water or under wet towels till cold subsides. When the pain gets better, gently apply an antibiotic cream on the affected area. If the burn is in a sensitive place like eyes, face, genitals or the burn is bigger than about an inch, immediately rush to an ER. If the burnt area is close to 1/10th of the body, do not place wet towels or do cold compressions. Call 911 and cover the patient with clean sheet till help arrives.

While healing, burnt skin can be irritating and scratchy. Do not scratch. Simply apply antibiotic cream. If there is any swelling, redness or some kind of discharge, show to a doctor immediately. It can be an infection and needs to be treated immediately.

Glass shreds or splinters

Make the injured person sit. Pull out the splinter only if it can be pulled out easily otherwise seek medic help immediately. If the splinter is removed, clean the affected area with an antiseptic cleaner and apply antibiotic cream. If the splinter was a metal, go to a doctor as antiseptic injection may be required. If you have not been able to remove the splinter completely, rush to an ER, where the doctors will do it safely. A scan can help see if the splinter is out or not.

Eye trauma

If the kids got hit on the eye, keep a wet towel. If the pain does not subside in some time, or there’s blurry vision or swelling and redness, call 911 immediately or rush to an ER. In case some chemical has entered the eye, splash water in the eye. Call 911 and place wet towels till help arrives.

Sprained ankle
When a kid gets an ankle sprained, immediately get the kid off the field. Apply ice pack over the affected are to control swelling. Do not overdo cold compression as there can be tissue damage because of excess cold. Spray with a muscle relaxant and wrap the ankle in sports bandage for support and comfort. Do not allow the kid to get back on field till the injury has healed completely.

In case the sprain is severe, make the kid lie down. Place some support beneath the kid’s injured leg such that the leg is slightly higher than the head. Call 911 or rush to an ER, meanwhile apply ice pack on the affected area till medical help arrives.

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Friday, 4 November 2016

Published Friday, November 04, 2016 with 0 comment

The Ultimate Guide to Athlete-Parent Relationship to Ensure Success in Youth Sports


Theoretically, research has proven that the kind of relationship that an athlete shares with her parents is a huge factor in determining her youth sports career’s future. Practically, ask a coach or maybe just look around.

Youth sports is not just a recreation or fun activity anymore. There’s serious competition, school and peer pressure and college scholarship at stake. Naturally, given the perks, parents tend to get highly involved in their child’s sporting course, wherein persuasion often crosses the line as pushing and advise as interference resulting in more of a chaos than career.

It’s not always negative. Parents involvement has also, in many cases, shown a positive headway in the child’s sporting career. These are the parents who have given full support to their kids but also have taken a back seat when it’s called for. And you can almost always tell the difference, body language of the child can show how enthusiastic or disillusioned the kid is at the game. You can also see it at every game; some parents are at the stands yelling while some are cheering, and you will know the difference.

Here are a few tips to help you become the positive force, constructive influencer and encouraging parent to help achieve success in your kid’s sporting career.

  • Let the first takeaway from youth sports always be fun. Although it is just natural to get competitive and victory obsessed, but you need to utilize your super-parent power into refraining from sliding towards the rat race. You can practically do that by:
    • Not showing your disappointment when the kid loses.
    • Not indulging in after-game analysis, unless the kid initiates.
    • Not harassing the kid with ‘lessons-learnt’ lecture, or ‘focus’ lecture.
    • Instead of saying ‘win it’ every time your kid goes out to the field, say ‘enjoy’ or ‘have fun out there’

  • Parents often end up putting imperceptible pressure on their children by trying to live out their dreams thorough them. They get more emotionally involved than being logically involved in their kids’ game. Then there is also the pressure of value-for-money since working parents spend hard-earned money on expensive coaching and on maintaining a sports lifestyle. Children, most often than not, realize these things. What parents do not realize is that kids already have a lot of pressure that put on themselves. Added pressure may just result in to breakdown. 
    • Never tell your child how much money you are spending on her sporting course and she has the onus of getting the value for that money. But at the same time do not get very flamboyant while spending on her sports lifestyle, she should not presume it’s easy on you and start taking things for granted.
    • Do not keep giving instances from your own life telling your child what to do and what not to do. You do not want the kid judging you. Use examples of sports personalities, famous coaches or someone not personally known, if you have to.

  • For some kids, the presence of their parents makes them confident, for some it can add to their anxiety. Know your child and what works for them. Be there and cheer if the kid wants you to, but be a silent spectator if your presence makes the child nervous.

  • Let players be players and coaches be coaches. Do not play the game from the stands or try and coach by constantly giving instructions in the middle of the game. It can be really frustrating for the kid playing and can also be annoying for other parents and for the coach.

  • Allow the kid to take a break from the sport. Kids can get over worked with sports or there can be a temporary frustration on missing a social event. A break can help destress and bring back perspective which is very essential once in a while.  

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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Published Thursday, November 03, 2016 with 0 comment

Not Just for Argument’s Sake


The one thing that all parents, well almost all, would agree with, is that arguing with your teenage kid is one of the most daunting of all jobs you do as a parent. And if you are a sports parent, you are already dealing with busy schedules, keeping up with practice games, living up to the expenses, and then there’s dealing with tantrums.

Sports kids, at times, tend to get a little more argumentative as compared to kids in general, because they deal with an added commitment, which creates added stress at some level. If, as a parent you have been worrying about your kid’s attitude because most of your arguments escalate into high-drama family squabbles, or you are sick because your kid just walks out on you every time you try and engage in a conversation (more of an argument of sorts), you need to calm down for a moment and think logically. There are smarter (and wiser) ways of handling conflicts and arguments with your kid. Just go through the list to help you deal with it better.

  • Never start your argument at a high pitched voice. The kid will automatically get in a defensive mode and will just focus on counter argument. If you want the kid to reasonably understand your point of view, you need to logically present your argument.

  • Accept, acknowledge and understand. If you have a lot going on and you are stressed, so is the kid. Kids have a world of their own. They have their share of problems which can be too much to deal with for a kid. Do not underestimate their situation. Also, what you see as attitude problem may, in all chances, be a stress outburst. Reason out things, try and understand their situation, this will prevent half your fights.

  • Children often think parents are being unreasonable or unfair. So if your kid is not agreeing to a certain point, tell them the frank reason why you are being strict or maybe taking your stand. There’s a fair chance the child will understand. If she doesn’t, she’ll know she needs to have a better reason for it, throwing tantrums will not work. 

  • If the kid refuses to listen in spite of your efforts to make her understand, do not give in because you want to avoid an argument. Be assertive, stand up for the right thing. This will give your child a message that you will not give in to unreasonable demands and will teach her to stand for the right thing, even if it is a tough stand to take. 

  • Always end an argument in resolution. Even if it means finding a mid-way between your and the kid’s point of view. An unresolved argument will leave sourness that can be the root cause of spiteful relationships. 


Need a few tips to keep up at the sports parenting challenge? Read http://blog.instateam.net/2015/05/tips-for-sports-parents.html
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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Published Thursday, October 27, 2016 with 0 comment

What Coaches (Don’t) Want


If only we could read the coach’s mind!

There’s a long list of things, that a coach wants from the players. Obvious ones include dedication, focus, hard work, team spirit, discipline, punctuality and the list goes on. On similar lines there’s another list, a list that’s not as widely discussed, list of things that the coach doesn’t want players to do. And yes, that list is as important as the to-do list, if not more. Here’s the brief list of things that any coach would want the players to refrain from.

  • Playing the blame game: If there was a slip-up, there was, the coach would understand. But what really bothering for a coach is when players try and blame something or someone for it. It’s not just lame but also scary as it may turn into a habit, which then further becomes the personality.

  • Bullying: Bullying demoralizes kids, takes away their confidence, spreads insecurity and hatred in the team. Being bullied is also as bad as bullying itself. If your child is bullying and you’ve come to know of it, it is important for you to understand that bullying is the child’s way of taking out his own problems on someone vulnerable or his outburst of stress. There’s something bothering the child who’s bullying, you need to tackle the problem before it grows beyond control. And if your child is getting bullied, it is perhaps the best time to teach your kid to stand up for himself. 

  • Taking rash: Teach your child to never talk disrespectfully, not to fellow team-mates, not to other kids and teachers and never to the coach. For someone who is teaching you not just a game but also life skills, the coach does deserve to be spoken to respectfully.

  • Quitting: Quitting or giving-up is unacceptable for any coach. A coach works hard on instilling confidence, motivation and courage to keep going on and ahead in the game. Quitting is exact opposite of all those things and like an insult it would hurt your coach.


New to sports parenting. Here’s a must read http://blog.instateam.net/2015/05/youth-sports-knows-and-nots-for-parents.html.
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Published Thursday, October 27, 2016 with 0 comment

Practical Ways to Increase Team Bonding


Matches are not played by players alone; matches are played by teams. Apart from talent, teams need bonding which gives them confidence on the field. Players who do not share a healthy relationship with their team members suffer from insecurity, lack of trust and ultimately their game suffers.

Here are some practical ways to create a warm and healthy relationship amongst team players.

  • Encourage players to play games other than the team’s sport just for fun and recreation. Do this exercise randomly during any practice session. Do not make it a routine or the fun element will go away.

  • Some of the best bonding occurs while watching a pro game. Have match watching sessions with the team together. Organize some snacks, make the setting warm and casual.

  • Organize volunteer activities. Volunteering together plays a big icebreaker for players who haven’t had a chance to get to talk beyond the sport. Also, by working together players learn new dimensions of teamwork.

  • Socialize together. Have pizza parties or evening out or even team picnics to bring the team together. But the timing needs to be well planned because too much of fun would take the interest away from fun also.

  • Have adventure trips. For instance, go on a cycling trip or go kayaking or hiking, something like that. Let students do the planning. This will make it even better.

  • Teach your sport to smaller children. Teaching is a great way of learning and doing it together would be a great team bonding exercise too.


Do you know some tips that can help in team-bonding? Please let us know in the comments below.

Think your team might be having problems? Read http://blog.instateam.net/2016/09/is-your-team-falling-apart.html 
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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Published Sunday, October 23, 2016 with 1 comment

Sports Commandments


Here are sports commandments, rules that Olympians and professional sports people live by. Great learning for our budding athletes.

Sports is not just s part of life but it actually is the way of life. Sports is the discipline, the character, the aptitude and the attitude of a person. So, if you are serious about a sports career, inculcate these ten habits now, and live by them, come what may, just like professional athletes do.

  • Thou shall think team.

You can never win alone. Period. Even if you are into an individual sport, like swimming or running or something else, you still have a team that works with you to help you achieve what you are able to. Respect that fact. The day you replace the word ‘I’ with ‘WE’, that is the day you’ll move close to your success (or your team’s success, we must say).


Yes, it’s sport and not victory. Being obsessed with victory does not count as passion. You must totally be in love with your sport. That’s the routine, and that’s the recreation, sort of passion. If you have passion, you’ll learn and get better every time you lose, but if it’s obsession with victory, you’ll get demoralized every time you lose.

  • Thou shall work on your strength – physical, mental and emotional.

Being strong means beyond physical strength. This by now you would have understood. But what you need to really sink-in is the fact that working only on game skills would not do, you need to consciously work upon your mental and emotional strength also. Work on your relationships, get rid of your insecurities, do what you scared to do, meditate, go to a serene place and spend quality time with yourself, work on fulfilment, work on happiness.
  • Thou shall not whine

Being a sports person you have to learn to take everything in your stride. You cannot afford to complain or whine about things even if they are genuinely bothering you. Learn to make things work.

  • Thou shall eat healthy.

You must prepare a diet chart and as far as possible, stick to it. there can be a party bump or Holiday break, but you must control the frequency. Eating healthy will not only ensure physical health but will ensure mental health also. Good food will take care of a lot of worries.

  • Thou shall have sleep discipline.

Abrupt sleep pattern can make life difficult. It’ll cause fatigue, stress, lethargy and even health problems like hypertension, migraine etc. Again, like with food, try and stick to the routine as far as possible with as few breaks as possible.

  • Thou shall cherish good friends.

Have a circle of friends and spend quality time with them. This will refresh you beyond you know. It will also bring in deep sense of security and belonging. Most of all, you will have friends, one of the biggest fortunes to have.


Like the article? Read more about getting inspiration from the Olympians (http://blog.instateam.net/2016/09/play-olympians-way.html)



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Published Sunday, October 23, 2016 with 0 comment

The Art of Photography with Your Smartphone


Capturing Your Kid’s Games’ Treasured Moments


Amongst the many conveniences that cell phones have brought in our lives, there is this Smart phone camera that has really changed the concept of photography. We no longer have to depend on a camera, we can always capture our camera moments instantly as we always have our smartphones around.

There is no arguing the fact that we would not get photograph quality close to that from the professional or SLR camera that we have at home, but nevertheless, the mobility and Instant access that cell phone camera provides cannot be discounted either. No doubt, you would have to compromise on zoom, light effects, motion blurring and other great features that make pro cameras just unbeatable. That apart, cell phone cameras have also come of age and have incorporated many advanced features. Besides, here are a few tips to help you capture the treasurable moments from the game without having to worry about carrying the bulk of a pro camera.

Clean the lens
Take the soft lens cleaning cloth or if you don’t have one, use a very soft clean cotton cloth to clean the lens of your cell phone camera. Do it even if you think the lens is clean because you are always handling your cell phone and invariably the lens would have oil, dust or finger print on it.

Adjust the tech settings

  • Set picture resolution to ‘High’, this will get you great pics that would be comparatively easy to enlarge. The file size goes up with this setting which might make the files a little difficult to share. So if you are not really planning to take a print of the pics, and just share them on social media, you might want to skip this one and let the picture settings remain to default.
  • If you are taking pictures in low light, use exposure lock. Exposure lock helps you lock the exposure you want for all your photographs. Even if the light is low, your smartphone camera will provide the exposure you had locked.

Find a good spot

Pro photographers always have a spot, and for a reason. Get as close you can to the action, lesser you use zoom, better your photographs turn out.

Use Burst Mode

Burst mode allows you to capture several shots within a second. You will not miss a moments of the action. Even if you are not using the Burst mode, make sure you take multiple clicks of the same shot to get the best picture.

Use light to your advantage

While taking the shots, ensure light is behind you. This will enhance your photographs. On the other hand, facing your camera towards the light source will blind your photo. If you cannot help the light direction, adjust your flash to make the adjustment.

Play around with the photographs, colors, modes or other photo-enhancing tools. Cell phone cameras have some brilliant tools that can bring life into your photos.

Share your photos from the game instantly on InstaTeam. Not sure how? Clickhere. 
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Monday, 17 October 2016

Published Monday, October 17, 2016 with 0 comment

When The Going Gets Tough


How to motivate your kids to carry on when the fight gets tougher in youth sports

According to a research conducted by National Alliance for Youth sports, around 70 percent of kids dropout of organized sports by the time they are 13. This is a scary statistic for parents who are investing a lot of money, efforts and not to mention hope in providing for the professional sports coaching for their children.

There are numerous reasons for this. One of the major reasons could be that youth sports has become so competitive and victory oriented, that kids do not enjoy it after some time. Especially if your child has been playing professionally organized sports from a very young age, by the time they reach adolescence they are worn out. Plus, coaches and even parents become too pushy, even if they do not admit it, and every game is seen as a victory or a loss. And as if all this wasn’t enough, there are lessons learned and analysis around every game. To make the long story short, there is too much obsession with success around youth sports and children are no longer expected to just play for fun.

Another very obvious reason is the age, of course. At 13, they are fickle, and then there’s so much more to do at school, that giving the kid of time youth sports demands, becomes really difficult.

All that said, sports till remains to be one of the best mediums of learning life skills like team work, sportsman spirit, striving to win, leaning to lose, and practically everything that’s important in life. As parents you cannot let your kid quit on all of that. Here are a few tips to help your children stay in sports and drop out.

  • Redefine success for your child. Do not get obsessed with the outcome of the game, rather focus on the progress your child makes. For instance, if she did better running than last time, celebrate that even if the lost in the race. If your child helped a teammate, applaud her team spirit. Every game should make the child feel they are achieving something, even if it is the ability to lose gracefully. This will play a major role in keeping your child’s focus on the life skills which would be the most important take away from the game anyway, even if your kid grows up to be a star athlete.

  • Be a role model and not just pretending not to care. So while you are focusing on the learning part of the game in front of the kid but having discussions or bragging about their performances with other parents, it doesn’t really set the right example. Remember your kid is watching you and is going to eventually reciprocate what she learns from you. Do not compare skills or performance during play with any kid, do not crib or brag about your child’s bad or good game skills whatever the case, do not dissect the game. 

  • Be positive and supportive. Show them in action that you support them and are happy about their participation in the sport and are not going to judge their performance. This will need patience, a lot of it. Some children might be slow learners, children may lack one skill or the other, some children might be genuinely not interested. There can be other issues too. There can be peer pressure, bullying or just some adolescence stress which might be bothering them. Give them time, space and the support they need and you won’t regret it. Because when they eventually come along, they’ll come strong and positive, refreshed and ready to face it all.

  • It sort of becomes compulsive for us, parents, to give advice all the time because we come from experience. But, refrain from it. many a times what your child is looking for is just supportive listening, and not parental advice or instructions. If you give them the listening they need, they’ll most likely come to you for the advice too, when they need it. 


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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Published Thursday, September 29, 2016 with 0 comment

Play the Olympians Way


The the Olympic Moto of "Citius, Altius, Fortius" stands more than just for it’s literal meaning, faster, higher, stronger; it stands for the character and the attitude of sportsperson that always pushes them to be better than what they already are. Kids who are engaged in Youth sports have a lot to learn from the Olympians.

The first lesson that kids need to learn is hard work. Olympic players practice for years and years before they get a chance to prove themselves in the Olympics. This also involves a lot of sacrifices. They stay away from their families, spend hours training hard when their friends are having fun in summer camps or enjoying in parties, follow strict diet regime and practically lose out on their childhood.

The next thing that Youth sports players can learn from the Olympians is focus. If you talk to a passionate Olympic player, they’ll tell you that there’s nothing else they’d rather do. Most of them did not pursue sports just because it was their ticket to entering a good college, but they did so because that’s the only thing in the whole world that they wanted to do. And they do not have options either - what if this doesn’t work? They’re very focused on their passion and they make it work. Many parents might argue that making this decision for a child too early can be disastrous. Well the argument is valid but the irony is that it usually doesn’t work otherwise. The focus on strength that’s needed to be amongst the finest in the world can the best inculcated during childhood. The earlier the better.

Another major lesson that Youth players can learn from Olympians is strength. Olympic players have an amazing capability to take pain. They fall, get bruised, get broken bones and more, but never give up. And pain doesn’t end at this. There’s mental and emotional pain as well.    Players don’t just become experts one fine day. Neither is hard work and practice directly proportional to success. There are hundreds of unforeseen obstacles, unexplained failures and devastating situations these players face on a daily basis. But in the end, none of it is important. All that matters is the game. They put in their best effort again and again tirelessly every single time they play.

"The Olympics remain the most compelling search for excellence that exists in sport, and maybe in life itself."
- Dawn Fraser (Australian swimmer, 3-time winner at the Olympics)

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Published Thursday, September 29, 2016 with 0 comment

Mobile Obsession & Your Tween


The one thing that bothers all parents across the globe is the way their kids are so hooked to technology, especially gaming, social media and texting.  Most parents are worried how their children have totally forgotten playing outdoors and are stuck to mobile screens through out the day. There are several risks involved. On one hand, while children are at the risk of health problems like obesity, weaker bones, weaker muscles, growth related problems and even type II diabetes, on the other hand children are at the risk of social and emotional problems like cyber bullying, lack of confidence in the real world, low self-esteem, acceptability issues amongst peers, lack of sleep and even depression.

That said, technology still remains to be an important complement of modern lifestyle and it is not practically viable to keep children away. Moreover, since everyone around is using technology, you cannot ask your children specifically to refrain from it.

However, there can be a practical path or a midway where in your kids get to the online, socialize with their friends but at the same time do not get obsessed with it. If you have been struggling to find that mid way, here are a few tips to help you get started.


  • Talk to your children –  The first and the foremost step would be to talk to your children candidly and let them know your inhibition about Technology. Tell them the health risks involved I also let them know about the emotional and psychological problems they are susceptible to. Let them know what’s cyber bullying is. You must re-assure kids of your support just in case they get into a messy situation. 

  • Allocate time – You need to reasonably chalk out time for all their activities including online socializing. You can create a timetable or work out a schedule where the kid gets to do everything for a specific time like homework, hobbies, cycling and mobile. Children are often very busy so the kids might need your help sticking to the schedule. Do not get annoyed or lose patience if the child is not able to keep up to the schedule. Understand what’s taking time, you might have to adjust the schedule accordingly. 

  • Trust your kids and respect privacy -  The worst thing you can do is to spy on you kid. Kids want their privacy on as a parent you need to respect that.  Kids tend to turn rebel if they feel they are not trusted or their personal space is being intruded. Moreover, they need their space to learn and grow.

  • A word of caution – While it’s important to give space and freedom to your children, it’s equally important to tell them to be cautious. Tell your kids that’s not cool to interact with strangers especially in the online world. For school, hobby and sports groups, where group interactivity and messaging is important, parents can choose messaging apps that do not compromise number privacy but at the same time ensure group connectivity. Check out team Apps like InstaTeam for team messaging and interaction without compromising number privacy.
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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Published Wednesday, September 28, 2016 with 0 comment

Sports and Studies: Doing the Balancing Act


If you want to see how busy and exhausted your children are, you need to see their personal spaces that are as cluttered and messy as their daily life. Children, these days, do not have time for anything. They are mostly playing catching up, because there’s always so much to do.

In this chaos, kids end up either losing out on their sports participation or on their studies. This is where parents need to pitch-in. With a little help, children can have a well organized routine and can smoothly go through their day. Here are a few tips to help parents put a schedule together for their kids to help them get the most of all they do. It is essential to have a well organized, orderly plan for each day as these are the most important years of leaning for your children and you wouldn’t want them to miss out on anything.

Create a schedule

It is most likely that the school already has one. Nevertheless, it is essential for you to have one for your child. You can either take a calendar and mark all important dates, projects, game sessions and other activities you kid is involved in. This will help you plan accordingly. Although, you can seek help from your smart phone to help you schedule all the events in the digital calendar. Apps like InstaTeam help you create schedules within minutes, give reminders and help you keep in touch with other parents, just in case you need to ask or discuss something.

Make a group of school parents or sports club parents

Having a group who have similar interests is always helpful. You can carpool, share information and also help each other getting through in days of need. Such a group becomes like a community that’s radially available for any help, whoever in the group needs it. Another great advantage is that kids bond very well which is good for the overall performance of the team and individual performance of each child.

Utilize resources

Many a times schools provide extra tutoring or help for kids in sports. this helps kids catch up in their studies too. This is a great resource for all those who have it. You must use all such facilities without a hitch, because these will help your child perform better both in school and sports and will boost her confidence.

Do not take more than what the kid can handle

Overburdening your kid will do no one good. While the kid will lose out on precious childhood, you’ll forsake the happiness of your child. Give your child some free time, some leisure time to stand and stare. This will bring in fresh energy in the child. Allow me-time. It is as important for kids as it is for adults.

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Monday, 19 September 2016

Published Monday, September 19, 2016 with 0 comment

College ‘App’titude


According to Pew research only 6% of teenagers use email daily as compared to a massive 91% who use texting, chat or messaging apps on a daily basis.

Mostly all college students, well more or less all, are connected on their smart phones or mobile devices or least have a laptop or desktop to their access. Students connect with other students, have study groups or interest groups, socialize, and even hangout with their online counterparts.

While the student community is as connected, are colleges being able to leverage on this communication highway? If not, here are a few ways colleges can connect with their students for communication and beyond.
 
Facebook

Everyone, barring maybe a handful, everyone is on Facebook. Facebook can be a great way for colleges to connect with their students. A Facebook page for the college may be a common phenomenon, but engaging college students in innovative programs is still the in-thing. Alumni activities, social initiatives, interesting campaigns, it gets as innovative and engaging as it can.

Instagram

Instagram can be a great platform to engage students in interactive projects. Everyday uploads, notes related to that picture and getting people to notice and appreciate the work, all of it can add both weight and thrill to projects.

Snapchat

The one drawback about Snapchat can actually be its main advantage. What goes on Snapchat, doesn’t stay forever. This can be the perfect platform for news flashes. Or even for broadcasting events or happenings around the college.

Team Apps

Team apps like InstaTeam are a great way to be connected to students. There can be multiple teams for a single college and for each student simultaneously. InstaTeam allows instant mobile access and web access to all team communication. It has great integrated features like team calendar, automatic website integration and updates, event scheduling, event reminders, notifications, team messaging, number privacy, social media connect and so much more. Team apps are interactive and cover the full spectrum of communication and beyond.

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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Published Wednesday, September 07, 2016 with 1 comment

Concussions in Youth Sports: Reality Check


Concussion in youth sports is perhaps the most unfortunate truth. Even more disturbing is the fact that concussions have become more frequent than ever.

If you are a concerned parent, here’s some basic information you would find useful, some common misconceptions dispelled and facts stated, basically essential information you need to take care of such an injury before you get to the doctor.

MYTH – A concussion only occurs if the head is hit.
REALITY – Concussions are most common with head injuries but a concussion may also occur if there’s an impact on the face, neck, or any other part of the body from where the impact is then passed on to the head.

MYTH – Concussion will only occur if the impact of the blow or fall is severe
REALITY – Different parts of the brain get affected with different magnitude of the force. Sometimes even a mild injury on the head may cause concussion. There is no certain way to determine which injury will cause a concussion and which won’t.

MYTH – When a concussion occurs, the athlete will loose consciousness. If there’s no LOC (loss of consciousness), it is not a concussion.
REALITY – Studies suggest that in most cases of concussions, there is actually no LOC. Although many coaches and parents have now become aware of the fact that the athlete may not necessarily be knocked out to be concussed, the fact still needs to become a common reality. and on the other hand, if there is LOC, it does not necessarily suggest that the concussion is very severe. In many cases, athletes who lost consciousness after an injury actually healed faster than those who didn’t. and many a times the symptoms of concussion might not occur until several hours, days or weeks after the injury.

MYTH – The right protective gear can prevent concussions
REALITY – There can be safer protective gear that can help prevent skull fracture or sudden death due to collision in some cases, but there really is no such helmet or mouth gear that can prevent concussions. With lot of research companies have invented material that can be deemed safer, but the reality is that concussions do occur.

MYTH – Boys in more aggressive games like football, rugby etc. mostly suffer concussions
REALITY – This is a very common misconception. In-fact the reality is quiet the opposite, research suggests that girls in games such as basket ball, volley ball etc. are more prone to concussions than boys. Surprisingly, concussions have also been reported to have occurred while cheerleading.

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Friday, 2 September 2016

Published Friday, September 02, 2016 with 0 comment

Is Your Team Falling Apart?


Not all teams loose at the games. Unfortunately, some teams loose it much earlier.

You might have the best of the players but if the team is not connected, there is no way it can be an effective team. There can be several reasons a team would fall apart, and most teams do, but it’s important to tie the loose ends in time.

Given below are some indications that point if your team’s nearing dysfunction. If any of these is true for your team, get your act together and put in the right measures in place; a stich in time saves nine.

  • No communication – No communication is worse than miscommunication. If your team’s players are not talking to each other, or you notice certain groups that do not interact with other groups, it can disastrous for the team. Engage the team in a lot of extra activities other than game practice. Have some fun team-building games, take the team on an outing, organize a social camp and let the team bond while organizing stuff. Make players interact with each other. 


  • No trust – If the players don’t trust each-other, they cannot play together. There will be no passes, no throws and opponents team will get direct benefit out of it. Again, team-building games and exercises are a great way of building trust within the team. You can also use partner system to get players to trust each other. 


  • Unresolved conflict – If there are kids playing together, conflicts are bound to happen. But all conflicts need to settle down then and there. Unresolved conflicts are evil seeds that poison the whole team. There will be groupism, gossip, lack of trust and what not.


  • Lethargy – If the players get too comfortable, lethargy sets in and a lot of things are taken for granted, which is not good for the team. There needs to be a sense of urgency for every action that needs to be taken, for every decision that needs to be made. 


  • Arrogance – This has more to do with “I” than we. If your star player is becoming arrogant of his skills, you need to curb it. this can be the start of so many problems in the team, bullying being a prime concern. 


  • Whining – This might not look like that big a deal initially, but with time a lot of whining (even if it’s only by a few kids or even just one kid in the team) can kill the spirit of the team. It can actually butcher the team’s positive energy. This can be fatal for the team. As and when you see a pattern in the complaints you hear, you know the problem needs to be nipped in the bud.


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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Published Wednesday, August 31, 2016 with 0 comment

The Business of Sports


Youth sports is more than just athletic training, it’s life skills orientation, a rage, a culture and most of all it’s hope for anticipating players and parents. Unfortunately, for many coaches and pro-sports training clubs, youth sports is not more than a money minting business. Not that there’s anything wrong with business, but making business out of everything isn’t right either.

There are coaches who are willing to train your kids as early as 3-4 years of age. Think about it. Pro game training when they’ve barely mastered their fine motor skills.

Even more bothering is the fact that most coaches emphasize on making a career out of the game. You would rarely come across a coach who actually focuses on understanding the game, practicing team spirit, playing together, losing gracefully, learning to respect, and learning to share. And yet more scarier is, that coaches are making kids play these games for insanely longer durations. Some training clubs actually play for 10 months outright, which is more than what pros play for.

The happy-go-merry, carefree kid is now replaced by worn-out, tired victory-focused playing robot who plays with an expression-less face, who perhaps has played several games but enjoyed really few.

Even if for some practical purposes if this sports-career mayhem is justified, our league teams should be swarming with star players. And for the number of players that are getting this sort of training, we should have all-star teams competing. But when we do the math, it doesn’t match-up. Some of the most popular sports heroes come from an era where this insanity wasn’t going on, an era when people didn’t consider sports as their shortcut to a fancy, luxurious life and when people played for the love of the game.

So you sacrifice your kid’s childhood, expose her to the risk of concussions and injuries, and of course spend all that money in training, what if your child doesn’t end up in the premier league or national team? Do you at-least get refunds? Well, it is after all a business, isn’t it?

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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Published Saturday, August 20, 2016 with 0 comment

Youth Sports – The Bitter Truth


If your child is starting in youth sports or has been playing for some time now and you have all these fancies about youth sports, well, it’s time for reality check.

With our kids growing up in times as tough, we as parents need some hope to cling on to and youth sports seems readily promising. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but on whole the picture is not as rosy as it may seem. Here’s busting some myths and seeing the bitter truth.

It’s competitive, aggressive and ruthless

Unfortunately, yes. Youth sports is not as fun as you thought it might be, certainly not for your kid. In the kids’ world there are heroes and then there are losers. Then there’s bullying, peer pressure, competition and so much to deal with. And that’s the way it has to be because that’s how it is in grown-up life too. So your kid is learning some real life skills here. If you thought that the kid’s having fun while you are writing the checks, you might want to take a closer look in her life. Give your kid some credit for dealing with it all and standing tall.


Some coaches are biased and unfair

We all love to believe the reverse of this is true and your kids talent will be acknowledged. In reality, coaches do have their favorites and some coaches do make one child look better than the others. In an even worse scenario your kid’s coach might be so aggressive about winning that he might encourage kids to play unfair or cheat just to win. You need to be really alert, you wouldn’t want your kid to end up with such a training program.

Parents can be unfair too

For some parents too winning is more important than playing fair. Some parents are so obsessed with their child’s success in sports that they might put your kid down or least encourage their own kid to play to show your kid down. Some parents also go to the extent of shouting demeaning remarks that might really hurt your kid’s confidence. You’ll just have to make your child strong enough to go beyond such insults.  

All said, youth sports is still a great learning experience for kids. We just need to ensure to be grounded with our hopes and expectations and let the kid be a kid, even if it’s at the cost of competition. You’d be surprised what learning this brings to the kid when she’s an adult. Happy parenting and happy playing!
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Friday, 19 August 2016

Published Friday, August 19, 2016 with 0 comment

Tips for Successful Fundraising


Start of new school year means start of school sports teams which calls for one of the first big meetings between school Athletic Directors, coaches and parents, meeting for fundraising.

 Fundraising is perhaps the biggest challenge in youth sports and it is undoubtedly the most important aspect of it. Here are a few tips to help you get do organized fund raising and ensure lack of money doesn’t stop your little stars from shining bright.


  •  Start with a budget. Count for extra expenses such as team outings, fun activities, contingencies, injuries etc. apart from counting for the obvious expenses like jerseys, training material, staff salaries, training aids, apparel, sports material, participation fee for several events, and other important costs including travelling and logistics.
  •  Make a team of parents, players and school staff volunteering for fundraising. List the activities the group will undertake for fundraising. For instance, it could be a series of activities planned on different days like car-wash, lemonade stalls, fun Olympics, neighborhood games etc. 
  •  Some parents prefer online fundraising to actually going out there. This is also a great option. You can create a Facebook page and ask parents and staff to invite over their friends. Organize fun FB, Instagram and other social media contests and you can charge a participation fee which will actually go into the sports fund. Or you could simply as friend to contribute online. 
  •  For some schools, asking parents a sports fee works best. This way the school gets the required fund and there is no taking a chance if the fund will be raised or not. If you choose this option, it would best to sit along with parents and decide upon feasible payment options. For instance, the whole budget could be divided into quarters and then split into the number of players. Each parent would pay a quarterly fee instead of paying up all at once. 


 While you know it needs to be done, you might want to make it a fun learning experience for kids as well. After all there’s so much more to learning in school than just academic education.
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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Published Wednesday, August 17, 2016 with 0 comment

Lesser Known Facts About Olympics




Rio Olympics is the hottest point of discussion wherever you go. While everyone’s discussing Olympic facts, here’s some really interesting for you – a list of Olympic sports you didn’t know existed (well, mostly). Most of these sports were just a part of either one Olympic or two and later got scrapped. Some of these sports still exist and can be seen in Rio Olympics 2016.


Trampoline
Never thought trampoline was any more serious than making America’s Favorite Home Video in the backyard? Well you better think again. Trampoline has been a part of the Olympics since Sydney Olympics 2000. It is judged pretty much on the same basis as gymnastics – technique and control. This sport will be seen in Rio Olympics too.


Solo synchronized swimming
Solo synchronized swimming is like a pool ballet. A solo swimmer performs pool ballet. The sport exited Olympics after Barcelona Olympics 1992. Although Rio does have something called team synchronized swimming.


Shooting – Live pigeon
Although 1900 Paris Olympics was the only Olympics that had this sport, it is quiet surprising how it even made it to the list. Athletes were supposed to shoot as many pigeons as possible. It was a bloody, filthy massacre of innocent birds. Thank God Live pigeon shooting is not a part of the Rio Olympics.


Tug of War
One of the oldest sport, tug of war has been popular in picnics and outdoor events with friends and family. Two teams pull a rope towards themselves away from each other, like snatching the rope from each other. The team that manages to pull the rope towards themselves beyond a certain point wins. Sadly Tug of War was popular in the Olympics only till the early 20th century and was discontinued after 1920.


Swimming Obstacle Course
For those of you who are trying to imagine the kind of obstacles swimming would have, here’s the fact weirder than you can imagine. In the Paris Olympics 1900 swimmers had to cross obstacles like boats, either crawl over them or swim underneath, climb poles and more in a 200m swim race. This sport was also discontinued.

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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Published Thursday, August 11, 2016 with 0 comment

Rio Olympics 2016: Must-know Facts



Rio Olympics are the talk of every circle, sports or non-sports. If you haven’t had much time catching up and feel lost in these Olympic conversations, here’s a quick fact list to help you come around.

  • The Russian controversy – Over 68 Russian Athletes along with other sports champions were banned from the Olympics after testing positive for drugs. The entire athletics and weightlifting teams have been banned, while there’s a partial ban on aquatics, canoeing and kayaking, cycling, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing and wrestling.


  • Famous International champions you must know
    • Usain Bolt – This Jamaican is the world record holder 100 m and 200m. He has won gold six times in Olympics and is popularly known as the fastest man alive.
    • Shelly Ann Fraser – The Lady Usain Bolt. Well, not really because no one’s as fast as Usain, but the girl’s a champion in 100 m and is going for her 3rd straight gold in Olympics.
    • Neymar – Brazil’s soccer sensation is seen as the promising hero who will revive Brazil from the shock and embarrassment of it’s World Cup loss to Germany.
    • Caster Semenya – Remember the Caster Semenya controversy? The South African athlete was judged for her manly-appearance and was ordered to undergo gender test to prove she was a woman. The test showed a naturally high level of testosterone, allowing her to compete in the women’s category. If Caster does win, which she in all probability will, it is likely to bring her more controversy than acclaim. Sad though.
    • Novak Djokovic – This handsome Serbian has won not just trophies but hearts with his Tennis. He completed the Grand Slam by winning all four major Tennis championships across the globe. Winning an Olympic gold will give him Golden Slam, and make him immortal in Tennis with the likes of Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal.

  • American champions you must know
    • Michael Phelps – This American champion swimmer has done America proud like none other. At 31, Phelps is the highest winner of Olympic medals, 22 in all including 18 gold. This is his last Olympic.
    • Simone Biles – This young American has already won 3 world championships and 4 US championships and she is just 19. There are very high expectations from Simone in Rio.
    • Ashton Eaton – Ashton is the winner of last Olympics gold medal and a popular contender at Rio. Ashton won with a lead of 300 points in his last race.
    • Serena Williams – After having won four Olympics already, Serena is in for her next two this time at Rio, one for singles and one for doubles with her sister Venus.
    • Katie Ledecky – Katie swims like a fish and is all out to fish gold at Rio. She is the world champion and Olympic winner already in freestyle swimming.
    • Justin Gatlin – Justin won his Olympic bronze at 34 after facing a 4-year ban for doping. He is America’s best bet against Usain Bolt.
    • Kerri Walsh Jennings – Kerri has won Olympic gold in beach volleyball not once, not twice but thrice already and is now up for her straight fourth.



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