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Archive for February, 2013


Football-Soccer Footwear Uppers and Midsoles

Mixing eye-catching design with devastating performance.

 
From superior materials to innovative design, discover the details of what goes into every upper and midsole of Nike soccer boots.
 

Nike Soccer Uppers

 
The main benefits the upper provides are protection, comfort and enhanced touch. The “touch” of the soccer boot refers to the ability of a player to feel the ball with their foot in order to control it when passing, dribbling or kicking.
 

Upper Materials

 

Natural Leathers

 
Full-grain and kangaroo leathers are soft, supple and offer excellent ball feel.
 

Synthetic Leathers

 
Synthetics offer great ball feel, don’t absorb water, maintain their shape, and are lightweight and more durable than leather.
 

Teijin Microfiber

 
This synthetic material conforms to the foot’s shape, providing supreme touch and optimal support.
 

Kanga-Lite

 
By wrapping snugly around the foot, this synthetic material helps provide great ball touch and mimics the feel of kangaroo leather without the weight.
 

Upper Design Features And Benefits

 

Asymmetrical Lacing

 
Laces are moved to the lateral side of the shoe to create a cleaner surface and bigger striking zone for better touch on the ball.
 

All Conditions Control (ACC)

 
Helps provide excellent ball control in wet or dry conditions.
 

Suede Heel Lining

 
The texture of the suede reduces heel slippage.
 

Nike Soccer Midsoles

 
Very few boots have midsoles. This is because most soccer players want to be close to the ground for better lateral stability. Nike soccer cleat midsoles provide cushioning for a players foot, but compared to running shoes, it’s minimal.
 

Midsole Materials and Design Features

 

Phylon and EVA

 
Offering optimal comfort and cushioning, these materials are most often found in IC (indoor) and TF (turf) styles as a 3/4- or full-length midsole that enhances cushioning and comfort on hard surfaces.
 

PORON® Inserts

 
Inserts may be placed under high-pressure areas of the foot for an additional layer of low-to-the-ground cushioning.
 

Low-profile Sockliners

 
Help to reduce stud pressure for cushioning and comfort underfoot. Sockliners are commonly made from EVA foam that is either molded or die-cut.
 
-Soccer Mom
 
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Football-Soccer Ball Fundamentals

Learn the basics of ball size, construction and certification.

 
Nike soccer balls are fast, round, responsive and durable. Explore the inner and outer workings of each ball and learn a little about certification too.
 

Ball Sizes

 
Soccer balls come in different sizes. Kids usually kick a size 3 ball. Players 8 – 11 years old typically play with a size 4 ball. A size 5 ball is the most common. It’s the official size for high school and professional play. Players can also use size 1 miniature skills balls for practice.
 

Did You Know?

 
Soccer balls designed specifically for Futsal, or other small-sided games are available in Youth size 3 or Pro size 4.
 

Ball Construction

 

Ball Casing

 
The outer layer of a soccer ball is called the casing. Nike soccer balls are most commonly made with a polyurethane (PU) or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) casing.
 

PU casing

 
Absorbs less moisture for more consistent, durable performance in varying weather conditions. And it’s much softer than traditional polyvinyl chloride (PVC), especially in colder temperatures.
 

TPU casing

 
Provides a soft feel to the ball and is a great value for consumers.
 
Leather typically isn’t used on soccer balls because of its tendency to retain water. Retaining water makes for a heavy ball that doesn’t move quickly on the field.
 

Graphic or Color

 
As part of the casing, graphics or color is used to help players read the ball better, especially when in flight.
 

Asymmetrical Graphics

 
Some soccer balls have asymmetrical graphics, creating a break in the pattern to help you judge the ball flight, trajectory and spin.
 

Hi-vis Color Combinations

 
These combos make it easier to see the ball in low-light conditions.
 

Nike RaDaR Technology

 
With a scientifically tested combination of color, contrast and graphic design placement, Nike RaDaR technology offers a pronounced visual signal that helps players quickly identify the ball and its movement.
 

Did You Know?

 
A soccer ball may be kicked up to 2,000 times in an average match.
 

Ball Panels

 
Casings are made up of different shapes of panels. The number of panels varies between 32 for the traditional, everyday ball to 26-panel (and even 12-panel balls) that offer increased durability and enhanced touch because of fewer seams.
 
Panels can be stitched by machine or hand. To distinguish between the two types of construction, look at the stitches. In a machine-sewn ball, the stitches are more visible.
 

Machine-sewn

 
Requires thicker casing and a foam underlay, often EVA, to withstand the automated stitching process.
 

Hand-sewn

 
Provides highest quality.
 

Geo-Balanced II

 
Nike soccer balls that use the Geo Balanced II technology have an advanced panel pattern to create a soccer ball that is faster, rounder and more responsive.
 
Special configurations of hexagons and pentagons allow uniform dispersion of air inside the casing.
 
The center of each panel aligns with the center of the bladder, which makes the ball rounder. And rounder balls have a straighter flight.
 
They also have better durability since they wear more evenly instead of getting worn down on particular spots.
 

Ball Bladder/Lining

 
Beneath the soccer ball casing, a bladder and lining hold the air in and provide shape retention. Bladders are made of either: butyl, latex or rubber.
 

Butyl Bladders

 
Reduce rebound for better performance on hard surfaces and provide optimal air retention.
 

Latex Bladders

 
Used in pinnacle soccer balls – they offer high-energy return for powerful shots.
 

Rubber Bladders

 
Often have an extra layer inside to create maximum shape retention, bringing performance to value-priced balls.
 

Nike Exclusive 6-wing Bladder

 
Improves overall roundness because there are more touch points on the casing than a typical 4-wing bladder.
 

Did You Know?

 
Some soccer balls created specifically for Futsal (or small-sided games) have a bladder filled with foam instead of air. Using foam gives the ball less bounce, making it easier to control on hard surfaces.
 

Ball Certification

 
Certification stamps on soccer balls are important because they help differentiate the performance and price.
 

FIFA Approved

 
Look for the FIFA approved mark to identify the highest guaranteed quality and consistency in the world. FIFA approved balls pass seven tests that measure:
 
1. Circumference
2. Roundness
3. Rebounding
4. Weight
5. Pressure
6. Water absorption
7. Shape and size retention
 

What is FIFA?

 
FIFA stands for the Federation Internationale de Football Association. It’s the world governing body for soccer and has over 200 member nations.
 
Another, independent certification is International Matchball Standard, or IMS.
 
And an NFHS stamp means the ball is approved for high-school play.
 
-Soccer Mom
 
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Quick Preseason Workout to Improve your Golf Swing

As warm weather approaches, it is time for you to get ready to play golf again. As all golfers know, it is easy to start feeling tired early on in the season. Your swing can also suffer, because the rotational muscles of the shoulder and torso still feel the cramp of being unused all winter. This may take a toll on your scores, or worse still, may cause injuries.
 
A preseason workout routine is highly recommended for golfers. It involves as much stretching as possible because tension is the enemy of a well-coordinated golf swing. “Tempo” is a term often used by golf swing coaches, and it refers to the natural rhythm of a good golf swing. These exercises loosen and lengthen the muscles of your shoulder and torso, which helps you develop a consistent tempo more easily. So, the sooner these exercises make it into your daily routine, the more fun you’ll have during those first few rounds on the course.
 
It’s important to begin with 5-10 minutes of light cardio exercise, just running in place or jumping jacks will do. This allows warm blood to fill your muscles, thereby loosening them and making the following stretches more effective. Allow yourself to breathe naturally, and take full, deep breaths as you’re performing these stretches.
 
Head rolls – 30-60 seconds: Roll your ear gently to one side, toward your shoulder. Tilt your head back, then forth, and repeat on the other side. This relaxes the tension in the neck, and encourages shoulder flexibility.
 
Shoulder stretching – 2-3 minutes: Raise your right arm directly in front of you, then bring it to the left, wrapping your left elbow around your right arm and using it to gently bring your right arm closer to your chest. You will feel the stretch in your outer right shoulder. Reverse this process for the left side. This allows for much greater range of motion and smoother rotation in your golf swing, which translates into more consistent shot making.
 
Side stretching – 1-2 minutes: Raise your right arm directly above your head with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean your shoulders to the left and sway your right hip slightly out. You will feel a stretch along the right side of your body from your finger tips to toes. Reverse this process for the left side of your body. This stretch targets the outside of your arms, outer hips, and most importantly, your abdomen, which will further enhance your rotational stability and flexibility.
 
This routine can also be incorporated into a weight-lifting routine that focuses on developing the core muscles of your back and abdomen, as well as your shoulder muscles and hip flexors. Sit-ups, crunches, and push-ups are good exercises for when you’re unable to make it to the gym. Use this routine twice, when you’re warming up and cooling down, for best results.
 
The exercises discussed above are just a few basic exercises that you can do to get fit for golf. Are there any other exercises that had a positive impact on your golf swing? Please share your experience in the comments section.
 
-Par Shooter

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