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Archive for the ‘Football’ Category
As the most popular sport in the United States, football has been undergoing some safety upgrades in both equipment and rules over the last few years. The concentration on concussions and keeping players generally healthy that started in the NFL has since trickled down into youth leagues, so there are some things to look out for both on the field and in the store.
The National Federation of High School Associations made some rule changes for 2014, including some that have already taken effect in higher leagues. Rules prohibiting the “targeting,” or taking focus off the ball to hit a player, and protecting “defenseless” players, as well as a provision to clarify the forcefulness of a hit, are all changes in store for 2014.
While these offenses are penalties, it’s unlikely they’re intentional. So how can players better protect themselves? Thanks to companies like CHAMPRO Sports, there are some padding options aside from the helmet to keep players safe.
“Dunham’s has an increasingly broad line of compression garments and accessory sleeves with integrated pads systems, particularly Champro’s TRI-FLEX products,” said Ryan Hunt, vice president of marketing and product development of CHAMPRO Sports. “These items are more form fitting and move with players’ bodies better than previous generations of rib cage and arm protection.”
And these protective devices aren’t only for safety – they’re built for fashion, too. Hunt says that if a protective device is fashionable as well, there’s a better chance the player will wear it more often.
“We want to design protective equipment that looks good and that kids want to wear. If kids feel cool and comfortable when they wear their gear, they’re more likely to have it on when they need it,” Hunt said.
If the risk of injury is too much for you or your child to bear, there’s a safer option: flag football. Programs like USA Football and NFL Flag, through the NFL, teach young players all about topics like sportsmanship, injury prevention, concussion awareness and nutrition. With these types of programs, players of all ages have the ability to learn football the right way from the equipment, to play on the field, all the way to the handshake after the contest, and there’s a greatly reduced chance of injury.
Whether you or your child are learning how to make a proper tackle or how to pull off an opponent’s flag, Dunham’s has the gear to keep players safe from head to toe. And thanks to the innovations from companies like CHAMPRO Sports, America’s favorite sport will only grow safer.
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Head-to-Toe (and Mouth) Protection for your Football Player
Mouth Guards and Gloves Go High Tech!
Back in the days (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and TV was black and white), we didn’t wear gloves to help us catch the tight spirals or mouth guards to prevent repeated visits to the orthodontist. Luckily – for athletes and parents – times have changed.
Speaking of evolution, plain mouth guards are as passé as landlines and portable CD players. Extremely popular with today’s athletes are flavored mouth guards.
“We see players wearing mouth guards even in non-contact sports because they help prevent injuries,” said Tom Hoey of MoGo Sport. “We have developed technology that allows us to take natural flavors, embed them in the polymer and have the flavor last for the life of the product.”
Mogo Sport mouth guards are available in six flavors: blue raspberry, fruit punch, lemon, mint, orange and bubble gum.
“With other mouth guards, you see athletes removing them to take in water. Our flavor technology helps generate saliva, pre-venting dry mouth. This ensures kids wear their mouth guard properly and longer,” Hoey said.
Mogo Sport mouth guards are available in junior (11 and younger) and adult (12 and older) sizes. The company also makes special mouth guards for kids with orthodontics or braces.
Tacky in a Good Way
Yep, football gloves are tacky … meaning they can help junior (or senior) make more catches.
“All of our football gloves feature Armour Grabtack, providing the best tack in the industry. They give any player a slight edge,” said Ryan McGrath of Under Armour.
Extremely popular for summer football are the company’s gloves with HeatGear technology in back. It wicks moisture away from the hands, keeping the player cooler. New for 2013 is Under Armour’s Highlight glove. It features a long cuff that extends approximately three inches from the wrist.
“The Highlight glove delivers enhanced performance and unique styling,” McGrath explained.
Under Armour gloves are available at your local Dunham’s in four men’s styles and one youth style and in a variety of colors. Under Armour’s most popular style, the F3, can be found at all Dunham’s stores in both adult and youth sizes. The Renegade and Highlight adult gloves are available in limited stores.
If you’re considering football gloves, McGrath offers the following advice: “The glove shouldn’t be too loose. The fingers should comfortably go to the edge of the fingertips. I hate to say it, but it should fit like a glove.”
Protect Your Quarterback
and the Rest of Your Team with the Proper Equipment
Let’s face it, modern athletes are much bigger than yesterday’s counterparts. For example, today’s NFL quarterbacks, tight ends and even some wide receivers are bigger than offensive linemen from the 1960s. The average player is also faster, making full-speed impacts all the more jarring and potentially damaging. That evolution in size and speed is also evident at lower levels, including youth ranks. That’s why it’s extremely important to make sure young football players are outfitted with the proper pro-tective equipment.
Just as players have evolved, so has protective equipment. It’s lighter, more comfortable and provides better protection.
“Protective performance apparel has come a long way,” said Steve Arensdorf of Stromgren Athletics. “Today, girdles, padded arm sleeves and padded compression shirts are made of closed-cell EVA foam. They can be laundered daily and the pads don’t need to be removed prior to washing.”
Here’s something else that’s sure to make any parent – and any sibling riding home with the athlete – much happier: the mate-rials used in the protective equipment are antimicrobial and moisture-wicking. That should cut down somewhat on the need to ride home with windows down and noses out the windows.In addition to ensuring the protective equipment is appropriate for the child’s age and size, Arensdorf offers the following advice when shopping for your child: “Make sure it’s a quality product; it should have antimicrobial and moisture-wicking properties. Check out the quality of the pad; squeeze it to see how it feels. Our pads are also perforated to help them breath, making them more comfortable,” he said.
However, just as your child is likely to outgrow his or her shoes in the span of a season, protective equipment is not meant to last forever. In addition to needing a larger size, there are limitations to how long the antimicrobial properties will last.
Choosing the Right Equipment
“Typically, football equipment will last through the fall and spring football seasons and should be replaced the following sea-son. We also don’t encourage that schools hand down garments from one child to another. We recommend new ones for each athlete,” Arensdorf explained.
A team’s best chances of winning any game is to have the best 22 kids on the field. That takes the best protective equipment.
“If it prevents an injury, protective equipment more than pays for itself,” Arensdorf concluded.
For the best in football protection, visit your local Dunham’s where you will find a range of products in a variety of sizes to help protect yourself and your teammates this championship season.
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PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
There’s no off season for elite athletes. Year round training is now the norm, allowing time to perfect technique, enhance skills, and work on conditioning. For football players the summer months are the right time to develop that extra edge leading into fall practice.
If your idea of a summer workout is some weight training, wind sprints and some laps around the track, you’re not likely to develop specific muscles and skills that will make a difference on the field. A number of special tools have been developed that will do just that. They are simple, easy to use and highly effective. And it’s not just football players who will benefit. Soccer, basketball, baseball — athletes in any sport that requires agility, power and speed can use these devices.
(leg strength, stride length and frequency)
With most resistance training you are standing or sitting still. Speed chutes bring running into the mix because you are pulling an open parachute behind you. Not only does it build leg strength, but it helps develop explosive speed — just what a running back wants when he hits the hole. The chute itself attaches to an adjustable belt. Run with resistance, then flip the Velcro® patch to release the chute and get that “shot-out-of-a-cannon” feel. Speed chute training is easy to do by yourself and the device is simple to use and store — just fold it up and take it with you.
This device doesn’t strengthen your muscles, it helps you use them better. The 10-yard ladder with 18-inch squares allows for a variety of agility drills (backward, forward, sideways, in-out, hop scotch, etc.) that promotes a wide range of foot movements. Do them at the beginning of a workout, after warming up, because fresh muscles will help mobility.
Reaction Belts (reaction time, lateral movement)
In these drills two athletes face each other, wearing waist belts with a Velcro strap that attaches to the other person. One player then moves and fakes, trying to detach the strap, while the other player must be quick enough to follow so the strap stays in place. It quickens reflexes and improves stop-start ability — ideal for a defensive back.
Shoe Weights (Knee lift, jump height, speed and agility)
Here’s another device that combines resistance with speed. Unlike old fashioned ankle weights, modern designs wrap and distribute the weight around your foot, providing more balanced strength training. You can use them during training, or build strength as you walk around in your daily routine.
These small hurdles can be adjusted to 6- or 12-inch heights, allowing for a variety of exercises. All of them put a premium on quick movement of the feet and knees — a critical athletic skill. Football, basketball, baseball, soccer players and more can benefit from speed hurdle drills.
Lateral Resistor (lateral movement, change of direction, first step quickness)
This device is as simple as it is effective. A cord stretches horizontally on the inside of each ankle, making it harder to move side to side. By maintaining proper body position as you move side to side you will strengthen the muscles for rapid foot movement in any direction. It’s especially effective in improving hip flexibility and strengthening groin muscles.
We’ve all heard the adage “no pain, no gain.” Still, you can improve comfort during a workout with Under Armour compression clothing. This tight knit material offers several advantages:
The compressed design helps keep muscles relaxed.
It also helps your muscles recover after the workout.
You stay drier because the knit technology and microfiber design helps wick sweat away from your skin.
Some designs feature anti-microbial properties to help reduce odor.
High compression clothes aren’t just about comfort. There is significant academic research that shows performance benefits from wearing high compression clothing compared to looser fitting garments. In one study volleyball players were tested on a series of vertical jumps. While high compression shorts didn’t influence their jumping power, they were able to better maintain power during repeated efforts because their muscles didn’t get as tired.
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