Who's In First League Management

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Detour: Super Bowl Weekend

In two days fans and non-fans alike will converge in someone’s living room to watch the greatest American spectacle. Everyone will be quiet and anxious energy will fill the room.

Kick off? Game winning field goal attempt? Fourth quarter drive?

No. Super Bowl Ads.

Under no other circumstances will you find people, even die hard sports fans, sitting through the commercials and getting beer and nachos during the game. Under no other circumstances will you find non-sports fans intently watching a sporting event than you will when the Super Bowl Ads start running.

And why not? Advertisers relish this moment. They know the world is watching and they know that there won’t be anybody Fast Forwarding their TiVO or DVR through these commercials. This is their, well, Super Bowl.

Monday morning it won’t be difficult to find ratings on all the Super Bowl Ads. They will be prevalent on YouTube and throughout the Blogosphere. You will not be able to attend a meeting without someone asking you about the commercials.

The game? You may have some conversations with some big football fans about what they thought of certain plays or the game as a whole. But if you are trying to find an in to talk to some of your superiors, the ads may be the way to go.

At $3M per 30-second commercial, you can expect some of the best commercials of the year to debut. A quick review of some of the all time best Super Bowl commercials will show you just how impactful they may be (in no particular order and with links to see them again).
So on Sunday, it is perfectly fine to find yourself sitting through the ads and grabbing a second helping of wings as the ball is being snapped.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Off Season Softball Workout Routine

It is late January and many parts of America are covered with snow, but today is the perfect day to begin your off season softball training routine.

By starting now, you will be in prime shape when your team takes the field for the first time and you will find yourself hitting the ball farther and harder and your reflexes will be quicker, allowing you to make plays you may not have been able to make last season.

The most important muscles you need to hone for hitting are your legs and abdominal area. To get these muscles softball-ready, short powerful reps are recommended.

You will want to break these sets up, and not do them all in one day, or your muscles will be overworked and you will get less of a workout towards the end of your routine. You will probably want to lift every other day, and do cardio on your off days. It is also a good idea to rest your muscles, so your week may consist of Monday, Wednesday, Friday lifting and then cardio on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays while taking Sunday off. You can mix up these days to meet your schedule, but make sure you are working out regularly if you want to impress your teammates come game time.

As with any routine, the weight you lift is 100% based on your body. Do try and increase your weight every few weeks, so that you are getting stronger and working your muscles out to their max.

The sets you will want to focus on are:
  • Squats
  • Deadlift
  • Rows
  • Bench Press
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Wrist Curls (really good for hitting)
  • Hammer Curls
  • Shoulder Presses
Don’t wait for your manager or commish to contact you about playing next season. Prepare today, so that when the ump yells “PLAY BALL!” you will already be at the top of your game.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Webday Lists: Top Rated Nike Basketball Shoes

Your rec basketball league has probably already started up. If you are in the market for new shoes, take a look below of the top 5 rated Nike brand basketball shoes, according to Nike.com

1. Kobe IV Men's Basketball Shoe - Seize the day, if not the moment, in the special edition Kobe IV Men's Basketball Shoe, inspired by the champion's carpe diem style of play with the best in cushioning and support.
  • Flywire upper for ultra-lightweight support and comfort
  • Synthetic leather with injected TPU external heel counter for optimal support
  • Phylon midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Nike Zoom unit in heel for low-profile, super-responsive cushioning
  • Lunar Foam puddled in forefoot for lightweight cushioning
  • Flex grooves throughout outsole for high volume traction and flexibility
2. Nike Air Team Trust II Men's Basketball Shoe - A true team player, the Nike Air Team Trust II Men's Basketball Shoe has optimal traction and maximum support to make the most out of your footwork.
  • Leather and synthetic combination upper for overall support with breathable mesh
  • Phylon midsole with Nike-flex technology for maximum flexibility
  • Nike Air unit at heel for a comfortable ride
  • Herringbone outsole for superior traction
3. Nike Zoom MVP Men's Basketball Shoe - Go beyond the ordinary in the Nike Zoom MVP Men's Basketball Shoe, with a design inspired by one of the greats, Steve Nash, creating a supportive shoe that falls in between a low-top and high-top.
  • Synthetic and leather upper with reinforced stitching
  • Mid-foot saddle houses molded forefoot eyestay inspired by Air Max 95
  • Dual-density optimal motion midsole with lightweight injected Phylon
  • Nike Zoom forefoot unit for low-profile, super-responsive cushioning
  • Rubber outsole with herringbone pattern for traction and durability
  • Engineered surfacing for higher force deflection
  • Free-inspired forefoot
4. Dwyane Wade Team Signature United We Rise Men's Basketball Shoe - This product is limited to one pair per customer and is excluded from all promotional discounts.
  • Rise up for your own medal-winning turn on the hardwoods in the Dwyane Wade Team Signature (USAB) Men's Basketball Shoe, sporting a red, white and blue color scheme with Beijing-inspired tattoo print.
  • Full-grain leather upper with micro-perforations for breathability
  • Synthetic overlays with United We Rise tattoo print
  • United We Rise emblem on the tongue top
  • Double-lasted internal midsole and second lightweight EVA external midsole for stability and shock absorption
  • Multi-directional tread pattern for optimal traction on the hardwoods
5. Nike Air Flight Skool Men's Quickstrike Basketball Shoe - Have your game take off like Kevin Durant's in the Nike Air Flight Skool Men's Basketball Shoe, a high performance shoe with a lightweight profile for soaring loft and maximum Air-Sole cushioning for a soft landing.
  • Breathable, perforated leather upper with toe covering for added durability
  • Lightweight Phylon midsole with maximum volume Air-Sole unit in the heel for enhanced comfort
  • Rubber outsole is engineered to provide ultimate traction with cored out areas for lighter weight

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When An Opposing Player Gets Injured

Yesterday we discussed what to do when one of your teammates gets injured, so naturally today we will discuss what to do if an opposing player gets injured.

Many of the tips are the same, but since you probably don’t have a familial relationship with the guy or gal who is injured, you should take precaution in giving advice or assistance.

To start off with, as with anyone, stranger or friend, when it comes to a life or limb-threatening emergency you should act as if a family member is the one in trouble. Immediately call 911! Since you don’t know this person as well as someone who may be on their team, it might be best to let their teammate comfort them and hand the phone over to talk to the 911 operators to receive instructions. Having a familiar voice giving them directions and motivation may help them to calm down and lessen the chances of shock. If you are a trained medical professional and feel comfortable with the situation, go ahead and assert your knowledge and help in any way you can. Another way to help would be to calm down anyone on your team or the opposing team, if they start to get crazy or wild or disruptive. Simply pull them aside and calm them down. What the situation doesn’t need is any more stress placed upon it.

If the injury is serious, but not life or limb threatening (aka broken bone or torn ACL) the best advice is similar to what is above. First surmise the situation and make decisions based on what is best for the individual. Generally these injuries do not need an ambulance, but if you happen to have stuff in your car or truck that could be useful in the situation, run out and retrieve what can be used. Maybe you have cardboard and duct tape to immobilize the broken bone. If not, your best course of action may be to act as a bystander. Again, help in calming down anyone who may need calmed down, but in these situations, you may be best served as a spectator.

With minor injuries, you really should try and stay out of the way. If there is a cut, no matter how bad, you should first notify the ref or ump and let them know of the situation. Generally they will then stop the game and let the injured player get off the playing field or court. Even if your team is on a great run and hot, give the other team enough time to get their player situated with an ice pack or rag or whatever is needed. Injuries of this nature generally heal in a matter of minutes and you may see the injured player back playing in no time. One way you can be of help is, again, if you have the necessary first aid tools at your disposal and the league doesn’t have access to them, you might volunteer to retrieve what you have. Band aids, gauze pads, wrap, athletic tape. Whatever the situation calls for, if you have it handy and nobody else seems to have access it, you should volunteer your services.

Essentially the difference between your involvement in helping a teammate and an opposing player is that with an opposing player your service is needed only when the opposing team cannot provide it. As with any situation, familiarity of people around will help the injured party.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Monday, January 26, 2009

When a Teammate Gets Injured

Hopefully it doesn’t happen often, but we have all been playing in a game where a teammate gets injured. What should you do when this situation arises?

The first thing to do is surmise how serious the injury is. If it is life or limb threatening you should stop what you are doing immediately and help in any way you can. This may be by calling 911, getting ice or a rag, or by simply comforting your teammate while paramedics arrive. If you are trained in first aid or medicine then you can use your skills to help the injured player, but if not, you can probably be better served in an auxiliary role.

If your teammate is not in a life or limb threatening position, but is severely injured (broken bone, torn ACL etc) then you should estimate the severity and talk to your friend to see what they want to do. If it is an injury that the person needs medical attention, but maybe not immediate medical attention, then your role may be to drive him/her to the ER. If they are screaming for an ambulance, remind them of the cost to have one come and try and get them to calm down so that you can drive them to the nearest hospital. It may be that the injured player thinks the injury is worse than it is. But being calm headed you can help “talk them off the ledge,” and give them an outsider’s perspective.

If the injury is minor, say cuts and bruises, make sure the ref or ump knows what is happening and have them halt the game. Get your player off the field or court and, if possible, get them a rag, water or ice, basically whatever they need. Once they are out of play and nicely situated, it is OK for the game to continue.

Whatever the injury, making sure the right conditions are taken care of will help your teammate and also the flow of the game.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Detour: Hall Of Fame

There were two significant retirements in the world of sports this week and with each a debate raged on TV and the radio as to whether each should be in their respective hall of fames.

And while both Jeff Kent and Alonzo Morning had great careers, neither deserves to be enshrined amongst their sport’s elite.

Without going into specifics about those two players, I would like to discuss the Hall of Fame balloting as a whole.

Listening to the radio yesterday Colin Cowherd, of ESPN Radio, said it best when he said that when a player retires, baseball writers tend to fantasize their careers. The highlights become stuff of legends and their imperfections are cast aside.

What I would argue is that in order to get into your sport’s Hall, you should be able to be mentioned in the same breath as the all time greats. If you can’t then you may have been a good players, but not one of your sport’s elite.

Rickey Henderson, for example, was nominated in to the baseball HoF this year. Can you say his name along side other greats like Mickey, Babe and Willie? I would say that based on his body of work that you most certainly can.

Greg Maddux also retired this year and in 5 years he will be up for the HoF. Is he worthy? Without a doubt.

Now say the name Jeff Kent. Can you put him on the same pedestal as they other greats? Even compared just against his fellow 2B? In my mind you cannot.

There is always the argument out there for a player who has the most (insert stat) of someone not in the Hall. Be it hits, HRs, blocked shots or touchdown passes, there is always that debate. Well, I will let you in on a little secret… there will always be that guy. And when, or if, that guy gets in there will be a next guy with the most hits who isn’t in.

I believe there are certain things you can look at that should automatically qualify a guy for the Hall. In baseball I believe it is 300 wins, 3000 hits or 500 HRs. Even in a live ball era, those stats stand the test of time.

This is not to say that someone who doesn’t have those particular stats doesn’t deserve to be in, but those are the first ballot clinchers.

I think the major fault of the writers is that they feel there needs to be a Hall of Fame induction every year. Now, I understand why that is good for the individual sport, but the Hall get watered down because of this need.

A good friend of mine, Dan Russell, came up with a clever acronym for people who are generally enter the Hall discussion, but aren’t Hall worthy: HOAGie.

HOAGie stands for Hall Of Almost Great. This semi-elite category would be bestowed upon players whose career warrants some recognition, but not a bust in Cooperstown, Canton or Springfield.

Voting for HOAGies would be done on a personal basis. Did YOU feel that this person was good, but not the greatest? Great, but not the greatest? Then affix a HOAGie to them.

This would eliminate all debate for the Hall. If the Hall was only the ultra-elite, the type of player that comes around once every 5 or so years, then the hall fraternity would be made up of players that were undebateable.

Who is your favorite HOAGie? Leave a name in the comments section.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes We Can! (Relieve Stress)

Today is one of the more memorable days in American history. With the inauguration of Barack Obama, America’s cultural and political tides are changing and citizens throughout the land can feel the effect of the new administration.

As we all now know, the 44th president is an avid sports fan and an outspoken proponent of a playoff in college football. And for as much as he enjoys pigskin, President Obama is an even bigger fan of roundball.

As the story goes, on the day of every big election, President Obama heads to a local gym with some of his friends and plays a big game of basketball in order to relieve the stress that goes along with any campaign.

We can all learn a few things from this tradition. Basketball, or any sporting event, can take your mind away from the realities of life or work.

If you have had a long and stressful day at your job, try hitting up the gym for a pick-up game of basketball, or if the weather is nice enough go out for a run or a long bike ride. Lifting weights, swimming laps, or hitting the batting cages are also great ways to decompress.

Throughout his presidency there are a lot of things we will learn from President Obama. One thing we have learned from his presidential campaign and from his campaigns of the past are that in any stressful situation, the best way to blow off steam or settle down from a pressure packed day is to work up a sweat in a competitive endeavor.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Running Set Plays in Your Rec Basketball League

There is a paradoxical nature to most recreational basketball leagues. Everyone wants to win and wants to do everything they can to win…. except for practicing to win.

Most recreational basketball teams don’t have any set offensive plays, and those that do generally played together in high school and are just running through the plays they know. The latter folks are fine, it is the former that should probably get together outside of a game day to run through some plays.

Now, I am not saying that your team needs to go out and practice 4 hours a day, but one good practice running a simple play against both a man and a zone D will really help your team succeed. So instead of guys just running around and hoping to get open, they will be able to find seams in the D or create openings for their teammates and the results will be exponential.

If there is someone on your team who played any organized ball, have them teach you one easy man offensive scheme and one easy zone offensive scheme. If there is nobody on your team who played organized ball, or if no one can remember plays, then You Tube is a great source for finding short demonstration of plays. If you type in “Youth Basketball Offense” or some iteration of that into the You Tube search engine you will be able to find many easy-to-learn offenses. (I suggest ‘youth’ since the plays are generally easier to run and remember).

When looking at plays, remember that you are probably only going to be playing one hour a week with the plays, so don’t try and find the most complicated. Any offense with motion in it should do just find, so find one you like that looks easy to remember and fun to run and get going.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Aching Quads

Last post I discussed what not to do before skiing, and I could not have been more right.

The setting was gorgeous. The scenery was breathtaking. The snow was like manna from heaven. Everything was set up to be that perfect day on the mountain.

Before I closed my eyes the night before I took a look out the window to see if I would awake to fresh snow on the mountain. To my distain I didn’t see a snow cloud in the sky and the winds weren’t blowing, like you sometimes see before impending storms. But I awoke to quite the opposite…. fresh snow!

We hurriedly ate breakfast and got dressed and headed on down to the ski lifts. As our rear ends hit the lift at 9am everything seemed perfect.

I casually got off the lift and headed to the drop in point for our first run. Everything was perfect and pristine. Seeing that it was still a workday, and the Friday after the New Year’s weekend, the mountain was predictably quiet and wide open.

The first run we took was a green that dumped into a steeper and narrower blue run, and since it was the first run of the season for me, I thought this was the perfect start to the day.

I easily cruised down the green, toes pointed straight, not making many turns. When I caught up to my ski-mate to head on down the blue, I felt a little something in the quads, but disregarded it as just an awkward move in ski boots. But the blue, with its 6 inches of fresh powder was more difficult to maneuver than the green I had just been on, and I was required to make more turns. With each turn my legs, quads particularly, reminded me of the heavy lifting I had done to them just 36 hours previously…. and they were getting back at me tenfold.

I ended up skiing most of the day, but there were times when I had to come to a complete stop in the middle of the mountain to regain the strength in my legs. It was not fun.

So here I was in this gorgeous setting, this breathtaking scenery, floating on snow that seemed to be made of clouds, and all I could think about was how I wanted off and to be back in our condo with a hot cup of cocoa and elevated legs.

So next time I know I am embarking on an adventure I will make sure my workout routine will not hinder my ability to participate the event fully and enjoy it to its fullest.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What NOT To Do Before You Go Skiing

So yesterday was one of the most active days my body has seen in quite some time. And I couldn’t have selected a worse day to abuse my body.

I started the day with a session with my personal trainer, one in which we focused on legs. Every time we do a leg routine I ache for a week, and yesterday was no different. Squats and leg presses were the worst of it, and it didn’t help that we did leg lifts as well. Keep in mind that prior to the workout, I had cycled 10 or so miles on a stationary bike to get my blood flowing.

I was wrecked.

Fast forward to the evening. I had a 7:30 PM hoops game in my recreational basketball league that I was pretty amped for. Looking over the other team’s schedule and results on the Who’s In First online league management system, this seemed like a game we could win. Initially we were in the game and kept it close by using our height to our advantage. But, alas, in the end to the victors go the spoils and the other team played spoiler.

As I was leaving the court, a buddy from another team flagged me down and asked to help sub in for their game, as they were short a few guys. I agreed and off I went into another 40 minutes of basketball. Luckily, this game turned out to be in our favor, even after an early 14-4 deficit. As the final buzzer sounded, I was wiped out and heading down to the locker room to change when I got roped into a pick-up game. Up and down the court we flew, all with weary sea legs. I again, lost, and this time not only the game but also all feeling in my legs.

So tonight I am heading up to Vail to ski tomorrow and my legs are SHOT. It will be interesting to see how they hold up as I slosh through the snow.

This whole experience has taught me a valuable lesson. Working out is fine. Playing 3 hours of hoops is fine. The combination of the two may waste an otherwise perfectly good ski day.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Specialized Training

I was at the mega-gym yesterday and saw a guy with an unusual routine. I hadn’t ever seen any of the exercises he was doing, and kinda thought he was making the stuff up as he goes. They all seemed unconventional and awkward and I had no idea what he was thinking. Then I started to pay attention to his routine. He kept repeating the same motion. It almost looked like he was practicing a tennis ground stroke from the ready position. It wasn’t until 20 or 30 minutes of trying to decipher his regimen that I realized what he was doing.

After solving the puzzle in my head I approached him to see if I had, in fact, put 2 and 2 together. It turns out he was a relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies and was strengthening the muscles he will need to pitch out of the stretch this season. All of his routines were carefully scrutinized and approved by the trainers for the Rockies. To me he looked unconventional, but they were all necessary components to his job.

It got me thinking about targeted versus general training. For most of us a general routine will work best. If done properly, a general routine will help us tone and strengthen our muscles in a uniform manner. If, however, you are a professional athlete or training for a specific challenge, you should look into a more targeted routine.

For example, if you are going to train for a 100-mile bike race, and that is your only intent, you should probably focus more on endurance and legs, than you would on say, your pecs. Sure, you will probably still work your pecs out from time to time, but putting your rear end on the saddle will better help you train for your specific task.

Likewise, this Major League Baseball pitcher needed to strengthen his core and all the muscles he will be called upon to use at his job. This is not to say he doesn’t do a general routine also, but his goal for that day was to strengthen a specific muscle group, even if it garnered some attention from the other gym members.

So the take-away I had was to keep my same general workout routine, until the time comes that I need to hone my training for a specific activity.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Monday, January 5, 2009

WORKOUT! Keep Your New Year's Resolution

We here at Who’s In First hope everyone had a great holiday season.

And if you are like any of us, you probably attended a few parties and ate a few too many finger foods. You may be regretting helping yourself to that extra eggnog or going back for thirds and forths of those delicious buffalo wings. But if you are also like many of us, you made a New Year’s Resolution to get rid of the holiday weight and stay in shape all year long.

If any of this rings true, here are some tips to help you keep on your goal of not only dropping that weight, but also visiting the gym more often.

1) Don’t try and burn all your weight off in the first week. As most gym employees can attest, the two weeks after new years are the busiest times for a gym. Everyone makes the same New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and heads immediately to the gym. This enthusiasm is great, but generally wears off pretty quickly. One thing to keep in mind is that weight control, or toning up, is not an overnight process. You need to really work at it to get the results you are working for. Many people head to the gym, run a mile on the treadmill and think they can drop 20 pounds that day. Not the case. If you truly want to get the results you are looking for, remember the old adage that slow and steady wins the race. Don’t burn yourself out. Don’t get frustrated when the results aren’t pouring in the first week. Give it some time and you will achieve your goal.

2) Set Goals. What I have found to work the best is set a goal in the future and work towards that goal. There are two types of goals you can set. You can either set personal goals (I will lose X pounds or be able to do 10 reps of X pounds) or you can sign up for an event and train towards that. I generally find the latter to work best for me. If I sign up for a bike race with some friends, I know a hard deadline that I need to be in shape by… and work towards that. This gives me a goal to reach, say bike 50 miles, and a timeframe to be able to work towards. After the completion of the event, I look for a new event to sign up for and work towards.

3) Set regular workout times. If you know your spouse has a meeting every Monday, use that free time to work out. If you don’t have to be at work until late one day a week, use that to work out. Essentially, set up a regular schedule and try to get to the gym regularly. I have noticed that if I haphazardly try and make it to the gym, there is always an important game on TV or an event I need to attend. But if I know that Monday at 5pm is one of my workout times, I will schedule things around it, instead of the other way around. This consistency allows me to know when I will be working out and have the right mindset to do so.

These simple tips will help you beat the average American in keeping a New Year’s Resolution. If today is a good day, go to the gym and notice the number of people there. Using these tips you will still be there well into the spring when everyone else has forgotten about their commitment to themselves.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First