Category Archives: Fantasy Sport

How to Basketball Drill Works

One of the key components of coaching job basketball is coaching your players on basic elementary skills. This drill can facilitate teach your players to handle the ball at high speeds and in game things. Here is the purpose of the Houston Basketball Trainer. Successful dribble permits your players to travel across the court and evade opposing players effectively. By incorporating this beat in your basketball apply arrange, you are serving to your youngsters become a lot of Associate in Nursing offensive threat.

How the Basketball Drill Works

Prior to apply, started 5 cones on the basketball court: one at the alternative baseline, one halfway between half-court which baseline, one at half-court, one halfway between half-court and also the baseline highest to you, and one at the baseline highest to you. This basketball coaching job drill has 2 parts: crossover dribble and retreat dribble.

Have your players begin at the baseline cone and dribble at full speed with their dominant hands. Once your players pass the second cone, instruct your team to form a crossover dribble and switch the ball to their weak hands. They must continue dribble with their weak hands till they pass following cone. Here, they must once more build a crossover dribble and switch once more to their robust hands. Once your players reach the alternative baseline, they must repeat the drill till they come to their original place to begin. Another way to steer this basketball drill is that the retreat dribbles and crossover.

Coaches at each level agree that fundamentals area unit vital. However, not terribly several coaches devote follow time really performing on fundamentals, particularly once players area unit on the far side the start level of the sport Basketball Lessons Houston. So as to be effective in basketball coaching job, coaches got to go back to basics and ensure their players work on fundamentals each follow.

Obama enlists help to push Affordable Care Act

President Obama teased Ellen DeGeneres about the selfie she took at the Oscars and confessed to leaving his socks and shoes lying around while the first lady is out of town, but before the end of his Thursday appearance on her talk show, he got DeGeneres to put in a plug for the Affordable Care Act.

That’s Obama’s deal with popular media these days as the president enlists help to boost healthcare sign-up numbers before the March 31 enrollment deadline for coverage this year.

In recent days, Obama has filled out his March Madness brackets on ESPN, joked with comedian Zach Galifianakis and defended his “mom jeans” with radio host Ryan Seacrest — all with the agreement he’d get a moment to make his pitch.

The White House is putting a heavy emphasis on trying to bring young consumers into the fold, and not just because they represent roughly 40% of the uninsured population. Young participants are more likely to pay into the system without drawing heavily on its benefits, a key factor to ensure the president’s healthcare reform is economically viable.

Administration officials estimate they have signed up more than 5 million of the 6 million people they hope to enroll by the deadline — a downward revision from the 7 million target before the trouble with the rollout of the website, HealthCare.gov.

As healthcare experts predicted, young people have been taking their time to get on board. Now, the White House is going after them through every media outlet and opinion leader they can mobilize. “Validators,” aides call them.

“In order to reach them,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, “we have to, you know, be creative.”

While the White House pushes that message, Republicans continue to argue that Obamacare is fatally flawed and will harm the other end of the age spectrum. As Obama traveled to Orlando on Thursday, the office of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said that, while in Florida, the president should answer questions from seniors.

“The president has focused plenty of time and energy of late on young people,” Boehner’s office said in a news release. “Isn’t it time he directly address older Americans who are bearing the brunt of his healthcare law?”

There were nearly 4 million visits to HealthCare.gov last week, administration figures show, and more calls to the call center March 14 than any day since December. On Wednesday, there were more than 845,000 visits to the website.

The federal government has also spent about $52 million on advertising from January to March, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. In one ad, Miami Heat forward Lebron James urges people to “get covered.”

In his remarks on the road Thursday, Obama focused on economic opportunity but put in another plug for the Affordable Care Act. “The deadline to get covered this year is March 31, which is just 11 days away. So if you are uninsured, check out your new choices at HealthCare.gov,” he told a crowd at Valencia College in Orlando. “Many of you will be able to get covered for $100 a month or less. If you’re already covered, then help get a friend covered.”

In the final push, the White House has turned to sports media and stars to play a major role.

This week, NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant did an interview on Dan Patrick’s radio sports show in which he encouraged people to get coverage. Former NBA All-Star Grant Hill called in to sports radio shows Wednesday in Miami, Dallas and Houston.

Miami Heat player Shane Battier promoted the healthcare plan in a recent conference call with reporters. As he spoke, the administration released a report showing that nearly 2 million people visit emergency rooms each year because of sports-related injuries.

On Thursday, the White House ran a social media campaign trying to drive traffic to GamePlan4Me.com, a website promoting the sports benefits of having health insurance and featuring athletes such as Bryant, Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. NBA forward Kevin Durant sent a #GetCoveredNow tweet to his 6 million Twitter followers.

Sports requires all the right moves

The ball teetered on the lip of the 16th hole at Augusta National Golf Club.

It was 2005, and after Tiger Woods’ now-famous chip shot fell in for a birdie and Woods went on to win the Masters for the fourth time, Jim Michaelian made a decision.

With Woods’ popularity and Tiger-driven television ratings soaring, Michaelian was convinced that the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach should not be run on the same day that the winner of a golf major was being fitted for a green jacket.

“That was sort of the capper,” said Michaelian, president and chief executive of the Grand Prix Assn. of Long Beach. “We said, ‘We’ve got to make sure we run on the third weekend of April and avoid it.'”

It was a good plan, but it wasn’t foolproof because of another scheduling maxim observed by auto racing promoters: Never run on Easter.

So after seven consecutive years of avoiding it, Sunday’s 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be run on the final day of the Masters.

Woods is sidelined, recovering from back surgery, but the situation highlights the challenges faced by professional sports leagues, event organizers and promoters as they navigate through a calendar full of potential scheduling conflicts.

“It’s like a giant Rubik’s Cube,” one official said.

Professional sports leagues annually survey their teams for input on dates they would like to play or avoid.

NFL teams play only 16 regular-season games, but the league’s popularity makes it a behemoth for other entities attempting to schedule around it, Super Bowl Sunday especially.

The NFL plays the majority of its games on Sundays, but also at least one on Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights. Under the terms of the 1961 Sports Broadcasting Act, the league does not schedule games on Fridays or Saturdays from early September through early December, protecting high school and college football, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

The NFL plays three games on Thanksgiving Day. In 2011, Christmas fell on a Sunday so the majority of games were played on Saturday afternoon with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers kicking off late Christmas night.

For all its scheduling weight, the NFL does not always prevail in conflicts.

In 2004, it began a tradition of having the defending Super Bowl champion host the first game of the season on a Thursday night. However, the 2012 champion Baltimore Ravens opened the season last September at Denver because the Baltimore Orioles, who play at nearby Camden Yards, were scheduled to play an evening baseball game at home.

The league also contends with potential conflicts during the Major League Baseball playoffs. The Oakland Raiders and Oakland Athletics are the only NFL and MLB teams that share a stadium. But several football and baseball teams play in stadiums that are close in proximity and share parking and stadium personnel.

Baseball plays essentially every day of the week, with Mondays and Thursdays generally traveling days that result in a reduced schedule.

Katy Feeney, MLB’s senior vice president for scheduling and club relations, said schedule makers attempt to make sure that in August and September at least two weekends are available for NFL games in cities where teams share a stadium or area.

Fixing college sports: In free agency we trust

The NCAA must be feeling a bit like Dr. Frankenstein these days: assailed by college football and men’s basketball players who reject the NCAA’s precious, but mostly mythic, notion that they are student-athletes.

At Northwestern University, a group of football players scored a first-round victory before the National Labor Relations Board in a campaign to be recognized as “employees” eligible to unionize. For some college football fans, this evokes disturbing images of burly 18- to 22-year-old player-proletarians marching on picket lines instead of lined up on offensive or defensive lines, much less seated in classrooms.

Meanwhile, the lawyer who helped bring free agency to the NFL now seeks to do the same for college football and men’s basketball. Jeffrey Kessler filed suit in federal court last month. Jenkins vs. NCAA charges the association and its five “power conferences” with price-fixing and restraint of trade in violation of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act. College sports have “lost their way far down the road of commercialism,” according to the complaint.

But rather than undoing commercialism, Jenkins merely calls for making more room for players to come along on the road trip to riches. The NCAA should dispense with “false claims of amateurism,” it insists, and allow high school football and men’s basketball stars to hock their wares to the highest bidder. This brave new world conjures up scenes of desperate coaches draining university endowments to satisfy a free-agency bidding frenzy.

Both assaults on the NCAA’s business model have much to commend them. Above all, they hold the promise of doing what should have been done a while ago: cutting players in on more of the multibillion-dollar bonanza their athletic talent generates. But these attacks also undeniably threaten to kill, rather than revise and revive, the student-athlete; that is, the ideal in which “student” precedes “athlete” and student-athletes receive an education they might not have otherwise had.

There is a better way. Free agency could be structured so that it would yield more college degrees and more money for players, a players’ counterpart to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s recent call for coaches salaries to depend to some degree on the academic performance of their players.

The first step would be to estimate how much money would be required to lure recruits if free agency were introduced into the power conferences. The next step would be to establish a trust fund in that amount, redirecting money from the revenues and income of all the parties who currently reap the lion’s share of what the players sow. Players could redeem a share of the fund only after they complete their bachelor’s degrees. There could be some disbursements along the way for good academic progress, and perhaps more money for those who graduate with higher GPAs or receive more rigorous degrees.

Structured in this way, free agency would co-opt the ever-expanding commercialism of revenue-generating college sports, rather than capitulate to it by replacing student-athletes with unionized employees. It would yield higher graduation rates and more just economic desserts for players to begin to enjoy upon receiving their diplomas.

This is a win-win for the NCAA, the networks, the schools and everyone else who profits from college football and men’s basketball. They all pay lip service to the student-athlete ideal. Free agency, as described here, would let them put their money where their mouths are.

The stakes are much bigger than money. The current landscape has the “unmistakable whiff of the plantation,” as historian Taylor Branch put it in a 2011 article in the Atlantic. Anyone watching college bowl games or March Madness can’t help but notice that the fields and courts are dominated by young black men whose labor redounds disproportionately to the benefit of older white men.

A tiny percentage of these athletes will go on to lucrative professional careers. As for their teammates, too few of them will have a degree (much less a meaningful education) to show for their time spent in college.

Even at UC Berkeley, rightly esteemed for its academics, graduation rates for football players and men’s basketball players during the last decade hovered near the bottom of the entire NCAA (although they took a turn for the better in the last couple of years).

Authors search for fresh stories to retell biggest moments in sports

If his new book “Showtime” accomplishes anything, Jeff Pearlman said, he hopes that it will give Jack McKinney proper credit for his contribution to basketball.

McKinney had devised the high-tempo offense that had 6-foot-9-inch Magic Johnson as its flashy playmaker. But 19 games into his tenure as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, McKinney suffered severe head injuries after toppling over the front of his bicycle while taking a spin on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. He remained away from the team, recovering while the Lakers captured the championship that season.

The Lakers won the first of five titles in the 1980s, all won using that pizazz that McKinney had first built in to the Lakers’ style of play. McKinney would never coach again, but players Pearlman talked to said that he deserved to be credited as the architect.

On a Sunday panel at the Festival of Books, Pearlman, a former Sports Illustrated writer who has written six books about sports, joined John Rosengren and Andy McCue in discussing their travels back in history to unearth the proper context surrounding sports stories.

Rosengren learned that a single ugly incident from a 1965 baseball game was more than just bad blood between two rival teams.

When San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal lifted his bat to swing at the head of Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro — a moment captured in an iconic photo that paints Marichal as the villain — he was already emotionally charged from the United States occupation of the Dominican Republic, his home country. Similarly, Roseboro was worried about his family back in Los Angeles, where the Watts riots were raging.

The stress on both players combined with some in-game grievances set off a brawl that left Roseboro bleeding from the head and Marichal suspended. “It’s not about who wins or loses, it’s about what’s won or lost,” said Rosengren, who wrote “The Fight of Their Lives.”

McCue wanted to clear up misconceptions about former Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley, who became a polarizing figure when he moved the franchise from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. He said documents were key to writing his book “Mover and Shaker” — not interviews — because many close to O’Malley would not talk.

Rosengren had similar issues in writing his book. He couldn’t get Marichal to discuss his role in the brawl, and Roseboro had died.

When Pearlman first approached Magic Johnson, Johnson’s agent said he wouldn’t talk and suggested that Pearlman give up on his efforts to write the book. Even if he couldn’t get Johnson, Pearlman wasn’t worried because his stories were already out there.

“Magic has done a gazillion interviews … and written books. So has Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]. It’s about getting the guys who were there but haven’t told their stories,” said Pearlman.

For all three panelists, digging into decades-old sports stories was complicated by the passage of time, but motivated them to keep finding new sources to talk to.

“A lot of these guys are about to pass away, and take their stories with them,” Rosengren said.

Ratings Lakers take tumble this season on SportsNet

Ratings for the Los Angeles Lakers on SportsNet have taken a dramatic tumble this season, along with the team’s win-loss record.

According to Nielsen, Lakers games have averaged a 2.15 household rating on Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet this season. That translates to 122,000 households and is a 54% drop from the previous season and is believed to be a new low for the franchise. The team’s season ends tonight in San Antonio against the Spurs.

The previous low for Lakers games was a 2.71 rating for the 2004-05 season, when the team was on Fox Sports West.

Despite the woes of the Lakers, it’s still their town. The rival Clippers are headed to the playoffs, yet their audience remains much smaller.

This season, Clippers games averaged a 1.27 rating, which translates to 72,000 households. Last year, the Clippers averaged a 1.57 rating, or 88,000 households.

Despite the ratings decline, the Clippers still managed to close the ratings gap between the two teams to the closest ever.

ESPN’s ‘June 17, 1994’ recalls a fateful day in sports

Is Brett Morgen’s tone-poem documentary about a day in the life of American sports and heroes of sport. It was the day that Arnold Palmer played his final, fraught round at a U.S. Open, the day the World Cup began in Chicago, that the New York Rangers got a ticker-tape parade for winning the Stanley Cup, that the Knicks and the Rockets played the fifth game of the NBA finals. Most famously, it was the day that, with former teammate Al Cowlings at the wheel, O.J. Simpson, charged with the murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, took his slow ride around the freeways of Southern California in a white Ford Bronco, holding a gun to his head.

The film, which premieres Wednesday as part of ESPN’s anthology series “30 for 30,” is made entirely of archival news footage, some of it in raw, unmediated form, never meant to be seen; there are no talking heads, no present perspective apart from a few final title cards briefly sketching subsequent events. We go into the relative past, to glimpse a young Simpson and Palmer in the full flush of their powers and fame, but time within the film ends with the end of that eponymous Friday. There is no backward look, no summing up, no thoughts recollected in tranquility or continuing anger, only the emotion of the moment. We know no more than what was publicly known by the end of that day. There is no Kato Kaelin here, no Johnny Cochran. The Knicks still might win the championship.

Morgen (whose credits include the Oscar-nominated 1999 boxing documentary, “On the Ropes,” the 2002 Robert Evans biography ” The Kid Stays in the Picture” and Sundance Channel’s wonderful high-school basketball series “Nimrod Nation”) juxtaposes the events of that day in a kind of associative round robin, finding points of contrast and commonality, of similar action and visual consonance, on which to turn his film. But he offers no other, more remote perspective; this is not a summing up of events, but rather a meditation, of an elemental sort, not just on sports but on the way of the world.

I can’t swear that this is what the director had in mind, but these are the sorts of things I thought about while watching his film and afterward: time — the blank future, the fatal moment, the irretrievable past. How life is made into ceremony, the public intersects with the private, and men turn into myths and back into men again, as Simpson’s suicide ride becomes itself a kind of spectator sport, with fans and sensation-seekers lining the streets and freeway bridges, while Palmer’s last round, though fraught with bad shots, becomes a loving communion of athlete and crowd.

It is also, on an even more elemental level — as an object that itself physically exists in time — about shapes moving through space, about chaos and patterns, the random and the formal, seen up close and from high above: bodies on a basketball court, crowds on a golf-course, the unpredictable line of a quarterback cutting through his opposition, the stately procession of a white SUV leading a fleet of police cars down a Southern California freeway.

Mercedes confirms all-new AMG GT sports car

After months of whispers and quiet speculation, Mercedes-Benz has confirmed it is working on a new high-performance sports car, dubbed the AMG GT.

One the eve of the 2014 New York Auto Show, Mercedes on Tuesday night revealed two interior shots of the forthcoming sports car and said little else about the successor to the popular SLS AMG.

“The new Mercedes AMG GT proves that we will be positioning AMG as a dynamic sports car brand even more strongly and aggressively than before,” Tobias Moers, chief executive of Mercedes’ AMG division, said in a statement. “Following the global success of the SLS AMG, the new GT is the second sports car developed fully independently by Mercedes AMG.”

Though the two-seat car will succeed the $200,000 SLS AMG, the new AMG GT will be less expensive and smaller. When it debuts — probably around the Paris Motor Show in early October — the GT will be more of a direct competitor to higher-end Porsche 911 models.

It will also be more of a high-performance machine than the gull-winged SLS. Although that model certainly was no slouch on the tarmac, it leaned more toward an eager grand tourer than an outright sports car.

A more compact and agile package in the GT will help it better keep up with the likes of a 911, Audi R8, Nissan GT-R or Chevy Corvette Z06. Powertrain details haven’t been disclosed, but expect a hand-built V-8 that probably uses turbocharging.

Which wheels will move the car is unknown. Although the SLS was rear-wheel drive, much of Mercedes’ AMG lineup has switched to all-wheel drive. And with the exception of the Corvette, all of the aforementioned competitors come in all-wheel drive configurations.

The AMG GT’s design is another unknown, but don’t expect the SLS’ gull-wing doors to carry over. The inside of the car was inspired by aviation, with various shapes and lines invoking wings or air scoops, Mercedes said.

“Designed to set the driver’s and front passenger’s pulses racing even while at a standstill, it provides an enticing hint of the superlative dynamic performance the new GT is capable when its AMG V-8 comes to life,” Mercedes said.

We’ll see just how hard our pulses race in the coming months as Mercedes reveals more info on the car. And count on getting a first-hand look at the 2014 L.A. Auto Show in November.

Greatest hits in sports hero apologies

These days, even more interesting than the stories of the crime and punishment of our sports heroes are the stories of their mea culpas.

Love may mean never having to say you are sorry. But these days, sports means having to say it all the time, say it without really saying it, or not saying it at all.

Michael Vick’s appearance in the confessional of Sunday’s night’s “60 Minutes” on CBS was one approach. The former NFL star and convicted dog-fighting felon appeared as if he would have admitted to, and been contrite about, stealing the Hope Diamond had he been asked. His message was consistent throughout: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

Interviewer: “Michael, there are some who say that you are the lowest form of slime on the face of the Earth, that the very sight of you disgusts them, that were you to be going slowly under in quicksand and they were nearby with a rope, they’d coil it up and walk away. What do you say to that?”

Vick: “I’d agree.”

All right, so the question wasn’t quite that bad, but it was fascinating to watch the juxtaposition of a somber and penitent Vick in coat and tie, with the film of his playing days, when he was a cool guy with an entourage.

To CBS’ credit, the most obvious question was put directly to Vick: Is this remorse real or is it all part of an orchestrated plan designed by a roomful of lawyers and public relations spinmeisters to rehabilitate your image en route to several more rich NFL contracts?

Vick said it was real. That he is real.

We’ll know in about six months, or whenever he stops going to those promised sessions in which he is supposed to tell kids to be good to their animals.

Vick isn’t the only member of the Assn. of Role Models (ARM) who had to face saying sorry.

So many nonapology apologies. So little time.

There was, of course, our Manny Ramirez, who made it short and sweet: “Hey, man. I screwed up, but I ain’t gonna say no more.”

No dead dogs there, so that seemed to work and life is good again in Mannywood. The several million fans who idolized him and/or cherished the sanctity of the game and the numbers he put up are probably near the end of their therapy sessions now. So it’s OK. Just Manny being Manny.

His former running mate in Boston, David Ortiz, took a slightly different approach. On the day the news broke that he, along with Manny, had grown muscles somewhat more quickly than one does at the gym and used them to hit lots more home runs than guys who do push-ups and take Advil, Ortiz was almost upbeat.

“I’ll get to the bottom of this,” he said. “I’ll get the details and tell all. Just let me get the specifics.”

One news conference later, there were no specifics forthcoming, other than the suggestion that some supplement he took was tainted with illegal stuff. (Someday, organized sport will pool resources and track down the guy who is going from one supplement store to another, all over the country, contaminating Gatorade.)

Nope, when it came time to say he was sorry, Big Papi was a big poop-out.

Then there was Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees’ A-Rod, caught like others with his hand in the steroid jar. He had several public airings, articulated some self-loathing, talked about the culture of the day — the old “everybody was doing it” — and then took the low road by ripping the reporter who got the goods on him.

It was a C-minus performance, a weak Yankee Doodle.

Oh, and speaking of Yankees, remember Roger Clemens, who wouldn’t say he was sorry because he kept misremembering? He continues to misremember while Congress ponders whether it is worth its time and our tax money to take action, since he misremembered specifically under oath in a public hearing before them.

Barry Bonds has never said he is sorry. But then, he has never admitted that he did anything to be so. Interestingly, Major League Baseball isn’t saying it’s sorry for keeping him on the sidelines this season. Probably because it isn’t.

Call it common-sense collusion.

Rick Pitino said he was sorry about having a fling and giving the woman $3,000 that she used for an abortion. Louisville, where he coaches, quickly said it was enough for him to say he was sorry because they need him to win lots of games and make lots of money for the university.

Sorry. They didn’t exactly say that. They just meant it.

Vick will probably get to return to the NFL sometime in October. He will be playing in Philadelphia, where the fans are about as forgiving as a pit bull.

Female cave bug sports ‘penis-like’ sexual organ, study says

Talk about clingy! A newly discovered cave insect can copulate for up to 70 hours, possibly because the female has a “penis-like” sexual organ that penetrates deeply into her male partner, anchoring him for the duration, scientists say.

In a paper published recently in the journal Current Biology, researchers described the exotic sexual characteristics of Neotrogla, a genus of winged insects that inhabit guano-speckled Brazilian caves.

Though a dizzying array of courtship and mating behaviors have been observed among insects, study authors say Neotrogla is unique.

The female possesses a “highly elaborate penis-like structure, the gynosome,” wrote lead author Kazunori Yoshizawa, an entomologist at Hokkaido University in Japan.

This external, or intromittent, sexual organ is curved, spiky and inflatable, Yoshizawa and his colleagues wrote. During copulation, the female mounts the male insect, which itself lacks an intromittent organ. Instead, the male is equipped with a “simple” opening that exposes its seminal duct.

Once sex begins, it typically lasts between 40 and 70 hours, researchers said. The female holds the male so tightly from the inside that when scientists tried to pull one couple apart, the male insect was ripped in half “without breaking the genital coupling.”

So why the gender-bending switcheroo?

Scientists speculate that it has to do with the bugs’ rather barren surroundings. The caves they populate are extremely dry, and the insect’s primary food sources are dead bats and bat dung, which are relatively scarce.

Mating males produce “voluminous” spermatophores, capsules of sperm and nutritious compounds. Competition among females for a male’s “nutritious gifts” may have caused them to develop gynosomes, authors wrote.

“This organ may have a premating function grasping reluctant mates or a postmating function holding mates to ensure prolonged copulation, although these functions are not mutually exclusive,” the authors wrote.