The Sports Archives – AR/VR-Games with Health and Fitness

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Pokémon GO brings with it a method of “phone-assisted exploration.” Players interact not just with an augmented universe within every device, but also other places and people in the real world. People are encouraged to step outside, walk around, and interact with the environment.

By now, you have likely seen, heard, or even experienced it firsthand; in mere weeks, the mobile free-to-play gaming phenomena known as Pokémon GO has spread across multiple continents, captivating numerous countries and achieving record electronic app downloads. Receiving primarily positive feedback from users and critics, Pokémon GO has certainly made an impression on the world in the short time it’s been public, but the consequences of its user-friendly, addictive, and entertaining content have gone quite boldly beyond the screen. News and media outlets from all over are reporting on various social gatherings involving large groups of people, all of them driven by this game! Despite being a simple augmented-reality application designed with a focus on entertainment, Pokémon GO has been playing a shocking role in unifying culture, as well as getting people together and on their feet. Perhaps ironically, this quaint game has encouraged more physical activity and outdoor exploration than the majority of video games in the past, but make no mistake: Pokémon GO could be a decisive episode in the emerging utility and popularity of augmented-reality games, a genre of video entertainment software that could forever change the realm of health and fitness.

            What Do Electronics and Games have to do with Fitness?

 

 

When history has demonstrated “video games” as frequently synonymous with “sit down and stare at a screen”, the concept that computer software (even that which is based on simulated environments) could improve people’s fitness or athleticism may seem far-fetched. However, virtual-reality as a genre of digital entertainment has made great leaps in recent years. The easiest way to see how augmented-reality gaming impacts health and fitness is to look at how different technologies manifest it in the real world.

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Games like Pokémon GO and Ingress create an artificial environment centered in real-life locations and geography, adding an element of fantasy to everyday life. This fantasy, when combined with fitness, exercise, and wellness, can be a powerful motivator!

Games like Pokémon GO or Ingress, an international “portal defense” game, cannot be effectively played from inside one’s home while sitting in a chair. Utilizing GPS and navigation software, these AR-games require participants to actively get up, go outside, and explore their surroundings, encouraging athletic movement! A dedicated player of either of these games will find their weekly cardio quota filled much easier. Additionally, those without much of a natural taste for physical exercise are provided with a new source of motivation to help them along the way. Walking, jogging, running, etc.…these athletic activities have never been so enjoyable!

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Games aren’t the only source of digital AR/VR-assisted exercise in the world…devices like Google Glass are currently in development to expand digital software’s role in everyday life, including fitness. Imagine being able to race yourself!

Augmented reality gaming has come in other forms to encourage exercise and fitness. Perhaps one of the most common examples in recent history is the Nintendo: Wii, released in 2006, the Wii became a revolutionary gaming console because of its cutting-edge motion sensor technology. Wii Sports, a popular accompaniment to the console itself, was a game that demonstrated the console’s capabilities by hybridizing traditional gaming controls with physical player movement in a variety of sports. As a follow up to the console’s success, the Wii Fit hardware expansion was released 1-2 years later to further encourage electronic entertainment and its role in health and fitness.

Preparing for the Future

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Entertainment technology that fully immerses the human body, testing its physical and mental limits, can hardly be ignored as an instrument of next-generation athletics.

Extensive technological advancements involving simulated environments, full-body motion detection, and enhanced movement utilities holds the potential to shrink the gap between digital media and human athleticism in the years to come. Thanks to prospective new fields of development, including holo-imaging, VR-helmets, and artificially-projected environments, the future “sport” may no longer need a massive stadium, and exercise machines like the modern treadmill or elliptical may be replaced by a first-person shooter that incorporates one’s whole body, not just their hands!

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The Sports Archives – Golf Mad 5 Year Old Boy Has His Own Putting Green Installed

golf-ball-313185_1280Artificial Grass Used To Make Boy’s Putting Lawn

Artificial grass has many advantages – it can even be used to create a putting lawn, as one lucky five-year old discovered!

There are many advantages to artificial grass – but did you know it could be used to create your very own putting lawn?

Five year old Bobby Moore is a budding sportsman. Unlike his famous namesake, however, his sport of choice is golf. He is already making a name for himself, scoring his first hole in one at the tender age of three and playing competitively against other children.

His devoted Dad, Robert, who lives in Peterborough, has recently had the front lawn of his family home converted into a putting lawn for his young prodigy. This was created using artificial grass, which came at a cost of £6,500. Robert sees this as giving his son the opportunity to practice and make full use of his talents.

He told ITV News: “It’s good to be focused and want to be good at something – but not to be too hard, because I don’t want to put him off it. I am, after all, a wannabe professional and people say you’re living your talent vicariously through your son – and I suppose to a degree I am, but he’s way better that I ever was.” While encouraging his young son’s talent, the new putting lawn also has another advantage for Dad Robert – he never has to mow it!

Other golfers might take inspiration from this story, as artificial grass is a great choice for a private putting lawn. Not only does it require no maintenance, but it’s perfect to play on all year round – it will not be muddy in the winter or dry in the summer. This is a great idea for golf enthusiasts, ensuring they can keep their skills sharp in all seasons. It’s a luxurious feature to add to any house, which will potentially add value as an executive feature. It’s also great fun for guests after a dinner party or barbecue!

Artificial grass is a great choice for all lawns – not just putting lawns. It’s available in a wide range of styles and colours, which ensures that your grass will look lush, green and aesthetically pleasing at all times. Fake grass requires almost no maintenance, which means that your shed can be used to store sun loungers instead of a lawn mower – you can enjoy your grass without having to tend to it!

Artificial grass is also perfectly safe for pets, and dog mess is not an issue – this can be handled in the same way as it would with natural grass, though an occasional wash with warm soapy water will help to keep it looking fresh. Those with pets and children will reap the benefits of artificial grass, as no mud means no muddy footprints! You can let dogs and toddlers alike wander in and out of the garden without worrying about the dirt trail afterwards.

For those with allergies, artificial grass can also offer relief, avoiding contact with the common irritants that lie in grasses. This also applies to pets, who can often pick up infections from bugs in natural grass.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

Lee Tombs is the Founder of Artificial Grass Installers, with over 10 years of experience, Lee and his team have installed artificial grass in hundreds of homes across Essex, London and Hertfordshire.

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The Sports Archives – Canoeing vs. Kayaking

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Kayaks typically involve double-bladed paddles — a notable difference from canoeing!

The increased frequency of hot, humid days during summertime often drives both competitive and recreational sport enthusiasts closer to water. Various different types of water sport exist, providing diversity in how athletes can continue celebrating their favorite water-bound activities. Some sports involve people occupying and traversing pools, lakes, or rivers themselves, while others may involve exterior devices or equipment: namely, boats! Two common boat-oriented sports which are popular both recreationally and competitively are canoeing and kayaking. Though both of these boat-based sports are alike in many ways, they also feature some differences that make them each unique. Here are some of the components of canoeing and kayaking that make them similar, as well as the facets upon which they diverge.

Similarities of Canoeing and Kayaking

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Though perhaps not as effective as a kayak in many ways, the canoe is nothing if not a work of majestic elegance.

            The most obvious similarities between these two sports lie in location and environment – both canoeing and kayaking involve a body of water, the use of a boat-like flotation mechanism, and a manually-operated propulsion device. The sport itself takes place typically in a river, lake, or stream. The handheld paddle is specifically-modeled to be held by the boat operator and differs in design from an oar because it is not connected to the boat. While the canoe and kayak (boat chasses after which each sport is respectively named) differ in details, both are similarly shaped overall and fulfill an identical purpose.

The sports themselves both feature a variety of formats, including marathons, races, and even camping. Canoeing or kayaking marathons are races that tend to focus on endurance and/or distance, while other races are known for their brief “sprints” across shorter areas. Canoe or kayak camping differs in that it is more often recreational than competitive, and is comparable to camping on land. Canoers and kayakers will load up supplies (often carried in the boat or on worn backpacks) and drift along the water for extended periods.

            Where They Differ

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Another depiction of the differences between kayaking (top boat and paddle) and canoeing (bottom).

Naturally, each sport would not exist in its own right if not for the discernible differences between them. Major differences come in the design of the equipment – each sport’s boat and paddle. Kayak boats are built to accommodate a sitting position unique from that of a canoe, which may even require passengers to kneel depending on its particular design. Additionally, canoeing almost always involves the usage of a single-bladed paddle, whereas kayaks are often accompanied by dual-bladed rowing devices.

Both canoes and kayaks are thousands of years old, but their origins differ slightly. The designs of canoe boats came in great variety and were developed exclusively by many different cultures – however, all of them featured a similar, elongated frame which tapered at the ends and opened up along the top. Perhaps the oldest known canoe in the world is the Pesse canoe, carbon-dated between 7000-8000 BCE. This ancient boat resides in a museum located in the Netherlands. The history of kayaks is very different. Originally created by the Inuit (indigenous peoples of arctic and polar regions) this “hunter boat” was purposed primarily for hunting and fishing, but as time passed, it accumulated popularity in European countries and is now known across the entire world!

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The Sports Archives – Competitive Swimming

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Swimming can be great fun, but there’s no denying that it tests human physical performance. The making of a sport was inevitable!

The seasonal heat that typically accompanies summer is sweeping the Northern Hemisphere, particularly regions close to the planet’s equator! In an effort to escape the scorching sun, many people will find themselves tucked away indoors with the air conditioning unit, but some may alternatively choose to swim! Swimming, as one may expect, is a recreational activity that involves one or more persons and a decently-sized body of water. Swimming is considered a fun, effective form of exercise and, in the case of hot days and months, is also an excellent way to stay cool! Still, while the activity is regarded as pure enjoyment for some, others may view it as a competitive outlet. In what capacity does competitive swimming exist, and how does it differ from regular swimming?

Swimming for Sport: Where did it Begin?

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Open water swimming is a great opportunity for competitors to see the sights. Of course, manmade pools are often more ideal for swimming in a competition environment.

            Traces of swimming can be found far back into ancient human history. Some of the earliest documented evidence of recreational swimming among people dates at around 2000 B.C., and the alleged first book on swimming, title “The Swimmer or A Dialogue on the Art of Swimming”, was written by a German professor named Nikolaus Wynmann. The early-mid 19th Century saw development of “sporty” swimming in England, where competitions centered on the activity began to gain traction and popularity among public swimming clubs. From there, the competitive athletic component of swimming only had room to spread and mature. Men’s swimming became a part of the modern Summer Olympics in 1896 when the first was held in Greece.

            Modern Competitive Swimming

            With the goal being to break pace and time records while trouncing opposing participants, technique is an important component in competitive swimming. Naturally, the surest way to achieve success is to manage one’s endurance and maximize speed when moving through the water. To train for swimming competitions, athletes tend to focus on high-stress physical and stamina training, gradually reducing workload as deadlines approach. To further improve hydrodynamic performance, professional swimmers also shave off excess body hair and shed as much dead skin as possible. This streamlines the body, making movement more efficient.

Competitive swimming is broken up into a variety of styles and formats. For example, in open water swimming, athletes compete in an open body of water like a lake. Swimming competitions may also take place in artificial or manmade water bodies – mainly laned pools. Competitive swimming also featured 4 major styles that have remained relatively consistent over the past few decades. These styles include the butterfly stroke, the breaststroke, the backstroke, and freestyle.

underwater photographs by Stephen Frink as courtesy for TouchTheWall.com, shot at Founder's Park swimming pool, Islamorada, Florida Keys.

Competitive swimming is celebrated worldwide, courtesy of international sporting competitions like the Olympics!

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The Sports Archives – Fencing: Dueling of the Modern Day

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Sword dueling certainly didn’t begin as a sport, but the elements of art, culture and circumstance it brings cannot be ignored.

A sport that involves 2 competitors du king it out with specially-designed swords? You may find yourself asking, “What does any of this have to do with fences?” Ironically, the answer is “practically nothing!” Fencing as a sport has existed for centuries, and is quite celebrated in many countries for its fusion of competitive spirit and physical artistry. Indeed, there is as much creative technique invested in successful fencing as there is fitness, endurance, and concentration. One unique facet of fencing that sets it apart from other sports is the uniqueness of each of its forms. The modern sport is commonly divided into 3 different genres, as well as the same number of competitive “categories”:

“Foil” Fencing

The foil sword is notable for its lightweight, flexible frame, consisting of a guard, grip, and a pronged, tapered-steel blade. The blade is specifically modeled to bend easily (this to prevent injury and the shaft breaking during play). The length of the foil hovers closely around 90 cm and the weight of it cannot exceed 500 grams. A key difference in all fencing weapons compared to real-life swords is the “button” that replaces the tip of the blade. Aside from the blade itself, the most prominent component of the foil is the button assembly. Foils are modeled in both electric and nonelectric varieties. A judge is necessary in distributing points during a nonelectric foil match, but with electric foils, the tip registers contact electronically and points are distributed based on the validity of the hit.

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Ever-improving technology, when combined with sports, can be either a hit or miss. Modern fencing is often heavily-assisted by technology, but this tends to enhance the experience of it as a sport.

Épée” – The French Sibling

French for “sword”, this weapon is the largest of the 3 fencing sword variants and also weighs the most. Notable differences from the foil (in both weapon design and game format) include the implementation of a stiffer blade design (though it remains flexible enough to preserve safety) that, unlike the rectangular foil and sabre, is triangularly cut. The bell guard of an épée is also more pronounced than its counterparts.

Contrary to other competitive categories, when épée fencing, the entire body of each player may be tagged fairly, including the limbs. The nature of this fencing genre lends it to be slightly more lax on aggressive play, as players are expected to work much more diligently in landing and avoiding hits. Indeed, épée fencing, in regulations and play, most closely resembles classical sword dueling of the 1800s.

Sabre – A Hybridization?

Sabre, or saber fencing involves slightly altered rules and another unique sword design. The blade of a sabre is relatable to an épée, although it is not as stiff.

The target area in sabre fencing is above the waist up, similar to foil fencing. However, instead of restricting legal hits to the torso only, sabre fencing usually permits strikes on the hands and head as well (though not hands). The most prominent difference in sabre fencing play deals with landing the hits themselves – firstly, it is noteworthy that the sword utilized has no button on its tip to track points from successful hits. Rather, the entire blade is valid for delivering strikes against players. Due to this exceptional mechanic, sabres that function electrically are preferable, and tracking hits is made easy by a current delivered from the sword through the opposing player’s fencing gear.

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A graphical overview of the differences in each fencing genre’s weapon design and valid target locations.

Historical Overview

It should come as no surprise that fencing began not as a sport, but as a military training exercise. In an era where swords dominated the battlefield as an effective weapon of choice, sparring between aspiring swordsmen was a crucial part of military training and skill development. Unassisted by fancy electrical equipment and specially designed weaponry, duelists would engage each other to refine their abilities and, with any luck, get an opportunity to test their mettle in the field.

Changing times aided fencing in its transition from applied combat to recreational/competitive sporting activity. Sword dueling moved from military environments to fencing schools and academies amid Europe in the 1700s. Across the next couple of centuries, techniques, rules, and other elements that pool into creating a wholesome sport began to manifest. Today, fencing is internationally renowned and celebrated as one of several combat-oriented competitive sporting activities.

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The Sports Archives – Sport Hunting

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In modern society, the validity and relevance of hunting, particularly for recreation or sport, is constantly questioned. Will changing times see it outlawed entirely, or will it endure as a testimony to human history?

Certainly not the least controversial sporting practice among humans, trophy hunting or hunting for sport is commonly defined as the stalking, trapping, and/or killing of wildlife by humans. It typically encompasses any predatory behaviors exhibited by humans towards wild animals and can be found in a variety of regions and environments. In the United States, sport hunting is regulated quite extensively by federal law, in the interest of properly protecting delicate species and habitats in the environment. These regulations and requirements tend to make game hunting fairly complicated, and the sport is complicated further by environmental and climate conditions. As a result, understanding the regulations and rules that accompany hunting is a key component of participating.

Unanimous Regulations? Not so much…

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Some hunters allow dogs to accompany them. Like any element of sport hunting, state law can be very strict and specific in regards to when dogs are permitted on a hunt, a fact that is, perhaps, frequently overlooked.

The rules and regulations that accompany sport hunting in the United States are exceptionally restrictive and difficult to narrow down. The fine details can vary from state to state, which makes knowing what is and isn’t allowed more of a ‘chore’ than with other sports. Some examples of the state rules include Oklahoma’s prohibition on computer-assisted hunting (the usage of software or remote firing mechanisms) and Arkansas’ law against “spotlighting” from a public urban location, with an exception when hunting bullfrogs or furbearers. As can be clearly seen from these 2 rules alone, the full content of a state’s hunting guide not only covers regional laws rather extensively, each also has room for variation.

Unfortunately, not every rule and law can be included here, but a firm understanding of those specific to one’s state is critical for any aspiring hunter. Fortunately, nearly all state hunting handbooks and guides can be found with a single web search. While federal regulation is still a burden in many areas, it is effective in making important information available online.

Hunting ‘Season’ – Open vs. Closed

While the specifics of each state’s hunting season are about as unique as the aforementioned regulations, the general concept of “hunting season” is cumulative. Not to be confused with seasons pertaining to climate or weather, hunting season is a period of the year in which the state makes it publically legal to hunt a specific species of animal. By extension, there exists the “open season” and “closed season”, respectively.

An open season, as one may expect, is a period where species hunting is allowed per state conservation law. The role of hunters is thereby to (lawfully and with reasonable discretion) partake in the season. A role less discussed but of unequivocal importance is that of each state’s fish and wildlife agencies, which must act as moderators to ensure the local environment and ecosystems remain intact. Open seasons are generally projected in advance and, as common sense would dictate, are projected during periods of maximum species’ population density.

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Sometimes, hunting, particularly sport or trophy hunting, can get out of hand and threaten an entire animal species. Hunting is not inconsequential! Regulation and discretion on the part of humanity is crucial.

A closed season, contrarily, is a time period in which hunting of a particular species is explicitly illegal. Closed seasons are instituted to protect vulnerable species or to halt destabilization of local ecological regions. Hunting a species during a closed season on that species is recognized as illegal hunting or, in other words, poaching. Knowledge of local species’ season schedules is tantamount to legal, tidy sport hunting practices.

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The Sports Archives – Best 10 CFB Coaches with Excellent NFL Talent Developing Skills

Nick Saban - Alabama

We cannot deny the importance and roles of coaches in developing talented players. NFL has shown us a lot of great players so far and will continue to bring in new talented players in future as well. There are some excellent CFB coaches who have played a huge role in preparing players for the NFL. It is a tough task for the coaches to find out a talent at college or university level and train them to compete vigorously in the NFL. However, a great coach has the skills to understand the players and they inspire, support, challenge and lead players by example. Here is a look at 10 CFB coaches who are most effective at developing NFL talents.

  1. Nick Saban (Alabama)

Nick Saban is an American football coach. He is the head football coach at the University of Alabama since the 2007 season. Saban is well-known for his recruiting skills and it is hard for others to beat him on draft day. He could produce many first-rounder picks over five straight drafts from 2010-2014 and 39 draft picks over the last five years makes him the best coach in the field.  None can deny his ability to develop talent and he has offered NFL plenty of talented players already including Rashad Johnson who is entering his eighth NFL season as a DB.

  1. Urban Meyer (Ohio State)

Urban Frank Meyer is an American college football coach. He is the head football coach at the Ohio State Buckeyes right now. Meyer is a giant when it comes to developing talents. Ohio State could introduce a lot of players in the NFL draft after Meyer appointed as head coach. Meyer has coached four OSU draft classes toting up 26 players.  Joe Haden, Percy Harvin, and Pouncey twins Mike and Maurkice are the products of Meyer.

  1. Jimbo Fisher (Florida State)

John James is an American college football coach and is the head coach at Florida State University now. Fisher has averaged a massive seven draft picks for every year over the last five years and seven were chosen in the first round as well. He is recognized for preparing players mentally and physically strong.

  1. Mark Dantonio (Michigan State)

Mark Dantonio is an American football coach and is the current head coach at Michigan State University. He could produce 19 draft picks over the last five years. He is celebrated for changing the mindset of players tremendously. DB Darqueze Dennard, DB Trae Waynes and OL Jack Conklin provide Dantonio a lively streak of first-round picks in three successive years.

  1. Bob Stoops (Oklahoma)

Bob Stoops is an American college football coach. He has been the head coach at the University of Oklahoma since 1999. He is identified for making players motivated and work harder. He has a record for first-round picks in a single draft, that is, four and his 28 players have been chosen over the past five years.

  1. Mark Richt (Miami Fl.)

Mark Allan Richt is an American football coach. He is the head coach at the University of Miami and was the head football coach at the University of Georgia. In 2013, he could make eight selections.  Richt had 27 players chosen from his former school over the previous five years.

  1. Dabo Swinney (Clemson)

Dabo Swinney is an American football college coach. He is currently the head coach at Clemson. Swinney’s tenure as head coach became fruitful this year as he could deliver nine draft picks. He could make at least one first-round pick every year since 2013 and his draft-pick total since 2012 is 27 players.

  1. Les Miles (LSU)

Leslie Edwin Miles is an American football coach. He is the head football coach at Louisiana State University (LSU) since January 2005. Miles has developed 13 first-round picks in his term and his best college quarterback was JaMarcus Russell. In 2013-2014 drafts, LSU could make 18 selections.

  1. Brian Kelly (Notre Dame)

Brian Keith Kelly is an American football coach. He is the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame since December 2009. Kelly deserves credit for preparing talents since he could make eight choices in the 2014 draft and seven this year. During his tenure, he’s turned out six first-round and six second-rounder picks. Kelly has produced 26 picks over the past five years.

  1. David Shaw (Stanford)

David Shaw is an American football coach. He is the current head coach of the Stanford Cardinal football team. He showed his talent developing skills in five Stanford draft classes and each of which resulted in no less than three selections. Shaw has 17 picks over the last three years thanks to his 10 years of NFL experience.

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