The Sports Archives – 2020 Darts World Championships: Who are the Betting Favourites?

Lasting for 18 days and featuring the best players in the world, the PDC Darts World Championships is the sport’s showpiece event. One of two world championships, the other being held by the BDO, the PDC World Championships have been held annually since 1994, when the sport split into two governing bodies. Phil Taylor remains the most successful world champion, winning the tournament on 16 occasions during his stellar career.

A new generation of players has emerged in recent years, as the sport continues its rapid growth in popularity throughout the world. No longer a game played solely by UK darts players, with a smattering of Dutch names, we’re now beginning to see competitors from around the globe making a name for themselves in the sport.

As we count down to this year’s event, to be held throughout December and culminating in the final on January 1st, let’s take a look at the leading contenders for this year’s title.

Michael van Gerwen

Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen has been tipped by many as the man who could challenge Taylor’s record, although with just three titles to his name the Dutchman has a long way to go. But in terms of the best player in the world right now, there aren’t many that come close to the 30-year old. While he’s been struggling with his form at the moment, van Gerwen has proven beyond doubt you should never ignore him in the big tournaments.

Gary Anderson

Those looking for a great value bet, Scotland’s Gary Anderson has shown he knows what it takes to win this tournament. The two-time champion beat Phil Taylor in the final in 2015 and 2016, and at around 10/1 in the latest darts betting odds, the 48-year old could be a very smart pick this year. Back injuries have plagued Anderson for much of this season, but the Flying Scotsman is expected to be back fighting fit in good time for the end-of-year showpiece.

Rob Cross

One of the real stars of 2019 has been Rob Cross. The 28-year-old has won three premier events this year, climbing up to second in the world rankings in a great career year. Of course, 2018 was Cross’ real breakout season, one which ended with the Englishman winning the world championship in which he beat Phil Taylor in his final ever appearance. On current form, Cross definitely has to be one of the firm favorites heading into this year’s tournament.

Darts” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by virginsuicide photography

Peter Wright

He might not yet have won the world championship, but Peter Wright has proven to many that he has what it takes to win the sport’s most prestigious title. 2019 has been a great year for the colorful 49-year old, and the Scot’s recent loss in the Brisbane Open may end up being nothing more than a blip in an otherwise sensational year. At this stage in his career, and playing some of the best darts of his life, Wright may well feel this is his best chance of ever winning this tournament.

With everything up for grabs in this World Championship and with the top runners seemingly neck-and-neck, only time and a few darts will show us who’s worthy of adorning this year’s crown.

Advertisements
Posted in Other | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sports Archives – Effective Warm-Up and Cool-Down Methods

We all know the importance of warming up and cooling down—so why do so many of us skimp on our stretching? Maybe you’re eager to begin your workout so you do a couple static stretches, shake out your legs, and then start with completely cold, tight muscles. I’ve been there, and I have a laundry list of injuries to show for it! That’s why I’m going to make sure you have an effective, diverse, and entertaining way of stretching that’s guaranteed to greatly reduce your risk of injury.

Warming up

First, you need to get the blood circulating and warm the muscles. Some light cardio that doesn’t exhaust all your energy is an optimal way to start your warmup. Riding the stationary bike, speed walking or jogging, taking a swim, and jump rope all provide great ways to accomplish this. Continue performing cardio until you feel warmed up and the muscles are loose. And while there’s no time limit, I wouldn’t recommend going for longer than ten minutes.

Next comes dynamic stretching, which both promotes blood flow to the muscles and lubricates the joints. Dynamic stretching involves performing slow and methodical movements, usually for 10-15 repetitions. While having a predetermined routine for performing dynamic stretches is safe and reliable, the best movements are going to vary depending on your upcoming workout. Someone doing heavy squats would want to perform butt kicks, knee raises, leg swings, and other stretches that hit the muscles of the legs and glutes, while someone doing heavy shoulder presses may want to start with arm circles and have a more shoulder-centric stretch routine.

The final step in warming up is band work—my secret sauce for joint health. I had a long bout of elbow tendonitis from playing tennis, and consistently doing band work resolved my joint pain in a matter of weeks. Take a looped band of 10-15lbs resistance and perform the following holds for 20-30 seconds each, repeating three times.

  • At shoulder height and with a shoulder width grip, pull hard on either side of the band.
  • Allow your arms to fall at your sides and hold the band at shoulder width behind your back, with your palms facing away. Again, try pulling the band apart.
  • Placing your foot over the band, use one hand (palm down) to curl your arm towards your shoulder as far as it will go.
  • Last, fold the band in half and hold it in front of you, keeping it perpendicular with the floor. Then pull hard with one arm going towards the sky and the other pulling toward the floor.

Cooling down

After your workout the muscles will start to tighten up and you may experience adaptive muscle shortening. In order to avoid this, we perform static stretches. Static stretches are most often held between 10 and 30 seconds, but I’ve learned that holding them for upwards of a minute seems to work best for most trainees. As a rule of thumb, hold the stretch until you feel loose—and not by looking at the clock. In contrast to dynamic stretching, it’s usually optimal to have a set routine when doing static stretching. Even if some muscles were not used, they still need to be kept loose.

After static stretching, heat should be applied by taking a warm bath or shower to improve blood circulation and reduce lactic acid buildup. Conversely, if the muscles are swollen or strained, ice should be applied to reduce swelling. In both cases additional relief, like NSAIDs, topical cannabidiol oil, or compression wraps are reasonable options to aid in recovery.

If you can, try getting yourself a deep tissue massage after bathing to loosen the muscle fibers and break down fascia. Alternative methods include foam rolling, self-massage, rolling with a tennis ball, or using a massage chair. The entire warm up and cool down sessions should collectively occupy about an hour of your routine. And, considering it takes weeks or months to recover from injuries, it’s well worth that time.

Posted in Fitness/Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sports Archives – A Guide to Evo 2019: Esports Largest Fighting Game Tournament

Evo – The Largest Fighting Game Tournament in ESports.

Today is the first day of Evo 2019. A lot of fighting game competitors and experts have already entered the Mandalay Convention Center and are getting ready to face off in what is essentially the world cup of fighting game tournaments and what may be the most important tournament of their lives. A lot of these competitors have come from far distances, even other countries, just to compete for a chance at fame and glory. For fans of the competitive fighting game scene, this is the most exciting time of the year. However, if you are not exactly familiar with this particularly passionate part of the ESports community, watching a competitive fighting game tournament can be daunting. That’s why I’ve created a guide with everything you need to know about Evo 2019, including what Evo is, what games are being played at Evo 2019, when each game is being played, where to watch the competition, and why you should care about it. Let’s get started.

First of all, you may be asking yourself, “What even is Evo?”. The Evolution Championship Series (Evo for short) is the largest fighting game event in the world. Across three days, a variety of fighting game tournaments, announcements, panels, and other events will take place. Competitors flock from all over the world to compete in these championship tournaments which decide who is the best in the world for each respective fighting game.

So what fighting games are being played? At Evo 2019, there will be 9 official tournament games. They are as follows:

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition:

Like its predecessors which invented the fighting game genre, Street Fighter V is a 2D, one on one fighting game in which players try to execute combos and counter attacks in typical fighting game fashion. A new meter system makes this entry more inclined to risk versus reward gameplay than previous entries.

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle:

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle is a 2D, two on two fighting game, which includes characters from a variety of fighting games including BlazBlue Central Fiction, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In Birth, and more. As the name implies, players can “Tag” in the other character on their team to help with combos and even to lengthen supers (with enough meter).

Mortal Kombat XI:

Mortal Kombat XI is a bloody 2D, one on one fighting game, that upholds the series tradition of absurd, over-the-top violence. In this entry players can use new supers called “Fatal Blows” when their health is low to help even the odds.

Samurai Shodown:

Samurai Shodown is a 2D, one on one fighting game that sets itself apart from other fighters with its unique art style and risk versus reward gameplay. Players have a “Rage” meter that fills up as they take hits and allows them to perform a devastating super once per match.

DragonBall FighterZ:

Based on the popular DragonBall anime series, DragonBall FighterZ is a 2D, three on three fighting game that translates well the flashy action and over-the-top transformations of the show. Because of its use of auto combos, this game can be both easily accessible and difficult to master at the same time.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate:

With a roster of over 70 characters from numerous video games and growing, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lives up to the “Ultimate” in its name by being one of the best 2D platform fighting games around. As its name implies, the “platform fighting” game genre involves players frantically trying to knock one another off of a series of platforms. I’d highly recommend watching this game first if you’ve never watched a fighting game before as it’s easy to understand and follow and is extremely satisfying to watch.

Under Night In Birth: EXE Latest:

Under Night In Birth: EXE Latest might have a long, somewhat confusing name, but this 2D one on one fighting game has easy to learn but deep mechanics and aggressive, fast-paced gameplay. The GRD system in particular allows for some game changing counter attacks.

Tekken 7:

Tekken 7 is a 3D one on one fighting game with a long and prosperous history as one of the best 3D games in the genre. Each punch has weight behind it and the back and forth between combos, blocks and doges really makes Tekken matches intense to watch.

Soul Calibur 6:

Soul Calibur 6 is a 3D one on one fighting game that is unique in that each character can select various weapons to use in combat. These weapons are balanced well and complement the already great fighting mechanics. This entry in particular also features a host of guest characters, such as Geralt from The Witcher series.

So now that you know which games are being played, when exactly is each game being played over the next three days. The Schedule for Evo 2019 is as follows:

Now that you know when the games are being played, where can you go to watch then? The easiest way to watch Evo is to watch on Twitch on the seven different Twitch streams that correspond to the names listed in the image above (/EVO – /EVO7). A link to all of these Twitch streams can be found here (https://www.twitch.tv/team/evolution_2019_ticket).

Lastly, why should you care about Evo 2019? Well if you’re new to ESports, Evo is the perfect place to start. Instead of following a whole team across different viewpoints where it is difficult to see what is going on (as is the case in many popular ESports like Overwatch), at Evo, there is only one screen and two very skilled players, making their battle easy to follow and exciting. Fighting games can be thought of this way; fighting games are to E-Sports what boxing or MMA fighting is to contact sports. It’s player versus player, in a fast-paced war of mind games, reads, punishes, panics, and victories. The people in the fighting game community are also passionate, skilled, friendly, and accepting, and following each player’s individual story is also engaging. So, whether you love fighting games, or have never picked up a controller in your life, there is something at Evo for everyone, and each year, both new participants and spectators continue to join in on the excitement. Will You?

By Jared Cocomazzi

08/02/2019

Posted in E-Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sports Archives – 5 Bachelor Party Sports Activity Ideas

Image Source. Licensed under Creative Commons. 

When planning activities for a bachelor party, sports activities can often go down well. They’re great for bringing everyone together and breaking the ice before a likely night of drinking. Here are just five sports activities that could be perfect if you’re planning yours or someone else’s bachelor party. 

Golf

Golf is a reliable choice of activity for a bachelor party. It can be fairly leisurely, whilst still getting people’s competitive spirits up. If you’re planning a weekend away, you could even try a golf course abroad – many courses are positioned in spectacular locations and have on-site hotels. You can also add dares, challenges and bets to make the trip more exciting such as taking a shot every time you lose a hole or putting money into a pot for whoever wins.  

Fishing

Fishing can be another great activity for a bachelor’s party. You could consider doing some leisurely river fishing, setting up camp and having a few beers. Alternatively, if you’d prefer a fishing trip with a bit more thrills, you could try chartering a boat and going out on the sea using a company such as Side Bet Sport Fishing. Having a professional guide with you could ensure that you find the best fishing spot so that you’re more likely to catch something.

Go-karting

Another fun option could be to try some go-karting. This is a great competitive activity to get people’s adrenaline racing. There are outdoor and indoor go-karting tracks – if you think it may rain, an indoor track could be a better option (K1 Speed are the most popular indoor go-karting company). Some tracks will allow private parties, allowing you to have the whole track to yourself, whilst other may not offer this option. 

Archery

If you’re looking for something a little alternative, you could try looking into archery. There are archery ranges that you can go to, as well as mobile archery companies that could allow you more flexibility when it comes to choosing your location. A professional archery company may be able to set challenges to make it a more fun event.

Bubble soccer

For soccer enthusiasts, bubble soccer could provide a more unique spin on an otherwise standard game of five-a-side. Players are half encased in bubble suits that resemble zorb balls with only their feet sticking out. Getting close enough to tackle one another often means colliding into each other, which can make the game very fun and comical. You can find a few companies that provide bubble soccer costumes online. 

 

Posted in Golf, Other | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sports Archives – NASCAR Disqualifications Rock the Truck Racing Realm

This past February, NASCAR raised some eyebrows after announcing that the organization is planning to disqualify vehicles that fail a post-race inspection. The new policy wasn’t enacted until June 16th, when truck racer Ross Chastain’s No. 44 Chevrolet didn’t meet the requirements for ground clearance measurements during a Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race at the Iowa Speedway. Chastain was stripped of his first-place title, and instead, runner up Brett Moffitt was declared the winner.

Just last year, before the enactment of the new postrace inspection policy, Chastain would have likely kept his winning title, though he would not have been able to use the victory to qualify for the playoffs and would have lost ten points, seven playoff points, and the $50,000 racing bonus. Chastain and his team, Niece Motorsports, have appealed NASCAR’s ruling to restore his trophy and title, but the penalty was upheld.

The Impact of Chastain’s Disqualification

While the Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race is considered to be NASCAR’s equivalent of a minor league, the decision to disqualify a racer has still created waves throughout the entire community considering that this is the first time the organization has stripped a driver of their win since the 1990s.

The new policy is controversial, especially when it comes to the height of vehicles. There’s not postrace rule for height in the larger Cup series, but just smaller competitions. According to 2014 Cup champion Kevin Harvick, “It’s an easy way to send a message through a less publicized series with less attention, to not have the critics and [uprising] you would have if and when it happens here.”

The Future of NASCAR Truck Racing

To many, the recent disqualification has proven that NASCAR sees the rules that they’ve set in black and white. They’re willing to strip titles for any infraction of their regulation without mercy. Going forward, truck racers are going to have to pay much more attention to the height and weight of their vehicle among many other aspects. Fans can expect to see NASCAR upholding their decisions, and there’s a significant potential for more racers to see themselves disqualified in the coming months.

After NASCAR’s disqualification of Ross Chastain earlier this month, there have been fears in the truck racing community about the harsh postrace inspection rules set forth by the organization. Drivers have reacted poorly to the policy, with concerns over the equality of regulations across different racing circuits.

NASCAR is upholding their decision, however, bringing into question the future of the truck racing industry.

Posted in Motorsports, Racing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sports Archives – 5 Reasons To Get Your Workout Wear Right

The phrase “dress for success” isn’t just important in the boardroom, but many associate it as such. However, what you wear DOES matter, particularly when it comes to athletic wear. The clothes that you choose to wear during exercise will directly affect your performance and how you feel while you’re working out. Most people throw on any loose clothing; you’re going to sweat anyway, so why dress up for it?

Here’s the thing: your workout clothing is going to make a big difference to the way that you feel, and we’ve got five solid reasons that choosing the right athletic wear is going to improve the way that you workout. Let’s take a look:

Image Source

A Confidence Boost

What you wear in the gym is going to make a difference if you know it’s going to help you to perform better. There is a lot of research that has shown that there is a positive impact on wearing the right clothing for work, and this is something that extends to the gym, too. If you know you look good, you’ll feel good, and that’s how you will act, too.

Performance Improvement

Did you know that there are some clothing pieces that have been banned from professional swimming contests because they can shave a swimmer’s lap time? Polyurethane is the material that has been banned for almost a decade because they created an advantage. Sure, you may not swim; you may prefer to work out. But, you buy the better trainers and the form-fitting t-shirts to be more aerodynamic when you run. It’s all for better performance.

Adds Protection

The right workout gear can provide you with better protection, and you can see the best helmet reviews on the TriStar products review site. Sports equipment that doesn’t fit correctly can really interfere with the way that you workout. Protection isn’t just about helmets, either. It’s long sleeves to protect your skin from the sun; it’s caps to stop your face burning.

Freedom Of Movement

Men aren’t the best shoppers when it comes to their athletic wear, and it’s often because they choose the cheapest options. The problem with cheap is that often the clothes don’t fit well and the cheapest materials are used. Freedom of movement is so important when it comes to being active, so you need to shop for clothing that fits your form and not too loose or too tight.

Aid In Recovery

Did you know that compression clothing can help you to recover your performance? The graduated compression can assist your body and its circulation and recovery is boosted, making you feel good when you workout and recover afterwards.

The athletic wear industry is a big one, and it’s growing rapidly. There are plenty of companies out there that will help you to choose from a range of workout wear that will fit you. Always check your workout wear to ensure you’re not going to be in the gym and feeling uncomfortable in any way.

Posted in Fitness/Wellness, Other | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sports Archives – How To Get Fit When You Haven’t Worked Out In a While

swimming

Source

So we all know that it’s important to do exercise on a regular basis. It’s good for your physical health, your heart and not to mention has been proven to do wonders for your mental health too. But sometimes life can get in the way and it can be weeks or even months since you’ve last gotten some exercise and worked up a sweat. Maybe it’s even been years and you’re overwhelmed with the prospect at starting your fitness journey again. There could be questions of how you can start your new exercise regime and get moving in a safe, enjoyable and most importantly sustainable way.  

The great think about sports and exercise is that there is something for everyone. No matter your age, gender or fitness level there’s guaranteed to be something that will be possible for you. It’s never too late to start improving your life. 

Here’s a list of a few things you can do to ease yourself into a new exercise regime and to have you feeling fit, healthy and great. 

How To Get Started 

One of the easiest, simple and cheap ways to get back into cardiovascular activity is by taking a walk. Try to aim to go faster than your regular strolling speed and to get your heart pumping. Aim for a speed where your breathing and heart rate are slightly elevated to moderate intensity. A daily brisk walk of between 10 and 20 minutes is a good starting point. Try to increase your walk by a few minutes daily to make sure that your body doesn’t get too used to the level of exercise. Eventually, you may feel ready to jog at a slow pace for a short burst of time or even cycle instead. 

If you’re looking for something more challenging feel free to visit your local gym. With a huge array of fitness classes and sports available you’re guaranteed to find something that takes your interest. Many gyms even offer personal training sessions now to help you get familiar with the machinery and help you with a plan to assist you with reaching your fitness goals. 

Be Aware and Be Safe

Before starting any new exercise routine its recommended that you consult your doctor first. They will usually sign off with a fit bill of health but if you have any niggles, in particular, a reason why you stopped exercising in the first place its always good to get it checked out first rather than to be sorry later on. 

Your physician will likely ask about any symptoms or pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Breathing problems such as asthma or any family struggles with diabetes. They may also be interested in if you have any problems with your joints, muscles or bones. 

If your doctor does raise concerns don’t be disheartened. There are hundreds of people out there who suffer from ailments and your doctor may be able to suggest tweaks and changes that you can incorporate into your fitness lifestyle that will still allow you to achieve your exercise goals.

Setting Your Goals (and stick to them) 

It’s a great idea to have some achievable goals and milestones that you would like to reach when starting out with fitness. It will help you monitor your progress and keep you motivated. 

If you’re looking to get fit, tone up or lose weight, cardio is a great place to start. It gets your heart rate up and supercharges your metabolism. Low impact exercises such as swimming and pilates are great for a significant calorie burn. One hour swimming at a moderate pace can burn up to 800 calories alone. Group swimming classes like Aqua aerobics are a great way for you to socialise while still getting healthy. Ametuer swimming teams are popping up all over the country-  caps with your team logo on are a fun way to make sure you all feel a part of the team. 

If you’re more interested in getting strong and lean consider hitting the weight room. Get involved with lifting weights and working using resistance machines as well as your own body weight. Bodyweight only exercises like lunges, pushups and pull-ups are a great easy way to get started. 

For overall body fitness, it is recommended to incorporate them all for a balanced workout.

 

Posted in Fitness/Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment