The Sports Archives – England’s Best Cricket Captains

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The cricket World Cup is just around the corner and England have been named as the favourites according to Paddy Power. England have finished as the runner-up on three occasions, but are yet to win cricket’s biggest prize.

This year’s tournament provides England with the perfect opportunity to end their drought of World Cup wins, especially as they are hosting the competition. Eoin Morgan is England’s captain and will be hoping to achieve what no other England captain has ever achieved before – winning the cricket World Cup.

Morgan is just the latest of a long line of great England cricket captains, and we’ve taken a look at some of the best.

Nasser Hussain

The Essex cricket club legend made his mark on the England national team when he was named as the test captain in 1999. England won 17 test matches with Hussain as captain, putting him in fourth place on the list of England captains with the most test match victories.

Nasser Hussain was part of the 1999 England cricket World Cup squad, although it wasn’t until after the tournament that he became captain. His only World Cup as captain saw England eliminated in the group stage of the tournament, primarily due to the fact that England refused to play Zimbabwe due to safety concerns.

By refusing to play Zimbabwe, England lost by walkover and it was Zimbabwe who finished above them in the table, knocking them out.

Although Hussain may have been the captain during a disappointing World Cup campaign, he is no doubt one of the best England had and the team certainly saw a boost when he took over the role.

Graham Gooch

In 1989, England lost the Ashes series 4-0, resulting in the resignation of David Gower as full-time captain. In stepped Graham Gooch to take over and make the role his own. He had previously been captain, but had not been named as the full-time captain.

Although England weren’t at their most dominant during Gooch’s tenure, they did pick up some impressive test wins against India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

A true leader, Gooch set an example to his teammates, often having a batting average that was almost double that of the rest of the team. It was his leadership that secured England a runner-up place in the 1992 World Cup, and the third one in England’s history. Close to success, but not quite close enough.

Michael Vaughan

As captain of the England team, Michael Vaughan led the team to a historic Ashes victory in 2005. It was the first time in 18 years that England had won the Ashes and it was arguably the biggest moment in his career.

He was first named captain in 2003, a year in which he was statiscially one of the best batsmen in the world. During his time as captain, Vaughan suffered a huge dip in form, which fortunately didn’t affect the 2005 Ashes result.

One of his best traits was his calmness, even when the match looked to be lost. His refusal to panic helped reassure the team and ensured that they were able to rescue results which looked impossible to achieve.

Vaughan has even given his backing to the current England squad and believes that it is “the best opportunity in my time” to see England win the cricket World Cup.

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The Sports Archives – 7 Summer Workouts Worth Trying

Summer comes with all sorts of good things: sunshine, vacations, freedom from working around your kids’ school schedules, and more opportunities for exercising outdoors. This means breaking up the monotony of going to the gym or having to make it to an indoor strength training class at a certain time. If your spring exercise routine is leaving you feeling a little uninspired, here are seven workouts worth trying this summer that can help you mix things up and have tons of fun in the process.

  1. Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Also known as SUP, stand-up paddleboarding is a fun way to enjoy a lake, river, or the ocean while getting a full-body workout (and a nice tan). Simply standing on the board is a workout in itself, but SUP is one of the best workouts for toning your abs, strengthening your core, and improving balance.

  1. Boga

Boga takes SUP up a notch by combining yoga with balancing on the board. You don’t move through the water to work your core in boga, but you do engage your core muscles by holding yoga poses, all while working with the movement of water.

  1. Yoga on the Lawn

According to House Method, there are a variety of ways you can switch up your workout this summer to break up the monotony of riding on your at-home cycling machine or taking a walk around the neighborhood. Bring your yoga mat to the front lawn or backyard and invite a few friends or neighbors to join you for a 30-minute session.

  1. Hiking

It’s time to part ways with the treadmill for a few months and hit the ground running (or hiking or cycling). Take advantage of any parks, mountains, and nature trails near you to breathe in some fresh air while you get your exercise. Not only will you be able to get some fresh air, but you’ll also be able to experience lower stress levels, improve bone density, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

  1. League Sports

Joining a sports league is a great way to get exercise and social interaction at the same time. You’ll get a lesson in how to be a team player, which can carry into both your work and family life, and be able to improve hand-eye coordination that gym workouts sometimes don’t provide.

  1. Outdoor Court Sports

If you’ve never tried court sports, summer is the best time to do it. Lots of parks provide tennis, basketball, or sand volleyball courts. These activities move you away from a singular plane of motion that treadmills and ellipticals offer. Court sports require directional changes, vertical movements, and bursts of speed.

  1. Swimming

Another great thing about summer is getting more quality time with your kids. Every one of the previous workouts offer the opportunity to get them involved. Since many leagues or boga classes won’t allow kids, invest in a local pool membership for the summer where you can swim laps and splash around with your kids. Swimming is a great way to build endurance, strengthen your muscles, and maintain a healthy weight.

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The Sports Archives – 5 Benefits of Strength Training

Strength training is a popular and accessible form of exercise for a wide range of individuals. From college students to grandparents, there are countless ways to make this exercise a part of your life, at any age. If you have been considering strength training and are wondering what you stand to gain, here are five benefits you should consider.

  1. Increased Discipline

In order to become stronger, you need to train on a regular basis. As a result, strength training is excellent at helping create a routine in your health and fitness life. With this increased discipline, you may find yourself waking up earlier or scheduling in more time for training as the results begin to speak for themselves.

  1. Improved Athletic Performance

If you’re an athlete, strength training will undoubtedly help you perform at a higher level in your sport. By conditioning the body, you will gain both physical and mental strength to take your athletic abilities to greater heights. Additionally, strength training helps maintain bone and muscle mass. This is crucial, especially as we age. Weak bones and muscles can lead to instability and falls, which could result in more serious health complications. With strength training, you reduce the chance of sustaining injury for the long-term.

  1. Convenient Workouts at Home

Unlike other forms of exercise or other workout routines, strength training can be done from your living room, or, better yet, a designated workout area. According to House Method, you don’t need to go to the gym to practice strength training. You can complete a powerful and effective workout right in the comfort of your own home.

Simply purchase a few weights of varying sizes and keep them in a location you’ll use frequently—having easy access to your weights will make you more likely to use them. When it’s time for your workout, instead of heading out to the gym, you can walk to your weight area and get your blood pumping.

  1. Improved Brain Health

Strength training is more than just about the biceps. As it turns out, it can also help boost brain function. This is especially true in older adults who may be experiencing some decline in their cognitive abilities. Additionally, strength training can help improve symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety. So whether you’re looking to increase cognitive ability or take care of your mental health, this exercise could be right for you.

  1. Maintained Weight

As you build muscle through strength training, your body begins burning calories more easily. When the body burns calories with ease, you’ll find it easier than ever before to control your weight. Of course, this also requires a healthy diet and regular exercise to maintain, but it’s a key factor for staying in shape.

Strength training offers a wide range of benefits on a physical and emotional level. Regardless of your age or physical ability, this could be an exercise worth trying. If you have a history of health problems, you should consult your healthcare practitioner before starting any new exercise routine.

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The Sports Archives – Stop Making Excuses and Get Fit This Summer

At the beginning of a brand new year, so many of us have all the right intentions when it comes to getting healthy and fit. It is probably the most common new year resolution,  We start off hitting the gym, watching fitness videos and eating healthily, but within a few weeks, most of us have broken it. In most cases, it is not our bodies that let us down, but our mindset. We try and convince ourselves we will start again on Monday, but when Monday comes around, so do the excuses: we are too tired, we are worried hurting ourselves in the gym and having to spend our time looking for a personal injury attorney, the weather is too bad. These are all just excuses to hide the fact that we have simply lost motivation. If you are struggling to stay motivated when it comes to fitness, here are a few tips to help you on your way, especially now summer is almost here!

Photo by Alexander Redl on Unsplash

Remember why you want to lose weight and get fit

If we have a good reason for doing something, we are much more likely to go ahead and do it. Think about why you want to get fit or lose weight. Perhaps you are concerned about your health or dislike the way that you look. Maybe you want to regain your confidence and set an excellent example to your children. Perhaps you want to be able to run around the park or garden with the kids without getting out of breath. Whatever your reasons,  write them down and put them somewhere where you can see them every day. When you are struggling to get motivated, take a look at it. It might just be what you need to get you back on track.

Set yourself goals and targets

This is very similar to the above point, but it is essential to set yourself some sort of target and give yourself something to work towards. While being spontaneous can be a great thing; having a plan in place when it comes to getting fit is useful. Consider how you will do it. You may be thinking about joining a gym, or following a workout DVD at home, or going for a run every day. Whatever it is, plan ahead for it. Don’t be fooled by anything that promises a quick fix, as getting fit is always going to be a journey, not a race.

Have fun

This is the most crucial point of all. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, it is very unlikely that you will stick to it. Don’t tell yourself that you’re going to eat a plain salad and run for miles every day. Instead, plan for a plate of chicken and colorful roasted vegetables and a dance aerobics class with your best friend! Try different activities and recipes, and have someone to keep you motivated and accountable.

For many people, it is their mindset that stops them from getting fit. Hopefully, these tips will help you to make the most of 2019 and be on track for a healthier lifestyle.

 

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The Sports Archives – How to Make Fitness Your #1 Priority

 

There is no denying the fact that exercise is an essential part of maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. But if you’re new to fitness or just struggling to make it your focus, every day can feel like a challenge. The good news is that making fitness your top priority is actually simpler than you might expect.

Work Out in the Morning

Everyone wants to believe that they will feel motivated for a vigorous workout in the evening after work. However, by that time, you’re likely the least motivated and least enthusiastic about breaking a sweat. Instead of pushing your workout to the evening and then potentially deciding to skip it, start your day with exercise. This will minimize the opportunity for distraction and create a solid foundation for you to work from for the rest of the day.

Exercise at Home

If getting out to a gym or fitness class feels too daunting, exercise at home. There are countless streaming services available for any type of exercise routine you could be seeking. Some may require a subscription, but others (such as videos on YouTube) are completely free. If price is what’s holding you back, now there’s no excuse. While you’re working at home, why not find a fitness buddy? Consider asking a family member or friend to work out with you, so you can stay motivated and enjoy quality time together.

Be Consistent

One of the biggest obstacles to prioritizing fitness is inconsistency. Get ahead of this issue by creating a set time in your schedule for when you will work out. House Method recommends being consistent with your exercise until it begins to feel like a habit. This will allow you to incorporate fitness as part of your routine, so that it becomes less of a “to-do” and more of a natural part of your day.

Create Tangible Goals

There’s nothing more motivating than knowing you’ll have the satisfaction of reaching a benchmark. Create real goals for yourself: write them down and let them be the driving factor that gets you up in the morning and into your workout gear. Once you reach one milestone, you can begin stepping up your game for the next one.

Take Fitness Outside of the Gym

Once you’ve committed to improving your personal fitness, you’ll come to realize that fitness isn’t just getting to the gym or the exercise class, but rather, it can be a larger part of your life. Walking your dog a few times a day or taking your bike to work is an excellent way to make more of your life revolve around healthy activity. Anything that gets your heart pumping can be an opportunity for fitness, so you may be able to sneak in more than you originally expected.

These days, it’s easier than ever to make fitness your number one priority. So whether you’re new to your workout routine or have been going to the gym for years, these quick, simple tips can help you reframe your approach so that fitness truly is your top focus.

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The Sports Archives – 4 Tips to Control Your Drive

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Four Tips to Help Control Your Drives and Improve Your Golf Score

Since nearly every first shot at the green on a golf course involves some type of drive, it’s critical to have control over these vital shots. Errant drives put you in hazards, or immediately add a stroke to your scorecard when they fly harmlessly out-of-bounds.

When you don’t have control of your drives, you also reduce the chances of putting yourself in a good position for your second shot. Drives that fly out of control will quickly add strokes to your scorecard. Here are four tips to help you control your drive and improve your golf scores.

Mental Confidence

If you’ve ever watched the best golfers in the world perform, they approach their ball on the tee with an air of confidence. They know they’ve hit literally thousands of practice drives, so they are confident they are prepared. You should take that same mental outlook every time you prepare to drive the ball off the tee.

Mental confidence is built on the practice tee. However, even if you’ve been having trouble with some aspect of your tee shots, you will still benefit from wiping the slate clean in your mind. Every drive is a new opportunity to implement hours of practice.

When you approach your ball with any sense of doubt, you’re already at a disadvantage. Mental confidence doesn’t always mean mental toughness, but it does help you relax. An apprehensive mindset as you prepare to drive a golf ball will cause your muscles to be more tense than normal.

Your grip may be tighter than normal, or your body movements stiffer than if you were relaxed. That level of calm exuded from mental confidence may not add yards to your driving distance, but it can dramatically help you better control your drives off the tee.

Establish a Target

When you’re out on the fairway or approaching the green, you’ll invariably use the flagstick as a target. Too often, novice golfers do not establish a target when hitting the ball off the tee. This can create a fundamental flaw in your drive, one that invariably reduces the control you have.

Know in advance, where you would hope to have a perfect drive land. Most of the time, you will want to maximize the distance off the tee, but that’s not always the case. This is one aspect of controlling your drive that involves proper club selection, but you still should establish a target.

However, other than par 3 holes where you can see the flagstick, you should find a remote target in the fairway. If you’re playing a course for the first time, this may be a little challenging, but it can still be done.

Use the scorecard and any course measurements that are included. For courses that you play more frequently, you’ll be able to find fixed items such as bunkers or trees to gauge distance. Find a target before you even approach your ball, and work to drive the ball at that target.

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Build from the Ground Up

The perfect golf swing is developed by hours of practice on the driving range. There are a number of tips and mechanical strategies to swing the club properly to make accurate contact with the ball. However, many golfers fail to address the foundation of every swing; your base.

A fundamental tip to establishing a good base begins with balance. You build the best swing starting with the positioning of your feet, and building your swing from the ground up. The best instructors should have you working through leg and core movements without even holding a club.

Foot placement is where you begin, but that is something that takes only minimal practice to figure out. The next key to improving drive control is to develop a strong, but flexible lower body. You don’t need massive muscles in your legs, but working some moderate strength exercises into your fitness program will help boost your driving distance.

Once you have a good stance underneath you, plus a little boost from your legs, you’ll address your core. The center of your body is almost as important as club control in your hands. When you open your hips too soon, for instance, you’ll tend to pull off the ball and slice.

If you force your hips to remain too rigid, it can cause you to pull the club through too quickly. This problem can cause you to hook, or make it very difficult to get any trajectory out of your drive. When you use proper foot positioning and have established a solid foundation, you’ll be able to add distance to your drive without sacrificing control.

Follow Through

Frequently, errant drives are caused by an attempt to over-control your swing. The slightest degree of change in the speed prior to and immediately following impact will alter the tilt and angle of your driver.

Even if this shift is minimal, one-degree of shift can push drive yards off your intended path. Maintain arm speed throughout your entire drive. When you attempt to alter your arm speed during contact or follow through, you will not improve control, but lose.

Changing arm speed in an attempt to improve control will have the opposite effect. Focusing on a consistent swing speed throughout your drive and following through, will help you better control your drives off the tee.

These are four tips to help you better control your tee shots. Getting the ball to the best spot for your second shot is always the objective. When your drives are inconsistent and lack control, you won’t be able to ensure that you’ve put yourself in a good position for that next stroke.

Apply these four tips to help you gain a better sense of control over your drives. Using these tips will not only begin to add distance to your tee shots, but you’ll also begin to eliminate wasted strokes. Grab your driver with confidence, focus on a target, establish a firm base and follow through. Use these tips for hitting your drives, and watch your scores improve.

About the Author

Matt is an avid golf enthusiast and part of the TruGolf.com team. When he’s not working on his fairway shot, you will find Matt writing about his passion for the process of the game.

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The Sports Archives – The World’s 10 Oldest Sports Trophies

No one is sure precisely when sports prizes began, but it is certain the Ancient Greeks were among the first to hand out prizes for those who won sporting events. Maybe they didn’t hand out beautifully crafted sports medals, but the winners at the Ancient Olympic Games did receive items that were valuable in their day such as horses or bronze tripods. Prizes seemed to be important to the Greeks as the word “athlete” is derived from the Greek word, “atholon” meaning prize. Eventually, the Greeks made crowns out of leaves for successful athletes. They weren’t worth a lot of money, but they did provide notoriety and told everyone the athlete was a winner. This possibly provided some financial support and other reward in their home towns.

Some of the earliest trophy cups originated as early as the 18th and 19th centuries. Also, many of the non-cup trophies were recorded as early as the 16th and 17th centuries. The 10 oldest sports trophies contained on this list are still being awarded today.

Stanley Cup

10. The Stanley Cup.

This award was created in 1892 and first awarded to the winning team in 1893. The country of origin in Canada and it is still awarded for the hockey championship at the end of the season.

9. The Ashes Urn.

Created for the sport of cricket, the Ashes Urn originated in Sunbury, Australia. It was designed and made between 1882 ad 1883 and was awarded the first time in either the latter parts of 1882 or the early months of 1883. An interesting fact about this award is that the small terracotta urn supposedly has the ashes of a cricket ball inside.

8. The Calcutta Cup.

First created in 1878, then awarded in 1879, the Calcutta Cup is the trophy for the sport of rugby. It originated in Kalkata, Inda, hence the name. The Calcutta Cup tournament hosts England and Scotland rugby teams and the winner receives the coveted trophy.

7. The Wimbledon Trophies.

The first Wimbledon trophies were bestowed in 1877. The winner of the men’s doubles began getting the coveted tennis trophy in 1884. Women’s singles began receiving the trophy in 1886, followed by the men’s singles in 1887. Mixed doubles didn’t begin receiving the award until 1902. The origin of the Wimbledon trophies is Wimbledon, London, England.

6. The Scottish Cup Trophy.

Scotland is the origin of the Scottish Cup and it was created and awarded in 1874 for the sport of soccer (or football). Traditionally, the Scottish Cup is the second oldest competition in the history of soccer (football).  But according to Guinness World Records, the Scottish Cup is the oldest football trophy.

5. The Claret Jug.

This golf championship trophy was created in 1872 and first awarded in 1873. It originated in Edinburgh, Scotland and used to be called Golf Champion Trophy. The first Open occurred in 1860, but instead of a trophy, the winner received a Challenge Belt.

America’s Cup – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID det.4a16296.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11136646

4. America’s Cup.

The trophy for winning the Yacht Sailing Match Race is the America’s Cup. It was created in 1848 and first awarded in 1851. Its origin is Isle of Wight, England, even though it bears the name “America’s Cup.” It is considered the oldest trophy in international sport.

3. The Royal Musselburgh Old Club Cup.

The “Old Cup” originated in Scotland. It was created in 1774 and awarded that same year for the sport of golf. In addition to being one of the oldest sports trophies in the world, the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club remains one of the oldest golf societies also.

2. The Scorton Silver Arrow.

No one knows for sure when the Scorton Silver Arrow was created, but the first year it was awarded is believed to be 1673. It originated in Scorton, Yorkshire, England and is presented for the sport of archery. Even though no one knows for sure when the initial trophy was presented, the first along with a silver brooch and a pouch containing silver coins were awarded at the very first Antient Silver Arrow Competition in 1673. This competition is believed to the be the oldest recorded sport event in the world.

1. The Carlisle Bells.

Originating in Carlisle, Cumbria, England, the Carlisle Bells was first awarded in 1599 for thoroughbred horse racing. The bells were given to the winner of the first race in 1599 and even though the trophy is believed to be larger, the bells are the only part that remains. For many years, the bells were lost too, but they were found in the 19th century and have been used as the trophy for the race ever since.

 

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