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The Basics of Injury Prevention for Figure Skaters

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An athlete who participates in a sport, whether it be individual or team, obviously has an increase in risk for injury than the non-athlete. If the athlete participates in one sport year round, that risk may increase due to the repetitive motion and muscle dominance associated with that sport. Competitive figure skating is a sport that requires year round practice, with little time for rest; therefore, skaters are susceptible to injury in various joints and muscles. When a family enters the world of competitive figure skating, or even recreational skating, it is important for that family to be aware of the factors that cause and can prevent injury. By adhering to some basic guidelines, a skater may have a long and prosperous career without significant interruptions by injuries. Longevity in the sport is important to maintain consistent training and progress, and a skaters’ overall musculoskeletal health is important post-skating career. This article will discuss several precautions a skater can take to prevent injury.

Proper Equipment

Biomechanical alignment of the body is influenced from the bottom up, starting at the feet. An alignment dysfunction, lack of motion, or improper arch in the foot can have an effect on the knee, hip, and back. Unlike gymnasts, who have no support on their feet, figure skaters have the luxury of wearing exceptionally designed boots to support them. A skilled boot fitter will be able to match the correct skate to a skater’s level of ability, yet the correct boot is only the beginning of the process. A skater with a flat foot may need either generic or custom arch supports to prevent excessive pronation in the skate. If pronation is not addressed, it may cause a skater to twist the boot or favor one edge over the other. A high, rigid arch can be addressed with extra cushioning in the arch of the skate, to increase the amount of shock absorption in the foot, which is lacking in a high, rigid arch.

Attention should be paid to the width of the foot, the flexibility of the ankle, and the skaters’ weight. If a skater uses a boot that is too stiff or too flexible for his or her body type, it may affect a variety of joints. The ankle must bend properly for the knee and hip joints to function correctly.

Mounting of the blade in the proper position can affect a skaters’ balance on the edges and the ability to maintain control in turns, spiral, spins, and jump landings and takeoffs. An excessive angle of turn-in of a skaters’ knee or an anteverted hip (turned in) may require the blade to be moved to compensate for the alignment problem. An experienced boot fitter will spend a significant amount of time watching a skater balance, walk, squat, etc. to find the ideal blade alignment for that skater.

Padding is also essential to prevent injuries from falling. Every skater falls when he or she is learning a new jump, and those falls are not always pretty! Vulnerable areas are the hips and buttocks, and various types of padding have been invented to create a cushioning for the susceptible areas. If the padding does not provide enough cushioning, and a skater lands consistently on a certain spot, it may be beneficial to cut a hole in the pad over that spot and build up the padding around it. Therefore, pressure will not be put on the sore spot. Padding on the buttocks can also reduce the amount of shock to the spine when a fall occurs. Back injuries are quite common among figure skaters, and all necessary steps should be taken to prevent them.

Proper Warm-up

I can’t stress the importance of a proper warm-up enough! In this day and age, skaters rush from school to skating with a few minutes to spare to put the skates and gloves on, leaving little time for stretching and warm-up. The problem is, those ten minutes of warm-up that the skater skips can quickly result in a muscle strain. Muscles should reach a certain temperature and mobility level before a skater completes jumps that require plyometric strength or spins and spirals that require a certain degree of flexibility. A muscle that is not warmed up can not be pushed past its maximum flexibility level, and will result in pain.

Dynamic warm-ups have gained in popularity in the past five to ten years, and involve taking each joint and muscle through its full range of motion in an active way. The tissue temperature of a muscles increases far more quickly with dynamic stretching than if a skater stretches statically. Static stretching (holding a muscle in a lengthened time period in one position) does not increase tissue temperature and will not effectively prepare a skater’s muscles.

Ideally, 15 to 20 minutes of dynamic warm-ups should be completed, yet even 10 minutes will provide a skater with a decent warm-up to prevent muscle strains. A skater will learn which muscles are his or her ‘problem area,’ and can create a warm-up that is most beneficial for the body as a whole.

Off-Ice Strength and Conditioning

Every skater should be involved in an off-ice strength and conditioning program, whether it be one day or five days per week. Skating is a sport that creates dominance in certain muscle groups, and over time, a skater develops an imbalance in muscle strength. This may lead to joint or muscle pain. If a skater is properly evaluated by a health professional, that person can determine which muscles are inflexible or weak, and will guide a skater toward a program that will focus on the skaters’ deficits. Sk8Strong has developed programs that will focus on skating specific muscles, yet also address the need for an overall balance in musculature to prevent injury.

Figure skating also requires a significant amount of hip stability from the gluteal and hip abductor muscles, and strength in the quadriceps. Without proper hip stability, a skater will have trouble stabilizing landings, achieving the correct alignment on jump takeoffs, and creating power for higher jumps. Gluteal and hip abductor strength (in my opinion) is lacking in many skaters, and can be the primary cause of inconsistency, injuries, and slow progression of skills. It will greatly affect the movement pattern of the lower extremity when a skater bends the knees and hips.

Core strength is absolutely necessary for a skater to prevent back injury. Skating is a sport with a high demand for core stability, and the abdominals play a large part in keeping the back and trunk healthy. At least two days of core strengthening exercise is recommended for any skater, both to prevent injury and improve skating skills.

Strength and conditioning may also involve stamina training, if a skater is at a level that demands a lengthy program. There are various methods of stamina training, including the use of a slideboard, jump rope, elliptical, or exercise bike. The slideboard is most useful, as it trains the muscles in a similar manner to skating. Why is stamina training is important to prevent injury? Near the end of a program, the muscles are fatigued. Fatigued muscles do not create as much power, and the risk of falling is increased. Stamina training will increase oxygenation to muscles, increasing the chance that the muscles will stay strong at a later point in a program. This will improve performance and decrease the risk of falls.

Flexibility: too much or too little

Since the inception of the International Judging System, there is high demand for flexibility for all skaters. Spin variations and spirals require more mobility than in years past to gain the maximum amount of points. For the lucky few that possess the natural mobility for these positions, the need for consistent stretching is not at a premium. In fact, the ‘overly flexible’ skater should do more strength training to compensate for the overabundance of mobility in his or her joints. Excessive joint mobility typically results in a lack of stability.

The muscles a skater should focus on for mobility are the psoas (front of the hip), hamstrings (back of the thigh), and adductor (inner thigh). A flexible psoas is will help a skater reach back efficiently for jump takeoffs and extend the free leg for landings and spirals. The adductors and hamstrings will also affect a spiral and camel spin.

Quadriceps (front of thigh) and ITBand (outer thigh) tightness will not directly affect most skating moves, yet play an important role in prevention of injury. Skaters are constantly using these two muscles for power, which tends to make the muscles tighter. Both will affect mobility and motion at the knee and hip, and can cause pain around the kneecap if not stretched on a regular basis.

Try Moves Within Your Range of Motion

Some skaters just aren’t meant to do a biellman or a haircutter spin, no matter how hard they try. A biellman requires a great amount of flexibility in the hamstrings, psoas, adductor muscles, and a great amount of joint mobility into extension of the lower back joints. It is recommended to consult with a physical therapist of other health professional to evaluate back mobility and flexibility of the previously mentioned muscles before trying a biellman. Forcing a joint into a position that it does not naturally reach is harmful to the joint, and a skater is setting her or himself up for injury. Find alternate ways to gain points, and your body will thank you!

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Elite League of Legends Teleport Tricks to Destroy Your Friends

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Every day, thousands of gamers log onto League of Legends to play Riot Games’ free DOTA-style video game, unfortunately most of them get crushed by the elite few that know all the tricks of the trade. The most popular tricks often involve one of the lesser used summoner spells in public games; the incredibly useful but oft-ignored teleport spell, and while these tricks can take weeks to master, it only takes a few moments to read on and learn them.

1. Fiddlesticks’ Surprise — If there is one sound that strikes fear into the heart of every experienced League of Legends player, it’s the horrifying “Caw! Caw! Caw!” of Fiddlestick’s monstrous ultimate, which is nothing less than an area of effect spell of doom for everyone caught in its wake. The problem with this spell, of course, is its two-second channel time that requires you to be smart about when you’re ready to attack. Surprisingly, few players realize the power of this ultimate when combined with the utility of the teleport summoner spell.

An awesome way to get the drop on your opponents with Fiddlesticks, is to lay a ward down in the farthest bushes on the top or bottom lane of the map. When done correctly, you can teleport in behind your opponent and out of sight, waiting for the right time to launch from the bushes and strike. This is particularly effective if for some reason you are playing Fiddlesticks in the lane, as you can recall base before quickly teleport behind them to create mass confusion.

2. Nunu’s Trap — Nunu is well-known in League of Legends to have one of the strongest ultimates in the game, capable of swallowing entire teams in its large radius and exploding them into a million bits. Unfortunately, this is perhaps the most difficult ultimate to land in the game as it has a long stationary channel that is easily interrupted and even more easily stepped out of…. that is, of course, unless you have the teleport summoner spell.

With the teleport spell at your disposal, Nunu can quickly become a frightful player for the opposing team. Try sneaking a ward right into the middle of the middle lane to teleport to later, and wait until your opponent’s solo mid steps by it. When he does, teleport in and quickly ice-blast him for the slow effect, pop your ultimate and watch as he explodes with the help of a teammate already in that lane. This is an awesome technique because you will actually give yourself an additional second or so for your ultimate to go unnoticed, as your opponent will be extremely confused as to how you appeared next to him out of the middle of nowhere.

This is also an effective technique at grouping hot-spots, like Baron, Dragon, or a short distance in front of your middle tower. Placing a ward a bit in front of your middle tower is particularly rewarding, as once you teleport in and cast your ultimate while your opponents are attacking your tower, they will be pinched in and be forced to move into the tower where all your teammates await, or back toward you for an icy surprise of ultimate death.

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How to Play Spoons Card Game

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How would you like to play a game that could be enjoyed by the entire family regardless of age? Sounds pretty fun, right? Well, we’re going to teach you about just that game. It’s called spoons, and it’s one of the more popular card games. It’s really simple to play, and it’s really enjoyable! So just follow these simple steps.

What you’re going to need:

  1. Spoons ( You need one less spoon than there are players. So let’s say that there are 5 players, you need six spoons )
  2. Deck ( Full Deck of Cards )

Game Set Up

To set up the game, you’re going to need to count the number of players. Let’s say that there are six players in your group. You’re going to need six suits of cards. You don’t need to use the whole deck.

Now, at this point, you’re going to need to put the spoons in the center of the table and pass out an equal number of cards to each player. Then you’re ready to go!

Game Play

Once each player has a hand of cards, it’s time to get started. The object of the game is to get a suit of hands in your card, so what you’re going to do is select one card from your hand and pass it to the player on the left. At this point, the player on the left, the one receiving the card, has the option to take that card into his hand, or he can pick a card from his hand and pass it to the player on his left. This continues until one player has an entire suit of cards in his hand.

Once that happens, his goal is to sneakily grab a spoon from the center of the table. If other people find out he has an entire suit, they could inadvertently make him the loser, so don’t let that happen. Once you’ve grabbed the spoon you reveal your hand to the other players.

They then have to hastily grab their own spoons. The player who is left without a spoon is then declared the loser and removed from the game. The game play continues until there are only two players in the group. At which time, they are both declared the winner.

Get Your Game On!

As you can tell, spoons is a real simple game, and it is perfect for those family game nights. So we recommend you give it a try! We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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Dog Training Academy – How to Create Obedience in Your Dog

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Training a dog can be a frustrating act but not anymore with the Dog Training Academy e-course. Dogs tend to be unruly at times with excess of barking and whining along with aggressive actions towards visitors. It is high time to start training your dog using well established and proven methods when you find him reacting in a non responsive manner to your commands.

Lack of training can lead to behavioural problems in your dog and this can turn them into a disobedient pet. An unruly pet can end up tearing furniture or behaving in an uncontrollable manner. It is hence necessary that you take the right measures to control behavioural problems and to train your dog. This is where Dog Training Academy can help you get the perfect pet by bringing in obedience in your dog. The training course is a 7 day series that consolidates tips and tricks on training your dog on obedience matters.

Training a dog is not an easy task, but the job now becomes simple for you now with this free training e-course. The methods of training and the skills of the owner and pet normally determines the time taken to train a dog, but this training e-course can resolve all your problems in just about 7 days. They provide you with many widely practiced professional methods of obedience training to bring in fast and effective behavioural changes.

Basic bonding and effective communication is required between you and your dog before you can start training on obedience. This kind of essentials that needs to be obtained before the dog can respond to your basic commands and orders are detailed in the Dog Training Academy course.

There are many ways of training your dog other than the e-course methodology. One such way of obedience training your dog is by taking him to a training school. Such schools provide professional help offered by expert trainers who can handle any kind of dogs. But is it necessary to check whether such schools are recognized ones before your enrol your dog. Such kind of schools also charge a hefty amount for a complete training spanning around 3-4 weeks time as compared to the free course.

A proven training plan and a step-by-step guide of the plan can make you feel the difference in your dog’s behavior in just a week time. The training plan can bring in more obedience and security in your dog at the end of the course. Enrol for the Dog Training Academy course and you no longer need to worry about torn furniture or garbage in your living room.

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