Quick MLB Throwback – Randy Johnson

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Two years ago, Randy Johnson threw the last MLB no-hit contest to date. 40 year-old’s perfect game also makes him the oldest pitcher to twirl one. I sometimes wonder how long it will be before we see another, what if we never saw another one. Just what if… can you imagine how that would impact the game of baseball and it’s historical perspective? You never know, throwing a perfect game could become like hitting .400. Once somewhat common and then, as if taken from us on some dark night, gone forever.

I remember, having lived in Phoenix, Arizona during those exciting years, the buzz around the city when Randy was starting. The whole town was on fire. “You going to the park tonight?” “You got tickets?!?!” “What will he do tonight?” There was a time in Phoenix when the house would pack no matter what day of the week or time of day that Randy was twirling.

8-2-5 triple play

One of my favorite things about baseball are these moments where you see something and wonder if that’s been done this decade, and you doubt it. This century? Maybe not. Ever? Lots of those memories for me were Randy Johnson starts. One such game I’ll never forget was his 8-2-5 triple play… Randy Johnson pitching to Mark McGwire, back when he was MARK MCGWIRE, and Mac pop-flys to center. Finley catches and runner tags at third, throw’s there at home, while the runner who tagged at second is nabbed by inches for the 8-2-5 triple play!

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After the game a reporter asks Randy if he planned that! Randy says, “Yeah, anytime you have no outs, bases loaded, and Mark McGwire at the plate… as a pitcher you’re thinking, ‘OK, fly to center, throw to home, out at third is what I’m shooting for.’” laughs, “No, I was just kinda hoping for less than 4.”

Randy at the peak of his career

I was there when he struck out 20 Reds! Only those of us lucky enough to be diehards from 1999-2002 got to see Randy at his peak. You see a more detailed picture of the game and can see the true effect of a pitcher on that game when you’re there. Randy Johnson was a firebolt back then and we all showered him with courage. Each pitch, if you sat in the perfect acoustical spot in the park, you ‘d hear the crowd rumbling with anticipation and winding up a gear with the lift of the leg, and finnaly launching in all out exuberance and react! Disasterous SLAP and a rumbling warning of doom, or WIFF and the joyous victory, STRIKE ONE!

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The 10-time All Star ranks third in career Strikouts behind Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, 37th in wins, with a career 3.07 ERA. When it comes to quotes there’s one Randy Johnson quote that stands apart from the rest. He once said, “When you can throw 97 miles an hour and put the ball over the plate anytime you want, it’s fun.” I imagine he’s correct, but I know it was fun to watch.

 

The jump shot

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Mastering the basketball’s most powerful weapon – the jump shot


In the game of basketball, the most powerful weapon, offensively, is a jump shot.  Having an effective jumper allows you to extend the defense, be a threat at crunch time, score at will, earn the defenders respect, etc.  To start off, we need to learn and remember the basics.  There is an acronym that we use in the basketball world to remember the fundamentals of a jump shot.  We use B.E.E.F as a starting point to get the basics down.  Let me explain what B.E.E.F stands for and why it’s important:

1. Balance

Having a strong base is the first aspect of a perfect jump shot.  After all, a jump shot begins with your lower body, not your upper body.  Having great balance means your legs should be shoulder width apart and your shooting foot should be slightly ahead of your non-shooting foot.  So, if you shoot with your right hand, then your right foot should be about a few inches in front of your left foot.  Next, your knees should be slightly bent.  Your feet and shoulders should be aligned with the basketball hoop.  If you have someone available, you should have them give you a soft push.  If you are wobbly, then that means your not balanced.  If you hold strong, that means you have a solid base and are ready for the next step.

2. Eyes

This is pretty obvious, right?  You need to look at the basket to shoot.  What you should be looking at is a personal choice.  You can look at the front of the rim, middle or back.  Personally, I’ve always looked at the back because more of my shots fall short than long.  The key is to be consistent with what your target is and only concentrate on that spot (not the ball, your hand or anything else).all-phase

3. Elbow

Keeping your elbow in will allow you to get the forward, straight motion you need when shooting a jump shot.  Your elbow should be aligned with the basket at a 90-degree angle.  The angle will allow you to have your hand on the ball in order to create a snap of the wrist.  To be in control, the ball should be resting on the pads of your fingers with your off-hand on the side to help guide the shot.

4. Follow Through

The follow through is the key to a perfect jump shot.  If you watch players with great jumpers, you will often see them leave the hand high in the air until the ball has reached the rim.  After the ball leaves your hand, your arm, wrist and hand should resemble a goose neck.  Another way to look at it is your arm should look like you are taking a cookie from a cookie jar in the top cabinet.  The purpose of a follow through is to make sure you’re guiding the ball through the basket!

Start with the legs

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Your jump shot does not start with the wrist; it starts with the lift in your legs. You need to bend your knees to get the proper strength to shoot a basketball. A word of advice for young shooters, you don’t need to show off how high you can jump when shooting a basketball. I see so many young basketball players trying to get a high, unnecessary, lift when they struggle to reach the rim because they are off balance. Instead, work on the mechanics and jump, so you are comfortable.

 

Choosing The Perfect Football Boot

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For a football player, a boot could be a costly investment. That’s why choosing the perfect pair of football boots is very important so you can get your money’s worth.

As the owner of Boot Centre, I am always being asked for my opinion by my customers. Here’s how I choose the perfect football boots before making a purchase:

Know your position

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First, of all, you need to identify the position that you want to play. It is important because every single position has their unique requirements for a boot. It is not the same if you play forward or if you are a goalkeeper.

If you play as a forward, the perfect boot should be light and supports sudden burst of speed. It should also provide protection for your feet for crunching tackles that defenders will give you. For me, the best boots for forwards are the adiZero, Mercurial, and Hypervenom series.

Playing as a midfielder, your boots should offer consistency and comfort. The boot should enhance your passing, receiving and dribbling ability as well. Overall, the boot should help you to be in total control of the ball. For me, the adiPure, Predator, Tiempo and Mercurial series are the best boots for this position.

For defenders, who defends as if their lives depends on it, their perfect boot should also promote comfort and consistency. The boot that they should wear should also promote great first touch and passing skills, especially the long balls. For this type of players, the best boot for me should be the adiPure, Predator, Nitrocharge, Mercurial and Tiempo series.

As a goalkeeper, you need to be quick and agile. Saving goals and keeping a clean sheet is not an easy task. That’s why your boot should provide quickness and comfort. The best boot for this position should be the adiPure, Predator, Nitrocharge, and Tiempo series.

Identify your needs

Are you a wide-footed player? Do you require speed over power? Do you need more control than speed? These are the things that you should also consider. With today’s technology, different boot manufacturers offer different features to match every players’ needs. So, identify your needs and find the perfect boot available in the market.

Have a budget

Nike and Adidas provide different levels of boots. For example, the Tiempo series offers Genio (low-end), Legacy (mid-end) and Legend (high-end) boots, where each one is aimed for the different style of play. The Hypervenom series has the Phelon, Phatal and Phantom models. Every model has different price and materials. Find the perfect boot that suits your needs and of course your budget.

Some players wear their boots for the sake of style. Other choose boots depending on their features and price. No matter what your reason is, choosing the perfect boot is critical if you want to be a good player. It will affect your play and your pocket in a major way possible.

 

 

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Basic steps for increasing vertical leap

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Does jumping higher make you a better basketball player? Sometimes, you can gain a huge advantage if you are more athletic than your opponent. Jumping higher usually means more buckets near the rim, fewer shots blocked, more rebounds, more shots you block and more positions from loose balls in the air. Jumping higher does not cure bad basketball at all, it only improves your skills. Before you dedicate yourself to increasing your vertical leap, you need to establish fundamental skills in shooting and dribbling. However, if you have already mastered these, you can start with vertical leap exercises.

Stretching


Before you prepare to practice or play a basketball game, you need to make a habit of stretching. Warming up your muscles allows you to avoid injury and makes you much more flexible. It is especially important before trying to increase your vertical jump. You will find that a stiff body decreases your ability get off the ground and increases the chances of getting hurt.

Wearing the right sneakers

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Getting the right kind of sneakers is crucial to your basketball game. You don’t want your sneakers to be too stiff, but at the same time, you don’t want them to be too flexible. A great sneaker is one that bends with your movements, has enough sole that allows you to play the game longer (without hurting your heel) and supports your ankle. Many people opt for Jordans, but you can also find great Adidas or Reebok shoes. Try different ones to see which shoes suits you best.

Patience & consistency

Let’s face reality here; jumping takes hard work and a lot of time. If you think these tips and other programs will help you dunk in 7 days, you are wrong. It may take months to see any results but will be a great asset to your basketball game. Many people give up on these exercises due to slow progress of getting bigger vertical leap, and they say that you cannot increase your leap if you don’t have it naturally. It is not true – the truth is that they are not patient

Losing weight (if necessary)

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If you need to shed some pounds, then do so before improving your jumping ability. A lean, healthy body is a great advantage to maxing out your leap. If you need to loose some fat, make it a habit of running every day for at least 30 minutes. Running paired with a healthy diet can do wonders for your body type and even boost your abilities.

Jump Roping

Jump roping is a great workout to build lean, fast leg muscles. When jump roping, you are constantly using light, quick jumps on your toes which builds muscles in your calves and other areas of your legs. Not only will jump roping increase your jumping, but it will also increase your quickness, a win-win! This is one of the best vertical leap exercises, and it must be a part of your practice.

 

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