Senin, 24 Juni 2013

Basketball Skills

Basketball is one of the most complex sports there is. To master this sport it takes a combination of hand eye coordination, speed, power, agility, and most importantly the power of will. For the amateur this sport can be very difficult to play, especially against mildly difficult competition. I have played basketball since age four, and have also played at the collegiate level. I have a few tips on the basic skills of the game that the amateur can use to enhance their game.
1. Dribbling
Most amateurs want to be able to handle the ball like Allen Iverson and "shake and bake" their opponent at will, but this skill can be overrated. Basic dribbling skills are all that is required to be a sufficient player. Being able to handle the ball with both hands without it bouncing out of your control is the minimum you need for this category of the game. Some of the greatest players in the history of basketball, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, were not the best ball handlers.
2. Shooting
The object of the game of basketball is to put the ball in the hoop. In my eyes this is the most important physical skill on the court. The greatest players in the history of this game have had the ability to shoot the basketball, and at a very high level. While Ray Allen was not a great ball handler he made up for that in his ability to shoot the ball better than anybody ever has; he holds the three point shooting record in the NBA. This skill can be taught and perfected due to it being somewhat mechanical in nature. While someone may not be a good shooter the skill can be acquired overtime with repetition.
3. Defense
Maybe the easiest skill to perform in a game of basketball. No matter your skill level in the other categories, this particular category can make up for your other inefficiencies. This skill requires good footwork and mobility to stay in front of your opponent as well as jumping ability to block and alter shots. Mastery of this skill will almost guarantee you a spot on somebody's team during a pickup game, everybody loves the person that loves to play defense.
4. Passing
Possibly the most underrated skill in the game today. Passing requires knowledge of where your teammates are on the court and intuition of where they will be once you make your pass. This is a tough skill to master, many basketball experts say either you were born a great passer or you were not. Magic Johnson, regarded as the greatest passer of the basketball, had a ken sense of where ever person was on the court and knew the exact spot to give them the basketball in order for that person to achieve optimal success.
5. Mental Toughness
By far the most important skill you absolutely need to have before stepping onto any basketball court. Basketball can be a game of trash talking, dirty plays from opponents, and tightly played games. A strong minded mentality is needed to endure these intangibles. The trash talking in basketball games is quite intense and sometimes many opponents can cross the line while doing so, the reason the do this is to get you to react and lose you composure. I'm guilty of trash talking my opponents on numerous occasions, it is the easiest way to make your opponent give up and retreat from competition. By having this mental toughness there is nothing on the court that you can not overcome.
By achieving a greater level of skill than you currently have in each of these categories, you can become a better player and enjoy this great game even more.

Minggu, 09 Juni 2013

An Off-Road Rider's Vacation Destination: The Hatfield McCoy Trails (A Dirt Bike/ATV Utopia)

Your vacation dollars are important (and usually in short supply) so you need to spend them wisely and plan accordingly. If you're an off-road rider, discovering a vacation destination that includes dirt bikes and ATVs is almost as good as finding out your favorite recently-deceased aunt left you some Berkshire Hathaway stock. Enter the Hatfield McCoy Trail System in West Virginia. You probably won't bump into Warren Buffet, but you're going to have so much fun that you're not going to care.
The Hatfield McCoy (HM) Trail System in southern West Virginia is an off-road utopia for ATV and dirt bike riders. There are over 600 miles of byways spread out across seven off-road systems, with more trails planned for the future. They range from scenic mountain views to tight and twisting pathways, and they offer something for every rider, beginner to advanced. Many paths connect to communities where you can ride your ATV or dirt bike right into town to get something to eat, re-fuel your machine and chat with the locals.
Hatfield McCoy officially opened in October 2000 with some 300 miles of trails. In 2002 another 100 miles were added, and an additional 100 miles in 2004, bringing the total to 500 miles. The Pocahontas Trail opened in 2012 and although it's only 57 miles, it offers a direct connection to two other routes (Indian Ridge and Pinnacle Creek) bringing the total rideable trails to over 600 miles, making it the second largest off-highway vehicle trail in the country, second only to the Paiute ATV trails in central Utah (roughly 2,000 miles). Although Paiute has more mileage, most of the routes are only open certain months of the year while the HM system is open all year.
Officials have done a great job of carving out a wide variety of trails for each off-road footprint and although all the trails offer each type of byway (easy to extremely difficult), some have a higher ratio of a particular type of trail. For example, Bearwallow, which is one of the larger trail systems of the HM Trails, is known for its difficult single track and having the most miles of difficult level trails, so if you're an experienced rider it might be high on your list of trails to ride.
The opposite side of the coin has Little Coal, which is most commonly known for its high percentage of green (easiest) level trails. Little Coal is also located near family summer activities. All the routes are well sign- posted and patrolled by Trail Rangers (who are graduates of the West Virginia State Police!).
The routes are color-coded by degree of difficulty and experience level needed, very similar to ski trails. The trails are rated easy (green), more difficult (blue), most difficult (black), and extreme difficult (black/red). The orange dirt bike trails (single track) are divided into more difficult and most difficult and are for experienced riders only. Be sure to contact the HM website for updated info and to get more details about each trail system, trail rules, where to buy permits, as well as more info about the surrounding area attractions and accommodations.
Whether it's a family vacation, or a group of off-road friends, spending time at the HM trails should bring a smile to all (even if you didn't get the Berkshire-Hathaway shares). We're only passing through - get out there and enjoy the Great Outdoors.
Thanks for taking the time to read the article - I hope it helps to bring joy to you and your family!
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