08Sep/16

Great Australian Sporting Kitchens

The kitchen is the engine room for every athlete, it is where we refuel and load up on the necessary carbs to break those world and Commonwealth records. However, it is also more than that, it needs to inspire those who wish to tread the boards of sporting greatness to look after themselves. To make sure that nutritionally we are sound and able to cope with the rigours of competing at the highest level. A great Australian sporting kitchen must be a place where good ingredients come together with a passion for good cooking.

Great Australian Sporting Kitchens

Some of the best athletes in Queensland and around the nation are now eating organic food predominantly. They want the certainty of knowing that the things they are putting inside their bodies are pure, with no toxins or pollutants. They are prepared to pay a little extra to get the very best for their bodies. They are taught that your body is a temple and should not be desecrated with fast foods and other crap. If you want to be the best at what you do, reward your physical self with the very best stuff.

Great Australian sporting kitchens may require a whole new approach to the realm of culinary preparation. Out goes the microwave and in comes bench space, where homecooks can make amazingly fresh organic salads. Kitchen facelifts are happening around the country, as athletes prioritise the importance of eating right. Kitchen facelifts in Adelaide and Brisbane, in Sydney and Melbourne, in Perth and in Hobart. When you walk into your kitchen you want it to make you feel excited about cooking and preparing meals. It needs to speak to your soul and enthuse you to rattle the pans.

It may sound funny to say this but you can also warm up for training with a vigorous session in the kitchen. Real cooking can stretch you physically, as it involves bending and moving about. When you are really cooking you are chopping and stirring, you are washing and cleaning, and plating up. Movement is happening constantly, there is very little standing still. Cooking is not a sedentary and unhealthy pursuit. When you have a dream kitchen where you can extend your culinary abilities the sky is the limit. Great Australian sporting kitchens are full of space and brilliant design features. The surfaces are natural, whether wood, stone or steel. It is a tactile experience and it demands your best.

08Sep/16
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Sport Bringing Us Together: Able and Disabled Athletes

Reaching Sporting excellence is a goal available to all Australians regardless of age, gender or mobility level. Australian team sports for people with disability is growing at fantastic speed and the degree of participation is a testament to the fighting spirit of a famous sporting nation. The opportunities and challenges for athletes with disabilities in this country are both many and very real. The key message is inclusion while maintaining the integrity of the activity in question.

Being inclusive in homegrown sport is about providing a range of options to cater for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds in the most appropriate manner possible. Inclusion encompasses a broad range of options in many different settings. Sometimes this may mean modifying a sport to provide a more appropriate version for particular participants. Modifying the rules or even the competition structure of a sport is nothing new. Most national sporting organisations in Australia provide modified versions of sports for their junior program, making the sport more inclusive, safe and fun for younger players.

Modifying sport to include people with disability is no different. In some situations, people with disability can be included with no modifications at all, and in other situations modifications may be needed. Modifications may only be minor, such as a change in a rule or piece of equipment which is of course straightforward, yet may provide significant assistance to an individual. Often major modifications are necessary, particularly for people with high support needs. Rather than modify the game’s rules or equipment for everybody just to include one person, it may only require a change for that person and depending on the extent of the change, it can either be done on the spot or require extensive planning.

Not all disabled sports are adapted however, several sports that have been specifically created for persons with a disability have no equivalent in able bodied sports. Sports for those with disabilities exist in four categories, physical, mental, permanent and temporary. In addition, organized sport for athletes with a disability will generally be divided into three broad disability groups: the deaf, people with physical disabilities, and people with intellectual disabilities. Each group has a distinct history, organization, competition program, and approach to sport.

The TREE model is a popular initiative in accordance with these principles by embracing the four essential elements of teaching style, rules, equipment and environment. Teaching style refers to the way the sport or activity is communicated to the participants. The way an activity is delivered can have a significant impact on how inclusive it is. Strategies you may use include, being aware of all the participants in your group, ensuring participants are correctly positioned (for example, within visual range), using appropriate language for the group, using visual aids and demonstrations, using a buddy system, using appropriate physical assistance — guide a participant’s body parts through a movement and keeping instructions short and to the point while checking for understanding.

Rules may be simplified or changed and then reintroduced as skill levels increase, for example, allowing for more bounces in a game such as tennis or table tennis, allowing for multiple hits in a sport such as volleyball, having a greater number of players on a team to reduce the amount of activity required by each player, reducing the amount of players to allow greater freedom of movement, regularly substituting players, allowing substitute runners in sports such as softball and cricket or shortening the distance the hitter needs to run to be safe.

Strategies to best utilise equipment may include using lighter bats or racquets or shorter handles, lighter, bigger or slower bouncing balls, balls with bells inside and equipment that contrasts with the playing area such as white markers on grass or fluorescent balls. Strategies to best modify playing environment may include reducing the size of the court or playing area, using a smooth or indoor surface rather than grass, lowering net heights in sports such as volleyball or tennis, using zones within the playing area and minimising distractions in the surrounding area.

Changes do not have to be permanent, some may be phased out over time as skills and confidence increase. Disability Sports Australia is Australia’s peak national body representing athletes with a physical disability. Formerly known as Australian Athletes with a Disability, it changed its name to Disability Sports Australia during 2013. The change reflects a contemporary evolution and vital work achieved in engaging people of all abilities across Australia from grass roots to elite level athletes who compete or work in sporting endeavours.

07Sep/16

Disabled Sports for Women

The Australian delegation for this year’s Rio Paralympics is composed of 177 athletes, of which 74 are women. Almost half of the country’s representatives will make their debut in the Paralympics. This sporting event shows that even the disabled can compete in the international sporting arena.

Women and Sports

Disabled or not, women can excel even in sports. Thanks to Paralympics, women with disabilities can realize fully their sports potentials. For those who are not Paralympic-material yet, they can participate in disability activities in South West Sydney. Nonetheless, here are some sports and physical activities that disabled women can enjoy:

  • Cycling

The visually impaired were the first athletes who participated in the cycling match in the Paralympics. Today, sportsmen with cerebral palsy and physically disabled can compete in the game.

Those with visual disabilities take part in the game with a sighted partner. They are in tandem bicycles and can play in track and road rounds of the competition. This Rio Paralympics, seven women will represent the country. All but Jessica Gallagher have physical impairments.

  • Equestrian

Beijing Paralympian Sharon Jarvis will lead the country’s all-female equestrian team for the Rio Paralympics. For many years, the sport was used for rehabilitation and recreation of the disabled and wealthy, sick people. In 1996, equestrian became a Paralympic sport.

Competitors will have to battle it out for Dressage events, Championship Test, Freestyle Test, and Team Test. During the tournament, riders can opt for assistive devices and aids.

  • Goalball

Goalball is an active sport that is intended only for sportsmen with visual impairments. In 1946, the game was invented as a support to blind veterans of the World War II. Goalball is akin to football. The goal of the game is to roll the ball until it reaches the other team’s end.

Both men and women can compete in the sport. An all-female goalball team composed of six athletes will represent the country for this year’s Paralympics.

  • Wheelchair Tennis

Wheelchair tennis is also an active sport. It became a Paralympic sport during the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics. The game is similar to tennis. The only difference is that the players are on wheelchairs and the ball is allowed to bounce twice.

 

07Sep/16

Betting on Women’s Sport: Is it Prevalent in Australia?

Gambling is inevitably an important part of Australian entertainment. In fact, Australian bookmakers betting on sporting events, online casinos and lotteries, among other things, are fairly common. According to Problem Gambling, at least 70 percent of the country’s population engaged in any of the aforementioned forms of gambling.

One of the most popular varieties of online gambling in Australia is sports betting. In actuality, this industry is raking millions of dollars in annual revenues. Traditionally, Aussie gamblers bet on male sporting events. They say that the results of men’s sports can easily be anticipated. This being said, trying one’s luck in women’s sporting events is also getting quite popular recently.

Betting on Women’s Sports

Among the cited reasons why there is a sudden popularity in this form of gamble are the female athletes. Men can’t resist looking at athletic and outdoorsy women. In addition, they have a proclivity for sports that highlight beautiful women.

Like the men’s sports, some believe that the outcome of women’s sports is predictable. For instance, the German and American teams are most likely to have the upper hand in the World Cup. Another example is women’s tennis. If Serena Williams is playing in the competition, it is distinctly possible that she will dominate the event.

The recently concluded Australian Open showed the interest of punters on women’s sports. The early favorites were Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. However, the game wrapped up with Angelique Kerber defeating the front runner Serena Williams.

Australia’s Women’s Sports Betting Culture

Despite the increasing interest of punters on women’s sports, there is a poor turnout of companies offering this type of gambling. As a matter of fact, the Australian Open is probably the only women’s sporting event in the country that cashed in handsome revenues this year.

Last year’s women’s FIFA World Cup had also the same punters’ turnout. According to Sports International Magazine, the biggest women’s tournament in the world only attracted a little less than 14 percent of online gambling companies.

ABC reported that businessmen see the women’s sports betting industry as an untapped market. Even if there’s a high engagement rate and good media coverage, women’s sports betting in the country must be re-positioned in a more interesting manner. This way, stakeholders, punters and the general public will be more drawn into it.

07Sep/16

Running Up Debt in Pursuit of Gold

It is not news anymore when a famed athlete goes bankrupt. Common reasons would be bad credit personal loan, overspending or poor investment choices. As a matter of fact, 60 percent of professional basketball players went bankrupt five years after they retire from the league. While some athletes are spending their way towards indebtedness, aspiring sportsmen are living on credit to pursue their dreams.

The recent 2016 Rio Olympics ended with spectacles and controversies. But underneath all these drama and media attention, there are Olympic athletes who lived in poverty in the pursuit of gold. Reports show that a lot of sportsmen who competed in Rio are living in or below the poverty line. Their only sources of income are prizes from competitions, sponsor contracts and part-time jobs. Some athletes are lucky enough to land big product endorsements. But for the rest, they have to manage living with their scarce income.

In order for an athlete to qualify for the Olympics, he/she has to train intensely. There are costs associated with this, of course. There is equipment to be purchased, fees for coaching and transportation outlays. If an athlete has no other means of income, there’s nothing much to do but live in debt.

According to The Guardian, at least 100 athletes created GoFundMe pages so that they can compete in the Rio Olympics. The gathered money was used for new equipment and basic living expenses while training.

Poor, World-Class Sportsmen

Vice Sports reported that Ivanie Blondin, one of the best long-track speed skaters in Canada, only makes a living out of her stipend. Athletes in the United States also experience the same penury. Based on the U.S. Athletic Trust, the U.S. Olympic Committee only spent $70 million for athlete support from 2009-2012. With lack of financial support from the government, no wonder that good athletes are washed out or are forced to give up their dreams.

Student-athletes are being faced with the same problems. Even if colleges offer free education, room and board to its student athletes, they still eked out from their daily lives. These aspiring sportsmen will have to manage their time from training, schooling and working on shifts just to make ends meet.

07Sep/16

Image and Profile in Athletic Sport Recognition

The recently concluded 2016 Rio Olympics was, indeed, full of spectacle and controversies. There are issues regarding the Olympic village and with the athletes as well. Probably one of the most talked athletes was American swimmer Ryan Lochte. His image was marred because of the hullabaloo he created.

Australian athletes also made headlines during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Nine sportsmen were inculpated for falsification of documents. Although not clearly at fault, the athletes apologized for their deportment.

Because of the stated points at issue, one could not think whether the athletes still deem their image and profile as important or not. The things that happened are not the kind of things that photographers can Photoshop, just like in escort photography.

 Athletes as Role Models

Today’s women can now appreciate their body image and play to their strengths, thanks to the Olympics.

It is pretty common for women to lie about their weight when asked about it. But if you’ll look at the built of women athletes from the recent Rio Olympics, you’ll feel buoyed up to appreciate your own body; that you have to look for ways on how you can harness your body’s potential rather than how slim you can be.

The image of an athlete is important for them. For instance, most, if not all, male athletes are lean and muscular. It is because of the way how the society paints the perfect image of a man. No wonder that sportsmen use steroids, just so they can polish up their appearance. In effect, men bulk up to achieve an athlete’s look.

Reputation and Brand of Athletes

Athletes are using social media in building their brand and also in improving their image and profile. However, social media is a double-edged sword. It can either make or break one’s career.

There are only a few athletes who are using social media right. Those who are fully aware that they are a brand do a great job in controlling their image. This being said, embracing social media has its pitfalls. Therefore, one should embrace it with proper mentality. Once you put something out there, even if you managed to take it back, it will always be there. Sooner or later, it will haunt you and most likely hurt your image.

05Sep/16
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 11:  Silver medalist Derek Derenalagi (C) of Great Britain competes with gold medalist Philippe Robert (L) of France and bronze medalist William Reynolds of the United States in the 100m Men Ambulant IT2 final during day 1 of the Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover at Lee Valley Athletics Centre on September 11, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images for Jaguar Land Rover)

Bodies Malfunctioning: When Physical Impairments Strike Athletes

Athletes strive to keep their bodies in tip top shape. These individuals take the necessary measures in order to make sure that they are performing in peak condition. This involves a lot of conditioning, warm up exercises and main workouts to help them prepare for their big debut or perhaps the start of a new season. With that being said, even when all the conditioning is done by athletes they are not immune in suffering injuries that can lead to their terrible fates. Let us consider what happens when physical impairments strike athletes on their journey to the top.

You will not be finding any shortage of athletes who have their careers ended prematurely due to physical impairments. Let us take for example, the A three-time All-Star Brandon Roy who has made quite a name for himself in the NBA as being one of the promising top guards. Misfortune stuck when he suffered a degenerative knee condition which resulted to a season-ending surgery on his right knee. Daunte Culpepper was also another professional athlete that looked like the next big thing at the quarterback position in the early 2000’s. In a worst case scenario, Culpepper shredded his right knee, tearing his ACL, MCL, and PCL which ended his career entirely.

Another case of athlete encountering an unfortunate fate was Penny Hardaway. The NBA play suffered a serious left knee injury early in the 1997-98 season and he’d have four more surgeries on that same knee before his career was over. Kirby Puckett was an American professional baseball player and is known as the Minnesota Twins’ all-time leader in career hits, runs, doubles, and total bases. At first glance it seemed that he was suffering from a typical injury resulting to a broken jaw.  What he did not expect was the aftermath of the situation. He woke up after the injury not able to see out of his right eye. Puckett’s life would change forever when he visited his doctor and was given the news he had developed glaucoma. This resulted to him being placed the disabled list for the first time in his professional career. Unfortunately, even after three surgeries over the next few months, doctors could not restore vision in the eye. This in turn made him announced his retirement on July 12, 1996, at the age of 36.

Many believe that the not so obvious injuries are considered to be the deadliest ones compared to the ones that can be seen right away. This is because, these signs of the problem only gradually show up later down their career. A good example of this was the famous American Olympic and professional boxer Muhammad Ali. Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome, which his doctors attributed to boxing-related brain injuries. This happened after Ali retired years ago from boxing. The condition only seemed to get much worse until his untimely death at the age of 74.

Detecting the early signs of the problem prove to be very beneficial as many athletes were able to provide relief to their conditions in a timely and effective manner. Knowing what causes hearing loss can help athletes avoid suffering from the same fate while at the same time know that conditions they need to avoid. It is good to hear that you can find such information online.

03Sep/16

Get the Fans On-Board with Signature Gear

One of the most heartening sights that a player and coach can see, when they are doing battle against another team, is their fans decked out in promotional wear. The colours proudly displayed for all to see and the team’s logo emblazoned across caps and tops. It can lift the performance of the team on the field or track. Whether it be your local netball team, soccer, hockey, rugby, basketball or AFL, it pays to promote your club’s culture with some signature gear. Let the fans walk proudly to the game, through train and bus stations, with colours and team name on display.

Get the Fans On-Board with Signature Gear

Don’t be a quiet achiever, it is not the name of the game in the twenty first century, this is the era of conspicuous activity. Think of Facebook and Twitter, all that social media, it screams out, “look at me, look at me”. As a team Manager or President it is your duty to get the fans to rally around your team. Get the members dressed in the club colours and wearing promotional wear. Scarves and hats, T-shirts and wind cheaters, water bottles and mugs, bumper stickers on their cars, whatever you can think of get it printed with your message or team name.

Help with promoting your team is only a phone call or email away. It will be the most important contact you make all year, because merchandising your sporting team is a labour of love for all involved. The fans want to buy stuff and the support team want to sell them cool things with the club colours and logo on them. You can even make some money for the club from the sale of this merchandise and your fans become walking billboards promoting the team and organisation. How does it get any better than that?

Get the fans on-board with signature gear and you will never look back. You will wonder why you had not taken this step years ago. Marketing your sporting team is a major part of being a sporting organisation in this day and age. You need to grow the base and you can only do this by employing all your resources, which includes your existing fan base to spread the word. Visible messages on clothing and accessories can fly your banner for all to see. Your supporters will proudly wear their club colours.

02Sep/16
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Getting Your Remote Kicks Living in The Sticks

Australia is one of the most urban and remote countries in the modern world, with over two-thirds (69%) of the population living in major cities. It also has one of the lowest population densities outside of its major cities. Despite the vastness of Australia and the profound impact that this has on the lives of the peoples living in rural and remote areas, relatively little is known about families living in these areas of Australia compared to those living in major cities.

What is the nature and impact of such immense isolation? And how do the characteristics of families differ between the “city” and the “country” or “bush”? The answer is ‘tremendously’, while words such as these are used in everyday parlance, it is very difficult to identify exactly where the city ends and the country begins.

Time becomes an all-encompassing commodity. With an almost unlimited supply of time, how does that change not only people’s perspectives but, inevitably, their habits and vices? Add the internet into this equation and what you may find is a melting pot of traditional and alternative flavours. Of course not all outposts and remote towns are fortunate to have broadband, but the incidence is increasing and along with it, the access to a whole range of internet based products and services. “Give a man a surfboard and he’ll paddle for a day, teach that same fella to surf, he’ll be hooked on adult webcams for life!

One way of categorising regions is in terms of the road distance from services, and this is the standard method to define remoteness for statistical purposes in Australia. Over two-thirds (69%) of Australians live in major cities, one in five (20%) live in inner regional areas, one in ten (9%) in outer regional areas and around one in forty (2.3%) live in remote or very remote areas (1.5% remote and 0.8% very remote). These figures represent 15.1 million people living in major cities, 4.3 million in inner regional areas and 2.1 million in outer regional areas, 324,000 in remote areas and 174,000 in very remote areas (Australian Bureau of Statistics)

While Australians of all backgrounds reside in the different regions across Australia, the Indigenous population has a much greater concentration in the more remote areas. Although 2.4% of Australia’s population are Indigenous, their geographic distribution across Australia is quite different. Indigenous people comprise 1% of the population in major cities, 3% in inner regional areas, 6% in outer regional areas, 15% in remote areas and 49% in very remote areas.

In regard to dwelling and household type, most Australians (79%) live in one-family households, with 3% in multi-family households (households consisting of two or more families), 9% in lone-person households, 3% in group households and 6% in non-private dwellings or not-classifiable households. The difference between very remote areas and the rest of Australia is largely the result of a higher proportion of the population in very remote areas being Indigenous. In very remote areas, about three-quarters of non-Indigenous people live in one-family households and 2% in multi-family households. This compares to 57% of Indigenous people who live in one-family households and 38% who live in multi-family households.

Significantly Australia’s population is ageing, as is the population in many other countries. The proportion of the population aged 65 years and over relative to those of working age (15-64 years) known as the old age dependency ratio, is increasing. For example, in inner regional areas there are 24 elderly people for every 100 people of working age. This has growing implications for government policies and programs, including the types of services needed not to mention for the social and economic life of communities.

As expected, people living in major cities are less likely to have problems accessing a range of services than those living in other areas. Those in outer regional or remote areas are the most likely to have difficulties accessing services. This is true irrespective of family type. For couples without children living with them (including both childless couples and those with grown-up children), the proportions having problems accessing services are 16% in major cities, 23% in inner regional areas and 36% in outer regional areas. These data illustrate that while geographic remoteness is an important factor in not having access to services, it is not a complete explanation. Even in major cities some people have experienced difficulties in accessing such services. This may reflect lack of affordable transport, cost of services, waiting lists, or because of the inappropriateness of available services.

Across geographic regions, differences in the proportions of boys and girls participating in individual sports, such as swimming lessons and gymnastics, are also apparent, with lower participation rates for these activities in outer regional areas. Differences in participation in extracurricular art, music or dance classes according to geographic remoteness were also found. Participation in these types of classes is more common in major cities than outer regional areas. For example, the proportion of boys participating in these types of activities is 31% in major cities and 17% in outer regional areas. For girls, the pattern is similar, although the difference between major cities and outer regional areas is smaller than is the case for boys. Parents’ expectations for their children’s future education levels provide interesting insights into their possible educational outcomes. Parents in major cities have relatively high expectations for their children’s future education levels, when compared to parents in the less geographically accessible regions. The differences in expectations of qualifications for girls compared to boys is greatest in the outer regional areas.

Remote Australia is distant from centres of economic and political decision making. In general, those who live in remote Australia have lower incomes, employment rates and education levels than the rest of Australia. These trends are exacerbated amongst the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. If we examine what is widely considered to be ‘Remote Australia’, the exact and total geographical area is 86% of the country yet it is home to 3% of Australia’s population. ‘The Great Outdoors’ has many faces and how we interpret the rich diversity and widening divisions will ultimately define us as a developed nation.

02Sep/16
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Super Superstition in Sporting History

Being successful in the fast-paced, dollar-fuelled modern arena that is today’s sporting world takes talent, dedication, and the occasional dose of superstition. What better recipe in which to cultivate your own unique brand of motivational behaviour, thus the sporting superstition is born. And there are some absolute crackerjacks in there to baffle sports fans across the globe along with some rather strange habits that have since become the stuff of sporting legend. In no particular order of awesomeness, take for instance, the Chilean female golfer nicknamed the Tree Frog for her habit of always wearing a green shirt and trousers on Saturday match play days. Some sports psychologists hold the theory that the colour green signals a special kinship with nature while the Tree Frog would publicly announce that ‘green shirt Saturdays’ could propel, guide her through 9 holes without fault or distraction.

The award for the most brutish of womens superstitions in sport must go to Bulgaria’s Helga Molokova, a little known, big bodied champion weightlifter notorious for her unusual and unfeminine habit of growing a pre-tournament goatee beard and not shaving it off until such time as either the trophy was in her tremendous, bulging, ham-like hands or she had at least scared off most of the willing opposition. It was rumoured that one glance at her impressive CV and even some of the male competitors would run off home screaming for their mommy.

As the highest goal scorer in the history of the Icelandic Womens amateur football league, Magda Magnusdottir, fast became a local B-list celebrity and lifestyle role model for her weekly ritual of not eating any meat products on the day of a game. This started in her junior days where pre-match nerves lead her to not eating for fear of projectile vomiting in the six-yard box and overnight an icon was born. To this day the number of young, eager female vegetarians in the country is steadily on the rise in what many Icelanders hail as a victory for health and nutrition nationwide.

Brazilian Jujitsu Wunderkid, aptly nicknamed Chiquita, has one superstition that she claims help her fight her best. If she’s travelling to a game by plane, she insists that her favourite kit bag must always be the first item to appear at baggage claim, this she says only reinforces her position as the true, righteous Number One contender. “No one ever remembers the bag that came second!” she will tell you before a championship fight.

Ranked for many years in the top ten players of Korean women’s table tennis, Ms Ashley Kim, is another athlete with a world beating superstition designed to keep her on track. She would bring her shower sandals to a table tennis match and had a fascinating ritual of slipping them on and off between match points, whether this was gamesmanship on her part to unsettle her opponent or she simply liked the feel of the massage sandals underfoot, only she will know the true behind the scenes story?

And last but not least a real tear-jerker, a Hawaiian Junior Tri-athlete, famously nicknamed walrus-toe, seemingly enjoyed the habit of making life just that little bit more difficult. After winning her first junior series event with one wet sock during the entire race she concluded that the discomfort was key to success and made a ritual out of stepping on a sodden towel before commencing every race. We can only wonder that sometimes it pays to be a wet blanket? Some other common superstitions in the world of high energy sports. In baseball spitting into your hand before picking up the bat is said to bring good luck. In basketball, the last person to shoot a basket during the warm-up will have a good game. In football, double numbers on a player’s uniform brings good luck. And in golf, balls with a number higher than 4 are bad luck. Looks like Happy Gilmore lucked out on that one!