When you visit the various auction websites available across the UK, you will see a number or football league teams selling off their old turnstiles that have been part of their culture for the past 30 or 40 years. What you would choose to do with your turnstile once you got it home is highly debatable, so perhaps you will use it to replace your rear garden gate?
One of the main reasons that turnstiles from football stadiums are so popular is because millions of the U.K.’s citizens have been passing through those turnstiles 40 to 50 times a year to watch games home and away.
Can You Beat The Turnstiles?
Turnstiles have become part of folklore, because they can’t be beaten. You can only go through the turnstile when the operator lets you through. Some extremely small or slim people have always tried to go through with another person, but if they tell you they’ve succeeded, take the story with a pinch of salt.
The problem with turnstiles is more with larger people who may struggle to get through the small space. Football supporters used to claim that the turnstiles were so narrow, perhaps 3 feet wide, anyone hoping to include a pie of chips with a couple of cans before the game, might have difficulty negotiating the narrow width.
Obviously, the turnstiles of old were built to stop fans pushing through the without paying. In the old days, which were only 15 years ago, most people would pay for their ticket by cash. These days, the majority of supporters have either paid for their season ticket by credit card or purchased a ticket in advance, for away matches.
The Security Angle
From the football club’s point of view, turnstiles provide an excellent secure shutting down of passageways. They also form excellent checkpoints where, in conjunction with high security, people can be carefully policed into a football stadium, especially important considering the lessons learnt at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield in 1989.
You can see, what are commonly known as football turnstiles, in many other locations. Amusement parks use them as do many other sporting venues. However, people have written non-fiction books related just to their turnstile experiences over the last few decades and you can buy those books on the most popular websites.
People love and hate the turnstiles they’ve passed through time and time again at their local football club, and they’ve known individual turnstiles longer than their spouse and children. It’s no wonder they’re part of our everyday culture.
The silhouette of football boots that we see today was not the same since its inception. It has evolved and improved over time with the help of research work and technological developments. Let’s find out more.
Footballers used to play without shoes before 1891. In some parts of the world, only socks were worn. But in some regions, people used to wear office shoes. These shoes had rock-solid toes and were made of steel sometimes.
Theses shoes were never designed to kick a ball yet people used to wear them because of the unavailability of any other option. The passion for football was so high that despite getting injuries by wearing these shoes, they didn’t stop playing. There was no grip on the outsoles of these shoes because of which slipping through the grass was very common.
In 1891, national bodies of football felt that shortcoming and an amendment was done in football regulations allowing players to wear shoes that had small studs or something which could help players maintain their grip on the ground.
This placed a foundation stone for football shoes and many shoe-makers came forward to meet this specific demand. Italy, Uruguay, and France were the pioneer countries of this breakthrough.
In the early decades of the 1900s, the demand for football shoes fell sharply because of World War aftermath. After World War II, the interest in playing sports took a flight, and the demand for sports shoes witnessed an extraordinary hike. During this period, immense technology and research work were carried out.
As a result, lighter and flexible football shoes came into being. These shoes became more popular in southern sides of Europe and America because surfaces there were less muddy as compared to England where there were mud-covered surfaces.
After 1950, upgraded quality of football boots was introduced. The selling point of these shoes was plastic-molded or metallic studs. These studs allowed footballers to play comfortably in different conditions around the world and were largely used in professional football.
By 1970, the evolution of shoes reached its peak. Football shoes became even lighter. Eye-catching colors were used and several designers came forward to print graphics and designs on them. Research and experimentation reached a new milestone when «Predator» by a well-known company was introduced. This became a new sensation because of rubber strips and stronger material toe design.
Soon after this development, many professional footballers were offered to endorse different brands of football shoes. Advertisements were made and commercialization of football shoes was started. In the late 90s, soles were made even flexible that offered comfort for footballers allowing them to play more games comfortably.
In short, this was the history of football shoes. The latest development in this regard can be witnessed these days in the form of laser technology. This technology will allow you to stitch a customized pair of shoes based on your exact size and playing style. Not only that, studs these days look like blades. Some football shoemakers have also introduced micro-chip technology that helps in tracking these shoes; however, they are rarely used.
Growing up in Queensland after World War Two, I only became aware of «Aussie Rules» when I was at primary school in grade four. My school offered both Rugby League and Aussie Rules as winter sports. I chose to play our Australian game. I soon learnt it was called «Aerial Ping Pong» by the supporters of the other game which was by far the most popular football played in the state.
In hindsight, back in the mid-twentieth century, I can see the justification for this belief. The football was often dropkicked high in the air to be caught above the head or knocked away from the marking player. Each mark or free kick often resulted in a stoppage where the attacking player kicked the football from behind a mark indicated by the umpire. So the game was somewhat static.
After every scrimmage/stoppage, the football was bounced in the air for a rucking contest like a tip off in basketball. The football could be handballed or knocked forward; kicked off the ground and the team scored by kicking the football through the four goals posts. There was tackling but within certain rules. All in all, the football spent a lot of time in the air.
However, the term, «Ping Pong» implies a soft game. Here is where the nickname of our national game was so misleading. Australian football is a 360 degree game. There is no off side. Players can be tackled, pushed or bumped from any direction. In those other football games, the tackler is in front of the player. So the players see the tackler coming. Added to that point, there are 18 opposition players ready to tackle, push or bump as opposed to 13 or 15 in those Rugby games.
The modern game of Australian Football ridicules that nickname.
It is the game that has
The largest oval;
It has the most players involved of any football game actually on the oval playing;
It is played for the longest time.
The modern version sees players running constantly from end of the field to the other. (The oval is an ellipse about 160 metres long with a width of 120 metres at the centre of the oval. The Rugby game ovals are rectangular and only 100 metres long.)
Tackling has become a feature of the game. The tackling seen in the game is as strong as is seen in the Rugby games except it tends to be one on one tackles. The aim of the tackler is to dispossess the player of the football and put them on the ground.
Because the game is so fast with lots of running and fierce tackling as well as high marking, the injury toll has increased from basically soft tissue injuries to knee reconstructions, concussion, broken bones to name just a few injuries.
The game has become so quick, that it is now umpired by two or three or even four field umpires depending on the particular competition at open level.
A player of our Australian game must master many more skills than in the Rugby games. The player must be able to kick both feet with a variety of kicking styles; handball different ways with both hands; spoil a mark; be able to bump and shepherd an opponent; dodge around players; run swiftly bouncing a ball; pick a ball up off the ground running at pace and kick goals from all angles.
Finally, the game at the highest level has become professional with almost daily training and playing taking up all but 4 weeks of the year.
Here are 4 quick tips to improve your youth football teams offensive line play:
«Who» to block is as or more important than «How» to block for most youth football teams.
Even the greatest block on the wrong player can result in football plays that go for losses.
On the other hand, many times even a poorly executed block on the right player can impede the defender long enough for your team to get a descent gain out of the play.
Some things to consider:
1) In order for your team to effectively block the right player on each play, you must have a simple and sound blocking scheme and rules. Our blocking rule on most plays is GOD, inside gap, «on», unconditional down. The player looks to the inside gap first, if no one is there, they look to «on». if no one is there, they move to an unconditional down block.
2) You must teach the scheme to the players in a fashion they can understand it and where it becomes second nature to them. We do lots of first two step and freeze drills. Also assign our best coach to the offensive line.
3) Your offense must take the time during practice to make sure that every play is run perfectly. Make sure the correct player is being blocked every play and with proper first steps and head placement using methods like «birddogging» and fit and freezing. These methods include the offensive line taking steps on your count 1-2-3-4 and «fitting» on the defender he is to block. This is a slow motion drill, not live scrimmaging.
4) Technique is important too, but «Who» to block is often the most neglected area with most youth football teams.
150 free youth football coaching tips for you here: Youth Football
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Evaluating youth football players either for a draft or to determine positions is one of the most important but most poorly performed tasks done by many youth football coaches. Too often a player is assigned a position because he «looks» like the position without regards to the skills required of that specific position. Often times kids that look like football players or are the sons of coaches are given preferential treatment and are selected for the «skill» or glory positions. Another mistake many youth football coaches make is they evaluate kids for skills in a way that has little or no correlation to what actually are critical success factors to performing well on the football field. Quite often a player is assigned a position based on just one required attribute of that position without regard to the entirety of skills needed to play the position.
I Made the Same Mistake
The end result is you often have youth football teams that don’t perform anywhere near the potential of the aggregate group. So often when I’m asked to come in and trouble shoot poorly playing teams, they have kids in the wrong positions and the disparities in players is blatantly apparent if you know what to look for. Early on in my coaching «career» I too was bamboozled by the physical appearances of players. One of my first years coaching a tough talking 10 year old kid showed up to our first practice, he had «the look» a Mohawk haircut, shirtsleeves torn off, scowl/I want to tear your head off look on his face and he was a stocky but solid 120 lbs. Heck I would have guessed he had a pack a day cigarette habit from the attitude he put off, we were drooling at the thought of having him playing football for us. On the other hand there was this skinny quiet kid with a crew cut, and only 8 years old, probably weighed less than 65 pounds. He looked like one of the kids most coaches probably pray the DON’T get at first glance.
Looks Like Tarzan, Plays Like Jane
The Mohawk kid turned out wasn’t in very good physical shape, which isn’t a real big deal, but he was an excuse maker as well. He was one that questioned every drill and when he didn’t win a drill (we do almost everything in competition format) he had an excuse, he slipped, he started late, the other kid cheated, he had overeaten that day. In addition to all that, he didn’t have very good body control. He could move fairly well straight ahead but when he went to make a turn of cut it was like he was trying to turn the Titanic, he couldn’t do it. His core strength was terrible and his quickness was awful. While there are some technique and core strengthening movements we can do to improve this, even dramatic improvements would still have this player in the bottom 20% in this critical area.
Looks Like Jane, Plays Like Tarzan
On the other hand the shy scrawny 8 year old seemed to be a natural when we did our games/drill that revealed core strength. During the Dummy Relay Races, he was able to not only lift and maintain the balance of the dummy but he was running with it, where others were doing a wobbly jog. During the Towel Game, he always drug his opponents to the cone, showing excellent leg strength, natural leverage and heart. Even in the Sumo Game he showed excellent trunk and leg strength, tenacity and great natural leverage. The Deer Hunter game in my opinion is the best and most fun way to determine a players»football speed». Football speed means the ability to start, stop and accelerate in small spaces, being able to change direction and control your body to escape the «hunters». Our scrawny little 8 year old excelled at this drill, while our Mohawk was the first one out.
Doing Accurate Evaluations
The net is you cant judge a book by it’s cover and you HAVE TO measure kids to reveal their football playing skills, not how fast they can run 40 yards or how many pushups they can do. How many times in a football game do kids actually run 40 yards? And how often are 40 times actually accurate? The answer to both is rarely to never. What does a pushup prove? Upper body strength does very little to aid your linemen in his blocks, a proper block places much more emphasis on foot speed, trunk and leg strength as well as attitude and aggressiveness. Some say you can’t test for toughness, resiliency, tenacity or aggressiveness until the kids put the pads on, that is simply not true. So according to those that believe you can’t put kids into positions until you put the pads on for at least a week put themselves WAY behind. For them it is a crap shoot until the 2nd or 3rd week of practice. The Towel Game, Sumo Game, Dummy Relay Races and to an extent the Deer Hunter reveal all these traits without wearing pads.
If you are drafting players you have a huge advantage if you know what to look for and how to look for it. If you don’t have a draft, being able to evaluate kids properly is STILL a huge advantage because you can assign positions earlier, put your schemes in quicker and you don’t waste a ton of time shuffling players from position to position to position like a church social cake walk until you find the right spot for the poor confused player.
Making It Fun
If you can make the evaluation process fun for the kids it is an added bonus. The first week of practice the kids and the parents are paying close attention to the fun factor and you. You can make some huge deposits in the emotional bank accounts of the parents that week if you can make the evaluations fun. We use all the above mentioned fun evaluation games during the evaluations of my teams and they are all found in my book. I’ve found the drills/games are so effective we are able to put kids into the correct positions after the first practice with a 95% success rate.
The first game we are almost always significantly ahead of our competition, even though we always practice less. A big factor has to be being able to do accurate and effective evaluation and early placement of players.
The evaluation should be preceded by making sure you have very detailed descriptions of the requirements of each position on your team so you know which skills you are looking for to make the best fits.
The Ultra in Unusual but Effective Evaluation Drills/Games
Here is a very interesting method one High School uses to evaluate it’s players, the Rabbit Catch. Bobby Bowden even thinks there may be merit in this unique assessment practice. Think about how closely this activity mirrors what successful football players do on the field on game days. Notice the 4 State Championship Rings on the Head High School Coaches hand.
For those of you that are using my system, doesn’t this look very similar to our Deer Hunter drill/game ? Evaluate your players well and you will not only be well ahead of your competition, but you will have much happier players and parents.
It is always best if you want to be a great football passer like Tony Romo to start young. You can always pick up those skills but it works better if you learn them early because it can be more difficult to change bad habits.
Tony Romo is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and has guided the Dallas Cowboys to another exciting season. Many people may ask themselves if they can grip and throw a football like Romo. It is good if you have large hands because it makes it easier to grip the ball.
Next you want to study the way Romo rotates his shoulder when he throws the ball. It is important that you rotate your shoulder so that you can get the momentum behind the ball. It makes it easier for you to throw the ball 30 to 40 years if your timing with this is good. So practice this to get better at rotating.
Next the grip is one of the most important things you can do. You want to use the laces and put your last three finger over the laces so that it feels comfortable. You may need to practice this so that you get the grip that feel best for your hand. There are some variations form quarterback to quarterback but most of them grip this way.
Finally if you are just starting to throw the football then it is always better to learn how to throw it correctly form the beginning. It is hard to change the way you throw it if you have been taught a bad grip then starting with a great grip form the beginning.