Archive for April, 2012
Not many people who know about camouflage have heard of what a ghillie suit is. You might not see it at all unless you are really looking carefully. Landowners would pay men to go around their properties and catch poachers in the beginnings of the ghillie suit. Ghillies, as they eventually came to be known, would get themselves in the bushes and wait patiently for poachers in outfits they would craft from old rags and shredded materials.
Nowadays ghillie suits are implemented for a variety of activities from the deadly art of sharpshooting to the much less lethal game of paintball. The textiles have changed but the technology behind the covering stays the same. Even when the enemy or target comes within a really close range to them, the modern ghillie suit wearer can stay undetected and look like a pile of leaves in the woods.
Because of their simple concept and high effectiveness, ghillie suits have been associated with sniping. Around the time of the end of the eighteenth century the art of sniping started. Guerillas would shoot at opposing armies from far-away locations to defeat and break the spirits of the opposition. Sharpshooters became popular when weapons became more accurate and sharpshooter could be more than one-hundred meters away from their target.
The use of sharpshooters in military engagements changed the the technique in which wars were fought. Officers would go with battalions and give commands during battle before the massive deployment of sharpshooters. Infantry warfare went from direct engagements to more covered, flanking techniques as more and more commanders were assassinated. Commanders had to attempt to blend in with the lower-ranking soldiers to avoid being killed. More covered areas such as woods and mountains became the choice terrain over open areas as sharpshooting techniques became more prevalent. As more ferocious and far-away techniques were used to fight, the code of conduct that troops in the past held onto was abandoned.
To pick off high-ranking officers and to demoralize enemy troops during WWI, all sides had ghillie suits and sharpshooter techniques. The skill to stay unseen for shooters lies within the suit; materials hang down and give the shooter incredible camouflage protection. There are several different styles of the suit so that the shooter can blend in with surroundings no matter what environment they are in. A woodlands ghillie suit, for example, would look much different than a ghillie suit for the desert.
Modern day sharpshooters still continue to use the suit for protection and security while on important operations. A sharpshooter’s ability to remain hidden is imperative for their safety and life since the majority of the time a sniper works by himself or with one other person as the look-out. Besides the rifle, a well-crafted suit to cover the sharpshooter is a sniper’s most essential asset. If the sharpshooter could not remain hidden until it was time to shoot, his security would be extremely compromised. Escape after a shot was taken is just as crucial to a sharpshooter as the actual shot. The suit adorned by the sniper is often used many times during a retreat.
Cricket was once described as Chess on a Playing Field. Although they are two very different games, the same should be said of American football. This game is most often defined by the sheer physical nature of its play, but it is first and foremost a game of strategy.
Strategy enters into all elements of play, both offensive and defensive. The entire focus is to outguess the opponent, thereby finding a weakness to exploit. Each team has its own style of playing, often determined by the individual strengths of its players. Some emphasize a defensive strategy while others accentuate the offense, which has two components, the running and the passiing game.
The passing game strategy is currently more popular. Each team develops a playbook of plays for different situations that they can execute well. These plays vary in the element of risk, from those that are very conservative and will reliably garner short yardage, by either rushing or a short pass, to high risk long yardage passes. Every playbook contains a version of the desperation play, the “Hail Mary” wherein every eligible receiver runs downfield and the quarterback throws the ball as close to the endzone as possible.
The players, with the aid of coaches, devise a gameplan for each different opponent. This is carefully formatted by reviewing hours of the team’s own games to determine which plays are working well, and acres of footage of the opposing team’s games to find a flaw in there defense. Rushing and passing plays are usually alternated and disguised to look like the other type of play to throw the defense off guard. However, the defense has a playbook all its own and will try to read the calls or guess the next play. When the defense perceives a pass, it will “blitz” or rush at the quarterback. The defense is not allowed to hit the quarterback while he is in the motion of throwiing, the blitz often interferes with the time necessary for the receiver to get into place and the quarterback is unable to complete the pass. The best scenario of the blitz for the defensive team is when the quarteback is downed for a loss or yardage or “sacked”.
One tried and true strategy of football is the punt. It is used on the third down when the offensive team feels it cannot get enough yardage to secure a first down and decides to kick the ball downfield to salvage the situation and ensure their opponent’s offense will begin play deep in its own territory. It is becoming popular to line up as if to punt and then either perform a running play or an onside kick, both with the hope of getting the first down afterall. This is a risky strategy that heightens the game’s drama. When it works, it is brilliant. With failure, the opponent takes over the ball possession with very favorable field possition and may even score.
The most time honored strategy in football is ball control and time of possesion, both of which correlate highly with winning games. The best offense is a good defense, as the saying goes, and it is logical that if a team has the ball the other team cannot score. But this is being challenged by the newer styled, high-powered long pass offenses that can score a touchdown in virtually no time at all.
Power can be elusive to golfers. Is true power generated through technique, strength or something more? Every golfer wants more power, more distance, more consistency. Here are 3 ways to generate the kind of power you have only dreamed of…until now.
1. Spinal Rotation. Every time you swing the golf club, you rotate around your spine. So, what does this have to do with power? Power is generated every time you stabilize your hips to make a full backswing with spinal rotation. Most golfers have heard of the X factor. This, of course, refers to the differential between the movement in your hips and your spine. Increase your spinal rotation and a new sense of power will be released.
2. Core Based Exercises. Your body’s “core”, the area around your trunk and pelvis, is where your center of gravity is located. When you have good core stability, the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen work in harmony. They provide support to your spine. The core is the power zone. It is where all movement begins. A well-developed core allows for improved force output, increased neuromuscular efficiency, and decreased incidence of overuse injuries. A weak core can make you susceptible to poor posture and injury.
3. Plyometrics. Plyometrics are any exercise where the muscle is contracted eccentricly then immediately, concentricly. Put simply, the muscle is stretched (i.e. loaded) before it is contracted. A good example is medicine ball horizontal twists and standing golf swings. According to a recent study published in the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) journal, amateur golfers significantly increased their driving distances after just eight weeks of strength training while incorporating plyometrics. Mean driving distance increased 4.3% for the combined training group, with mean club head speed increasing 1.5%.
Once you incorporate these 3 techniques into your exercise program, you’ll never be disgruntled about driving distance or power generation again.