No wind for Kitesurfing, but here’s what I got up to

So the plane back home touched down at Heathrow airport at 6 o’clock this morning. The return journey was thankfully a lot less stressful than the outward one!

We were flying with Air France which meant we had two ‘legs’ to our journey; the first being from Heathrow to Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, France and from there the second leg to Hong Kong… Having done our check-in online, we arrived on time at Heathrow, parked the car in the long stay car park and headed off to the check-in desk.

As we got out of the lift we checked our flight status on the big screens hanging from the ceiling. ‘CANCELLED’ in big red letters was flashing up against our flight number – we later found out that we had been unlucky enough to be on the only cancelled Air France flight of the day! The cancellation was due to the staff at Air France going on strike at really short notice.

After looking at all of the other possibilities of getting to Paris that day to make our connection we realised that it wasn’t going to be possible. We had been automatically booked on to the same flight 24 hours later so this left us with a bit of a dilemma as none of us wanted to take the trip back home only to drive out again the next day.

We eventually decided to book a room in the Sofitel Hotel, Heathrow. It was a pleasant hotel with good facilities and breakfast included so we weren’t complaining!

We spent the morning killing time in the hotel because we couldn’t check in until late afternoon. I had packed my 2 kites, kiteboard, surfboard, bar and harness etc. into a suitcase so that we could check it in as normal luggage and save excess baggage costs.

This left the board to sort out. I had phoned up the airline a few weeks previously to see if it would be okay to take it on as hand luggage and store it in the suit storage area that every aircraft has – the person that I spoke to had said that there shouldn’t be a problem with doing this.

But of course this was a totally different story at the check-in desk! Out of the four people that we spoke to they all said that it wouldn’t be possible to take it into the cabin!

So after a long conversation I agreed to let it go into the hold with all the other luggage expecting it to be able to go on with a fragile service or top load only… only to find that Air France doesn’t offer any such service! Eventually we settled to put it on the oversize baggage belt so that it would be handled carefully and would hopefully end up being towards the top of the load.

I’m glad I had wrapped it in bubble wrap and put some fragile stickers on it anyway!

Eventually we boarded the same flight but 24 hours later. This time with no dramas! I ended up sleeping for the majority of the 13 hour journey, only being interrupted by the fairly unattractive aircraft meals…

We arrived in Hong Kong in the evening and had time for a quick swim before meeting some friends for dinner.

Over the next few days we spent a lot of time catching up with friends and family… Sadly there was no wind even though there was a typhoon that had been aiming for the coast of Hong Kong but at the last minute this changed direction to go to Taiwan, so that was a disappointment.

We took a short side trip to the former Portuguese colony of Macau to do some sight seeing and visit some more friends. We paid a visit to the local go kart track and spent some time doing laps in the 38ºC heat and 90% humidity… good fun but not the most comfortable of climates! We visited some casinos and went to some temples so overall it was a pretty good time.

We took the ferry back to Hong Kong and just chilled out for the rest of the week: did some shopping, and visited a few cool places. On Friday we met up with some friends who took us on a boat trip.

It was a really hot day – 39ºC and probably hotter in the sun. On the journey out to one of the many outlying bays off Sai Kung, we took part in a ritual where some fish that had been caught in crabbing nets are released back out to sea.

This was a remarkably peaceful process and a good experience. We then continued out to a nearby bay and anchored. We were privileged enough to be able to have some fun on an incredibly fast jet ski and be able to have a go at wake boarding behind a 375 horsepower speedboat.

I had never done wakeboarding before and I was most excited about it because of its links with kitesurfing. I had an amazing time and got up and going straight away.

Our last few days included scouring the markets for cheap clothing deals. The best were to be found at Stanley Market, on the south side of Hong Kong island. There are some amazing savings on top brands of board shorts and tees etc.

So that pretty much sums up our trip in Hong Kong. I had a really great time and thankfully our trip back home went a lot smoother.

Plan for the next few days is to head to Devon to stay with some friends again and hopefully there will be some wind!

This summarizes superiority of Aluminum Baseball Bat over Wooden Baseball Bat

The crack of the bat as it makes contact with the ball has been part of the excitement of a good game from the beginning. This changes somewhat in the 1970s when aluminum baseball bats made their entrance to the sport.

At first they were met with skepticism because they were flawed when compared to the standard old wooden ones. They originally were heavier than wood and stung the hands of the batter more.

It was hard for people to see how aluminum baseball bats could ever find a permanent home in baseball. They offered the advantage of durability though and this kept the sport interested. They simply did not break and far outlived their wooden ancestors.

As time went on and technology had a chance to work on aluminum baseball bats, they became lighter and easier on the hands and arms of the batter. Soon they were becoming more popular in the game and have now become a staple in the sport and in real there are many best usa baseball bats made of aluminum.

The wooden bats are still available and some players prefer them still. They are mostly used in youth leagues and every year there are still a large number of wood bats for youth to be produced. There is no doubt though now that the aluminum ones are here to stay. They are lighter now than wooden bats and still much stronger. With the vibrations reduced to a minimum when the bat is used, all areas of problem were eliminated.

Aluminum baseball bats can be purchased online individually or in large numbers for teams or leagues. You will find a large selection and find information that will help you to understand the technology of a metal bat.

Aluminium bat Guide

It seems like every year (or every couple of months) changes are made to the rules that dictate what kind of bats a player can and cannot use. It’s hard to keep up and leaves me a little skittish about actually buying one.

While your best is to talk to your player’s coach or league administrator, it never hurts to do a little leg work before shelling out $100 for an Aluminium bat.

I found list of hottest baseball bats and bat guide online, which helps you understand the rules for various leagues and levels about what kind of bat your players can use. so be sure you click on the right category.

Hitting with Aluminium bats Guide

Pulling the Ball

The term pulling the ball refers to where the ball is hit. A right-handed batter is pulling the ball if he hits it to the left of second base. A left-handed batter is pulling the ball if the ball goes to the right of second base. To pull the ball, batters swing early so that the barrel of the bat is farther along in the swing when it makes contact with the ball.

Hitters often try to pull the ball when they want to hit for power. Because the swing has started earlier, the hitter generates more bat speed and therefore hits with more power.

Going to the Opposite Field

The term going to the opposite field also refers to where the ball is hit. A right-handed batter is going to the opposite field if he hits it to the right of second base. A left-handed batter goes to the opposite field by hitting to the left of second base.

Contact hitters go to the opposite field more often than pull hitters. This is because contact hitters are just trying to make contact with the ball, and to do so, they sometimes wait longer to swing. As a result the bat may still be coming forward when it hits the ball, and the angle propels the ball to the opposite field.

Because the swing has just started when the ball is struck, the batter generally cannot hit to the opposite field with as much power as he can when pulling the ball.

Contact Hitting Versus Power Hitting

The two basic types of hitters are contact hitters and power hitters, although most batters can hit either way, depending on the situation.

A contact hitter most often tries to make solid contact with the ball without necessarily pulling the ball for power. Contact hitters do not strike out very often, and they tend to get on base more frequently than power hitters.

Power hitters swing hard, trying to drive the ball. They are usually pull hitters. Because they try to hit the ball hard, they strike out more often than contact hitters, but because they have more extra-base hits, they drive in more runs.

Looking for a Pitch Versus Reacting

Batters approach their at-bats differently. Some are looking for a specific pitch, and others are reacting to whatever pitch is thrown. When a batter is looking for a pitch, he is thinking about what the pitcher is likely to throw.

When he believes that he has figured out what the pitch will be, or the location of it (inside or outside), he looks for that pitch. A batter who is looking for a specific pitch may guess correctly and take a good swing at the ball, but if he guesses wrong, he may swing too early or too late.

When a batter is not looking for a pitch, but instead reacting to each pitch, he watches the ball leave the pitcher’s hand and hits the type of pitch he thinks is coming toward him, based on the pitcher’s motion and the spin of the ball. In other words, he reacts after the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand.

Hitting Behind the Runner

When a batter is hitting behind the runner, he is hitting the ball to the right side of the field, which is behind a runner who is going from first to second base.

If the ball is hit behind the runner and the ball goes into the outfield, the runner has a good chance to reach third base because the right fielder has a long throw to make. If a ball is hit in front of the runner into left field, the runner is less likely to go to third, because the throw to third for the left fielder is fairly short.

Protecting the Plate

When a player is protecting the plate, he is trying to make any kind of contact (including hitting a foul ball). A player tends to protect the plate with two strikes, because he does not want to strike out.

Even hitting a foul ball helps a batter who is protecting the plate, because he gets another pitch to hit.

Skiing versus Snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding are exciting and thrilling sports that people of all ages like to enjoy. Both skiing and snowboarding have certain stigmas attached to them at times.

Skiing has been associated with being conservative, upper class and rich whereas snowboarders have been associated with baggy trouser wearing kids with attitude.

There are certain distinct differences between the two sports and the choice between snowboarding and ski holidays should be based on the following criteria. However, before go to the factors below you need to know about basic difference between them that Skiing use snowblades and the Snowboarding use with only one snowboard.

Physical elements

Snowboarding has less pressure on the knees than skiing. Many knee accidents and injuries occur due to skiing. Wrist injuries are mostly sustained whilst snowboarding however compared to skiing.

Skiing comes with poles that will assist in you remaining upright and standing when you are stationary. Snowboarders either have to sit or exert energy to remain on the board when not moving.

Pulling yourself together after a fall on skis can take longer as you have to put your skis back together rather than snowboarding where once you have gotten used to falling and getting yourself back up, it is only a matter of getting yourself standing upright again.

You can easy choose equipment for snowboarding when compare skiing. For example about snowboard, The manufacturers have produced many different types of snowboards in many sizes and colors. This will make you choosing easily.

Terrain

Flat areas are easier to cross on skis with poles a great assistance to you whereas with snowboarding, you have to try and push yourself along or unstrap and trudge across the flat areas armed with your board.

If you are planning to go cross country, definitely skis are the way to go as it would be difficult to snowboard cross country.

Snowboards work well in deep power whilst skis are better in bumps and ice. Moguls are particularly good for skiers whereas snowboarders tend to avoid them.

In terms of speed, skiing beats snowboarding every time for riders of equal ability.

Learning to ski or snowboard

Skiing can be technical as you have to have good coordination, body awareness and muscular control in order to control your feet with your skis.

Snowboarding can be easier to learn due to having less equipment to come to terms with. Progress can be made much faster in the first few days when learning how to snowboard than with skiing within a similar time period.

Of course, this can differ between individuals and their ability to be proficient in either sport.

If you have been skiing for a number of years and have decided to give snowboarding a try, it can be easier to learn due to being familiar with the mountain terrain and being comfortable going downhill at a reasonable speed level.

It should not take too long to reach the intermediate stage when switching from skiing to snowboarding.

First-timers to the snow are often undecided between choosing skiing and snowboarding. Certain elements need to be taken into consideration and of course you can elect to switch once you have mastered one of the sports.

Either way, both skiing and snowboarding are fun sports and once you have taken a sufficient number of lessons, you can go out there and enjoy the freedom of being on a ski or snowboard.

The Hitting Swing and Improving the Batting Stance in Softball

The Hitting Swing

One of the best ways to teach kids the proper way to swing the bat is by demonstrating it. Take them step by step through the process, from the correct stance to sweeping the bat head through the zone to making contact to following through.

The one drawback to this approach is that, when demonstrating the swing, it all happens within a second or two, making it difficult for your players to understand how each step in the process fits together.

This video from playsportstv.com – which offers a treasury of very good instructional videos on softball skills and techniques – solves the problem by demonstrating the swing in slow motion.

Not only should you check out the video yourself, you should show it to your players. The coach explains everything that’s happening while we watch in slow motion as a batter takes her stance, swings at and drives a ball.

The host, coach Jodi Ricciardi, also offers a good memory device that can help your hitters: start by holding the bat with your hands up by your right shoulder (for right-handed batters) and finish your swing with your hands up by your left shoulder. This approach will ensure the batter executes a powerful swing and follows all the way through on the ball.

Note, too, that Ricciardi mentions weight distribution during the swing, beginning with 60 percent of the weight on the back foot and then shifting that percentage to the front foot. This approach increases the hitter’s power, helping her drive the ball farther.

The hitter who demonstrates has a great swing, even if her feet are placed a little farther apart than I’d like. This is one of the most helpful videos I’ve seen on hitting a softball. Highly recommended!

Beside all that, for the best swing your player should be using the great bats. So, you also should researching on the market and read the latest softball bats reviews on the internet to find the good bats and fit for your player.

Improving the Batting Stance

One of the challenges of coaching is changing poor habits that already are ingrained in the player. The wrong way has come to feel right, and that’s the way the player has come to do it naturally.

One area in which issues tend to arise frequently is the batter’s box. Girls have been taught the basics of hitting, but have developed a bad habit or two that have gone unnoticed by previous coaches.

Here’s a short but very helpful video from a great series on monkeysee.com. (I’ve linked to other videos in the series in a few previous posts, so it might look familiar to you.) In this one the host covers a poor batting stance. The test: give the player a push. If she stumbles backward, she’s not using a strong, balanced stance, and she’ll have trouble making contact and driving the ball with power.

The host shows the proper stance in a detailed way that will guide you in correcting a poor stance. With some practice, the stance will start to feel natural to the player, and she’ll be happy to see her hits sailing farther than ever before.