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The KT Tape sponsored USA Water Polo Women and their coach, Adam Krikorian (pictured above), were recently featured in the Sports Illustrated Olympics column by Nick Zaccardi. Read below to learn more about the USAWP Womens quest for GOLD in 2012!
The U.S. women's water polo team went silver, bronze, silver in the last three Olympics, but it's been nothing but golden in the run up to 2012.
The world No. 1s won the FINA World League Super Final over Italy 9-7 on Sunday in China. In water polo, there are four major tournaments: the Olympics, the world championships, the World League Super Final and the World Cup.
The Americans won the last two world championships (2007, 2009), the last three World League Super Final titles (2009, 2010, 2011) and the last World Cup (2010).
No doubt they're favorites to claim another world championship next month in China, but their sparkling resume won't be complete without an Olympic gold. "For us to say that's not the goal is kind of avoiding the elephant in the room," coach Adam Krikorian said.
USA Water Polo hopes Krikorian is the man to deliver the elusive Olympic crown. He guided UCLA to seven NCAA titles in a 10-year stretch before replacing Guy Baker as the U.S. coach in 2009.
Baker had been in charge since women's water polo was added to the Olympic program in 2000 and left the post to take a job in the USA Water Polo Olympic development program.
The transition was smooth. Krikorian had been an assistant under Baker at UCLA in the 1990s and brought a similar coaching style. But Krikorian wasn't averse to change. Captain Brenda Villa, a three-time Olympian, remembered one of his first addresses to the team in 2009. "Everyone here has to earn their spot," she recalled Krikorian saying. "It doesn't matter if you've been here before. No one has a foot in the door."
At the time, 11 of the 13 members of the 2008 Olympic roster were active. The recent World League Super Final team however, included seven non-Olympians. No Americans were among the top 10 overall scorers, but 12 of 13 had at least two goals. Goalkeeper Betsey Armstrong earned all-tournament honors.
"We have a lot of players that are very versatile and can play different roles," Villa said. "It's harder for teams to scout us."
Villa also credited improved fitness and Krikorian's training regimen, which included a day with Navy SEAL on a California beach in February, climbing over walls, under barbed wire and through obstacle courses.
"That was crazy," Villa said. "I don't think any of us would do that experience again, but we're glad we did it and survived."
To read the entire article by Nick Zaccardi, visit the Sports Illustrated website. Photo by Alberto Lingria- US Presswire.
The world is watching as Derek Jeters time on the DL comes to a close this week- will his calf injury be healed enough for him to return to play? Having been sidelined for 15 days because of a Grade I Calf Strain, were hoping Jeter knows to use the KT Tape Calf Strain application to tape up his calf before hitting the field again this week!
Are you training, playing with, or coaching your own team of future Derek Jeters? Here are a few simple exercises for getting you and your team quickly back into playing shape from Baseball Training Secrets, provided by Jon Doyle for Active.com:
Every year coaches and athletes are faced with the same problem. For whatever reason (work, camp, pure laziness) athletes show up out of shape at the beginning of every season, especially after the summer.
Here is the exact program I use to get athletes in shape FAST. It has a high carryover to sports and will not cause overuse injuries! The following four exercises are to be done in circuit fashion.
I'm sure everyone knows how to do these. The biggest piece of advice is to make sure you are making wide arches with your arms and taking your hands from your sides and touch above your head.
Stand with one foot 6-8 inches in front of other foot on balls of your feet. Simply shuffle back and forth switching places of feet. Be sure movement is generated from hips. Hands are on hips and posture is perfect with eyes looking forward.
Start by jumping straight up with arms extended. Come down to a squat position, on your toes and hands on ground on front of feet. Then kick legs back into start of a pushup position. Now bring those legs back to the squat position and from there jump up again with arms extended overhead. That is one rep!
Start in push-up position with arms straight. One knee is bent and up near elbow and one leg is outstretched. Alternate "climbing" legs back and forth with speed. Ensure feet and knees always point straight ahead.
The idea is to do all four exercises for 30 seconds each. You're not trying to go very fast on these. You always want to be in a state where your focus is on breathing properly. You want to always keep your feet moving, but control your heart rate. That's important because when you're competing you want your heart rate to be as low as it possibly can. That's going to allow you not to get clouded in your decision-making
To read the entire article by Jon Doyle, visit Active.com.
Looking for a way to keep your arm strong all season long? Active.com is also featuring a series of shoulder workouts from Todd Durkin of Fitness Quest 10 using the TRX that are ideal for keeping baseball players strong and flexible. And dont forget your KT Tape shoulder applications for injury prevention during these workouts!
KT Tape is proud to support athletes at the 2011 USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Eugene, OR that took place last weekend. The USA Track & Field Championships are the selection event for the team that will represent the United States at the IAAF World Championships August 27-September 4 in Daegu, South Korea.
Broadcasts of the Championships aired on ESPN2, Universal and NBC. You can view the full TV schedule by visiting the USA Track and Field website. To view a complete schedule of events and results, click here.
Congratulations to all of the athletes who competed, and especially to the newest members of Team USA! We will be watching and cheering for you again in late August!
The Counter Attack is the official podcast of KT Tape sponsored athletes: the USA Water Polo National Team.
This episode of The Counter Attack features three time women's water polo Olympic medalist and FINA Player of the Decade Brenda Villa. Brenda talks about her career with the US National Team and the current training the squad is doing as they prepared for a trip to Russia and China. Brenda discusses her trips to three different Olympic Games, her evolution as a player, amazing support from her home city of Commerce and more.
To listen to The Counter Attack, click here. Enjoy!
Two years ago I was 325 pounds, out of shape, out of energy, out of patience, and killing myself. In December 2009 that all changed. I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, and my sleep apnea upgraded to severe. While the diagnosis explained my awful temper, my mood swings, and my elevated stress levels, it did NOT excuse them.
I resolved myself to lose the weight, recover my health, and give my family the Dad/Husband they deserved. I set out, with help from a few friends, to drop the weight first. With the right diet and right activity the pounds melted off. After 7 months I'd lost nearly 90 pounds but was stalling and couldn't shed more weight. My diabetes educator, a runner himself, advised me to get running. He dared me to run a marathon.
Well, I didn't start as a marathoner; I started with the goal of completing a 5 mile race. I ran almost daily but 7 weeks before my race I began to feel an excruciating pain in my knee when I ran. You guessed it- IT Band! I was sidelined and upset. I did the stretching, the exercises, and still no real improvement.
I googled IT Band support, devices, etc. and came across KT Tape. At first I was a bit leery, but the testimonies, videos, and website convinced me to try it anyway. I was desperate and now only 4 weeks away from my 5 mile race. I picked up the roll and experimented with different taping patterns until I settled on the Lateral Knee Pain method. It worked and I was elated!
Not quite ready for my 5 miler by way of stamina, having been 3 weeks waylaid, I felt anxious heading into the race but I hit the course anyway. To my happiness, no pain- all joy. KT Tape WORKED and I was able to complete my 5 mile race and my first running goal!
A few weeks later I picked up with a marathon training group at Fleet Feet-Buffalo and set out on my mission. I completed my first half marathon in May and will complete my first marathon in October. All with KT Tape on my knees.
How has KT Tape made me a better man? Dad? Husband? Well the answer is pretty simple. Running helps me stay fit, being fit and healthy makes me happier and more focused on what's important - family. Without KT Tape I wouldnt be running and I wouldnt have my little girl cheering me on at every race, even the rainy ones.
Thanks KT Tape, you make me a better Dad because you help me run safer, longer, and with more stability.
Pictured above is Mike, his daughter Olivia, and his left-knee KT Tape after the completion of his first 5-mile race!
To read more about Mikes quest to run his first marathon, visit his blog.
Summer is here, and its the season of Ultimate! Also commonly known as Ultimate Frisbee, Ultimate is a fast growing but lesser-known sport that is played frequently by just over .8 million Americans per year. Have you ever played Ultimate? Now could be the time to start!
Before you head out to the field, you might want to review the basic rules and some of the fun facts behind why you should play from USA Ultimate, the national governing body for the sport of ultimate in the U.S. (see below).
What is Ultimate?
Combining the non-stop movement and athletic endurance of soccer with the aerial passing skills of football, a game of Ultimate is played by two seven-player squads with a high-tech plastic disc on a field similar to football. The object of the game is to score by catching a pass in the opponents end zone. A player must stop running while in possession of the disc, but may pivot and pass to any of the other receivers on the field.
Ultimate is a transition game in which players move quickly from offense to defense on turnovers that occur with a dropped pass, an interception, a pass out of bounds, or when a player is caught holding the disc for more than ten seconds.
Ultimate is governed by Spirit of the Game, a tradition of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the players rather than referees. Ultimate is played in more than 42 countries by hundreds of thousands of men and women, girls and boys.
Why Play Ultimate?
ULTIMATE IS FUN
There is a reason why hundreds of new people begin playing Ultimate each year. Ultimate is genuinely fun and exciting. The unique flying options of the disc mean that no two throws look alike and the options are limitless.
It's relatively new in the world of sports (since 1968) and has been gaining rapidly in popularity ever since. Players of all ages and levels enjoy the unique challenges this sport offers. Once you get started you will be hooked on Ultimate.
ULTIMATE KEEPS YOU ACTIVE AND HELPS YOU STAY HEALTHY
From the beginner to the elite player, Ultimate is a terrific sport that offers challenges at all levels of play. Ultimate combines athletic skills of running, catching and throwing. Additional skills and athleticism beyond that are left up to the player's imagination. Many athletes of other sports find the transition to Ultimate both easy and rewarding, as the sport requires many of the same techniques as basketball, soccer and even lacrosse. Whether you play-pick up occasionally at the local park or practice three times a week with your team, playing Ultimate will leave you feeling energized and alive.
ULTIMATE IS A REAL SPORT
Although Ultimate is sometimes stigmatized as a "tree-hugger" sport, in reality Ultimate is a legitimate sport with a national governing body. Ultimate is a real sport, with official rules, leagues, competitions at all age levels. Ultimate demands extraordinary fitness, endurance and skill; an intellect which understands the physics of the disc and strategies of play; as well as an honest and trusting temperament committed to the Spirit of the Game. Ultimate is a great sport to begin as a child or to start getting into as an adult; due to the sport's relative newness, the Ultimate family welcomes any player that has an interest.
ULTIMATE IS EASY TO PICK UP
Ultimate is a great sport for school districts or anyone who is interested in trying something new and different with minimal costs. The equipment needed to play are incredibly few and relatively inexpensive. In addition to a low cost, Ultimate combines athletic skills that children learn through out their physical educations and can be easily applied to the sport of Ultimate. Due to the low cost and the easy transition from other sports, Ultimate is a perfect sport to introduce students.
ULTIMATE BUILDS CHARACTER
Ultimate develops acceptance of responsibility for one's own behavior. Participation truly builds character, self-reliance, listening and negotiating skills and leadership qualities due to the sport's official rules of Spirit of the Game. In addition, more and more top colleges have serious Ultimate teams and playing from a young age may give students a competitive edge when applying to schools.
Congratulations to KT Tape Athletes the Womens USA Water Polo Team! The USA Womens National Team won Gold at the FINA World League Super Final with a 9-7 win over Italy on Sunday in China. Alan Abrahamson wrote the following account of the Womens Win for TeamUSA.org- check it out!
One of the best, if most unheralded, stories in American sports notched another milestone Sunday.
The U.S. women's water polo team, building toward London and the 2012 Games, won a major tune-up event called the FINA World Super League Final, defeating Italy in the championship game, 9-7. The tournament was staged in Tianjin, China.
The victory gives the U.S. team six World League Super Final championships and five straight FINA titles -- three Super Final victories, one world championship (Rome, 2009) and one World Cup.
Shortly after winning the final game, in a phone call from China, two players who over the last several years have seen much of the American program, said they were pleased, yes, but far from satisfied.
"I think we grew a lot as a team this week," Brenda Villa, arguably the mainstay of the U.S. team since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said.
"Things are really going well," said Kelly Rulon, who played in the 2004 Athens Games. "But we are pretty far off from where I and the rest of the team want to be."
That's experience talking, and that's also buy-in -- buy-in to the program and mind-set of Adam Krikorian, the women's team's head coach since the spring of 2009.
It's easy to explain why.
One, the U.S. team has, over the past decade, won everything except for Olympic gold. That is the goal, and everything along the way is a stepping stone.
Two, this edition of the U.S. team was brought together at the beginning of 2011; it is, in many regards, a brand-new team. Moreover, starting in January, coach Adam Krikorian put them through a series of rigorous workouts. He said it would be hard. It was. But it also produced results -- undeniably better fitness.
As in any team sport, you win with defense. In Tianjin, the better fitness started to really show itself.
Over the course of the tournament, the U.S. team held opponents to about six goals per game.
"Obviously, winning the World League Super Final is nice," Krikorian said. "Every tournament -- you're playing to win. The more important thing is I look at how we were with our focus, and our focus this trip has been our defensive effort, and we were phenomenal.
"To hold teams to an average of six goals per game -- that is what we talked about what we wanted to accomplish. We did it defensively and we did it using everyone. The strength of this team is we are deep and we do it using everyone."
Next up for the U.S. team: the 2011 world championships, back in China, in Shanghai, in mid-July.
"Even though we won, there are still plenty of things we can better at," Krikorian said. "We will watch the video and they will be easy to find, believe me, and hopefully we will play better at the world championships.
Go USA! To read more about USA Water Polo, visit the USAWP Website.
This weekend KT Tape fans watched as 22-year-old Rory McIlroy broke U.S. Open history this weekend at Congressional Country Club Golf Course in Bethesda, MD. He broke over 12 records at the 2011 U.S. Open Championship this weekend, including the widest U.S. Open margin of victory on record at 16 shots below par.
Feeling inspired to up your golf game? Consider taping preventatively before you hit the driving range with KT Tape Golfers Elbow application. Among golfers, Golfers Elbow is most prevalent at the beginning of the season or when there is a sudden increase in activity.
Golfers Elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a common overuse injury that is a form of tendonitis. Pain results from inflammation of the tendons as they attach to the inside of the elbow. The pain radiates down the inside of the forearm. Causes can include poor body mechanics and improper fitted equipment. The condition usually goes away with rest. KT Tape can be helpful in managing the pain and remaining active using the following application.
So if youre just getting back into the game or restarting your 2011 season, be sure to check out the KT Tape Golfers Elbow instructional video. Then to make a reservation at a golf course in your area, visit the Active.com Golf Course Directory and tee up!
Father's Day is this Sunday, and we are giving away FREE KT Tape to honor the fathers in our lives!
Are you a Dad who uses KT Tape to perform his best? Tell us your story, and you could win a free roll of KT Tape!
Just write up how you use KT Tape as a Dad and post as a comment on this blog, and you will be entered to win!
Comments will be judged by KT Tape team members and winners will be announced on Tuesday, June 21st here on the blog.
Comments will be accepted through Sunday, June 19th at 11:59 p.m.
Happy Father's Day!
KT Tape keeps your body going despite injury, but sometimes our fans request KT Tape for the mind! How do you stay mentally tough and motivated throughout your training?
Check out this excerpt from Runners World on how to energize your mind:
Mental fatigue can negatively impact physical performance, according to a study out of Bangor University's School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Sciences. Researchers split athletes of similar capabilities into two groups prior to an exhaustive cycling exercise. One group performed a tough 90-minute cognitive task, and the other watched documentaries. Once on the bikes, the mentally tasked riders displayed significantly less stamina than the movie watchers, and felt the exercise was more difficult. Their physical performance suffered because their brains were tired.
The challenge, then, is to find ways to change your thought process and realize that your body can handle a workout. Refocus, acknowledge that you'd rather crash on the couch, but put on your running shoes anyway, says Marshall Mintz, Psy.D., a clinical and sports psychologist. "Once you get going, even if it's for an easy three-miler, it almost always feels good to be running," he says.
RESTATE YOUR GOALS
Deciding between the remote control and your running shoes? It isn't easy to get out the door without a clear reason to run. "If you can't answer, Why am I doing this?, you won't last long," says Rick Lovett, a running coach and coauthor of Alberto Salazar's Guide to Road Racing. He suggests keeping a training log that includes your goals and the reasons you run, whether that's to reduce stress, or for friendship or better health.
ENERGY SOLUTION: When you feel the urge to call it quits at the end of a tough day, pull out your log and review your lists. Staring at your plans in black-and-white will make it tougher to lounge. Rice, for example, keeps the dates of several shorter races leading up to her goal marathon prominently marked in her log. "It energizes me to see that I have those little races ahead of me," she says.
"You have to be organized in order to be good at several things," says Rice. By penciling in your run for a certain time, you arm yourself with the necessary energy to get through it. That said, adds Mintz, be prepared with a backup workout plan if something unexpected comes up.
ENERGY SOLUTION: If work demands that you stay later than planned, go for a shorter run. If a sick child leaves you homebound, work on your stretching and strength training while they sleep and save your run for tomorrow. "It's okay for that daily structure to be flexible from one day to the next," says Mintz.
CALL A FRIEND
When you're running alone, it's easy to end up ruminating about those new clients at work or your kid's report card. This takes all the fun out of it. When you run with other people, the social banter gives you a mental timeout. Research out of the University of Rochester in New York demonstrated that a positive social circle helps foster motivation and a greater commitment to exercise, compared with going it alone.
ENERGY SOLUTION: Keep the numbers of some fellow running pals on speed dial, and don't think twice to call one or two of them spur of the moment. Chances are they're having a similar day and would love the camaraderie. And if they can't meet you, at least they'll be able to give you a pep talk. "With any kind of fitness program," Mintz explains, "there's a greater likelihood of success if you're collaborating with someone."
TURN ON THE TUNES
A long line of research shows that music can be a big exercise motivator. A study published in the Journal of Sport Behavior found that on top of helping athletes work harder, music also reduced their perceived exertion. Lovett encourages runners to try and tap into the benefits of music in advance of their workouts to help get them in the right frame of mind.
ENERGY SOLUTION: Listen to your iPod while you answer those last few e-mails at work, or on the drive home turn off the news and put in your favorite CD. You'll be more likely to lace up as soon as you get home. "Out of all the things an athlete can do to get energized before a run," Mintz says, "music really lights up the biggest part of the brain."
MANAGE THE MOMENT
On those days when your mind starts ticking off the negativesEverything went wrong today. I'm really beatstop your internal debate and "manage the moment," says Mintz, who suggests countering such thoughts with positive ones: Yes, but I'll have more energy after I run.
ENERGY SOLUTION: As tempting as it can be to give in to the negatives, he says, push your body to go through the motions of your running routine: Grab a quick shower or cup of coffee, put on your gear, do some jumping jacks to get your heart rate up, step outside. "The beginning of the run is always the hardest," admits Rice. "But once I get myself out on the pavement, I'm always better for it "
For more mental energy tips and to read the entire article by Mackenzie Lobby, visit the Runners World Website.