Golf Short Game Tips, Know How to Judge Distance Around the Green

A few years back I got one of the greatest short game tips from Dave Pelz. His book the «Short Game Bible» is the classic for golf short game instruction. Dave and almost every «professional» in the world recommends that we know our distance to the flag. This is important so that we can know which club to select and how long to make our back swing to get to the pin. As you watch the professional golfers you will notice that ideally they want to put themselves in a position where they can come into the green with a full swing of the club. The reality is that as weekend warriors we seldom achieve that ideal.

Often we are faced with situations where that full swing will get us in big trouble even with a super high lofted club. This is where short game practice is critically important if we want to improve our short game. On most driving ranges there is a short game practice area, that is marked with some of the distances to the pin. Those distances are usually from the practice tee to the practice green, but what about when you practice from 40 yards out or 25 or you name it. Typically these distances are not marked. The reason you need to know these distances is so that you can develop repeatable short swings with different clubs to give yourself an arsenal of strokes for your memory banks to repeat.

Learn To Visually Judge

When I first heard this idea, I literally took a 100 foot tape measure out to the course on a very slow day so that I could measure the distance to the pin and see what it looked like. After a few holes I was able to tell when I was 50 yards out or what ever yardage in round terms. You can do the same at a practice facility so that you will begin to know what 100, 75, 50, 25,15 yards look like. Very quickly you will get correct the feel for your short distances.

Now that you have the feel for it, you need to develop a swing to match your judging distance. Most of the «professionals» will teach some variation of this method. basically it is this. For each of the wedges you carry and even your 7,8,9 do you know how far they will travel with a quarter or a half or three quarter swing? This is something you might have to take a while to find out but when you know it, the information is very valuable to you.

Armed with the knowledge of how far a ball will travel you can begin making some good decisions when you are close to the green. More in a moment, but first a couple of caveats.

Learn to Execute the Swing

You will find all kinds of opinion on alignment. Arnold Palmer said to stand open, others will say straight. The open alignment is probably better to keep your body from blocking the shot. Next, most of the «professionals» agree that for short shots the hands should lead the club-face. This means that you set up with the ball closer to the back of your stance and you hands will be in front of your target-side leg. (left leg for the right-handed) With your weight favoring your target side you will then hit through the ball and finish high for the typical pitch shot. This setup will also tend to de-loft the club meaning that the angle of the face (being more upright) will now act like the next lower club number which means more distance.

Now. Imagine you are a clock!

Your head is 12:00, Your feet are 6:00 your target side is 1-5 and your back swing side is 7-11. What you want to know is; how far does a 7:30-8:00 swing travel for each of your wedges. ( I carry 4) Next, the same information for a 9:00 swing. Finally, the same information for an 11:00 swing. You will discover that some of the different wedges will travel the same distance for different swings but once you are finished you have 12 to 16 shots in your bag that you are confident to make and you know the distances each will go. For those shots that go the same distance there will be a big difference in loft.

Fill Your Arsenal

For instance a 60 degree lob wedge may travel 25 yards with an 11:00 swing, while a 48 degree pitching wedge may travel the same distance with an 8:00 swing. However, the difference of course is loft which gets the lob over the bunker to a close pin and stops versus the pitching wedge which will roll 10 feet after it lands on the green.

When you are armed with all these shots in your golf bag your short game gets to a new level in a hurry. The great thing is that you only really have to learn 3 repeatable swings to have 16 in your arsenal. Hit them straight and seldom!

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Famous Quotes by Vince Lombardi During Football’s Annual Bowl Season

College football’s annual bowl season is full of surprises and spectacular moments. Famous coaches have had some memorable remarks about American’s most popular sport, and here are some of them by legendary Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi, who many consider to be the best of the best.

Lombardi’s head coaching record in the National Football League was second to none. In 9 years with the Green Bay Packers, Lombardi’s regular season won-loss percentage was 73% (96-34-6), his postseason was 90% (9-1) and his total was 75% (105-35-6).

He took a 1-10-1 team in 1958 to an NFL title in 3 years, and went on to win 5 NFL titles in 9 years (1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967) and three titles consecutively. He led the Packers to the first two Super Bowl titles in 1966 and 1967.

Lombardi’s discipline was legendary. A lifelong Catholic, he spent 4 years in Cathedral Preparatory Seminary to become a Catholic priest before becoming a standout football player at St. Francis Preparatory High School.

An undersized guard at 5 foot 8 and 185 pounds, he was offered and accepted a football scholarship to Fordham University in the Bronx to play for «Sleepy» Jim Crowley, one of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame in the 1920s. He would become part of the «Seven Blocks of Granite» that held Fordham’s opponents scoreless several times during a 25-game winning streak.

After coaching at Fordham, Lombardi became the offensive line coach for West Point under another legendary head coach, Colonel Red Blaik. Lombardi then became the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants, working with defensive coordinator Tom Landry and head coach Jim Lee Howell, before becoming Green Bay’s head coach in 1959.

Lombardi was 59 years old when he died of cancer in 1970. Grown men and Hall of Fame football players openly wept at his funeral.

Here are some of Vince Lombardi’s best known quotes:

«If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?»

«I firmly believe than any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious.»

«There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game and that is first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay and I never want to finish second again.»

«Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.»

«Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.»

«The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.»

«Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.»

«Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.»

«If you can accept losing, you can’t win.»

«Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.»

«Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.»

«Success demands singleness of purpose.»

«It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.»

«It’s easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you’re a winner, when you’re number one. What you got to have is faith and discipline when you’re not a winner.»

«The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.»

«We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.»

«Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers are all about. They didn’t do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.»

«The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.»

«Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.»

Here are some quotes by Lombardi’s players:

«When Lombardi said ‘sit down,’ we didn’t look for a chair.» – Forrest Gregg, Hall of Fame tackle.

«He prepared us so well, and he motivated us so well, I felt he was a part of me on the field.» Fuzzy Thurston.

«He pushed you to the end of your endurance and then beyond it. And if there was reserve there, well, he found that too.» Henry Jordan, Hall of Fame defensive tackle.

«He made us better than we thought we could be.» Jerry Kramer.

«Coach Lombardi showed me that by working hard and using my mind, I could overcome my weakness to the point that I could be one of the best.» Bart Starr, Hall of Fame quarterback.

«The fear in my mind was not him but that for some reason I would not be a part of the team and be with this man.» Forrest Gregg.

«He made you a believer. He told you what the other team was going to do, and he told you what you had to do to beat them, and invariably he was right.» Willie Davis, Hall of Fame defensive back.

(Editor’s Note: I have read and studied one of the best biographies on Lombardi: When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss, I highly recommend his book as a great read.)

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

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Blind Side Head Coach Gets His Dream Job

Who will ever forget Sandra Bullock’s constant grumbling to coach Burt Cotton in the Academy Award winning film The Blind Side? The story of Michael Oher and his journey to the NFL is heartwarming and, now, it might be time to start on a sequel. Coach Cotton in the movie is really coach Hugh Freeze, a native Mississipian who today landed his dream job as he was named the new head football coach at the University of Mississippi.

Freeze, a graduate of Southern Mississippi in 1992, got his first coaching job at Briarcrest Christian School (the real name of the movie’s Wingate Christian School) that very same year. He was the team’s offensive coordinator and defensive backs coach before being named the head coach in 1995. Freeze won two state titles (2002 and 2004) at Briarcrest and was named the Region 8-AA Coach of the Year five times and the Associated Press Coach of the Year six times.

Freeze then followed his standout offensive lineman, Oher, the Mississippi where, in 2005, he became an assistant athletic director for football external affairs. The next season he would become the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator, positions he held until 2007 when then head coach Ed Orgeron was let go. In 2008 Freeze found himself coaching at NAIA Lambuth University (TN) where he went 20-5 in two seasons including an 11-0 perfect regular season in 2009. The school went to its first playoff game in 11 years and finished the year at 12-1 and the sixth-ranked team in all of NAIA.

In 2010 Freeze joined the coaching staff at Arkansas State as offensive coordinator and after Steve Roberts resigned at the end of the season, Freeze was named the new head coach. The Red Wolves have thrived under Freeze’s potent spread offense, but, surprisingly, have been very good on defense as well, ranking 15th in the country in scoring defense yielding 19.3 points per game.

Freeze inherits a team that did not win an SEC game this year, going 0-8 in the conference and 2-10 overall, one of the wins versus FCS (formerly Div. I-AA) Southern Illinois. With a defense ranked near the bottom of FBS in several categories and an offense that is not much better, the task ahead will be mighty, but Freeze has won everywhere he has been. He is busy putting together his staff and reportedly his receivers coach Grant Heard and his defensive line coach Chris Kiffin will follow him from Arkansas State to their new home at Ole Miss.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Pictures Worldwide Soccer Success

Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo pictures immense soccer success as the best way for him to progress and improve as an all-round team player. Having won the Premiership in just his third season in English soccer, the Portuguese star had already identified some personal targets as the best way to improve his ability as a soccer player.

When Cristiano Ronaldo arrived in the English Premiership he appeared to try and over-perform in situations that weren’t necessary, and often he would lose the ball trying fancy tricks in dangerous situations. The Manchester United players and coaching staff all offered advice to Cristiano, and he soon learned that he should try and play more like a team player.

This season has seen Cristiano Ronaldo really reach his set targets as a soccer star, the Manchester United winger has been the clubs best player by far, helping secure the Premiership title for the first time in 3 years and scoring 17 goals in the process; a superb success for a wide-midfield player. The Portuguese winger has learnt not to try his fancy tricks when the team is defending in their own half, and has shown that he is more of a team player by passing and moving the ball around with far more respect for his team-mates.

The season has not only seen club success for Cristiano Ronaldo; the United winger has also had great personal successes. Cristiano Ronaldo became only the second footballer in English history to receive both the PFA players’ award and the PFA young players’ award, two superb footballing awards to receive. Ronaldo has also been rewarded a lucrative new 5 year contract worth around £120,000 a week with Manchester United.

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Manchester United Winning the Battle But Losing the War?

It is almost starting to become funny; all the fuss over one player borders on the ridiculous. Cristiano Ronaldo has made headlines for weeks just because someone decided he should make the move to Real Madrid. Whether the entire thing was initiated by Ronaldo himself, Real Madrid, an outspoken fan or someone else, it is turning into a joke. Manchester United thought they had turned the tables on Real Madrid, but from the looks of current events, the joke is on United.

On Monday, an official complaint was logged by Manchester United with FIFA, claiming that Real Madrid is publicly courting the winger without the consent of the club that currently owns his contract. Real Madrid is countering that United doesn’t have a case against them. The fact of the matter is that FIFA does have a rule about negotiating with a player who is under contract, and if Real Madrid has done that, then they are indeed in violation of the rules. However, there seems to be no evidence of that. True, Real Madrid has said they want Ronaldo. But, in reality, have they done anything beyond that? Ramon Calderon of Real Madrid says they haven’t, and it is rather questionable if Manchester United will be able to prove otherwise.

To add to the frustration at Old Trafford, Karim Benzema has decided to stay in France rather than make the move to Manchester United. Beyond that, the twenty-year-old Ligue 1 Player of the Year has said when he has learned all he can in France, he’d like to make the move to Real Madrid. The desired move of the young striker has to be making the head honchos at Manchester United see red. But to add insult to injury, while Benzema had been considering a move to United, he doesn’t feel he is ready to play for a team of Real Madrid’s calibre.

Then there is seventeen-year-old sensation Aaron Ramsey. Everyone was certain Ramsey was going to Old Trafford when they entered into talks with Cardiff’s young star. But though they courted him fervently, even offering to loan him back to Cardiff for a year, it appears they have somehow drawn the short straw yet again. Rather than leaving behind the Cardiff Bluebirds to become a Manchester United Red Devil, Ramsey has chosen to head to Arsenal instead. People are speculating that the ability of Arsenal’s manager to develop young talent was at the core of Ramsey’s decision, but what if there is more to it than that?

Looking at Manchester United’s recent actions from the perspective of a player shows another possibility. Basically, their response to the Ronaldo situation says that if you play for United, especially if you play well, they own you. Who in their right mind would want to join a club like that? Perhaps it has nothing to do with the decisions of Benzema and Ramsey, but the thought may very well have crossed their minds before deciding against moves to Manchester United. So while Old Trafford may manage to keep Cristiano Ronaldo, one has to wonder what it will cost them in terms of their reputation and future.

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Teemo Builds – The Popular League of Legends Champion

Captain Teemo on Duty!

Teemo is one of the most played champions in LoL. What makes him so popular? Here are some reasons why:

He’s Cute and Cuddly

When you look at him, he reminds you of a cute cuddly soft toy you would have when you go to bed.

He’s Deadly

A well-built Teemo can really own in LoL ranked games if built right. There are a couple of builds that you can use for him, depending on your opponents. I build him using 4 methods depending on the situation. They are:

  1. AP – Building him utilizing his ability power and on hit effects are the best way to go. Items that I recommend are Nashor’s Tooth, Sorcerer’s Shoes, Zhyona’s Hourglass, Frozen Mallet and Abyssal Scepter.
  2. AD – Going the attack damage route utilizes his attack speed. You will want to stack attack damage items. I would recommend Infinity Edge, Statik Shiv/Phantom Dancer, Runaan’s Hurricane and Bloodthirster. Maw of Malmortious works as well if you need some magic resist. This route will diminish the damage of your mushrooms though.
  3. Jungle – Teemo doesn’t get used as a jungler often, but if you do try it, start off with Wriggle’s Lantern, Berserker’s Greaves, Frozen Mallet and Atma’s Impaler. If you find yourself getting nuked down by burst AP champions, get Maw of Malmortious.
  4. Tank – Tank Teemo is surprisingly effective if you know how to kite well. Items that you want to get would be Frozen Mallet, Ninja Tabi, Sunfire Cape, Atma’s Impaler and Mercurial Scimatar.

Jessica Nigri Cosplay’s as Teemo

When you have Jessica Nigri doing Teemo’s cosplay, you know he is popular.

Teemo Fan-made Songs

There are actually some really huge Teemo fans making songs specifically for him. You can find them on YouTube if you type in «Captain Teemo Song» or «It’s Teemo and I Know it»

A Game Made After Him

There is game made for Teemo as part of an april fool’s joke. It is call Astro Teemo. So basically, you play him in space as you have to fly through obstacles and avoid Lux’s laser, Ashe’s frost arrow and fire walls. Getting hit by any of these means a dead Teemo.

Global Taunt

With popularity comes hate as well. Due to his ultimate Noxius Traps, where it slows everyone and damages them. The problem is that you cannot see them unless you get a true sight ward or Oracle’s elixir. That is why in public games, you so so much hate for him.

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Is the Premiership Really That Good, or Just Part of BSkyB’s Successful Marketing?

To British subscribers of BSkyB, and in particular Sky Sports, you might have noticed that the message that the Premiership is the place to be has been hammered down your throat on more than one occasion. Is the Premiership really that good, or is this just part of BSkyB’s attempt at successfully marketing their brand?

The Premiership is arguably one of the wealthiest leagues in the world, in part thanks to BSkyB’s massive TV deal, which eclipses any other league in the world. BSkyB recently agreed a new three year deal with the Premier League, and Sky will pay £1.314 billion for 92 games. Other revenue comes from Setanta, who are paying £392 million for 46 games, and foreign TV rights have been sold for £625 million (even Internet and Mobile Phone revenue will generate £400 million). This new deal will mean that the clubs in the Premiership will receive £50m (which includes prize money and TV revenue).

With such lucrative sponsorship deals, the Premier League has been able to attract some of the finest players in the world, mainly due to the high wages on offer. In turn better player enables clubs to compete more in the various European competitions, like the UEFA Champions League, and UEFA Cup. If the Dutch Eredivisie had such lucrative sponsorship deals, would the leagues various clubs see an exodus of talent each year? The question is undoubtedly no, as it would be able to compete with La Liga, the Premier League, and Serie A, in terms of attracting players, and offering them financial incentives.

More finance in the top tier of England’s league pyramid, is steadily creating a gulf (in financial terms) between teams from the Premier League, and teams in the lower divisions. This means that when a club is promoted from the Championship, they will generally struggle (with a few exceptions), and end up relegated back to the division where they have just come from. This statement seems a bit absurd, but you only need to look at the past few seasons in the Premiership to see the facts for yourself.

The gulf in finances is gradually seeing the rich get richer, and it is also seeing them pull more and more away from the rest of the pack, who are trying to keep up (and is some cases some have gone into administration as a result). If you think this is another absurd statement, just have a look at which clubs have finished in the top four (Champions League qualification places) over the past four seasons. Only one club (Everton in 2004/05) has managed to break into the top four, from outside the so called Big Four (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United).

Sky’s argument and constant marketing that the Premier League is the best league in the world, to me seems a bit far fetched. Clubs which gain promotion into the Promised Land generally struggle, as they can not compete financially, and generally end up relegated within a season or two of promotion. The gulf between the rich and poor is getting bigger each season, and clubs outside the so called Big Four, are finding it harder and harder to gain a top four finish. At the start of each season, clubs outside the Big Four have their own mini league, and compete amongst each other for a UEFA Cup place, and trying to avoid the relegation places. Sound like an exciting league?

If you listen to the constant advertisements on BSkyB regarding the Premier League and also to their football commentators, you will get a different story. Towards the end of the 2006/07 season, each week the matches involving Manchester United and Chelsea (the two teams competing for the league title) were hyped up to an unbelievable level. The fact that there were only two clubs competing for the title after Christmas, was brushed conveniently under the carpet. The clash between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge (towards the end of the season), was being billed as the match of the season, and one you just could not afford to miss. Unfortunately I wished I missed that match, as by that point the title was already at Old Trafford, and both teams played their reserve sides in a drab 0-0.

In contrast the Bundesliga, Eredivisie, and Portuguese Liga titles went down to the last match of the season, and proved to be more entertaining then the Premiership title race. Going into the last round of fixtures in the 2006/07 Eredivisie, AZ, Ajax, and PSV were all tied on 72 points; and their goal differences were +53, +47, and +46 respectively. During the course of the last matchday, the fate of the title swung between all three clubs, as the scores changed constantly. AZ only needed to win to clinch their first Eredivisie title since 1981, but they surprisingly lost 3-2 away at lowly Excelsior. Ajax beat Willem II away 2-0, but they lost out on the title due to goal difference. PSV thumped Vitesse 5-1 at home, to finish level on points with their fierece rivals Ajax, but clinched the title courtesy of a goal difference of +50, compared to Ajax’s +49.

The 2006/07 Portuguese Liga also proved to be just as entertaining, with Portugal’s Big Three (FC Porto, Sporting, and Benfica) all within two points of each other going into the last matchday. They all duefully obliged with wins on the last day, and the title was retained by FC Porto. A similar story to the end of 2006/07 season in the German Bundesliga was also unfolding, with VFB Stuttgart, SV Werder Bremen, and FC Schalke all battling for the title heading into the last rounds of the championship. Werder slipped up in their penultimate match losing in a shock 2-1 home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt, knocking them out of the title race. On the last matchday, there were only two points separating VFB Stuttgart, and FC Schalke, and they both obliged with wins, meaning the title returned to VFB Stuttgart for the first time in 15 years.

BSkyB failed to mention in any of its programmes the exciting climaxes of the Dutch Eredivisie, German Bundesliga, and Portuguese Liga championships. This is understandable as BSkyB are solely interested in marketing their own brand – the Premiership; and to mention how entertaining other leagues are, could be seen as damaging to their product.

One of the most entertaining, and competitive leagues in the world is the Spanish La Liga. La Liga is similar to the Premiership, in terms of big clubs, and star players, but the main difference is how competitive the league is, and recent history has shown this. Unlike the predictable Premier League, were you find the usual suspects claiming a top four finish each season, La Liga have had eight different teams claim a top four finish in the past few seasons (compared to five from the Premiership).

La Liga had four clubs competing for the title with three matches to go (at time of writing) towards the end of the 2006/07 season. Valencia suffered a home defeat at the hands of Villarreal which knocked them out of the title race going into the penultimate match. Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Sevilla (with 72 points, 72 points, and 70 points respectively) are all still gunning for the title, and La Liga looks set for one of the most exciting climaxes in recent years.

La Ligas strength is also shown in the UEFA Cup, were mid table clubs fair well in the competition. At the 1/2 final stage of the 2006/07 competition, Spain provided three of the four clubs (Sevilla, Espanyol, and Osasuna). You can argue that England provided three of the four clubs at the 1/2 final stage of the UEFA Champions League during the same season (Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United); but they all failed to claim the trophy (in comparison to the Spanish clubs who claimed the trophy for the third time in the past four seasons).

There is no arguing that the Premier League is a good league, and it is a joy to watch, but it is not the place to be. The league is becoming very predicable, with the same clubs competing for the same honours each season (in reference to the league and FA & League Cups), and some fans are starting to become restless due to this. This is evident in the drop in attendances for some clubs during the 2006/07 season (and some had to even slash ticket prices to attract fans).

Part of the Premier Leagues success worldwide is down to BSKyB’s successful marketing, and not solely down to football. You will find numerous people who will argue this point, but a leagues true strength should be judged on how well their teams perform on the European stage. Sadly since the formation of the Premiership, English clubs have failed to perform on the European stage, claiming only two European Cups, and one UEFA Cup. In comparison Spain has claimed five European Cups, and three UFEA Cups, whilst Italy has claimed four European Cups, and five UEFA Cups during the same period.

For BSkB to claim that the Premiership is the place, first the gulf between the Big Four and the rest of the league needs to close, and English clubs need to start performing on the European stage more regularly – once this is done, then BSkbyB can truly claim the Premier League is the place to be.

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8 Bakerloo Line Stations With Interesting Attractions and Activities for Visitors to Explore

The Bakerloo Line, coloured brown on the London Underground maps, was opened in March 1906. The line starts from Harrow & Wealdstone station in north-west London to Elephant & Castle station in south London. The Bakerloo line covers a distance of 23km (14.5 miles) and serves 25 tube stations.

Listed below are 8 of the 25 tube stations that most tourists use when they visit London.

Wembley Central station is located across the road from Wembley Stadium and is close to Wembley Arena.

Wembley Stadium is the home ground of the English National Football (Soccer) team. It is also the venue where the Carling Cup Final and The FA Cup Final are held. It has a seating capacity of 90,000 and is a popular venue for other sports events and major concerts.

Wembley Arena is an indoor arena and is an internationally renowned concert venue. The arena can seat 12,500 fans and has seen stars like Abba, Bon Jovi, Cliff Richard, The Eagles and Westlife perform there.

Wembley Market is one of the biggest Sunday markets in the UK and is situated outside Wembley Stadium.

Warwick Avenue station is the stop for Little Venice and the Grand Union & Regent’s Canal.

Here you can enjoy the tranquil canal area, stroll along pretty streets or take a relaxing boat trip to the London Zoo.

Paddington station is one of the main railway stations in London. This is the station where visitors take the Heathrow Express to Heathrow Airport. There are several 4 and 5 star hotels within easy walking distance to Paddington station. There is also a good selection of restaurants serving exotic cuisines.

Baker Street station is the stop for Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and Sherlock Holmes Museum. You also get off here for Regent’s Park and the London Central Mosque. Baker Street station is one of the busiest tube stations in the London Underground system.

Oxford Circus station is where you get off to do your shopping. This is the intersection where Oxford Street and Regent Street meet. This is the busiest shopping district in London with several large department stores like John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser are situated.

Bond Street, renowned for its expensive designer clothes, and Selfridges Department Store are a short distance away, west of Oxford Circus station. Carnaby Street and the famous Hamley Toy Store are also a short distance away from here.

Piccadilly Circus station is the stop for the Statue of Eros, West End Theatreland and the London Chinatown. There are many theatres along Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road.

London Chinatown, with lots of good Chinese restaurants and supermarkets, is situated south of Shaftesbury Avenue between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. The restaurants are always busy especially before and after theatre shows.

Piccadilly Circus is the venue for London nightlife with lots of pubs, clubs and restaurants for the locals as well as tourists.

Stop at Charing Cross station if you are visiting Trafalgar Square & Nelson’s Column.

Other tourist attractions around Trafalgar Square include the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and St Martin-in-the Fields Church. There are also many theatres, hotels, restaurants and pubs near Charing Cross station.

Tourist attractions near Waterloo station include the London Eye, London Aquarium, The Royal Festival Hall and the Jubilee Pedestrian Bridge.

Within easy walking distance from Waterloo station are other popular London landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Downing Street.

You can also take a relaxing Thames River cruise from the London Eye Millennium Pier.

Apart from Wembley Central (zone 4) and Warwick Avenue (zone 2), all the other Bakerloo line stations listed above are in zone 1. So if you are not planning to visit Warwick Avenue or Wembley Central, you only need to buy a 1-day Travelcard for zone 1. That will give you unlimited travel for a day in zone 1 by bus as well as by tube.

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The Art of Defence

Defence is an art that the best coaches in the world consider more important than any other aspect of the game. Covering positions, making timely tackles and even springing the offside trap well is key to stopping teams from scoring. After all, what good is a team that can’t defend a 2 or 3 goal lead even.

It was the Italians who decided to take it upon themselves to make defence an art-form, moving away from the physical aspect of defending and bringing in technical prowess. Until the Italians brought finesse into the picture, defending was all about out-muscling the opposition and crunching tackles.

It was the capability to constrict space and restrict movement that led to the rise of the Catenaccio style of play.

HELENIO HERRERA

Not many may remember his name but Helenio Herrera was a French-Argentine player and, later, manager who was one of the biggest names in football coaching during the mid-20th century. Having played for teams like RC Casablanca and Stade Francais, Herrera retired from club football in 1945.

Herrera took up coaching and moved to Spain, where he became the team manager for Real Valladolid, Atletico Madrid, CD Malaga and even the likes of FC Barcelona. It was after his stint for Barcelona, in 1960, that Herrera moved to Inter Milan.

THE RISE OF THE CATENACCIO

It was during his stay at Inter Milan that Herrera decided to modify the way his team defended. He shifted to a 5-3-2 formation to improve his counter attacking style of play. A firm believer in hard work and strong work ethics, Herrera was known as the pioneer of psychological motivational techniques including team pep-talks.

Herrera also introduced the no-smoking & -drinking policy as well as controlling the diet of his players to make them true professionals. Herrera was also known to suspend a player for telling the media, during a press conference, «We came to play in Rome» instead of «We came to win in Rome».

A hard man, Herrera was slightly defensive in his playing style although his form of the Catenaccio was not as defensive as some the future mutations of the formation, when applied by Italian architects.

One of Herrera’s full-backs, the great Giacinto Facchetti, was testimony to the attacking style of Herrera’s Catenaccio that prevailed in that Inter Milan team. The team was built around the defence, with its main role being to absorb the pressure from the opposition before launching lightning-quick counter attacks.

Using his wing backs to overlap the midfield, Herrera completely transformed the way the world looked at attacking football. Not giving away too much at the back, the team became famous for squeezing out 1-0 wins, leading to the nickname Verrou, meaning «Door Bolt».

HERRERA’S LEGACY

Known as «Herrera’s Inter», the team would go on to win the 1963, 65 & 66 league titles, the 1964 & 65 European Champions Cup as well as the Intercontinental cup in both those seasons. Herrera also became the first coach to go on and coach three separate national teams, ending his career with a 48.57% winning record.

In his 908 games as a manager, which included teams like Inter Milan, AS Roma, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and CF Os Belenenses, Herrera lost just 241 games while drawing 226. In his 12-club coaching career, Herrera ended with a negative goal difference only three times – with Real Valladolid (-21), AS Roma (-1) and Rimini (-22). Each team was too weak at the time although Herrera did transform Roma into a championship winning team, getting the 1969 Italian Cup with a sub-standard line-up and his famous Catenaccio style of football.

THE «DOOR BOLT»

Unlike popular conception, the Catenaccio was not built to shut out opposition. The entire concept of play was to allow the opposition to attack, relentlessly even, before suddenly attacking on the counter. The team would play with five at the back, in a «V-shaped» formation, with the Libero or sweeper at the centre. As the opponents entered the «V», their attack would be narrowed down, restricting movement and space.

Once the ball changed possession, the defending team had a wingback on either side, already ahead of the advancing opposition’s midfield. That meant that the team could now push out, rapidly, by playing the ball out to these wingbacks, who would have loads of space to exploit.

EARLY MUTATIONS

While the Catenaccio was, itself, a mutation of the 5-4-1 system invented by Karl Rappan for the Swiss national team, the formation underwent a lot of transformation itself. Teams reverted to the original «Rappan-style» by playing the sweeper just in front of the goalkeeper and stationing a flat back-four in front.

Nereo Rocco, coach of Calcio Padova in the 1950s, was another who exploited the system. With three-flat defenders who man-marked the opposition, Rocco would play a playmaker in the middle, just ahead of the defence, alongside two wingers. While these three weren’t the actual midfield, Rocco’s style would use the sweeper behind the central defence as well, to double-team the stronger players.

The midfield would be in front of these three, with a solitary striker up front, leading to a 1-3-3-3 formation.

While Herrera also focussed on man-marking with four of his defenders, his defence was flexible in that it swung from right or left to make it a flat line on most times. This meant that four defenders, aid by the midfield, would effectively man-mark the opposition, which had already been herded through the middle. That left the remaining fifth defender – always a wingback, free to make runs on the counter.

ENFORCED DOWNFALL

Catenaccio had become the flavour of the month, in the 60s and 70s, catching the fancy of every coach on the world scene. However, it was one man who’s style of play brought Catenaccio to its knees – Rinus Michels.

When faced with the tight man-marking of the Catenaccio, Michels decided to remove the whole concept of playing footballers in fixed positions. He removed the boundaries that separated attackers, midfielders and defenders, teaching all his players to play in all positions. As attackers fell back to the midfield, or even defence, their man-markers were unable to leave their posts and follow in pursuit.

The fact that Michels had the crop of players that he did, to implement such a technique, was the only reason Total Football became a reality.

Catenaccio was no longer the primary choice anywhere as Total Football, or replicas of it, began dismantling defences with their speed and movement. Mediocre coaches, who followed rather than researched, were left with no choice but to fall to the wayside.

CATENACCIO MODIFICATIONS

Coaches who preached the Herrera principle looked to counter Total Football with a modification to the Catenaccio’s man-marking formula. The answer was quite simple, in theory – Zona Mista.

The Zona Mista was a concept that incorporated man-marking and zone-marking into one strong defensive strategy. While the concept still used the four man defence with the roaming sweeper, the difference was in the way the midfield and the fullbacks supported the defence.

The two central defenders, in the heart of the defence, would play zone-marking. The midfield would have a defensive midfielder, who was required to help out the defence by falling back. A central midfielder would play in front of the defensive midfielder while a winger (usually on the right flank), would support in attack.

Two strikers would play up front, one on the wide left, with one in the centre. The position of the wide striker was determined by the position of the winger – both being on opposite flanks. The winger would act as an additional striker while the wide striker would float in to make it a two-pronged attack.

When defending, the wide striker would come in to cover for the central midfielder as the latter would drop into a defensive position.

ZONA MISTA IN REAL LIFE

Italy – 1982

The most famous application of this formation was in the 1982 FIFA World Cup when Italy went into the tournament with this brand new style of football. Gaetano Scirea played the role of the sweeper to perfection while the attacking left back was a young 18-year old, who would later go on to become one of the greatest defenders of all time – Giuseppe Bergomi.

Gabriele Oriali played as the defensive midfielder, just in front of Fulvio Collovati and the man who stopped a young Diego Maradona – Claudio Gentile. Marco Tardelli played as the central midfielder while Bruno Conti was the creative genius behind Italy’s Zona Mista success.

While Antonio Cabrini played at the front wide position, it was Paolo Rossi who came into the main striker’s position.

Italy’s success led to an increased use of the Zona Mista although the application remained mostly in the Italian leagues. Teams, in Europe, found it hard to beat this fantastic combination of man- and zone-marking, keeping the Italians ahead of the rest. However, there was always the need of a great striker to take care of the few chances that this format would create – something that most teams lacked.

Italy – 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004

More recently, Cesare Maldini employed the Catenaccio form of play in Italy’s 1998 FIFA World Cup campaign. Needless to say, Italy played defensively, without creating too many waves, eventually getting kicked out in the Round of 16, through penalties. His successor, Giovanni Trapattoni, also employed the same tactics in the 2002 FIFA World Cup as well as in the 2004 European Championships.

In both cases, Italy failed to make any significant progress although Trapattoni would go on to prove his critics wrong by leading Portuguese side, Benfica to the league title.

Dino Zoff, whose team successfully used the Zona Mista in 1982, was the Italian coach in Euro 2000 when Italy went in with the same tactics. This time, Zoff managed to take the team to the finals of the tournament, losing to France through a Golden Goal.

Greece – 2004

Greece used the same format under Otto Rehhagel, at the 2004 European Championships, and successfully so. Greece won the title with numerous 1-0 wins through the knockout stages, all thanks to a heavily defensive style of play.

BAD PUBLICITY

The Catenaccio was often on the receiving end of criticism from the rest of Europe primarily due to the boring style of football that it promoted. The Italians were said to have made the game «unattractive» however practitioners of this form of football always had results to further their faith in the system.

In most cases, the reason behind the criticism was said to be the inability of most teams to break down such defences, especially in crucial European ties, leading to a loss or a draw that they could ill-afford.

THE MODERN DAY SCENARIO

Catenaccio is a dormant formation today. With both man-marking and the sweeper position going out of style, what with the faster pace and television coming into the picture, teams are rarely known to implement such a format today.

You may see the odd variation of this formation when weaker teams go up against stronger opposition however the success of the Catenaccio or the Zona Mista is largely dependent on the quality of the defenders and the wingbacks.

The more physical format of the Catenaccio finds few followers even in the technical format of the Italian league while other formations, such as the 4-1-2-1-2 (midfield diamond) and even the 4-3-2-1 (Christmas tree) formations can be attributed, albeit loosely, to the Catenaccio.

Teams that go down a man or more, are also known to exhibit similar playing patterns although the true form of Catenaccio remains buried under a pile of demands for attacking play.

MISUSE OF THE TERM

In today’s scenario, you often find commentators, even some pundits, refer to the Italian game as the Catenaccio style of football. The latest example was the game between Barcelona and Inter Milan, at Camp Nou, during the second leg of the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Unfortunately, Jose Mourinho’s tactics were nothing like the Catenaccio style, albeit defensive. Down to ten men, Inter simply held a lower midfield to aid their defence, nothing more. They did was what needed and even Barcelona, with all their firepower, couldn’t break through. It has to be said that while Mourinho knew exactly what he was doing, there was absolutely no connection with the Catenaccio style of defence.

Commentators, especially Englishman, are known to refer to the Italian defensive style of football as Catenaccio, irrespective of whether the team follows the format or not. Catenaccio has become synonymous with defensive play although few understand the true meaning of the term, sadly, even the pundits make mistakes.

At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Italy were down to 10-men while playing Australia in the Round of 16. They defended heavily until a winner came in the form of a Francesco Totti penalty, late in the game. An English newspaper, «The Guardian», famously wrote, «The timidity of Italy’s approach had made it seem that Helenio Herrera, the high priest of Catenaccio, had taken possession of the soul of Marcello Lippi.»

What the reporter failed to notice was that 10-men Italy were playing in a 4-3-2 formation which was just a man short of the regular 4-4-2 that they had started with – Daniele De Rossi, the midfielder who was dismissed.

THE FINAL WORD

Like all good things, Catenaccio also had to come to an end. With its end, like with everything else, rose many new formats that are, till date, being practiced by coaches around the world. While the Catenaccio may have been laid to rest with the modern day television’s demand for exciting football, coaches will always fall back to their learning of this system when struggling with their backs against the wall.

Until the next time a British commentator mentions «Catenaccio» in the wrong place, Happy Defending!!!

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A Short Biography of Famous Soccer Players – Diego Milito

His complete name is Diego Alberto Milito. He was born in Bernal, Argentina on 12 June 1979. Diego Milito is a professional soccer player and now become a part of national team of Argentina. In club level, he presently plays for F.C. Internazionale Milano. In the field of arena, he is always played as a center-forward.

For international career as professional player, Milito made two goals on his first appearance in opposition to Uruguay in 2003. He participated for Argentina national team in the 2007 Copa América competition.

Milito is so powerful with a keen eye for goal. And he is considered as one of the finest headers of the ball in the modern game. In addition, he is also considered as a productive and consistent striker. His nickname is Il Principe (Italian for «The Prince»).

During his career as a professional soccer player, he ever played for some senior clubs. Some of them are Racing Club (1999-2004), Genoa (2004-2005), Zaragoza (2005-2008), Genoa (2008-2009), and Internazionale (2009- ). He got some honors with his clubs. And some of his honors are Primera División Argentina (Apertura 2001 with Racing Club), and Serie A: 2009, Coppa Italia: 2010, UEFA Champions League: 2010 (with Internazionale).

At Real Zaragoza, Diego Milito was a captain for the club, taking over this position from Gabriel who leaved for Barcelona in 2007. In the La Liga 2006-2007 season, he was one of players who got the top scorers. His goals assisted the club to a sixth position finish in the league.