When playing sports, you will receive lots of guidance and advice from coaches, parents, and other players. While lots of the advice is worthwhile and valuable, some points are no longer useful due to the world having changed and science uncovering new information.
There are many ways that you can improve your performance as an athlete. This could be something like changing your diet or the gear you use to how you throw a ball or your posture when running. Here are some of the best sports hacks that everyone needs to discover:
- Sweet Drinks or Chewing Gum for Increased Awareness
- Always Catch With Your Hands, Not Your Body
- You Can Run a Half Marathon If You Can Run 5 Miles
- Three Exercises That Will Replace Your Gym Membership
- Your Diet is More Important Than You Think
- Toenail Grooming Is Vital To Foot Health
- No Matter Which Sport You Do, Remember To Stretch
- Keep Your Pantry Filled with Gummy Bears and Chocolate
- Get the Proper Gear for Crossfit
- Different Techniques Are Needed for Different Races
- Power Comes From Your Hips and Wrists
- The Right Shoes Are Essential
- When Throwing a Football, Loosen Your Grip
- Find the Sweet Spot in a Free Throw
- The Science of Grunting in Tennis
- Pickle Juice – The Drinkable, Topical Miracle
- When Playing Basketball, Wipe Your Shoes
Sweet Drinks or Chewing Gum for Increased Awareness
Whether you are running a marathon or playing football, you will be hard-pressed to find an aid station or sideline that doesn’t have Gatorade or Coca-Cola for the athletes. It is also prevalent to see sportspeople gnawing on chewing gum during their performance.
While you may see sugary drinks and chewing gum as unhealthy or irritating, there is science to back them up in the sports world.
Gatorade and Coca-Cola keep athletes hydrated and focused, as does gum. This is because they activate the movement control part of the brain.
Always Catch with Your Hands, Not Your Body
During the NFL Combine each year, scouts will separate the pass-catching players into different categories – the body catchers and the hand catchers. Although body catchers can be coached into better technique, those who are real hand catchers are in high demand.
Basic science shows that catching the ball is much simpler when tracking it with your hands and eyes. Allowing the ball to go into your body makes it harder to catch and gives the defender extra time to knock the ball away from you.
You Can Run a Half Marathon if You Can Run 5 Miles
As people age, they stop doing impact and team sports, switching them for cardio sports like cycling and running. And as people begin running more, and the process feels easier to do, they start setting their sights on goals like a 5K, 10K, and the famous half marathon.
Although a half marathon can feel intimidating when you’re a novice runner, tens of thousands of amateurs runners achieve this goal every year.
It is primarily a test of endurance and mind power. And the secret is that if you can run 5 miles without stopping, you can eventually learn to run a half marathon.
Three Exercises That Will Replace Your Gym Membership
Visiting the local gym is an everyday activity for those who want to get and stay in shape. But when you go, you will often see people doing some crazy exercises. They may have made them up or found them on a website, but they are likely getting very little from the activity.
The reality is that the exercises athletes need to do are easy and straightforward to do – even from home!
There are just 3 exercises required to train the whole body – the lunge, the pull-up, and the push-up. These will target all of the muscles for a great strength workout.
Your Diet Is More Important Than You Think
When you were younger, you could probably eat anything you wanted without gaining weight or affecting your performance as an athlete. But when you get older, the food you eat has a significant impact on how your body performs and responds to exercise.
Different diets have a varying impact based on the sport you do. Endurance athletes will often choose a high carbohydrate diet to keep their bodies fueled, whereas swimmers may choose a ketogenic diet to keep their bodies trim.
The diet will be dictated by your sport and the results you wish to achieve.
Toenail Grooming Is Vital to Foot Health
This one should be common sense and is easy to do, but for many athletes, this hack is not always followed and can have detrimental effects. Clipping and grooming your toenails can have many more benefits than you think.
First, when your toenails are groomed, your running shoes will last longer. Your socks will stay in better shape and won’t get sliced up from your nails.
You will suffer less from infected and ingrown toenails. And lastly, you will no longer gross people out when swimming at the pool or beach.
No Matter Which Sport You Do, Remember to Stretch
Before sports practice or gym class in school, your coach or teacher likely led you through several stretches and had you warm up your muscles. And as a child and teenager, your muscles were young, supple, and pliable. As an adult, stretching becomes even more important as your muscles become less flexible.
Sadly, most athletes skip the warm-up and cool-down phase of their workout, neglecting the stretches their muscles so badly need.
Perhaps you don’t think you need to do it if you are doing a few miles or playing a round of baseball. But failing to stretch can lead to severe injuries that can linger for months or years.
Keep Your Pantry Filled with Gummy Bears and Chocolate
Gummy bears and chocolate don’t only taste yummy and sweet, but they have plenty of benefits for your physical performance. Gummy bears can snap you into better stamina and performance, making them a favorite for marathon runners and ultrarunners around the world.
Chocolate also increases athletes’ performance thanks to the Epicatechin, which improves stamina and reduces blood pressure.
Even better than that, drinking a glass of chocolate milk after a strenuous workout or extended run aids in faster recovery.
Get the Proper Gear for Crossfit
Crossfit has recently grown to become one of the most practiced and popular ways for fitness enthusiasts to get fit. In fact, people in their late 30s and early 40s are often amazed by how much stronger they feel and how their bodies look.
But you need to know that throwing around and lifting heavy weights, and doing high-impact workouts can lead to some serious injuries.
A wrist wrap is one of the simplest items to use but one of the best ways to protect yourself when lifting and also helps prevent blisters.
Different Techniques Are Needed for Different Races
No matter how far you can run or how fast you are, there are techniques to improve your overall performance. Whether you do sprinting, 5K runs, or long-distance marathons, the advice you receive will be very different.
When sprinting, it is vital that your head stays down and that you keep in your set lane. You must keep an eye on the other runners in front of you while keeping track of those behind you in longer races. Pacing yourself is also very important.
Power Comes from Your Hips and Wrists
Do you play softball or golf and want to hit the ball a bit further? The answer is straightforward. When training in the gym, don’t worry about bench presses and curls. Focus on your core, hips, and wrists.
There is a reason that the world’s best softball players and golfers don’t have massive biceps.
Their power is driven from their hips, forearms, and wrists. They are focused on blasting their core and strengthening their wrists, and you should focus on these things, too.
The Right Shoes Are Essential
Irrelevant to the sport you do, your feet play a big part. They are the things that move you from one place to another and keep you steady. Thus, it is crucial to know and understand which shoes will offer you the best protection.
Too many athletes choose their footwear based on how they look rather than the correct fit and protection.
If you do high-impact sports like basketball or running, it is advisable to visit a specialized store for a proper fitment based on your foot size, shape, and pressure points.
When Throwing a Football, Loosen Your Grip
Anyone who plays football wants to throw a tight spiral. When teaching your children how to throw a football, you will want them to throw a tight spiral. But the science behind throwing the ball in a tight spiral is to do the opposite of what it sounds like.
So, instead of gripping the ball super tight, you need to loosen your grip and relax. The pros in the NFL, like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning, all hold the ball differently, but they always hold it loosely.
Find the Sweet Spot in a Free Throw
A free throw is the bane of many basketball players’ lives. Shaquille O’Neal could tell you all about that. While the team’s center may be unstoppable, the opposing team can stop him with a foul before he can get the shot off.
For anyone who is having issues with the free throw, we have a straightforward tip to help you. There’s a nail hammered in behind the court’s free-throw line.
Line up your dominant hand over this nail to give yourself a direct shot at the basket.
The Science of Grunting in Tennis
If you’ve ever watched tennis, you will have heard the grunting from the players. Some of the most famous grunters include Maria Sharapova, Angelique Kerber, and Monica Seles. Most people believe they are grunting due to the exertion from the game.
But it has been proven that there’s a scientific advantage to grunting. Why? Because the grunt can change the opponent’s perspective of where the ball will go and how they must react. What an ace!
Pickle Juice – The Drinkable, Topical Miracle
The humble pickle is a divisive food – some people love them, and some despise them. But if you’re an athlete, learning to love pickles and their juice can give you a host of physical benefits for your performance.
Nolan Ryan, the legendary baseball pitcher, swore by using pickle juice topically to heal his blisters. Some athletes, like marathoners and cyclists, also drink it to prevent cramps from developing in endurance events.
When Playing Basketball, Wipe Your Shoes
When playing indoor basketball, you may notice the court is slippery. Unfortunately, even after custodians’ best efforts, the courts get covered in a layer of dust, making them slippery.
To play your best, wipe your shoes as much as you can to get the dust off the bottom. This will ensure that they are strong and grippy while also preventing knee injuries due to slipping.
These are some of the best hacks that you can use when playing your favorite sport. We hope that they will help you boost your performance to the next level!