French tennis player moves to America to pursue a student-athlete lifestyle

When Antione Noel was deciding where to go to college, the French tennis player looked for a place where he could focus on his sport as well as his studies.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo contacted Noel and offered him a scholarship to come to California and play tennis for their division one team.

“I thought about it for a while, and I decided that Cal Poly was the best choice for me”, said Noel. “It is not easy being so far from home, but I want to play tennis and get a good education.”

Sports are a huge part of the culture of most countries. School and education, on the other hand, are taken more seriously in some countries than in others.

Here in America, our university systems almost exclusively work off of block schedules, so students can work their day around the classes they are taking. In other countries around the world, students are in class roughly from the moment they wake up, to the time they go to bed. France, South Africa, Greece, China, and Russia, along with many more, are examples of these types of places.

In a study conducted by Johan P. Olsen, The Institutional Dynamics of the European  University, the author talks about how the European University system is designed to create drastic change in its students. They are pushed harder and longer than other schools because they are supposed bring about radical improvement.

“America is the place where all athletes want to be”, said Jeff Park, the athletic director of  Texas State University. “Here in America we build around an athletes schedule, which allows them to do more with their lives than just play sports.”

Pursuing a career in sports while trying to obtain a degree outside of America is not an easy task. When classes take up your entire day, you have no time to practice and improve your skills.

Antoine Noel is a french tennis player who wanted to go to college for business, but was not ready to call it quits on his tennis career yet. He made a life changing decision to leave his home country, including his entire family and friends, and fly oversees to America to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

At Cal Poly, Noel has continued down the path he has always desired. He has been thriving on the tennis team, winning a crucial match against UC Davis advancing the Cal Poly Tennis Team to the conference finals.

“The people in America are so much nicer than in France,” Noel said. “They are always willing to help me. I can do what I want here, and people are willing to help me get where I want to be with my career”.

Average athlete shows the difficulty of performing a successful dunk

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Michigan’s Mitch McGary throws down a monster dunk. Photo by Adam Glanzman (Wikicommons)

Dunking a basketball is a talent few people have. The standard height of a basketball hoop is ten feet, so you have to get way up there if you are not freakishly tall. People can work toward dunking by increasing their vertical leap, but others are born with the length and ability to pull it off.

I tried dunking a basketball the other day. I ran at the rim as fast as I could, and jumped with all of my might, yet I was still no where near the hoop. My friend, Joe Mann, walked over, took the ball, and said, “Watch this.”

He threw it down with ease, making me look foolish. I asked him whether he had to work to get these abilities, or if he was just that athletic.

“I have been playing basketball all of my life,” Mann said, “and I have been able to dunk since sophomore year of high school. I am six foot five, and definitely lengthier than the average human, so dunking came naturally to me”.

I took some footage of Joe and me dunking; see if you can tell who is who. It should not be too hard.

 

Shortest player on Cal Poly’s club basketball team grinds for playing time

Cal Poly club basketball team’s Andrew Piro has never been the biggest guy on the court. Off the court he may be above the average male, with a height of six feet tall.  But on the court, he is the runt of the litter.

Piro has been playing sports as long as he can remember, and basketball has always been his true love.  Having played it since the third grade, Piro continues to grow as a basketball player to this day.

His motivation and work ethic have been an inspiration to me.  He may not physically be the biggest guy on the team, but mentally and spiritually, Andrew Piro shines above the rest.

Do the best teams sell the most merchandise? Bandwagoning fans say yes

Ever since the beginning of sports, there always been fans who hop on the bandwagon of the best team.  Whenever one team becomes unstoppable, all of the sudden, their fan base grows extensively.  This is nothing new, and we continue to see elements of bandwagoning to this day in every professional sport.

Now, star athletes have their own shoes and articles of clothing.  Everywhere you go, you will see average, everyday people wearing the various jerseys and shoes representing their favorite team or player.

I always wonder, what is the story behind how they became fans of that team or player? Often times we will learn that these fans are devoted to the best team, based mainly on the fact that they are they best.

Fans can have love for any team, regardless of where they are from.  Scientists call this fan identification, it shows a sense of community centered around a given team.  In a study published in the journal Sport Marketing Quarterly, it discusses how levels of fan identification depend on factors such as the reputation of the organization, the frequency of contact with the organization, and satisfaction with the organization overall.

If a team is doing well in the NBA, does this mean that their merchandise will sell more than before? I discussed this topic with Dick’s Sporting Goods manager Jake Schwartz, who talked about how “fans will always be attracted to the best teams in the league, that is why Warriors jerseys have sold more in the past five years than ever before.”

The NBA store online drew up statistics on the best selling jerseys of the past year.  The top five best sellers were from three of the best four teams in the league.  Steph Curry, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Kyrie Irving were among the most sold jerseys of the past year.

How well a team does completely affects how their merchandise sells.  Fans who never rooted for a certain team will start buying that team’s jerseys and shoes, just because they are the team on top.

 

 

 

 

How hard players train affects how often they get injured

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Many athletes have endured injuries during the course of their season. Some of these injuries are caused by an incident that happens during a game or practice, but it may also be related to their training routines.

A study published in February in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance examined whether or not a basketball players training habits had an effect on their injuries. The results showed that the players who trained not too often, but not too seldom had the least amount of recorded injuries.

In an interview with Dr. Richard Hayashida, Sports Physician, he discussed how, “players can over-work their bodies if they train hard enough without sufficient rest, and it can be a leading factor for causing an injury.  If the muscles are too weak from not being worked out enough, than the players are just as at risk.”

Dozens of NBA all-star players have been injured within the past two weeks, according to CBS sports. Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis are out with a knee injuries, Demarcus Cousins has an achilles injury, and the list goes on and on.

Anthony Davis and Derrick Rose have been known to train harder than their teammates, but have also had a history of getting injured during the season. Davis’s teammate Jrue Holiday, in an interview with Zito Madu recorded in SB Nation, talked about how Anthony Davis is the “first one in the gym, and the last one to leave.”

As much as these players believe that their over achieving work ethic is positively effecting their talent, they may be leading their bodies down the path of injury.

Cousins, on the other hand, has been known to slack off during practices and training sessions. His injury may be related to his lack of preparation and low work ethic, opposite to Rose and Davis’s circumstance.

Players with the right work ethic have the lowest chances of getting injured.  As long as they maintain a pattern of working out and resting, then their bodies will be healthier and more conditioned for when game time roles around.

Challenging All-Stars Are Being Passed from Team to Team

In the NBA today, there are many players that keep bouncing around from team to team looking for a place to call home, but not having any luck doing so.  This is not due to their lack of talent on the court, but rather their attitude and work ethic on and off the court.  Some of the NBA’s best athletes have been passed along from one organization to another, either because of their lack of team chemistry or poor relations with the coaching staff.

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Photo by Scott Mecum, (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons)

Demarcus Cousins was drafted fifth overall in the 2010 NBA draft.  The Sacramento Kings knew what they were going to have to deal with taking him on board, but they believed that their coaching staff could make it work. They battled Cousins’s attitude on and off the court for years, but they never seemed to make it work.

After years of butting heads with coach Paul Westphal, Cousins was finally traded to the New Orleans Pelicans just last month. We will see if New Orleans is a better fit for him and the team as a whole.

Demarcus Cousins believes that this change with ultimately benefit him and his career as a whole.  In an interview with a reporter for the bleacher report after his trade being passed, Cousins talks about how, “I don’t regret anything. Everything I’ve been through has helped me grow as a person, so I’m good.”

Jimmy Butler is another NBA superstar who just could not figure it out off the court. Last year the Bulls were projected to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, but finished in ninth place, just out of playoff contention.

In an article written by Fox Sports,  it talks about how Butler tried taking on a leadership position on the team without being asked to do so.  This angered his teammate Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, who were previously seen as the leaders of the team.  This lack of team chemistry amongst the star players of this Bulls team has been reflected in their record overall.

Rose and Noah ended up being traded in the offseason the the New York Knicks, handing over the team to Jimmy Butler and incoming Dwayne Wade.  Butler continues to have problems with his team, which stands eighth overall in the Eastern conference, on the brink of making the playoffs.

Attitude and work ethic are just as important to a team’s success as talent itself. Division one small forward, Joey Wagner, of Southern Methodist University, told me that some of the best players on his team do not listen to the coaches at all.

“Many players on my team are worthy of the NBA, and they know it,” Wagner said. “They carry this conceded mindset into their careers after college, and it makes them harder to coach.”