London cycling is enjoying a renaissance – it has never been so popular. But even the loudest raving fans of the pursuit won’t deny the potential safety issues surrounding cycling, particularly in a city as big and full of motor traffic as the UK capital. Many parties are of course making an ongoing concerted effort to improve safety for our cyclists, and one of the leading lights (if you’ll pardon the pun) in this movement is a London start up company that has reimagined the bicycle light.
Shoreditch based Blaze started as a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign by Emily Brooke in 2012, reaching its target just before Christmas of that year and with initial backers receiving their Laserlights in 2013. More are set to ship in May of this year. The Blaze Laserlight has captured attention not just in London, where the Evening Standard has eagerly followed the product’s journey, but in publications ranging from Brooke’s home town publication The Bath Chronicle to international awareness in The New York Times.
So what sets the Laserlight apart from other bicycle lights that generates this worldwide interest? It features a more traditional, torch-like light that can be set to high beam, low beam or flashing, but it’s another feature that has everyone talking…
On their website Blaze point to a 2011 report by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) which states that a startling 79% of cycle accidents occur when the bicycle is travelling straight ahead and a vehicle manoeuvres into them – the classic blind spot scenario, as Blaze put it. This is where the Laserlight’s unique selling point comes in to play.
The light is capable of projecting a green laser image of a bike five to six metres on to the road ahead, alerting drivers to unseen cyclists and preventing them from turning across their path. It is a revolutionary idea that is effectively a portable form of road signage that could save many lives.
Besides the key light and laser features of the Laserlight, the product has much more to offer the modern cyclist: it can be charged by USB, meaning you can connect it to your office computer and leave work at the end of the day safe in the knowledge that it will last the journey home; it is waterproof – always a good idea in the British climate; it has a safety switch that deactivates the laser when it’s not attached to the bike. On top of all this it looks good too – made with aircraft aluminium and with a bracket of marine-grade steel.
The Laserlight may just make a cycle in London a much safer thing to do, and consequently as Blaze aspire to in their mission statement “liberating, easy, open to all”.
The Anatomy of a Successful Football Team
Football or ‘soccer’ is undoubtedly one of the most popular physical sports in the world. It’s a sport that both children and adults alike can enjoy and one that is often in the media spotlight due to its immense popularity.
Some of the other great things about football are that it’s a great way to have fun, keep fit, and improve your balancing and running skills. As you can imagine, millions of people globally follow professional and local-league football teams.
Those football fans will follow their teams’ progress with great interest, watch their teams play in live TV matches, and even attend matches where possible. Some teams, such as Aston Villa, even have a global cult following.
Whether you’re new to the world of football or are a lifelong enthusiast of the sport, have you ever wondered what the anatomy of a successful football team is? The following will give you some fantastic insight into this exciting subject:
What Makes a Football Team Successful?
As you can appreciate, there are many elements to a successful football team. Just to be clear, the definition of a successful football team is one that:
- Wins most home and away games;
- Has an excellent mix of players and skills;
- Is seldom in the media due to player or management controversy.
With that in mind, let’s go a bit more in-depth to look at the various factors that make some football teams in the world the best in the sport:
It makes sense to have a strong defence In any football team. The job of any players who are defenders is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals. Many football fans and experts will agree that a strong defence is crucial to a team being successful.
That’s because most of the ‘attacks’ from the opposition will get directed at the defenders. For example, central defenders with a proven track record will offer a virtually unbeatable wall of defence using strategies such as last-minute blocks and tackles.
Other defenders, such as full-backs and wing-backs, will also provide the core defence needed by a successful football team. In short, without a strong defence group in any football team, the chances are high that it won’t be successful long-term.
What happens if the opposing team somehow manage to slip past the defenders, much like a theoretical trojan horse attack? In those circumstances, there is one final level of defence that a successful football team can use: the goalkeeper.
In a nutshell, the goalkeeper is arguably the most crucial player in a defence group because their actions must be calculated and concise. Above all, they must not make any mistakes that could cause the ball kicked from the opposing team to glide past them in the goal.
Good goalkeepers are people who study the game in its entirety. They must know when to anticipate the ball heading in their direction and block it without delay.
A strong group of defenders isn’t the only crucial element of any successful football team. You also need some reliable midfielders; these are players who possess excellent all-round skills. Their job is to both defend and attack, and they must also keep possession of the ball.
That all sounds like a tall order to some people. But, midfielders have specific training to help them react and respond to different, fast-moving challenges in each game. Midfielders must work in harmony with defenders, strikers, forwards, and their goalkeeper at all times.
Midfielders need to be physically and mentally on top of their game at all times to succeed. Their role requires a great deal of stamina, composure, and leadership.
The Strikers and Forwards
Who are the team players that score the most goals in any football game? The answer is simple: the strikers and forwards. Their primary role in all football games is to put pressure on the opposing side’s defence players.
The other roles that strikers and forwards play include executing tactics that help their team have the highest percentage of ball possession in each game. Those tactics incorporate holding up play and, of course, accurate ball-passing with almost military precision.
As they overcome the opposing team’s lines of defence, they must then kick the ball into the goal to score. Of course, they must also ensure they don’t score an ‘own goal’ for obvious reasons!
Like with any sports team, there must be someone who directs all the players and instils confidence. That job rests on the shoulders of the team captain. The captain should be a motivational figurehead in any football team that the players turn to for help and support.
The captain of any football team may not necessarily be the best striker, forward, midfielder, or goalkeeper. What they are good at doing is fostering a culture of cooperation and determination, and keeping morale within the team high.
Football team captains are also there to settle any disputes between players, maintain composure within the group, and lead the team with successful strategies and tactics. Captains are also excellent communicators, both on and off the pitch.
In any football team, the manager is so-called because they are the boss of the group. The captain might be in charge of supervising and motivating players on the pitch, but it’s the manager’s job to make team-wide decisions that will help their side be victorious often.
What sort of things does a football team manager do, you might ask yourself? They are ultimately responsible for the hiring and firing of players, coming up with workable game strategies, and making tough judgement calls about the team’s players.
The manager is perhaps under the most pressure in any football team, especially one in the Premier League. If they can’t provide the support needed and help steer the team to victory, they will get sacked by their team.
Other Influential Factors
Of course, it’s not just who plays in a football team or their role in it that makes a football team successful. Here’s what else influences the success of any team:
It’s no secret that it’s the captain and the manager’s job to ensure good harmony within the team. The trouble is, football captains and managers don’t dominate how each player leads their lives – both off and on the pitch.
The sad truth about football, especially teams that are often in the media spotlight, is how some players let their success and fame get to their heads. When that happens, there can be some animosity towards those players, both from their teammates and their supporters.
A football team must have the right attitude to succeed. After all: football teams will get judged on their performance, and if their attitude inhibits that performance, they won’t be at the top of their sport.
What else can affect the success of any football team wishing to make great strides in the sport? Team investment is another influential factor to consider. As you can appreciate, football teams need financial investment for various reasons:
- Player and management salaries;
- Home stadium and training ground;
- Transport and accommodation for away games.
Those are just some of the expenses that football teams have to bear. As a team rises through the ranks and reaches a global standing, its costs will undoubtedly increase. With that in mind, a football team must get the most investment it can muster.
In some ways, you can compare a football team to running a business. You must invest money in a company for it to grow and succeed; the same rules apply to running a football team.
Finally, a football team’s supporters will positively influence the outcome of each match played. All football teams, irrespective of their size, will have a following of fans that support them. Some of those fans will even be life-long ones.
Supporters will help boost a football team’s morale because the players and management know there are people out there that want them to succeed. Those supporters are also paramount to the team’s financial investment for several reasons:
- Supporters will pay for tickets to watch their team play at home or away;
- They’ll purchase merchandise, gifts, and other items;
- Most of that money will fund the team’s development and growth, such as with the ‘purchase’ of players from other teams.
Without supporters, a football team may find it pointless even playing because they’ll know that no-one wants to support them!
Hopefully, the above details will give you a lot of insight and information into what makes any football team become successful. There are no ‘secrets’ to creating a successful football team from scratch, as long as the concepts discussed above get taken into consideration.
What’s more, you’ve undoubtedly learnt that successful footballing requires a lot of dedication, teamwork, and also support. Plus, the right team attitude will ensure that morale and motivation levels remain high.
The Super Bowl Is Done: What Now?
Super Bowl LV saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, bringing the 2020 NFL season to a close. What can we expect next from American football? Below are just some of the questions fans are already asking.
Will the pandemic affect NFL in 2021?
While the games still went ahead in 2020, the NFL lost out on millions of dollars in revenue last season as a result of stadium attendance being drastically reduced. The league have had to make huge cuts that are certain to affect next season. But in what ways will things be different?
Firstly, the salary cap has been lowered to $185 million per club. This is a lot more than initial forecasts of $175 million per club, which means that any changes to the game shouldn’t be too severe. Teams are expected to release more players than usual and make salary cuts (some players have already opted out of the 2021 season). Some teams will be able to roll over funds from last season, while others are expected to struggle a little more.
The 2021 NFL draft will begin on Thursday 29th April, in which franchises will be able to select newly eligible players. The mock drafts are already pouring in and there are some good predictions as to which players will land in which teams. All that is certain now is that there will be lots of new quarterbacks being picked – the Patriots, the Colts, the Bears, the Jaguars and the New York Jets are all in need of a new QB. A few new wide receivers are also likely to be selected.
Which teams will rebrand next?
Many teams have recently been going through huge rebrands as a result of their team names and logos no longer being politically correct. Until recently, the likes of Stephen Troese Jr were ‘Redskins’ fans – now the team has changed its name to Washington Football Team to avoid further offence to Native Americans. The Cleveland Indians announced in December that they too would be changing their name.
Will any other teams follow suit? The Kansas City Chiefs have already started to receive pressure, so they may too change their name to something more culturally sensitive, as well as getting rid of their signature ‘Arrowhead Chop’ war chant.
Many teams have meanwhile been considering updating their uniform and logo such as the Dolphins and the Giants simply as they are in need of modernizing
Will Tom Brady keep going?
Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl on Sunday at age 43. He’s already announced that he’ll be back for another season. In fact, despite being one of the oldest current players in the NFL, he shows no signs of wanting to retire any time soon.
Could Brady win an eighth Super Bowl? Does he plan to put a Super Bowl ring on every finger? Given his incredible track record so far, it could well happen.
Why Are We So Invested In Sports Teams?
Have you ever wondered why sports players are held in such high esteem? What makes us celebrate their wins and mourn their losses? Why do we get so emotionally attached to whether our favorite team wins or loses? What is it about sports that makes it so compelling to watch? These are actually some significant questions and it’s worth diving in to explore whether we can find the real answer behind our passion for sports.
A key point to remember is that sports and the celebration of sporting events have been around for years. Thousands of years in fact. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that we have been competing in some form of physical activity since the dawn of civilization. It’s a fundamental part of our psyche, our society, and our culture. Don’t forget that physical activities that resemble sports competitions are present in every culture and society across the world. So, it could just be a fact that this is part of human nature.
It does make sense that we would admire the strongest amongst us from an evolutionary point of you. Think back to caveman days and the strongest people in groups would be the ones that would hunt and protect tribes from predators. These days, of course, that’s not the role of sports stars. Instead, they are there to entertain the public. But they are still held in high esteem because of what they can accomplish and the boundaries they cross that other people can’t. Many know the name of the fastest man alive because this is an amazing feat to accomplish. Athletes are in many ways, our real-life superheroes. We praise them, admire them and celebrate their greatest accomplishments. This could all come from evolutionary traits that we have likely held onto for years.
It’s Group Psychology
Of course, this doesn’t explain why we like to come together as a group to watch different events. Why are there massive levels of support around different teams and why are stadiums filled with thousands of people? This is all based on the concept of group psychology. You might have heard the phrase that no man is an island and that’s absolutely true but it doesn’t quite mean what you think. It’s not the case that people don’t want to be alone, it’s that they can’t be alone. Various studies have proven that there are negative consequences for people who are ostracised and separated from society. If you’re not part of a social group then you are more likely to deal with issues like depression as well as other mental health problems.
When you’re part of a group, you become stronger because you take on a shared identity. This provides positive emotions and often euphoric sensations. You might experience this when you attend a sports event. At least temporarily, you lose your individual identity and take on the identity of the group. You cheer when they cheer, you mourn when they mourn. The same thing happens in various social activities. Think about when you’re at the cinema. If you laugh when other people laugh, then you feel connected to them. If you laugh out of place, you feel embarrassed or ashamed. In the past, this type of groupthink has brought negative consequences. But for the individual, it will largely be beneficial. It’s one of the reasons why we are so invested in things like the World Cup.
They Are Impressive
Of course, if you focus on psychology, you forget one fundamental point that shouldn’t be overlooked. The athletes that are at the top of their game, the ones that are performing better than anyone else. They are impressive. They have accomplished things that no one else can. That’s why it’s common for athletes such as Mahmoud Abbas to gain awards and recognition for their achievements beyond the sporting world. You can learn more about what he accomplished by visiting afootballreport.com.
If you explore some of the feats that athletes have accomplished you’ll be amazed. Research how high Michael Jordan can actually jump or the accuracy of David Beckham when he was in his prime. Explore the world records held by the top athletes and you will begin to think that these are god’s walking among us. Athletes give various reasons for being able to accomplish their achievements. Some believe it’s down to God’s work and others feel that it’s based on the level of training and effort that they put in. However, the reason that these athletes can accomplish such wonders is quite simple. Physically and sometimes mentally, these players have reached their maximum potential.
National And Local Pride
Finally, there is almost always a certain element of being proud of where you come from or your country when you get invested in sports events. The World Cup is by far the best example of this. Typically, most people don’t think too much about their regional or national identity. However, things change during sports events like this. Suddenly, we are proud to be British, American, Brazilian, and Japanese. We want our teams to win, we want our players to come out on top because we are once again sharing in their identity. If they win then so do we. If they bring home the trophy or the gold medals then Britain has won which means we have won. This is again part of establishing group identity and accepting yourself as part of that group. National group identities are one of the most powerful examples of this. You can learn more about the power of national identity on foreignaffairs.com.
We hope this helps you understand some of the reasons why people do get so invested in sports as well as the people who play them. It’s clear that there are a lot of different factors that contribute to these types of emotions. As well as group psychology, there’s a certain level of envy here that becomes praise. While most of us won’t admit it, we’d love to be able to perform like these players do every day in their careers.
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