We will look at philosophy of sports in general, then look at resources for each sport.
(Note: This is sport philosophy, not sport psychology. It is about the morality of sports, not about how to motivate people to do well in sports.)
“You must excuse me, but when I’m with the boys I make all the fun I can.” -Joseph Smith (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)
Many look upon sport team involvement as highlights to their school days. Sports can be an environment to channel energy in positive ways. Be careful to not be too trapped in the ultra-competitive school and community sports, where parents overly harp on children for performance. If the element of fun is present, the student will excel naturally and with minimal coaching. Naturally there is a time and place for hardcore coaching, hell weeks, running drills, technique drills, etc., but the sport is to be foremost a delight. If teams are too competitive to even let you play without selling your soul to be good enough, look to your siblings neighbors and others to have fantastic sporting experiences.
Which sports are better than others? Other than avoiding brain damage or other frequent and serious bodily damage, I don’t suppose some sports are much better than others. The skater is an athlete just as much as the footballer. The tennis player and footbag player win a strong bill of health just like the soccer player (not Hercules perhaps, but most of us don’t need to be Hercules).
A friend once told me this regarding the rectitude of skateboarding, a sometimes considered a shadowy hobby in today’s culture: “I don’t think there is anything wrong with skateboarding or any such sport. A person can enjoy almost any sport without indulging the lifestyles of the world that may typically be associated with the sport. That is the righteous separation – the separation of oneself from worldly behaviors, not from the sport itself. How many general conference talks reference sports and athletes to illustrate feats of righteousness and perseverance? …there are multitudes of faith-promoting parables that can be gleaned from sports. Happy skateboarding, Brother.”
As for peer pressure, it’s found in any sport, football, skating, dancing (see my dancing materials in a book of their own), has peer pressure. The dancer is tempted to dress less modestly than she needs to at both practice and while going through day to day life, and is tempted to judge her worth on her appearance. The skater is offered drugs and alcohol. The footballer is offered chewing tobacco alcohol and one-night stands. The wrestler is tempted to become anorexic to an unhealthy degree.
Those of any sport can be tempted to carry their passion to an extreme, which then gets in the way of religious and familial duties. The soccer mom can not have time for self or quiet time with the children because she runs around so much. The student can not have time to learn mathematics science reading literature drama music and other intellectual skills when the sport devours all attention.
Flexibility and strength helps athletes and intellectual students alike to avoid burn out as they’ll enjoy more comfort throughout the day, having gained this level of control over their bodies, which are central to any activity, or in other words, cannot be eliminated from any equation entirely. For most people, the happy way to exercise is through sports. A brilliant workout is one that you’ll actually be excited to do, and therefore, do. Buying a soccer ball may be much more effective than buying a treadmill. Workout equipment will appeal to athletes, but sporting equipment can appeal to almost everyone, even the “uncoordinated”.
Some claim that ‘sports build character’. This is true on some levels, but not entirely, or we would see without fail that the professional athletes were the towers of moral integrity in society. Someone has said that perhaps rather than sports building character, they reveal character. It has been said of Abraham that the reason he was commanded to do a hard thing was not for growth, but to learn how strong he was. Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham. Often sports can help young people to learn that when they apply the character traits they have learned (hard work, sharing, integrity, consistency/diligence, thoroughness, study, etc.), they can excel at things, and enjoy their lives. Can uncharactered people become good at sports? Yes, just as much as the traits to become a good bank robber also involve hard work, intelligence, team work, etc. So learning a sport or other trade doesn’t really build character (good character anyways), but it reveals character. Will Johnny stop to help the one who got hurt? Will he offer to teach a team mate who isn’t getting it? Will be practice at home when no one is looking? Will he refrain from cheating when no one would notice? Will he be truthful to his peers and leaders even when not doing so appears to promise short- or long-term gains? Will he resist the invariable harlots that will flirt with him as he becomes an excellent athlete (and chose the virtuous woman instead)?
-the prophetic ‘Family Proclamation to the World’ (1995) teaches that wholesome recreation is one of the key elements to successful family life.
-Elder Neal A Maxwell played tennis even into his late years.
-President Thomas S. Monson taught old folks in rest homes about how a football game works, so they can understand what is going on the television and enjoy it. He speaks about current ball games. He says fishing is good and spiritual. He says having animals and going to fairs is joyful. He says road shows and dance festivals are uplifting. He knows about what is going on in the local barber shop. Henry the 8th was his favorite Shakespeare play. Among his favorite theatrical works is the Phantom of the Opera. He enjoyed raising pigeons. (see book To The Rescue by Heidi Swinton)
-President Russel M Nelson skied even into his 90’s.
-President Monson was a regular swimmer.
-“Just as honest toil gives rest its sweetness, wholesome recreation is the friend and steadying companion of work… Music, literature, art, dance, drama, athletics—all can provide entertainment to enrich one’s life and further consecrate it…” ” (Elder Christofferson in “Today’s Family: Chose Wholesome Recreation” at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/choose-wholesome-recreation?lang=eng)
-Make your entertainment high quality culture: “Too often we use many hours for fun and pleasure, clothed in the euphemism ‘I’m recharging my batteries.’ Those hours could be spent reading and studying to gain knowledge, skills, and culture.” (President Henry B Eyring in “Today’s Family: Chose Wholesome Recreation” at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/choose-wholesome-recreation?lang=eng)
-Don’t make entertainment your top priority: “In a materialistic age, when recreation and convenience are the suggested priorities of our society, we might all well ask ourselves, ‘How well are we providing for the spiritual well-being and strengthening of our families? …Are we clothing family members with ‘garments of salvation’ as anxiously as we provide clothing for their wardrobe? Is our diet of entertainment and recreation balanced with the food offered by Him who said, ‘Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely’ (Alma 5:34).” (Elder Ballard in “Today’s Family: Chose Wholesome Recreation” at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/choose-wholesome-recreation?lang=eng)
-“Parents should act to preserve time for family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, and the other precious togetherness and individual one-on-one time that binds a family together and fixes children’s values on things of eternal worth…Parents should teach gospel priorities through what they do with their children.” (Elder Oaks in “Today’s Family: Chose Wholesome Recreation” at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/choose-wholesome-recreation?lang=eng)
-Joseph Smith told one man who had done much work for the building up of God’s kingdom, that this brother needed to rest a while, to enjoy himself. The man responded, “I cannot”. Joseph said, “then you will die.” The man indeed later died a premature death, and Joseph spoke at his funeral. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)
-When others chastised Joseph for playing sports, thinking that a prophet shouldn’t do such things, Joseph taught them that if you don’t unstring the bow from time to time, it loses its spring. This meant that to be effective he had to relax sometimes.
-Joseph Smith was known to be easily drawn to laughter, and frequently played with children and his brethren, playing sports and joking with them. He said we shouldn’t be too involved in the fantastic, but that a good sense of humor is of God. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)
-Many saw Hyrum Smith as more prophet-like than Joseph, as Hyrum was less jovial and playful, but we know that these traits of Joseph helped him cope with his many trials, and uplift his fellows. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)
-Joseph was hired as a farm hand not only because he was a hard worker, but because he could get the others to work too. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)
-Remember to reserve the sabbath as a day free of sporting events:
“When a community or nation grows careless in its Sabbath activities, its religious life decays and all aspects of life are negatively affected. The blessings associated with keeping the Sabbath day holy are lost. We should refrain from shopping on the Sabbath and participating in other commercial and sporting activities that now commonly desecrate the Sabbath. Latter-day Saints should set this holy day apart from activities of the world by entering into a spirit of worship, thanksgiving, service, and family-centered activities appropriate to the Sabbath. As Church members endeavor to make their Sabbath activities compatible with the intent and Spirit of the Lord, their lives will be filled with joy and peace.” (Preach My Gospel: What Should I Study And Teach: The Commandments: Keep the Sabbath Day Holy; https://www.lds.org/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/lesson-4-the-commandments?lang=eng)
As we start to look at various sports, I suggest a book called Rules of the Game: Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of all Sports.
Also allow me to say that playing sports is good, but watching them can be a toxic addiction when taken to an extreme, especially when that extreme takes away from family duties, church duties, physical health, or violating the holy Sabbath of our God.
Footbag (Hacky Sack)
Free Running / Parkour / Gymnastics
Martial Arts: Asian
Martial Arts: Historical European (HEMA)
Strength & Endurance Training
Swordplay & Fencing
Preparedness Tip: Minimal Equipment Sports
A BYU cross country running coach once said something to this effect: give me the strongest runner, and though he may not currently be the fastest, I will train him in flexibility, then he will be the fastest.
Greatest Hacki Sack Performance Video
Honza Weber 2019 champ of freestyle futbol and footbag https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdlV2zFHt6I
The most successful footbag doubles team, multiple world champions and innovators Martin Sladek and Tomas Tucek
Andy Linder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAN5eqtfGZs
-Flag Football Pickup Games: Utah Weekend Pickup Flag Football Games (SLC area) (32 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1685365298416870/
Free Running / Parkour / Gymnastics
Wall run backflip
-Here’s someone whose sport is jumping: ‘He Jumped Over A NYC Cop & Wayyy More! You Need To See Dexton’s Bounce To Believe It!’ – Overtime https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4bZ1UV-Mbs
-If you can jump it you can ollie it… maybe… but jumping will certainly help. Here’s Spencer Barton with the ollie as high as you can jump: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsMioe54fSI
– Some training:
While holding stick, jump through it and back.
Jump over things, standing and running, and make it higher and higher.
Longjump / Jump at the mark
Weighted shoe jumping
Martial Arts: Asian
-Kendo wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kendo
-Amazon’s Set of 2 47″ Kendo Shinai Bamboo Practice Sword Katana Set of 2 47″ Kendo Shinai Bamboo Practice Sword Katana by Etrading
–Best of Kendo ~ Awesome ~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHNPoSBJvn8&app=desktop
-The Rules of Kendo – EXPLAINED! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb13DKpDd_k
Martial Arts: Historical European (HEMA)
(includes longsword, and various other weapons (sometimes padded) shields and armor)
-HEMA training tip YouTube playlist series (from scholagladiatoria) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTEUz9lXExI&list=PLMUtS78ZxryOMRve8RkM0vcrIKPH3hGvW
–Inside the World of Longsword Fighting | The New York Times https://youtu.be/5zueF4Mu2uM
-Also try PVC pipe or broomsticks with pool noodle foam. Duct tape makes for good handles.
-MMA with Medieval Armor and Blunt Weapons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkDDBL7jNew
-Wiki history of sword https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sword
-Renaissance Fair wiki page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_fair
-Spears are better than swords (longer version) (“Fight Camp” does rounds of 1:1 and groups in sword vs spear, etc.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afqhBODc_8U
-Great martial art plastic practice equipment readily available online (Amazon etc.)
-Stick fighting is a sport of it’s own, but could fit in this category.
-History of martial arts https://saw.fandom.com/wiki/Martial_arts
-weapons based martial arts styles https://blackbeltwiki.com/weapon-based-martial-arts-styles
-The World: Intonga – Stick Fighting in South Africa
-Wiki stickfighting types https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stick-fighting
-Part 10: Shields: Why Are Shields Different Shapes and Sizes? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEsjPQeWmd8
-YouTube channel scholagladiatoria
-While broadswords pikes etc. are carried in battle, rapier is built for duels, not for mele or cutting: Which sword is best in a one-on-one duel?….. Historical fencing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qJBGlChcXU
-Utah Running Club (to arrange running groups) (3,800 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/UtahRunningGuide/
-Watch this 8 minute video on posture, foot placement, etc. for running:
Principles of Natural Running with Dr. Mark Cucuzzella
-Running Shoe Companies:
Running Warehouse’ “Discount Warehouse” https://www.runningwarehouse.com/salecatpage.html?ccode=SALEMS&fbclid=IwAR0R0kv50RnBRzTTiZ6GGcAf2JTyIx63z32vXytnYO5jEMD4_ADIjk2w4cQ
If you’re into marathon class shoes and want a “fit like a glove” special shoe, go to Salt Lake Running, but you’ll not get out without spending about $100. (https://saltlakerunning.com/services-2/biomechanical-analysis/?fbclid=IwAR0R0kv50RnBRzTTiZ6GGcAf2JTyIx63z32vXytnYO5jEMD4_ADIjk2w4cQ)
Preparedness Tip: Run for Your Life by Andrew Skousen: From the World Affairs Brief, 3-22-19 worldaffairsbrief.com
How many of us feel fit enough to make a “run for it” if we had to? How many of us would be panting hard after just one block? What if our path of escape was uphill? Keeping ourselves physically fit has many benefits, including the ability to get out of a tough situation by simply running away. Don’t underestimate this crucial aspect of mobility. Although we have plenty of fast vehicles and modes of transportation, nothing is as flexible and always available as our own two feet. On foot we can rapidly change direction, clamber over obstacles, climb and even swim. Our aptitude in this area could not only save our own life, but help us get to others in time to save them. Here are some ideas for improving in this core area of physical fitness.
Start slow. The best speed and agility comes from a foundation of healthy physical fitness. If you are starting from very little daily exercise and activity, it pays to start small and work up to higher levels of fitness. Even patients with recent operations are now being encouraged to get up and walk afterwards because their improvement is much faster when they do. Walking is fine, but don’t stagnate at this level. Walking hills or stairs next strengthens the heart and helps the lungs get stronger when you get to breathing hard.
Transition to running. Most people can run, even if they have to start slow. Many people just avoid it because they find it too strenuous at first. The key is to avoid this sudden all-or-nothing approach. Our bodies are complex and take time to adjust to different benchmarks. When we suddenly ask it to perform at a faster speed it struggles to keep up the pace and fills our minds with painful complaints from our lungs to our knees which aren’t used to it. Some people hate running because of this or think they can’t do it. But most of the time it is just that their bodies are not used to it or they have developed bad running habits that exacerbate knee or joint problems. Learn first proper running technique such as from this excellent video by Dr. Mark Cucuzella. The key is to help your body transition from your current benchmark to one where you can run, and run fast.
Interval training. An excellent way to nudge your body toward faster movement is with intervals of more intense effort interspersed between slower periods where you are still moving. For instance, if you are used to walking, switch to a jog for one minute and then back down to walking for 3 minutes. Start with the speed you are used to running and speed it up for a short period of time before resuming the slower pace until you recover. Use a watch to time your intervals and increase the times spent at the faster pace and/or decrease the time spent at the easier pace. Gradually the body will adjust your muscle tone, blood flow and energy stores to be ready for the faster pace. Don’t give up just because it is hard at first; that’s the signal needed to tell your body to change.
The goal is to increase both speed and stamina. To improve your stamina, intersperse intervals of slower running or walking into your routine before you get tired out. For instance, if you can only run for a half mile, try walking a bit after just a quarter mile, again after a half mile and then run on to increase your distance. You will soon find that you can keep this up for 1, 3, 5 and more miles just by pacing yourself with periodic walking. Eventually you can even run those distances without the walking breaks.
Once you have a stronger foundation of physical health, you can add speed days to your workouts. The goal here isn’t to be able to run your whole workout at top speed but to run several intervals at high speed after getting warmed up with 10 to 15 minutes of normal running. The 100 yard dash is too short for a real get-away, but it is useful for learning to quickly cover short distances. You can measure it off precisely if you want to compare your time with others, but most people can just sprint for the length of the same city block and compare their time as they improve. To really get away you will likely have to run for two or three blocks, so practice that or use the 1/4 mile track for an excellent test of both speed and stamina.
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t beat your old high school records. The goal is to get to your peak fitness for your current age. For some people that means just being able to climb a hill or several flights of stairs unassisted, but most of us are capable of some form of running. Experts have long known that the body was designed to run, and most of us just need to remind it of its abilities. In the end, the goal of being able to move quicker in an emergency is an additional benefit of healthier physical fitness from exercise and healthier eating. Keep working at it and you can become more vibrant, efficient and capable of quick action when you need it most.
Don’t forget to lose weight if you need to. Running will never become enjoyable if you carry around an extra 30 or 40 pounds when exercising. Remember too, when exercising to help lose weight, don’t increase your food intake, with your increased appetite. Most will not lose weight while exercising if you keep eating the same type and quantity as before. You must cut down on food intake to be successful. [END]
-Skateboard Lifestyle forum (50,874 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/skateboardlifestyle/
(I don’t know about their personal lives but they’re great skaters. I’ve tried to steer away from skaters heavily laden in tattoos, those who use vulgar music to their performances, etc.)
-3 steps: 1. pop 2. Jump 3. “ninja kick” (slide/fold back foot in to bring board up higher)
-bring knees high as can, up to chest
-practice jumping over stuff as seen in the pictures above
-everyday is leg day: working our legs all the time
-wear a weighted belt or vest while skating
-back foot ball of toe on edge of tail, front foot just behind front bolts
-front foot slides all the way to the nose
-back foot is lifted into air, and push feet outward/forward
-practice olling all the time, build the muscle memory
-practice while holding onto something
-feet go in teeter totter motion
-Tricks over the hip with Omar Hassan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW5Akjk8GLI
Be Safe: Skating vert is a good time to wear knee pads and a helmet, even elbow pads, and if you’re like me and use your hands to catch yourself in falls, palm pads. Skating vert is a quick way to mess up your knees so have a long skating career by gearing up, especially when trying to push to new heights and tricks and perform at your best. Like how people wearing seat belts drive faster, so will we skate better if we’re not worried about crashing.
-wide foot stance
-somewhat tight trucks, at least for practicing
-deeper drop in’s aren’t much different than shallow ones, just a second or so
-practice pumping in the bowl getting near the rim so you know what dropping in will feel like
General Vert Riding:
-have loose trucks since kick turns take away speed
-keep all 4 wheels on the ground making figure 8’s in the bowl
Key Skate Tricks After Ollie
The 6 tricks I recommend learning after ollie are Frontside 180, Backside 180, Pop Shove it, Front Shove, Kick flip, Heel flip
These tricks are some basic ones to get you comfortable before you move on to more complex tricks.
-practice a frontside board slide to get familiar with the motion
-try a 90
-keep straight over the board, board flying away can mean you’re not balanced over the board
-turn your head backward before the trick so you’re looking in the direction you need to spin
Backside 180: (rotate 180 degrees clockwise, keeping board under foot)
-practice a backside boardslide to get familiar with the motion
-pull up knees
-feet stay under shoulders
-face looking backward before the pop, then big pop
-spin quickly so you can see your landing before you hit the ground; finishing a trick a few inches before you hit the ground is always preferred to a last minute finish just before touching back down.
Pop Shove it:
-big pop, little shove
-helps to be moving
-look at the nose of your board where you’re going to flick
-put your back foot on the back edge of the board so pop is big
-try to not fling hands around, let your feet do the work
-kickflip as in all tricks, the key is the back foot. the pop and lift of the back foot, springing from the back foot, this gives the height and max trick beauty and power.
-put toe over edge of board
-heel goes over the front corner of board, not side of board
Soccer Pickup Games, Utah Area:
-Utah Pickup Soccer (929 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/21337541010/
-Play Soccer in Utah County (50 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/139770556090174/
-AF Pickup Soccer (9 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/908818819230555/
-Pick-up Soccer at Pioneer (i.e. play Thursday evenings Bicentennial Park) (19 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/457454947600151/
-Salt Lake Pickup Soccer (87 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/163852223680753/
-Art Nerds Pick-up Soccer Club 2018 (Wednesdays at 6:30, Invite people. Small games. Pick up. Mini Park 450 E 600 S Super low key and welcoming. No slide tackles. This is about running around and making friends.) https://www.facebook.com/groups/721118524619734/
-Orem Outdoor Pickups Soccer (177 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1424133944529355/
-Provo Pickup Soccer (78 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/104987722986930/
-Pickup Soccer in Utah (366 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/109201615833502/
-Central Salt Lake Pickup Soccer (Tuesday 9am Friday 9am Sunday 9am Location : http://tinyurl.com/rowturf) (390 members) https://www.facebook.com/groups/centralsaltlakepickupsoccer/
Strength & Endurance Training
Naturally you’ll gain strength in any sport, some more than others, but independent strength training in addition to your sport will help you excel in your sport to a most satisfying degree.
Strength training isn’t to be emphasized for small children, as their training is focused on finding joy in the sport itself, and later with more maturity will they recognize a need for independent strength training if their passion for sports flowers.
Be careful with taking protein supplements, God intended you to get them through eating foods they way they occur in nature. Taking too much protein is extremely detrimental to long term health.
-Here is an interesting message on why we are breaking records in sports, including the idea that ultra endurance is healthy. “Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger? | David Epstein” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8COaMKbNrX0
Swordplay & Fencing
Good short intro:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl1IKRk_hXM
Bit longer good intro video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7zxpDW8nb0
Text on basic 3 versions of sword fencing: https://www.livestrong.com/article/135573-three-types-swords-fencing/
All light saber duels in Star Wars 1-6 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esnMDtMysHo
Master the Bullwhip with Anthony De Longis
Mythbusters 13×02 The Busters of the Lost Myth Part, Indiana Jones disarm gun? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5msgn5fVJg
-Joseph Smith was quite fond of wrestling. Joseph had a clerk to whom he said ‘you know if you were bigger I could have some fun with you’ he responded ‘well don’t let that stop you Joseph’ then Joseph wrestled him and broke his leg. Joseph carried him home and the clerk said ‘when Jacob wrestled an angel he got a blessing. I want a blessing.’ Joseph gave him a blessing, and he was miraculously healed. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)
Preparedness Tip: Simple/Minimal Equipment Sports
These are sports you could play even in a bad economy where supplies aren’t very available.
Stock piling a few supplies for slightly more complex sports, such as a ball pump or a football, could help, but bear in mind others won’t have these excess items, so the sports of the day won’t include those complex equipment sports, so you won’t have anyone to play with. Also bear in mind that in case you need to travel and only bring a few belongings, bulky sporting items would be among the first to be left behind.
(I’m not counting running, stretching, weightlifting, as those are foundational things to be doing for any sport)
– old pioneer games (they didn’t have anything)
-foot bag: easy to sew little cloth bag with sand, crushed bean, or ground rock, just need feet, and shoes if you’re lucky
-soccer: just need a ball
-fencing: just need sticks; metal swords if and armor if you’re lucky; variations include baton spinning & bo staff etc.
-wrestling: no equipment
-gymnastics & parkour
-dance: preferably you’ll have some instrument to accompany it; a tin whistle is a reasonably simple instrument, such that you could even inexpensively stock pile a number of them. All instruments are hard to construct, so buy extras in this season of plenty, and learn how to repair them.