THE GAME Training: Herschel Walker’s Advanced Training Regimen, Week Seven

herschel walker

Here is week seven of Herschel Walker’s recommended advanced training regimen from his book, Herschel Walker’s Basic Training.

Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four | Week Five | Week Six

THE ADVANCED PROGRAM

WEEK SEVEN: Monday, Friday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 14 minutes.

Karate:

Straight punch—42 per arm

Groin strike—42 per arm

Open-hand strike to face—42 per arm

Roundhouse kick—42 per leg

Front snap kick to the midsection—42 per leg

Front snap kick to the head—42 per leg

Sliding back kick—42 per leg

Agility:

Squat thrust—50

Sideways box hop—65

Backward and forward box hop—65

Half-turn—65

Push-ups: 130 total. Do as many as possible, rest, then continue until all 130 have been done. Make sure you experiment with different heights to change the resistance.

Sit-ups: 160 total. Again add weight if needed.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Monday, Friday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 4 minutes.

Weight training:

Power pull—1 x10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% of target

Squat—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% of target

Bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% of target

Close-grip bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% of target

Bent-forward row—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% of target

Crunch—110

Twisting sit-up—90

Basketball: 45 minutes

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Wednesday

Wednesday’s workouts should be identical to those of Monday and Friday except for the weight work in the afternoon. Follow this program on Wednesday for your lifting:

Weight training:

Lunge—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% of target

Chin—1 x 10, 3 x 5 with added weight, 1 x 10 with 70% of target

Curl—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% of target

Triceps press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% of target

Weighted sit-up—4 x 25

Leg raise—110

Tuesday, Saturday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 6 minutes.

Sprinting: 2 x 440-yard strides (half speed). 2 x 300-yard strides (three-quarter speed). 2 x 200-yard strides. 2 x 110-yard sprints.

Hill running: 9 x 30-yard strides (half to three-quarter speed).

Dumbbell runs: 5 x 30-yard strides. Make sure to use light dumbbells for this and concentrate on arm position as you run.

Rope skipping: 15 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Tuesday, Saturday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Karate:

Straight punch—42 per arm

Groin strike—42 per arm

Open-hand strike to face—42 per arm

Roundhouse kick—42 per leg

Front snap kick to the midsection—42 per leg

Front snap kick to the head—42 per leg

Sliding back kick—42 per leg

Basketball: 45 minutes.

Water work:

Run in water—14 minutes

Water karate (kicks and punches)—14 minutes

Modified breast stroke—14 minutes

Power clap and other shoulder and arm work—14 minutes

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Thursday

Morning and afternoon workouts should be identical to those of Tuesday and Saturday except for the sprinting portion of the morning session. On Thursday mornings substitute the tire pull for hill running. On this seventh week run 9 x 50-yard strides at half speed, pulling a tire with 15 to 20 pounds inside it. Then, rather than dumbbell sprints, wear a weighted vest and run 5 x 100-yard strides.

G.3 Scenarios: Kobe Bryant, Basketball, Football and Nodes in Between

When Kobe Bryant was six years old, his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, moved the family to Italy to begin playing professional basketball. It was during these formative years in Italy that Kobe Bryant played football and basketball. When his father retired in 1991, Bryant’s family moved back to the United States, but his passion for football remained.

As a young fan of AC Milan, Bryant had aspirations of being a professional football player; even claiming that if his family had stayed in Italy, he would have chosen professional football over professional basketball. He remarked to the Milan sports daily, La Gazzetta dello Sport, during this summer’s World Cup in South Africa:

I love soccer since the time I was a boy. From when I lived in Italy and supported AC Milan. Dreaming one day to be Marco Van Basten, one day Diego Maradona and one day Roberto Baggio.”

Byrant has more than just a passing appreciation of football and after these many years, he still feels at home on the pitch and with the football at his feet:


The 2010 NBA season begins tonight and there have been lingering concerns about Bryant’s surgically repaired left knee throughout this offseason. If Bryant could remain relatively healthy through the upcoming season and if he could endure a rigorous football training regimen, his size and athleticism would be an ideal template for a football goalie, backline defender or a forward on set pieces.

If Bryant was in his prime, it is likely that he could have played a center forward position given his athletic and attacking style of play; a style of play that has been very successful for him on a much smaller playing field—the basketball court.

Assuming that we have a Kobe Bryant in his prime, the thought of his potential role as a defenseman (D) or forward (F) in a blended football-basketball G node or a as transitional wing playmaker (W) between football and basketball nodes is tantalizing.

As a defenseman, Bryant, who is already an elite defender in the NBA, could fit in well is as a backline defender who can quickly counter and lead an offensive attack in a defense-offense transition formation (the middle of the three different formation modules bracketed in the diagram below). Given that Bryant’s main sport requires quick bursts of offense to defense and vice versa, his transition as a defender into an offensive catalyst in the defense-offense transition formations would be a relatively easy adjustment to make.

GAMEBlueFormation12

As a forward in the defense-offense transition formation in a blended G node, Bryant could slot into the left or right wings since he possesses the requisite skill set: very good speed, length, strength, long shooting range, passing and decision-making ability, and a strong defensive presence.

As a transitional wing player linking two or more nodes (football and basketball in this example) that are not completely blended but exist in two separate forms simultaneously, Bryant could transition into and out of football and basketball in some of the following ways:

  1. Shots made from specific spots on the basketball court could activate football set pieces for Bryant or another player to take during the next pause in football and basketball action.
  2. Long distance shots made from specific spots on the basketball court could award the football team on the same GAME team a man advantage on the pitch for a short finite period of time; much like man advantages in ice hockey.
  3. A G.3-designed field with a basketball court side by side with a football pitch would allow Bryant to concentrate on his basketball assignments while providing additional zonal marking on the pitch when he is in the corresponding basketball court-football pitch areas (by crossing over the sidelines and freely traversing into and out of the two fields of play as needed).

Elite G.3 performers must excel in multiple individual nodes while at the same time have the flexibility to excel in G nodes that link or blend two or more nodes together. Kobe Bryant may not be the young man he was half a decade ago, but his versatility, athleticism, intelligent play and competitive makeup continues to secure his status as one of the NBA’s and G.3’s elite.

THE GAME Training: Herschel Walker’s Advanced Training Regimen, Week Six

Here is week six of Herschel Walker’s recommended advanced training regimen from his book, Herschel Walker’s Basic Training.

Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four | Week Five

THE ADVANCED PROGRAM

WEEK SIX: Monday, Friday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 30 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 13 minutes.

Karate:

Straight punch—40 per arm

Groin strike—40 per arm

Open-hand strike to face—40 per arm

Roundhouse kick—40 per leg

Front snap kick to the midsection—40 per leg

Front snap kick to the head—40 per leg

Sliding back kick—40 per leg

Agility:

Squat thrust—50

Sideways box hop—60

Backward and forward box hop—60

Half-turn—60

Push-ups: 125 total. Do as many as possible, rest, then continue until all 125 have been done. If these are too easy, elevate your feet at least 8 inches.

Sit-ups: 150 total. Again add weight if needed.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Monday, Friday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 4 minutes.

Weight training:

Power pull—1 x10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Squat—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Close-grip bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Bent-forward row—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Crunch—105

Twisting sit-up—85

Basketball: 45 minutes

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Wednesday

Wednesday’s workouts should be identical to those of Monday and Friday except for the weight work in the afternoon. Follow this program on Wednesday for your lifting:

Weight training:

Lunge—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Chin—1 x 10, 3 x 5 with added weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Curl—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Triceps press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Weighted sit-up—4 x 25

Leg raise—100

Tuesday, Saturday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 6 minutes.

Sprinting: 1 x 880-yard stride (quarter to half speed). 2 x 440-yard strides (half speed). 2 x 300-yard strides (three-quarter speed). 2 x 200-yard sprints.

Hill running: 8 x 40-yard strides (half speed).

Dumbbell runs: 5 x 30-yard strides. Make sure to use light dumbbells for this and concentrate on arm position as you run.

Rope skipping: 15 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Tuesday, Saturday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Karate:

Straight punch—40 per arm

Groin strike—40 per arm

Open-hand strike to face—40 per arm

Roundhouse kick—40 per leg

Front snap kick to the midsection—40 per leg

Front snap kick to the head—40 per leg

Sliding back kick—40 per leg

Basketball: 45 minutes.

Water work:

Run in water—14 minutes

Water karate (kicks and punches)—14 minutes

Modified breast stroke—14 minutes

Power clap and other shoulder and arm work—14 minutes

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Thursday

Morning and afternoon workouts should be identical to those of Tuesday and Saturday except for the sprinting portion of the morning session. On Thursday mornings substitute the tire pull for hill running. On this sixth week run 8 x 50-yard strides at half speed, pulling a tire with 12 to 15 pounds inside it. Then, rather than dumbbell sprints, wear a weighted vest and run 1 x 200-yard stride at half to three-quarter speed and 4 x 100-yard strides.

THE GAME Gear: RIM Blackberry Torch 9800

In an effort to gain market share in the popular touch-screen smartphone market, RIM’s response to the market leader Apple iPhone and Motorola’s recent line of well-received Android phones is the Blackberry Torch.

Perhaps learning from the lackluster response received by the Blackberry Storm, RIM’s first foray into the touch-screen smartphone market, notable changes in the Blackberry Torch include the incorporation of RIM’s iconic QWERTY keyboard as a slide-out keyboard, the new Blackberry OS 6 and a WebKit browser. So how does the Torch’s features and performance stack up with the other phones in its class? PhoneArena presents a video review of the new RIM Blackberry Torch 9800.

THE GAME Training: Herschel Walker’s Advanced Training Regimen, Week Five

herschel walker MMA2

Here is week five of Herschel Walker’s recommended advanced training regimen from his book, Herschel Walker’s Basic Training.

Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four

THE ADVANCED PROGRAM

WEEK FIVE: Monday, Friday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 30 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 12 minutes.

Karate:

Straight punch—38 per arm

Groin strike—38 per arm

Open-hand strike to face—38 per arm

Roundhouse kick—38 per leg

Front snap kick to the midsection—38 per leg

Front snap kick to the head—38 per leg

Sliding back kick—38 per leg

Agility:

Squat thrust—45

Sideways box hop—55

Backward and forward box hop—55

Half-turn—55

Push-ups: 120 total. Do as many as possible, rest, then continue until all 120 have been done. If these are too easy, elevate your feet at least 8 inches.

Sit-ups: 140 total. Again add weight if needed.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Monday, Friday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 4 minutes.

Weight training:

Power pull—1 x10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Squat—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Close-grip bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Bent-forward row—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Crunch—100

Twisting sit-up—80

Basketball: 40 minutes

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Wednesday

Wednesday’s workouts should be identical to those of Monday and Friday except for the weight work in the afternoon. Follow this program on Wednesday for your lifting:

Weight training:

Lunge—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Chin—1 x 10, 3 x 5 with added weight

Curl—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 5 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Triceps press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight, 1 x 10 with 70% target

Weighted sit-up—4 x 20

Leg raise—90

Tuesday, Saturday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 6 minutes.

Sprinting: 2 x 880-yard strides (quarter to half speed). 2 x 440-yard strides (half speed). 2 x 300-yard strides (three-quarter speed). 1 x 200-yard sprint.

Hill running: 7 x 40-yard strides (half speed).

Dumbbell runs: 5 x 30-yard strides. Make sure to use light dumbbells for this and concentrate on arm position as you run.

Rope skipping: 14 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Tuesday, Saturday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Karate:

Straight punch—38 per arm

Groin strike—38 per arm

Open-hand strike to face—38 per arm

Roundhouse kick—38 per leg

Front snap kick to the midsection—38 per leg

Front snap kick to the head—38 per leg

Sliding back kick—38 per leg

Basketball: 45 minutes.

Water work:

Run in water—14 minutes

Water karate (kicks and punches)—14 minutes

Modified breast stroke—14 minutes

Power clap and other shoulder and arm work—14 minutes

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Thursday

Morning and afternoon workouts should be identical to those of Tuesday and Saturday except for the sprinting portion of the morning session. On Thursday mornings substitute the tire pull for hill running. On this fifth week run 7 x 50-yard strides at half speed, pulling a tire with 12 to 15 pounds inside it. Then, rather than dumbbell sprints, wear a weighted vest and run 2 x 200-yard strides at half to three-quarter speed and 3 x 100-yard strides.

THE GAME Gear: Motorola DROID X vs. Apple iPhone 4

PhoneArena presents a thorough video comparison of the new Motorola DROID X and Apple’s hot iPhone 4. For a comprehensive comparison and analysis of the hardware and the performance of the DROID X and iPhone 4 go here.

"I'm the fittest man in the world!" That may be. But why does Rob Powell have zero to show for it? Because the previous title holder cornered the market. And hired great lawyers

by David Kushner, Men’s Fitness, December 2003

WFCWORLDFITNESSCLUB

"Come on upstairs!" says Rob Powell, as he jumps from his red pickup truck. "I want to show you my injuries!" Despite having just cycled 25 miles around Waco, Texas, run seven, climbed five, worked out at two gyms, benched, curled, squatthrusted, practiced martial arts, eaten a dozen chicken sticks, and masked his sweat with several blasts of cologne. Powell explodes up the steps to his apartment door.

He bolts past the giant black dog yapping inside his cluttered living room and grabs his digital video camera, pre-cued to footage of the pancake-size blood tumor he suffered after a spill on the 500-mile cycling tour he took to film his documentary 2wice Broken. "Wait till you see this bruise! It looks like a third butt cheek!" Powell cackles, angling the tiny screen. "You want a list of my injuries? I dislocated my shoulder, separated my hip. I had a concussion the entire summer!"

After twice breaking the fitness record in the Guiness Book of World Records, the 42-year-old is on a mission to create an insane new sport built around his superhuman feats. "I'm craaaaaazy about it," he drawls in his southern accent. And as the videotape of his wounds will attest, he just might be whacked out enough to pull it off. Powell is the self-described World Fitness Champion. He used to call himself the World's Fittest Man until he got a cease-and-desist letter from the lawyers of another strangely fit fella named Joe Decker. Decker told MF by phone that Powell's claim is bogus. "He didn't break my record," Decker sniffs. "He broke a different record." Decker trademarked the title after he broke the Guinness fitness record in 2000. Powell retorts by pointing out the two Guinness certificates that hang on his wall opposite the Coors Light bar sign and the Jenny McCarthy collage. "There's my proof right there" he sighs.

If you want to become the fittest man on the planet, here's what you need to do: swim two miles, cycle 110, row 20, run 12, hike 12, row 20, climb 20 (on that much-hated elliptical machine), crank out 1,250 push-ups, 1,250 leg lifts, 1,250 jumping jacks, and 3,250 abdominal crunches. Then you must lift 300,000 pounds of weights in various upper-body reps. And it all has to be done in under 19 hours, 17 minutes, and 38 seconds--Powell's time. And if you don't have three credible witnesses and a of video cameras documenting every groan, pop, and tear, Guinness won't even consider your record.

Those Before Him

The first guy to inflict torture on himself in the name of fitness was Steve Sokol, a physical therapist from San-Jose who set the benchmark in 1998 for what Guinness subsequently called the 24-Hour Fitness Challenge. Despite his notable achievement, however, Sokol wasn't splashy enough to be pictured in the Book of World Records alongside the world's heaviest beetroot (it was 52 pounds) or the fat guy who had to be buried in a coffin the size of a piano case (he was 1,069 pounds). But Sokol's conquest caught the attention of a blubbery Joe Decker, a 33-year-old former bartender in Maryland. Decker was heading for a baby-grand-size tomb of his own. He hadn't always been in such sorry shape, though. Decker was once a powerhouse fullback in high school on the fast track to college ball. During a game, he took a hard hit below the knee, causing anterior compartment syndrome--a painful injury that, instead of breaking the leg, causes it to hang and rot like a hunk of dead jerky. Decker drowned his sorrows in Twinkies and beer. Unable to afford college, he joined the military, which sent this former football star straight into the fat-boy program. "It was humiliating," he says.

Dreams squashed, Decker ended up in New Orleans, mixing Hurricanes at a Bourbon Street bar and subsisting on another great diet: Jagermeister and cigars. "I was on a vicious roller coaster" he recalls, "It was the pit of hell. I was either going to make a change or I was going to kill myself." After one long look in the mirror, he got on a plane back to Illinois and hit the ground running--and biking. "Fitness filled a void," he says. "It saved my life."

On December 2, 2000, under the watchful eyes of a video crew and two Guinness-approved judges, Decker broke Sokol's record in the 24-Hour Fitness Challenge. In a nonstop rush, he completed 13 grueling events, including 100 miles of cycling, 3,000 abdominal crunches, and lifting 278,540 pounds. A warm-up for what Powell would bring on in the future. The media ate up the redemptive story of fat boy turned fit boy, bestowing upon Decker the sexy title of World's Fittest Man. Sensing opportunity, his handlers suggested he trademark the name. From his appearances on the Weakest Link to the pages of People magazine, Decker artfully milked his story to touch the inner lard-ass lurking inside every adult. "If this fat kid can become the world's fittest man" Decker is fond of saying, "then you can lose 10 pounds!" After undergoing a transformation from the Today show's token tubby to thin man with disturbing leftover jowls, Al Roker called Decker "my hero." This January, Decker is coming out with his first book, The World's Fittest You. The trademark is paying off. "I didn't do all this for the press and publicity," he says, "but I'm not going to lie. It's been nice. Before this, I couldn't pay people to listen to me."

Down in Waco, Rob Powell heard Decker on TV blabbing on and raking in the press. And he had one response about the Fat Boy Wonder: "I'm going to bury him."

Running Away With It

"Ordinarily, I’d kick toward you testicles," Powell explains, as he steadies my palm in the air before me, "but right now, I'll do it into your hand." We're standing in a narrow hallway in the back of a splashy Gold's Gym. Powell does his calisthenics here but saves his heavy lifting for the Olympic--a bare-bones gym next to a Christian youth center in a rundown strip mall. At the moment, a pair of enormous women waddle into two tanning rooms labeled Jamaica and Bahamas. Crew-cut students in backward Baylor caps curl to No Doubt. Despite their occasional furtive glances at the warrior with Bruce Lee feet, they don't have to worry about him kicking their sacs by mistake. I do. Powell skillfully swings his foot millimeters from my hand. One thing is clear: He's a wild man, but a professional, too.

The son of cattle ranchers, Powell grew up rustling cows outside Dallas. "We were cowboys" he says, "the real deal." A high school track star, he rode a wave of college scholarships--attending seven universities (including one he got booted from for spending too much time in the cheerleaders' dorm). After graduating, he coached high school football at a variety of Texas schools, getting sacked from one for making the kids carry a giant log--Navy SEALs-style. He supplemented his income as a professional bodyguard (or, as he calls it, "hired muscle").

But dreams of stardom went unfulfilled. He tried out as a quarterback for a couple of Arena football teams, only to be told he was too short and awkward. "One coach told me no one needed a left-handed Doug Flutie," he says. When he saw a Guinness show about the fitness record, he committed his life to stomping it into pieces.

Powell rabidly intensified his already active regimen. Before work (he was a high school history teacher), he'd wake at the crack of dawn to go running along the Brazos River with his favorite training partner and dog, Wolf. He diversified his workout, incorporating cycling, hiking, and the elliptical machine. He tormented himself day and night at the thought of snatching the title from Decker, who he thought squirreled his way into the record books. "He took advantage of the judges" Powell snaps. "He wasn't doing proper push-ups or high enough leg lifts."

Then at noon on October 27, 2001, Powell attacked Decker's record like chops to the 'nads. Cheered on by buddies from his gym and his students, he leapt into his local pool to begin. With duct-taped feet, and a backpack full of M&Ms and infant rehydration formula, Powell hit his workout--blurring through 12 miles of running, 110 of biking, 3,250 sit-ups, and more. And, he adds, his push-ups were kosher. Twenty-two hours, 11 minutes, and 40 seconds later, he was the new world-record holder.

For good measure, and just to spit in everyone's face, he crushed his own record the following year.

The Not-So Good Life

As we head over to the recumbent bicycles at the gym, Powell says all his physical and mental suffering brings him nearer to fulfilling his dream. "I'm part Native American," he explains, "and for me, nothing gets you closer to your visions than intense exercise." And the image in Powell's mind's eye is his World Fitness Championships, or, as he calls it, "the ultimate extreme sport."

Other fitness competitions pale in comparison, he says. Ironman is chump stuff. "Everybody's grandmother can do a triathlon" he scoffs. Strongman competitions are pure vaudeville. The World Fitness Championships, on the other hand, are designed to be a ball-busting challenge, but one to which an ordinary dude at any neighborhood gym can aspire. The event has modified the Guinness criteria to include some of Powell's own inventions--such as Pop-Ups, a combination push-up, squat thrust, and jumping jack designed to eliminate cheat-prone events like ordinary push-ups.

"It's going to test my limits" says Merl Wolff, a 45-year-old Navy diver, one of the six competitors who signed up for the inaugural World Fitness Championships. (The event took place last month, and though the outcome was unknown at press time, MF put its money on, uh, Powell.) "My goal is just to finish," he says. Justin Hua, a ripped 17-year-old high school wrestler, has higher aspirations. "I want to show people how tough this is" he says, "and I want to turn this into a big new sport."

As Powell finishes his workout, however, the biggest challenge of launching the sport might be simply convincing guys to enter a competition he says will easily take three months to recover from. On the walk out, he stops a young guy who apparently has been mulling over the possibility of entering the event. "So, what do you say?" Powell asks. "You can do it!" The guy pulls out his iPod earbuds and says, "No way, dude. You've got to be crazy." Powell snickers but doesn't argue.

As usual, he has about a million other things on his mind. Despite the fact that only six people have signed up for his first event, Powell says it's only a matter of time before the sport goes mainstream. And he's going to do whatever it takes to get there. He's taken leave of his teaching job to dedicate all his energy to the championships. He's spent $20,000 on ill-fated promotional events and is $60,000 in debt. There are no morning shows. No book deals. No hokey game-show debuts. There is his low-budget Web site, where Powell sells ball caps and T-shirts. And there's a toll number where he sells the 2wice Broken videos. Tonight he's going to stay up until 2 a.m., just like he did last night, exchanging e-mails with lawyers he can't afford who are battling to protect his trademark, the World Fitness Championships.

"I don't care if someone becomes the next World Fitness Champion" Powell says, "but this is my sport now, I own it."

As Decker likes to remind Powell from afar, there's still only one World's Fittest Man. "He can be the Workout King of the World," he suggests sarcastically.

But Powell shrugs it off. He's a machine on a mission. And though the world hasn't caught on yet, he knows exactly who he is: "I'm the champion. Now let me get a pen and write down my injuries for you!"

COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications

COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

The Chicago CubsWhiteSoxBlackhawks

Blackhawks Cubs Sox

This past weekend, the Cubs and White Sox played the first half of their annual home and away Crosstown Classic at Wrigley Field. Since both Chicago teams have struggled mightily this season, much of the city’s attention was focused on the magical Stanley Cup run of the Blackhawks.

On Sunday, with red and white hockey sweaters interspersed with the blue and black jerseys in the stands, the Blackhawks were honored before the game (which also featured two no-hit bids into the seventh inning by the Cubs’ Ted Lilly and White Sox’ Gavin Floyd). The highlight had to be when all three teams posed for a picture around the Stanley Cup. It was a notably gracious gesture by the Blackhawks to let Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, a Canadian and a huge hockey fan, pose next to the Cup.

Dempster Blackhawks

When I first saw this picture, I wondered if three professional teams from at least two different sports have ever posed together on the same field wearing their uniforms.

It also made me think about the ways in which baseball and ice hockey could blend or at least link in deft ways (for example, starting points could include the catcher behind the plate who may need similar skill sets in stopping an errant pitch in the dirt as a hockey goalie would in stopping a low shot on net). Blending or linking two entirely different sports or nodes like baseball and ice hockey, played on two diametrically opposed surfaces, could be challenging, but the possibilities are nonetheless endless.

Feel free to share any of your ideas about building the Chicago Blackhawks-Cubs-White Sox or linking or blending baseball and ice hockey.

THE GAME Gear: HTC Evo 4G Review

Courtesy of PhoneArena.com, a review of the new HTC Evo 4G which features 4G connectivity, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, HDMI out, HD video capture, dual cameras including an 8 megapixel main sensor and a giant 4.3-inch touchscreen. The Evo 4G runs Android 2.1 with HTC's Sense UI on top.

THE GAME in Pictures: Rugby Union + American Football Hybrid

Rugby Union-American Football Hybrid

Cleveland Browns & New Zealand All Blacks vs. San Francisco 49’ers & Australia Wallabies

During a 2009 Hybrid GAME matchup, the New Zealand All-Blacks’ hooker Keven Mealamu (center) breaks through the first line followed closely by Cleveland Browns running back Jamal Lewis (#31) as Australia Wallabies’ fly-half/inside centre Berrick Barnes (#12) and 49’ers' linebacker Patrick Willis (#52) close in to make the tackles.

THE GAME Training: Herschel Walker’s Advanced Training Regimen, Week Four

Greg Nagy vs Herschel Walker

Here is week four of Herschel Walker’s recommended advanced training regimen from his book, Herschel Walker’s Basic Training.

Week One | Week Two | Week Three

THE ADVANCED PROGRAM

WEEK FOUR: Monday, Friday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 11 minutes.

Karate:

Straight punch—34 per arm

Groin strike—34 per arm

Open-hand strike to face—34 per arm

Roundhouse kick—34 per leg

Front snap kick to the midsection—34 per leg

Front snap kick to the head—34 per leg

Sliding back kick—34 per leg

Agility:

Squat thrust—40

Sideways box hop—50

Backward and forward box hop—50

Half-turn—50

Push-ups: 110 total. Do as many as possible, rest, then continue until the entire number has been completed. If these are too easy, elevate the feet.

Sit-ups: 130 total. Add extra weight if you can do these easily.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Monday, Friday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 4 minutes.

Weight training:

Power pull—1 x10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Squat—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Close-grip bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Bent-forward row—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Crunch—95 (break into sets if necessary)

Twisting sit-up—75 (break into sets if necessary)

Basketball: 35 minutes

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Wednesday

Wednesday’s workouts should be identical to those of Monday and Friday except for the weight work in the afternoons. Follow this program on Wednesday for your lifting:

Weight training:

Lunge—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Chin—3 x 10, 1 set to failure

Curl—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Triceps press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Weighted sit-up—3 x 20 (increase weight if possible)

Leg raise—80

Tuesday, Saturday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 6 minutes.

Sprinting: 2 x 880-yard strides (quarter to half speed). 2 x 440-yard strides (half speed). 2 x 300-yard strides (three-quarter speed)

Hill running: 6 x 40-yard strides (half speed).

Dumbbell runs: 5 x 30-yard strides. Make sure to use light dumbbells for this and concentrate on arm position as you run.

Rope skipping: 13 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Tuesday, Saturday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 35 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Karate:

Straight punch—34 per arm

Groin strike—34 per arm

Open-hand strike to face—34 per arm

Roundhouse kick—34 per leg

Front snap kick to the midsection—34 per leg

Front snap kick to the head—34 per leg

Sliding back kick—34 per leg

Basketball: 45 minutes.

Water work:

Run in water—12 minutes

Water karate (kicks and punches)—12 minutes

Modified breast stroke—12 minutes

Power clap and other shoulder and arm work—12 minutes

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Thursday

Morning and afternoon workouts should be identical to those of Tuesday and Saturday except for the sprinting portion of the morning session. On Thursday mornings substitute the tire pull for hill running. On this fourth week run 6 x 50-yard strides at half speed, pulling a tire with 12 to 15 pounds inside it. Then, rather than dumbbell sprints, wear a weighted vest and run 3 x 200-yard strides at half to three-quarter speed and 2 x 100-yard strides.

THE GAME (G.3): A Primer (Reprise)

node garden

Photo courtesy of Jared Tarbell

THE GAME Meta is now on Twitter and if there is something Twitter has taught us, it is the importance of concise, to the point language. Admittedly, preceding iterations of GAME primers have sorely lacked clarity and conciseness.

THE GAME takes time to explain and it would be impossible (although we’re trying) to explain it in a 140 character tweet, but here is a revised, and hopefully easier to understand, primer on THE GAME:

In general, THE GAME aggregates, (re)creates, resurrects or recombines ideas, news, information, technologies, entertainment, created works and services from the real and online worlds; the "byproducts" of these initial processes can then aggregate, be (re)created, be resurrected or recombine into endless competitive nodes. The totality of these nodes make up THE GAME.

The current version of THE GAME (version 0.3), or G.3 ("G point three"), is a perpetually evolving, open-ended and openly innovated omni-competition. THE GAME includes every idea and activity (or node) from the worlds of sports & recreation, business, politics, technology, internet, science, arts & entertainment, and life/style, and can be blended in endless ways with each other or with every newly created or derived idea and activity from the same worlds. Simultaneously, THE GAME also includes the endless modifications, recombinations (mashups, remixes, etc.) or blending (in endless ways) of every idea and activity (existing, created or derived) from the worlds of sports & recreation, business, politics, technology, internet, science, arts & entertainment, and life/style.

THE GAME is an open and additive system. All the aggregate guidelines and rules (see the original guidelines and rules) that exist, created or modified in THE GAME derive from an open, flexible and extensible framework . THE GAME framework can be distilled as follows:

  1. THE GAMEs’ participants and developers can include anyone.
  2. THE GAMEs’ nodes can consist of or be based on anything.
  3. THE GAME can take place anywhere.
  4. THE GAME can take place at anytime.
  5. GAME participants can participate in any way (all of THE GAME, several nodes in THE GAME or a single node in THE GAME; as casual, competitive or professional participants).
  6. If a node in THE GAME does not exist, participants and developers are free to create a new or modify an existing node; adding to THE GAME.

THE GAME Gear: Apple iPad Review

Courtesy of PhoneArena.com, a review of the new Apple iPad:

THE GAME: Node Links

1. ESPN columnist Bill Simmons pens a hilarious and entertaining recap of Wrestlemania XXVI. Amid the hilarity, Simmons makes an observation that directly relates to THE GAME:

Am I the only one who's always wanted to see a triple-threat match in boxing or the UFC? Wouldn't this save boxing undercards?

2. Founded by artist Tom Russotti, The Institute for Aesthletics is:

 an organization dedicated to the playing of sports as an artistic practice. Aesthletics is a conscious acknowledgment of sport, especially contemporary spectator sports, as a mixture of physical activity, social interaction, movement, performance, and ritual. Aesthletics aims to unleash the great opportunities inherent in competitive contests for social rather than monetary capital. As such, aesthletics merges the language of sports with the methods and goals of participatory art to produce games that foster social interaction, deliver significant meaning and context, and promote a more creative and widespread culture of socio-physical activity.  The process of aesthletics includes inventing new sports, developing site and people-specific games, creating concurrent games-related performances, developing unconventional uniform and team identities, experimenting with practices of documentation, and promoting collaboration with artists and athletes.  The ultimate goal of aesthletics is to create a more meaningful and socially productive method of playing physical games.”

Some of the many sports that the Institute has conceived and developed include MegaSoccer, Mercury and wiffle hurling:

Related content: an IdeaBOARD post about “Aesthletics”

3. As a practicing dentist, I find that identifying and treating the MB2 canal (a hard to find fourth canal present in approximately 95% of upper first molars) on an upper first molar is one of the more challenging and rewarding things to do in endodontics. Dr. Glen Van As, from North Vancouver, B.C., shows how he finds the MB2 using a high magnification dental operating microscope and ultrasonic instrumentation.

Here’s a reference for some of the terminology that Dr. Van As uses in the video:

Apically: towards the root of the tooth.

Mesial: towards the front of the mouth.

Distal: towards the back of the mouth.

Buccal: towards the tooth surface that is next to your cheeks.

Palatal: towards the surface of the tooth that is next to your palate.

4. A gallery of favorite Editors’ photos from the pages of Architectural Digest.

5. Andy from Spawn of MZone proposes his helmet redesigns for the Big Ten in his “Big Televen Makeover”.

THE GAME Training: Herschel Walker’s Advanced Training Regimen, Week Three

Herschel running

Here is week three of Herschel Walker’s recommended advanced training regimen from his book, Herschel Walker’s Basic Training.

Week One | Week Two

THE ADVANCED PROGRAM

WEEK THREE: Monday, Friday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 30 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 10 minutes.

Karate:

Straight punch—30 per arm

Groin strike—30 per arm

Open-hand strike to face—30 per arm

Roundhouse kick—30 per leg

Front snap kick to the midsection—30 per leg

Front snap kick to the head—30 per leg

Sliding back kick—30 per leg

Agility:

Squat thrust—35

Sideways box hop—45

Backward and forward box hop—45

Half-turn—45

Push-ups: 100 total. Do as many as possible, rest, then continue until all 100 have been done. If these are easy, elevate your feet at least 8 inches.

Sit-ups: 120 total. Try to do these as 2 sets. If you can do these easily, hold a small weight behind your head to increase the resistance.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Monday, Friday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 30 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 4 minutes.

Weight training:

Power pull—1 x10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Squat—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Close-grip bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Bent-forward row—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Crunch—85 (break into sets if necessary)

Twisting sit-up—70 (break into sets if necessary)

Basketball: 30 minutes

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Wednesday

Wednesday’s workouts should be identical to those of Monday and Friday except for the weight work in the afternoon. Follow this program on Wednesday for your lifting:

Weight training:

Lunge—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Chin—3 x 10, 1 set to failure

Curl—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Triceps press—1 x 10 warm-up, 3 x 10 target weight

Weighted sit-up—3 x 20

Leg raise—70

Tuesday, Saturday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 30 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 5 minutes.

Sprinting: 3 x 880-yard strides (quarter to half speed). 2 x 440-yard strides (half speed). 1 x 300-yard stride (three-quarter speed)

Hill running: 5 x 40-yard strides (half speed).

Dumbbell runs: 4 x 30-yard strides. Make sure to use light dumbbells for this and concentrate on arm position as you run.

Rope skipping: 12 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Tuesday, Saturday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 30 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Karate:

Straight punch—30 per arm

Groin strike—30 per arm

Open-hand strike to face—30 per arm

Roundhouse kick—30 per leg

Front snap kick to the midsection—30 per leg

Front snap kick to the head—30 per leg

Sliding back kick—30 per leg

Basketball: 40 minutes.

Water work:

Run in water—10 minutes

Water karate (kicks and punches)—10 minutes

Modified breast stroke—10 minutes

Power clap and other shoulder and arm work—10 minutes

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Thursday

Morning and afternoon workouts should be identical to those of Tuesday and Saturday except for the sprinting portion of the morning session. On Thursday mornings substitute the tire pull for hill running. On this third week run 5 x 50-yard strides at half speed, pulling a tire with 12 to 15 pounds inside it. Then, rather than dumbbell sprints, wear a weighted vest and run 4 x 200-yard strides at half to three-quarter speed.

David Sills, USC Football and Their Place in THE GAME

david sills

When USC head coach Lane Kiffin offered a football scholarship and subsequently received a verbal commitment from 13-year old quarterback prodigy David Sills this past February, a common reaction in the sports media went sort of like this.

When I first came across this story, I must admit, I too was uneasy about a seventh grader receiving and accepting a scholarship offer from a major college football power at such a young age. After all, history is replete with child prodigies who made successful transitions to adult accomplishment, but there are as many, if not more, who did not. In this context, several thoughts came quickly to mind.

I reflected on how I would react if my 2 1/2-year old son was in the same position. I concluded that if USC was my son’s dream school and USC‘s head coach and my son’s personal coach thought he already had the ability to receive a college football scholarship in four years…why wouldn’t we accept the offer? The maturity level of a 13-year old boy (or lack of) is usually unquestioned. But, if such an important decision is made in conjunction with sound parental deliberation and a nurturing environment that enables a child to gently develop his or her talent, would this be any less of an informed decision?

On one hand, there is little doubt that Sills was deserving of the offer. Steve Clarkson, is Sills’ personal coach and he believes Sills is physically and mentally (in a football sense) qualified to receive a USC offer:

"His skill set is off the chart," Clarkson said. "I've never seen anyone at his age do what he's been able to do."

The commitment has happened in college basketball previously, but is unprecedented for college football where it's harder to project how a player as young as Sills will develop physically. Clarkson says that won't be a problem.

"He's already six feet as a 13-year old," Clarkson said. "And he's breaking down NFL footage."

But on the other hand, a troubling question remains: is it possible to nurture Sills’ talent in a way that allows him to develop his special talent in an emotionally healthy way?

As a very bright and gifted child, Alissa Quart, now an adult, sought out former prodigies and gifted kids, as well as the parents of high-achieving children while researching her book Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child and offered some commonsense advice about raising gifted children:

"Designating children as gifted, especially extremely gifted, and cultivating that giftedness may be not only a waste of money, but positively harmful," she writes. "The overcultivated can develop self-esteem problems and performance anxiety.”

…[In a in a September 2006 interview with Time, Quart shares that parents should] Emphasize the work in itself, the process itself, the activity. The kids are trying, they're doing a good job, they're learning how to do something. Each thing they do is discrete; it's not part of a larger identity of being spectacular."

Obviously, Lane Kiffin is not suggesting that a 13-year old boy is ready to join his football team now and compete at a high level in elite college football. Nor is he suggesting that Sills’ verbal commitment is binding; signing a letter of intent to attend USC is—which Sills must sign when he is a high school senior. But, getting a head start on your competitors for the services of a young talent is not illegal nor unethical. At the very worst, especially if Sills does not have the appropriate support system in place, it can potentially lead to stunting the emotional well-being of this young man. 

When the vision of THE GAME was conceived we wanted to create an open, flexible and extensible framework on which THE GAME could be built:

THE GAME framework is simple: participants include anyone and everyone; THE GAME consists of anything and everything; THE GAME takes place anywhere and everywhere; THE GAME takes place at anytime and everytime; THE GAME participants can participate in any way and every way.

This idea of openness has not changed. The beauty of THE GAME is that as a decentralized body, as it grows and becomes more complex, THE GAME is able to nimbly evolve and refine itself in specific ways that a large bureaucratic organization cannot.

A primary goal of THE GAME will continue to be a platform in which “anyone and everyone” (young, gifted or otherwise) can engage with others (who may happen to be younger or older) in one or more of the vast collection of nodes; while providing a safe and fun experience for everyone involved.

This decentralized framework of THE GAME is destined for abuse and being taken advantage of if not combined with a well-written and enforceable user policy. So we will be debuting a GAME site in the very near future that will feature the following:

  1. allow user policies and precedents to be proposed and discussed.
  2. a freely accessible and searchable rule and guideline database.
  3. systems and processes that will enable our users to propose and implement improvements and modifications.

This proposed site will also host an interim GAME enforcement entity while a more permanent organization is assembled.

So, we want to see gifted children like David Sills have an opportunity to compete in any venue in THE GAME he chooses, but we want him to do it in a way that is ultimately not detrimental to him or his family.

No Reservations: “Into the Fire”

Few competitions are contested as fiercely as the hyper-competitive restaurant business in New York City. Although one wouldn’t immediately consider the kitchen as a segment of THE GAME, the leadership, logistics, attention to details, and teamwork necessary to build and sustain success in the restaurant business (especially in NYC) are identical to any elite team or organization realizing and maintaining success in any endeavor in THE GAME.

In the following video, after eight years away from the daily grind of Brasserie Les Halles‘ kitchen, Tony Bourdain returns for a double shift on the line in an engaging and amusing episode of No Reservations; revealing the inner workings and controlled chaos of a frenetic NYC restaurant.

Here’s part 1:

Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4  |  Part 5

The Top 10 of “ESPN’s Top 50 Players of the 2010 World Cup” and Their Roles in THE GAME

ESPN.com released its Top 50 Players of the 2010 World Cup yesterday and there were no surprises. While reading the players synopses and scouting reports we thought about how these players’ skills could be utilized in THE GAME and how new nodes could be built around their talents.

Transcribing ESPN.com’s rankings and comments, our analyses of the Top 10 football players in this year’s World Cup and their proposed roles in THE GAME can be found in red font.

1. Lionel Messi

Country: Argentina
Club Team: Barcelona
Position: Forward
Age: 22

Lionel Messi

NATIONAL TEAM: 41 appearances, 13 goals
WORLD CUP 2006: 3 app, 1 goal

Lionel Messi is the best pound-for-pound soccer player in the world, and perhaps of all time. At 22, Messi has won just about everything there is to win, both individually and in club soccer. Missing is any sort of hardware with Argentina, aside from an Olympic gold medal. Messi's game relies on its unpredictability and magnificent control of the ball, which seldom demurs to anything Messi asks it to do. Listed at a charitable 5-foot-7, he's even a good header. While transcendent with his club, Barcelona, in the last few years (his 17 goals this season are tied for the most in Spain), the knock on Messi has been that he doesn't match that dominance for Argentina. For the most part, this is blamed on Argentina manager Diego Maradona's refusal to deploy him in his natural position -- on the right, allowing him to cut in -- and posting him behind a deep striker instead. Maradona, one of the best of all time as a player, has named Messi his successor as Argentina's soccer savior, a label that has proved disastrous for all others so designated previously by Maradona.

Scouting thumbnail: Technical genius with a low center of gravity and pace who can break down any defense off the dribble and conjure something out of nothing (similar to a basketball point guard or B who, if eligible to do so, has the option of ball distribution responsibilities when he has broken into the second level of the defense). Struggles when used as a striker and prefers playing out wide and cutting in on his left foot (Messi would be best suited on the wide right wing as a SC/TWB and/or a transition player who can blend into another node that requires his skill set; such as a football forward on the right wing passing off to or transitioning into a QB/SC, the main signal caller and ball distributer for wing modules).

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Country: Portugal
Club Team: Real Madrid
Position: Midfielder
Age: 25

Ronaldo

NATIONAL TEAM: 68 appearances, 22 goals
WORLD CUP 2006: 6 app, 1 goal

"Buy that kid," Manchester United players told manager Alex Ferguson after an 18-year old Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, whose middle name allegedly honors Ronald Reagan, had torched Man U in a friendly in the summer of 2003. Ferguson obliged his players' wishes, shelling out some $20 million and handing Ronaldo the No. 7 jersey, previously worn by legends George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham. Ronaldo responded by outdoing all of the aforementioned in a six-year romp during which he scored 118 goals and won three Premier League titles, one Champions League and one Club World Cup, swiping 42 individual prizes, including the 2008 FIFA World Footballer of the Year, along the way. Last summer, Ferguson sold him to Real Madrid for a record $132 million. Ronaldo has become a lethal dribbler, superlative header and long-distance shooter and one of the better free-kick takers on the planet and will anchor an aging Portugal looking to shine one last time.

Scouting thumbnail: Explosive, pacy and an astonishingly prolific goal scorer for a winger (with his speed and explosiveness, Ronaldo would be a nice fit on the wings as a football attacker and/or the main playmaker in a wing module). Specializes in long-range free kicks and shows the ability to shoot from anywhere (Ronaldo’s strong accurate leg could also be utilized for long internodal passes in transition zones).

3. Wayne Rooney

Country: England
Club Team: Manchester United
Position: Forward
Age: 24

Rooney

NATIONAL TEAM: 57 appearances, 25 goals
WORLD CUP 2006: 4 app, 0 goals

When Wayne Rooney broke through internationally at just 17 years of age and took his place next to then-England striker Michael Owen, a British journalist referred to them as "the baby-faced assassin and the assassin-faced baby," with Rooney accounting for the less flattering of the descriptions. An England side without him has become unimaginable, as the Liverpool-born Rooney developed into a world-class striker in a country starved for them. The highly athletic Rooney has reinvented his position, swerving all over the attacking half of the field to drop back into midfield when needed or provide the final tap on a goal. With former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo now in Spain, Rooney has carried the scoring load for Man U, leading the Premier League with 23 goals. Rooney sports a tattoo that says, "Just Enough Education To Perform." While this may be generous, his on-field intelligence is off the charts. One half of another British power couple, Rooney and his wife Colleen have taken England by storm, he as a soccer player and she as a fitness guru/fashion commentator of some sort.

Scouting thumbnail: Complete striker who can play anywhere across the front three (Rooney’s power and playmaking ability are best suited for any node or transition module that requires an aggressive power forward in an attacking style of offense). Powerful build and aggressive attitude poses problems for any defense. Can score any type of goal and has improved his finishing skills.


4. Kaka

Country: Brazil
Club Team: Real Madrid
Position: Midfielder
Age: 27

Kaka

NATIONAL TEAM: 73 appearances, 26 goals
WORLD CUP 2002, 2006: 6 app, 1 goal

Kaka belongs to Jesus. The T-shirts he has shown underneath his jersey say so. An oxymoronic principled soccer player, Kaka also happens to be the rare Brazilian star who comes from an upper-middle-class background. Money couldn't tear him away from Milan and its fans. Kaka said he wasn't interested in the heaps of money offered him by Manchester City and Real Madrid. So long as Milan would have him, he would be staying. Milan needed his transfer fee to stay afloat though, so after Kaka won everything there is to win for club and self, Milan sold him to Real Madrid for about $95 million in June. So now Kaka also belongs to Real Madrid. Kaka has become a central figure in manager Dunga's new Brazil, masterminding its lethal counterattacks, which have made a Brazil team not as deep in world-class players as in past years still one of the world's best.

Scouting thumbnail: Knee injuries have sapped some of his speed and he no longer goes on galloping dribbles the entire length of the field. Artistic playmaker who can break down defenses via dribble or pass (Kaka’s ability to dribble across large portions of the field makes him a nice fit for positions that serve as transitional conduits into node positions that have a similar esthetic: basketball point guard, forechecking hockey defenseman/forward, American football kick/punt returner who regularly distributes or laterals the ball to teammates during the return).


5. Xavi

Country: Spain
Club Team: Barcelona
Position: Midfielder
Age: 30

Xavi

NATIONAL TEAM: 83 appearances, 8 goals
WORLD CUP 2002, 2006: 7 app, 0 goals

Every soccer team needs a Xavi, a savvy midfielder whose organizational skills are the glue that held both Barcelona and Spain together in their respective runs to glory. Along with Andres Iniesta he makes up the superb engine room for club and country, connecting the dots between those around him with his infallible short passes. The natural successor to Pep Guardiola, now Barcelona's manager, Xavi has been a mainstay in Barcelona's lineup since 1998 after joining the club's academy in 1991. With a contract running through 2014, he isn't liable to be leaving the only employer he has ever had anytime soon. His Player of the Tournament award for Spain's EURO 2008 triumph was justified. Perhaps the best illustration of the force that is Xavi was his performance against archrivals Real Madrid in May 2009, when he notched four assists in a 6-2 Barcelona win.

Scouting thumbnail: Intelligent playmaker who combines precise passes and artistic vision in both the final third and from a deep lying position. The pulse of the Spanish team. Superb ability to keep the ball (ideal SC).


6. Didier Drogba

Country: Ivory Coast
Club Team: Chelsea
Position: Forward
Age: 31

Drogba

NATIONAL TEAM: 65 appearances, 43 goals
WORLD CUP 2006: 2 app, 1 goal

When Chelsea splashed out $37 million for him in 2004, Didier Drogba seemingly came out of nowhere, uncommonly late in arriving on the world scene at 26. Now 31, he nonetheless has become one of the world's foremost strikers, and probably the most athletic one. Both captain and all-time leading scorer of Ivory Coast, he will be relied upon to debunk the stereotype that for all their ability, African teams never perform. This robust striker both takes up and covers a lot of real estate, often requiring several opposing defenders to keep him in check -- although Premier League opponents haven't been too successful at that this season, as Drogba ranks second to Wayne Rooney with 19 goals. Known for his big personality and intense looks, Drogba is spectacular to the eye.

Scouting thumbnail: Talismanic striker and physical specimen whose power makes him practically unplayable when he puts his mind to it. Can score all types of goals and excels as a lone front man (Drogba is best suited as a scoring center forward in nodes that utilize formations that place him on the frontlines; either directly behind, in front of, or within the line).


7. Andres Iniesta

Country: Spain
Club Team: Barcelona
Position: Midfielder
Age: 25

Iniesta

NATIONAL TEAM: 39 appearances, 6 goals
WORLD CUP 2006: 1 app, 0 goals

There's a reason they call him "El Illusionista" -- "The Illusionist." Andres Iniesta is a whimsical playmaker who transcends position and role to create a steady flow of chances for whoever is lucky enough to be playing in front of him. So multifunctional as to be capable of slotting into just about any midfield or attacking job, Iniesta is the creative counterpart to Xavi's pragmatism in Barcelona's and Spain's golden tandem. Coming up as Ronaldinho's understudy, Catalunya and all of Spain now shudder at the thought of life without Iniesta. Luckily, lithe as he may be, he has an uncanny ability to play through injury.

Scouting thumbnail: Small, technical playmaker with low center of gravity and tremendous ball control and creative vision, regarded by some peers as the best player in the world. Very difficult to dispossess and can also run at defenders and take them off the dribble. Sometimes overpasses when he should take the shot himself (Iniesta would be an ideal SC in a centrally positioned module that takes advantage of his vision and playmaking ability).

8. Fernando Torres

Country: Spain
Club Team: Liverpool
Position: Forward
Age: 25

Torres

NATIONAL TEAM: 71 appearances, 23 goals
WORLD CUP 2006: 4 app, 3 goals

Fernando Torres was born to score goals. He was converted from a goalkeeper to a striker at age 7 and scored 55 goals as a 10-year-old, which caught the attention of his beloved Atl├ętico Madrid, which had relaunched its academy after disbanding it a few years earlier (sending superstar Raul into the arms of Real Madrid). The club wouldn't make that mistake a second time. Torres broke into Atl├ętico's starting lineup at 17 and never did stop scoring goals, earning him a transfer to Liverpool in 2007. At 25, Torres, the embodiment of the modern striker, already has 132 competitive league goals under his belt.

Scouting thumbnail: Well-rounded, pacy striker with tremendous technique who draws much support as the best in the world. Likes to play off the shoulder of the last defender and can finish with aplomb with either foot and is also superb in the air. Can sometimes be thrown off his game if defenders dish out the rough treatment and the referees are lax in calling fouls. Similar to Didier Drogba, Torres fits best in an offense that uses a scoring center forward in nodes that utilize smaller speed formation modules and places him directly behind or on the frontline.


9. Steven Gerrard

Country: England
Club Team: Liverpool
Position: Midfielder
Age: 29

Gerrard

NATIONAL TEAM: 77 appearances, 16 goals
WORLD CUP 2006: 5 app, 2 goals

Dismissed as too slight for professional soccer as a child, Gerrard went on to be voted the second-best Liverpool player of all time by the club's fans and is even a Member of the Order of the British Empire. Several clubs passed on him when he was in his teens, before his hometown Liverpool finally committed to him. Regret it they did not, as Gerrard emerged as a superb attacking midfielder, who also operates as a second striker or as a winger. Gerrard is a nine-year veteran of England, pairing with Frank Lampard to form the best duo of attacking midfielders in the world.

Scouting thumbnail: Complete player who can play virtually anywhere on the field, but excels at club level with his own unique English interpretation of the trequartista role. Combines an explosive long-range shot with aggressive tackling, but struggles at times to shed man markers. As an aggressive defender and attacking midfielder, Gerrard would excel at multiple positions in the defense-offense transition formation module (behind the frontline or as a forward on either wing).


10. Michael Essien

Country: Ghana
Club Team: Chelsea
Position: Midfielder
Age: 27

Essien

NATIONAL TEAM: 74 appearances, 10 goals
WORLD CUP 2006: 3 app, 0 goals

An elite defensive midfielder who doesn't shy away from attacking, Ghana's Michael Essien is one of Africa's finest. With the help of fellow midfielders Sulley Muntari and Stephen Appiah, Essien led Ghana to the second round in Germany in 2006. Beating the Czech Republic 2-0 and the U.S. 2-1, Ghana's surprise run made it the only African country to survive the group stage. Essien, a two-time African Player of the Year, now has four more seasons as a regular at Chelsea under his belt. His versatility, energy and defensive pedigree make him one of the most consistent and reliable players in the world. Out since mid-January with a knee injury, Essien is expected to return by the World Cup but will need to prove he's fit.

Scouting thumbnail: The world's most dominant defensive midfielder. Covers an incredible amount of territory with boundless energy and the ability to contribute box to box. Possesses a powerful long-range shot. A lockdown defender with a powerful shot, Essien would excel as a defenseman in the defense-offense transition module; behind the line or in defensive modules that utilize a roaming defender behind a first line of defense.

See the rest of the ESPN.com Top 50 Players of the World Cup here.

 

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