Ask Jack --Questions & Answers from

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Do you really want to reduce concussions in sports like football. Then …

1. Remove the facemasks from the football helmet. That will change immediately the way that players block and tackle.


2. Get rid of the hard shell helmets. Use soft helmets made of the material similar to what is used in wrestling mats. No facemasks.


3. Pad the outside of the hard shell helmets the same way that Wood Hayes pioneered for one season at OSU back in the early 1960s.


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Character development

Ask Jack: Do sports help youngsters develop character? 2/1/11

Jack sez: The people who coach youngsters in sport represents one of the areas that makes a concerted effort to help players become better people. This occurs at all levels from youth sport to the professional level. Character development has historical roots that go back to the early 1800’s when European immigrants came to the USA and brought their various forms of medical gymnastics with them.

Character development takes many different forms. It includes but is not limited to: good hygiene, doing school work, stick to it-ness, caring for others, staying out of trouble at home and with the law, being good school and community citizens, helping others and much more.

The "character coaching" that occurs depends on the interests and motivation of its coaches and teachers. Sport is not the only area in which this occurs. It happens in the Scouts, martial arts, music and art for instance, but again, it depends on the knowledge and motivation of the leaders.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Youth program examples

Ask Jack: Do you know of an individual or organization that specifically recruits and trains youth athletes from poverty stricken communities? It will take mentoring, counseling, education, performance training yet I think this can be a medium for empowerment? I would love to speak to anyone with experience in this area. Thanks, JA 9/7/09

Jack sez: There are a number of inner city youth sport programs that do elements of what you are considering. Are you a 501c3. If not, you need to be or affiliate with and organization that is. You might investigate Boys & Girls Clubs and Inner City YMCAs for guidance on enrichment programs.

In the past, I was involved with one such program. Lack of corporate funding made it impossible to maintain and grow over time. It was called Rise America, based in High Point NC. Great ideals and ambitions but did not have sustainability.

You might google Ron Burton. He is a former Springfield (Ohio) High School football player who went on to college and pro success with the Boston-New England Patriots.

He has since passed away but has a program that might be a model for your ideas. Of course, he received great support from corporations. Rise America did not have a big name supporter. Ron Burton was the “name” to build the program financially. His brother lives in Springfield, Ohio.

See my book BEYOND X’s AND O’s for youth leaders, parents, teachers and coaches. It can be found at the NAYSI On Line Course at no cost. Cost is $10.00 for a hard copy. I hope that this help . . . jack


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Basketball backboard maintenance - acrylic

Ask Jack: I have a Lifetime adjustable basketball goal. The acrylic backboard comes loose from the frame. I have already had it replaced once by Lifetime but the same situation occurs with the replacement. Is there anything I can do myself to repair the backboard. I don't feel like dealing with lifetime again. Thanks, JF on 1/2/09

Jack sez: There is an acrylic spray enamel that might help protect your basketball backboard. Remove the board from the poles and spray the openings. Most likely, it would need to be sprayed on twice a year. It is available at many paint, hardware and home improvement stores.

Here is one more important piece of information. Companies have been known to void their product warranties when buyers tamper with the product. Think of cars and computers for instance. When they are modified, the warranty is made null and void. If the company is willing to replace the board for as long as you care contact them, then do not modify the board. Take the replacement warranty.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Length of sports career

Ask Jack: What is the average career span for professional athletes. KJ on 11/17/08

Jack Sez:
The “playing career” of professional athletes varies with the sport. For instance, a recent news article noted that the average life of a NFL running back is 2.6 years, a bit less than the overall pro football career of 3.8 years. This kind of information is difficult to find on all sports but a generally accepted "career" figure is around five years.

Here is an interesting little research project that you can do on your own. The current roster of the 2007-2008 Champion Boston Celtics has 15 players. Just 7 players were age 21 to 24 while 7 players were age 30 to 41. What does that tell you about the longevity of pro basketball players.

The 2008 World Series Champion Philadelphia Philllies showed a roster of 25 players with an age range of 25 to 44. However, 18 of their players were between the ages of 28 and 33 with 14 of them age 30 or younger. They also had 6 players over the age of 33. What do these data that tell you.

The 2007 season NFL Champion New York Giants showed a roster of 51 players. All but two players were age 22 to 34. However, 29 players were age 24 to 27 while 17 players were age 28 to 34.

By doing this type of roster research, you can see the age comparisons of the various sports. To do this, make an age chart consisting of the birth year of the players. Then simply tally the age of the players. Visually, you can see how the age range varies by sport. Of the three sports above, the Celtics had the youngest players. The Phillies had the greater number of older players. By comparison of these three rosters, the number of players over the age of 33 fell off dramatically. Keep in mind now that these were three championship teams.

Now, back to your question. This type of research does not tell us much about the playing career longevity. However, it does show us that individuals with long playing careers are rare. This is particularly true in sports than involve heavy physical contact and collisions.

Recreationally, people can be active participants in many sports as long as they want to play. Many active seniors age 70 and older are regular golfers, tennis players bowlers, softballers, swimmers, runners, boaters, hikers, fishermen, and hunters. Use it or lose it.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

White stripes on footballs

Ask Jack: Why are there white stripes on college footballs and not on pro footballs? Pedro on 10/22/08

Jack sez: The original purpose of the white stripes on footballs was to make them easier to see, particularly at night. These stripes were applied to both college and pro footballs. However, it appears that the professional players complained about the stripes because they made the ball slippery and more difficult to catch.

Today, there are no stripes on the NFL professional football. However, there are stripes on balls used at other levels of play. There are also white stripes on many of the consumer level footballs found in department stores and discount houses.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Basketball goal post placement

Ask Jack: Just wondering if you could let me know how far back does the basketball pole is installed from the excusal playing area? I know the rim is 10 feet off the ground, just not sure how far back off the court do we installed the pole. Thanks Tammy on 9/29/08

Jack sez:
Ms Tammy, Officially, the front face of the backboard extends 4 feet onto the court from the inside of the base line. This means that you need some pretty stout braces to support that span. For recreational purposes, the post should be a one to two feet from the front face of the backboard.