Put a Great Finish on Your Concrete

Broom finish, flagstone, color, texture, swirling, and more. All finishes to newly poured concrete. And all finishes anyone can do themselves. Any one of those finishes will give your patio or sidewalk something besides the same old look. The questions are, what do you do and how do you do it? However before we get that far, I am assuming you know how to prepare, form, mix and pour the concrete. If not, go to link resource box for information that will assist you. And if you do, read on.

Let’s start with Broom Finishing. It’s not too difficult to do. When the concrete surface is sufficiently set drag a soft broom or brush lightly across the concrete. For even less texture wait until the surface has further hardened. With concrete the timing is important. If your initial brooming left too heavy a finish you will have to retrowel the surface to remove all traces of the first finish, wait a few (or more) minutes and rebroom. If you like the look of the broom finish, but think a little something extra in the brooming would look better. Try this. As you drag the broom across the surface of your concrete pad move it back and forth sideways just a little. No more than 2 – 3 inches in each direction. Doing that will put what is know as a wavy finish to your concrete sidewalk or patio.

Another way to give your sidewalk or patio a different appearance is with a shell or swirling finish. Each is done by using a wood hand float while the concrete is still fairly wet (again trial and error. The swirling look is done by randomly moving the wood float across the surface in no apparent pattern. It will rough up the surface and give it a somewhat coarse look. The shell finish is done in a similar fashion, but, instead of the swirling random strokes, a shell pattern is applied. For the shell finish you hold the wood float on the surface of the concrete and move the top of the float from side to side while keeping the bottom of the float in one place. Then move the float right next to your first shell and do another (again trial and error. Keep this up until the entire surface has been covered with your shell pattern. You probably will have to make several attempts at this before you are satisfied with how it looks. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t look ‘right’ at first. Just practice a few strokes and it will come to you.

Color is no doubt the quickest and easiest thing you can do to give your concrete a different look. There are three ways to color your concrete. The first is to put color in the concrete mix before it is poured into the forms. The second way is to apply it to the surface of the concrete while it is still wet. And the third is staining.

You can purchase color and stains for concrete at just about any lumberyard and home improvement store. None of the three color methods are difficult to do. With the first you put the color in the concrete mix before it is poured in your forms. In this case just follow the directions given with the color. In the second method you spread the color uniformly across the surface of your concrete while it is still wet and then use the float to spread it around and into the concrete. Then finish the concrete as usual. Staining is the last color method. There are two types of stain. Regular and semi-transparent and both are applied to new concrete after it has cured. Regular stain is like paint. It goes on and covers completely. Semi-transparent stain goes on the same way (use a paintbrush, a spray can, a roller, I saw one done with a mop and it looked pretty good), but there is a difference. It can be applied in layers. Since the stain is semi-transparent the existing surface of your concrete sidewalk or patio will show through the first few layers of stain. The more times you apply the stain to the surface the less the original concrete coloration below will show up. In this situation it’s all a matter of preference.

A flagstone pattern finish is a little trickier than the others. Here you float as usual and then make the flagstone while the concrete is still workable. Get a piece of 1/2 or 3/4″ inch diameter copper pipe and bend it into an S shape. Hold on to one end of the pipe and press the other into the concrete. Then just pull it across the surface. What you are wanting to do is make a falgstone pattern with random geometric shapes on the surface of the concrete. After you have finished with making the flagstone you will need to refloat the concrete. The final step here is whether you want a boom finish on top of the flagstone or a smooth one. For a broom finish you follow the previous listed instructions.

Finally there are several other effects you can give concrete. A leaf finish is certainly distinctive. After floating and troweling just press some leaves into the surface immediately after troweling. They should be embedded completely, but not covered. Leave them in place until the concrete is set and then remove them. Other items can be pressed into concrete for patterns too. You can make round impressions in the surface by using cans. Anything you think that might will leave an attractive mark on the concrete is worth considering. Give it a try.

One finish I didn’t discuss is exposed aggregate. I believe it would be too difficult for anyone with limited or no previous experience working with concrete.

That’s it. Good luck with your project.

How To Absorb Universal Energy

Absorption of Universal energy to aid manifestation has been the forte of many mystics down the ages. Here, I share a three-fold technique that has worked for me and some honourable mystics I know.

The tools needed to get the best out of this practice are concentration, imagination and ‘Will Power’. If you ardently practised all the exercises assigned in the previous studies, these tools should be ready to hand.


Section A – With Bright Pink Light

1. Sit erect in a quiet place, where you can enjoy some privacy.

2. Close your eyes and let your hands rest calmly on your thighs.

3. Image a beam of bright pink light spreading out from your heart.

4. Count up to 9 heartbeats

5. Imagine this beam gathering into a brilliant ball of pink light about 3 feet in diameter and hanging 2 feet above your head.

6. Visualize the bright rays of the pink light penetrating the crown of your head, and travelling along your spinal cord to the base or root of the spine. When it arrives here, it spreads everywhere, filling every cell in your body with Universal energy. Count 15 heartbeats during this portion of the visualization.

7. Next imagine the bright pink ball of light growing bigger and descending at the same time. It covers your head and shoulders first, and eventually your entire body is engulfed in this bright pink light.Your are surrounded by pink Divine energy and you can feel it finding its way into your entire body and filling you with Universal energy. You feel strong and renewed in spirit. Count 12 heartbeats in this part of the visualization.

Section B – With Bright Blue Light

1. With your eyes still shut, imagine a beam of bright blue light spreading out from your throat.

2. Count up to 9 heartbeats.

3. Imagine this beam gathering into a brilliant ball of blue light about 3 feet in diameter and hanging 2 feet above your head.

4. Visualize the bright rays of the blue light penetrating the crown of your head, and travelling along your spinal cord to the base or root of the spine. When it arrives here, it spreads everywhere, filling every cell in your body with Universal energy. Count 15 heartbeats during this part of the visualization.

5. Next imagine the bright blue ball of light growing bigger and descending at the same time. It covers your head and shoulders first, and eventually your entire body is engulfed in this bright blue light. Your are surrounded by blue Divine energy and you can feel it finding its way into your entire body and filling you with Universal energy. You feel strong and renewed in spirit. Count 12 heartbeats in this part of the visualization.

Section C – With Bright White Light

1. With your eyes still shut, this time imagine a beam of bright white light spreading out from the space between your eyebrows, otherwise known as the ‘third eye’.

2. Count up to 9 heartbeats.

3. Imagine this beam gathering into a brilliant ball of white light about 3 feet in diameter and hanging 2 feet above your head.

4. Visualize the bright rays of the white light penetrating the crown of your head, and travelling along your spinal cord to the base or root of the spine. When it arrives here, it spreads everywhere, filling every cell in your body with Universal energy. Count15 heartbeats during this part of the visualization.

5. Next imagine the bright white ball of light growing bigger and descending at the same time. It covers your head and shoulders first, and eventually your entire body is engulfed in this bright white light. Your are surrounded by white Divine energy, and you can fill it finding its way into your entire body and filling you with Universal energy. You feel strong and renewed in spirit. Count 12 heartbeats in this part of the visualization.

*This marks the end of one cycle. Repeat the cycle three times, and Practice 1 is completed.

Transition Between Practice 1 and Practice 2

Take in a complete breath and exhale (emptying your lungs). As you do this imagine the white light that surrounded you at the end of Practice 1, gathering on top of your head again. It is 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet above your head. Practice 2 now begins.


1. Take in a complete breath to the count of 4 heartbeats. Whilst you do this imagine the white ball of light shining brightly above your head and in every direction (it is not entering your body at this stage).

2. Breath out counting 11 heartbeats. Whilst you breath out imagine the bright white rays from the ball of light above you penetrating the crown of your head and filling every cell in your body with Universal energy. This is the end of one round. Note that you don’t hold you breath in this practice.

3. Practise 10 rounds of this – white light shining above you whilst you breath in (4 heartbeats) and bright white rays entering your body whilst you breath out (11 heartbeats). This should be the end of Practice 2.

Transition Between Practice 2 and Practice 3

Take in a complete breath and exhale (emptying your lungs). Whilst you do this, imagine the white bright ball of light above you growing bigger and descending at the same time. It first covers your head, your shoulders and eventually, you are engulfed – by the time you empty your lungs. Now Practice 3 begins.


1. Your eyes are still shut, and you are surrounded by bright white light.

2. Take in a complete breath, counting 8 heartbeats. During the inhalation, imagine drawing Universal energy from the white light that surrounds you to fill every cell in your body.

3. Hold your breath to a count of 4 heartbeats. In this interval, imagine the Universal energy in your body (in addition to what has been stored in your cells), being stored as reserve in your solar plexus. Fix your attention on your solar plexus and use your ‘Will Power’ to direct reserve energy there for storage.

4. Exhale (emptying your lungs) to a count of 8 heartbeats. Whilst you do this imagine any Universal energy that is not needed in your body at that point in time coming out through the soles of your feet and the crown of your head.

5. Count 4 heartbeats at the interval between the end of exhalation and when the next inhalation starts. During this period think of how energetic you are becoming, being filled with Universal energy. Also keep your awareness on the bright white light that engulfs you, from which you are going to draw further energy. This is the end of round 1.

6. Repeat up to 10 rounds.

Note: There should be a smooth transition between Practices 1, 2 and 3. The three Practices constitute one session, and there is no break whatsoever. If you find your mind wandering elsewhere, calmly shift it back to the task in hand. Practice 1, 2 and 3 combined should be practiced at least once a day, ideally first thing in the morning. It won’t take you very long to see the potency of this trio in your working day.

In the course of the day, if you feel tired, it’s alright to take the 3 Practices apart and practise anyone of them you will be comfortable with at the workplace. You will feel re-energised straightaway.

How to Restore Antique or Old Furniture

You can easily transform a piece of furniture cheaply by stripping off the old paint and refinishing the wood as to its original state. By stripping old furniture down to the natural wood you can ensure a smooth surface – free of bumps and blemishes – which can be polished, varnished or even stenciled for a completely new look. Make sure first that you know what finish you are stripping because, paint, polish, lacquer or varnish all require different treatments.

Equipment: By hand, you need paint stripper, liquid or jelly form, methylated spirits, and turpentine. A pair of rubber gloves, old paint brush 25 – 50 mm wide, a scraper, course wire wool and sand paper fine to medium grade.

Paint Stripping: if you are professional for difficult work it can be removed by immersing the article in a caustic bath. A safer suggestion I would recommend by hand, using a chemical paint stripper; this gives great results as it adds an extra luster to the bare wood.

Method: Firstly make sure that your work area is well ventilated as paint stripper gives off unpleasant fumes. Remove all fittings handles, key guides etc, then start brushing the stripper on to the painted areas, work the stripper into all cracks/crevices. When you have covered a workable area, leave the stripper to act for several minutes. When it starts to bubble, remove the paint layer with your stripping knife or scraper, (put the paint shreds into an old paint tin as being caustic they are dangerous) repeat the process until you reach the wood. When all the paint has been stripped, next step is to wash the wood down with the manufactures recommendation on what neutralizer to use this will remove any remaining debris at the same time neutralizes the stripper. If the suggested neutralizer is say turpentine then soak a ball of wire wool and thoroughly rub down the stripped surface. When dry sandpaper down to a smooth finish. Important; always rub in the direction of the grain.

Stripping polish: before you can remove successfully, you must know firstly the type of polish. If it is French polish this can be removed quite easily with methylated spirits, wipe it on generously, leave for a few minutes. When the polish has softened, scrape it off with a scraper then with fine wire wool (soaked in Methylated spirits) when the wood is dry you can sandpaper down to a nice smooth finish. If it is a Wax polish (oily surface) this you can remove with fine steel wool soaked with turpentine. Repeat until you are at the bare wood, dry off with an absorbent cloth.

Varnished and Lacquered finishes: if the article being 50 years or more old it probably is an oil based varnish of which was made from resins dissolved in oils and solvents. The cleanest/easiest way is with a scraper; tilt the scraper away from you working along the grain (never across the grain). Polyurethane varnishes use a paint stripper. Cellulose-based varnishes can be removed by paint stripper, acetone, cellulose thinners, ammonia caustic soda, or turpentine. Suggest test a small area first to see which works best. Repairs, now you are able to see the various faults. Your repairs are necessary before the new finish can be applied, perhaps the draws require re-nailing or weak joints to be glued, cracks and holes must be filled. Minor cracks and holes you use a plastic wood or non-shrinking stopper all available in various natural wood colors. Large holes should be Plugged with a similar wood, cut to shape making sure the grain of the pug runs the same way as the rest of the surface, and then glue it in. Fine sandpaper all your repairs down to a smooth finish for the next stage.

Finishing with polyurethane: this gives bare wood a lustrous, hard wearing finish of which is easy to clean and maintain. Polyurethane can withstand heat without marking although intense heat will damage the wood. There is a variety of natural wood colors available as well as clear all matt or gloss finish. It is important to let Polyurethane set; some brands can take up to two weeks to achieve maximum hardness. Apply the varnish directly to the sanded wood with a brush as the varnish must be applied in coats. It is a good idea with the first coat to dilute with spirit so that it soaks in and seals the wood. After each subsequent coat (when dry) lightly rub down with a fine sand paper. If you are using one of the colored varieties it would pay you to apply the first coat with a clear, this will save any likelihood of a patchy finish. If you want a matt finish after using colored varnish make the final coat with a clear matt.

Finishing with Wax Polish: Wax polish can be used either by itself or in conjunction with polyurethane as an alternate finish. Although wax gives a wonderful warm mellow look to the wood it is not very practical, because it has very little resistance to heat, it marks quite easily therefore it is advisable that it be used on more decorative pieces. For the wax finish all you need is pure beeswax, turpentine, cheese grater and a glass jar. Grate the wax with the cheese grater into a jar cover with turpentine – stand the jar in a pan of very hot water and stir until the mixture melts and forms a thick paste. Dip a clean rag in the wax and rub into the clean wood surface, taking care to spread the wax evenly. Apply enough wax to soak into the grain avoid leaving excess on the surface. When the wax has hardened (approximately an hour or so) buff up the surface with a fine cloth. With Polyurethane, use a proprietary white wax polish. After the final coat of varnish has dried rub it over lightly with a very fine “0000” grade of wire wool. Brush away the dust; now rub in the polish with a course piece of fabric giving you an even matt sheen. Finally buff the surface with a fine cloth. Successive layers of polish, built up at a rate of one every two days, will deepen and harden the surface finish. Not bad for a small amount of effort! Cheers Darryl.

Benefits of Modern Architecture and Solar Panels

The architects of today are building homes that are greener and friendlier for the environment. Homes are designed so that they can include solar panels along with its structure. Heating up homes using solar panels rather than using gas or burning wood or even electricity has its own benefits.

Long-term advantages of using solar

As it has been made clear that the number one benefit of using solar panels is its eco-friendliness. Such renewable resource leaves out no carbon dioxide or smoke to pollute the environment. It helps in reducing pollution and in the long run, slowing down global warming. When people would use solar panels rather than traditional ways of generating electricity, lesser non-renewable energy would be exhausted and eventually, it will lessen the global pollution.

Another great benefit is the costs that are normally incurred on heating bills. After putting in the initial investment in putting up a solar-powered home, the various costs it helps reduce in the long run puts the initial amount in the back of your head. Using solar panels to heat up your home helps homeowners to enjoy a warm comfortable environment and look at less devastatingly heavy heating bills.

Modern architecture accommodates solar modules

Although, the homes of today are being designed strategically so that maximum amount of space is given with huge windows and glass doors, this eventually helps the sunlight to filter in through various spaces. One advantage of that is people can keep their plants inside their home and yet they won’t wither or die because of consistent presence of sunlight. Their nutrients required to keep them thriving are present just because of the architecture of the house. This adds certain elegance to the home as well. Also, it gives one’s house a more spacious look – one of welcoming and brightness. This way, fewer lights are required to be lit, saving more electricity for the night-time when the sun is not present.

Effectively Treating Piriformis Syndrome (Pain In The Butt)

ThePiriformis muscle (piriformis; “pear shaped”) is a tiny muscle located deep in the buttocks, underneath the large gluteal muscles. This little muscle is the most well-known of a group of muscles known as the “Hip Rotator Cuff” and is frequently the source of pain in the butt.

Piriformis Syndrome is a miserable condition in which the Piriformis Muscle becomes overly tight. It can be aggravated by bending, lifting, sitting, sports, or even driving (foot on the gas pedal). Contrary to what your M.D. might tell you, there are no drugs or surgery that are effective for treating Piriformis Syndrome. In 20 plus years of practice I have never one time seen a person whose Piriformis “Release” Surgery actually worked.


Piriformis Syndrome is an extremely common condition, and is far more likely to be found in women than men (about 12-15 times more often). Although I can only speculate on the reason for this, I suspect that it is a child-bearing issue. It probably also has to do with the naturally wider shape of a woman’s pelvis. This most likely accounts for my finding it much more frequently in women than men – even in women who have not had children.


Piriformis Syndrome is a major cause of sciatica (leg pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness), hip pain, and buttock pain. Because sciatica is so often involved, it is often misdiagnosed as a slipped disc, herniated disc, or a chronic low back or sacroilliac problem.

The sciatic nerve is both the largest and longest nerve in the body, and at its largest point is about the thickness of one’s thumb. The sciatic nerve originates in the low back (lumbar spine region) and angles toward the middle of the buttock. It then extends down through the leg, passing underneath the piriformis muscle. Be aware that in as much as half the population, the sciatic nerve travels through the piriformis muscle, passes over the piriformis muscle, or splits in two and passes directly around the piriformis muscle.


The symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome usually begin as a deep aching in what women like to refer to as their “hip” area. This pain will be found along an imaginary line that runs from the very tip top of the butt crack, to the greater trochanter of the hip bone (the bony knob on the upper and portion of the outer or lateral thigh).


People most predisposed to chronic contracture and microscopic scarring of the piriformis muscle, are people who wear cruddy or improper footwear for their foot type, those with faulty spinal or lower limb mechanics, overweight, poor posture, too much time sitting, too much time on concrete, not enough activity (or occasionally too much exercise), and of course, the biggie – just being female.

Due to mechanical stresses causing chronic tightness / contracture, the piriformis muscle can actually become shortened over time. This often results in microscopic scarring of the fascial sheaths that tightly surround the muscle itself. Piriformis Syndrome is most commonly worse at rest (sitting or lying down) and is often (but not always) relieved temporarily by moderate activity (particularly walking or stretching).


For years, I did not really understand why I had such good clinical results with so many cases of buttock / hip pain and sciatica, while other seemingly identical cases were largely unresponsive to chiropractic adjustments. Frequently these “problem” cases would get fantastic short-term results from their adjustment, but these results never seemed to last more than a few days at the most (and often no more than a few hours). It was not until I started doing ” TISSUE REMODELING ” in 2001, that I began to understand what was going on.

Over the past decade I have come to realize that Piriformis Syndrome is literally “epidemic” in the female portion of our society (it is Destroy Chronic Pain.com’s #1 webpage by far – see our site’s Patient Treatment Diary); with the medical community being largely mystified about what it really is, or how to treat it effectively. Again, drugs and surgery do not constitute “effective” treatment for Piriformis Syndrome. Do not assume that a “Piriformis Release Surgery” will solve your problems!


If you read my first article “Chronic Pain’s Relationship to Microscopic Scarring of Elastic, Collagen-Based, Connective Tissues”, you have at least a cursory understanding of scar tissue. Microscopic scar tissue is normal, elastic tissue (think nicely combed hair here) that has been disrupted from its organized structure. For various reasons, these connective tissues can get mangled into a balled-up and tangled wad of inflexible and hyper-sensitive micro-gristle (think of a hair tangle that cannot be combed out). This kind of microscopic scar tissue is not typically in the muscle itself, but in the fascia. Fascia is the thin, but very tough, yellowish white membranes that cover muscles. In my neck of the Ozarks, deer hunters call these membranes, “Striffin”.


Fascia is arguably the single most pain-sensitive tissue in the body! FASCIAL ADHESIONS will cause pain and dysfunction. Destroy Fascial Adhesions and Destroy Chronic Pain!

Because most of these scar tissues are in the fascia as opposed to the muscle itself, they do not image on MRI. It is my opinion that microscopic scarring of the Piriformis Muscle is the single most common cause of chronic, long-standing, Sacroilliac or buttock pain (the Sacroilliac Joints are the bony bumps that lie just up and lateral to the top of the butt crack). It is also the most common cause of what I have for years referred to in the office as a “butt-based” sciatica.


If you have extra-high arches or “fallen” arches, or if you have abnormal lower body biomechanics of any sort; you probably need arch supports (orthotics). We carry some nice, generic orthotics that will work for many people. However, some of you will require custom orthotics. Allow me to give you an example:

High arches can be a big contributor to Piriformis Syndrome. The higher the arch, the more you get “pushed” onto the outside of your foot. To see what this does to the Piriformis Muscle; stand up, put your hands on your upper buttocks in the area of the piriformis. Now, roll your weight out onto the outsides of your feet. Notice how the Piriformis Muscle instantly becomes tight as a drum? This is what is going on all day long if you have high arches. And there is only one company on the planet that I am aware of that specifically specializes in shoe inserts (orthotics) for people with high arches. Shawn Eno’s “Xtreme Footwerks” in Idaho Springs, CO.

Construction Site Management – Accessibility

Construction sites offer different challenges as far as accessibility is concerned. This follows the fact that there is a mass movement of men (labour) as well as material haulers. These range from pick up trucks to trailers. Depending on the items being moved, the weight is different and as such the capability of the route to and from site should match these requirements. There will also be visitors in light personal vehicles, especially consultants and prospective property buyers in case of commercial projects or prospective tenants in case of residential or other rental spaces. The available or provided access should well cater for these requirements as far as is possible. The different site conditions include;

· Virgin sites: This refers to a new site where no other construction activity has been done before. This means that there is no access to the specific point of construction. Where such route may be available, it may not be sufficient and might need improvement. This may include works like cutting down trees, cutting high sections and filling low ones, dumping murram or other appropriate material. It will also include compaction, wetting and curing of the dumped material. Being a new and sometimes temporary route, it will need maintenance. Where such access is to pass through other people’s property, appropriate permissions should be sought. The local authorities must also be notified and provided with plans like ways of averting problems like ecological disturbance. It is usually wise to have the access route for construction being also the permanent access to the permanent route for accessing the completed facility.

· Existing sites: These are sites that have already been built upon previously. They may have existing access. The only hurdle would be where such access is still in use by others, as it will create an inconvenience and delivery use might be regulated to low peak periods only. There could also arise the need to provide alternative routes for the existing users. A good example here is road maintenance or improvement works, whereby diversions are created and maintained in good order during the construction period. Appropriate arrangements should be made to minimize inconvenience as well as prevent accidents.

· Tight Sites: These are unique sites in the fact that they have minimal space for maneuverability. Examples here are found in town centers or institutions. Regulation here is very strict and as such stringent measures should be put in place to follow such regulations. These sites are very difficult to manage as far as accessibility is concerned. An example is where concrete is to be delivered on site already mixed (In premix trucks). This presents the headache of timing as well as preventing inconvenience to other users.

The provision of access to sites should be a well thought out activity. Maintenance should be in top priority. The design of such access roads should also cater for the traffic envisaged for the said project. Road signage and other such furniture should be also be provided and well maintained.

Building and Managing a High School Soccer Program

The following interview is with Coach Bill Bratton, who was my Soccer Coach at Cross Keys High School in Atlanta, Georgia for the school year 1989-1990. I asked him for an interview to share his thoughts on Soccer. He has been involved with Soccer for over 25 years so I wanted to pick his brain on the subject.


Hello Coach, you have been coaching high school soccer for over 25 years. How did you first get involved in the sport?

Coach Bill Bratton:

Hi Stafford and thank you. Well I started coaching soccer in 1982 in DeKalb County in my first year teaching at Sequoyah High. The previous coach had left and the school needed someone to coach. The principal offered me the opportunity to take over the program.


How was that experience for you and how did you prepare for this new role as a High School Soccer Coach?

Coach Bill Bratton:

I will admit I had never played or coached soccer before. In the off season I spent time preparing and learning by reading books and going to clinics. I will also admit that the players knew more about the skills, the formations and what it took to play the game than I did but it was the coaching organization of putting a team together to play as a team that was my strength. I really enjoyed coaching soccer once I mastered the knowledge I needed.


How long did you coach at Sequoyah and how did you end up at Cross Keys?

Coach Bill Bratton:

I coached Sequoyah for 4 years before DeKalb began a consolidation program and I transferred to Cross Keys in 1986. I had the privilege of coaching the Keys program for the next 20 years. I earned my Georgia class D coaching license as well as a Class C level National Coaching license from the USSF. The situation at Cross Keys was much like Sequoyah, they needed a new soccer coach and the AP who would become the principal offered me the position.


How was the situation at Cross Keys, and what did it take to build the program?

Coach Bill Bratton:

It took hard work and discipline to build the program. My job involved rebuilding a program. It had lost its organization, discipline was amuck, and the program wasn’t winning, just 2 years from finishing 3rd in the state. I had to incorporate discipline into the program and to teach players what playing on a school competitive team meant and was needed to win. This progress was going to take many years to complete.

Players would tell me “Coach we just want to play”. Cross Keys was a highly transient school. It was a constant rebuilding progress every year. They had no understanding of playing as a team, that they had to come to practice, to commit, and to be successful they had to play as a team. As I look back that took 2-3 years to get across. Once we reached the point of players returning consistently, I started instilling in the players that we were playing to win. They were playing in a competitive environment. If they just wanted to play there were rec teams, club teams, and other leagues they could go and “just play”.

There were teams that we could beat just based on talent and skill alone so we had to start winning those games. Slowly players started to understand, but they had no knowledge of what playing for a State Championship” was or meant. But we started to win games we should of and it was time to go to the next level, winning games that were 50-50. Again this level took 3-4 years to develop. I constantly had to preach to the teams what we were out there to accomplish. We wanted to win games and develop. After getting to the point of winning 50-50 games, we needed to win games that we were not expected to win. Our goal was to make the region playoffs to go to the state playoffs. The final step in the development was to defeat teams no one expected us to. It was always my belief that we had the ability, the skills to play with anyone and defeat anyone on any given day. In my last 5 years at the Keys we had two teams to reach the 2nd round (sweet 16) level of the state playoffs.


Awesome! I see a pattern here and a valuable lesson to be learned. An opportunity was presented; Rather than turn it down because you had no prior experience in soccer at that time, you made the effort to learn about the subject by spending time ” preparing and learning by reading books and going to clinics”, etc. You mentioned it took work and discipline and eventually you mastered the knowledge that was needed to coach high school soccer, which I saw when my old high school merged with Cross Keys and I ended up playing for you in my senior year. You seemed to have had a passion for soccer and knowledge of the game and the know-how to get players excited for the game and team unity. But all of that was accomplished through your own hard work and effort. How important is “discipline” for the aspiring soccer player and anyone in general?

Coach Bill Bratton:

Let me start out by saying that I believe discipline is an important attribute for anyone to have. To achieve individual or team goals one must have self-discipline. Discipline can have many different meaning to each person. It can be a commitment to attending practices, to going beyond what is asked of one to do to prepare. Discipline comes from having goals and achieving goals come from being disciplined. Some say that my teams were disciplined. On a team there can be only one chief who must lead and lead by setting the discipline of what is expected from others. The others must be willing to accept the standards and work together to achieve for the benefit of the whole and not the individual. If the team has discipline many other honors will come their way.

For many years as the coach I would tell the teams our goals, the purpose of what we will be trying to achieve, and that to reach these ideals we must all be on the same page. Some years I would have players who as the season would progress would disagree with the discipline and feel that certain things were unfair. They would question the purpose, the lineup, and the style of play or other team discipline. Of course I would try to talk with them, explain what was being done and why, listen to their side of the picture. I always had an open door if a player wanted to talk or discuss issues but not in public or at practice or during a game. I recall one instance where 5 players who I had taken out of a game and disagreed with my decision that they left the team bench and set in the stands. These players were removed from the team immediately after the game. On another team years later the players felt the formation we were playing and the players in those positions was wrong. This time I gave that team the chance to play the players and the formation they felt we needed to be playing. I said you have a half to show me that I am wrong and if it doesn’t work it will be done my way and there will be no more discussion and if you cannot agree with my decisions you have a decision that only you can make. Well the team’s way didn’t work so at halftime I told the team I gave you your opportunity now it will be done my way.

I always in my 26 years of coaching have told every team that I coach (you might recall this)… I don’t care who you are, I don’t care how good you are (even if you are the best player), or who you know… If you have to be disciplined you will be disciplined. No matter how much it might hurt the team, you know the rules and you know if you break the rules you will be disciplined and I will discipline you.


Thanks Coach. Have you had any experience with Club Soccer (soccer outside of the school system)? What is your thought on Club Soccer and its impact on High School Soccer? For example, some players who play high school soccer in the Spring may have Club teams that they play for that trains Summer, Fall and even Winter!

Coach Bill Bratton:

My experience on coaching Club has been limited as I coached one year with a U-14 boys’ team with Roswell Santos club league. We won the Fall and Spring season championship. A few years later I worked with Concorde Soccer coaching a U-12 boys team for a year.

If a player is looking to be seen and has the dream of playing at the college level then the club system is the way to go. But keep in mind that this is for elite level players. If they are good enough there is a program that they can go through to reach a higher level of play if they have the talent. First is to be selected on a top level team, to try out for the State select teams, to reach Regional recognition, etc. In the summer they should attend a quality soccer camp to improve their skills and to be seen by college coaches. In high school some club coaches look down at the high school programs and encourage players not to play on their school teams for a lack of quality coaching, getting injured, lack of talent, and low level of play from many schools.

I encourage my players to find a club team to play on in the off seasons as it can only help to make them better. In the Fall if they are not playing on a club team, I encourage players to practice Cross Country to start developing their stamina and if possible to go out for wrestling in the Winter. Some club players come into the High School level and will tell me they can only play a midfield or an outside wing position. I try to teach my players that even though they played center midfield on their club team they are a great fit in the defense on the school team. Players need to keep an open mind and be willing to play the position that will give the team they are on the opportunity to be competitive and a chance to win.


Thanks Coach! Having been a club coach for several years, I can relate to the statement “some club coaches look down at the high school program and encourage players not to play on their school teams from a lack of quality coaching, getting injured, lack of talent, level of play from many schools.” Not that I have ever made that statement. However, that statement may have had some validity in the past, but do you see this changing as new generation of teachers who may be coaching high school or middle school presently are actually former soccer players who are also teachers, but may want to use the high school experience as a career path for some form of College/Professional coaching? This may be the case for some private schools.

Coach Bill Bratton:

Yes I see this getting better. The coaching at the high school level has shown major improvement in the coaches’ knowledge of the game. High schools teams now, like club teams can hire community coaches to help coach teams now and pay a stipend. These individuals must take the state required courses to become a community coach and follow the rules of the school, the county and state as they coach. So high school coaches who might lack in the skills and able to find someone willing to coach to teach/work coaching the players the skills or to work on the strategies and tactical aspects of the game. This is what many club teams do now. They have a person to run the run but pay hundreds of dollars a month for a named/quality individual who was a former player, etc to actual do the coaching.


****Coach Bratton retired in 2006, but after 7 years he wanted to get back into coaching and took over the varsity boys position at a High School in Fulton County (Georgia) as a community coach. It was great speaking to him again after so many years. ****

Advantages of CCTV Dome Cameras

So you’re interested in purchasing a CCTV camera for either home security or for commercial use, but you don’t know what type of camera to purchase? Let me suggest dome cameras to you, in this article I’ll be going into detail over the advantages of CCTV dome cameras.

Dome cameras are among the most popular form of CCTV cameras on the market, their discreet looks and design allows it to be either wall or ceiling mounted, a real advantage over standard forms of CCTV cameras. This means that because of their sometimes non standard installation means that they’re rarely noticed and can record without fear of being smashed. Now, obviously some of the advantages of dome cameras are exactly the same as other cameras of their type but what about for your business?

In business if a customer notices the camera they will usually feel comforted by it’s presence and have nothing to fear but for those who’re considering committing a crime, either stealing or skulking around the place to work out how to properly break inside it. With a DC silently observing the movements of people in and outside your business and recording every movement in case of a crime being committed. It’s value to your business could be massive.

Clearly then, a DC can be of massive importance to your home or place of work, both in stopping crime and documenting it as hard accountable evidence in the way that the police and courts will accept as concrete and helpful in your case against them.

My Top 15 Non-Traditional, Muscle Building, Fat Scorching Workouts

If you have been a subscriber to my newsletter for some time, you know that I’m always trying to give you ways to make your workouts more interesting and fun, while also stimulating big-time results. Don’t you agree that your training should be fun? This is what separates the people who jump on and off the “fitness bandwagon” a couple times every year without ever making any real progress from the people that actually adopt a true fitness lifestyle and finally achieve the body they have always wanted. Make it interesting, make it fun, and make your fitness a priority, and you’ll have the body that you want.

What I have noticed over the years is that many people will train regularly for a few months and then will either get bored with the same old weight training and cardio routines, or will get discouraged because their progress comes to a grinding halt after a while. In my opinion, I don’t think your workouts ever need to get boring or stale. You just need to have an open mind to the huge world of various training styles and techniques that are out there. Seriously, there are so many different and fun training styles out there, that there is no reason you should ever get bored with your workouts and give up on that lean ripped body that you’ve been looking for. Also, mixing in various training styles builds stronger joints by reducing repetitive movement pattern overload and varying your training stressors.

Now before I start with some of my favorite non-traditional training styles, I will state that I think one of the best ways to achieve a lean, muscular and healthy body is through a consistent weight training routine with free weights. You can choose to integrate some of these alternative training techniques with your weight training routines on the same day, as alternative workouts on separate days of the week, or even as separate training cycles where you try some of these techniques for several weeks at a time before cycling back to a traditional weight training workout. Try some of these training styles out and you’ll be on your way to never being bored again with your workouts…and your body will thank you with muscles popping out that you never knew existed!

Alright, here are some of my favorite non-traditional training techniques:

1. Staircase Workouts – This is great because stairs are everywhere. You can go to a football field and do stadium stairs, any building that has stairs like a hotel (most people take the elevator, so you will not even have many people looking at you while you’re working out), or even the stairs in your own home. For an awesome full body workout, try mixing stairs sprints with an upper body exercise like pushups or pull-ups. If done with a high enough intensity, stairs workouts help to create changes throughout your entire body due to the muscle building and fat burning hormonal response and metabolism increase that you get through working the biggest muscle groups in your entire body. If you thought that going up and down the stairs was the only way to get a good stairs workout…think again. My fellow trainer and friend, Virgil Aponte, has developed a website that focuses on creative stairs workouts using all kinds of exercises you never would have thought of before. You can find out more info on stairs exercises workouts at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

2. Wind Sprints and Hill Sprints – Find any open field in a park or athletic field and try 50, 75, and 100-yard all-out wind sprints. After each sprint, rest long enough to catch your breath before the next one (generally 1-2 minutes). Try workouts of anywhere from 6 to 20 wind sprints for a great “cutting” workout. Also, if you have a hill nearby, hill sprints are also great workouts. Sprint up the hill as fast as you can and walk down for your rest interval. Repeat until you’re whooped (a 20-30 minute hill workout is plenty). These sprint workouts are so amazingly effective at changing your entire body for the same reason as stairs exercises…by powerfully working the biggest muscle groups in your entire body, you greatly stimulate your metabolism while simultaneously increasing your fat burning and muscle building hormones.

Just look at any world class 100-meter sprinters and notice how ripped-to-shreds those guys are. Now compare that to the emaciated weakling physiques of many marathoners, and you’ll see that sprinting is where the action is at for a healthy, ripped, powerful body! Now I don’t want to upset all of you distance runners out there. Hey, if distance running is something you enjoy, then go right ahead. But don’t say you’re doing it for the health benefits, because I might just have to disagree. You can read my full story on why I believe variable intensity training is far superior to steady-state endurance training in one of my other ezinearticles.com articles at Cardio-Enthusiasts: Discover a More Effective Training Method for Fat Loss and Heart Health!

3. Kettlebell Training – If you’ve been reading my articles for some time, you’ve probably heard me praise kettlebell training many times before, but I will have to reiterate that it has been one of the best training methods that I’ve ever tried and has taken my physical capabilities to a whole new level. Kettlebells are an alternative type of free-weight training instead of barbells and dumbbells. Their unique construction and weight distribution (basically a cannonball with a handle) allows for a whole different realm of exercises that’s available compared to dumbbells and barbells. Kettlebells have been typically used for training hard-core athletes, military units, martial arts competitors, and other tough individuals, but there is no reason that anybody looking to get stronger, bigger, or more cut can’t learn the exercises and benefit from them.

It’s been a little over a year now since I’ve incorporated kettlebell training into my routines, and I’ll admit that I’m hooked for life! At between $100-$150 per kettlebell, they are definitely not cheap, but they are well worth the money. Just one or two kettlebells and you’ve literally got yourself an entire home gym that you can use for the rest of your life…worth every penny in my book! If you want to give these body-hardening kettlebells a try, you can find more info at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

4. Bodyweight Workouts – For a change of pace, try adding to your routine one or two workouts a week at home with just bodyweight based exercises. These can be great because you can get a high intensity workout done in only 15-30 minutes without having to go to the gym on days that you might not have time for a trip to the gym. Try alternating bodyweight squats, pushups variations, lunges, and floor abs exercises continuously for 15-30 minutes. Try to take very short rest periods or none at all to really amp up the intensity since this will be a brief workout. If you’re more advanced, you can even incorporate more challenging exercises like handstand pushups, one-arm pushups, and one-legged squats into your bodyweight training routines.

5. Ring Training – This type of training basically uses portable gymnastic rings that you can take anywhere with you. You throw the straps up over any high bar like a pullup bar, the top of a power rack, or even over a football field goal crossbar. Then you can quickly adjust the rings to do exercises like ring dips, ring pushups, ring pull-ups, hanging leg raises, horizontal body rows, L-sits, and more. Dips and pushups on the rings are my favorites and the rings really make them a hell of a lot more difficult, while also incorporating your stabilizer muscles to a much greater degree. The rings allow your joints to move in a more natural pattern and can help you prevent or even recover from shoulder injuries. Personally, when I try dips on a normal dip stand, it hurts my shoulders. However, dips on the training rings feel perfect, and also give me a much better muscle pump. The training rings are one of the best training devices I’ve ever bought. Give them a try…I think you’ll like them if you’re up for a challenge. I found my rings, which you can hang up easily on a power rack, pullup bars, or at a park, at ringtraining.com.

6. Swimming – A great full body workout that stresses the muscles and joints in a much different way than most resistance training. Incorporating swimming workouts once or twice a week into your normal training routines can really enhance your physique. I recommend trying a “sprint” style swimming workout, which will help more for building muscle compared with endurance long distance swimming. For sprint style, swim as hard as you can to the other side of a 25-meter or 50-meter pool (or sprint swim similar distances in a lake or the ocean if you like to swim outdoors). Rest enough to catch your breath between sprint swims (about 20-40 seconds). Try to keep the rest intervals fairly short with swim sprints. You can also mix different strokes (crawl, breaststroke, sidestroke, backstroke, butterfly) on each swim sprint. I’ve found that sprint swimming gives me a great muscle pump (especially in the upper body), without any soreness the next day as is typical with weight training. This is because swimming has no eccentric movement (the negative portion of a lift), which is what causes muscle soreness. Keep in mind that even though swimming works your muscles well and is a nice alternative workout to mix in once or twice a week, it does not strengthen your bones. You still need to do regular weight training to do that.

7. Sandbag Training – This form of training is a nice variation to mix in with your strength training. It works your body with an unstable object, which makes muscles that might normally be neglected get in on the action to perform the movements. I’ve been mixing some sandbag training into my routines for over a year now, and I’ve found it is a very intense method of training that works your muscles in a different way and gets you huffing and puffing like crazy. You can make your own sandbags to train with by filling various sized duffle bags with sand, or you can use those construction type sandbags that come in several shapes. Sandbag exercises can be done as squats, cleans, presses, lunges, shouldering, throws or heaves, carrying up hills, etc. Make no mistake, training intensely with sandbags will get you ripped in no time flat! I’ve actually found an entire book devoted to sandbag training, which gave me some great ideas for doing sandbag based workouts. If you’re interested in this type of training, you can find more info at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

8. Mountain Biking – As you may have figured by now, I’m not a proponent of steady pace endurance exercise, but rather, highly variable intensity exercise that works with bursts of exertion followed by recovery intervals. Well, mountain biking fits this bill perfectly. You get the leg pumping exertion during the uphill climbs, while also getting the adrenaline rush of the downhill acting as your recovery intervals. Mix it all together and you get a super-fun, high-intensity, leg burning workout that will melt fat off of your entire body and build awesome legs at the same time. The climbs can be tough and will challenge you both physically and mentally as you pump away trying to make it up steep hills without having to resort to getting off of the bike. Then after you make it up the challenging climbs, you get rewarded with the adrenaline rush of flying down steep hills while jumping off of boulders and logs and trying not to stumble or fall off the bike. It’s such an addicting thrill…I love it! See, who says that working out has to be boring!

9. Indoor (or outdoor) Rock Climbing – This is yet another fun way to get in a great workout that will also challenge you both physically and mentally. Indoor rock climbing gyms have starting popping up all over the place in recent years and will be more accessible than outdoor rock climbing to most people. Rock climbing is a great workout for your legs, arms, shoulders, and your entire back. It also really works your grip strength and forearms like crazy. Whenever I go indoor rock climbing (which is only on occasion), my forearms are sore for about 2-3 days afterwards. Give it a try if you’ve never done it…it may be just what you’re looking for to spice up your fitness routine.

10. Stick Wrestling – This is a killer full body workout and can also be a great competition between you and your friends. This is probably more of a guy thing for most people. You could even come up with your own “fight club” and have stick wrestling competitions with your buddies to see who is toughest. There are actually sticks designed specifically for stick wresting, but you can even just use a strong broomstick cut down to about 30-36 inches long and taped up with some athletic tape to prevent splinters. For your stick wrestling workout, stand on a soft mat or carpeted area (or grass if outdoors), match up with a friend or foe. You’ll both grab the same stick toward the ends with your hands on the outsides of your partner’s hands, on the inside, or staggered. Then you simply push, pull, jerk, and thrash your opponent around trying to knock them off balance until they either fall or lose their grip of the stick…and you win that round! Be careful not to get the stick up high and knock each other in the face. Use common sense. You can do this in 1-2 minute rounds or just keep going until someone gives up. Be creative and keep going until you’ve gotten a killer workout. Your forearms and legs will be screaming!

11. Strongman Training – This type of training is a little more hard-core, but it’s a blast for those who are into trying something different. The premise is based on the types of exercises competitors perform in the “worlds strongest man” competitions. If you have a yard, you can even set up some of these exercises in your yard and do some outdoor workouts to have a little fun. Your neighbors will probably give you some funny looks, but it’s fun, so who cares! You can get one of those giant tractor tires and do tire flips (which is basically a deadlift followed by a push-press). You can also try your hand at log lifts, boulder lifts and carries, keg lifts and tosses, weighted sled dragging…anything that involves pulling, pushing, lifting, or heaving any types of odd objects. You don’t need to be a monster to enjoy this type of training…just handle whatever size objects are challenging for your individual strength. Strongman training works your entire body in a very intense fashion and could easily spark some new results. If you’re interested in finding out more ideas for strongman training, check out my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

12. Rope Climbing – This goes back to the old high school days of climbing the rope in gym class. Seriously, if you have access to a rope, either at a gym or somewhere outdoors, rope climbing builds a powerful and ripped upper body like no other exercise. A great way to incorporate rope climbing into intense workouts is to do a climb up, then lower yourself back down. Then while your upper body is recovering for the next climb, you can do a lower body exercise like squats or lunges, or go up and down stairs. Keep alternating the upper body rope climbs with the lower body exercises in between and you’ll get one hell of a full body workout.

13. Bag Boxing – You can use a heavy bag, a speed bag, or even one of those rebound bags to get a great workout. Among the three, the heavy bag is the best all around full body workout, while the speed bag will test your rhythm and timing and give you a great upper body workout. If available at your gym or if you have a bag at home, try mixing these in as a good warm-up or as an intense finish to your strength routine.

14. Rope Skipping – You can’t beat rope jumping as a great full body exercise. I like to use it as a warm-up for my weight training workouts. I prefer to use the really cheap “speed” ropes with a plastic rope instead of a fabric rope. Once you get good, you can jump rope much faster with the plastic ropes than the fabric ones, which will allow you to get a more intense workout. And don’t mess with the weighted handle ropes…they’ll just slow you down. Your goal is speed when rope skipping. Try mixing together two legged jumps, one-legged jumps, arm crossovers, double jumps (rope passes under feet twice for each jump) to keep things interesting and increase the intensity. Also, try alternating 15-20 second high intensity bursts where you jump as fast as you possibly can, followed by 15-20 second recovery intervals where you jump slowly to get ready for your next burst. Keep repeating until you’re whooped, which might happen pretty quick!

15. Jumping exercises – squat jumps, box jumps, lunge jumps, and broad jumps are some of the best ways to incorporate explosive jumping exercises into your routines. The explosive and powerful nature of jumping exercises works your leg muscles in an entirely different way than most normal slow grinding strength training moves. I’ve even seen a university study cited once that found squat jumps to elicit the greatest testosterone response of all exercises studied. That means more muscle and less fat on your entire body, not just your legs. Try super-setting jumping exercises with upper body exercises for some really intense workouts.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed all of these ideas for ways to really shake up your workouts and make them fun again. I know some of them may seem a little “out there”, but open your mind to the possibilities and you’ll never be bored again…and your body will respond with new found results!

Florida Dental Insurance Plans – Finding Florida Dental Insurance Plans The Easy Way

Finding Florida dental insurance plans is not at all a tough task. The state provides a wide variety of choices in terms of dental insurance coverage and ceiling limits etc at costs that very competitive.

As there is tough competition between the various Florida dental insurance providers and many of these companies have an online presence you can just key in a few of your details and you will be provided with quotes for your dental insurance which are quite competitive.If you are comfortable with the research and transactions on the Internet then finding and buying Florida dental insurance is easy and hassle free process. All you need to do is enter your pin code and you will get access to all the dental insurance providers in Florida.

You can get multiple quotes from different Florida dental insurance providers and compare the rates and services provided. Then choose the policies that suit your needs and budget. Ensure that your policy provides for preventive dental care like routine dental visits, check-ups, cleanings. As these alone can eliminate most major dental problems from occurring.

If you are not comfortable with the Internet then don’t worry grab a copy of your Yellow Pages and find the dental insurance section. You could provide over the phone and get quotes from most companies. Go through the fine print and find a Florida dental insurance that will cover all your needs. Like any insurance the higher premium you pay the greater will be the extent of the treatments covered under your Florida dental insurance.

Choose a Florida dental insurance company that has a good track of providing quality service and settling claims. Many companies do not deliver on their promises. So it important to get a few testimonials from other customers about the company. Once you buy your Florida dental insurance remember that it you duty to get the most out of your dental insurance policy. Be partner in your own oral health. Read the benefits leaflet and other information booklets provided by the company to find out what you are entitled that under your plan. Keep the company informed about the treatment options availed of and check with the company for any changes made to plan after you bought. Do not assume anything. Always ask customer care executives when in doubt.

If you avail of treatment which you are not eligible for and then seek payment you will not receive it. Always note the restrictions and annual limits so you can plan your treatment accordingly. So check with the company what is the limit up to which they will cover your case and then choose the best treatment option that is right for you even if it is not covered under your Florida dental insurance.

Business Development Training: Follow Up Business Opportunities

Consider the scenario of a business networking event. These are superb sources of leads and referrals that can be the life blood of your business. The business skills you develop in this arena can easily be applied in any business scenario. Assume you have engaged in conversation with a good potential contact. Once you have created a positive first impression start the interesting chat about various areas of common ground. By careful listening, you may identify an opportunity to do some business to your mutual benefit at some later date. You are looking for the moment when someone says something to you to make you think, “Ahaa, there’s a potential business opportunity here.” Suppose you are a business development consultant who specialises in the food industry and who has a good track record in helping companies to increase their margins. If you were asking all the right questions such as “So how you finding things at the moment?”, and you hear the answer “We’re doing reasonably well but we don’t seem to be getting the efficiencies in the factory.” That is an Ahaa moment.

Can I mention again, that networking using business development skills isn’t selling; it’s building business relationships, and gathering business information?

This should be the start of the follow up business development process which is as follows

1. Ask for their business card and read it carefully.

2. Always find something to comment on; maybe the spelling of their name or perhaps they have their business in a particular part of town which you know intimately. It doesn’t matter as long as you show them that you are interested in them, their business and their circumstances.

3. Now this is a key moment. Ask if you can phone them next Wednesday or Thursday to discuss the problem they have with their margins. You can say something like “Now isn’t the time or place, but maybe your problem is a simple issue which I can give you some help on”. The chances are if you have made the right impression, the answer will be “yes”.

4. Bear in mind all the time that if you don’t ask the question then you don’t give the other person, with the business opportunity, a chance to say yes.. You will be at your most popular at this juncture. If you have done it all right, are you really going to waste a great opportunity? Not every business event and not every person you meet is going to turn into a business opportunity but if you are awake alive and alert, listening attentively and with empathy… you just never know.

5. Write down on their business card the day you have agreed to call and let them see you do this. This shows that you are serious and the chances are you’re likely to do it. At this point, there is no reason whatsoever not to excuse yourself in one of several ways which we will show you another time.

6. As part of the bridging process ensure that when you get back home or to your office or even before you leave the business networking event write down where and when you met the person a quick description of them and any salient facts which you may use at a future date to show them that you are truly listening to what they had to say.

7. When you make the follow up call as agreed, review the business card or refer to your business development software if you use it and confirm that they were happy for you to follow up. If you had picked up that the person was going away for weekend then make sure that one of the questions you ask is “How did the weekend go?” I’m not asking you to remember these details. What I am doing is asking you to write down some small talk facts that you gathered on their business card. It helps break down their barriers to talking about business.

When I ask my audiences “what is the most important thing with regard to business cards?” the normal answer I get is “make sure you carry plenty of them with you”. Of course you know now that the most important thing is to ask for theirs. Offer your business card by all means, but don’t be too quick to do this. I think it’s a little pushy and it’s another form of saying “aha you want to know all about me don’t you. Here’s my business card”. It just may be that they don’t want to know all about you … not at that moment anyway. There’s a lot more to say about business development training and in particular working the room but you can find out about that on my other articles.

Take note that business development and networking is about giving first and receiving second. If you go into it thinking “What’s in it for me and what am I going to get out of this tonight” then the chances are you won’t succeed. If you ask questions such as

· “How can I help you?”

· “Who would you like me to introduce you to?”

· “How will I know if someone I’m talking to will be a good introduction for you?”

You will be showing them you are a proficient and skilled business networker.

Dr. Albert Scweizer once said “Give without remembering and receive without forgetting”. That should stand you in good stead when you’re out there looking to create new business opportunities.

How to Do a Custom Pioneer Car Audio Install

Pioneer car audio install can be done by you. You do not need a professional to come and take your money while it is so easy to plan how to achieve a successful Pioneer audio install. I have used the word plan because installing any car audio requires exactly that. You need to spare some time and employing lots of concentration will go a long way to help you achieve your goal. Firstly, you need to consider what Pioneer audio you are installing. They may be stereos, speakers, amplifiers, subwoofers, or even subwoofer boxes. Some of the most tricky to install are speakers and amplifiers. Your chosen Pioneer car audio systems should reflect what you want to gain from the systems. They need to be of the right fit and of very high quality.

Firstly, you need to consider where to get the information that you need. The guides may be in form of manuals or they may be print outs from sites or downloads. Whichever your source is, make sure they have the right information to guide you. Apart from being concise and legible, they should be accurate. If you need to have images to direct you, there are DVD’s available to help you go step by step as you install your Pioneer car audio. Make sure you read on the various tips that are available for each car audio product you plan to install. Going through the manual in a car audio store will ensure that those hard or complicated steps are solved by the store staff. You therefore need to visit stores with staff who know about in depth details of a particular product.

Once you have all the information that you need, it is time to go to work. Get the tools that you may need. These tools may be crimping tools. These tools are used with a hammer to crimp terminal into wires. You also need connectors like butt slice connectors. You also need terminals like spade and ring. If there is any soldering to be done, which there usually is, be prepared with the appropriate tools. Take your time to make sure that every detail is in the correct order. For people who wish to rush through things blindly, this is not for them. You need to forget about other things and concentrate especially when you are doing the wiring as you undertake Pioneer car audio install.

When you have done your installation and everything does not work out as you hoped it would, it is not a time to give up. Slowly go through the procedures again and you will find the reason why you went wrong. If this does not work also, look for a professional who is trained to do this and hand over the job to them. The bottom line is to get the car audio safely installed in your car by whichever means possible. There are so many Pioneer car audio install manuals from their site and you can register to receive even more information through your email. When you are content with your results, congratulate yourself for doing a good job. You will feel so good when you know that you have a car audio system installed in your car, that will not disappoint.

Be Prepared When Operating a Home-Based Business

That might very well be. But there are also many people whose dream of working at home has turned out not to be the stuff of fairy tales.

Mostly, this is because they were not prepared to operate a business from their home. If you operate a business from your home, the first thing you have to do is think of it as a business, not as simply another room in your home. You should have a separate office, a designated computer that no one else in the family is allowed to use. In short, you need a place of business, even if that place is just off your living room.

When you are setting up your home business, try to think of what you would do if that space was not located in your home. If you were renting an office, what paint would you choose, what kind of furniture, lighting, phone, office equipment, carpeting. Just because you have decided to work from home does not mean your office shouldn’t operate or look like an office. While it should be comfortable place, you probably don’t need an oversized couch and a flat screen TV for when you want to take a break.

At the same time, don’t make it so austere that you don’t want to be there. You should invest in a comfortable computer chair and a computer desk. Good lighting is essential, so don’t skimp here. Don’t make do with an old milk crate when what you really need is new shelving.

One of the first things any new business owner should do is get organized. Make a detailed list of everything you need for your home office. A big complaint of people who work from home is that they can never find anything they need. That creates unnecessary stress. Buy that filing cabinet even if it’s ugly and use it. Oftentimes people who work at home find keeping organized one of the biggest challenges.

Where to put your office is another consideration. For many people, they don’t have a choice, and usually target a spare bedroom. Some more modern houses have a designated office, which is usually separated from the high-traffic areas of a home. Apartment dwellers have added challenges for finding office space and may not have a separate room. Do as much as you can to make give your office is own space and its own personality.

If you are serious about your home business, or it expands far more quickly than anticipated, it might be a good idea to tack on an addition to your house or convert a garage space or basement space into an office. Especially if there are children running about, having an area away from activity is vital—and less stressful.

Because computers have problems and office equipment breaks, it’s a good idea to know ahead of time who to call if something happens. It’s probably a good idea to have every file backed up at all times and have an old back-up computer available as well. In today’s world of internet businesses, many business owners would be completely lost if they didn’t have immediate access to another computer if their main one was disabled. Little things, like good lighting and keeping files organized can relieve a lot of stress and make working from home the dream you always envisioned.

Weight Loss – Factors That Affect the Rate of Weight Loss

One thing that puzzles many dieters is how some people can lose weight at an extremely quick pace, while others seem to struggle onwards week after week.

What makes some people practically shed the pounds effortlessly while others cannot seem to have any luck?

There are a few factors that can contribute to the weight of weight loss you may experience.

Here are the big ones to consider.

Amount of Lean Body Mass

The first determinant of how quickly you lose weight will be the amount of lean body mass you have. If you’re relatively light, you aren’t going to require all that many calories to maintain your weight, hence you’ll have to eat even fewer calories to lose weight.

Those individuals who are have a very muscular build will be able to consume more calories on a daily basis and therefore will not have to diet quite so hard to get weight loss moving.

Unintentional Daily Activity

The next factor that will come into play in terms of how easily it is for you to lose body weight is how ‘unintentionally active’ you are. This basically means how much you walk around during the day, how much you get up out of your chair, how many times you take the stairs versus the elevator and so


Those people you see who are always fidgeting along are usually the ones that produce the greatest daily calorie burn, thus weight loss becomes much easier for them.

Hormonal Profile

Finally, the last factor that relates to how quickly you’ll find yourself losing weight is the hormonal profile you have in your body.

For example, when you diet hard for a long period of time, you’re more likely to experience what’s known as a ‘metabolic slow-down’. Virtually this is your body sensing that it’s running low on fuel and switching to conservation mode.

For you, this means a rapidly decreasing fat loss rate and increased difficulty even getting the scale to budge.

In order to fix this solution, you’ll have to restore certain hormones – namely leptin, back to a healthy level where the body no longer feels as though it’s really struggling to survive.

The best way to go about doing this is to incorporate in daily or weekly ‘cheat’ or refeed meals, as these will give the body a good reason to start burning calories again.

If instead you just continue to diet hard, you’re likely to find that it’s not going to matter much what you do – that weight is there to stay.

So, keep these three main points in mind. Weight loss can be a lot easier than you think if you learn to optimize your body to get the results you’re looking for.

An Ammo of Fiber to Enhance Your Beauty

All of us want to look beautiful and attractive. We do everything within our ability to achieve the charismatic look that we dream of. Beautiful, glossy hair is one of the vital features of beauty for both men and women. Unfortunately, some people experience the nightmare of hair loss.

What are the causes of Hair Loss ?:

One of the simplest reasons for hair loss is a rise in testosterone levels in the body. Imbalance of testosterone can happen due to various factors like severe illnesses, traumas, strong medication and so on. In women, pregnancy or anorexia or even a simple deficiency of iron can cause severe hair loss. Certain illnesses cause permanent hair loss, while others do not. In any case, looking charming and beautiful becomes a challenge for such people. Wigs emerge as the best alternative.

Types of Wigs:

A hairpiece or a wig can be made in different ways. Some of the types of wigs are:

• Monofilament,
• Cranial Prosthesis,
• Lace,
• Hand-tied,
• Dermafix,
• Human hair wigs.

Wigs may be cheap or expensive depending on the material used to make them. Integration pieces are a variation of wigs. An integration pieces works really well as an add-on for your hair. Some people prefer integration pieces or head wraps as an alternative to wigs or hairpieces. The advantage of using an integration piece or a head wrap is that that you can fasten it into your hair with the help of small clips. So you can use a different piece every day, if you like it that way, and add to your charm.

Wigs Are Like Lifesavers:

Using wigs is a sure way of blooming back to life for those who suffer from baldness or hair loss. Convalescing patients or bald people find it really hard to move with others when they lose hair. Their confidence, smiles and joy-all are gone with their hair! They refused to interact. There have been instances where people went into several frustrations and depressions because of hair-loss. Their self-worth takes a big hit. Using wigs salvages them from such loss. A well groomed hair boosts your confidence. It also adds an enviable extra luster and sheen to your personality. Wearing a wig is like wearing an armor for self-defense against the inquisitive onlookers. It gives a feeling of completeness and well-being.

The wig is the Scorer:

There are complex treatments, which can also be very expensive and time consuming. There are synthetic and natural oils on the market with a promise to grow well groomed hair. But wig is certainly the top scorer because it is completely hassle-free. It does not involve any surgery. You do not have to take any pills and live in the fear of their side effects. Neither do you need to use sticky and smelly oils and hope for a miracle to happen. If you are using a wig, you can change styles as often as you please. You can choose from a variety of options. And, what's more-you can continue to create a new 'you' to trick the jealous eyes of others.