How to Become a Powerful Influence On People

How Influential Are You?

Have you stopped lately to think about what level of influence you have on people? To put it another way; Do people listen to you and respect your opinion? This is especially important on your job, whether you are rank-and-file or in management. People follow leaders, whether they hold a title on their job or not. If you are not able to persuade people, and win them over to your way of thinking, you may be relegated to the lower rungs of society.

Every day we are presented with opportunities to influence others. It may come in the form of a law enforcement officer ready to issue you a ticket, or your boss challenging parts of your presentation, or when you have to return a pair of shoes to the department store without a receipt. How you handle these everyday challenges, in turn, help or hurt your ability to shine in high profile situations, where your persuasive skills are on display for all to see.

Your Most Powerful Tool

Do you want to know the most powerful tool you have at your disposal when it comes to influencing people? I learned and perfected this strategy over a 4 year period, while working as a contracts negotiator for the Department of Defense. I must have learned my lesson well, because I was named one of the top negotiators in my area, and received the coveted sustained superior performance award for high level achievements.

This tool is so powerful, most people (on all levels of organizations) completely miss it, yet it has been proven to be extremely effective in studies after studies. What is it you ask? It is the "psychology of a smile." That's right; a smile. Why is it so powerful? Because it has no language barriers-none. I have tested this theory all around the world. No matter where I travel, every single person, in every language understands its message. A smile is the universal language of winners. The reason I call it a tool is because, like any tool it works in the right situation.

It was President Abraham Lincoln who said that a man is extremely responsible for the condition of his face. How true this is. So the next time you are tempted to use the tool of anger during one of your daily challenges, try employing a simple smile instead, and see if the results are different. I have used it on flights across the country, and witnessed flight attendance to be more attentive to me v. others. I have used it when I really should have gotten a ticket for speeding, only to get a warning to slow down. I have used it at restaurants and watched servers be just a little kinder to me and my party, over all others. I have watched frowns turn to smiles, simple because I took the time to smile.

The Smile Strategy

Do not dismiss this as some flaky strategy used by flakes and geeks. The "smile strategy" has been used effectively by such greats as Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Oprah Winfrey, Melinda Gates, Nelson Mandela, Richard Bronson, Warren Buffet, Barack Obama, Napoleon Hill, Angela Merkel, Michelle Obama, Laurene Powell Jobs, and so many more.

Do you want to become a powerful influence on people? Then start with a smile. Watch stunningly successful people (even in your immediate circles) and you'll see that they have a tendency to smile more than others. Frank Irving Fletcher wrote that; a smile cost nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

Conclusion

One of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal when it comes to influencing people is simply to smile .. A smile is the universal language of winners.

© 2014 Cubie Davis King. All rights reserved. Unlawful to duplicate or use in any way with the express written permission of the author.

World Cup Schedule 2007 Tells Everything About The Tournament

World cup tournament has a special place and name in the field of cricket. No one can afford to miss this tournament as there is a lot of excitement and action seen in this tournament. In order to have a hand on each and every type of information of world cup 2007, cricket enthusiasts needs to have world cup schedule 2007 with them. The reason behind this issue is that world cup schedule 2007 tends to answer all the questions and queries of fans without any hassles. This information is of prime importance for fans, as they are able to make certain preparations before handed. After all, any of the ardent cricket fans would not like to bear that they might miss the important match of their favorite team.

World cup schedule 2007 gives a lot of information to the fans, so that everyone can make adjustments in their working schedule for catching all the matches. With the help of world cup schedule 2007, you and other fans would be able to know the date of commencement of this tournament. You must be aware of this fact that without knowing about the start date of the tournament, you will not be able to make plans for this big event. As this tournament comes after every four years, every one will have some or the other interests regarding it and would like to make preparations accordingly.

Along with the start date of this world cup tournament, there are a lot many things that can be known through world cup schedule 2007. You can also have knowledge about the venues where the matches of world cup tournament takes place. It is always important to know about the venues because if you are planning to visit that place, you can make preparations for that well on time. What happens if you are not aware of the world cup venue in advance and gets to know it just at the nick of time. You would obviously be deprived off from supporting your favorite player.

Details about the teams and players participating in the world cup tournament can also be checked out from world cup schedule 2007. This type of information will not just inform you about the number of teams participating, but also about the players that are included in the team. Like this, you will be able to know that is your favorite player included in the team or not. Sometimes, it may happen that if your favorite player is not included in the team, you may shrink from watching this biggest tournament. And if he is included, then you will be watching the matches with keen interest and check out that your favorite player is becoming a part of that team’s win or not.

World cup schedule 2007 can be checked out at various mediums that are available in the market. Cricket fans try to have access to those mediums that are easily available to them. Some of you may like to check out world cup schedule 2007 at internet. Well, this facility is best suited for working professionals who do not get time to catch the action live. Many others look for world cup schedule 2007 in mews papers, news channels or magazines. Well, the main aim of getting this information is to keep you updated on the details of world cup tournament.

Soccer Cleats For Kids

Soccer is one of the kid's favorite sports. Soccer is the kind of game that requires immense energy and kids are just full of it. They do not stop, they do not get beat and that is just what soccer needs. And choosing the perfect pair cleats for them is the parent's responsibility. For kids, such cleats should be chosen which should be a perfect fit as well as comfortable. The feet of kids are still deficate and need protection. Although kids play in grass field mostly if they happen to play in a place with water or ice on the surface, then cleats help in skidding and advances from slipping as much as possible. Know all about the cleats before choosing the perfect one for your kid.

When looking for the cleats keep these things in mind. Make sure that the cleats you are choosing are a good fit, not even a little bit loose or tight. If it is loose it can affect the performance and if it is tight then it can give cramps to the kid's feet. Also, make sure that they are durable as well. Kids apart from playing also do a lot of running. The upper portion should be tight to give a proper fit, but not too tight to squeeze your toes. The cleats should be strong to end all that. Also, small kids look after legend players as their role model and try to adapt their style, also demanding the same kind of cleats worn by these players. Kids just go crazy for them.

Do not confuse soccer cleats for other sports cleats. Every sport has its own type of cleats which is specifically made accordingly for the game. For basketball have cleats in front of them which are helpful in digging. In football they are present on the edge and bottom. They are different and heavy. Soccer cleats are lighter in weight compared to cleats of other sports. It comes in a low cut style only with its cushioning removable as well.

Cleats are detachable and can be attached again. The cleats at the bottom are made of different materials like metal tipped, rubber and plastic. For kids safety, it is better to provide them with rubber or plastic cleats. Metal-tipped cleats may weigh a little more and can be harmful if came in contact with other player's skin. It can leave rashes or bruises to children's delicate skin.

The material is also a matter of when comes to soccer cleats. Leather and synthetic materials could be a little heavy if you are looking for ultra lightweight shoes.

Do not go just on looks. If you find a cute looking pair of cleats then just do not buy them on impulse. Ask your kid to try them on first, make sure it is comfortable and a good fit, then only gives buying it a thought. Do comparisons first if you find the same cleats with the same quality at less rate, then just do not pay for the name of the brand.

The Art of Defence

Defence is an art that the best coaches in the world consider more important than any other aspect of the game. Covering positions, making timely tackles and even springing the offside trap well is key to stopping teams from scoring. After all, what good is a team that can’t defend a 2 or 3 goal lead even.

It was the Italians who decided to take it upon themselves to make defence an art-form, moving away from the physical aspect of defending and bringing in technical prowess. Until the Italians brought finesse into the picture, defending was all about out-muscling the opposition and crunching tackles.

It was the capability to constrict space and restrict movement that led to the rise of the Catenaccio style of play.

HELENIO HERRERA

Not many may remember his name but Helenio Herrera was a French-Argentine player and, later, manager who was one of the biggest names in football coaching during the mid-20th century. Having played for teams like RC Casablanca and Stade Francais, Herrera retired from club football in 1945.

Herrera took up coaching and moved to Spain, where he became the team manager for Real Valladolid, Atletico Madrid, CD Malaga and even the likes of FC Barcelona. It was after his stint for Barcelona, in 1960, that Herrera moved to Inter Milan.

THE RISE OF THE CATENACCIO

It was during his stay at Inter Milan that Herrera decided to modify the way his team defended. He shifted to a 5-3-2 formation to improve his counter attacking style of play. A firm believer in hard work and strong work ethics, Herrera was known as the pioneer of psychological motivational techniques including team pep-talks.

Herrera also introduced the no-smoking & -drinking policy as well as controlling the diet of his players to make them true professionals. Herrera was also known to suspend a player for telling the media, during a press conference, «We came to play in Rome» instead of «We came to win in Rome».

A hard man, Herrera was slightly defensive in his playing style although his form of the Catenaccio was not as defensive as some the future mutations of the formation, when applied by Italian architects.

One of Herrera’s full-backs, the great Giacinto Facchetti, was testimony to the attacking style of Herrera’s Catenaccio that prevailed in that Inter Milan team. The team was built around the defence, with its main role being to absorb the pressure from the opposition before launching lightning-quick counter attacks.

Using his wing backs to overlap the midfield, Herrera completely transformed the way the world looked at attacking football. Not giving away too much at the back, the team became famous for squeezing out 1-0 wins, leading to the nickname Verrou, meaning «Door Bolt».

HERRERA’S LEGACY

Known as «Herrera’s Inter», the team would go on to win the 1963, 65 & 66 league titles, the 1964 & 65 European Champions Cup as well as the Intercontinental cup in both those seasons. Herrera also became the first coach to go on and coach three separate national teams, ending his career with a 48.57% winning record.

In his 908 games as a manager, which included teams like Inter Milan, AS Roma, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and CF Os Belenenses, Herrera lost just 241 games while drawing 226. In his 12-club coaching career, Herrera ended with a negative goal difference only three times – with Real Valladolid (-21), AS Roma (-1) and Rimini (-22). Each team was too weak at the time although Herrera did transform Roma into a championship winning team, getting the 1969 Italian Cup with a sub-standard line-up and his famous Catenaccio style of football.

THE «DOOR BOLT»

Unlike popular conception, the Catenaccio was not built to shut out opposition. The entire concept of play was to allow the opposition to attack, relentlessly even, before suddenly attacking on the counter. The team would play with five at the back, in a «V-shaped» formation, with the Libero or sweeper at the centre. As the opponents entered the «V», their attack would be narrowed down, restricting movement and space.

Once the ball changed possession, the defending team had a wingback on either side, already ahead of the advancing opposition’s midfield. That meant that the team could now push out, rapidly, by playing the ball out to these wingbacks, who would have loads of space to exploit.

EARLY MUTATIONS

While the Catenaccio was, itself, a mutation of the 5-4-1 system invented by Karl Rappan for the Swiss national team, the formation underwent a lot of transformation itself. Teams reverted to the original «Rappan-style» by playing the sweeper just in front of the goalkeeper and stationing a flat back-four in front.

Nereo Rocco, coach of Calcio Padova in the 1950s, was another who exploited the system. With three-flat defenders who man-marked the opposition, Rocco would play a playmaker in the middle, just ahead of the defence, alongside two wingers. While these three weren’t the actual midfield, Rocco’s style would use the sweeper behind the central defence as well, to double-team the stronger players.

The midfield would be in front of these three, with a solitary striker up front, leading to a 1-3-3-3 formation.

While Herrera also focussed on man-marking with four of his defenders, his defence was flexible in that it swung from right or left to make it a flat line on most times. This meant that four defenders, aid by the midfield, would effectively man-mark the opposition, which had already been herded through the middle. That left the remaining fifth defender – always a wingback, free to make runs on the counter.

ENFORCED DOWNFALL

Catenaccio had become the flavour of the month, in the 60s and 70s, catching the fancy of every coach on the world scene. However, it was one man who’s style of play brought Catenaccio to its knees – Rinus Michels.

When faced with the tight man-marking of the Catenaccio, Michels decided to remove the whole concept of playing footballers in fixed positions. He removed the boundaries that separated attackers, midfielders and defenders, teaching all his players to play in all positions. As attackers fell back to the midfield, or even defence, their man-markers were unable to leave their posts and follow in pursuit.

The fact that Michels had the crop of players that he did, to implement such a technique, was the only reason Total Football became a reality.

Catenaccio was no longer the primary choice anywhere as Total Football, or replicas of it, began dismantling defences with their speed and movement. Mediocre coaches, who followed rather than researched, were left with no choice but to fall to the wayside.

CATENACCIO MODIFICATIONS

Coaches who preached the Herrera principle looked to counter Total Football with a modification to the Catenaccio’s man-marking formula. The answer was quite simple, in theory – Zona Mista.

The Zona Mista was a concept that incorporated man-marking and zone-marking into one strong defensive strategy. While the concept still used the four man defence with the roaming sweeper, the difference was in the way the midfield and the fullbacks supported the defence.

The two central defenders, in the heart of the defence, would play zone-marking. The midfield would have a defensive midfielder, who was required to help out the defence by falling back. A central midfielder would play in front of the defensive midfielder while a winger (usually on the right flank), would support in attack.

Two strikers would play up front, one on the wide left, with one in the centre. The position of the wide striker was determined by the position of the winger – both being on opposite flanks. The winger would act as an additional striker while the wide striker would float in to make it a two-pronged attack.

When defending, the wide striker would come in to cover for the central midfielder as the latter would drop into a defensive position.

ZONA MISTA IN REAL LIFE

Italy – 1982

The most famous application of this formation was in the 1982 FIFA World Cup when Italy went into the tournament with this brand new style of football. Gaetano Scirea played the role of the sweeper to perfection while the attacking left back was a young 18-year old, who would later go on to become one of the greatest defenders of all time – Giuseppe Bergomi.

Gabriele Oriali played as the defensive midfielder, just in front of Fulvio Collovati and the man who stopped a young Diego Maradona – Claudio Gentile. Marco Tardelli played as the central midfielder while Bruno Conti was the creative genius behind Italy’s Zona Mista success.

While Antonio Cabrini played at the front wide position, it was Paolo Rossi who came into the main striker’s position.

Italy’s success led to an increased use of the Zona Mista although the application remained mostly in the Italian leagues. Teams, in Europe, found it hard to beat this fantastic combination of man- and zone-marking, keeping the Italians ahead of the rest. However, there was always the need of a great striker to take care of the few chances that this format would create – something that most teams lacked.

Italy – 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004

More recently, Cesare Maldini employed the Catenaccio form of play in Italy’s 1998 FIFA World Cup campaign. Needless to say, Italy played defensively, without creating too many waves, eventually getting kicked out in the Round of 16, through penalties. His successor, Giovanni Trapattoni, also employed the same tactics in the 2002 FIFA World Cup as well as in the 2004 European Championships.

In both cases, Italy failed to make any significant progress although Trapattoni would go on to prove his critics wrong by leading Portuguese side, Benfica to the league title.

Dino Zoff, whose team successfully used the Zona Mista in 1982, was the Italian coach in Euro 2000 when Italy went in with the same tactics. This time, Zoff managed to take the team to the finals of the tournament, losing to France through a Golden Goal.

Greece – 2004

Greece used the same format under Otto Rehhagel, at the 2004 European Championships, and successfully so. Greece won the title with numerous 1-0 wins through the knockout stages, all thanks to a heavily defensive style of play.

BAD PUBLICITY

The Catenaccio was often on the receiving end of criticism from the rest of Europe primarily due to the boring style of football that it promoted. The Italians were said to have made the game «unattractive» however practitioners of this form of football always had results to further their faith in the system.

In most cases, the reason behind the criticism was said to be the inability of most teams to break down such defences, especially in crucial European ties, leading to a loss or a draw that they could ill-afford.

THE MODERN DAY SCENARIO

Catenaccio is a dormant formation today. With both man-marking and the sweeper position going out of style, what with the faster pace and television coming into the picture, teams are rarely known to implement such a format today.

You may see the odd variation of this formation when weaker teams go up against stronger opposition however the success of the Catenaccio or the Zona Mista is largely dependent on the quality of the defenders and the wingbacks.

The more physical format of the Catenaccio finds few followers even in the technical format of the Italian league while other formations, such as the 4-1-2-1-2 (midfield diamond) and even the 4-3-2-1 (Christmas tree) formations can be attributed, albeit loosely, to the Catenaccio.

Teams that go down a man or more, are also known to exhibit similar playing patterns although the true form of Catenaccio remains buried under a pile of demands for attacking play.

MISUSE OF THE TERM

In today’s scenario, you often find commentators, even some pundits, refer to the Italian game as the Catenaccio style of football. The latest example was the game between Barcelona and Inter Milan, at Camp Nou, during the second leg of the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Unfortunately, Jose Mourinho’s tactics were nothing like the Catenaccio style, albeit defensive. Down to ten men, Inter simply held a lower midfield to aid their defence, nothing more. They did was what needed and even Barcelona, with all their firepower, couldn’t break through. It has to be said that while Mourinho knew exactly what he was doing, there was absolutely no connection with the Catenaccio style of defence.

Commentators, especially Englishman, are known to refer to the Italian defensive style of football as Catenaccio, irrespective of whether the team follows the format or not. Catenaccio has become synonymous with defensive play although few understand the true meaning of the term, sadly, even the pundits make mistakes.

At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Italy were down to 10-men while playing Australia in the Round of 16. They defended heavily until a winner came in the form of a Francesco Totti penalty, late in the game. An English newspaper, «The Guardian», famously wrote, «The timidity of Italy’s approach had made it seem that Helenio Herrera, the high priest of Catenaccio, had taken possession of the soul of Marcello Lippi.»

What the reporter failed to notice was that 10-men Italy were playing in a 4-3-2 formation which was just a man short of the regular 4-4-2 that they had started with – Daniele De Rossi, the midfielder who was dismissed.

THE FINAL WORD

Like all good things, Catenaccio also had to come to an end. With its end, like with everything else, rose many new formats that are, till date, being practiced by coaches around the world. While the Catenaccio may have been laid to rest with the modern day television’s demand for exciting football, coaches will always fall back to their learning of this system when struggling with their backs against the wall.

Until the next time a British commentator mentions «Catenaccio» in the wrong place, Happy Defending!!!

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Football Betting – End-of-Season Games

Everyone loves a trier, especially when it comes to putting down your readies. There’s nothing more galling for punters than to realise that your selection was ‘not off’ and that you’ve not even had a fair run for your money.

Blanket television coverage and the greater transparency of the betting exchanges have raised awareness of the ‘non-trier’ issue in horse racing, but football punters need to be on their guard too. It’s clear that all is not well in the world of football, judging by the recent match-fixing scandal in Germany involving referee Robert Hoyzer, ongoing investigations into some Italian results and irregular betting patterns on obscure European and international matches.

Thankfully, the consistency of results in the bigger leagues (and especially in England) indicates that there is no reason for lack of punter confidence. The main problem – as in horse racing – lies around the margins, in those matches (or races) not subject to the full glare of the media spotlight and where skulduggery is less likely to arouse suspicion.

All very trying

However, my research suggests the ‘non-trier’ issue does rear its ugly head towards the end of the season, even in the major leagues. Most leagues are competitive enough to ensure they go right to the wire in the battles for championships, places in Europe and safety from relegation.

But, inevitably, some teams have nothing left to play for in the final weeks of the season, which is where problems can arise.

The last few weekends of a league season feature three types of match:

1. Matches between two teams with nothing to play for.

2. Matches between two teams with something to play for.

3. Matches between one team with something to play for and one team with nothing to play for.

Out of focus

The commitment of either team cannot be taken for granted in the first category, so the most sensible betting strategy towards the end of the season is to focus on categories two and three.

Matches in the second category should be assessed using your usual techniques. (Anybody who doesn’t know needs to read our football betting articles on inside-edge-mag.co.uk – Ed), but the best betting opportunities often lie in category three, where there’s always the potential for a ‘non-trier’.

This isn’t to suggest that anything underhand takes place in these games, merely that a slight drop in focus by one team can make all the difference in a competitive league such as the English Premiership.

There may be many reasons for this drop in focus – including the widely held view that some players are ‘on their holidays’ before the end of the season. It’s equally likely that, given the demands of modern football, a player who has been carrying an injury will be rested once his team has nothing left to play for, or that there may be some easing off in training sessions. Whatever the reasons, our results at the bottom of this article show a team with something to play for is more likely to win a match against a team with nothing to play for.

Across the top three English divisions and the major European leagues that we analysed (Spanish Liga, German Bundesliga and French Ligue 1), these matches usually produce a win rate of 50-60% for the team with something to play for, and a win rate of 20-30% for the team with nothing to play for. The stats vary a bit from year to year and league to league, but overall are pretty consistent.

It’s a bone of some contention that such figures offer conclusive proof of the non-trier effect, but there’s one crucial piece of supporting evidence that swings the issue for me. If there was no link between the results and one team’s urgent need for points in such matches, we’d expect a higher win rate among higher-placed teams than those struggling near the bottom, since that’s what has been happening during the rest of the season. In fact, the win rate of teams battling to avoid relegation is abnormally high in such matches at the end of the season – virtually on a par with the win rate achieved by teams at the top of the table who are chasing titles, places in Europe or play-off slots.

Fight for survival

For example, the last five seasons of the English Premiership have produced a win rate of 55% for teams with something to play for. That figure does not vary, no matter whether the team is in the top six or the bottom six.

It’s a similar story in other leagues, though the win rate of relegation-threatened teams in such matches does tend to be slightly lower overall than that achieved by teams near the top of the table.

So, do these stats alone offer a good betting opportunity? The simple answer is no, but there are some refining touches that can put these figures to good advantage.

Let’s look at the overall picture first. A 55% win rate would give a tidy profit margin if the average odds available were evens, but that’s unlikely to be the case in matches where one team has something to play for and the other team doesn’t.

Taking the games that fell into this category last season in our featured leagues, a level-stakes bet on all the teams with something to play for would have brought a small loss. This was due, in part, to last season’s lower-than-average win rate by these teams, but a more significant factor is the reduced odds that punters are asked to accept on such teams.

How to beat the odds

The bookmakers generally factor in the ‘nothing to play for’ syndrome when pricing up end-of-season matches, though a few do slip through the net. If you’re good at making your own book on matches, you can spot these matches – otherwise, you will find it difficult to make a profit backing blind on the teams with something to play for.

The counter argument, of course, is that the value lies in backing against these sides, given that teams with nothing to play for will be available at artificially inflated odds in such matches. This doesn’t hold water, though, due to the lower win rate of these teams. The problem for punters, as outlined earlier, is to know whether these teams will be trying hard enough – the evidence suggests that, on the whole, they won’t be.

How, then, can we beat the odds? Well, a little more delving into the statistics puts more flesh on the general assumptions often made about end-of-season matches.

Starting at the top, the late-season records of league champions are very revealing. There’s clear evidence that, once a title has been secured arithmetically, there’s a widespread tendency for champions to take their foot off the gas. Last season, for instance, the Spanish and German champions were confirmed with two games to play – Valencia and Werder Bremen, the respective winners, then promptly lost their last two games.

This is far from an isolated example. In 2001, Manchester United lost their last three games, having run away with the title, though it has to be said that they had finished with four straight wins when in the same position the previous season.

Overall, however, the record of already-crowned champions suggests they’re prone to easing up once the race is won. In the leagues analysed here, the win rate of champions over the course of the season usually exceeds 60%.

Once the title has been secured, however, this dropped to an average of 57% over the past five seasons. And the fall is even more dramatic in games where they face a team with something to play for – their win rate then averages just 45%.

A ton of profit

In general, then, it’s worth opposing already-crowned champions. Last season, in the leagues featured here, this approach would have yielded a 24% profit to level stakes. If you had concentrated only on games where the opposing team still had something to play for, the strike rate in opposing the champions would have been 100% and the profit a whopping 125% to level stakes.

The only caveat is to be wary of any factor that may cause the champions to keep the pressure on – one example is Arsenal last season, when they were Premiership champions with four games to go but were keen to maintain their unbeaten record. They did so, but with only a 50% win rate in their last four games (two wins, two draws).

Another factor might be when a lower-division side is chasing a landmark such as 100 points – that was the case with Wigan Athletic in the old Division Two in 2003, when they reached three figures with two wins and a draw, even though they were already champions.

Knowing that champions ease off once they’ve nothing to play for, it’s easy to assume already-relegated sides must be even more prone to this. Again, the reality is more complicated.

Bottoming out

Overall, in the leagues analysed here, relegated teams have a 23% win rate once they’re mathematically doomed – pretty close to the average expected from relegation-zone teams over the course of the season. In other words, they don’t fall apart once all hope is gone.

In fact, relegated teams actually have a surprisingly good home record in the final weeks of the season. On average, they manage a fairly even split of wins, draws and losses at home and in none of the leagues does their number of home defeats outweigh the combined number of wins and draws – making relegated teams always worth a look on the Asian handicap at home, as they’ll rarely, if ever, be giving up a start to their opponents.

Where they perform very badly is away from home. Even more markedly, they’re usually lambs to the slaughter (home or away) versus teams still with something to play for. Their loss rate in such matches is 70% and, in the past five seasons, no relegated team recorded a single win in this type of fixture in the top leagues in France, England and Germany.

That 70% loss rate is equivalent to the odds on their opponents being around the 2/5 or 4/9 mark. The bookies are stingy about such teams, though you could still have made a profit last season backing against the relegated teams in such matches. With extra selectivity about the odds you’re prepared to take (no less than 1/2, say), the potential exists to make money on these games.

Middle-of-the-table teams is an area to tread warily. While the stats show punters generally can rely on sides scrapping for top places or battling against relegation, this isn’t the case with teams marooned in mid-table for the last few games of the season, with no incentive to move up and no fear of dropping down a few places.

The final word

In the leagues analysed here, the win rate of mid-table teams in their final games doesn’t appear too bad, averaging 33%, which is broadly in line with their overall seasonal record.

The picture isn’t so rosy, however, when the figures are narrowed down to games against teams with something still to play for. The win rate of safe mid-table teams dips to 26% and their loss rate goes up to 49% (from 41% overall).

In the end, end-of-season betting all comes down to the odds available. Pricing up these games is a difficult process, and it’s impossible to come up with hard-and-fast rules about when to bet or what odds to accept. An appreciation of the underlying stats is important, however, because end-of-season games aren’t governed by the normal rules of form and are a law unto themselves in many instances. The one golden rule is: be sure you know your selection will be trying.

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League of Legends Detailed Review and Advices for Beginners

Hi community!

Today I would like to introduce to you one of the most successful free to play – games: the double Golden Joystick – winner «League of Legends» by Riot Games!

League of Legends is a MOBA-Game (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), which is oriented towards the famous Warcraft 3 – Map «Defense of the Ancients».

For those who never played DotA (are there any?) and who don’t know the game concept I will explain it in detail:

The beginning

League of Legends doesn’t put high requirements on your PCs. You need at least:

– processor with 2 GHz – 1 GB RAM, – DirectX 9.0 capable video card, – 750 MB free hard disk space, – DSL or similar

Create an account either on the server EU West, EU Nordic/East or US, depending on where you live. You can also create an account on US while living in Europe but you will experience higher pings then. I give you a link to create an account in my author’s bio. Choose a name (always the hardest part) and a nice picture and off you go!

The Champions

There are 2 teams 5 players (there are more game modes, but they are not important in the beginning because as a newbie you should start with 5vs5 to learn the gameplay). Before every match you all choose a «champion» who is the character you want to use in battle. Dependant on your personal preferendes it can be e.g. an undead mage, a giant granite golem, a little boy riding on a Yeti, a brave knight and many more.All in all there are more than 80 (!) different champions and every second week one is added.

Every champions has 4 different abilities (3 normal and one extra strong, the «Ultimate») and a passive, which he has since the beginning. You learn the abilities by leveling up ingame and your max champion level is 18 which means that you have 5 points in every normal ability and 3 in your ultimate.

You receive experience for levelling up by:

1. Being near when enemy minions or neutral monsters are killed by your troops (it’s not necessary to kill them yourself!)

2. killing or assisting to kill enemy champions

In the beginning you generally play whatever you like, later it’s useful to communicate with your teammembers before the match begins so that you have a balanced setup and not 5 champions of the same kind.

The different kinds of champions are roughly:

1. Mages («AP Carries»: AP means ability power, they mainly deal magical damage with their abilities)

2. Fighters («AD Carries»: AD means Attack Damage, they mainly deal physical damage with their autoattacks)

3. Tanks (They are hard to kill and protect their own carries, for example by stunning or taunting the enemies)

4. Supports (They have either buffs or heals to support their carries and keep them alive)

5. Junglers (They don’t start in the lane but in the jungle and support their teammates by ganking and ambushing the enemies)

The interesting point is: Depending on the items you equip on your champions they are often able to fulfill different roles!

In the beginning you don’t have own champions, but every week there are 10 free ones which everyone can use. After some matches you can buy more champions with influence points (IP) in the shop. I will come to this later.

The map

The map has 3 different lanes, which lead from your own to the enemy base. On these lanes there are several Towers which you must destroy before you can attack the base itself. As a support your main building («Nexus») spawns minion waves in short intervals which help you in fights. Between the lanes there is the «jungle», where neutral monsters are located. If you kill those you receive gold and/or temporary buffs.

As soon as the match begins everyone has about a minute to spend his starting capital on items in the shop.

This doesn’t take long since you don’t have much gold in the beginning. There are different ways to earn gold in the game:

1. Everyone receives gold over time

2. Killing enemy minions or neutral monsters (here it is important to give them the final blow, the so called «lasthitting»)

3. Killing or assisting to kill enemy champions

4. Destroying enemy buildings (towers and inhibitors -> destroying them makes your minions stronger)

5. There are several items which grant you additional income (the so called gold/5 items -> they give you 1 gold every 5 seconds)

The goal

If you destroy the enemy main building (Nexus) your team wins. For being able to attack the Nexus, however, you have to destroy all 3 towers and the inhibitor on at least one lane and the two towers which protect the Nexus. So it’s not the best idea to hunt the enemy champions 24/7 if you don’t push the lanes at the same time. An average match takes 30-45 minutes, rarely more than an hour. As soon as the match reaches minute 20 it is also possible to surrender.

More game modes are a 3vs3 and a pretty new domination map («Dominion») where you have to capture and defend certain points. In addition there are ranked modes for players with summoner level 30 (explanation follows) in which you receive an Elo count depending on your wins and losses. For beginners I highly recommend the normal 5vs5 map!

The summoners

League of Legends also has an RPG part. You do not only choose a name and a picture for yourself (you are a so called «summoner», don’t mix it up with the «champions») but you are also able to level up yourself and buy small buffs with Influence Points (IP).

Every match you receive Experience Points (XP) and Influence Points (IP), the amount is depending on how long the match lasted, if you won or lost and if you had an active IP/XP boost. As soon as you have enough XP you level up and receive a mastery point and an additional rune space. With IP you can buy new runes and champions in the shop.

You start at level 1, the maximum summoner level is 30. Every level up you receive a mastery point which is used for buffing your champion ingame (like additional attack damage or armor). Furthermore you can buy runes with IP which have a similar effect. In one match you can use up to 30 runes (at level 30) but you can also change the runes after the match if you want to play another champion.

The last way how you as summoner have influence on your champion are the 2 summoner spells everyone chooses before the match. Those are abilities which are not connected to the champion you play and can be used at any time, for example a teleport or a heal.

To clarify this issue: Summoner = your account, Champion = the character you choose for the battle

The buffs don’t make that much of a difference but they add up and it would be pretty unfair if a player with level 30, 30 mastery points and runes would play against a beginner with level 1, no runes and 1 mastery point (not to mention the difference concerning gaming skills). That’s the reason why the system puts preferably players of a similar level together in one match. Unfortunately you can’t be sure about that because if a high level player starts a game together with a low level friend the system averages out. In this case it can happen that you have to play versus enemies with a much higher level. That’s uncool but can’t be avoided.

Riot Points (real money) Somehow Riot Games has to make money. Because of that you can buy so called «Riot Points» with real money. Those you can spend in the shop for champions, skins and other fancy stuff. Pretty much the only things you can EXCLUSIVELY buy with Riot Points and not also with Influence Points are skins (alternative looks for your champions). This means that someone who spends money for Riot Points doesn’t have the slightest advantage over someone who plays LoL for free!

To clarify again: Riot Points = bought with real money, can be spent in the shop, Influence Points = gained by playing, can be spent in the shop (not for Skins or IP/XP boosts)

LoL vs. DotA

Now that I have explained the game concept I will point out the differences between LoL and DotA:

1. There is NO «denying» (killing own minions so that the enemy can’t get gold or experience for them). This is a real change but I actually like it because it makes the game less passive (and to be honest how sick do you have to be to kill yur own soldiers?!)

2. Like already mentioned above the player himself (summoner) can also level up and get different buffs for his champions. Nice gimmick.

3. In my opinion cooldowns and manacosts are shorter/cheaper than in DotA which also leads to a more aggressive playstyle, especially in the early phase of the match.

Overall I still like to play DotA now and then because it’s just awesome but I have to say that LoL is a worthy successor, doing several things better. This is no surprise since DotA is limited to the WC 3 engine.

Advices gained in practice

I am no «pro gamer» but I play for nearly 2 years so here are some advices which shall make the start easier for you:

1. There are three tiers of runes. The first one is available right from the start, the seconds one as soon as you reach level 10 and the third one when you reach level 20. It’s pretty much waste to buy tier 1 or 2 runes since you will reach level 20 fast and there is no way to sell runes. So better only play the free champions in the beginning and save your IP for runes. If you have enough IP for buying at least one complete tier 3 rune page you can go on and buy some more champions you would like to play. You should keep in mind that it is not possible to sell champions so it would be better if you tested the champion first (e.g. when he is among the weekly free champions) to avoid disappointments.

2. Since LoL is free to play there are also some annoying fellows around. Fortunately there is a «mute»-function which makes them shut up. So don’t join their flame war if you encounter them – just mute them and go on playing in peace and harmony! The best option is to play with friends but that’s not always possible. /mute saved my life a Thousand times!

3. As long as you are new it is good to buy the recommended items for every champion. Later when you are more experienced and want to test new item builds or tactics you can find very good guides to every champion on MOBAFIRE.COM and LEAGUECRAFT.COM. I always visit them before I try out a new champion. As soon as you feel comfortable and self assured you can also visit the numerous streamers and watch how the pros are playing. I wouldn’t do it before level 30 though.

4. Nowadays many experienced players have smurf accounts. This means that you often meet enemies at your level who are far more experienced than you and kill you with ease. That is very annoying but once you are past level 5 the smurfs become less. And remember: if someone flames you, mute him, don’t give a **** and move along.

5. I strongly suggest playing the tutorial and the battle training to everybody since the basic tactics are explained there pretty well (even DotA veterans should play the battle training).

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