Colorful Kinesio Tape Stands Out at 2012 Summer Olympics

Kinesio tape is the colorful, bright, neon athletic tape seen on tons of Olympic athletes in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Designed to promote blood flow, support muscles, reduce fatigue, enhance performance, and lessen injury, this advanced, evolved, and stylish athletic tape has taken hold among the world’s top athletes.

Beach Volleyball Olympian Kerri Walsh Kinesio TapeThe 2012 Summer Olympics captured the hearts and attentions of spectators and fellow athletes across the entire planet. The pageantry, athleticism, and determination of this year’s athletes have left the world in a state of wonderment. But mostly, I’ve found people just wondering, “What’s with all the colorful neon tape the Olympic athletes were wearing?”

 

Olympic Javelin Wears Kinesio TapeI saw them too, on Olympic divers, sprinters, javelin throwers, and even draped across the shoulders of U.S. Women’s Beach Volleyball Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh. This bright neon athletic tape called Kinesio tape, or Kinesiology tape, made Olympic headlines this year, on athletes from almost every country, across almost every discipline! Their interesting colors and unique styles gave the athletes an extra bit of flair that couldn’t be ignored. The funny thing is, this innovative and stylish athletic tape has actually been around for decades!

Kinesio TapeDeveloped in the mid-1970s by Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist Kenzo Kase, Kinesio tape is athletic tape evolved! Designed to mimic the thickness, weight, and elasticity of human skin, Kinesio tape, like those produced by SpiderTech, works with the body’s sensory system to promote blood flow, lessen muscle fatigue, improve rehabilitation, and reduce injuries. With their pre-cut and muscle-specific construction, you can target areas and muscle groups much more easily with SpiderTech Kinesiology Tape, than with any other type of athletic tape, zeroing in on the problem, and keeping specific muscles loose and in working order. Perfect for training or competition even at the highest levels, as our Olympic athletes aptly proved.

For years, Sports Unlimited has offered Kinesio tape by SpiderTech, for almost every area of the body, in all of the coolest neon colors available.

  • Elbow Kinesio Athletic TapeAnkle Kinesiology Tape helps to prevent shin splints, ankle sprains, and arthritis, and is perfect for runners, sprinters, jumpers, and team-sport athletes.
  • Lower Back Kinesiology Tape stretches up and across the lower back, preventing joint strain, disc injuries, muscle pulls, and painful spasms that can come from overuse in almost every sport out there.
  • Elbow Kinesiology Tape gives you relief from tennis or golf elbow, and muscle strain without restricting your movement in some of your favorite sports or activities.
  • Knee Support Kinesiology TapeGroin Kinesiology Tape extends down the muscle group, helping with groin pulls, weak or torn adductors, and muscle imbalance, perfect for runners or cyclists.
  • Hamstring Kinesiology Tape can be placed directly on the back of the leg for instant muscle support for strained or weak hamstrings, improving feedback and muscle timing.
  • Total Kinesiology Knee Tape is the ultimate leg and knee support system, designed to surround the knee cap with the supporting tape, to reduce arthritis, patellar tendinopathies, patello-femoral joint instability, ligament strains, and meniscal degeneration.

By Brandon Porter.

Brandon is a product specialist at Sports Unlimited.

Field Hockey Olympian Katie O’Donnell Talks Sticks, Shoes, and Summer Camp with SU

Katie O’Donnell, 2012 field hockey Olympian, visited Sports Unlimited to talk about her incredible accomplishments, most memorable moments, and her long history with SU. She talks at length about the equipment she uses as center for the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team, and gives great advice to other athletes on choosing field hockey sticks, field hockey shoes, and even colleges for student athletes!

Between her rigorous training schedule, and packing her bags for London and a date with Olympic destiny, U.S. Women’s Field Hockey center Katie O’Donnell recently found some time to stop by Sports Unlimited for a day of interviews and reminiscing.

Before becoming an international field hockey sensation, joining the U.S. Women’s Team, beating first ranked Argentina in the 2011 Pan American Games, being named Sports Woman of the Year in 2010, and dominating the game at the University of Maryland (bringing home 2 NCAA championships in the process), Katie was just a little kid playing around the original Sports Unlimited store, and hanging at our Field Hockey Summer Camps.

“I remember her running around the fields while games were going on, and that blond pony tail was bobbing up and down.” said Sports Unlimited CEO Don Ball. “We used to run camps for field hockey and lacrosse during the summer, and Katie’s mom was our camp nurse the one year. Katie was too young to participate, but we let her take part anyways, and she was a star waiting to happen then.”

With a great start in the game, and an endless drive to push herself and her skills further, Katie took the high school, college, and international field hockey worlds by storm. She shattered records at Wissahickon High School, and later at the University of Maryland, competing in tournaments around the world and leading the pack time and time again.

It was at the University of Maryland, after a tournament, that she received the news from her coaches that she’d be going to the 2012 London Olympics with the U.S. Womens Field Hockey Team.

Advice for Field Hockey Players

Talking with Sports Unlimited, Katie was happy to give out some personal advice to our wide audience of field hockey players.

When it comes to field hockey sticks, Katie prefers something a little longer, for extra reach, and high carbon content, for a strong hit. She plays with Princess field hockey sticks, but admits that in most cases, the most expensive stick is not necessarily “the best stick.”

Elite-level sticks are typically stiffer, with high carbon content, to give top players like Katie, more power in their hits. These sticks are incredible in the hands of a professional, but for developing players, or players with softer hands, expensive, top-level sticks can actually be a detriment to your game.

Katie also shared some insight into choosing field hockey shoes, explaining that your playing surface should determine which shoes to choose.

Flats are typically better suited to indoor field hockey, while turf shoes or cleats should be used on grass or turf fields. Always preferred playing in Asics field hockey shoes, Katie and the rest of the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team are taking to the Olympic fields in Asics Lethal Shot Turf shoes.

To help develop field hockey skills, Katie suggests some great drills everyone can perform in their own backyard. She hones her stick handling skills by using a golf ball, and challenges herself to improve ball lifting and 3D skills by putting obstacles (including her dog) in the way.

Finally, Katie left us with some amazing advice to the next generation of field hockey stars. She’s been through it all, and believes kids should diversify their athletic life, to avoid single-sport burn out. At the end of the day, sports should be fun, and for her, it’s always been important to keep that in mind. Challenge yourself, push yourself, do it all, and take it all seriously, but at the end of the day, have fun doing what you do!

From all of us here at Sports Unlimited, we want to thank Katie for coming back and taking the time to talk to us, tell some stories, dispense advice, and share her expertise with our staff and customers everywhere. Good luck in London Katie! We hope there’s a bit of gold around your neck the next time we see you!

brandon porter
By Brandon Porter.

Brandon is a product specialist at Sports Unlimited.

Kate Middleton the New Duchess of Field Hockey

Kate Middleton plays field hockey with the 2012 British Olympic Field Hockey Team, and even scores a goal!

If golf is truly the game of kings, then it seams field hockey is now the game of Duchesses, at least as of Thursday. That afternoon, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, took to the field hockey pitch in London’s Olympic Park to join the British Olympic women’s field hockey team in a practice for the upcoming 2012 games.

Kate Middleton Field HockeyA former captain of her high school field hockey team, Kate admitted it had been awhile since she took a field hockey stick out for a swing. But once she changed out of her street clothes into some less glamorous sneakers and a sweatshirt (although she still decided to keep her skin tight coral jeans on), and started handling the ball a bit, she seamed to relax and let her old talents resurface.

“The last time I played was 2005, maybe. ” Middleton said. “It feels like I haven’t held a stick for 10 years. This is going to be so embarrassing. My brain thinks I can do all these wonderful things but my body just doesn’t play ball.”

Playing, laughing, and shooting around with the British field hockey team and Olympic team captain, Kate Walsh, (as well as hordes of reporters and media also in attendance) Middleton flexed some of her old field hockey muscles, and even managed to score a goal…albeit on an empty net, and after four tries, but hey, she’s a Duchess now, so we’ll give it to her!

Kate Middleton high school Field Hockey career
Kate's high school field hockey days

Kate had asked to join the British Olympic field hockey team as part of her role as Olympic ambassador for the 2012 games, and although her new royal title doesn’t afford her much time to play regular team sports, she admitted that it’s a part of her old life she desperately misses.

“She told me that she missed playing as part of a team,” Kate Walsh said. “She also told me that she used to hit the penalty corners and you could see that. She got low and her shots were really sweet.”

Dita GIGA G1 Beginner Field Hockey Stick

Kate Middleton’s highly publicized visit has shed some additional light on an already growing sport, in both the states and across the pond. But although field hockey continues to gain traction amongst kids and adults, many parents and players are still unsure of the game and the rules. But by far the most complicated, and in turn the most important piece of the puzzle, is the field hockey stick. Although Kate plays with an elite level Adidas X24 Touch stick, it’s important to understand that just because a field hockey stick is more expensive, or more elite, doesn’t mean its right for you! Because field hockey sticks are made with a wide variety of materials, from wood to carbon, they all play differently. Less expensive wooden and composite sticks are less powerful, but are also a lot more forgiving for the new or Grays GX9000 Field Hockey Stick for Elite Playersdeveloping player. On the other hand, expensive rigid, carbon and fiberglass sticks pack a ton of power in an unforgiving package, perfect for the well-trained, elite player like Kate (Or more accurately, like the 4th ranked British Olympic team). So if you or your daughter wants to play like a Duchess, just remember that you don’t have to spend like one! Look for a stick that works for your game…don’t just think that the most expensive is undoubtedly the “best.”

For more information on how to buy field hockey sticks, check out our field hockey stick buying guide, or browse our wide selection of field hockey sticks for beginners, competitive, advanced, and elite players.

By Brandon Porter.

Brandon is a product specialist at Sports Unlimited.