Best Summer Games – A Top Five List

What better allows you to be a friend, teammate, competitor, host, and inspirer of happiness than summer lawn games?  Well, there probably are other things that lend better to those roles, but heck, summer games are fun and can bring together a family and friends!  I remember, in my younger summers, sitting in a low, striped polyester beach chair in the back yard, holding a glass of iced lemonade to my nape and watching my cousins blow bubbles in the sun.  That child, hot and bored, wished for something a bit more exciting and fifteen years later, I happily present to you, the top five backyard games for this summer.

5. Badminton

An Odd Garden Variant of TennisCarlton Shuttlecock

If you haven’t seen the game of badminton before, you’re missing something extraordinary.  Reminiscent of 19th century England, the game consists of lightweight racquets, a net, and the illustrious shuttlecock.  The (usually nylon) feathers of the shuttlecock provide drag so that it decelerates much quicker than a ball, which means, no out-of-the-park home runs for any over-excited players.  Hit the shuttlecock in the air over the net until it hits the ground!  Easy to set up in the back yard or in a park, lightweight, and affordable, badminton is a great way to involve anyone and everyone.  Cheerio!

Try the Franklin Elite Series 4 Player Badminton Set

4. Volleyball

Sick Dig Bro! Wilson Softplay Outdoor Volleyball

Another net game, volleyball is an incredibly fun way to get some exercise.  Setting and spiking competitively or leisurely tossing the ball back and forth, this game works for everyone.  Learning this game also can have advantages when you come across a game of indoor volleyball, beach volleyball, or even water volleyball.  Make some memories this summer with family games of backyard ball in the sun.

Recommended volley ball set – Park & Sun Spectrum Classic

3. Toss Games

Did You Say Cornhole?Bean Bag Toss - Cornhole Game

At my desk, there isn’t much in this world more enticing than being outside with some buddies, baseball game on the radio, and tossing a bean bag with a cold beverage in my free hand.  I don’t know about you, but I’m a fan of relaxing and taking advantage of the warmer months.  Sometimes referred to as tailgate games, toss games are simple and require little set up.  Usually in the form of a bean bag, players toss the object underhanded at a target.  Rules depend on the game being played, but the simplicity and the game-day feel of toss games definitely put them on the top five summer games list.

Fun bean bag game for the family – Corn Toss by Sport Design

2. Croquet

Through the Wickets and into the Stake, Old Sport!North Meadow Scottsdale Croquet Set

With origins dating back 400 years, croquet can transport you through time.  Well, no.  But it is exciting, classic, and perfect for some backyard Saturday fun.  Whether you’re sporting knickers and argyle socks or some under armour shorts, any day with reasonable weather is a perfect day for croquet.  I had fun playing this ball and mallet game as a kid at my grandparents’ house in Maine and this summer I will be definitely getting into some croquet mischief, putting on an English accent, creating new rules, and competing feverishly with my young nephews.  Undoubtedly a winner, croquet is perfect for backyard hangouts.

Best seller –  North Meadow Scottsdale 6-Player Croquet Set

1. Horseshoes

Summer Just Got a Bit LuckierWD Horseshoe

Albeit strange, pitching oversized shoes of a horse is cool.  Ancient Grecians tossed them when they couldn’t afford a discus.  Soldiers threw mule shoes in Union Camps during the Civil War.  Abounded in history, horseshoes is a game everyone knows and playing it is easier than ever today.  All you need is two stakes and some horseshoes to pitch.  The skillful pitch of the shoe is not something that demands tremendous physical ability, which makes it perfect for players of all ages.  Backyard or in the sand, horseshoes defines the summer as the epitome of relaxing, fun, and memorable!

One of the best horseshoe sets around – WD Horseshoe Co. Glory Set

Now, where’s my lemonade?

By Isaac Clark

Isaac is a Lemonade Lover at Sports Unlimited.

How do you Find the Best Volleyball Set?

How to find the best volleyball set for you and your family. Look for a set that’s easy to assemble and breakdown, features a regulation sized net, and is appropriate for your budget.

The summer’s here, and it’s time to get outside with the family and friends! Now, you know as well as I do that nothing screams “summer” more than a little beach volleyball. But whether you’re hitting the sand or just looking for a friendly game in the backyard, you’re going to need a volleyball system to play!

Starting to look for a new volleyball set can get pretty confusing, with all of the selection out there and massive differences in price. You need to know that you’re getting exactly what you want, within your budget, and not going overboard or getting ripped off. With all of the variables and different volleyball systems to choose from, it can easily overwhelm you. So to help out, I’ve jotted down a few things to consider that can help make your buying decision easier.

1. Ease of Assembly and Breakdown

Park & Sun Volleyball SystemIf you ‘re like me, there ‘s been a time in your life where you ‘ve been the one in charge of setting up the volleyball net for the party. You go to set it up and the thing is just a mess. There are so many miscellaneous parts, strings and stakes tangled together that you ‘re not sure where to start.

Fortunately, most manufactures have smartened up and simplified the assembly process. No one does this better then Park & Sun Sports. From their top-of-the-line Pro Series Spectrum Classic Volleyball Set at $248.99, to their more affordable Sport Series Spiker Sport Volleyball Net at $72.99, every Park & Sun system comes with a heavy duty store bag with full zipper to make organization and storage a breeze.

Another great set that’s easy to set up, is the Cobra Volleyball Net System at $409.99. The Cobra does not require any guy wires to install.  This makes setup quicker and allows for safer play. The net easily adjusts to get firm tension on the net.

2. Size and Height of Net

Although there are different sizes to choose from, I always recommend going with a regulation size net. A regulation net is 39 inches tall and about 31 feet 2 inches in length. A good guide is to make sure the net is 3 feet tall and longer then 31 feet long.

volleyball4

The height of the net for men’s regulation play should be from the ground to top of the net, 7 feet 11 5/8 inch. For women it should be at least 7 feet 4 1/8 inches high. Some sets are manufactured with telescopic poles so you can easily raise and lower the net for men ‘s, coed and women ‘s play.

3. What do I get when I shell out more for an expensive Volleyball Set?

The more expensive sets have stronger, thicker poles to increase the rigidity (aka firmness) of the net. The posts are also made with better materials. Some used aluminum instead of plastic. This allows for better “ball out of net play”. I higher sticker price also typically gets you a better net. You get thicker tape on the top and bottom of the net and also the actual netting is more durable and of better quality. This again leads to better overall play.

I hope with these simple tips make your buying decision a little easier. If you have any questions, please click here for more information.

By Mike Neff.

Mike is the Director of E-commerce at Sports Unlimited.