A Universal Sports Training Aid Changing the Game

 

Athletes everywhere are always looking for a way to gain that extra inch, half second, or mile per hour that will change their game. Across all forms of athletics, sports training aids have been a way for competitors to increase strength and improve form through repetition. One of the more common types of training aids is a resistance device using weights or weighted equipment.  We have all seen the baseball bat weighted ring, a weighted basketball, or one of the countless golf training tools. But what these all have in common is that they are sport specific. Younger athletes are often involved in a multitude of activities, playing different sports every season of the year. This has meant you were buying different training aids for different sports, filling your garage up with gadgets that were going to get your son or daughter a full ride. One company addressed this issue and designed a weighted training aid that work for a variety of sports like never before.

This company was LaceUp, and their idea was the Training Lace. This bendable, weighted “Lace” allows you to add weight to your bat, stick, wrist, racket, and more! Available in several different weights, the Training Lace is making an impact across the sports spectrum. Originally designed as a weight for a lacrosse stick, the Training Lace has become more dynamic than was originally thought. Now it is being worn by  basketball players and swimmers on their wrists, tennis players on their rackets, baseball  and softball players on their bats, as well as ice and field hockey players on their sticks. The list seems to be continuously growing, and new ways to use this little device are being developed every day.

What makes the Training Lace so valuable beyond its versatility  is its adjustability. Specifically looking at it as a baseball training aid, this bat weight is different than your traditional ring. Unlike other baseball bat weights, the Training Lace does not move on contact, thus keeping the swing smooth which allows you to maintain form. The other unique feature is that you can move the weighted lace to different areas of the bat to focus on specific parts of the swing. Put the Lace on the middle of the bat to target bat path and plane. Move it down towards the handle to work on getting the “knob to the ball” and preventing you from letting your hands lag or drag. Using the Training Lace in batting practice or the cages can lead you to see an immediate improvement in your swing.

LaceUp has designed a product that truly can benefit athletes everywhere. From youth sports to the professional level, the Training Lace develops strength that will enhance performance. Lace up your training regime with the Training Lace today.

Written By Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited

 

Best Baseball Backpacks – Top 5

With baseball season upon us, players everywhere will be grabbing their gloves, bats, and cleats to head over to the nearest diamond. Keeping track of all your equipment can sometimes be a trying task, particularly if you’re in a rush out the door. Today’s top Baseball and Softball brands have addressed this issue, taking the convenience of a backpack and combining it with the effectiveness of a traditional equipment bag. The Batpacks, as they are often referred to, have become a staple for most players who need to transport their gear from place to place. With space for bats, gloves, cleats, and helmets, these bags keep everything together in an organized fashion.

But deciding which Bat Backpack is going to suit your needs best can be as complicated as hitting a curve-ball. To make this process as easy as possible, we’ve put together our Top 5 Baseball Backpacks from the leading manufacturers. Broken down by their different design features and value, choosing your next bag is simpler than ever.

  1. Mizuno Organizer G4 Batpack

The Mizuno Organizer G4 is the perfect bag to start our Top 5 because it is
the perfect bag for a baseball beginner. Complete with all the standard features like dual bat holders, felted valuables pocket, and J Hook fence clip, this backpack has space for the essentials. This bag is ideal for newcomers in part because of its simplistic design. It gets what you need, where you need it, without complication. It is also at a price point that allows you to confidently purchase, knowing you’ve got a great value from a brand like Mizuno.

  1. Louisville Slugger Series 7 Stick Pack

The Series 7 Stick Pack from Louisville Slugger is an excellent option for any ball player. With plenty of room for all your gear in the main compartment, an additional cargo pocket in the front is great for those who require extra space when headed to the ball park. Two Neoprene bat sleeves offer additional protection to your bats during transport, and the padded back straps make this Backpack comfortable to carry. Easy to load from the top and available in 8 different colors to match your team colors.

  1. Under Armour Undeniable Batpack

Under Armour has quickly become one of the most popular brands in baseball. What’s noticeable in the Undeniable Bag, as with their other products, is that performance driven technology is featured in all of their designs. Using the same water resistant STORM treatment found on their rain gear, this backpack was developed to keep your equipment safe and dry. Space for 4 bats and a helmet/cleat specific compartment lets you store everything you’ll need.

 

  1. DeMarini Voodoo Rebirth Backpack

The DeMarini Voodoo Rebirth is an exceptional combination of performance and value. Loaded with features that are found on more expensive bags, the DeMarini is unsurprisingly one of the most popular bags on the market. A generously large main compartment, neoprene bat sleeves, and vented cleat compartment are all wrapped in a waterproof shell. Spacious, durable, and easy to transport, the DeMarini Voodoo Rebirth is a standout amongst others.

  1. Easton Walk-Off Backpack

It’s no coincidence that Easton named their most popular bag the Walk-Off, as it’s undeniably a winner. Two stand out features make this our top pick in a very competitive market. Firstly, Easton has designed an external helmet holder that has freed up valuable space for you to store more equipment inside the bag. Secondly, an additional external padded compartment in the back is ideal for large valuables like a laptop, or extra clothes. The addition of these two space increasing designs, paired with today’s baseball backpack standard features, make the Easton Walk-Off our first choice in getting your gear to field.

Written by Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited

Breaking Down the Wilson A2000 Game Model Gloves

There is no arguing Wilson’s place among the leaders when it comes to producing high end baseball gloves. Countless Major Leaguers turn to Wilson for their glove needs, speaking volumes to the quality and performance of their products. When you think of Wilson baseball gloves, the first thing that comes to mind is the A2000. Since it was first released in 1957, the Wilson A2000 has become the benchmark for professional gloves. It was the first of its kind with a large web and broad pocket, and would be the foundation for every glove developed by any manufactures from that point on.

Fast forward to today, and you’ll see the likes of Dustin Pedroia, Miguel Cabrera, and Robinson Canó all wearing A2000’s as they compete with the world’s best. As you would expect, every pro has a particular fit and feel that they prefer. Wilson have always been persistent in acquiring feedback from professionals, allowing them to develop an improved product. Some of the headliners on their roster of MLB players have even been giving their own Game Models, which are produced for the masses. It should come as no surprise that these particular gloves have become some of the most popular on the market. If it’s good enough for these guys, surely it’s good enough for me?

So as you prepare to purchase your very own Wilson glove, perhaps you want to know a bit more about what makes these Game Models different from the standard A2000. One thing you can expect from any of these gloves are a few of the cornerstones that come with any A2000. This includes the premium pro stock leather, selected for its durability and feel. Dual Welting, which adds two strips of leather to back of each finger to provide structure and stability as the glove breaks in. And finally, the Dri-Lex wrist lining keeps the hand dry and free of moisture.

What sets the Game Models and standard gloves apart can usually be broken down into a few categories. Colors, web styles, and fit are the three ways most pro’s make these gloves their own. Color being the simplest to understand, most choose a colorway that matches their team or gives a traditional look. Jose Altuve features navy and orange leather to match his Houston Astros uniform, while Clayton Kershaw has opted for the traditional all-black.

With today’s gloves, there are endless ways to lace up your web. When it comes to the Game Models on the Wilson A2000, each player has chosen their own particular web that suits them and their style of play. Miguel Cabrera has gone with a signature V-Laced pattern on a wider single post web, allowing him to lock the ball in the pocket. Clayton Kershaw has selected a deep and closed 2-piece web that allows him to conceal the ball and any grip changes, granting him the element of surprise.

The final way professional ball players have personalized their game model gloves is with the fit. No one is more particular with this category than Golden Glove Second Baseman Dustin Pedroia. Wilson developed the “Pedroia Fit” specifically for him, as his smaller hands required some custom features. This included a lower finger divider, narrower opening, thin heel pad, and longer laces. The Pedroia Fit is available on three A2000 gloves, one of which features Wilson’s SuperSkin, designed to lighten the glove without sacrificing durability.

While you may not be fielding ground balls at Fenway Park anytime soon, that doesn’t mean your glove is any less important. Described by Jose Altuve as his “tool”, he carries his glove with him on the plane any time he travels. We know you feel the same way about your glove. Check out Sports Unlimited large selection of premium gloves from Wilson, Mizuno, Rawlings, and More, to find the perfect glove for you.

Written By Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited

Best Youth Catchers Sets – Top 5

One of the toughest decisions made gearing up for the 2017 baseball season is which equipment is best for those behind the plate? As kids continue to grow, sizing always becomes important, not to mention the significance of safety. Today’s top baseball brands all manufacturer youth catchers gear sets to simplify the shopping process. These catchers sets all include a helmet, chest protector, and leg guards. One question that still needs to be answered, what is the best youth catchers set for me?

With such a wide variety of manufacturers and different lines, it can be a bit overwhelming deciding which set of pads to purchase. You can visit our Catchers Gear Buyers Guide to see exactly was size you’ll be looking for. Once you have that, you can review our selection of Top 5 youth catchers sets, to see which best matches your needs.

5. Louisville Slugger Series 5 Youth Catchers Set

The Series 5 youth from Louisville Slugger is everything you need from a youth catchers set. Featuring a hockey style mask that offers excellent protection and a moisture-wicking chin pad that keeps your little leaguer comfortable. The Chest protector is made with a high density foam and quick release over-the-shoulder harness make for east on and off. Complete with the double knee design shin guards for extra protection. The Series 5 youth is perfect for a team set, or someone just learning the position. With a variety of color options and a friendly price point, the Louisville Slugger youth catchers gear set is an excellent value at number 5.

4. Easton M5 Qwikfit Youth Catchers Set

The M5 Qwikfit youth set offered by Easton certainly had parents and coaches in mind during its design process. The greatest feature to this set of helmet, chest protector, and leg guards is undoubtedly the Qwikfit strap system. Developed specifically to make for easy adjustments by the player, no longer are coaches or parents forced to help players get ready to go onto the field. This is particularly important if the set is being shared by a team with kids coming in different shapes and sizes. Offered with a range of other features that you would find on a higher level set, including steel wire cage for improved visibility, multi layer perforations to keep you cool, and a TruBlock anti-roll designed leg guard that increase stability and protection. All of this, plus a reasonable price, make the Easton M5 Qwikfit youth gear our recommendation for the ideal team set.

3. All Star System Seven Youth Camo Pro Catchers Set

The All Star System Seven Youth Camo Pro Catchers Set is everything is sounds like and more. This set offered by All Star is essentially their professional level pads scaled down to fit a youth player. Everything from removable liners and an I-Bar vision cage on the helmet. To moldable protective plates in the chest protector and a Patella Plus gel knee pad in the shin guards. This catcher set has all the bells and whistles, and will outperform most sets like it. It finds itself at number 3 for one simple reasons. This set was designed for serious players, and the pricing reflects that. For most players at the youth level, this is probably more than they need. But if your a serious player on a travel ball club, than the All Star System Seven catchers set is the one for you.

2. Under Armour Junior Pro Youth Catchers Set

Under Armour has quickly become one of the most popular brands when it comes to baseball equipment. The reason for this is their dedication to designing cutting edge products that perform and protect. The Junior Pro catchers set follows in that tradition and provides an excellent option for all youth players. The helmet comes with the I-Bar vision from professional helmets with a sleekly designed ABS plastic shell. The chest protector has plastic inserts for extra protection and a customizable strap and harness system for optimal fit. Triple knee designed leg guards are extremely comfortable with 38 ventilation ports. Carefully designed from head to toe, the Under Armour Junior Pro could easily have been number, but still remains an excellent choice for any youth ball player.

1. Mizuno Samurai Youth Catchers Set 

As our top choice for youth catchers gear, the Mizuno Samurai is easily the most popular set offered by Sports Unlimited. A perfect combination of protection, performance, personalization, and price; it’s no surprise the Samurai is king. All the features you’d expect from a top pick; including 3-Layer EVA foam padding in the helmet, patented detachable wings for a customizable fitting chest protector, and flexible lightweight leg guards. What sets the Mizuno Samurai apart is the wide range of color options. No other set comes with a variety like the 17 colors offered by Mizuno. This allows you to match your team, or stand out. At a price that is competitive with the other top catchers sets, the Mizuno Samurai is our top pick for youth catchers gear set.

Check out all of Sports Unlimited Youth Catchers Gear

Written By Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited

Why don’t more Pros use Nokona gloves?

As you turn on the television to watch your favorite ball club battle it out for 9 innings, one thing there’s no shortage of is brand logos. From outfield walls to athlete cleats, a wide range of sporting good companies pay top dollar to catch your eye. Many house hold names like Nike, Under Armour, Wilson, and Rawlings are easy to spot, as the game’s best put them on every day. But one brand many baseball enthusiast may see missing, is that of the historic Nokona.

Now if you didn’t grow up playing baseball or softball, you may not know who Nokona is. Specializing in premium gloves, you certainly wouldn’t find these gloves on a clearance rack at your local sporting goods store. But if you have grown up around the sport, than the name Nokona will more often than not be associated with quality and craftsmanship.

This small company based out of Nocona, TX has been making baseball gloves for over 80 years. Since 1934, gloves have been handcrafted in the United States, emphasizing quality above all. Ask great Nolan Ryan about Nokona, and he’ll tell you the story of buying his first Nokona glove as a kid. What has separated this company over the years, from other larger brands, is their commitment to only make and produce gloves in the United States. The founder Robert Storey once said the day the he had to import gloves was the day he’d quit and go fishing. Gloves from Mizuno, Wilson, and Rawlings are all produced throughout Asia, and brought in to the US market. While this is no knock on their quality or performance, many put value on where their glove is made.

Being a small company, Nokona has always fought for a place in the spotlight. In the early 2000’s, investors came to the manufacturer with hopes of growing the brand to a much larger stage. Efforts were made, and money was spent on endorsement deals with team and players. Things were looking up and the name began to circulate outside just those most enthralled with the sport. But then came the economic down turn, and with it went the cash flow. Struggling to stay operating, Nokona was forced to scale back all their marketing efforts.

Nokona is now owned by parent company Cutters Sports. They specialize in gloves of a different kind, and can be seen on the hands NFL players every Sunday. But this new ownership has not changed the product, or where and how it’s made. They continue to make a premium glove for all ages, using only American materials and labor. You will see a handful of up and coming MLB and Minor league players using Nokona gloves, headlined by Chicago White Sox second baseman Tyler Saladino and Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher Jerad Eickhoff. But it is unlikely you will see headliners donning the iconic Nokona Indian logo anytime soon, as endorsement deals continue reach astronomical figures. Instead, Nokona will stick to what they do best. Making great gloves in America, for America’s pastime.

While you may not see many Major Leaguers wearing Nokona gloves, that doesn’t speak to their quality or performance. Ask anyone who has owned a Nokona glove, and they will likely speak of it as if it were a long lost love, rather than a piece of sporting equipment. Scroll through today’s forums, and you will hear the overwhelming praise sung by Nokona owners as they describe the quality felt every time you put on the glove. Making both softball and baseball gloves, the Nokona brand has won the hearts of many ball players over the years, and looks to continue to do so in the future.

 Written by Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited

It’s in the gear: Roberto Perez

As Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen were mowing down hitters one-by-one during Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night, you had to wonder… maybe it had something to do with the target.

If the All-Star System 7 Catcher's Gear set is good enough for Roberto Perez, it's good enough for you.
If the All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Gear set is good enough for Indians catcher Roberto Perez, then it’s good enough for you.

Behind the plate was unquestioned Game 1 hero Roberto Perez, clad in his All-Star Catcher’s Gear, managing his pitchers through the most important game of the season. The Indians catcher watched as they struck out 15 batters, cooling off a red-hot Chicago Cubs team that had just plated 23 runs in three games to reach the Fall Classic.

Perez provided the pop on offense too, clubbing a solo shot in the fourth to fire up the Cleveland fans early and adding a three-run blast in the eighth to essentially put the game away.

Was it in the gear? Perez was wearing perhaps the best catcher’s set in the game. The System 7 is chosen by catchers across the highest level of baseball for its incredible level of craftsmanship and exceptional durability. The two-toned helmet is both stylish and lightweight, while the chest protector provides a consistent rebound.

While his pitchers weren’t missing the zone often, Perez had the support of triple knee protection in his shin guards to block errant balls. A four-point harness system allows for the best fit and oversized perforations keep players from overheating. It’s a set that’s been popping up around the major leagues and for the second year in a row is showcased in the World Series.

So what are you waiting for? Also offered as a camo catcher’s set, the System 7 is one of the most popular pieces of equipment at Sports Unlimited. Check it out, along with our vast selection of catcher’s gear, today!

 

New 2015 Baseball Gear is Here

With new 2015 baseball gear from Easton, Evoshield, Rawlings, Wilson, and more, our baseball selection is living in the future, but available today. With brand new bat technology such as the Easton Torq and Mako series as well as new glove designs and colorways, 2015 will be a year that showcases the future of baseball. There’s no doubt that the best new baseball gear gives players a level of confidence that can’t otherwise be found, but the real trick to becoming the best is by practicing like the best.

One of our favorite pieces of gear this year is the Little League World Series Catcher’s Gear Set from Easton that was used in this past year’s LLWS. Using Easton Mako Chest and Leg Protectors as well as an advanced M7 Catcher’s Helmet, this catcher’s set is one of the best in the world and has the design and performance to back that up. Staying protected behind the plate is completely vital to being able to make successful plays and the LLWS Mako Set makes no sacrifices in protection while being designed to get the best performance possible from making snap throws, to blocks, to keeping cool and comfortable for the entirety of the game.

With multiple colorways, you can choose your team colors or just your favorite colors to make you stand out as the games best catcher. When it comes to youth baseball equipment, it doesn’t get much better.

Little League World Series Mako Catcher's Set

Get your 2015 gear early and get training.


LEAGUE WEEK: A New Deal Every Day

It’s League Week here at Sports Unlimited, which means that there is a new deal every day on NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL products. Our Fan Gear section of our site has tons of incredible gifts for sports fans. Whether you are looking for a personalized MLB jersey, a tiny Penn State Christmas Ornament, or something to hang in the Man Cave, we’ve got thousands of options.

Check in each day for the rest of the week to see what we have in store! Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is next week and wouldn’t it be nice to have your Thanksgiving meal without having to worry about what gifts you’re going to buy this year? Get it all done now with League Week.


Isaac’s Bonus Gift Tip: If you know a college football fan, get them a a full-size NCAA helmet from their favorite team. Best_Gift_Ever for a football fan.

Black Friday – Cyber Monday at Sports Unlimited

It’s that time of year again! If you can hear the Jingling Jingle of Jingle Bells then you might want to see a specialist because your ears probably aren’t meant to be experiencing sensation like that, but no matter! This is the Black Friday/Cyber Monday post that you’ve all been anxiously waiting for…

BFCM  is usually a mad scramble for the best deals in stores and on the internet, but hopefully you’ll at least spend a little time with your family.

Here’s a crazy idea: Get all of your shopping out of the way at one place, save a bunch of dollars, and have the ENTIRE day or weekend to spend with your family and friends.

Apply these limited time saving to anything in the store from lacrosse equipment to baseball gloves to football cleats.

Well, with that said, check out the image below for details on our BFCM sale and click anywhere on it to get to our store and take advantage of the deals.

 

Black Friday Cyber Monday Sporting Goods

 

 

 

By Isaac ClarkIsaac is a Turkey Elf at SportsUnlimited.com

Unlimited Potential Project: Ryan Marquez

The Unlimited Potential Project is going to shine a spotlight on some of our Sports Unlimited athletes around the world to acknowledge their sporting achievements because family involvement, community involvement, and playing sports we love are such important parts of life.

Relatively new to SportsUnlimited.com, I (Isaac) have been striving to provide content on the blog and e-commerce site that is engaging and positive for the sports community in general.  While it does help for SportsUnlimited.com to sell products, the idea is to not just provide the newest, coolest, and best products to the customer, but to provide the right product that will make that customer the happiest.  This has led me to develop a side project that allows me to have a bit of fun and not sell, sell, sell with something I’m calling “The Unlimited Potential Project”.

The Unlimited Potential Project is going to shine a spotlight on some of our Sports Unlimited athletes around the world to acknowledge their sporting achievements because family involvement, community involvement, and playing sports we love are such important parts of life.

I am very happy to announce that for the first ever Unlimited Potential Project post, I will be highlighting a remarkable 10-year-old boy from Carrollton, Texas…

Ryan Marquez

Ryan Marquez - CatcherTeam: Brooklyn

League: North Texas Little League

Favorite Team: Texas Rangers

Favorite Player: Nolan Ryan

Favorite Active Player: Mike Napoli

Hits: Switch (L/R)

Throws: Right

Ryan plays ball for Brooklyn in the North Texas Little League and has had quite the year.  Primarily a catcher, Ryan has also put in some time as a pitcher and third baseman, but his favorite part of baseball is, in no great surprise, hitting!  Using his skills as a switch hitter, which he has honed since he was just five years old, Ryan leads the team in RBIs.  Through natural athleticism, great focus and instruction from his hitting coach, JT Blair, Ryan has had many keys hits this year to help his team to a 12-1 record, which has Brooklyn tied for 1st place in the league.

Ryan Marquez

One example of his prowess as a hitter occurred early in the season with a lot on the line. In a game against arch rival Yankees (12-1), Ryan was up to bat with 2 outs and the game tied.  Providing Brooklyn with some clutch hitting that the team has become accustomed to seeing from Ryan, he drove the ball to the opposite field and went on to win the game by a score of 6-5.  Being able to achieve consistent success for the team in critical situations signifies the drive and the ability of an extraordinary player even at such a young age.

Hitting can often times affect the result, but defensively, the skill of the catcher affects the game every single inning.  The catcher must work with the pitcher, block pitches, block the plate, throw out runners attempting to steal, and keep the defense in control of the inning.  Ryan’s poise behind the plate has come to him not only because he has the innate ability of a catcher, but because he practices hard and trusts his protective gear.  His father, Joe Marquez, and some of the other coaches have worked with him over the past year on getting quickly to his knees and taking short hops and bad pitches off his chest protector.  When we see major leaguers, not so much Mike Napoli anymore, but perhaps someone like Yadier Molina, blocking a bad pitch in the dirt, we take for granted how difficult it is to willfully put our bodies in the way of a pitch to prevent runs.  Ryan, through his desire to help the team in any way he can, does just that, in what he calls, his “Samurai Warrior Gear“.

Ryan_making the tag

With remarkable intuition and secretive hand signals with his first baseman, Isaiah Escalona, Ryan uses ‘snap throws’ to pick off unsuspecting runners who have strayed off base.  If you fall asleep on first, Ryan and Isaiah will get you out before you even realize it happened.

With clutch hitting, smart defense, and all-around athleticism, Ryan is a Little League All-Star in his league and an Athlete of Unlimited Potential for SportsUnlimited.com.  We are proud to highlight Ryan’s year and wish him and Brooklyn the best of luck in the playoffs.

I’d like to extend special thanks to Ryan’s very gracious father, Joe Marquez, for his willingness to participate in the project.

Do you think you or your son/daughter is an Athlete of Unlimited Potential?

Shoot me an email at iclark@sportsunlimited.com with your story and for all of your youth catchers gear and other baseball needs, shop Sports Unlimited!

By Isaac ClarkIsaac is a writer at Sports Unlimited.