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 Mouth Guards – Top 5

When preparing for participation in a contact sport, one thing you certainly don’t want to go light on is protection. If its football you’re gearing up for, you wouldn’t want to run onto the field without a helmet and shoulder pads. And while some protection is obvious, one the most important pieces of equipment across all sports comes in a small package. The mouth guard, mouthpiece, gum shield, or whatever you want to call it, is essential in protecting athletes heads and their beautiful smiles.

We’re all familiar with $1 yellow mouthguard that you would boil the morning before the game and probably lose before the day was over. They were bulky, uncomfortable, and you couldn’t speak with it in your mouth. But like most articles of sports equipment, the mouth guard has continued on a path of development, making it safer and more comfortable than ever. Today’s mouthpieces are lighter, allow for easy breathing, come in flavors, and can even be a fashion statement with their wide range of colors and patterns. Athletes everywhere, from basketball, football, rugby, lacrosse, hockey, and more are protecting their grills with one of these new mouth guards. With a multitude of options, we wanted to highlight our top 5 standouts that have taken mouthguard protection to the next level.

  1. Battle Digi Camo Oxygen Lip Protector

There are two types of mouth guards, those that provide lip protection, and those that don’t. Many sports, such as football, prefer the lip coverage given the physical natural of play. One disadvantage to lip protection used to be that it was difficult to breathe with. But with Battle Sports new Digi Camo Oxygen, and its 293% larger breathing hole, that problem is no longer relevant. Now you can perform at your highest level with maximum protection.  Available in three colorful digital camo patterns, the Battle Digi Camo Oxygen Lip Protector is a great addition to any player’s game day protection.

  1. Shock Doctor Double Braces Mouthguard

One issue that many youth players run into when search for the right mouthpiece is the addition of braces to the equation. Often uncomfortable on their own, adding a mouth guard to the mix is never a simple solution. But with metal braces covering the teeth, it’s more important than ever that an athlete have this layer of protection. The last thing you want is those expensive braces breaking and cutting the inside of the mouth. Among the leaders in the mouth guard industry, Shock Doctor has developed a product that solves this predicament. The Shock Doctor Double Braces Mouthguard uses an innovative Ortho-Channel to fit around both the upper and lower brace brackets. It will also adapt to changing tooth positions as the braces are adjusted and features a breathing channel in the center to allow for air flow. Now players (and parents) can rest assure that they have full proof protection.

  1. Nike Hyperflow Flavored Mouthguard

Leave it up to today’s minds to design a mouth guard that tastes as good as it protects. Among other brands, Nike has developed their Hyperflow Flavored mouthpiece to provide long lasting flavor game after game. But this mouthguard isn’t just tasty, it also delivers excellent protection with its Dual-Density construction. The Nike Hyperflow also features its O-Flow breathing channels that allow for maximum oxygen intake on the field or court. Available in several different flavor options, the Nike Hyperflow Flavored mouth guards is perfect for anyone’s tastes.

  1. Shock Doctor Gel Max Convertible Mouthguard

Shock Doctor has been at the forefront of advancement when it comes to mouth protection. Offering a range of options that suit any athlete’s particular needs. The Gel Max Convertible mouthpiece is a perfect example of the best they have to offer. Firstly, it comes with an Exoskeletal shock frame that provides excellent protection and durability. A triple layer design with integrated breathing channels allows for breathability when you’re out performing.  The Gel-Fit liner makes for a comfortable fit and the convertible tether lets you use this mouthguard with or without a strap. This all-around mouth guard is available in four different colors, and at a value that is sure to be appreciated.

  1. Sisu NextGen Max Mouthguard

Sisu is a relatively new name to the mouth guard industry, but don’t let that fool you. They have offered a revolutionary design to the moldable mouthpiece that is changing how we think of mouth protection. The one complaint many athletes shared, was that face that a mouthguard was bulky, breathing restricting, and limited the ability to communicate on the playing field. In some cases, players wouldn’t wear them at all because of this, putting their safety in jeopardy. Sisu has designed a mouth guard that is as functional as it is protective. Offering a solution to these previous complaints and providing a protection option to those who refused to wear a mouthguard before. The NextGen Max is incredibly lightweight but built to handle even more impact. The best feature is that this mouthguard fits so securely in the mouth, that it allows athletes to talk, drink, and breathe as if it wasn’t even there. This is possible from a combination of its innovative molding process and the 2.4 mm thick design. Making it 30% thinner and up to 50% stronger than your traditional mouth guard. This new way of thinking is what makes the Sisu NextGen Max our number on pick for best mouth guard.

-Written By Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited

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

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.

Maverik Monster Urban Camo Lacrosse Bag

The boys at Maverik have done it again.  You’ve seen Paul Rabil rockin’ it, and now you can too.  Introducing the Maverik Monster Urban Camo Lacrosse Bag.  The massive lacrosse bag that fits all your gear is now fully styled in “urban camouflage,” and is currently available in 6 different handle colors: Red, Royal Blue, Black, Green, Navy Blue, and Orange.  Don’t miss out, these guys will not be available for long.