If you've ever played or watched baseball, you've used or seen the on-deck bat weights called “doughnuts” that slide onto the bat's barrel to make it heavier. The idea is that swinging a heavy bat will make it feel lighter once removed for a faster cut at the plate.
Well, like so many things we review, someone looked at the old-fashioned doughnut and said, “How can we make it better?” In this case, those people were the folks at Varo Baseball. And what's better is the Varo ARC.
The ARC is a dual-layer composition sleeve that fits precisely and snugly on all types of bats from aluminum to wood, protecting the barrel or “sweet spot” from damage. Its weight distribution technology created by the unique diffusing holes disperses weight to the end of the bat, creating a game-like swing that improves a player’s mechanics and strengthens baseball muscles. So players can use the ARC as a training tool, by simply swinging on their own.
They sent us one to try and I gave it to one of my sons playing in college. He said loved the way the weight is spread throughout the length of the bat, instead of just one part in the middle of the barrel. With donuts on the middle of the bat he observed that hitters are working on getting the middle through, whereas the ARC helps a player get the head of the bat through the zone since it's weighted correctly. Conventional doughnuts can chip the paint off or cause rings around bat's barrels. No such problems with the Varo ARC.
It slides on and off easily and once its on, you'll notice the difference – love the way it feels. It turns out that just like your diet, the best advice for a healthy swing is to say away from doughnuts.
The toughest thing about doing a review of Soccer Innovations is deciding which terrific product to highlight. If you're a coach or parent, player or club, if you can't find it at Soccer Innovations, it probably doesn't exist.
Take for instance, their Large Equipment Bag with Wheels. Its a high quality soccer equipment bag that has several wheels on the bottom to make it easy for every soccer coach to haul his soccer training equipment to and from the field. It has a hard bottom to stop the sagging when hauling, and makes it less susceptible to wearing out and tearing from scraping on the ground. But even when it comes to bags, they've got thirteen others – some for coaches, some for players – to choose from!
Soccer Innovations should be your source for soccer balls, Soccer Wall Mannequins, soccer cones, soccer bibs and vests, team uniforms, hurdle poles, Jimmy Balls and much more. So here's a word of advice: When you go online, make sure you already know exactly what you want or see to it that you've set aside a little extra time. Because with a plethora of choices, you may end up finding yourself browsing through their nearly endless selection of goodies for hours.
Source: Soccer Innovations
It isn't often we come across a company like this one. And if we're the first to tell you about them, we've done our duty for the week. In Bangerz Sports Eye Protection you'll find one of those rare cases where the more you dig into the what they do, the more impressed you are. It is difficult to find anything that isn't a huge positive.
We asked if they'd let us try out some of their baseball sunglasses. I have a son who is a senior in college and he's very picky about what he wears on the field. He also has Pterygiums so it is important that he wear eye shades when he's playing. Even so, I remember going to a game after having bought him an expensive pair and I see him out in center field with no glasses. After the game I asked what happened. He didn't like the way they looked.
But he loves the Bangerz. Says their the best-looking and most comfortable pair he's worn. I can tell you the visual clarity is like nothing I've seen. They're sleek, stylish and they more than do the job.
Their specialized lens filters block 100% of UVA/UVB damaging sun rays and provide top-of-the-line optics. You get extraordinary peripheral vision along with upward and downward visibility. Since noses are different, the frames have a fully adjustable form-fit, no-slip nose pad designed to be comfortable on all nose shapes. The protective back-bar on all rimless models helps avoid facial lacerations and their technology increases the contrast of a white or yellow ball against turf and sky backgrounds so you can pick up the ball better. And they are designed to allow air flow so eyes don't dry out.
Furthermore, Bangerz is committed to eye safety. One look through their website and you'll think they had backgrounds in optometry and sports medicine. They are genuinely committed to putting out a product that not only blocks the sun's rays, but also protects eyes from injury.
And they don't just only do baseball. They're the leader in protective eye wear for nearly all sports, including basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, football, softball, soccer and more.
And yet, with all of this going for them, with everything they offer in good looks, effectiveness and safety, they also hit a home run in another important area: They cost about a quarter of what the better-known guys go for. They're not trying to rip anyone off – they make a great product, price it fairly, and care about safety. How much more can you want?
So my son who either won't wear or loses the expensive sunglasses we've given him is now a walking endorsement for the value and coolness of Bangerz. He hopes to someday play pro ball. If and when he does make it to that level, he may have his choice of sunglasses to wear. But my guess is he'll stay true to his new favorite brand.
I have three sons who are lifting weights for sports every day. One prefers the natural route and gets his protein from old fashioned diet. The other two are believers in supplements, such as protein powders. The oldest one has been taking pre-workout and protein supplements for a couple of years. So when the folks at XYIENCE contacted us and asked if they could send some samples of their sports nutrition offerings, I knew the perfect place to test them out.
My youngest son doesn't do the pre-workout, but he has been using protein powders for some time. He said this was clearly the best he'd ever tasted. He probably doesn't know that XYIENCE Advanced Protein Complex. (APC), contains 25 grams of the highest quality whey protein, plus 5.5 grams of Branch Chain Amino Acids to fuel muscles after an intense workout. A post-workout product, this time-released protein complex is cold-processed and micro-filtered to eliminate the sour aftertaste often found in hydrolyzed protein and lower quality whey proteins. One small scoop of this muscle-feeding protein blend supplies muscles with a constant supply of amino acids throughout the day – even after a grueling workout. With low quality proteins you often have to worry about high levels of mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium. But XYIENCE's special protein extraction method means none of that. Advanced Protein Complex combines this muscle-activating protein blend with 5g of fiber in every serving, not only for its many health and digestive benefits but also to slow gastric emptying rates. This additional fiber helps create a greater protein balance in the body. Using APC will activate your muscle growth, accelerate your recovery time and keep you in peak physical condition. Fiber helps you feel full and helps provide a slow steady stream of amino acids to your muscles throughout the day.
Their Pre-Workout Booster (PWB) is formulated to promote superior strength and recovery properties to help users do their best, while reducing muscle fatigue and down time by allowing muscles to perform longer before muscle fatigue sets in. Its optimal balance of slow, medium and fast absorbing amino acids that muscles need to recover and grow. With only 60 mg of caffeine, this blend provides a pick-me-up for any workout, while still allowing for a great night’s sleep later on to help the body take advantage of the ever-important recovery period. My oldest son said he'd give it a try and was very impressed. He told me it got him, “pumped-up” more than the usual stuff he'd been using, which is high praise coming from him.
XYIENCE is an official sponsor of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In addition to the pre-workout and protein supplement they make a wide variety of energy drinks with delicious-sounding flavors like Melon Mayhem and Frostberry Blast, as well as other supplements you may want to try. Their packaging, flavors and science all seem to be in line. In fact, we might say, top of the line.
We love bringing you devices that allow players to practice solo, anytime, anywhere, and without having to pay fees to training facilities or the like. Tennis, baseball, basketball, football, soccer...we've found training aids for these sports that fit the bill of the backyard enthusiast. As for golf though, the only solo-trainers we knew didn't provide the true golf ball flight experience. Until now. The Golf Boomerang allows you to swing as hard as you want using any club, hit a real ball, and watch with glee as it reels the ball back to you ready for another whack.
The Golf Boomerang looks and acts kind of like a large rod-and-reel. It is only ten pounds, (portable) sets up in under 10 seconds, (convenient) and tethers a golf ball to a nylon cord, sort of like a fishing line. You can program the device for the distance you want the ball to go, up to 200 feet, and which club your are using. After the ball is airborne, the boomerang will gradually stop the ball in the air. After it lands the ball is retrieved right back to you so you can get ready for another shot. After you hit the drive, the LED readout gives you the real direction the ball took and how high the ball traveled into the air, as well as distance, speed and exact travel distance. Try getting that feedback at the driving range.
Golf Boomerang may be used on any terrain and surface. Grass, dirt, sand – your rooftop – it doesn't matter. Its great for the backyard and can be used year-round. Up to 900 drives can be hit on one charge. The club calibration option allows player to precisely measure the distance accomplished after hitting the ball with different clubs. We have not tried the product ourselves, but there are numerous videos on the Internet that make us think that this is as cool as it sounds.
The Golf Boomerang is one of the more expensive items we've reviewed, at around $1200.00 US. But think about how much you shell out every time you go to the driving range, not to mention the time and gas it takes to get there. And we all know, its a lot easier to get motivated to take a few hacks in your backyard than it is to load up the clubs in the car and head out somewhere to do it. We have a feeling that once you make the plunge and get this guy charged up, it will be the best golf partner you ever had.