Our 2013 Product of the Year review will be out very soon. Out of nearly fifty product reviews, we will be bringing you our favorite five, (or maybe more if the voting is just too close!) Choosing is never easy, but it is a lot of fun.
The winners will be unveiled next week. In the meantime, Merry Christmas from Sports Product Review!
Obsessed with sports to the point where you want to dazzle your tree with sports-related Christmas ornaments? Us too! You'll find everything you can think of and more to show your spirit for your favorite sport, player or team at Zazzle.
Zazzle ornaments are made of ceramic or metal and come in many shapes and sizes. You can personalize ornaments for yourself, or for family and friends. There is no charge for you to upload designs. This is the perfect way to remember the kids' sports teams and accomplishments long after they've finished their playing careers. And their “If you don't love it we'll take it back” policy means that you know a quality product is on its way.
With my four kids and the number of teams they've played on through the years we could literally fill up an entire tree with ornaments from their competitive and rec baseball, football, soccer, basketball, hockey and softball teams. Hmm. Come to think of it, we still haven't decorated this year's tree.
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.