So you're a high school baseball or softball coach looking for a cool new way to spiff up your team's look. Or, perhaps you run a travel-ball organization. Maybe you're also wanting something that will raise much-needed funds for the program. You might be seeking unique items to include in your team's spirit packs.
The folks at TeamBattingGloves.com can check off all the boxes. They are a batting glove manufacturer who specialize in custom gloves containing your organization logo and nickname, in your team colors. These gloves are pro-quality, and they fit and feel like a million bucks. But that's the best part. You won't pay a million bucks to have a set made for your team. in fact the price is so low that most teams resell them, still at a cost lower than buying from the store) for a profit to help raise money. Everyone wants to wear their team gloves. It's a no-brainer.
With a breathable mesh back and full, highest-quality leather your players will love how they perform. But maybe more importantly, they'll love how they look and make them feel even more a part of the team. And we all know that if we can get everyone to look like a team, there's a better chance they'll play as one.
We've reviewed several products from Unique Sports, each as good as the other, which is to say, great. There is a lot to love about what they do.
First, they're still a family-owned company that hasn't forgotten its humble beginnings. They've built a world-renowned business on small-ticket items that fill the shelves of sporting goods stores everywhere. What really sets them apart is their incredible innovation. If you've ever thought, "It would be nice if there were something like (insert idea here)" for tennis, baseball, lacrosse, football, basketball, golf and other sports, there's a good chance they've already invented it.
The PRO STICK is a prime example. Using the same concept as pine tar for baseball bats, this cleverly and aptly named product lets you rub a tacky resin on the handle of your lacrosse stick. This enhanced grip gives you better control and eliminates slippage. It's non-toxic, non-allergenic, safe and odorless and applies in seconds. Once you rub it on it lasts indefinitely and when you're done stores in a vial that you can just toss into your gear bag. Its the handy stick that adds stick to your stick.
From their famous Tourna Grip and Hot Glove to their less well-known but essential accessories, Unique Sports just keeps cranking out the hits. They help make you a winner no matter what sport you're playing.
Source: Unique Sports
Two things happened simultaneously this week that turned out to be related. My son set up our pop-up net in the backyard to hit off the tee, and we were notified of a new product we might be interested in checking out called the CrocBox. Maybe it's because its been a long week but it took us a few minutes to make the connection.
I have been working on filling in some areas in my lawn and I told my son I'd rather him put the net somewhere else because it wasn't good for my new grass. So, after going to the trouble of setting the net up, he had to then break it down and put it back in it's carry bag. Kind of a pain.
With three boys who play baseball, for years we've had nets in our backyard in varying states of permanence. There have been months that nets were just a fixture back there, causing consternation for my wife who viewed them as eyesores. Over the months the sprinklers, dew and occasional rain would deteriorate the vinyl material and eventually we'd have to throw it away.
But I wasn't thinking about this when I first looked at the CrocBox website. I was just told it was a net that began as a golf trainer, but could also be used for baseball, soccer, lacrosse and other sports. So we figured we'd be looking at another version of something we'd already seen many of.
Then I realized that this product had to be installed by digging a rather large hole in the backyard. My first thought was, "Who is going to get a shovel and a bag of gravel and go to this effort for a practice net?" Then the memories of all of those years and other nets came back to me and I said, "I would!"
It makes perfect sense. The install is not that difficult and once it's done you have an invisible net ready whenever you need it. Simply lift the lid of the box, pull out the net, practice, and then it folds back up neatly and out of the way. No more struggling with poles and stakes. No more weather rotting away your investment. No more staring at a monstrosity in your backyard 24/7. Their motto is that you will practice more and there is no doubt that they're right about that becaue it is so much more convenient. And, the"Smart Net" technology means that each ball you hit bounces right back to you so that you don't need a bucket, but only one ball. Another huge advantage.
We haven't actually tried the device but a quick look a the videos on the site is all you'll need to be sold and understand the value. If you're a golfer who wants his own backyard practice range that disappears when you're done using it, of if your kids need something to hit, throw, shoot or kick into but you're tired of setting it up and taking it down, Croc Box is a dream come true. Go get your shovel. It's time to practice.
Source: Croc Box
I've had three kids play college sports in cities far away. I tried to make as many games as I could in person, but the majority I missed. It killed me to not have any idea what the score was, how they were doing, and ultimately if we won or lost.
Someone else must have had the same frustrating experience, but they did something about it. They created Scorebook Live. Scorebook Live is an electronic scorebook app that not only makes it easier to officially score a game, but broadcasts that information live so that anyone can follow what's happening anywhere.
It's easier to use than a paper scorebook so game officials love it. If you're "old school" and think it will be too complicated to use, you'll get the hang of it in no time. Everything on the screen is intuitive and prompts the user to take the necessary steps, making it almost foolproof.
While the game is being scored, those updates are streamed in real time. And on the Scorebook Live website you can check all current games being played, which is kind of addicting. Coaches love the app because it eliminates the need to report scores to the media. The media loves it because they can essentially cover all the evening's games at once, which was never possible before. It will automatically generate game recaps and box scores, tabulate and update statistics, and create player profiles. Coaches no longer have to do a math test at the end of each game trying to figure points, rebounds and assists. Game alerts can even be pushed out on social media as they occur.
This is a high school basketball fan's dream. On a Friday, I often look at the games to be played in town that evening and think it would be fun to go to one, but rarely do. Now, I can follow every one as they happen from my phone or desktop. Coaches, parents, officials, sportswriters, fans...they all benefit from Scorebook Live. And that ultimately means the players win too.
Source: Scorebook Live
We have a checklist for determining our favorite types of products and some do better than others. Of course we want products we review to be well-made, durable and a good value. We also like them to be easy to assemble and simple to use. And, we're big fans of training devices that help young players improve. Additionally, if those training devices can be used solo, so that a motivated youngster can go out and practice when he wants, without supervision, we've found a home run.
Ironically, we're going to tell you about a product that helps prevent home runs. The Strike Plate is a new invention that checks off all the boxes. It is a remarkably innovative device that will allow youth pitchers to hone their talents virtually anywhere, any time.
Most youth league coaches know enough about pitching to give the following advice: "Throw strikes." This mentality teaches youngsters that anywhere at all inside the rectangular strike zone is a good pitch. Consequently, they aim for the easiest spot -- the middle. Then the coach wonders why his pitcher is getting shelled. He thinks the kid doesn't throw hard enough.
Experts know that the key to pitching is not velocity, but location -- "hitting your spots." And that's exactly what The Strike Plate teaches. It offers, as targets, the four corners of the zone toughtest for batters to hit; low and inside, high and tight, low and outside, high and outside. Pitchers can teach themselves to be precise in their accuracy and have a plan for each pitch which is much more effective than, "just get it over." The vertical arms show the exact location of the outside of the plate -- the "black", and avoiding the vertical cross bar trains pitchers to stop throwing down the middle. The hinged arms ingeniously pivot when struck, like a windmill, which means the device won't be knocked over and need to be stood back up after each bullseye. It is easy to assemble, to set up and take down, and the sturdy steel construction is virtually indestructible.
They sent us one to try out and, since my sons are all in college or higher, I gave it to a neighbor boy who is in Little League. Last year he was an 11 year-old in Majors who played mostly outfield and never got a chance to pitch. He took it down to the school and worked with it. I asked him how many times he was able to hit the targets; was it one out of ten? He said no, it was not even that often. But I assured him that if he keeps at it, he'll have more and more success and, soon, be able to hit those marks pretty much at will. But, most importantly, since he's not a big kid and probably doesn't throw that hard, I let him know this was his way onto the mound. Because even if he's not a flame thrower, if he can locate at will, he'll be a pitcher, not an outfielder, his 12 year-old year.
If you want to get something for your son or daughter to use when you're not around, or even when you are there, The Strike Plate is highly recommended. I'd have loved to have had this when my boys were 8-14 years old and I know they'd have used it constantly. I would have put up daily competitions for them to beat their number of targets hit in 50 pitches, to see how many consecutive targets they could record, I'd have created tons of fun games to add to the allure and give them something to brag to me about when I got home from work. if you have an aspiring pitcher, set one of these up in the back yard. It's a pretty good bet he'll be getting a lot more innings on the mound and a lot more outs for his team next season.
Source: The Strike Plate