Here's an innovative solution that came across our desk to an ages-old problem. And while we haven't actually tried this product out, (not a lot of ice-skating in Southern California), it makes perfect sense.
Balance Blades are an ice skating solution designed to teach beginners how to skate and do so safely. The key is the blade. The front and back edges sport sharp indentations, kind of like a serrated knife, that will create traction when in contact with the ice surface. This provides two major benefits.
The back indentations prevent rear slip falls. What we've all seen happen to people on the rink is that the skates shoot forward faster than the body and the feet fly out from under the skater. The skater ends up on the ice with a sore rear-end, or worse. But the Balance Blade indentations will grab onto the ice, impeding that out-of-control motion, and allow the skater to stay upright.
The toe indentations allow the skater to voluntarily engage the ice surface, to assist with basic skating skills such as standing up, standing in one spot, pushing off, propelling forward and changing direction. Think of it as the difference between walking on ice in ordinary tennis shoes or with traction cleats.
And you may be wondering how you would ever wean a beginner off the safety of the Balance Blades. Some day you have to take off the training wheels, right? Well, they have that figured out too. Because over the course of a few years as you sharpen the skate blades normally, you'll also sharpen over the indentations, causing them to be less and less prominent, until they are virtually erased. Now, viola! You're skating on normal blades and no longer a beginner!
The Balance Blades are a terrific and reasonably-priced answer for parents who want to introduce their youngsters to hockey, figure-skating or just recreational fun on the ice. Because skating can be a ton of fun. Falling? Not so much.
Source: Balance Blades
Here's a can't-miss, no-brainer of a product we're proud to bring you. It's the Action Audio waterproof action sport audio system. If you surf, paddle board, jet ski, swim or just about anything else in the water, you can do it to a soundtrack of your choosing from now on.
The action audio system includes a stylish, comfortable and functional rash guard that contains a secret compartment for an IPX8 waterproof Action Audio player with 4GB of memory. The rash guard is 80% Nylon, 20% Elastane, It's cut long on the bottom to keep from riding up over stomach and has a loose fit for plenty of range-of-motion. The audio player slides into a slot in the collar and the headphones thread through the collar and out the front for easy access. Because of the snug fit, there is no way your device ever gets lost, not matter how hard you get tossed. The front of the shirt also offers a smart, velcro fastener to keep the headphones in place when not in use.
Threading the headphones into the collar was no problem, and we aren't even good at lacing our own shoes. Getting the hang of the three buttons on the audio player when inserted into the small pouch took a minute, but there were no issue after that.
What else can we say? The rash guard feels good and the positioning of the audio player is convenient, the headphones are comfortable and the sound is terrific. It is easy to load songs onto the device and it holds enough to form a playlist for any session you have in mind. And with all this going for it, it's much more affordable than most waterproof MP3 players on the market that simply clip onto a shirt and can easily get jettisoned with a hard crash into the surf.
So if you plan to go into the water tomorrow, don't go in silence. Load your best tracks, slip on your stealthy, secret shirt and make everyone else wonder what you're listening to. We just recommend at least one Beach Boys tune.
Source: Action Audio
Are we howling in the wind with this idea? Seems like it. But here we go again. Every year in March the sports world steps aside and lets the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament take center stage for three weeks. There is no football to distract. Baseball does the courtesy of not beginning until the tournament is in its final day. Only regular season NBA and NHL offer faint competition.
The selection of the 68 teams is televised for hours. After that, brackets are filled out, analysis is done, predictions are made and then the tournament begins and it is glorious. Except for those teams that didn't make it. And we understand, you have to earn your way in, not everyone gets an invitation to the dance.
And those who are left without a dance card go to the NIT, or, National Invitation Tournament. They may as well rename the NIT the RIP. Because nobody cares. And that's a shame. And it doesn't have to be that way.
Yes, some teams play hard in the NIT. Some teams want to win. They are competitors after all. But there is no luster. No one outside of immediate fans of the NIT teams or folks with completely nothing else to do are watching these games on television or even casually following the results in the newspaper. This used to be a great, important tournament. Its hardly and afterthought now.
And here is our suggestion (again) for changing all of that. Simply decree that the winner of this year's NIT tournament gets an automatic bid to next year's Big Dance.
Why is that crazy? You say, well what if the team is not any good next season? I say, this year 13-19 Holy Cross got in so how would it hurt if this year's NIT Champion laid an egg next year and was given the honor of a play-in game, the winner of which would be destroyed by a 1 seed?
But think of the excitement tomorrow night, (the semi-finals of the 2016 NIT...bet you didn't even know, did you?). All of the underclassmen in that Final Four would be playing for more than an NIT championship...they'd know that two wins and they are automatically going dancing next year. And sure, it wouldn't be as exciting for the Seniors but, of course, they'd love to send their program off on a high note. And it certainly wouldn't be any less meaningful than it already is.
So come, someone in a position of power, take this idea and run with it. The NIT should be exciting. It could be front-page news. It needs to be something cherished and promoted. Howl.
Source: National Invitation Tournament
The folks at DUX Sports sent us a few items of theirs to try out. We already reviewed their all-purpose 3/4 sleeve shirt. But its going to be hard to beat this pair of Hexa Gray compression pants. The combination of quality, style and value can't be beat. But then again, you can probably say that about everything DUX Sports makes.
These not only look cool, but they are cool...and versatile. You can wear them in the heat and they'll breathe so as not to stifle or create any sweaty discomfort. And they're perfect for exercising when it's cold outside.
My son plays baseball in Missouri and he loves how they kept his legs warm this winter when the team worked out outside in frigid temperatures. He said they fit perfectly, not tight and constricting but still plenty of support. And, additionally, they do a great job keeping his legs from getting torn up when sliding and diving for balls.
We've yet to see anything we wouldn't recommend from DUX and, best of all, their prices are terrific. There's nothing quite as exciting as a great product at a tremendous price. Except maybe for a feeling of warmth and comfort on a cold winter day.
Source: DUX Sports
Coaches, players and parents take note: There is a new way to practice your PK's and all you need is a ball and the PK Pro from Upstart Sports.
It is a detachable net that essentially fits on a standard goal in such a way that the only opportunity for the ball to score is if it is hit somewhere an actual goalie would not be able to reach. So if the ball goes in the net, you've made your penalty kick. But if the ball bounces off the PK Pro, you can assume the goalie would have stopped it.
Coaches can use this device as a non-supervised station to keep players busy during practice, without the need of a goalie. Parents will love how easily it stores and can bring it down to the field for weekend practice with their star player.
Practicing PK's into an empty net would be like practicing free-throws on a basket with a circumference of a manhole cover. Yes you're going throuh the same motion, but it wouldn't help you when it comes gametime. The PK Pro is designed to create the muscle memory needed so that when your team is counting on you, you'll deliver every time...into the back of the net.
Source: Upstart Sports