icebreakers-for-kids

3 Fun Icebreakers for Kids

Icebreakers for Kids

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It isn’t only adults who may feel nervous when brought together with people that they don’t really know. The same definitely goes for children too. Much like with adults, there are a variety of different icebreakers that you can use to bring a group out of their shells and have them chatting away and getting to know each other in no time at all.

Getting to know you

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If you have a group of children that don’t know each other, then this icebreaker is an ideal way to get them finding out about one another as well as having fun too. Get the children to stand in a circle and grab a bean bag or a soft ball. Start the game by throwing your bean bag or ball at one of the children and ask them a simple question about themselves. “What is your name?” “Do you have a pet?” “What is your favorite color?” These are all great ideas. The children then take turns throwing the item and asking questions of their own. Play for 5/10 minutes depending on the size of your group.

​"Lets talk! Bridge the gap. Break the ice." - Debashis Sarmah

There are different ways you can differentiate this activity. For example, you can use a beachball with circular stickers all around the ball. You can have a variety of fun questions on each sticker. The question can include things like “What is your favorite food?” and “If you could be an animal, what animal would you be?” When you throw the beach ball, the child will (hopefully) catch it, and the sticker that is under or closest to their right thumb when they catch it is the question they will have to answer. For even more fun, you can have the kiddos help you create the questions before you start the game as well. The options are truly endless!

The Line-Up

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​If you have older children then you might want to tailor your ice-breakers for their age range. A good game if you have a larger group has to be The Line-Up icebreaker. This works best with around 6 players per team and mixed ages is ideal. You act as the caller of the game; asking the teams to line up in order of age, first name order, height, birthdays, longest hair, most cousins. The list can go. This encourages the children to learn more about one another and will have them laughing and interacting too.

Just like the previous ice breaker, this ice breaker can be tailored as well to meet the needs of different students. For example, you can have the students do the activity silently, or you can have them practice their writing skills by being required to communicate via writing only. If you are a class teacher, this activity allows you to quickly see who the different students are in your class. This activity is known to bring leaders to the forefront and this can be helpful in allowing you to understand how to continue running your class. 

​Funny Faces


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If you have a smaller group of children, then you might worry that there are less icebreakers that you can use. However, there are some icebreakers that are ideal for smaller groups. Funny Faces is one of those. Ask the children to sit in a circle facing each other. One of the children is “it” and he or she needs to make their funniest face to get everyone else to laugh. They get a point for every person who smiles or laughs. After a set amount of time (say 30 seconds) they then need to wipe their funny face off and pass it to the next child. This is great fun and is likely to have even the grown-ups smiling. These are just some great ideas when it comes to ice-breakers for kids; ideally it is important to have them smiling, laughing and learning about each other, all without even realizing it.

These are some of the best icebreakers for kids. Want more icebreaker ideas?

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Two Player Games for Kids: Best and Most Exciting Ones

Parents all over the world are fighting the same fight: getting their kids off their devices while still allowing them to have fun. Not only is too much time on the TV, iPad, or mobile device detrimental to their sleep and eyesight, they’re also not learning any beneficial social skills.

Board games, card games, and other fun activities may be a great substitute, as they often engage children’s minds while encouraging social development. Unfortunately, many of the classic games are just too slow-paced for modern kids’ tastes, and they quickly revert to the glowing screen.

However, there are some game manufacturers out there that are tackling this problem with innovative, exciting, and engaging new games specially designed for modern kids. So, if you find your kids quickly growing bored of Monopoly and Yahtzee, these might be the games to save the day (and your sanity).

How We Reviewed

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We went straight to the source to find out the best two-player games for kids, combing through hundreds of reviews to find the games that had the best reviews. No matter how new or how obscure, if parents were happy with the results, we were sure to take notice.

Overall Price Range

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Top 10 Best Two Player Games for Kids

If you’re looking for two-player games for kids of all different ages, these are some of the best the industry has to offer. Some of these games are so good that even parents might join in the fun!

Spot It!

Spot It! (Color/Packaging May Vary)
  • Award-winning game of visual perception for the whole family.
  • Between any two cards there is always one and only one matching symbol. Spot it fast to win
  • Five challenging ways to play for hours of frenzied fun for 2 to 8 players.

Spot It! is a fun, fast game for two to eight players, and is billed as a game that “develops focus, motor skills, and visual perfection skills.”

Using a deck of 55 cards, players must identify matching symbols. Every single card features exactly one symbol that matches another card in the deck. The first one to “spot it,” wins! As a bonus, there are five different ways to play the game, plus easy-to-read, illustrated directions for kids.

Spot It! has become so popular, that the manufacturer is feverishly pumping out new versions. So far, these include Spot It! Splash (for playing in the pool) and Spot It! Jr., which features animals and is geared toward younger children.

If you’re looking for a game that’s fun, easy to learn, and will keep kids occupied for hours, this is definitely worth your consideration.

Pros

  • Fast-paced and exciting
  • Travel-friendly container
  • Five ways to play

Cons

  • Not suitable for under age seven.
  • Young kids might lose cards.

Q-Bitz

Mindware – Q-bitz
  • GAME TO TRAIN THE BRAIN: The Q-bitz game is a great way to say goodbye to boredom and challenge your mind all at once....
  • THREE WAYS TO PLAY: With Q-bitz, it's not the same game over and over again. You get 80 different puzzle cards that you...
  • COMPREHENSIBLE GAME PLAY: Each game contains three rounds, each round with a different card. Players puzzle over how to...

Though most parents would be happy just to have their kids playing nicely and off the television, there are some two player games for kids that have educational or mentally stimulating effects.

One such game is Q-Bitz, a unique pattern-based game that helps children practice symmetry, quick thinking, and visual acuity. Though it doesn’t necessarily require math, the spatial reasoning practice a child gets with Q-Bitz has proven beneficial enough to put the game in classrooms around the country.

Q-Bitz is for two to four players, ages 6 and up. There is, however, a Q-Bitz Jr. for younger kids who might want to get in on the fun. Created by the highly-regarded manufacturer Mindware!, the game has earned multiple awards, including the Parent’s Choice Gold Award and the Major Fun Award.

If a little education is something you value in your child’s entertainment, Q-Bitz would be a great game to include on the shelf.

Pros

  • Fun and educational
  • Teaches memory and spatial reasoning skills
  • Three ways to play / Multiple difficulties

Cons

  • Lots of parts and small pieces
  • Young kids may find it too challenging

First Orchard

HABA My Very First Games - First Orchard Cooperative Game Celebrating...
  • A simplified variation of the classic "Orchard" game adapted to suit players ages 2+, this game has been enjoyed by...
  • Game Idea: Working as a team, the children try to pick the fruits from the trees before the raven reaches the end of the...
  • If the players succeed in harvesting all the fruit before the raven reaches the orchard, they win together! If the raven...

Just because a game has been around for 30+ years doesn’t mean that it can’t still provide hours of entertainment for the kids of today. That is the case with First Orchard, a traditional German game geared toward kids as young as two.

Unlike most two-player games for kids, which usually feature some sort of competition-based gameplay, First Orchard puts more of a focus on teamwork. This cooperation helps kids learn valuable social skills, understanding of rules, and color recognition.

Most younger kids will find the gameplay fun and exciting thanks to the hand-sized wooden “fruit” that the kids need to “pick” before it’s eaten by the hungry raven. While some older kids might still have a good time playing, First Orchard is best suited to kids between the ages of two and six.

Pros

  • A classic, tried-and-true children’s game
  • Perfect for ages as young as two
  • Fun and team-oriented

Cons

  • Older kids may find it too simplistic
  • Quite a large game with big pieces

Extreme Egg Toss

Electronic Egg Toss, The Family Fun Kids Game That Will "Crack" You...
  • EGG TOSS - Play the classic "Egg Toss" kids game without the mess! It responds to your actions, check out the DEMO...
  • SMART SENSORS - Determine a SOFT vs. "EGG-SPOLSIVE" catch! Pass to a friend, catch it softly, take a step back. See how...
  • HILARIOUS RESPONSES - Includes 40+ Egg-Mazing puns and sound FX that will "CRACK you up!".

Extreme Egg Toss is a new twist on “Hot Potato” that will provide hours of safe, plush fun for kids ages three and up. Best of all, the game talks to kids as they play, increasing engagement and making the entire experience more fun for everyone. Of course, as this is a game that requires throwing, limiting the location of playtime is a must to protect household items from damage.

Using smart sensors built into the soft plush “egg,” the game can tell the difference between how hard or soft a child catches it, and will tell them when they’ve “cracked the egg” and lost the game. Plus, as the entire unit is machine-washable, this is a game that can help get kids outside and active.

For parents who want two-player games for kids that build both excitement and encourage physical activity, this is a great choice.

Pros

  • Interactive and exciting
  • Talks to kids as they play
  • Machine-washable plush toy

Cons

  • Parents may find the voice annoying
  • Could lead to household accidents

Emojinks!

Emojinks Emoji Card Games for Families - Fun Card Game for Kids Emoji...
  • Value Pack, 2-in-1 Emoji Card Game, Beginner And Advanced Levels
  • Emoji Party Card Game
  • Helps Develop Identification Of Feelings And Emotions, Promotes Turn Taking

Another lightning-quick card game that kids will love, Emojinks! uses familiar emoji images to create a fun match game that can be enjoyed by two or more players.

One of the things parents seem to like about Emojinks! over similar card-based games is the practice it gives kids in identifying emotions and symbols. The game comes in two levels—Easy and Advanced—and assists kids in areas like coordination and turn taking.

Perhaps the best part about Emojinks! is the clever use of images kids see on phones and other devices. While they certainly won’t see it as a substitute for endless texting and YouTube videos, the faces and shapes will at least give them something to do with all their emoji knowledge.

If you’re looking for a game that’s perfect for parties and suitable for virtually all ages, this is one that will see a lot of use.

Pros

  • Fast-paced gameplay
  • Fun, familiar images
  • Great for parties and travel

Cons

  • Younger children may struggle with the quick pace
  • Lost cards will ruin the game

Qwirkle

Qwirkle Board Game
  • TACTICAL STRATEGY: Featuring a massive amount of in game choices, including three tiles each of thirty six possible...
  • EASY TO FOLLOW RULES: An engaging game with easy to follow rules, Qwirkle is great for younger players. The rules of the...
  • GAMES THAT TEACH: Qwirkle is playable from early ages up, allowing young children and older individuals alike to develop...

Qwirkle is another game from the people at MindWare that is not only fun to play but also secretly educational. Especially when it comes to younger players, this game is designed to help develop strategic planning skills, tactical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Best of all, the game has received a range of awards, including the Major Fun Award, Mensa Select Award, and Parents’ Choice Gold Award.

Though it only takes two to play, Qwirkle can be enjoyed by up to four players, which makes it perfect for parties, sleepovers, and family game nights. Using the provided blocks, players are tasked with building lines by matching colors or shapes. The more complex the combinations, the more points they score!

If you’re looking for two player games for kids that will engage their minds as well as keep them occupied for hours, Qwirkle is a must for any playroom.

Pros

  • Fun and easy tactical strategy game
  • Great for all ages
  • Beneficial for developing minds

Cons

  • 108 tiles could be easy to lose
  • Complaints of poor quality packaging

Monopoly Deal

Monopoly is a classic, but it can take hours to play, even with two people. Monopoly Deal solves this problem by dramatically speeding up gameplay to around 15 minutes.

Using cards instead of pieces, kids and adults alike can compete with each other in a lightning-fast contest of property swapping and rent raising. Not only is it more exciting than the traditional game, but it’s formatted in such a way that it will keep younger children engaged despite the lack of flashy photos and colors.

If you’re looking to introduce your kids to an old favorite with a new twist, Monopoly Deal is an excellent example of a modern update done right.

Pros

  • A faster approach to a classic game
  • Teaches strategy and friendly competition
  • Can play well into adulthood

Cons

  • Property cards could go missing
  • Younger kids may not be interested

Sequence

Sequence Game
  • Play a card from your hand, and place a chip on a corresponding space on the game board - when you have five in a row,...
  • Each player or team tries to score the required number of five-card sequences before their opponents.
  • Exciting gameplay develops STEM skills like Strategy

Sequence is an exciting and imaginative game that is perfect for kids ages seven and up. Though it is easily played with two players, as many as 12 can join in the fun, which makes this a perfect option for family game nights or sleepovers.

Using a combination of cards, colored chips, and a game board, players are tasked to use a combination of luck and skill to build sequences from the cards they draw. The catch? Each card has two corresponding spaces, so players need to choose wisely to win.

All in all, it’s great fun and a wonderful way to build skills like strategy and critical thinking. There is also a version for younger children (Sequence for Kids) as well as specialized educational versions like Sequence Numbers and Sequence Letters.

Pros

  • Can be played by a wide range of players
  • Builds STEM skills
  • Lots of specialized versions

Cons

  • Lots of pieces and cards
  • Not travel-friendly

Codenames

Czech Games Codenames
  • For 2 8+ Players
  • 15 minute playing time
  • Age 14 and up

It’s no secret that older kids are among the hardest to motivate when it comes to playing games instead of playing on their phones. Luckily, there’s an award-winning game for teenagers that’s so engrossing, it will keep them busy for hours.

Suitable for two to eight players, Codenames is a fast, fun, and challenging. Participants play spymasters who know the secret identities of various undercover agents and must contact them all before their competitor. To keep things fun, there both an “assassin” and “double agent” card which can dramatically change the game.

Though Codenames deals with slightly-adult subject matter, it’s all portrayed in a humorous and engaging way. Obviously, enough parents have deemed it suitable for the game to earn a stack of accolades, including being dubbed the world’s #1 Part Game.

Pros

  • A fun and engaging game for older kids
  • Easy to play in 15 minutes or less
  • Great for parties and sleepovers

Cons

  • Slightly “dark” subject matter
  • Not for younger kids (14 and up only)

Labyrinth

Ravensburger Labyrinth Family Board Game for Kids & Adults Age 7 & Up...
  • Fun play experience – in labyrinth, ravensburger’s hugely popular board game for kids and adults, You have to find...
  • High quality components – contains a playing board, 34 maze cards, 24 Treasure cards, 4 playing pieces.
  • Easy to understand instructions – high quality, Easy to understand instructions make it easy to start playing right...

There is no shortage of board games out there, but when it comes to choosing the right board games for young children today, excitement is a crucial factor. Labyrinth from Ravensburger games has excitement in spades, and tasks players with finding treasure in a moving maze.

With lots of replay value and relatively short game times, Labyrinth has become immensely popular among kids ages seven and up. Despite its humorous and reward-based gameplay, Labyrinth also teaches cause and effect, planning skills, and strategy.

If you want a game that will keep kids on edge each time they play, Labyrinth is a maze worth navigating.

Pros

  • Loads of replay value
  • Exciting, consequence-based gameplay

Cons

  • Not suitable for kids under seven
  • Cardboard design does not lay flat

The Verdict

What’s our verdict?

Looking at our list of best and most exciting two-player games for kids, the top choice is Qwirkle. With exceptionally high replay value, a relatively low cost, and an impressive number of awards to its credit, Qwirkle is educational enough to make parents happy and exciting enough to keep kids wanting to play over and over.

That said, any of the games on this list would be a perfect way to keep children engaged, learning, and using their minds instead of their thumbs. Here’s to days of peace and quiet and long nights of fun with the family. Game on!

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lacrosse-college-game

5 Best Lacrosse Cleats

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BEST LACROSSE CLEATS

Lacrosse is an addictive and action-packed game played by thousands of athletes across the United States.  Participants need speed and dexterity to do well on the lacrosse field, and having a good pair of lacrosse cleats is essential.

Quality lacrosse cleats will give you more stability and help to protect your ankles.  They will also make it easier to make sudden sharp turns and give you excellent traction in wet conditions.  A great pair of cleats can completely transform your game!

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This guide will make finding the best pair of lacrosse cleats simple.  We’ll start be offering some essential tips for choosing the right pair of lacrosse cleats.  After that, we will share 5 of the best lacrosse cleats on the market.  Let’s get started!

LACROSSE CLEATS — BUYING GUIDE

Here are a few essential tips for buying lacrosse cleats:

CHOOSE THE RIGHT LACROSSE CLEAT DESIGN

Lacrosse cleats are available in three designs:

  • Low-cut lacrosse cleats
    These cleats look similar to a standard running shoe.  They offer limited ankle protection but are quite lightweight.  They are a great choice if you don’t normally suffer from any ankle issues when you play lacrosse or other sports.
  • Mid-cut lacrosse cleats
    Mid-cut shoes extend over the ankle, providing more support.  This can help to reduce the risk of ankle sprains when you make fast pivots on the lacrosse field. These cleats offer decent protection for your ankles but are still lightweight.
  • High-cut lacrosse cleats
    These cleats extend above your ankles, offering the maximum level of protection and support.  The downside of wearing high-cut cleats is that they will weigh more, which can impact how quickly you accelerate.  If you have often suffered from ankle sprains in the past, high-top lacrosse cleats are the best choice.

Choose lacrosse cleats with the right studs
The studs on the bottom of the cleat dig into the ground and provide traction when running.  There are two main types of studs available for lacrosse cleats:

  • Rounded studs
    These are conical studs.  They provide excellent traction and are particularly effective on wet or muddy ground.  Most lacrosse cleats will have four rounded studs on the rear of the outsole and between six to ten on the forefoot.
  • Bladed studs
    These studs look like small blades on the outsole.  They can be place in different directions to provide traction when making certain kinds of movements.  Many lacrosse cleats have bladed studs added to make lateral movements easier.

Some lacrosse cleats have a combination of both rounded and bladed studs to improve movement in all conditions.  The studs used in modern lacrosse cleats are usually made from TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) because it is lightweight and strong.  However, you may also find some cleats with rubber studs.

If you only play on turf, you can try lacrosse turf shoes.  They have small nubs on the outer sole that are designed to bite into turf.  While they work well on turf, they are less effective on muddy or wet conditions.


Choose lacrosse cleats with the right materials

Most lacrosse cleats are made from a combination of synthetic materials.  Synthetic materials are very common because they are cheap to make and very durable.  Most synthetic materials are also waterproof, which is a very useful feature for lacrosse players who often play in wet or muddy conditions.

You may also find lacrosse cleats that incorporate natural leather into their upper.  Although leather is heavier than most synthetic materials, it is extremely durable and comfortable.

Some lacrosse cleats use sections of mesh in the upper portion of the shoe.  While this design will not be as waterproof, it is more comfortable when playing in hot weather.  If you play in a hot climate, it is definitely an option to consider.

The padding used in the insole and tongue also affect how comfortable the cleat is.  Removable insoles can be useful, because you can try a few alternatives to find a product that matches your feet.  Having a padded tongue helps to protect your feet and allows you to spend more time on the field before your feet become sore.

Choosing lacrosse cleats that are the right size
Lacrosse cleats are sized in a similar way to standard running shoes.  That means you can purchase a lacrosse cleat that is the same size as your normal shoes.  They should be a great fit immediately.  They should be snug on the foot without feeling tight when you run.

Choose the right cleat stiffness

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image by pixabay

Lacrosse cleats are stiffer than normal running shoes.  This is because a stiffer sole plate adds stability on the field.  It also allows you to transfer power from your legs to your feet more efficiently.  You will have to decide how much stiffness you like in your cleats.  The decision often comes down to your play style and personal preferences.  Most manufacturers will mention how stiff the cleat is in their product descriptions.  You can also ask for advice on lacrosse forums.

5 OF THE BEST LACROSSE CLEATS

Here are five of the best lacrosse cleats on the market.  They are all well made and guaranteed to improve your performance on the lacrosse field.

Nike Men's Huarache 4 LAX Lacrosse Cleats

Nike makes a wide range of high perform athletic shoes that are perfect for lacrosse.  Their Huarache 4 LAX Lacrosse Cleats are very popular and designed for high speed players who want a versatile cleat that works in all weather conditions.

This pair of cleats features a lightweight leather upper that is both comfortable to wear and extremely durable.  The Flywire system ensures the cleat is fitted snugly on the foot, improving its performance.   The Pylon midsole helps to provide support and cushioning for the feet.   The outsole is a combination of bladed and rounded studs that works well on any kind of surface.  It has a low profile forefoot that improves a player’s acceleration from a standard start.

Pros

  • Leather upper is stylish and durable
  • The pylon midsole is very effective
  • A lightweight pair of cleats ideal for any position

Cons

  • Only available in three color combinations

Under Armour Men's UA Highlight MC Lacrosse Cleats

Under Armour Men's Highlight M.C. Lacrosse Shoe, White (100)/Metallic...
  • UA ClutchFit upper wraps your foot in a “second skin” of advantages for powerful support & an incredible feel
  • Lightweight material innovation forms to the contours of your foot, amping your joints & muscles to give you better...
  • 3D molded MPZ tongue custom forms to your foot & provides added protection

Under Armor has become one of the most popular manufacturers of lacrosse cleats.  Their products are designed from the ground up to suit the erratic movements that lacrosse players are forced to make.

The UA Highlight MC Lacrosse Cleats are an excellent choice for players looking for durability and stability on the field.  These cleats provide a lot of ankle support, which makes them ideal for making tight turns on the field.

They feature a synthetic UA ClutchFit® upper that fits snugly around your foot.  It is a very lightweight material that helps the player accelerate efficiently.  The thick 3D molded MPZ® tongue and 4D Foam® footbed make these cleats extremely comfortable.

Pros

  • Very lightweight pair of cleats
  • The combination of MPZ® tongue and 4D Foam® footbed make these cleats comfortable
  • Available in many colors

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than other cleats

ASICS Men's GEL-Provost Mid Lacrosse Cleat

ASICS Men's GEL-Provost Lacrosse Cleat,Black/Silver/White,10.5 M US
  • Synthetic Leather and Mesh Upper
  • Lightweight, comfortable and breathable, enhancing performance and fit.
  • Solyte 55

If you are looking for a more affordable option, checkout the ASICS Men’s Gel-Provost Lacrosse Cleats.  They are a versatile pair of cleats that work well on any surface.

They are a mid-cut cleat, offering excellent protection for the ankles.  The synthetic upper is quite durable and capable of standing up to repeated abuse on the lacrosse field.  These cleats use a 10 millimeter heel gradient, which helps the player start running from a stationary start.  Other features include a synthetic leather and mesh upper, removable insole, and Solyte® Polymer Cleat Plate.

Pros

  • Very affordable!
  • The synthetic leather upper is quite durable

Cons

  • May not deliver the same performance as more expensive lacrosse cleats

New Balance Men’s Freeze v1 Lacrosse Cleat

While new balance is mostly known for their running shoes, they also make a range of high quality lacrosse cleats.  The New Balance Men’s Freeze v1 Lacrosse Cleat is one of their most popular models.  It combines affordability with performance normally reserved for cleats that are much more expensive.

These cleats use synthetic materials that are very lightweight.  They also come with quixrail foot plate that helps the player make extreme cuts while playing.  The exploweave saddle and full tongue make the cleat comfortable to wear.  They are an excellent choice for any keen lacrosse player on a budget.

Pros

  • Very lightweight (9.9 ounces)
  • All synthetic construction
  • Outside rail makes sharp cuts easy
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Shoe can crease just behind the toes

Under Armour Men's Ripshot Mid MC Lacrosse Cleats

Under Armour Men's UA Ripshot Mid MC Lacrosse Football Field Cleats...
  • UA engineered synthetics support the foot & keep you locked in
  • Lightweight, breathable textile within the collar provides additional comfort
  • Die-cut EVA footbed provides excellent comfort & durability

This is another fantastic pair of cleats from Under Armour.  They are a low-cut pair shoes, with a synthetic upper for an ultra-snug fit.  The molded 4D Foam® footbed is extremely comfortable and quickly conforms to the shape of your foot after a game or two.  The molded TPU outsole is durable and works well on most surfaces.

Pros

  • Very comfortable cleats, thanks to the molded 4D Foam® footbed
  • All synthetic construction
  • Great choice for fast players who sidestep a lot

Cons

  • Offers less ankle protection compared to other shoes

We hope you enjoyed our guide to the best lacrosse cleats.  Make sure you check out our best men's lacrosse gloves as well as the best women's lacrosse gloves


Featured image by: Pixabay

The 5 Best Softball Pitching Machines

action-athletes-ball-barbed-wires

BEST SOFTBALL PITCHING MACHINES

Your child has just come to you with his or her interest in softball. You know you want to do everything you can to help, and support their sudden interest. You search for the perfect team, you get all the necessary uniforms and equipment, but now you have to make time for practice.

You inspect the local batting cages, and then think about how you will set aside the time to travel to the cages. You know that with your work schedule and school, you won’t have much time, and then what if it rains on your only day off? There has to be an easy solution to this problem, because after all, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of seeing your child run through those bases on the field.

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Your friend at works suggests that you buy a softball pitching machine to make it easier for practice. The idea is great, but now you have to figure out which one to buy.

There are many things you will want to consider before making the big purchase. Where will the machine be used? Is there room in the back yard? If so, how much room will be needed. Perhaps there is a gymnasium you want to use, in that case you will need one that will work indoors. Is this machine one that will be transported often? With all these things in mind you will want to compare thoroughly.

THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF THE 5 BEST PITCHING MACHINES YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER:

JUGS Lite- Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball

JUGS Lite-Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball
  • Lightweight pitching machine for honing swings of up-and-coming hitters.
  • Throws 11 inch or 12 inch Lite-Flite softballs, Lite-Flite baseballs and the JUGS Bulldog polyballs
  • Simulates speeds up to 85 mph at 25 feet. Recommended Age- 8- Adult

This lightweight pitching machine is built for ages 5 to adult, and with its versatility, this machine is easy to use for practice in the backyard or on the field.

With the clever quick change design, it makes switching from softball to baseball a breeze, and the swivel base allows for hitting ground balls, pop ups, and fly balls.

This machine is used with softer type balls that won’t sting, making it one of the best choices for younger children who fear getting hit from a pitch.

With the competitive price, two nylon carrying bags that are included, and the 110-volt AC, this machine is a favorite amongst youth leagues, high schools, and college teams.

PROS

  • Lightweight for easy travel
  • Throws fastballs, fly balls, ground balls and pop-ups
  • Comes with two nylon carrying bags and a 2-year warranty

CONS

  • Throws only Lite- Flite and Bulldog baseballs and softballs
  • Balls are not included
  • Throwing real balls is not recommended

Heater Sports Combo Baseball / Softball Pitching Machine

Heater Sports Combo Baseball / Softball Pitching Machine with BONUS...
  • Converts easily from baseballs to softballs
  • Pitches slow or fast pitch softballs up to 56 MPH and baseballs up to 60 MPH
  • Variable speed control

If you have kids who enjoy playing both softball and baseball, this pitching machine from Heater Sports makes for a great investment. 

The product comes with variable speed control and is adjustable for pitch height, grounders, and pop-flys. It can be tricky to switch between softballs and baseballs, but once you get the hang of it the machine is fairly intuitive and easy to use.

Additionally, the machine includes a bonus ball feeder and works with 11 and 12 inch softballs, regulation baseballs, and lite-balls.

As for speed, it pitches slow or fast pitch softballs up to 56 MPH and baseballs up to 60 MPH. All in all, it’s a versatile and practical pitching machine your little ones will surely appreciate.

PROS

  • Bonus ball feeder
  • Converts from baseball to slow or fast pitch softball
  • Adjustable speed control for a variety of pitches
  • Durable, with great stability

CONS

  • Can be hard to switch from baseball to softball at first

Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine

Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine
  • Throws any type of ball, hard balls, fast pitch softballs, dimple balls, light flight, plastic and even soccer and...
  • Throws hard balls from 18 to 45 mph with easy to adjust speed controls. And throws light flight and plastic balls up to...
  • Throws a level pitch to help teach proper swing mechanics. Extremely accurate for throwing strikes, fly balls and even...

This lightweight machine is convenient enough for travel from place to place, and the ability to use without electricity or batteries makes it possible to use almost anyplace.

With the strong capability of throwing almost any type of ball imaginable, this machine can handle speeds from 18 to 45 mph when throwing out regulation sized hard balls, and an even faster speed of up to 60 mph when throwing out light flight and plastic balls.

The Louisville Slugger will assist with training proper swinging techniques and practice hitting perfect strikes, grounders, and fly balls.

At a fair price and high quality, coaches love this training machine and so will the kids.

PROS

  • Lightweight and easy for travel
  • Can throw any type of ball including soccer and volleyballs
  • Completely manual, does not require electricity or battery

CONS

  • This machine can be a little more difficult for younger children to operate
  • Not one of the better machines for operating indoors

First Pitch Baseline Pitching Machine

First Pitch Baseline Pitching Machine
  • The baseline Baseball/softball pitching machine is a great choice
  • The baseline features a swivel base, reversible legs
  • Up to 70 MPH

Although this pitching machine is the highest in price of all, it still rates below average in cost.

With its small size and easy- to- transport package, this machine is versatile enough to use at home or on the field. Set it up inside a gymnasium for year round practice.

Use regular sized softballs or baseballs to practice hitting fly balls, or perfect your home run hit at speeds of up to 70 mph.

The high quality, performance, and cost of this machine, makes it the one of the best choices on the list.

PROS

  • Faster speed than the others
  • Swivel base with reversible legs
  • Can be used with real softballs and baseballs

CONS

  • The highest priced on the list

BSN Bulldog Baseball/ Softball Pitching Machine

BSN Bulldog Baseball/Softball Pitching Machine
  • Speed: 30-60 mph. Lightweight design lets you move the pitching machine around with ease. Power Source- Electric
  • Throws baseballs, 11'' and 12'' softballs
  • Runs on 110 volt AC or generator 1/4 HP D.C. motor

Another great choice to consider is the BSN Bulldog Pitching Machine. With this machine, you have the option of using real 12 inch softballs or 11 inch baseballs, or choose to use rubber balls while practicing.

The capability of throwing out balls from speeds from 30 to 60 mph, and the ability to practice hitting fly balls, makes this an all-around must have for the backyard or field practice.

The legs are built and designed for the easy transformation from baseball to softball, and the durability of the urethane wheel helps to rid air pressure problems.

This pitching machine runs on 110-volt AC or a generator with ¼ HP D.C. motor.

This BSN pitching machine will pay for itself when your child hits the winning ball at every

game.

PROS

  • Can be used with real 12” softballs and 11” baseballs
  • Throws fly balls
  • Heavy duty legs that are easily adjusted to baseball or softball

CONS

  • Higher in price than some of the others

There you have it, 5 of the best softball pitching machines. Make sure you check out the best slowpitch softball bats as well.

Featured image by Pexels

Best Frisbee Disc Golf Baskets

5 of the Best Frisbee Disc Golf Baskets

Frisbee golf is becoming more popular each year!  There are thousands of players enjoying the game in more than 40 countries around the world.  It’s no wonder so many people love it — frisbee golf is a fun game that requires skill and coordination.  Players get to enjoy the great outdoors while improving their fitness.

Frisbee golf is seen as a “greener” alternative to golf because it does not impact the environment as much.  You don’t have to clear large swathes of land, removing the natural habitat of birds, squirrels, and insects.  It is played over natural terrain with hills, trees, streams and other obstacles.  Frisbee golf can be played by people of all ages, which makes it a fantastic sport for parents looking for a fun activity to enjoy with their children.

If you are interested in getting into frisbee golf or you want to build your own frisbee golf course, you will need to buy some frisbee disc golf baskets.  This will allow you to practice whenever you want and improve your game.  This buying guide will provide some tips on choosing a frisbee golf basket, then list 5 of the best frisbee golf baskets on the market.

  • inSTEP Outdoor Disc Golf Goals
  • Materials: Galvanized and power coated steel
  • Dimensions: 6’ tall with a 28 inch diameter base
  • Weight: 40 pounds
  • Features: Quick release pins, 3 discs
  • Axiom Discs Axiom Pro Basket
  • Materials: Zinc-coated heavy-duty course weighted chains
  • Dimensions: 4’7” tall with a 32 inch diameter base
  • Weight: 35.1 pounds
  • Features: Heavy chains, quick assembly
  • Driftsun Sports Portable Disc Golf Basket Goal
  • Materials: Galvanized steel
  • Dimensions: 4’7” tall with a 32 inch diameter base
  • Weight: 21 pounds
  • Features: DGA Regulation size, heavy duty chains
  • Topeakmart Disc Golf Goal
  • Materials: Galvanized iron
  • Dimensions: 4’7” tall with a 32 inch diameter base
  • Weight: 21 pounds
  • Features: Wind direction flag, 14 heavy duty chains
  • MVP Black Hole Pro 24-Chain Portable Disc Golf Basket Target
  • Materials: Steel
  • Dimensions: 4’7” tall with a 32 inch diameter base
  • Weight: 25 pounds
  • Features: Heavy chains
inSTEP Outdoor Disc Golf GoalsTitan Disc Golf Catcher Basket TargetDriftsun Sports Portable Disc Golf Basket GoalTopeakmart Disc Golf GoalMVP Black Hole Pro 24-Chain Portable Disc Golf Basket Target
Materials: Galvanized and power coated steel Materials: Galvanized steelMaterials: Galvanized steelMaterials: Galvanized ironMaterials: Steel
Dimensions: 6’ tall with a 28 inch diameter baseDimensions: 4’7” tall with a 32 inch diameter baseDimensions: 4’7” tall with a 32 inch diameter baseDimensions: 4’7” tall with a 32 inch diameter baseDimensions: 4’7” tall with a 32 inch diameter base
Weight: 40 poundsWeight: 46 poundsWeight: 21 poundsWeight: 21 poundsWeight: 25 pounds
Features: Quick release pins, 3 discsFeatures: Heavy chains, quick assemblyFeatures: DGA Regulation size, heavy duty chainsFeatures: Wind direction flag, 14 heavy duty chainsFeatures: Heavy chains
Price: $$$
Price: $$
Price: $$Price: $
Price: $$$

Tips For Buying a Frisbee Golf Basket

Before you rush out and purchase a frisbee golf basket, here are a few tips to keep in my mind.

Do you need a permanent or portable golf basket?
There are two types of frisbee golf baskets available — permanent and portable.  Permanent baskets are usually very heavy duty and designed to be a permanent part of a frisbee golf course.  They are usually made from galvanized steel and are designed withstand the rain, sun, wind, and snow.  If you are planning your own frisbee golf course or you want a permanent basket for your back yard, go with this option.

If you only want to temporarily setup your frisbee golf basket for some practice in your backyard, you will need a lightweight basket that can be moved.  Portable baskets are designed to be extremely light and can usually be collapsed to take up less space in your garage or shed.  However, because lightweight materials are used, these kinds of baskets don’t stand up to the weather as well.

Portable baskets are also a great option for players who want to take their frisbee golf game on the road.  You can travel to different locations and set up a couple of frisbee golf goals for a quick game.  Some frisbee golf baskets offer the best of both worlds — they are light, but durable enough to be setup permanently.

Will you be playing competitively?

If you are serious about frisbee golf and want to play competitively, you should find a frisbee golf basket that matches the Disc Golf Association’s basket specifications.  This will ensure you are always throwing your frisbees at a goal that is the same height, width and shape as the ones you encounter during competitions.

What is your budget?

Frisbee golf baskets can cost anywhere between $80 to $300 each.  If you are only purchasing a single basket for throwing practice, this is quite affordable.  However, if you are setting up a large outdoor frisbee golf course, you will have to purchase many goals, which stretches the budget!  You will have to find goals that have a high level of durability but are still affordable.

Frisbee Golf Baskets

Here are 5 of the best frisbee golf baskets currently available.  They are all very durable, well made, and perfect for any outdoor conditions.

inSTEP Outdoor Disc Golf Goals

This is a very well built frisbee disc golf basket made from galvanized and powder coated steel.  Although it is designed like a portable frisbee golf basket, this is built well enough to survive the weather.

This goal comes with three quick-release pins that allow you to disassemble and store the goal easily.  Its easy disassembly makes it simple to tear down and it doesn’t take up much space.  inSTEP outdoor disc golf goals are also height adjustable, which can be useful if people of different heights and skill levels will be using it.  This goal comes with three discs — the putter, a mid-range disc and a long-range disc.

Pros: 

  • Easy set up
  • Very durable and weather-proof
  • Quite affordable!

Cons: 

  • One of the heavier frisbee golf goals
  • Only has one set of chains

Axiom Discs Axiom Pro Basket

best frisbee disc golf baskets

This basket comes in eight unique colors: yellow, white, orange, red, royal blue, light blue, lime, and pink. The coloring is powder-coated and covers the basket head to toe, except the chains.

This frisbee basket has two chain tiers that are made of 24 strands of heavy chain. It also has equidistant strand placement that allows for optimal catching ability. Plus, the threaded tension connections allow for rapid and sturdy assembly.

This basket, the Axiom Pro, is a brightly-colored version of Axiom’s most popular home basket, the Black Hole Pro. You won’t want to miss out on this basket!

Pros: 

  • Easy assembly – under a minute
  • High-visibility zinc-coated heavy duty weighted chains
  • PDGA Approved, built to standard height and size regulations
  • Powder-coated outer shell – extra durability and protection

Cons: 

  • May get loose after heavy use and need to be re-tightened

Driftsun Sports Portable Disc Golf Basket Goal

This frisbee golf basket is a fantastic option for anyone seeking a well-made product that is also affordable.  It is a regulation size basket, which helps to improve the effectiveness of your practice sessions.  This disc golf basket is a portable basket that is collapsible and very lightweight.  An adult or older child can easily move it around and place it in storage.

The basket features 12 heavy weight galvanized chains.  They are thicker than the chains on most other baskets, which helps to improve its reliability.  The entire frame is zinc coated and weather resistant, which means you can cement the basket in and leave it outside for long periods.

Pros: 

  • Adjustable height
  • Regulation size
  • Durable zinc coating

Cons: 

  • Only a single layer of chains

Topeakmart Disc Golf Goal

At just 21 pounds, the Topeakmart Disc Golf Goal is one of the most lightweight frisbee golf baskets on the market.  It is easy to assemble and can be stored away in a small amount of space.  These attributes make it a fantastic option for people who want to have quick sessions of frisbee golf or take their game on the road.

This goal is 52-inches tall, with the basket bing 22-inches from the ground.  The basket is 25-inches wide and has 14 galvanized iron chains.  Although this basket is designed to be quite portable, it is durable enough to be left outdoors for long periods.

Pros

  • very light and easy to assemble
  • Well made and durable enough to be left outdoors
  • Incredibly cheap!

Cons: 

  • Only one layer of chains

MVP Black Hole Pro 24-Chain Portable Disc Golf Basket Target

The MVP Black Hole Pro is designed to simulate a real course target.  It is a steel basket with 24 thick zinc-coated chains.  12 of these chains are on the inside and 12 on the outside.  This configuration helps to reduce pole bounces, and cut-throughs, where the disc fails to stop on the basket.

This disc golf basket is designed to match regulation basket dimensions.  This makes it ideal for anyone interested in playing competitively or improving their game on official courses.  It is designed to be a portable basket and is very lightweight at just 25 pounds.  It is well-constructed and perfect for players of any skill level.

Pros: 

  • Regulation size basket
  • Rugged and well made
  • 24 chains makes it perform like competition frisbee golf baskets
  • Quick assembly

Cons: 

  • Does not come with a wind direction flag
  • More expensive than other baskets

We hope you enjoyed reading our guide to the Best Frisbee Golf Baskets!  For more buying guides and informative articles, subscribe to the blog or follow us on social media. Check out some the best frisbee golf cleats as well. 

Best Kayak Rudder Kits

kayaking

4 BEST KAYAK RUDDER KITS

Kayaking is an incredible and rewarding experience that offers several health benefits. For instance, you have to put in physical effort to get your kayak moving, which improves cardiovascular functions. However, even the most physically fit person sometimes struggles to keep their kayak on course. Luckily, just because the going gets tough doesn’t mean you have to give up on this enjoyable hobby. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of a helping hand to keep you going, which you can easily achieve with the best kayak rudder kits.

Keeping your kayak straight when you are navigating choppy ocean waters can seem near impossible if you do not have the right rudder kit. Even the most seasoned kayakers will have trouble paddling a straight path through the water. Outfitting your kayak with a rudder kit allows you to move in the direction you wish to go. Of course, knowing which rudder you should choose may seem impossible considering how many options there are to choose from. Fortunately, the comprehensive review guide below will help make your choice an easier one.

sport-kayak-paddle

image by pixabay

1. GLASS FIBER WATERCRAFT KAYAK BOAT RUDDER

The Glass Fiber Watercraft Kayak Boat Rudder is both a great and affordable choice for kayakers looking to add a bit more control and stability over their kayaking experience. The kit is designed for use with rotating pedals and a foot control system so that you can use your feet to achieve results similar to if you were rowing. This multipurpose rudder works with a variety of water vessels, including kayaks, canoes, seayaks, and angling boats.

This kayak rudder kit is the cheapest on the list, which is suitable for kayakers on a budget. That is not to say that its cheap price tag means that it does not offer incredible features. In fact, the benefits that you can enjoy with this kit include:

  • Rotating pedals that come with the set
  • Sturdy rubber blade
  • Connection support
  • Base rod for efficient foot control system

It is apparent that customers have been generally satisfied with the purchase of the Glass Fiber Watercraft Kayak Boat Rudder. In fact, customers have said many positive things about this kit such as, “It works well for my kayak,” and “Great product at a fair price.”

Of course, with any of the positives that come with a product, you have to expect the drawbacks. Some of the drawbacks include:

  • Very limited warranty
  • Is not suitable for all kayaks

Some customers discovered that the rudder was not meant for their kayak the hard way and have instead opted to modify the rudder in some way to make it work for them. For instance, one customer complained that, “Whoever makes this thing obviously doesn’t know a thing about rudders.” Yet the majority of customers have been relatively happy with the purchase of this rudder and they have been able to make it work with their kayak with no complaints.


2. OCEAN KAYAK RUDDER KIT

Ocean Kayak Rudder Kit - Tridents, ProwlerT's, P13, PBG, Tetra One...
  • Easy to install, complete with instructions
  • Factory rudder from Ocean Kayak
  • Fits most Ocean Kayak boats model years 2013 and newer

When you are navigating the choppy waters of the ocean, maintaining control over your kayak can mean all the difference between a good situation and a bad one. If you cannot control your kayak properly, you could find yourself stranded on the water and desperate for help. Fortunately, the Ocean Kayak Rudder Kit provides you with the control you need, which gives you a great opportunity of making it back to shore safe and sound.

This specific kit provides you with a number of features and benefits such as:

  • Excellent quality for the price
  • 1-year warranty
  • Durable aluminum material
  • Entire kit with all of the parts necessary to ensure a successful installation

Despite the many benefits this particular rudder kit offers, it does have its drawbacks, which includes:

  • Not made for all kayaks
  • Minor issues with drilling and attaching the kit
Although the price for this rudder kit might not seem as budget-friendly for the budget conscious kayaker, it is well worth the purchase considering how many benefits it provides and the fact that it boasts a 4.5 out of 5-star rating. You can enjoy simple rudder kit installation complete with easy-to-understand instructions or you can opt for a cheaper kit that may translate to more of a headache than it’s worth to install. Customers seem to be relatively pleased with this kit considering that one customer went as far as to say, “As advertised. Love it!”

The cons associated with this rudder are few and far between as it would seem that the installation of this kit is pretty self-explanatory. Despite the fact that one customer was very pleased with the purchase of this kit, the customer did note having some trouble with drilling holes and the size of the grommets that came with the kit. Otherwise, it was described as simple a simple “plug and play” operation.

3. HARMONY RUDDER KIT

One reason the Harmony Rudder Kit is such a great choice is because it is made to work with all Wilderness Systems and Perception kayaks deemed rudder ready. You can tell if you own a rudder ready kayak based on the fact that it would have rubber ready post holes on it. Whether you are looking to venture our further into deep waters or you just wish to add more control over your kayaking experience, this rudder kit is sure to do the trick.

This rudder is hard to beat based on the benefits that it provides. You can enjoy the following advantages with this rudder kit:

  • Durable metal rudder that offers strength and quality
  • Use your feet for easier turning and steering
  • Raise or lower the rudder easily with a simple tug of a cord
  • Kit includes all parts necessary for easy installation – Metal rudder, mounting hardware, cords, sliding foot pegs, and BTS rudder system
  • Works with Tsunami and Tarpon kayaks made in 2009 and after that are considered rudder ready
  • 1-year warrant

If you are still unsure about this rudder, take into consideration that it has pleased customers enough to have received a 4.6 out of 5-star rating. Customers seem to agree that it is relatively easy to install based on one customer quoted as saying, “the rudder kit came with surplus parts and that it was easy to install by anyone with minor mechanical abilities.” Another customer simply said, “Awesome product. Easy to install and makes tracking and turning my Wilderness 135Ride easy to turn and tracks great.”

That is not to say that this rudder is without its disadvantages. As with any product, you have to accept the bad and the good as they often go hand-in-hand. The major drawback of this product is:

  • Complicated instructions despite easy installation

For some reason, the instructions make it seem like the installation of this rudder kit is far more complicated than it really is. In fact, one customer said, “I am rating this rudder so low because of the directions it came with. Might as well been written in another language.” Despite the lack of proper instructions, the majority of customers seem relatively happy with this rudder kit and with good reason. The benefits seem to far outweigh the drawbacks associated with this particular kit.


4. CRACK OF DAWN UNIVERSAL KAYAK RUDDER KIT

Crack of Dawn Kayak Rudder with Mounting Kit
  • Easily steer your kayak almost hands free
  • Fits most major brand kayaks
  • Easy to install

You'll be able to steer your kayak entirely hands-free with this durable kayak rudder kit. It will fit most of the major brands of kayaks with adjustable foot tracks, along with the ability to access the hull near the kayak's stern. This kit includes all assembly parts, tracking system, and foot pedals.

The following parts are included with this kit:

  • 1 Rudder
  • 1 Rudder Line (14 feet)
  • 2 Rudder Line Clamps
  • 2 Rudder D Shackles (0.6 inches to 0.72 inches hole width)
  • 1 Stainless Steel Eyelet
  • 2 Foot Pegs
  • 2 Foot Pedal Tracks
  • 4 Gromments
  • 2 L-Tubes
  • 4 L-Tube Clamps
  • Various Screws and Bolts
Overall, the comprehensive guide above should help you select a rudder that is best for you based on the type of kayak you have, your budget, and what it is you want and need out of a rudder. Make sure you check out our best kayak sail kits as well


Featured image by Pixabay



Best Wooden Lacrosse Shafts

5 Best Wooden Lacrosse Shafts

Lacrosse is an incredible game that has been around for centuries. The game first originated among the Native Americans around the time the Europeans first made contact. Initially, lacrosse was strictly enjoyed by male players using wooden shafts. As time went by, both male and female teams were introduced into the game. Additionally, wooden shafts were eventually replaced with more modern materials, such as composite sticks.

Of course, there are still many players who like to pay homage to the games originality by using wooden shafts. In fact, the use of wooden lacrosse sticks seems to be making a comeback. In truth, wood allows you to deliver a harder hit and it provides an incredible amount of durability. The thing about lacrosse is that it is a game of both speed and skill rather than brute strength. Along with speed and skill, however, you must also possess the right gear.

Gearing up with a wooden lacrosse shaft provides several benefits, particularly if you choose the right stick. Of course, knowing which shaft to choose may seem like a tedious task. Fortunately, the list below makes that easier on you. The list provides you with reviews on the top 5 best wooden lacrosse shafts money can buy. In other words, you can enjoy making a more informed purchase decision.

lacrosse

image by pixabay

1. STICK DOCTOR TRADITIONAL WOODEN LACROSSE STICK

The Stick Doctor Traditional Wooden Lacrosse Stick is the best way to take the game back to its roots. Aside from the fact that this is an incredibly durable stick, it is also handcrafted by Native Americans. This stick is as amazing to look at as it is to hold and use. Why not make your opponents jealous by keeping them in check with this wooden shaft?

This carefully constructed stick offers a number of incredible benefits, including:

  • Originality
  • 42”-43” length for legal lacrosse play
  • Hickory wood
  • Strength
  • Durability
  • Flexibility
  • Shock resistance

Also, this shaft boasts a 5 out of 5-star rating. Although no customer complaints have been noted, some might consider the price tag a bit of a drawback. You can purchase the Stick Doctor Traditional Wooden Lacrosse Stick for nearly $300. Although that might seem a bit steep to some, take into consideration that it is handcrafted. You should also keep in mind that customers seemed relatively pleased with it. In other words, this stick is worth a closer look.

2. TOMAHAWK LACROSSE TIGERWOOD ATTACK SHAFT.

Storm the field with force when you enter with the Tomahawk Lacrosse Tigerwood Attack Shaft. Tomahawk shafts are often amazing thanks to the uniqueness of the wood they are made with. This particular shaft features tigerwood, which offers a nice balance of strength and flexibility. It is also a hard wood that can prevent against dents relatively well.

Some of the benefits that you can enjoy with this stick include:

  • High checking strength
  • Solid feel
  • Midrange flexibility
  • Warmer than metal
  • Durability

One happy customer went as far as to say, “Great feel with good durability. To top it off it looks great, too.” Although there are no known drawbacks to this stick at the time, some may not like the fact that you will have to drill your own pilot hole for your lax head. Otherwise, it is a great stick that comes highly recommended.

3. TOMAHAWK LACROSSE MAYAN CHERRY DEFENSE SHAFT

The Tomahawk Lacrosse Mayan Cherry Defense Shaft is another Tomahawk shaft that is highly recommended. Compared to the previously mentioned attack shaft, this defense shaft has greater dent resistance. In fact, Mayan Cherry has the greatest dent resistance of all the Tomahawk wooden lacrosse shafts. If you wish to get your hands on a high-quality defense shaft at a low price, this is the one for you.

Benefits of this particular shaft include:

  • Extremely lightweight (8 oz.)
  • Balance of flexibility and strength
  • Visually stunning tropical hardwood
  • Stays relatively warm compared to metal shafts

Given all of the benefits of this particular stick, it is not hard to see why it has a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. Customers seem relatively happy with the purchase of this stick with some referring to it as an, “Excellent product!” Based on the positive reviews and the affordable price tag, this wooden lacrosse shaft might be just what you are looking for.

4. BURD WOOD WORKS HICKORY LACROSSE DEFENSE SHAFT

The Burd Wood Works Hickory Lacrosse Defense Shaft is the cheapest shaft on the list with regard to price. If you are working looking or a high-quality stick on a tight budget, this one is the perfect choice. Get your hands on a stick that can take a beating thanks to its high-quality design. In fact, this shaft offers a number of features and benefits for you to enjoy.

Features and benefits of the Burd Wood Works Hickory Lacrosse Defense Shaft include:

  • Durable, long-lasting hickory wood
  • Dent resistance
  • Kiln dried to avoid warping
  • Carefully hand-crafted
  • Can accommodate all makes of heads

The natural wood look of this stick is pretty amazing. However, you can customize it to your liking with varnish, stain, polyurethane, or varnish. Better yet, you can customize it without voiding the warranty. It would appear that customers are pleased with this shaft, which is why it has a 5 out of 5-star rating. One customer described it as, “Heavier than a traditional stick, however, it packs a punch.” Based on the rating, price, benefits, and customer testimonials of this shaft, it is clear this is a good choice.

5. RIPWOOD SOLID WOOD ATTACK LACROSSE SHAFT

The Ripwood Solid Ash Wood Lacrosse Attack Shaft is a superior choice for all of the right reasons. For starters, it is made from solid ash, which is an incredibly sturdy wood. Furthermore, it is usually lighter compared to hickory wood sticks. A lightweight shaft is extremely important to prevent your arms from tiring out while playing.

Of course, those are not the only benefits this particular shaft has to offer. Other benefits include:

  • Jimalaz end cap
  • Handmade in the USA
  • 30 inches long
  • Available in a variety of colors

Although ash is not quite as flexible as other wood materials, it is far stronger than most. Strength is something that an attacker wants in order to deal harder hits when playing the game. Flexibility is better for players who are going to receive the ball more often.

So far, there are no drawbacks associated with the Ripwood Solid Ash Wood Lacrosse Attack Shaft. It has a rating of 5 out of 5 stars thanks to customer satisfaction. People were simply amazed at the function and durability of this shaft. They could do nothing but rave about how it out performs other shafts when it comes to balance, durability, and standing out on the field.

skates-ice-hockey-old-ddr-skid

The Best Ice Hockey Skates

skates-ice-hockey-old-ddr-skid

Ice hockey is an incredibly fun sport that is growing in popularity!  There are well over half a million people playing ice hockey in the USA and that number is increasing quickly.

If you are interested in playing ice hockey for the first time or you want to improve your performance, you will need a pair of high-quality pair ice hockey skates.  Unfortunately, choosing the best ice hockey skates can be tricky, because there are so many models available and so many factors to consider.

This guide will simplify the process of choosing the best ice hockey skates by offering some useful tips.  We’ll also showcase the 5 best hockey skates on the market.  Let’s check them out.

Ice hockey skate basics

ice-hockey-goalie-goal-sport-team

image by pexels

Before we provide you with some tips for buying Ice hockey skates, let’s take a quick look at the components they contain:

The boot
This boot is the part of the ice hockey skate where you place your foot.  Manufacturers are constantly updating the kinds of materials used in the boot, to make skates lighter, safer, and more comfortable.  Most boots are now made from advanced synthetic materials that perform well and are very durable.

The boot of an ice hockey skate is a bit more complex than a normal shoe.   It contains the following parts:

  • Outsole
    This is the hard surface on the bottom of the boot.
  • Upper
    The top part of the boot.  Traditionally, the upper would be made from stitched leather, but most modern-day skates use advanced synthetic materials.  Synthetic materials tend to be lighter and are quite durable.
  • Toe cap
    The forward section of the upper is called the toe cap.  This is made from a hard material to protect the players toes during collisions or falls.
  • Heel cup
    As the name suggests, the heel cup wraps around the heel.  It is harder than the upper and offers additional protection for your heels.
  • Ankle padding and support
    Ice hockey skates have a lot of ankle protection.  That includes thick padding around and above the ankle.
  • Protective tongue
    Ice hockey skates have a tongue like a normal pair of shoes.  The main difference is that the tongue in a pair of hockey skates is much thicker.

The holder
This section connects the boot to the runner.  Most ice hockey skates will have a thick plastic holder, but some may use metal.

The runner
This is the blade of the ice hockey skate that makes contact with the ice.  High-quality ice hockey skates usually have runners that can be detached from the holder.  This allows you to replace or sharpen the runner very easily.  Cheaper pairs have a runner that is permanently attached to the boot.

How to purchase the right size ice hockey skate

hockey game

image by pixabay

It is important to find a pair of ice hickey skates that you find comfortable. You will enjoy your time on the ice, be faster, and have much more stability.  Here are some tips for purchasing the right size pair of hockey skates:

Consider your foot type
When fitting ice hockey shoes, the length and width of your feet are both important factors.  If you have very narrow or wide feet, you will need to find a special pair of skates that is narrower or wider.  Fortunately, finding the right pair of skates is easy thanks to ice hockey skate manufacturers labelling their skates well.  Most manufacturers use the following labels:

  • C or N is a narrow fit
  • D or R is a regular fit
  • E or W is a wide fit
  • EE is an extra wide fit

If you are unsure about which kind of foot you have, compare it to your team mates and ask them what kind of shoe they wear.  You could also try on a standard tennis shoe from a manufacturer like Nike or Adidas.  If the shoe fits well, you have normal feet.  If it is too tight, you have wide feet and if it is too loose, you have narrow feet.

Others factors that impact the sizing of your ice hockey skates include the width of your ankles, forefoot, and heels.  You will need to find a pair of ice skates that are snug around these parts of your foot to maximise your effectiveness in the game.  Most manufacturers provide details on how each boot fits the different parts of a player’s foot.  For example:

  • The Bauer Vapor has a regular fit heel, mid-foot and toe box.
  • The Bauer supreme has a snug heel and mid-foot with a slightly wide toe box.
  • Reebok ice skates tend to have a regular fit heel and mid-foot with a wider toe box
  • The Easton Stealth has a regular width heel with a slightly narrow mid-foot and toe box.
  • The CMM Tacks has a snug heel, mid-foot, and toe box
  • Ribcor has a narrow heel with regular mid-foot and toe box.

Take your time and choose a skate with the fit that is appropriate for your unique feet!

Tips for choosing the best ice hockey skates

Here are a few other tips to help you find the best pair of ice hockey skates!

Consider your position and playing style

The position you play on rink and your preferred playing style can determine which type of skate fit works best.  If you are an aggressive player that is always chasing the puck and constantly moving, you would do best with skates that are super lightweight and responsive.  They should have a very rigid and flat foot plate to maximize power transfer.  If you are a player who is more defensive and strategic, you can use skates that offer a bit more protection for your feet.  If you are playing as a goalie, you will need a pair of ice hockey skates that are very durable and protect your feet well.

Consider the price of your skates
If you are a beginner to the game or on a tight budget, look at skates in the $50 to $100 price range.  Skates in this price range are affordable, but durable enough to give you many seasons of great performance.  If you are a keen player, look at skates in the $100 to $300 range.  They will use sturdier materials, have excellent durability and really improve your performance on the rink.  Players who participate in competitive games can spend much more on their ice skates — usually in the $300 to $1,000 range!

Consider the materials the skates are made from
Most modern ice hockey skates are made from synthetic materials, because they are so lightweight and durable.  The most common materials used to make ice skates include molded plastics, leather, synthetic leather, and ballistic nylon.

Basic plastic ice skates are fine for casual players, but they do not offer the same level of mobility as other types of skates.  More expensive skates will use advanced polymers with microfiber sections.  Leather does work well, but it is heavier than most synthetic materials.  Think about both the performance of the skate and its durability when looking at its materials.

Five of the best ice hockey skates

Here are five of the best ice hockey skates on the market.  They are well made, affordable, and guaranteed to give you years of use.

Bauer Supreme 170 Ice Skates

American Athletic Shoe Co.Women’s American Soft Boot hockey Skate ,...
  • Style may vary
  • Soft boot hockey skate for non-competitive ice hockey and recreation
  • Thick foam padding for warmth and comfort

Bauer is a well-known brand for ice skates, and their Supreme line doesn’t disappoint. Engineered for power and efficiency, the skates incorporate many of Bauer’s proven technologies. The result? A high value skate engineered to help players reach their full potential.

The Supreme 170 ice skates feature the Tuuk Lightspeed Edge Holder, allowing players to switch the Bauer Tuuk EDGE Super Stainless runners on the fly. At the same time, the skates feature the Form Fit tongue, a 48 oz, 2-piece felt design. They boast a high density metatarsal guard for comfort and protection, while the Hydrophobic Grip liner is lightweight and dries quickly.

The skates are made from quality materials and they are as powerful as they are comfortable. If you’re looking to bring your game to the next level, the Bauer skates are a solid investment.

CCM 9060 Tacks Ice Hockey Skates

CCM 9060 Tacks Ice Hockey Skates (10.0 D)
  • SpeedBlade 4.0 holder with SpeedRib technology for geometric stability
  • Removable stainless steel SpeedBlade runners for convenience and durability
  • MetaFrame technology for an improved anatomical fit

Another popular brand as far as hockey skates are concerned, CCM constantly excels when it comes to both design and functionality. This model sports the SpeedBlade 4.0 holder with SpeedRib technology for geometric stability and comes with removable stainless steel SpeedBlade runners for convenience and durability.

At the same time, players will be delighted with just how comfortable the skates are and how perfectly they fit. That’s thanks to the brand’s MetaFrame technology that gurantees an improved anatomical fit and the Brushed Microfiber liner that ensures a soft, dry fit. The skates also feature Anatomical Response footbed for vented comfort.

Recommended for professional players willing to invest in their equipment for maximum performance, CCM skates are hard to surpass when it comes to quality and durability. Give them a try and you’ll experience elite level protection and super comfort without sacrificing power or speed.

American Athletic Shoe Men’s Ice Force Hockey Skates

American Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skate, 8, Black
  • Perfect skates for beginner skaters to intermediate skaters
  • Indoor and Outdoor skates, good for pond hockey
  • Light weight sidewall injection mold giving the skate a custom fit right out of the box

This is a very affordable pair of skates that is perfect for someone who occasionally has a casual game with friends.  Despite being under the $100 mark, they are well made and will survive in rough conditions.

The multilayered boot construction helps to provide these skates with excellent durability. The synthetic materials used to form the boot are put together surprisingly well, delivering excellent performance despite being a budget ice skate.  They have a nylon holder with Performance Edge carbon steel runner.  They are a great choice for someone new to the game!

Jackson Ultima Softec Sport Ice Skate

Jackson Ultima Softec Sport ST6102 Black Mens Ice Skates, Size 9
  • Jackson Ultima Ice Skates with Hockey Blades, ST6100 for Women, ST6101 for Girls, ST6102 for Men, ST6107 for Boys
  • Thinsulate lined upper and tongue with cushy foam padding for maximum comfort and warmth, Modern look offering reduced...
  • Durable nylon upper with color coordinated trim

On the affordable side, these skates from Jackson Ultima are the perfect pick for players who appreciate comfort above all else. Stylish and lightweight, the skates come with plenty of features designed to help you put your best foot forward in the rink.

The skates come with Thinsulate® lined upper and tongue with cushy foam padding for maximum warmth. Additionally, they boast a durable nylon upper with color coordinated trim and a leisure blade with stainless steel runner. As a result, the skates are dapper, powerful, and very comfy. They also fit perfectly as long as you follow the size chart to the letter.

The only downside is that you’ll need a couple of days to truly break them in, but given the affordable price that’s a pretty minor problem. The Jackson Ultima skates come in numerous sizes and are available for men and women, as well as for kids.

Riedell Skates - 625 Soar

Riedell Skates - 625 Soar - Recreational Soft Beginner Figure Ice...
  • STAYS COMFORTABLE FOR ENDLESS USE - These modern ice skates have a comfortable design and a simple lacing system to keep...
  • GIVES YOU GREAT SUPPORT - This ice skate set offer light support to keep you stable on the ice while allowing for...
  • DESIGNED TO KEEP YOU SAFE & YOUR FEET DRY - These beginner men's ice skates have with safety in mind by adding extra...

A solid choice for amateur players, the Riedell Skates are designed with beginners in mind, which makes them much more affordable than some of the other skates featured on this list. That being said, they still deliver when it comes to quality, so you can’t go wrong with giving them a try when you’re just starting out.

The skates have a comfortable design and a simple lacing system which makes them easy to put on and take off. Not to mention the foam-backed velvet lining - they fit and feels great. The skates also have a split tongue design and durable maintenance-free uppers to provide support and add comfort.

Designed to keep you safe, the Riedell skates come in a variety of sizes and are available for men and women. If you’re a casual skater looking to boost performance, these skates will come in handy for sure.

Thanks for reading our guide to the best ice hockey skates.  Make sure you check out our best boxing shoes as well.

Featured image pixabay