For the Driveway, Backyard, and More:
Sports Training Equipment for Students of All Ages

By Logan McCullough

It’s that season again. Football season. Baseball season. Hockey season. Lacrosse season. No matter the sport your son or daughter plays, it always seems as if something new is needed each year—maybe because they’ve outgrown what they have or perhaps they’ve switched sports. Shoulder pads, shin guards, cleats, skates, not to mention bats and sticks and gloves of all sorts.

But what about during the off-season? Your child needs to keep up their skills. Many parents aren’t aware of the practice and skills training equipment available—and those that are may not know which brands are best and which are the most affordable.

I bugged many fellow parents to bring you the following list of sports training equipment for elementary school, high school, and college students. These items may seem off the beaten path for some; for others, this list might help them decide which brand to purchase.

According to the parents I spoke with, steady practice during the off-season frequently results in less injuries and better overall performances, so make room in your backyard, garage, driveway, or front lawn for some new equipment and make room on your shelves for that next trophy! (These items can also be used during the season to get a leg up on the competition!)

Premium Lacrosse Rebounder by Lacrosse Scoop

To start, almost every lacrosse parent recommended Lacrosse Scoop’s rebounder. Some highlighted its durability and adjustable tension (for optimum bounce back), while others liked the easy set up—under an hour by most reports. (A few people I surveyed noted that adjusting the bungee cords takes some getting used to.) Almost everyone mentioned Lacrosse Scoop’s solid customer service, and many found their 100% guarantee comforting, since not everything is for everybody.


Freestanding Heavy Bag for Boxing and Kickboxing by Dripex

Whereas traditional heavy bags are hung from the ceiling, this is a freestanding bag. No matter your students’ sport, staying in shape is essential and requires extra work outside of practice time. Using the Dripex Heavy Bag is an excellent alternative workout for students involved in most any sport (not just boxing or martial arts). The Dripex offers a thorough workout that focuses not only on strength-building but also agility and stamina. This bag was recommended by parents with kids involved in football, soccer, crew, field hockey, and more.


PowerNet Football QB Pass Accuracy Trainer

The beauty of this quarterback passing trainer is its five pockets, representing the shoulders, the chest, and the waist. A perfect pass lands in one of the pocket baskets. The PowerNet football pass accuracy trainer sets up in minutes. The seams are sturdy, as is the frame; it won’t easily tip over. Most football parents I know preferred PowerNet over other similar pass accuracy trainers. Some of their reasons are in the list below.


Street Hockey Folding Pro Goal with Backstop and Targets by EZGoal

This is the ultimate street hockey net. It easily folds up flat for storage, which, for most hockey parents, was a godsend—anything to make a little more room in sheds, garages, and basements. This net is not just for street hockey enthusiasts; it is a great practice goal for those ice rats who want to hone their shots when ice time isn’t available.


SKLZ Quickster Soccer Trainer

Most of the soccer parents I spoke to recommended the SKLZ Soccer Trainer because of its focus on passing and volleys. It is set up for solo use, but could easily be adapted if a friend came over. The SKLZ Trainer is actually 2 nets: 4 feet by 6 feet, and 6 feet by 20 inches. These nets (connected together) help your daughter or son practice rebounds, not just on the ground, but in the air. Parents said the set up took no time at all, and some told me that it was very easy to breakdown and transport. (It weighs 13.2 pounds.)


Pro Battle Rope with Anchor Strap Kit by Profect Sports

Wrestling parents are a unique group. As one wrestling mom said to me, “On the weekend, I get to cheer my son, as he participates in hand-to-hand combat wearing pajamas.” Through this mom, I met other wrestling parents and during numerous conversations about how their child could keep fit during the off-season, quite a few of them spoke about the battle rope. These parents believed that the battle rope was an effective workout for their child’s arms, legs, shoulders, back, torso, and abs, preparing them for another tournament or season. They also believed the cardio conditioning was an excellent way to burn off the fat all year round.


Skate Anytime: Synthetic Ice for Hockey—Skateable Artificial Ice Tiles—Starter Kit

Having grown up in a hockey family, I know how hard it can be to get some ice time for your daughter or son to practice on their own or with friends and teammates. Usually, we just ended up in the driveway playing street hockey. Well, folks, the hockey parents I know (and I know quite a few) almost all recommended synthetic ice tiles, particularly those from Skate Anytime. The interlocking panels are “specifically designed and engineered” for skating with hockey skates or figure skates. You can create practice “ice” on any hard surface: garages, basements, driveways, decks and more. It doesn’t replace practicing on actual ice, but when ice time is precious, skateable synthetic ice tiles are a worthy and durable substitute all year round.


Louisville Slugger Pitching Machine

The baseball parents I spoke to were sharply divided on the relative merits of various pitching machines, but all of them agreed that the Louisville Slugger gave them the most bang for their buck. In fact, most of them admitted that the bells and whistles available on much more expensive models by other brands were often superfluous. The Louisville Slugger pitching machine has everything a young player needs and more. While there are bargain basement pitching machines that will suffice in a pinch, the quality and the price makes the Louisville Slugger the best value.


SKLZ Hit-A-Way Portable Baseball Swing Trainer

Some baseball parents swore by this swing trainer station (with stand). Designed to improve hand-eye coordination and batting strength, the Hit-A-Way also focuses on timing and improves confidence. Through muscle memory, the player builds a rhythm and develops a better, more effective swing. The Hit-A-Way folds up and can be moved easily, even brought to the field for team practice.


Speed and Agility Kit—Training Equipment for all Sports by A1 1N Sports

Quite a few parents touted this training kit from A1 1N Sports. They believed (as did their children) that the kit improved not only their speed, agility, and footwork, but also their coordination and balance control. A1 designed this set so that it can be used by young people participating in a variety of sports (track, soccer, football, field hockey, wrestling, basketball, and more). They can hone their footwork with the agility ladder, maneuver a ball around the disc cones, or jump the hurdles—just three of the many possible exercises. A1’s training kit focuses on a number of skills that could have many different applications.


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