Guide To Picking Best Baseball Books For You In 2021

best baseball books

Baseball is a popular topic to write about. There have been many great stories told and written over the years. As the days pass, more and more are being written every day.

best baseball books

Your Guide

Andrew Buller-Russ   Andrew Buller-Russ

From books written 100 years ago to books written yesterday, there is a lot of wisdom that can be found from reading a book.

Sometimes you can read a book multiple times and still learn something that you didn’t fully understand or comprehend the first time around. Not to mention that reading is very relaxing.

All in all, reading a great book is a great way to pass the time. Some books are informational and some are emotional. Whichever style of book you prefer; there is a baseball book for you.

Some books can be great because they help teach us things about ourselves that we did not know before.

While others may teach us a new method that we can approach the game we love with. Or maybe it is just a great story that you cannot put down.

I know I have found many great baseball books over the years and I am constantly finding more.

But I also know there are many that I have yet to discover. There is just not enough time in the day to get to them all!

You may be thinking, I already love to read, are you telling me I can spend time reading and learning about baseball too?

That’s right you can! So what are some of the best baseball books in book stores today?

How to Choose the Best Baseball Books of All Time

There have been many great baseball books written over the years. Once you learn how many there are, it can be a bit overwhelming, where do I start?

Well I hope to provide you with a good starting point on which books are some of the best.

Well part of that depends on your reading level and age. If you are a young reader, Mike Lupica writes many great baseball books that young players can relate to.

There are also many great historical or true stories that have been written about legendary greats such as Jackie Robinson, Robert Clemente and others.

What To Look For

True stories are some of the best that are told because even though they may seem unimaginable and impossible, the fact that they are true gives us all some hope that anything is possible.

With enough dedication, hard work and effort, you can become the baseball player you have always wanted to become.

Though it may not be easy to get there, in the end, someday you will look back and see that all that hard work paid off and that it was worth it.

While there are baseball books for all levels of experience and age, if you are a baseball fan like me, you will probably read just about any baseball story that exists.

I love to hear the new stories that are told every day. You just never know what you may find interesting.

A more experienced reader may enjoy some of the books that deal with an advanced level of baseball. There are many books that have recently been written that go into where baseball as a game is headed.

Some of these books focus on advanced stats and efficient ways to hit and throw a baseball.

Recommendation For You – Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

But perhaps my favorite baseball book and story that I have seen yet is Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

If you are not familiar with the Moneyball story, it is an incredible story of a team’s quest to beat a gigantic powerhouse. Almost like a David vs. Goliath story and it is all true.

I do not want to spoil the story for you, so I won’t go into too much detail. The book is definitely one of my favorites. Hopefully after you read it, it will be one of your favorites too.

If you have read the book and you still can’t get enough of the Moneyball story, it also has a movie made about the book.

The movie is very well-made and features famous actors you may recognize. The book was released in 2003 and the movie was released in 2011.

If you are looking for informative baseball books to help you improve, there are plenty of those as well. Here is a quick video with some book recommendations:

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

How to Choose the Best Baseball Fiction Books

Sometimes the best baseball books are fictional books that are not a true story, but usually written as something that definitely could have happened.

Some of the best books of all time are fictional. These books can go outside the box a little and create a fascinating story that is compelling to read.

Fictional books are wonderful because they can go outside the normal realm for what is possible. Though usually with fictional baseball books, they are still realistic and reasonable.

Although not always, you will definitely find some stories that are outside the normal box of thinking and that is wonderful too!

What To Look For

There have been many fictional baseball books written over the years. Some have been great and some not so great. So which fictional baseball book would I recommend?

My favorite fictional baseball book story I have ever read or heard is Shoeless Joe. Many of you may already be somewhat familiar with the “Field of Dreams”. If you are not, I highly recommend that you read Shoeless Joe, written by W.P. Kinsella.

If you just mention the famous line “If you build it, they will come”, many sports fans, not just baseball fans know what you are referencing. This book is legendary and many non-sports fans have read it as well. Of course, like many great books, there was also a movie made about the book.

There are even some real life tie-ins to the story. The entire story is incredible, I cannot understate that. I highly recommend that any baseball fan read Shoeless Joe.

Shoeless Joe is such a great book and widely liked that the legendary tale has become one of the most well-known, if not the most well-known baseball book ever written.

With how many have been written, that is monumental. Shoeless Joe has inspired many baseball fans and players over the years and I hope it can inspire you also.

Here is a movie trailer about the movie, Eight Men Out, released in 1988.

Another popular movie about the book, and even more well-known than Eight Men Out, is the movie Field of Dreams.

I have seen Field of Dreams many times and it never seems to get old. The movie is also very well produced and features many famous actors.

The movie is a great portrayal of the book and very well liked among baseball fans. Kevin Costner, the main actor really does a great job. Baseball movie fans will recognize Costner as many of his movies feature a baseball theme.

Recommendation For You – Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella

In fact, Shoeless Joe is so popular that the MLB even recently announced that a baseball game is going to be played at the “Field of Dreams”.

I think this is a really cool gesture by Major League Baseball. I know I will try and tune in when the game is on.

The game will be played in Dyersville, Iowa between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. The game will take place on August 13th, 2020.

A game has never been played there and they are constructing a stadium just for this game.

Here is a movie trailer for the popular movie, Field of Dreams.

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella

How to Choose the Best Baseball History Books

Baseball is a historical sport that has been around forever and has many great stories to tell. There are so many stories that many of the greatest ones have been forgotten.

Baseball has been written about for a really long time too, leading to plenty of great reading content for baseball fans to absorb.

What To Look For

From stories detailing how teams built a winning ball club to the drama of a clubhouse, there are many different types of stories to be read.

Some stories will do into great details of an individual’s career, while others will focus on a team.

Either way, there are great stories out there that can take you away from your current environment by absorbing yourself into a great book.

Perhaps to learn about a lot of different stories compiled into one collection may interest you. It is a great way to learn about a wide range of baseball topics. Mike Sowell wrote a book in 1989 that did just that.

The Pitch That Killed tells many true stories of the great sport of baseball. Some are sad and almost unbelievable and others are positive and uplifting.

It is a pretty good way of telling multiple stories to baseball fans looking for another story to read about their favorite sport.

Recommendation For You – The Pitch That Killed by Mike Sowell

Although I like The Pitch That Killed, there are many others out there that tell many of the game’s greatest stories.

This book is well known and popular so you should be able to get your hands on it. Let me know which baseball history book that you have found to be good.

The Pitch That Killed by Mike Sowell

The Pitch That Killed by Mike Sowell

How to Choose the Best Selling Baseball Books

As a popular sport, baseball has had many best-selling books that have been written over the years. Who doesn’t have interest in reading a best seller?

If so many other people are buying it and reading it, well it must be good right?

It is very tough for a book to become a best seller. Best-selling books have to be very well written and researched thoroughly for the book to do well.

Many have attempted to write a best seller; only a select few have actually succeeded.

What To Look For

Luckily for baseball fans, there have been several best-selling baseball books written over the years.

Though there have been many, one of my favorites is actually one I referenced earlier. My recommendation for the best-selling baseball book is Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

I and many others love this book because of the incredible story that Michael Lewis has written. Not only is it a great baseball story, it is 100 percent true. The book did so well; a movie was later made about the book.

The book is also a recent story, which makes it even more impressive with how historical the game of baseball is. Moneyball was written in 2003. The book is definitely a best seller.

Recommendation For You – Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Although I really like Moneyball, I know there are several others, such as Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.

Honestly, that was a close second for me personally, it was tough. But I’m curious, which is your favorite best-selling baseball book?

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

How to Choose the Best Baseball Coaching Books

Some baseball coaches and players have enjoyed their time in baseball so much that they wanted to share their successes by writing a baseball book to help players and coaches improve.

As the sport of baseball continues to grow and evolve, more and more, there are more books being written about new ways of plating or coaching. There have been many great books written over the years.

What To Look For

Some books have been written by former baseball players. Other books have been written by great baseball coaches.

Sometimes they are written by coaches attempting to teach their unconventional methods to pass down to the next generation of baseball players.

I know I can appreciate their efforts to continue to help make the game of baseball even better than the game they grew up with.

The more people that invest their time and money into improving the game of baseball, the better off the game will be. Hopefully, that continues on with our next generation of baseball players.

Recommending just one great baseball coaching book is tough. There are so many!

But I would have to recommend The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s New Nonconformists Are using Data to Build Better Players.

I like this book because it takes an unorthodox approach to building better baseball players. It is a great book to pick up for baseball coaches everywhere. The book is also a best seller.

Written by Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik, this book is a classic. The book was released very recently too, being released in June of 2019.

On Amazon, it is currently listed as the #1 Best Seller in the Baseball Coaching category.

Many coaches have been buying the book and passing it on to their peers. The book takes an in-depth look at some specific players and how they have become very successful pro ball players.

They also delve into some traditional pitching and hitting techniques for baseball players to work on.

Recommendation For You – The MVP Machine by Ben Lindbergh & Travis Sawchik

At the end of the day, The MVP Machine is a book that I recommend to any baseball coach at any level of baseball.

This book can help coaches take a new approach to some players that maybe they are confounded on what to do next with them.

Some talents are so unique and rare, that you just don’t know how to best utilize their skills.

If you are a coach, do your players and yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the MVP Machine.

Let us know how the book has helped you improve or helped your players improve. Parents should also give this book a read to help their young baseball player thrive.

Alright coaches, I know I am certainly no coach!

I want to hear from you. Which is your favorite baseball coaching book that you have found success with?

The MVP Machine by Ben Lindbergh & Travis Sawchik

The MVP Machine by Ben Lindbergh & Travis Sawchik

How to Choose the Best Baseball Books for Kids

To choose the best baseball book for kids, there are so many options, getting started can be overwhelming. I remember when I was going to the library as a young kid. I had no idea where to start!

The library is this large blank canvas with literally thousands of books, how could I know what a good book was?

Well from looking at the cover right?

Haha wrong!

What To Look For

The first thing I did of course was to find the sports section. Once I was there, it quickly became a problem.

I had never been in one place with so much reading material; it was like I was in a dream.

I am sure my parents were happy too, I finally had plenty of reading material to stay out of their hair for a few days. They no longer had to worry about me behaving or knocking things down in the house.

I had my head in a book and I was going to be busy for the foreseeable future.

Their plans worked. Of course, they also had to keep bringing be back. It seemed like each time I went, there was a new book or something else had caught my eye, I was hooked.

I became to notice that a lot of the baseball books I had were written by the same name, Mike Lupica. Yeah I liked reading biographies, non-fiction and fictional stories, but I liked Mike Lupica’s style.

His books are not real lengthy and they do a great job of immersing you into the story.

He even has some books that extend into a book series or a trilogy. This kept me chasing more and more of his books. Pretty much any book you can find by Mike Lupica, I would recommend.

Unfortunately, since he has written so many sports books, not just baseball, it is very hard to recommend just one.

So if I had to recommend a good place to start, find some books written by Mike Lupica. You cannot go wrong with his work.

Recommendation For You – Baseball Biographies For Kids by Dean Burrell

Though, if I am selecting just one book, it is not from Mike Lupica. The book I would recommend for young readers is called Baseball Biographies for Kids:

The Greatest Players from the 1960s to Today. This book is very interactive and great for young readers.

This book is a compilation of sports biographies of many of baseball’s greatest recent modern players.

Though, if you are looking for a fictional tale, you may want to look elsewhere. Each story in this book is true.

Written by Dean Burrell, Baseball Biographies for Kids will keep your child interested to keep reading till the end. If your kid likes history or true stories complete with baseball stats, they will love this book.

It is also currently the #1 New Release in Children’s Baseball Books on Amazon.com.

I know there are many great kids’ baseball books out there. Though I have covered several, I want to hear from you.

Which children’s baseball book have you found or have your kids found that they really like?

Baseball Biographies For Kids by Dean Burrell

Baseball Biographies For Kids by Dean Burrell

How to Choose the Best Baseball Hitting Books

There are many great baseball books available on the market today. Many of them help accomplish different things. Some of them can help teach players how to be better on the baseball diamond.

Although, some modern methods may be more effective such as visual aids or short gif clips followed by detailed step-by-step instructions.

There are still many great baseball books that can help. Even if they were written a while ago, there are still a lot of good bits of information in them that can really help a young player improve.

What To Look For

If you are looking for a baseball book that can help you improve your hitting approach at the plate, there are some gems out there. I do admit though, that there are not as many as you would think.

It seems as though not as many people are writing baseball books to help hitters improve in the modern day.

With that being said, there are some great hitting books out there. Some of my favorites are some that were written or helped written by some professional baseball legends of the game.

Tony Gwynn’s The Art of Hitting is a great baseball book written in 1998 that dives into the mechanics of hitting, including grip, stance, balance, footwork, release point, swing, and follow-through.

Tony Gwynn’s book is 144 pages long and it includes a foreword written by the great Ted Williams.

Gwynn was a great hitter for a long time and won 8 National League batting titles in his time in the Major Leagues. Though, this book may be a bit tougher to find at your local library, it is available online.

Recommendation For You – Tony Gwynn’s The Art of Hitting

Speaking of Ted Williams, he wrote the other great hitting book I would recommend, The Science of Hitting – Written in 1986 by Williams and co-authored by John Underwood and Robert Cupp, the Science of Hitting is well known in the baseball community. The Science of Hitting is 96 pages long.

Regarded as possibly the best hitter of all time, I definitely recommend giving the Science of Hitting a read. It can’t hurt. Many great baseball players read the book at some point in their lives.

Tony Gwynn's The Art of Hitting

Tony Gwynn’s The Art of Hitting

How to Choose the Best Baseball Strategy Books

Baseball like every other sport, is largely a game of strategy. Of course, baseball is not easy, so any edge that can be gained purely by having a better strategy is one of the many ways players and teams can get ahead of the competition.

Some strategies are bad, and some are good, it all depends on when they are put into play.

What To Look For

Sometimes the wrong strategy can come back to bite you. While other times, having the right strategy can be the difference between a win and a loss.

At the end of the day, if you can have a better strategy than your opponent, the odds are in your favor.

Strategies in baseball are changing by the pitch. They also seem to change depending on what level of baseball you are playing at. In the past number of years, long time baseball strategies have changed too.

In the past, you would have never seen teams open a game with a relief pitcher on the mound.

Now, in professional baseball, you do. That is just one small example of how some baseball strategies have changed just in recent years, there are many more.

Baseball is fairly simple once you have a much better understanding of the ideal baseball strategies in situational play.

These strategies can take a while to learn, but after doing so, you will a much more confident baseball player. Knowing what to do on the field could be the difference between a starting role and riding the bench.

Though it can be simple, baseball is also very tough to play. Once you know what you are doing, it can be very fun.

Luckily many of your peers can help teach some things to you to help you improve as well.

There are also several books that deal with educating the public about baseball strategies as the game goes on.

Players and coaches can learn a great deal from these books. There is a lot of knowledge to be gained from an informed baseball professional.

Recommendation For You – Baseball Strategies by Jack Stallings & Bob Bennett

So you may be wondering, what are some baseball strategy books that can help me? Well I can recommend the book Baseball Strageties, written by Jack Stallings and Bob Bennett.

Written in 2002, Baseball Strategies is a great book for anyone looking to dive deeper into the various strategies of playing baseball competitively.

Baseball Strategies was developed by a star-studded cast of coaches selected by the American Baseball Coaches Association. There is a lot to dive into, with 360 pages of baseball strategy knowledge to soak up.I recommend this book for both baseball players and coaches.

Baseball Strategies by Jack Stallings & Bob Bennett

Baseball Strategies by Jack Stallings & Bob Bennett

Conclusion

I hope that this best baseball books guide has helped you learn and find some books that you may not have been aware of before.

There are thousands of great baseball books on the market today. I know that I did not cover all of them, but the ones listed definitely contain a lot of knowledgeable and fun reading material to browse through.

Let me know down below if there is a baseball book that you have recently discovered or maybe just one that you have found really helpful or maybe just enjoy reading. Which is your favorite baseball book?

Let me know in the comments.

What are you waiting for?

Get out there and dive into your next baseball book. I can’t wait to hear back from so many of you to find out which other baseball books are out there.

Ultimate Guide To Choosing A Best Baseball Bat Reviews For 2021

best baseball bats

Baseball is one of the oldest sports around. Throughout the lifetime of baseball, players have found many different items to play with that imitate the real licensed products normally used. However, if you want the best, most realistic results, it is advised that players play with the proper equipment.

Your Guide

Andrew Buller-Russ   Andrew Buller-Russ

Luckily for all baseball fans and players out there, the game of baseball sees many great new innovations and improvements each year.

This advanced thinking and technology extends to the innovative baseball equipment being manufactured for the next generation of baseball players to enjoy.

With baseball bats seeing improvements and getting more technologically advanced each year, keeping up with the pace can be tough.

I hope to clear up some confusion as well as point out some new innovations as you read this article. I’m sure you will find many helpful nuggets of information littered throughout the text.

My goal is to better inform those interested in baseball and the products available for you.

If you are looking to get into playing baseball of course you will need to find a nice baseball bat to play with. There are many different ways to go about finding your preferred bat.

Interested buyers can go online or to your local sports shop in hopes of finding the right baseball bat for you.

Getting the chance to feel the size and weight of the bat in your hand as you stand in the batting box is important.

Also getting an idea for how the bat feels when swinging is imperative. You want to make sure you feel comfortable when holding and swinging your baseball bat.

With all that being said, there are many different sizes of bats. For best results, refer to a bat sizing chart to help you find the ideal dimensions for your size.

Use the sizing chart as a general guideline, some players prefer to use a different bat than recommended.

The most important factors when considering which bat to buy and use are the comfort and feel of the baseball bat in your hands.

You will be swinging this bat hundreds to thousands of times. It is imperative that players can swing the bat with the same form each time without the bat throwing them off their balance.

There are many different types of baseball bats being manufactured today. Bats today are made of anything from aluminum, metal and various species of wood. Your baseball bat composition will depend largely upon your age and experience.

Younger, beginner baseball players may use a metal or aluminum bat to help drive the ball further.

While more established players may prefer the old-school sound of the crack of the bat that a wooden baseball bat provides.

Refer to the rules and regulations of your baseball game to determine if a specific bat type is needed.

So you may be wondering, what type of baseball bat should I be looking for?

Well I hope to provide further clarification as you read on. Continue reading to discover what type of baseball bat is right for you.

How to Choose The Best USA Baseball Bat

When it comes to shopping for the best USA baseball bat, there are thousands of options out there. It can be tough to quickly narrow down your realistic options.

Hopefully by the end of this section you will have a much better idea on what to look for when shopping for the best USA baseball bat.

What To Look For

When I am shopping for a USA baseball bat, first and foremost, I want something that is going to be of decent quality while offering a good value when purchasing the bat.

Not something too expensive that may be impractical, but also not something so bad that may deter you from wanting to play baseball in the future. At the end of the day, baseball should be an activity that brings a lot of joy and fun.

Shopping for a USA baseball bat can be tricky, like I said there are so many options, it can be tough to narrowly define what you are after.

Of course like I previously mentioned, bat size is important, refer to a bat sizing chart to get started. Once your ideal size has been determined, finding the right bat is a lot easier.

Now that you can look for a specific size of baseball bat, your options become more limited than before. If you are planning on using your bat for a baseball league, refer to your league’s rules and regulations to determine which bats are deemed legal to use.

Leagues usually will have either a wood or metal bat requirement that players are required to follow.

Once you have your bat size and bat composition determined, the options become even more narrow and defined. Luckily, there will still be many bats for you to select from.

If possible, I always recommend holding the baseball bat in your hand to determine if the fit is right before purchasing.

Some leagues require their athletes to use a baseball bat that is made in the USA.

Always refer your league rule guidelines before purchasing equipment. Not all leagues have the same rules and regulations.

Recommendation For You – AP5 PRO MODEL

With all that being said, if I were to recommend a made in USA baseball bat I would have to recommend the Marucci AP5 Pro.

The AP5 Pro is a wooden baseball bat made with great balance and a thick barrel to send those baseballs sailing over the outfield wall. It is actually named after MLB All-Star Albert Pujols.

Once you have your baseball bat, the next step is making sure you take care of it to last you a long time. There are many steps owners can take to protect their new baseball bat.

Here is an article outlining how to better take care of your wooden baseball bats to make them last.

AP5 PRO MODEL

AP5 PRO MODEL

How To Choose The Best Little League Baseball Bat

Selecting a great baseball bat to use for Little League is important. When getting into something without much experience, you want to make sure everything can be done to make sure that process goes smoothly.

Confidence is a huge part of playing sports and Baseball is no different.

If you start out with a bat you don’t like, maybe you lose interest in the game completely. That is not ideal for our young athletes looking to have some fun.

Having a baseball bat you enjoy can make a world of a difference, and who knows, maybe you go on to play in a pro league someday.

What To Look For

Obviously baseball bats come in all shapes and sizes. I know when playing sports with your friends and peers, sometimes you want to have some new, shiny equipment that looks great. Well, sometimes that equipment isn’t the best option.

Believe it or not, there is something to be said for quality as well. As you know, not all products are built with the same level of standards.

This means that sometimes those flashy bats don’t actually work all that well with translating that pop to the diamond.

But, sometimes the style has nothing to do with the performance. Style should not impact or affect your buying decisions from the start.

It is always a good idea to find the bat that suits your needs first and worry about style later.

You may be able to get the best of both worlds in the end anyway. Many bats offer a customizable option that allows athletes to get them with the exact color or style preferred.

Whether it is their favorite or lucky color or just to match team designs, bats can be finished in many colors.

So, once your youth baseball player has their preferred bat size, composition and style picked out and made sure all those selections are in accordance to their Little League’s rules and regulations, shopping for a baseball bat can be a blast.

Can be. As we all know, kids change their minds and are easily influenced by their friends and peers.

That is ok too. But the more important factor is for your child to have a bat with a comfortable fit when swinging. Most importantly though, they need to be able to have some fun!

Luckily, there are literally thousands of bats to choose from, so you can be sure your little one will find something they like.

Keep in mind too, other equipment such as batting gloves can go a long way towards ensuring a comfortable grip on the bat. So don’t give up on the bat right away if the fit is not perfect.

It is tough to recommend one singular bat for all Little Leagues as many leagues have different rules and regulations.

Always refer to your specific league’s rules and regulations before final purchase. Most baseball bats, if custom made, are not refundable or returnable.

For the best composite baseball bat I could suggest to be used for Little League play, I would recommend the 2020 Easton ADV 360.

Although it is a bit expensive, it truly is the best. If your kid needs to be convinced further, look no further than the extended use of the ADV 360 in 2019’s Little League World Series.

The Easton ADV 360 is a balanced and lightweight baseball bat with a tacky grip. Your kid will love swinging the ADV 360 at their next Little League game and their friends will be impressed. The bat comes ready for use, with practically no break-in period.

If you would prefer an aluminum bat for Little League play, the 2020 Easton Fuze 360 is the way to go.

Once again, many of the 2019 Little League World Series players used the Fuze 360 for championship play. If that many of the game’s best enjoyed it, the Fuze 360 must be good.

Joking aside, the Fuze 360 is great because it offers buyers a more affordable option than some of the composite baseball bats sold today.

One key feature about the bat itself is the superior comfort the bat provides. The Fuze 360 also features the same Power Boost soft knob as the ADV 360 which improves the athlete’s balance and leverage while swinging.

The custom, Easton-exclusive designed Lizard Skin grip adds a squishy yet tacky feel when holding the bat.

These bat grips are regarded as some of the best grips in the game due to their impressive effectiveness. The bat is all one piece, so very little can go wrong.

Recommendation For You –  2020 Easton ADV 360

It is hard to stick with just one bat for Little League play. In the heat of the battle, sometimes when things are not going your way, you may want to try something new.

Who could blame you?

Oftentimes players will lend and borrow their way to a variety of baseball bats over the course of a season. That is normal. Sometimes this can lead to the game’s greatest moments.

Do not be afraid to experiment with using different baseball bats from time to time, you never know what you could uncover. But generally more success will be found when sticking with your preferred bat over a larger sample size.

That being said, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to selecting a specific baseball bat.

Even if you have an identical baseball twin, you both might not use the same bat. Every individual will have their own preferred bat to use. It is very rare to have two players who use the same bat.

Hopefully now you have a better idea on how to find the best bat for your Little League experience.

Just know that you cannot go wrong. Each bat you buy will be able to hit the baseball effectively.

2020 Easton ADV 360

2020 Easton ADV 360

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat Brands

There are many different baseball bat brands in existence today and many more being made each day. So some of you may be wondering, which is the best baseball bat manufacturer there is? Well that depends on many factors.

What To Look For

First off, as I covered earlier, what age or size is the athlete?

Also, which bat type are you looking for?

 Wood or metal?

Those factors will get you into certain buying categories, as some brands stick to what they are good at. Not all brands offer a bat for everyone.

Luckily there are still plenty of great options to choose from.

Again, the best baseball bat brand depends on many things.

For example, where are you in your baseball career?

A beginner may be more suited for a bat tailored for their skills.

A home-run hitter may prefer a specific barrel size or a different bat style than say a leadoff contact hitter would.

Or a seasoned veteran may have some superstition that ties them to a certain brand.

Or maybe you are just special enough to have earned a sponsorship from a specific brand.

Some people definitely prefer wooden bats. While others swear by composite or metal bats.

Or maybe you are old-school and like some of the brands that have been around forever such as the classic Louisville Slugger.

Whichever bat brand you choose, they are all built to do one thing:

Hit a baseball. If I could make a suggestion, I would say don’t blindly adhere to any one brand. Many companies have innovations they roll out every year.

Just because a brand may have been the best in 1994, doesn’t mean they are the best in 2020 or even still the best the very next year.

Some brands undergo major changes from year to year. Others will change very little or nothing at all from year to year.

It is best to stay informed of the changes of bat brands from year to year if you find yourself frequently purchasing baseball bats.

Sometimes there are state-of-the-art innovations that get introduced with a new product for the new year. You do not want to find yourself behind when the game’s next greatest innovation hits.

Recommendation For You – Marucci CAT7 BBCOR

Still, if I were to try and recommend you a general baseball bat brand to stick with, again that depends on many things. If you are a younger athlete playing baseball, I have found Easton makes a great baseball bat for many younger players.

I appreciate their variety of composite and metal bats that are lightweight and easier to swing.

If you have a bit more experience playing baseball or maybe prefer a wooden bat, Marucci has been doing a great job making baseball bats in the past few years.

Marucci also offers a variety of baseball bats that can be had in many different colors and styles. No matter what you are looking for, Marucci has a bat for you.

Here is a helpful video for further information on picking out a good Marucci bat:

Marucci CAT7 BBCOR

Marucci CAT7 BBCOR

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat In The World

I realize that not all bats are made the same. Not all bats are sold all across the world either. Sometimes a product is very hard to acquire depending on your situation.

I have already stated the best USA baseball bat earlier in this article. I recommended the Marucci AP5 Pro baseball bat, named after Albert Pujols.

Oddly enough, for the best baseball bat in the world, I still would have to recommend the Marucci AP5 Pro.

What To Look For

There are many other great bats available across the world today and more being made each day. But I have found the Marucci AP5 Pro to be a comfortable bat made with high quality.

Baseball players really enjoy the balance the AP5 offers while swinging the bat.

I myself prefer a wooden baseball bat, and that is what the AP5 Pro offers. Although, if you are just looking to have some fun in the backyard or park or whatever, a metal or composite bat will offer more pop.

Wooden bats are definitely safer to play with but also tougher to swing.

For beginners, the Marucci AP5 Pro is not ideal. When starting out, athletes will have more enjoyment from swinging a metal or composite bat due to the ball traveling better off of those surfaces.

Everyone loves the crack of a wooden bat, but the ping of a metal bat is something special as well.

Recommendation For You – AP5 PRO MODEL

No matter which bat you go with, you cannot go wrong. Just get out on the baseball field and have fun.

If you are ever on the baseball field where baseball is being played, make sure you always have a batting helmet for protection.

AP5 PRO MODEL

AP5 PRO MODEL

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat For 7 Year Olds

It is always important to have the right playing equipment to play baseball. Of course the most important is the bat and glove.

But when the time comes to find the right baseball bat for your 7 year old, it can be tough.

What To Look For

There are many helpful things to keep in mind when shopping for a bat for your 7 year old. Comfort is obviously important, you want your child to feel good when stepping up to the plate.

Your child’s height is also important to know before you shop for an ideal bat for their size.

First you will want to measure your kid’s height while they are wearing their baseball shoes. Your child’s height will help determine part of the bat size recommended to be used for his or her size.

Your child’s weight is also another important factor when shopping. A taller and slimmer kid may enjoy or prefer using a different weight or length of bat than a kid with a shorter, thicker frame.

There are general recommendations for bat length for different sized kids. Generally a good rule of thumb for 7 year olds is to find a baseball bat somewhere between 24 and 27 inches long.

These are general guidelines that players in that age range have found to be most beneficial for them over time.

Recommendation For You – 2020 Louisville Slugger Omaha

If I had to pick one bat that would be suggested for a 7 year old baseball player, I would recommend the 2020 Louisville Slugger Omaha.

The bat is balanced very well and also affordable. Players will enjoy the ease of use when swinging the 2020 Louisville Slugger Omaha.

2020 Louisville Slugger Omaha

2020 Louisville Slugger Omaha

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat For 8 Year Olds

When it comes to selecting the best baseball bat possible for your 8 year old child, the most important factor to know when shopping is the bat size.

On average 8 year olds find the most success with a 28 inch bat, with a 29 inch and 27 inch bat close behind.

What To Look For

Since most 8 year olds are not that much further along than 7 year olds, my baseball bat recommendation for 8 year olds is the same. I would still recommend for 8 year olds to use the 2020 Louisville Slugger Omaha.

Players will love the comfort and convenience the bat offers.

I would still recommend that shoppers refer to the baseball bat sizing chart I referenced earlier. It is also always a good idea to double check the rules and regulations of the league your 8 year old will be playing in before purchasing anything.

If you can have you child test swing a bat of similar size before purchasing, that could help prevent some headaches later.

Recommendation For You – 2020 Louisville Slugger Omaha

Even though there are recommended sizes, each individual will have different bat size preferences.

For example, a taller 8 year old may prefer a different size than a shorter 8 year old. It is uncommon for all players to have the same bat.

2020 Louisville Slugger Omaha

2020 Louisville Slugger Omaha

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat For 9 Year Olds

To determine the best baseball bat that is ideal for your 9 year old to use, refer to the bat sizing chart I referenced earlier.

Generally you can refer to the size chart as a great starting point. Players will always have slight differences that they prefer between them.

What To Look For

Not all players are built the same and thus, not all players would use the same baseball bat. But the size chart  is a great way to get started.

If you find that your kid may prefer something outside of the recommended size for his stature, that is ok too.

The average 9 year old will generally prefer using a bat with a length of about 29 inches. But this will largely depend on your child’s height and strength.

Few 9 year olds will be able to swing a 30 inch or longer bat effectively.

A great way to find out is just to try swinging a few different bat sizes to help determine which size feels right for your child. Your child needs to be able to swing their baseball bat with ease while having a natural balance throughout his or her swing.

Some bats may be too heavy for kids of certain sizes to be able to swing the bat and hit with power.

Recommendation For You – POSEY28 PRO METAL JUNIOR BIG BARREL

My recommended baseball bat for 9 year olds to use is the POSEY28 PRO Metal Junior Big Barrel, named after Buster Posey. It is a single piece Aluminum bat and is very well balanced for young hitters to use.

The bat features an anti-vibration knob for more comfort when making contact with the ball.

This bat can be attained in many different bat sizes, making it a great option for any child. Marucci makes great bats and has a great warranty for their products.

One downfall is that the Marucci Posey28 Pro Metal bat is a bit more expensive.

Since many 9 year olds will soon grow out of their bat, try and make sure your child really likes the bat before buying.

Or if possible, try a similar sized bat out to make sure they are comfortable with swinging it hundreds of times.

Refer to your league’s rules and regulations before you make any final purchase decisions.

PERSONALIZED POSEY28 PRO METAL JUNIOR BIG BARREL

POSEY28 PRO Metal Junior Big Barrel 

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat For 10 Year Olds

As your child grows up, their size and stature will grow as well. With growth, your child will need a bigger bat. Unless your child experiences a large growth spurt, it is best to slowly increase bat size as they grow.

Most 10 year olds will prefer using a baseball bat about 29 or 30 inches in length. Of course this varies on your child’s stature. Not all kids will use the same sized bat.

What To Look For

Refer to the baseball bat sizing chart in accordance with your child’s size and use that information to begin the shopping process. Always refer to your league’s rules and regulations before you make any purchase decisions. You do not want to buy equipment that is not permitted for use in that league.

For the average 10 year old baseball player, I would recommend using the Cat 8 Junior Big Barrel baseball bat. This bat is available in many sizes to suit your needs. It is another single piece aluminum bat built with great balance.

This bat also features an anti-vibration knob for swinging comfort. Many young baseball players have found great success when using the Marucci CAT 8 baseball bat. Marucci has been making quality baseball bats for a number of years, and lately their bats are some of the best on the market today.

If you have the opportunity to let your child try multiple bats before purchasing, that is ideal. Different batters prefer different things with their bats. It is always a great idea to be able to try the product out if possible.

Even if that means just holding and swinging the bat a number of times to ensure a comfortable fit while swinging the bat over the course of time.

While shopping, have your child pick up a few different sizes to try and get a better feel for what they prefer to hit with. General size recommendations are a great starting point when shopping, but they are not perfect.

Recommendation For You – CAT8 JUNIOR BIG BARREL

It is still important to get the hitter’s feedback about how a certain length or weight bat feels while swinging.

For example a baseball bat that is too heavy to swing for that batter’s stature will make it hard for that hitter to get a good launch angle on the baseball to hit for power.

That is why being able to comfortably swing the bat with consistency is so important to your baseball career.

CAT8 JUNIOR BIG BARREL

CAT8 JUNIOR BIG BARREL

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat For 11 Year Olds

To begin shopping for the ideal baseball bat for your 11 year old baseball player, you need to know a few important things while you shop.

First and foremost, learn the rules and regulations of the leagues where you child will be playing. This will help you get a better idea of what you can shop for and what to ignore on the market.

What To Look For

Also, a great shopping tool you can use as you shop is the bat sizing chart. This chart will help buyers determine what an ideal bat size, length and weight is for your child’s stature.

It is also important to know the height and weight of your young baseball player to be able to make sure they have the proper equipment for their current size.

Keep in mind, these bat size recommendations are just general suggestions. They do come from people with a lot of success and experience in the game of baseball, but each child will be different and prefer different things.

So, they are a great starting point, but don’t be shocked if at the end of the shopping experience you end up with a bat your child is comfortable with that falls outside of the recommended use for their stature.

The most common baseball bat length for the average 11 year old baseball player is a 30 inch bat.

However a bat length anywhere from 29 to 31 inches would not be uncommon for an 11 year old to use either. Each child will have their own preferred bat size that they like to use.

Recommendation For You – 2020 CF (-11) Fastpitch Bat

A great baseball bat that many 11 year old baseball players have been enjoying and the one I would recommend is the DeMartini CF (-11) FastPitch bat.

This bat is a two piece composite bat that features a great consistent balance for 11 years olds to use. It is not the cheapest bat on the market, but you can be sure this bat will be enjoyed by your 11 year old.

The DeMarini CF baseball bat can be had in many different sizes, assuring your child will be able to find one to suit their needs. This bat features a large barrel with a long sweet spot for batters to make better contact with the baseball.

Many players agree that this bat offers players the best “feel” of any other baseball bat.

This bat is lightweight and players will instantly enjoy the opportunity to play baseball with it. The DeMarini CF has vastly improved over their previous baseball bat models.

 Unfortunately the bat is a bit more expensive and not the strongest or most durable bat on the planet.

2020 CF (-11) Fastpitch Bat

2020 CF (-11) Fastpitch Bat

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat For 12 Year Olds

Finding the ideal baseball bat for your 12 year old baseball player to play with is so crucial. This is potentially a big part of their baseball future. As kids grow up, they grow into their baseball profile even more.

They get closer to realizing their baseball potential as they age.

While there is still plenty of more room for growth, they begin to get more mature and take baseball a bit more seriously. This is an exciting time for both you and your young baseball player.

What To Look For

Of course as your young athlete gets around more of their “cool” friends, they may want to begin to personalize or customize their baseball equipment.

This can provide a lot of extra fun for players when they are out on the baseball field. But do keep in mind if you decide to get your child personalized equipment, if there is a mistake or last-minute change on your part, the customized apparel may be non-refundable and unable to be returned.

Simply pay attention or ask questions throughout the buying process to the manufacturer’s sale conditions. Most companies won’t allow you to return or seek refunds for customized equipment.

But as long as you have all your ducks in a row, buying personalized baseball equipment should be a fun process for everyone involved.

Once you have figured out the ideal bat size for your 12 year old baseball player, you can narrow down your buying options. There are many great baseball bat brands making great bats for young players so finding your next bat shouldn’t be too difficult.

Baseball bats are seeing new improvements and innovations every year, so finding a newer baseball bat is ideal for success.

With so many options for baseball bats available on the market today it can be tough to know where to start. Generally over time most 12 year olds have found to be most comfortable using a 31 inch long bat. Bat lengths ranging anywhere from 30 to 32 inches are also commonly used. This will largely depend on your child’s growing stature.

If you have the opportunity for your 12 year old child to pick up and experience swinging multiple bat sizes for your child to get a great feel of what they like, that would be ideal for everyone involved.

Not all children will use the same sized bat, as you know not all kids are the same size. Believe it or not, this has a big impact on which bat size they need to optimize their baseball success.

There are a number of great bats available for 12 year old baseball players to enjoy playing with.

Honestly, most bats on this list would work for any age group. The more important factor is making sure they have the correct bat size available when shopping.

Most companies make their bats for adults and a separate bat of the same model for kids to use. This is because adults are much larger and stronger than kids so they need different bat sizes to be more successful.

So a lot of the bats you may be able to get, may just be a miniature version of something you see the pros use.

Recommendation For You – Easton BB17MK Mako Beast Comp 3 BBCOR

With all that being said, I would recommend 12 year old baseball players to use the Easton BB17MK Mako Beast baseball bat.

Easton has been making baseball equipment for many years. Your kid might even be familiar with the Easton sports product catalog they have been known to produce.

The Easton Mako Beast is among some of the best-selling bats on the market today. This bat features Easton’s Thermo Composite Technology or TCT.

Featuring great balance and built durably, the Mako Beast is a great bat for anyone to use.

The Easton BB17MK Mako Beast utilizes Hyperskin Technology for a comfortable grip while swinging the bat. This bat has a large sweet spot, allowing players to generate great hitting power when using the bat.

The Mako Beast is actually relatively affordable as well so finding the right one for your 12 year old shouldn’t be overly difficult.Easton BB17MK Mako Beast Comp 3 BBCOR

Easton BB17MK Mako Beast Comp 3 BBCOR

How To Choose The Best Youth Baseball Bat

When your young child is beginning to have an interest in playing baseball, it is an exciting time for everyone.

Whether you have the next Ken Griffey Jr. on your hands or just a little one looking to have fun, playing baseball should be fun for everyone.

Of course you want to make sure your child has an enjoyable experience when they are out on the baseball diamond.

What To Look For

I know you want your child to have fun, but also do as best as they can when playing. You cannot hold their hand when they are playing, but you can do your best to make sure they have everything they need to do their best. Part of that includes making sure they have the proper equipment to take the field.

Always refer to the rules and regulations of any league or baseball get together to make sure your child has the proper equipment to take the field.

As cruel as it sounds, if your child has improper equipment, they may be held out of the competition. Generally these rules are put in place for the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved.

When shopping for the best youth baseball bat for your kid, there are many important things to keep in mind. Refer to the baseball bat size chart I referenced to earlier in this article for an outline on what to keep in mind while shopping. Child size and age will factor into your buying decisions.

Recommendation For You – 2020 Easton ADV 360

Luckily my recommendation for you the best baseball bat to buy for a youth baseball player is actually the very same bat I recommend for Little League play.

So you might as well just go with the 2020 Easton ADV 360 baseball bat. The Easton ADV 360 is a bat that is comfortable and easy to swing.

If you end up buying the Easton ADV 360 baseball bat, your kid will already be all set if they wish to pursue Little League play in the future.

The Easton ADV 360 is a great bat for a variety of ages. Many young players today have found great success when using this baseball bat.

2020 Easton ADV 360

2020 Easton ADV 360

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat Bags

Of course in order for you to carry your baseball bats around, having a baseball bat bag to carry them around in is convenient. Sure you can easily carry one bat around, but once you have other equipment you rely on, you will need more than your arms to hold everything.

What To Look For

Baseball, just like many other sports requires a lot of equipment to regularly play the game effectively. You could not possibly carry all that equipment with you each time a game can be played.

Could you?

Yes you can! By having a durable baseball bat bag, you can carry all your necessary equipment with you wherever you are. The best way to stay prepared to play in your next game is to have your baseball bat bag packed and ready to go.

Now many of you out there may be thinking, I don’t have that much to carry with me. Why do I need a baseball bat bag?

But you cannot deny how convenient it would be.

Imagine if you could have one piece of equipment you can carry with you on your back just like a backpack that contains everything you could possibly dream of to play your next game?

It would be pretty convenient right?

Then you could focus all your energy on the game ahead instead of making sure you remember to bring each individual item with you.

Besides, when things are not going your way how often have you had the thought of wanting to try something different?

By having a baseball bat bag with multiple bats that are your own, you would be able to do just that without feeling guilty about using another player’s baseball bat. You would have the option to switch bats in between at bats with ease.

Many players have a few bats they keep on hand. Some situations may require different bats. Certain players have different bat preferences for different game situations.

Also, if using a wooden bat, you never know when your bat will break during a game or practice. If you only have the one bat, your day may be done. Having at least one more bat on hand is ideal.

So how can you possibly carry multiple bats and other baseball equipment from game to game? Well a convenient baseball bat bag of course! This will allow players to focus their energy on the game and not on how they can get their equipment to the game or practice.

There are many affordable baseball bat bags available on the market today. Many different sizes and colors are available to ensure athletes can find one that works for them.

Not all baseball bat bags are the same. Some have special features to separate them from the pack. Others just are different in size.

When shopping for your baseball bat bag, you can have some fun with it. There are no specific guidelines or recommendations as far as sizes to fit you. There is not much to specifically look out for other than functionality.

The most important thing to keep in mind when shopping for a baseball bat bag to buy is comfort and capability.

You definitely want to make sure carrying your equipment from game to game and practice to practice is a breeze. The game itself is tiring enough at times.

There are many convenient baseball equipment items that you can fit in an average baseball bag or backpack.

Some of the more obvious items would include things such as your baseball mitt or gloves, baseballs and socks or cleats. Of course there are also many other items that you could not possibly carry all on your own.

Once you start talking about multiple awkwardly-sized objects to carry, well we only have two hands. That is why so many baseball players rely on having a quality and durable baseball bat bag to get them through their baseball season.

Certainly carrying more than one bat without a bag is just not possible when combined with other baseball items.

Once you do acquire your baseball bat bag, it is important to remember not to over pack. The last thing you want is for your baseball bag to be too heavy to carry where carrying it to and from baseball games and practices becomes a hassle.

You want to save all that energy for the next time you take the baseball field!

Recommendation For You – Athletico Youth Baseball Backpack

There are many different sizes and styles of baseball bat bags to select from when shopping. To make things easier for you, I can personally recommend the Athletico Baseball Bag.

I find this bag to be ideal for carrying all your baseball equipment, including bats, with you wherever your next game is.

The Athletico Baseball Bag is awesome as an all-in-one baseball bag capable of carrying your cleats, helmet, bats, gloves, and pretty much any other baseball equipment you might need.

Made with durable and breathable materials designed to prevent your used contents such as your smelly cleats from smelling too badly when kept in the bag over time. The Athletico bag is lightweight with a padded back panel for additional comfort on the go.

Athletico Youth Baseball Backpack

Athletico Youth Baseball Backpack

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat For High School Players

Again, different areas of the world have different requirements when selecting a baseball bat to play with in high school baseball leagues.

Always refer to your league’s baseball rules and regulations before purchasing any equipment to be used for league play. No matter what your school’s rules are, you will be able to find an effective baseball bat to use for the season.

What To Look For

Once you are at the high school level of baseball, there is a good chance you have played some baseball before. If you are relatively inexperienced or have none at all, that is ok too.

You can pick up a new sport at any point in your life and still find plenty of love for the sport.

It is important to remember that even the best of the best in baseball fail than 70% of the time at the plate.

To be considered one of the best hitters at the plate at getting on base, you could get the job done 3 times out of every 10 times at the plate and still be regarded as one of the best in the game. Baseball is largely a game of failure.

So why do so many people love to watch and play the sport?

Because of how exciting and fun it is of course!

There are few sports like it and each year, the game of baseball brings about some new exciting innovation that makes the game even better.

Just like any other time in your life, knowing which size of baseball bat that is ideal for your body size is crucial before you step to the plate.

A good rule of thumb for picking out a baseball bat size is that if you weigh more than 70 pounds, you probably want a baseball bat ranging somewhere between 28 and 32 inches long. Having the right sized bat goes a long way towards developing your blooming baseball career.

Generally high school players will need to shop for a bat that is BBCOR approved. BBCOR is a baseball bat performance standard created by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to maintain the performance standards of Composite baseball bats to be used for competition.

These bats however are typically more expensive, because of the approved standards.

But most high schools require the use of a BBCOR baseball bat. This is why I always recommend double or triple checking your leagues rules and regulations before and during the shopping process.

The last thing you need is to get disqualified from a game because your equipment is not up to their standards.

Recommendation For You – Rawlings Quatro Pro

For high school play I would recommend athletes try the Rawlings Quatro Pro baseball bat.

Unfortunately this bat is a bit more expensive, but players and coaches everywhere agree the bat offers a well-balanced swing. The Rawlings Quatro Pro offers a unique sound when the bat makes contact with the baseball.

Players appreciate the fact that the bat has almost no vibration at all once contact is made. The bat features Lizard Skin Grip to ensure a comfortable grip while swinging.

With the Rawlings Quatro Pro baseball bat, every type of batter out there has a great option to use moving forward.

Rawlings Quatro Pro

Rawlings Quatro Pro

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat Pack

Sometimes you can find a great collection of baseball bats sold together in one pack. If there is a bat you know you like, buying more than one at a time can be beneficial. Commonly, buyers will get a discount when buying many at a time.

What To Look For

Some players go through baseball bats at a quicker rate than others. Obviously if you are with a professional baseball team, your team probably goes through a lot of baseball bats over the course of a season.

If this is true, then you absolutely want to be able to buy multiple bats at a time.

Especially if you have found a bat that you like and want to stick with like many players do, you probably want to find out if you can acquire more than one bat at a time at a discounted rate.

Luckily many manufacturers offer package deals for bats. Occasionally some places will have a sale that makes buying a bundle of bats at a time to be even more beneficial for the shopper.

So, if you already have a baseball bat or bats that you prefer, I would absolutely recommend trying to find a package deal of that same bat to stay consistent.

Otherwise if you just want to find the most cost-effective option to acquire multiple baseball bats, there are many affordable package deals out there if you go through many bats. Or keep an eye out for special sales that may pop up throughout the year.

Generally a pack of bats will be sold in a two or three pack. Some companies offer a bulk buy for their bats, but generally those deals are reserved for large companies or athletic programs. But baseball bats are most commonly sold individually one at a time.

Recommendation For You

If you are insistent on buying more than one baseball bat at a time, it comes down to what you are looking for.

Are you looking to just find a number of affordable or cheap bats?

Or is there a specific bat you are looking to acquire more than one of?

I would recommend doing just that. Stick to the bat that you like and look to acquire more than one of those at time. I realize however, not all companies offer a package deal.

Otherwise, keep an eye out for bigger buys of bats. Certain times of the year, some companies will offer a package deal. Your best bet is to try and capitalize at that time for your best baseball bat shopping experience.

Conclusion

There are many great products out there and this guide is only a small part of some of the helpful products that can improve your game.

Hopefully you have a much better idea on what to shop for before you buy. Keep an eye out for what next year’s innovative baseball products may introduce to the market.

I know that everyone leads a busy life. You do not all have the time to read every little review highlighting the benefits and downfalls of specific products.

Hopefully this baseball buying guide has provided you with some helpful information to make your shopping process easier.

I hope that you have found a lot of helpful information as you have followed along. Baseball is a fun game that players get a lot of joy from. Hopefully this guide will help provide more insight to the next generation of baseball players everywhere.

What experiences, good or bad have you had while shopping for baseball gear? Have you found a favorite baseball bat to use yet?

Let us know down below in the comments.

The Ultimate Guide For Choosing Best Baseball Gear In 2021

Best Baseball Equipment Guide

Baseball is a wonderful sport to play for all ages, but sometimes finding the right gear to play in can be tricky for some people. With so many different options out there and more seemingly every day, searching for the right gear for your position can actually be a lot of fun too. Having the correct baseball equipment on can be the difference from stretching out a single into a double and you do not want to let your team down with the game on the line!

Best Baseball Equipment Guide

Your Guide

Andrew Buller-Russ   Andrew Buller-Russ

There has been a lot of great baseball equipment and training gear made specifically for baseball players throughout history, and more being refined every day.

As time has gone on baseball has seen many great inventions come to life such as the oven mitt worn by base runners to protect their hands while sliding.

In today’s fast paced world it can be hard to keep up with all of the latest baseball innovations on the market today.

I know for myself, when shopping for equipment, things can get a bit confusing. There are so many great products out there that when it comes time to narrow down all the options, making a selection can be a bit overwhelming.

My goal is to help define and point out some of the really helpful products that are available out on the market today.

Hopefully by raising awareness of some of the truly great things surrounding the game of baseball and the legendary history that surrounds it, you will also become more passionate about pursuing a career in baseball.

There are many helpful pieces of information and tips that you can use for yourself and maybe share with a friend that I hope you find useful for yourself and others. I also will point out some great books and movies to help keep you entertained along the way.

I also want to point out some of the great methods you can begin to practice with to make you a better baseball player.

My goal by the end of this article will be to leave you, the reader, feeling much more knowledgeable about baseball and its components. I hope you find my recommendations to be helpful in your own career.

How To Choose The Best Baseball Glove

Before you even step on the baseball field, you need a glove that fits you comfortably. Luckily baseball gloves come in many different colors, shapes and sizes. Playing baseball with the correct baseball glove is essential to fielding your position well.

Depending on which position in the field you are playing, your baseball mitt can have a large effect on how well you are able to catch the ball. Believe it or not, not every baseball glove is made the same. For example, if you are trying to play in the outfield with a catcher’s mitt, your fielding ability will be greatly hindered.

What To Look For

Comfort and fit are two important factors to keep in mind when shopping for a baseball glove. Most importantly though, you need the correct glove for the position you are playing. Catchers and first basemen always have the largest glove on the field to catch the throws across the diamond, while the second baseman has the smallest glove for a quick grip on the ball.

Pitchers can get away with using any type of infielders glove. Most pitchers use a lot of deception on the mound, so it would be wise to find a glove that has a closed web to hide the grip used on the ball from the batter. The trick for pitchers is finding a glove that feels comfortable and does not get in the way of their pitching motion.

Although there are some really flashy and fancy baseball gloves, some gloves do not play or function as well as others. When you are shopping for a glove, it should not be about the styling or looks of it, focus on the functionality first and then the color or style later. Have patience when searching for a pitching glove, finding the right sized glove for you can be a headache if you do not know what to look for.

If a glove is too small, it could be difficult to grip your pitches without your opponent being able to see your pitch selection. On the other end of the spectrum, you do not want a glove too large either as that may be too awkward and heavy during the pitching motion. Finding the perfect balance for a pitching glove can be tricky.

Generally a good rule of thumb for pitchers is to have a glove that is somewhere between 11 ¾” and 12”. Some pitchers have found that they prefer a glove ½” smaller or larger. This size range has been commonly found to be large enough to hide pitch grips while being small enough to keep a consistent throwing motion.

The catcher’s mitt is the most unique of the group. The catcher is asked to catch balls thrown at high speeds and thus needs more padding and protection.  The catcher’s mitt is generally much larger to give pitchers a larger target to aim for and to catch pitches that are thrown out of control.

The first baseman’s glove is also special since it is much larger than other gloves on the diamond and does not have any finger holes. The open end also has a unique curve along the edge to allow the fielder to pick and scoop balls up from the dirt. Generally the first baseman’s glove is the largest to give the other infielders a much larger target when attempting to throw a runner out.

The middle infield mainly uses smaller gloves that are lighter in weight. For infielders, flexibility and quickness is important, so having a glove that matches those abilities is crucial. The smaller glove allows for the infielder to quickly find the ball in their glove and throw the runner out in a timely manner.

Shortstops and third basemen usually will have a bit longer glove to help increase their fielding range. Since third basemen are sometimes closer to home plate when playing the shift or a bunt, their gloves usually feature deeper pockets to catch balls that are hit really hard. With a longer glove on the third base line, the fielder will have a longer reach when diving or extending out for the baseball.

Outfielders have the longest gloves on the field, this helps with those “shoe-string” catches and balls that fielders really have to stretch out for. The longer glove also helps when outfielders snag balls that are headed over the outfield fence by extending their reach. No matter what position you play, it is important to recognize which glove you are buying, for example if you are left-handed you would need a left –handed glove.

Recommendation For You – Wilson A2000 Baseball Glove Series

When it comes to selecting the very best baseball glove to use I would recommend going with any variation of the Wilson A2000.The official glove of the MLB, Wilson has been making some version of the A2000 glove since 1957. There are many variations to the glove and depending on the position you play, you should be able to find the one that is right for you.

Here is a video sharing some tips for measuring and finding the right glove for you:

Wilson A2000 Baseball Glove Series

Wilson A2000 Baseball Glove Series

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bat

The dream of every young baseball fan is to hit a home run but you can’t do that without having a baseball bat to hit with.  Baseball bats are made of many different materials such as metal, aluminum and various species of wood.  Whether you have a metal bat or a wooden baseball bat, you will still be able to have a lot of fun hitting a baseball.

What To Look For

Aluminum bats are much lighter than wood and can be swung much quicker. With a metal or aluminum bat, the ball will have a loud Ping! sound when making contact with the bat. When you hit with a metal or aluminum bat, the ball has the ability to come off the bat much harder and go much farther.

Baseball bats come in many forms, for practical purposes we are going to focus on baseball bats made from wood. Generally wooden bats are used in professional and adult baseball leagues. Wooden baseball bats are made from a variety of wood species such as Ash, Bamboo, Birch, Hickory, Maple, and Pine.

Hickory bats have largely fallen out of favor due to their heavier weight that slows down the swing speed, while Maple bats have gained popularity due to them being lightweight. Maple is the most widely used bat in the MLB today at 95%. Choosing which wood species you prefer to hit with is up to you, but some players certainly have their preferences.

Some baseball players are very superstitious, some choose to change bats multiple times throughout the game, while some stick with the same bat style for their whole career. No matter what your beliefs are, the most important factor when selecting a bat is determining how the bat feels in your hand and how comfortable you feel while swinging it. There are many helpful size guides out there to help determine which size baseball bat may be best suited for you.

Recommendation For You – Marucci AP5 Pro Model

There are literally hundreds of different baseball bats to select from and narrowing them down into which may be the best for you has a lot to do with personal preferences. With that being said, if I were to recommend a baseball bat to buy, the one I would suggest is actually the same one a lot of the pros use, the Marucci AP5 (Named after Albert Pujols). The AP5 Pro has great balance with a thick barrel to help drive those baseballs over the fence.

Taking care of your baseball bats is important if you want them to last, here are some tips on how to protect your new equipment:

Marucci AP5 Pro Model

Marucci AP5 Pro Model

How To Choose The Best Baseball Jersey

The opportunity to be able to play the game of baseball competitively is a privilege that not everyone has. To play baseball competitively you need to have a uniform that matches your teammates. You want this uniform to last all season through all of the diving stops and slides in the dirt.

What To Look For

There have been many instantly recognizable baseball jerseys throughout the history of the game. Many of the legendary designs have not changed much over the years. The New York Yankees still have their iconic pinstripe design adorning their uniforms that many baseball fans have come to enjoy across the world.

In order to have a uniform that can withstand the elements, it needs to be comfortable and be able to breathe well to allow for a hot day at the ballpark. Putting on your jersey should come with a sense of pride, you should be happy to go out there and represent your team and with the right jersey, you can be. So before you put your baseball uniform on, make sure it is washed clean after each use.

Commonly when playing baseball your jersey tends to get a bit dirty, whether that is grass stains or the dirt from a head first slide, it doesn’t matter. What matters is keeping it clean in between games; you don’t want to show up to the game already looking like you’ve been sliding into home all day. Some jerseys will hold up better over time through multiple washing cycles so it is important to find a jersey made out of durable materials.

There are many aspects to consider when shopping for a baseball jersey that you will be using for every baseball game that you play in. One of the most important factors I would say would be your comfort level. When you are in the middle of a game, the last thing you need is for your jersey to be irritating or bothering you, causing you to lose focus on the moment.

Recommendation For You – Holloway Men’s 221011 Baseball Jersey

If you need a comfortable baseball jersey that is durable enough to weather the elements then the Holloway Sportswear Ignie Baseball Jersey may be the one to go with. This jersey is made from polyester to help keep the jersey light and dry and features mesh armpit vents to help stay cool during the game. The plain design allows for you to get it custom made to suit you and your baseball team’s style.

Here is some more info regarding baseball jerseys and uniforms and the purposes they can serve:

Holloway Men's 221011 Baseball Jersey

Holloway Men’s 221011 Baseball Jersey

How To Choose The Best Baseball Movie

Baseball has a long and legendary history, with more stories being written literally every day. Over time some of those great stories have made their way into the movies and on our TV screens. A big part of becoming a sports fan comes from watching them on TV or in the movies.

Luckily for us baseball enthusiasts there have been many great baseball references in TV shows and baseball movies over the years and many more still being made. There are so many well regarded classic movies to select from no matter what genre of movie you are into. It doesn’t matter what your motion picture preferences are, there are movies for all age groups to enjoy.

What To Look For

If you like comedy movies, then ”Major League”,” A League Of Their Own” or either of the “Bad News Baseball” movies are great comical classics. The movie, “Benchwarmers” also has quite a few adult comedic moments all throughout. If you like funny TV shows with a baseball theme, the HBO show Eastbound & Down is a classic, although the show is definitely not for all ages.

Maybe you enjoy some heartwarming stories mixed in with some funny moments, if so “Bull Durham” and “Field Of Dreams” are two legendary baseball tales. Field Of Dreams is a well-known tale for many great reasons. MLB baseball recognized the popularity of the movie and even announced that an MLB game between the legendary New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox will take place on August 13th, 2020 at the historic “Field Of Dreams” baseball field.

If you want a true story, ”Moneyball” may be the best. But “42” tells the amazing story of Jackie Robinson and his battles that he had to overcome on his quest to becoming one of the greatest baseball players in the long and storied history of baseball. “A League Of Their Own”, “Million Dollar Arm” and “The Rookie” are three more baseball movies based on a true story that you won’t want to miss.

No matter what, if you enjoy baseball and like to hear and see stories with baseball situations mixed in, there are plenty of great television shows and movies to pick from. You could spend a whole month watching a different baseball movie every day and still have something new to watch. With so many inspiring tales being told regarding the great game of baseball, it would be tough to watch them and not become a baseball fan.

Recommendation For You – The Sandlot (1993)

If I had to select my favorite baseball movie of all time I would have to go with The Sandlot from 1993. This movie had everything you want from a baseball movie as a young baseball fan, including the classic narrative style found commonly in movies in the 1990’s. The movie is recognized as an instant classic among those who have seen it and if you do not understand “You’re killin’ me Smalls!” from The Sandlot, then you are missing out!

The Sandlot (1993)

The Sandlot (1993)

How To Choose The Best Baseball Book

Growing up, I was a big reader, but I never knew what to read next. Well the sports fan in me always drew me into reading about them as well. This led me to many great books and when I was done with one, it seemed like there were two or three more that I wanted to read next.

What To Look For

Thankfully there are many great sports authors out there that can write a great baseball story. Mike Lupica is the first name that comes to mind for me, I must have read at least 10 of his sports books as a kid. For young readers, there are plenty of great baseball books to dive into thanks to writers such as Mike Lupica and W.P. Kinsella who wrote the bestseller “Shoeless Joe”.

If you are an adult reader, you may want a different style than some of the books that are tailored to a younger audience. If this is you, then true stories are a great place to start. You can find many great tales of legends such as Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente detailing some of their struggles as a baseball player in a different culture.

Baseball is always adapting and analyzing ways to accomplish things more efficiently. This constant drive to improve has led to many improvements and innovations in the game of baseball. When it comes to baseball books, that same drive has continued.

With all of the fictional books that have been written, there are many non-fiction books as well. In a lot of these non-fiction books, you will find many great true historical tales being told. But there are also many other books looking into the next new way or great innovation to come into the game of baseball, and reading them can make you a much more informed baseball fan and player.

Recommendation For You – Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

There are hundreds of great books to read but if you are looking for what to read next, I would recommend reading Moneyball: the Art of Winning an Unfair Game. Moneyball, if you aren’t already familiar, tells the incredible tale of the small time Oakland Athletics’ quest to beat the big market teams such as the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers. Later made into a movie, Moneyball is a truly inspiring tale for anyone who has had to work hard for what they want in life.

If you are looking for informative baseball books to help you improve, there are plenty of those as well. Here is a quick video with some book recommendations:

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

How To Choose The Best Baseball

Playing baseball brings a lot of joy to anyone who loves the game, but you can’t play unless you have a baseball of course. Having a baseball and keeping it are two very different things though. I know for myself, there have been many baseballs lost over the years due to various reasons.

What To Look For

Throughout all of those crushed and lost baseballs, one thing has always remained the same; the Rawlings Official Major League Baseball feels the most authentic. Knockoff baseballs are not able to match the softness of the outer shell that the authentic baseballs feature. The official baseballs also have a unique feel to them; a lot of the synthetic baseballs almost feel slippery or a bit like plastic.

Baseballs for the most part are made of either one of two materials, leather or synthetic. Baseballs, whether synthetic or leather, always have the same simple design.  The basics of it are just a small rounded ball with stitching along the baseball to be able to grip the ball and throw it accurately at high speeds.

Leather is what the official MLB baseballs are comprised of, but synthetic baseballs can serve a purpose too. Leather is built to last longer while offering a secure grip and consistent results. Synthetic covers are often made from vinyl and can resist dirt and retain their color and provide a nice cost alternative option to the real thing.

If you want to play baseball the same as the pros would, you want to use an official ball. Many players will use synthetic baseballs for practice simply because they are cheaper and will save the leather balls for game use. You can definitely practice with other balls to work on your swing, but if you are playing a game, you want the real thing.

Recommendation For You – Rawlings Official Major League Baseball

If you are just playing around in your backyard, using a cheaper synthetic baseball may be ideal for you. But if you are trying to practice fielding or fine-tuning your skills for a professional game, then I recommend using the Rawlings Official Major League Baseball. There is no other baseball in production that can replicate the authentic results from the MLB ball.

Here is a video showing the insides of a baseball and comparing the quality between a cheaper baseball and the Official MLB Baseball:

Rawlings Official Major League Baseball

Rawlings Official Major League Baseball

How To Choose The Best Baseball Pitching Machine

Do you want to practice on your game but don’t have a clone of yourself? Well, look no further than a baseball pitching machine! Pitching machines can be extremely helpful to improve your game when you don’t have a buddy to throw you pitches.

What To Look For

All professional teams use pitching machines for a number of reasons. By having a pitching machine on hand the batters are able to simulate a pitch coming at them without wearing out a pitcher’s arm. Being able to practice taking pitches at game speed is perhaps one of the best ways to improve your approach at the plate.

With most pitching machines, you can adjust the speed at which the ball comes out, this allows for players of all ages to be able to practice and improve their game. Some pitch machines can even simulate faster speeds than most players will ever face, this helps the batter prepare for high velocity pitches. Any player or team who is serious about getting better at baseball should definitely find a way to find some time to practice taking pitches from a pitch machine.

Just by having a pitch machine, you are able to practice many aspects of the game of baseball. With a pitch machine, you can practice fielding grounders, throwing runners out and of course hitting the ball. Perhaps that is why people say having a pitch machine is like having an extra coach around.

Whether you are looking to improve your hitting or your fielding, getting a pitch machine is crucial to realizing your true potential. When deciding on a pitch machine, it is important to realize what type of machine you are after. Selecting your ideal pitch machine has a lot to do with age group and budget.

Be careful if you are using a pitch machine for the first time. It may be better to watch someone who has extensive experience working with a pitching machine before you take a crack at one. If you are not careful, you could do serious harm to yourself, and possibly make you anxious about facing live pitching.

Recommendation For You – BATA-2 Combo Pitching Machine

There are many great beginner pitch machines that will pitch up to 60-70 MPH and there are others that are tuned more for the pros and can go up to 100 MPH. If money is no object then certainly the Bata- 2 Two-Wheel Curveball Pitching Machine should do the trick. This machine is great as it can throw any kind of pitch, including the Knuckleball and even comes with a 10-year warranty.

Here is a helpful video on how a pitch machine can help you improve your swing:

BATA-2 Combo Pitching Machine

BATA-2 Combo Pitching Machine

How To Choose The Best Batting Helmet

When it comes to playing sports, first and foremost the idea is to have fun. But most importantly, you want to play with safety in mind. The old saying goes” It is all fun and games until someone gets hurt”.

In baseball, safety is extremely important. If you are not careful and attentive at the ballpark, you could get hurt. While baseball is a great sport for all ages, you need to be aware of the potential dangers of being at the ballpark such as a baseball hit your way that you may not have seen.

What To Look For

One of the best ways to avoid head injuries in baseball is by wearing an approved batting helmet. There is no other sport that features a hard ball coming straight at you at speeds upward of 60 MPH and so wearing the proper headgear becomes more important than ever. You should never step into a batter’s box without a hard helmet on your head.

Batting helmets have really undergone a lot of changes over the years, far apart from when batting helmets first debuted back in the 1900’s. In 1941, the Brooklyn Dodgers became the first team to require their batters to wear a batting helmet during games. Somehow safety had gone overlooked until 1958 when it became mandatory for all hitters to wear a batting helmet; it took a very unfortunate incident to make the change popular and mandatory throughout the sport of baseball.

Thankfully, baseball has continued to evolve over the years and now offers a bevy of options available for hitters at every level to ensure their head is protected at all times. You should never get injured doing something you love, and if there is a way to avoid injuries at any cost, then those actions must be taken immediately. Today in baseball, we see a lot of different styling to batting helmets such as the double earflaps or protective face guards.

Luckily, there are still many great styling options available, even on the safest helmets. Some helmets offer different gloss or sheen options to make them appear to have more shine than others. While some offer a multi-color approach to make your helmet stand out in the batter’s box.

Ultimately when it comes to recommending the best batting helmet to go with, it is simple for me. Go with what works! Seriously though, to me your safety is of the utmost importance on the field, it is not about looking cool or stylish.

Recommendation For You – Rawlings Mach Carbon Batting helmet

My personal recommendation for the best batting helmet would have to be the Rawlings Mach Carbon Batting Helmet. What I like about this helmet is of course the amount of cushion and protection the helmet offers while giving the option to add protective face gear with pre-drilled holes. The helmet is sleek and stylish while offering ventilation ports to keep your head cool, even when the umpire thinks that ball was a strike.

When selecting a helmet, it is important that you find one that fits snug and comfortably on your head.  It will be helpful to know the size of your head when shopping; there are many head measurement and size guides to help align your head with the appropriately sized helmet.  You want a helmet that stays on your head and will not fall off when running.

Generally when you pick a helmet, you want it to last all season, so you need it to be durable. Make sure you select the helmet that offers the best protection for you and your hitting style. If you tend to crowd the plate, or like to talk smack, get yourself some protection!

If you have ever seen the play that ended Hall-of-Famer Kirby Puckett’s career, you will understand why I feel that you can never take things too safely.

Rawlings Mach Carbon Baseball Batting Helmet

Rawlings Mach Carbon Baseball Batting Helmet

How To Choose The Best Batting Gloves

In order to play baseball in the elements, you need to have a good, reliable pair of batting gloves. Now, you could go really old school and go without them like Vladimir Guerrero did but it is not recommended when starting out. Nearly all of the pro players today prefer to wear baseball gloves and no it is not just because it helps them look cool in the batter’s box.

What To Look For

But let’s be honest for a second, some batting gloves are really cool. Just like any popular sport, there will always be a lot of customization available to the players. Many players like to set themselves apart from the crowd by being unique and one of the ways this can be achieved is by having a customized pair of batting gloves.

Besides looking cool, wearing batting gloves can help reduce the sting the bat leaves behind in your hands when you make contact with the pitch. Wearing gloves can also drastically improve your grip to make sure the bat does not leave your hands on a wet, slippery day at the ballpark. By maintaining control of your bat, it will help you adjust to the pitch and should lead to more quality at bats where you make good contact on the ball.

Fortunately batting gloves come in all shapes, sizes and colors these days. Finding a comfortable pair of batting gloves can make all the difference in the world when it comes to adjusting on the fly when the pitch is coming to the plate. Gloves also provide some cushion on your hands and can help prevent blisters and calluses from building up on your hands over time.

Whether on TV or in person, I’m sure by now we have all seen when a batter swings his bat and cannot control it. This leads to flying bats. Wearing batting gloves will greatly increase your grip and hopefully you will be able to avoid any future situations in which your bat may go flying towards some unsuspecting fans or teammates.

The last thing you need is for your bat to hit someone when everyone is just supposed to be having a good time. Besides, what if your bat were to hit a coach or umpire? If that unfortunate situation were to occur, you may not be getting another at bat for a while.

As you can imagine, having the proper batting gloves that fit you comfortably are important. Not to mention the added benefits that wearing gloves can have upon your swing tendencies. If you will be swinging a bat, I recommend looking into your own pair of batting gloves for many of the reasons listed above.

Recommendation For You – Franklin Sports MLB CFX Pro Batting Gloves

There are many great batting gloves available on the market today but if I had to choose one pair that stands out above the rest, I would go with the Franklin CFX Pro. They are fully customizable and have a comfortable fit with great breathability. They also offer a pair for games that are played in colder temperatures that offer more protection from the elements.

Here is an instructional video on how batting gloves can help you and your game:

Franklin Sports MLB CFX Pro Batting Gloves

Franklin Sports MLB CFX Pro Batting Gloves

How To Choose The Best Baseball Training Equipment

Baseball has proven to be one of the toughest sports to pick up and play as a beginner. The thought that even the best hitters of all time only succeed about three out of every ten chances is incredible. That means this sport is largely about failure and anytime you get on base, you did a great job.

What To Look For

Since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941, no other hitter has ever even succeeded 4 out of every 10 chances they get for a full season. But that was way back in 1941, aren’t baseball players only getting better with time? Well yes they are, but pitchers are also getting better too, to put it simply, consistently hitting a baseball is not easy.

The main goal of the sport is to hit a small round ball of which is 3 inches long and moves at speeds upward of 100 MPH with the sweet spot (about 2.75 inches) of a round bat. The simple concept of that alone is mind-blowing, as you are not even allowed to travel at speeds of 100 mph in a vehicle without facing serious trouble. Yet some human beings are able to crush this little white “pill” about 500 feet out into the atmosphere.

These complications are why many people consider hitting a baseball to be the toughest thing to do in sports. Even one of the greatest athletes of all time, Michael Jordan could not find a way to succeed in baseball. Still, even getting to the minor leagues is an incredible accomplishment for the average human being, but Michael Jordan was not average.

With all that being said, baseball is very fun to play and a quick game can be played without much equipment being needed. If you are serious about playing baseball competitively there are many very helpful pieces of training equipment that can be acquired. Whether you want to improve your pitching, fielding or hitting, there is a piece of equipment made to help you improve your skills on the baseball field.

Since hitting is so hard to do, placing your focus on being able to make solid contact is a great place to start. If you want to practice your swing or even just practice crushing baseballs then there are many different training options from which to choose. From batting nets to pitch machines and swing helpers, there are many options that will improve your game.

If you are just starting out or struggle to keep your eye on the ball, a simple batting tee can go a long way towards improving your swing. This will help you develop great hand-eye coordination and help give you a better idea on where to make contact with the ball. Don’t feel like you are ever too old to use a tee, as some pros still use batting tees to refine their swing every day.

Recommendations For YouTanner Tee

One piece of equipment that I really like to help improve your swing is the SwingRail. The SwingRail is affordable and effective but what I like about it most is that it provides constant swing feedback and gives the hitter a much better idea on how well they are swinging the bat. SwingRail can be used anywhere you can swing a bat and can be used for all ages.

Playing defense in baseball is considered one of the easier things to do in the sport. Learning the proper techniques can take time, but once mastered, you will feel much more confident when a ball is hit your way. There are many great techniques and training programs made to help you improve your skills in the field.

I like the Rawlings Reactball as an affordable and great fielding aid. The ball looks and feels like a normal baseball, but this Reactball is designed to bounce irregularly and will help simulate the unpredictable hops and bounces of a baseball. Practicing your reactions to some of the most unique bounces will help you train for when the unimaginable happens out on the baseball diamond.

Next up, we will look at some methods to help you become a better pitcher on the mound. While you may not be able to throw 105 MPH right away like Aroldis Chapman worked his way up to in 2011, believe it or not, you can still improve your pitch velocity as your career goes on. Even pro baseball players find some extra velocity on their pitches after years of practicing and improving their game.

Mastering the art of pitching is a lifelong battle. Most athletes agree, if you consider yourself to be a pitcher, you will always be a pitcher at heart and will always seek to improve your craft. Even Major League baseball players find themselves tweaking their delivery or pitching motion throughout the season.

Refining your craft will always be a part of your life as a pitcher. One great thing about baseball and pitching is that it is humanly possible to continue to pitch effectively even as you approach your 40’s. Satchel Paige, the oldest pitcher to ever pitch in the Major League at 59 years and 351 days old, didn’t make his Major League debut until he was 42 years old and still left a lasting legacy as one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

You can work on your pitching skills in a wide variety of ways such as weighted baseballs, strike zone pitching nets, clocking your pitch speed with a radar gun and many others. If you are trying to master your pitch selection, having a baseball that has pre-marked finger placement can be really helpful to learn how to throw a variety of pitches. If you can find a way to have a combination of these tools, you should be well on your way to becoming a much better pitcher.

It all depends on where you feel you need the most help as a pitcher. If you need to work on your control, I would recommend the pitching nets with the pre-marked strike zone to practice your aim when pitching. If you would like to learn how to throw more than one pitch, the balls with the recommended finger placement on them would be most helpful.

If your energy or strength are lacking, then you may need to improve your fitness level. You can do that by becoming more physically fit by running more or lifting some weights. If you feel that your pitching mechanics are not consistent, maybe look into the Head Coach Throw Better Training tool.

As you can see, there are many different methods that can be practiced to get better at pitching. By using any of these tools frequently, as long as they are being used correctly, you should have no problems improving your performance on the pitching mound. If you can find a way to combine some of these tools and drills and do them over a long period of time, you should see much more consistency in your pitches.

There are many ways to improve your baseball skills day by day. One thing that you can do to improve your performance on the field is to take care of your body. By eating healthy and staying in shape by doing a lot of cardio you will find yourself in a much better position to score the go ahead run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning.

You can do many everyday things to reach your potential like lifting weights or doing pushups to improve your strength. Despite popular belief, all your hitting strength is not derived only from your arm muscles. Many people believe having big arms is the key to hitting home runs, but many professionals will stress  things such as hand-eye coordination, quick hands/wrists and developing core strength can all lead to more pop at the plate.

There are tons of pieces of training equipment that will lead to improvement on the baseball diamond, but some of the most simple and oldest training methods can still help you get better at the game. Simple things such as practicing hitting a ball off a tee or a batting net to hit balls into can make a world of a difference on game day. No matter what your approach is, doing some form of training drills every day will help you develop your baseball skills and should lead to more production at the plate.

Here is a helpful video with some drills you can do in your backyard every day to improve your baseball skills:

TANNER TEE

TANNER TEE

How To Choose The Best Balls and Bats for Beginners

When you are just starting out, or maybe in the beginning stages of playing baseball, you may be better off starting out with some beginners training equipment. Luckily there are many baseball tools being made for all ages and sizes. Baseball has become so popular all around the world, so having the proper equipment for the players of all ages is important.

What To Look For

One of the first things to determine when selecting a good bat to start out with is which bat size would be appropriate for your stature. Here is another helpful bat sizing chart to help get you started. The idea here is that if you are using a bat too big, you won’t be able to effectively swing the ball properly to generate the best swing on the ball.

By having the correct bat size, you will find that you are able to make good contact on the baseball more frequently. That doesn’t mean you can’t still experiment with some different bats or bat sizes, these are just general recommendations from the experienced professionals with years of expertise in the game. Many pro ballplayers will still experiment with temporarily using another bat if they are going through a batting slump.

Another key component to keep in mind is what kind of bat are you looking to use? If you are looking to practice to get ready to play in a league, knowing their rules for which bats are allowed will be key.  For younger players looking to get into baseball using a wood bat, I would recommend the Sam Bat Youth LL CD1 Maple Baseball Bat for its ease of use.

Recommendation For You – Louisville Slugger Omaha 518 And  SKLZ Soft Cushioned Safety Baseballs 

If you are looking to hit with something other than a wooden bat to start out or maybe just have some fun hitting baseballs a long way, there are still plenty of other great bats out there. The Louisville Slugger Omaha 518 is a great beginner’s bat that comes in many sizes and complies with most youth baseball regulations. The bat is constructed of a durable alloy material combined with synthetic leather grips to help you maintain control.

For beginner baseballs, you do not need to go out and spend full price on MLB baseballs. Regulation baseballs are much tougher and can really hurt if someone is not prepared. Yes, it may be good to have one around to be able to practice with and to feel the difference, but practicing with a more affordable baseball may be more practical when starting out.

The SKLZ Soft Cushioned Safety Baseballs come in a 2 pack and offers a great beginners baseball for younger players that want to get started in baseball. This is the ideal baseball for a younger player, what I really like about it is the fact that it is cushioned. These cushioned baseballs should help make sure that nobody is afraid of the ball when it is coming their way.

For more help on how to choose a youth baseball bat here is a helpful video:

SAM BAT CD1 Maple Wood Baseball Bat

SAM BAT CD1 Maple Wood Baseball Bat

SKLZ Soft Cushioned Safety Baseballs

SKLZ Soft Cushioned Safety Baseballs

How To Choose The Best Baseball Bags

Baseball is just like all the other sports in that you need a lot of equipment to play from day-to-day. You could not possibly carry your bat, your cleats, your glove and your uniform and more all in your hands, could you? You can make things much easier on yourself by investing into one of the best ways to transport all of that equipment, a baseball bag.

What To Look For

While you may not be able to remember to pack everything you need for a baseball game every time you play, we understand, you are human. But there may be another way. The best way to stay prepared is by having a baseball bag with equipment all packed up and ready to go, should the opportunity arise.

When shopping for a baseball bag, you can have some fun with it. There is not much to specifically look for other than functionality. You want to make sure that carrying all of your baseball equipment is a breeze.

There are many baseball equipment items that you can fit in an average baseball bag. Some of the moree obvious items would be things such as your baseball glove, batting gloves, baseballs and baseball socks. But there are many other helpful things to keep in your bag that you could not possibly otherwise carry on your own.

Be careful not to over pack your baseball bag. You do not want to make the bag too heavy where carrying it to and from baseball games and practice events will become a challenge. You will want to save all your energy for when you hit the baseball field!

Recommendation For You – Athletico Youth Baseball Backpack

There are many different styles and variations of baseball bags available on the market today. To make things easier, I can recommend what I would go with to make your life easier. The Athletico Baseball Bag is perfect for transporting all of your equipment, including bats, with you wherever you go.

The Athletico bag is an awesome all-in-one baseball bag that can carry your cleats, helmet, bats, gloves and much more. The durable and breathable material is designed to help prevent contents such as your cleats from smelling too bad. The backpack is light and has a padded back panel for additional comfort.

This video gives an inside look into what a professional ballplayer keeps in his baseball bag:

Athletico Youth Baseball Backpack

Athletico Youth Baseball Backpack

Conclusion

Hopefully now you have a greater understanding of some of the many different options available that you can use to greatly improve your baseball skills.

My recommendations are just a small fraction of the great baseball products out on the market today.

Thankfully, baseball and the enthusiasts involved are always coming up with new innovations to continue to improve the next generation of baseball players.

With baseball being such an old sport, there have been countless amounts of methods, products, tips and drills developed over the 100+ years that the game has been around.

We are lucky as a society to have so many other baseball enthusiasts spread all across the world that are working tirelessly for the game to improve, even if it is in a small and subtle way.

Hopefully baseball will still be around for another 100+ years, who knows what the next great innovation in baseball will be and where it will come from?

There is so much great baseball equipment available on the market today that it can be hard to determine which equipment is the best for you.

I hope that by now I have cleared up a lot of the confusion when it comes to making purchase decisions for all of your baseball and softball equipment needs.

Now it is time for you to get out on the diamond and put all of this helpful baseball equipment to good use.

Buying Guide For Best Portable Outdoor Basketball Hoop Reviews In 2021

best outdoor basketball hoop

The hoop is by far the most iconic piece of basketball equipment. If you’re ever looking to play, just start shooting on one and sooner or later, someone will join you. Before you know it, you have a 3 on 3 or a 5 on 5 going.

Your Guide

Edis Hajlovac   Edis Hajlovac

Finding a hoop to play on is much easier than picking one out for yourself. You may have already decided to buy your own hoop so you don’t have to rely on any outdoor or indoor courts when you want to get some practice in.

If so, you may have seen that there are way more options out there than you were probably expecting.

This abundance of choice can easily overwhelm us when we are trying to make any decision, whether it is buying a basketball hoop or picking out a new brand of cereal when your favorite is out of stock.

We’ll try to bring some order into the chaos that an abundance of choice can create, so we have divided this guide on picking the best basketball hoop into several categories that are first going to help you find the best type of hoop for yourself, followed by a recommendation for a specific model.

Since we are trying to make this guide as comprehensive as possible, some of the categories will be oriented towards serious play, and some will be oriented towards hoops that are designed more for entertainment rather than anything else.

For every category, we’re going to list and explain the key things you should base your selection on and evaluate the pros and cons of each specific type of hoop so that you can make an informed decision on what type of basketball hoop is the best for filling your needs.

We should mention that there are some general characteristics or features that are important to consider with any type of basketball hoop.

We will be covering these over the course of the guide alongside the more type-specific characteristics and features for a more complete insight.

Once that foundation is set, we will give our top pick for each category based on research and personal experience.

Don’t worry, even if you don’t like our recommended product in your favorite category, you should leave with more than enough knowledge to make an informed choice on your own.

How To choose The best Portable Basketball Hoop

While it would be awesome to have a basketball court in your backyard, it is a fact of life that very few people actually have the space around their house for anything close to that. That means that many of us have to make the most out of the often limited space that we do have.

This is where portable hoops come in as they allow you to turn regular areas of your front or back yard into an improvised basketball court. The way these hoops are constructed allows you to relatively easily move them around, set them up where needed, and return them to storage when you’re done.

They are generally a great choice for people without the means or the space to set up a more permanent basketball hoop such as a mounted on an in-ground one. That is not to say that they can’t act as a part of a dedicated basketball court, but they’re not necessarily the best option in that case.

The two most important things specific to portable hoops you should consider when purchasing a portable hoop are the support pole and the base of the hoop. We will examine them in more detail in the following segment.

What To Look For

Let’s start with the defining feature of a portable basketball hoop, its base. The bases of these hoops are what keeps them upright and what allows them to be moved relatively easily from one place to another. How is this accomplished?

The base itself will almost never be a solid object. It will instead be designed to be weighed down with external weights, or more commonly, filled with sand or water. So, which of the two is likely the right choice for you?

I’ve seen portable hoops with external weights used mostly on outdoor tournaments. The word “portable” is being kind of stretched here as these hoops usually have large constructions that take up a lot of space and need a lot of external weight (easily more than 400 lbs.) to be properly stabilized.

The good thing about these hoops in my experience is that they do a great job of replicating the feel and the performance of an actual gym hoop. For an average user, however, they are simply too impractical because of their size, weight, and high price compared to the alternatives.

The bases that need to be filled can usually be filled with sand and/or water as we’ve mentioned already, but sand may provide better stabilization as it is around 75% heavier than water in the same volume. The bad thing about using sand is that it can be awkward to properly fill the whole base with it.

That is on top of mentioning that most people aren’t going to have a few hundred pounds of sand lying around their house. This brings us to using water, a much more accessible alternative. At the price of somewhat lower stabilization, water makes it much easier to fill the whole base quickly.

The instructions that should come with your hoop will tell you how much weight is needed to provide optimal stability, and that will help you decide which material to use. There should also be a way to quickly empty the base so you can move the hoop back into storage when you’re done.

One final note on base stability has to do with the shape of the base. A good rule of thumb is that the base should have a shape relatively close to a square when looked at from above. This balanced shape should prevent the hoop from being more susceptible to instability along one axis.

In order to make the moving process easier, many bases will feature at least a pair of wheels to make moving the hoop around easier, so it might be a good idea to find a base like that if you don’t want to spend more time moving the hoop than playing on it.

Let’s move onto the pole. Most poles should be made out of metal and be either round or square, but the truth is that the shape doesn’t really matter all that much in terms of performance. What matters more is the thickness of the pole.

A good rule of thumb is that thicker poles are generally going to be the more stable poles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should go for the thickest pole you find. More metal means more weight, and more weight means harder to move around, so try to find a good middle ground.

Whatever you do, do your best to avoid super thin poles as they will severely impact the stability of your hoop when the ball hits the rim or the backboard, and no amount of weight in the base will be able to compensate for it.

Stability is super important for portable hoops, but there are limits. While the tips in this segment will help you pick the most stable hoop, don’t expect gym hoop-level stability as you will never have it with portable ones. This is perfectly fine, and you will still get plenty of quality practice on your new hoop.

Some poles will allow you to easily adjust the height of the rim while others will have the rim on a fixed height. If you’re buying a hoop for your little kid, you might want to invest in an adjustable one so they can practice on a shorter hoop, and you can easily lift it to the regulation 10’ when the time comes.

Recommendation For You – Spalding NBA Hybrid with a 60’’ Backboard

The portable hoop I’m choosing to recommend is the Spalding Hybrid portable hoop with a 60’’ acrylic backboard (there is also a 54’’ version). The reason why I’ve decided to choose this particular hoop is simple, Spalding did nearly everything right when it comes to the design on the hoop.

For starters, it has a good, wide base, and the angle of the support pole offers some extra stability. The base is meant to be filled with sand in one part and water in the other, hence the “hybrid” in the name. There are two wheels in the front of the base for easier movement.

The 60’’ acrylic backboard will let you practice a wide range of layups and bank shots, while a good breakaway rim will provide realistic rebounding angles. The height of the rim can be adjusted from 7.5 to 10 feet with an easy-to-use lever in the back that can be removed to prevent any tampering.

There is some good offset behind the backboard that will give you some extra security when practicing layups or driving along the baseline, and the overall quality of the product is impressive for a portable hoop.

These are some of the main qualities that have drawn me to this particular hoop and if you’d like to hear a bit more about what it offers, I’d recommend this great video review which goes over some of the finer details and the feel of playing on this hoop.

Spalding NBA Hybrid with a 60’’ Backboard

Spalding NBA Hybrid with a 60’’ Backboard

How To Choose The Best In Ground Basketball Hoop 

Those of you with the space and the resources to make a dedicated basketball court in your yard might want to consider investing in an in-ground basketball hoop. As the name suggests, this hoop is designed to be permanently buried into the ground as a part of a court.

A few years ago I made several trips to Lithuania, probably the most basketball-loving nation in the world. The number of public courts in the cities in Vilnius and Kaunas didn’t surprise me, but the number of people who built courts in their yards was absolutely off the charts.

They went all out, not only with the hoops (most of which were high quality products), but with the surface of the court, the accurate lines on it, everything. Many professional 3×3 tournament organizers wouldn’t have been ashamed of hosting an official tournament on many of those courts.

Having your own dedicated basketball court is the ultimate way to practice, and it is no wonder why Lithuania has such a staggeringly high number of great players for such a small nation. Getting a good in-ground hoop is the first step toward building your own court, so let’s see how to pick a good one.

What To Look For

The defining feature of in-ground hoops is that they need to be built with a dug-in concrete base. This will require digging a hole the size of which will be outlined in the instructions that come with the hoop. The hole is not usually very large in terms of surface area, but it can easily be deeper than 40’’.

Some people like to dig a bit deeper and steel rebar is usually added to reinforce the concrete. The sheer volume of the hole needed for a base means that you should be ready to secure quite a bit of concrete before you start building your hoop, as many as 80 or 90 lbs. in some cases.

Before you even start digging, however, make sure that you won’t accidentally take out the cable for your entire neighborhood or damage some other utility line. You’d be surprised how many utility lines can run underneath your yard, and damaging one can be both very dangerous and very expensive.

The best way to avoid this is to check with the local utility companies if there are any lines running underneath your yard and how to avoid them. In some countries, there are also dedicated numbers you can call that can give you this kind of information for all types of utilities.

Once you’ve dug the hole and filled it with concrete, it is time to “plant” your hoop. This can be done in one of two ways – directly or via an anchor. I’ll now explain the differences but, spoiler alert, the anchor is by far the superior method.

Cheaper hoops are usually designed so that the support pole is inserted directly into the concrete. This means that you will have to insert the hoop perfectly on your first attempt if you want it to be perfectly upright and don’t want to end up with a tilted hoop, which is next to useless.

Even if you manage to insert the hoop into the concrete perfectly vertically, you will have to improvise a way to keep it in that position until the concrete hardens. This is not an easy task given that some hoops can weigh more than 300 lbs. which is a lot of weight to perfectly fix in place.

More expensive hoops usually feature an anchor that looks similar to this. The prongs on the bottom are supposed to be inserted into the concrete until the flat surface touches the concrete. The support pole is then fixed to the anchor via special bolts.

Even if you don’t insert the anchor perfectly parallel to the ground, you can still control the angle of the hoop by adjusting the nuts on the anchor bolts and end up with a perfectly vertical hoop. I definitely recommend getting a hoop with an anchor if you can spare a bit of extra cash.

Since the hoop is dug into the ground, it will be very stable, and accidentally hitting the support pole can be very painful or even dangerous. When buying your hoop, it would be prudent to ensure that the support pole comes with some protective padding and that there is enough offset.

Offset will be explained in more detail later on in the guide, but when it comes to padding, it is extremely important as you don’t want to accidentally run full speed into an exposed thick metal pole. If there isn’t any padding on the pole by default, you might want to buy some and add it on your own.

Recommendation For You – Ironclad Sports Game Changer GC55-LG

In-ground hoops can easily cost as much as $2.000 in some cases. With that in mind, I have chosen to recommend a hoop that strikes a great balance between what you get and what you pay for this category.

The model in question is Ironclad Sports’ Game Changer with a 60’’ backboard, and here’s why. Starting from the bottom, it has the kind of anchoring system that I already wrote about in the previous segment. The support pole is wide and it comes with a lot of padding for great security.

The height of the rim can be easily adjusted from 7.5’ to 10’ via a crank in the back of the pole. What I like the most about this hoop are the backboard and the rim. The backboard is made out of tempered glass, which is the material you will see in professional-level hoops.

There is also padding along the edges of the backboard, and that padding is one of those things you never knew you needed until you actually need it as it can protect your hands from injury if you hit the sharp edges of the backboard.

The breakaway rim is bolted directly onto the support pole for added security and it will endure dunking without any problems. The manufacturer is so sure of this that they often a lifetime warranty which includes dunking and hanging.

Overall, the hoop is probably a great choice for you is you’re looking for a versatile and durable hoop, and you are ready to pay for quality but don’t want to absolutely break the bank. If you’d like to see the hoop up close and in great detail, here is a great video that will let you do just that.

Ironclad Sports Game Changer GC55-LG

Ironclad Sports Game Changer GC55-LG

How To Choose The Best Wall Mounted Basketball Hoop 

Wall-mounted hoops aren’t going to have any kind of support pole or base because they are designed to use a wall as their base. This makes them very stable, and a great option for those who can’t set up an in-ground hoop and don’t find portable hoops practical.

You should keep in mind that this design can make them somewhat limited in terms of what you can do with them. Shooting practice will go just fine with these hoops, but playing games or practicing aggressive layups can be made difficult or even dangerous by the wall behind the backboard.

With portable and in-ground hoops, the support pole and/or the base can generally be easily avoided when going for a layup or driving underneath it, but with wall-mounted hoops, a single relatively thin pole is replaced with a wide wall that is impossible to avoid.

If shooting or regular layups are the only things you want to practice, then even a cheap mounted hoop might be just what you need. But if you want to do more than that and still insist on getting a wall-mounted hoop, there are options out there, but they will cost you.

What To Look For

We have already briefly touched on the issue of the space behind the backboard and what awaits you there. Cheaper hoops usually won’t have much space, while the more expensive ones will often have several feet of space for added versatility. With that being said, let’s move onto the specifics.

The first thing you need to decide when going for a wall-mounted hoop is where you’re going to place it. You will need a sturdy wall that will support the weight of the hoop and that you don’t have a problem with drilling into.

Lighter hoops will often be designed so that the backboard holders are bolted directly to the wall, while the heavier ones will often have an anchoring frame that is bolted onto the wall to help support the weight of the backboard.

One important note in terms of placement is to make sure that there isn’t any kind of roof or balcony that extends immediately above the edge of the backboard as this will make the hoop awkward to use and might damage your ball if it hits the edge of whatever is extending over the backboard.

Setting your hoop at the right height is incredibly important. An improperly installed hoop can destroy your experience of playing on it, so make sure to pay great attention to the instructions that come with the hoop.

Some hoops come with anchor railings that allow you to make slight adjustments up or down in order to compensate for imperfect installation, but it’s best to just get it right the first time. If you don’t want to take risks and can spare some extra cash, it might be a good idea to pay for professional installation.

There isn’t really that much else to speak of that is specific to wall-mounted hoops, and the broader general concepts will be covered in the segments on the best indoor and outdoor hoops. I suggest you pay special attention to offset, one of the said concepts and the Achilles’ heel of many mounted hoops.

All things considered, wall-mounted hoops usually offer great stability and they can be a great option for users willing to embrace their inherent limitations. If practicing shooting is your main concern, then a wall-mounted hoop might be the best option for you.

Recommendation For You – Goalsetter Adjustable Glass Backboard

The specific hoop I have chosen to recommend for this category is the Goalsetter GS72 Wall Mounted Adjustable basketball hoop. In my opinion, it makes the best of the characteristics of the wall-mounted design and does a decent job of addressing some of its shortcomings.

The defining feature of this hoop is the regulation size (72’’) tempered glass backboard that works with an enclosed breakaway rim to offer performance similar to that of actual gym hoops. The downside of a 72’’ tempered glass backboard is that it is quite heavy, so you’ll need a sturdy wall to mount it.

This kind of setup means that you’ll be able to have very realistic shooting practices on this hoop, but it is more than a mere shooting goal. In the previous segment, I mentioned that the problem of not having enough space behind the backboard plagues many wall-mounted hoops.

This hoop does a decent job of mitigating that issue as it has almost 3’ of space between the backboard and the wall. This is probably enough for most people to play regular games on or practice fancy layups without fearing that they will hit a wall.

Some other noteworthy features include rim height adjustment between 6’ and 10’ so that kids or younger siblings can use the hoop easier and an anchor mounting system for easier installation onto a wall.

Overall, this hoop is probably the right choice for you if you’re someone who wants a wall-mounted hoop they can play or practice a variety of things on and that can offer near gym-like performance, but don’t mind the extra weight or the cost of a regulation-sized tempered glass backboard.

Goalsetter Adjustable Glass Backboard

Goalsetter Adjustable Glass Backboard

How To Choose the Best Outdoor Basketball Hoop 

Out of the three types of hoops covered so far, all three are primarily designed or viable for for outdoor use, although you will see high-end portable or wall-mounted hoops in gyms as well. I’ve played official games on both types of hoops, so they are definitely viable for competitive play.

So far, we have covered some features and characteristics unique to the individual type of hoops, so I’d like to use this segment to explain some concepts that are universally important for all outdoor hoops, as well as some general things you need to consider when buying a basketball hoop of any kind.

What To Look For

Any outdoor piece of hardware will unavoidably be exposed to the influences of the elements sooner or later, basketball hoops included. Whether it is rain that can lead to corrosion or sunlight that can cause the paint or the decals to fade, the elements can take a heavy toll on your hoop.

So how do we prevent this? Since rust is a structural problem that could end up rendering your hoop unusable, we’ll start with that one. Many hoops will tout some kind of anti-rust protection in terms of various coatings on their metal surfaces i.e. most of the hoop’s actual parts.

These can range from special paints to special metal coatings or alloys that don’t rust. I definitely recommend getting a hoop with such protective measures, but if that is not an option, it might be a good idea to purchase anti-rust coating yourself and apply it to your hoop as it will prolong its life.

UV radiation which is present in sunlight can cause cosmetic problems in terms of your decals fading away or components changing color. Some hoops will feature protective measures against this as well, but they are not as important as anti-rust protection since you can easily reapply the decals yourself.

One more important thing to note regarding exposure to elements is the type of net present on your hoop. The two main types are nylon nets and chain nets. Nylon nets are the ones found in professional hoops and they make the incredibly satisfying “swish” sound when you sink a shot.

Chain nets are more often found on streetball hoops and they do a great job of not letting your ball go far when you hit a shot. However, the metal chain links can damage your ball, especially if you’re using a higher-end leather ball.

Heavier nylon nets can withstand the wrath of the elements for many years in my experience, while rust can become a problem for chain ones. Whatever you do, avoid the thin nylon nets that come with some cheaper hoops because you are lucky if they last a month in some cases.

My sincere recommendation is that you invest in a heavier nylon net because that kind of net will easily last several years. We put one such net up on our local public hoop four years ago and it still serves us well to this very day.

One final thing I want to cover is the shape of the backboard. You will find two main options – fan-shaped backboards and rectangular backboards.

Fan-shaped backboards are usually associated with streetball courts in the US. In terms of functionality, they will limit your ability to practice bank shots or fancy layups, so they’re probably not a good idea for you if you want to practice a wide variety of moves and shots on your hoop.

They will often be made out of lower-quality materials, such as plastic or plywood, and I have yet to encounter one made from high-end materials like tempered glass. This makes them the cheaper of the two alternatives.

Rectangular backboards are used on professional hoops and they will, depending on the size, allow you to practice virtually any kind of shot or move under the sun. In consumer-grade hoops, they can vary in size from 40’’ all the way up to the regulation 72’’.

If you want to have the most realistic experience, I recommend either the 60’’ or the 72’’ versions as they won’t limit your practice as the smaller backboards would. They can be made from low-end or high-end materials, so they will in most cases be the more expensive of the two alternatives.

Recommendation For You – Pro Dunk Platinum 72 Inch Glass Backboard

The recommended hoop for this category is the Pro Dunk Platinum with the 72’’ tempered glass backboard. In the eyes of many people, myself included, this is the best outdoor hoop on the market, and it’s not difficult to see why.

The anchoring system and a massive support pole offer great stability, and the abundant padding on the pole provides good protection. All of the metal components on the hoop have several layers of rust protection to ensure longevity.

We’ve already talked about the benefits of a full-sized tempered glass backboard and a breakaway rim, so we won’t repeat ourselves here. What should be mentioned, however, is that the rim can be lowered to a record height of 5.5’.

If you’re looking for the absolute top of the line product that will last you for many years and that comes as close as possible to the performance of gym hoops, this is probably the product for you.

Pro Dunk Platinum 72 Inch Glass Backboard

Pro Dunk Platinum 72 Inch Glass Backboard

How To Choose the Best Indoor Basketball Hoop 

Indoor hoops you find will come in one of three main variants – portable, wall-mounted, or ceiling-suspended. The word “portable” is used very loosely here since “portable” gym hoops will easily weigh more than 1.000 lbs.

Just like with the previous segment, I’d like to use this one to explain some concepts that are universally important for all indoor hoops, as well as some general things you need to consider when buying a basketball hoop of any kind.

What To Look For

Any hoop will have one of two types of rims – fixed or breakaway. As the name suggests, fixed rims are bolted onto the backboard or the support pole without any way to absorb the force of a dunk, which can lead to them easily breaking upon being dunked on.

Breakaway rims solve this problem with a “joint” and one or two springs that let the hoop better absorb such forces. When you see dunks in professional games, the rim will often “break” to a degree and snap back into position when the player releases it.

If you want a rim that can absorb the force of a dunk and provide the most realistic performance, go for a breakaway one. If these things are not important to you, then going for a fixed rim will satisfy your needs just fine and save you some cash in the process.

We have previously mentioned the importance of backboard materials. Now we will go into a bit more detail on the topic and help you decide which of the three options is the best fit for your needs and your budget.

Plastic is at the bottom of the backboard material totem pole as the quality of plastic backboards is generally poor and they don’t provide even remotely realistic performance. Acrylic is the middle-of-the-road backboard material with satisfactory performance.

I play pickup games two times a week in a gym with acrylic backboards and I am quite happy with their performance save for a few rare cases where I was surprised by the way the ball interacted with the backboard. Overall, they should be more than adequate for the average user.

Finally, we have the tempered glass backboard. That is the material used in professional hoops and it offers the best performance out of the three materials. If you want the most realistic performance out of your backboard for layups and bank shots, tempered glass is the right material for you.

One last consideration related to backboards is the offset. Simply put, it is the amount of space between the backboard and the support pole, and it is incredibly important when it comes to injury prevention. The lower the offset, the higher the chance of a player hitting the support pole or wall.

Professional hoops have a great amount of offset (up to almost 11’), whereas you’re lucky to get 3’ of offset with the consumer-grade hoops. A lack of offset has caused serious injuries even to professional players, so I sincerely hope that you will pay attention to offset when purchasing your new hoop.

Recommendation For You – Glass Spalding Arena

For this category, I have chosen to recommend a top of the line hoop that is fit for professional play. The model in question is Spalding’s Arena Portable Backstop. You’ll notice right away that the hoop looks quite similar to the hoops used in NBA or Euroleague games.

The performance is what you would expect from such a hoop, it features an enclosed breakaway rim and a regulation-sized tempered glass backboard. The padding on the base and the support pole and the backboard edges is superb, while nearly 11’ of offset means that it offers a high level of security.

There are a few extra features to make it easier to operate, such as a spring-assisted lifting mechanism. For official games, there is also a shot clock holder that can be bought separately. The hoop is fit for all levels of official play as it can be locked in at either 8’, 9’, or 10’.

It is a very heavy and very expensive piece of equipment, but if you’re someone looking to outfit their gym with high-quality equipment fit for official play, then this hoop is probably a good choice for you.

Glass Spalding Arena

Glass Spalding Arena

How To Choose The Best Pool Basketball Hoop

You may have seen at least one of those awesome pool dunk videos on YouTube or Facebook/Instagram because more than a few of them went viral over the last couple of years. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here is a great example. Looks pretty fun, right?

While attempting to recreate complex pool dunks like this is probably too dangerous to try at home, playing “basketball” in the pool is still an incredibly fun twist on the game and it is definitely worth a try if you ever get the chance.

I first got this opportunity two years ago when I was on a beach that had a floating hoop. The sea wasn’t calm and the waves were throwing the hoop all over the place so it wasn’t easy to hit a shot, but we had a blast regardless. For those of you with a pool, here’s how to find the best pool hoop.

What To Look For

Pool hoops come in two main variants – those that float and those set on the edge of the pool. Floating hoops can be placed anywhere on the surface of the pool and some can be fixed to the bottom with a rope. They allow for a 360-degree field of play around the hoop which allows for more players.

Two main problems with these hoops are the lack of a backboard and the fact that they can tip over very easily in some cases which means that you’ll have to stop the game to fix the hoop. Hoops that go on the edge of the pool are for all intents and purposes scaled-down versions of portable hoops.

They are made from lower-quality materials than regular portable hoops, usually plastic and aluminum, but that’s perfectly fine for hoops designed for fun rather than serious play. These hoops have backboards and some have an adjustable rim, just don’t expect a breakaway rim as well.

The backboard makes it somewhat easier to score on than the floating hoop, but their positioning means that you won’t have a 360-degree field of play to work with. There isn’t a strictly better of the two alternatives and it all comes down to your preference.

One more thing to keep in mind is that if your hoop has any metal parts, corrosion is going to become an issue sooner or later because of the treated pool water, even if the metal has anti-rust coatings. This means that you need to buy and periodically apply anti-rust protection on your own.

Recommendation For You – Dunnrite Splash Swimming Pool Hoop

My recommendation for this category is the Dunnrite Splash and Shoot Swimming Pool Basketball Hoop. It is a portable hoop that is placed on the edge of the pool and the base is filled with water or sand. The base has no wheels, but the hoop is small and light enough to not need wheels.

A plastic fan-shaped backboard will make scoring a bit easier and a steel rim will withstand dunking, although you shouldn’t hang on it or the entire hoop will tip over. You can adjust the height of the rim to fit the depth of your pool and make scoring more or less challenging if you want to.

There is a protective coating on the metal parts of the hoop, but don’t expect it to last indefinitely. My sincerest advice if you decide to go for this is to buy some kind of anti-rust spray or coating and apply it regularly.

Dunnrite Splash Swimming Pool Hoop

Dunnrite Splash Swimming Pool Hoop

How To Choose The Best Trampoline Basketball Hoop 

I used to love trampolines when I was a kid. By the time I found out that there are trampolines with basketball hoops attached, I was way past the load limitations of 99% of trampolines. Not only are there trampolines with hoops, but there is also an entire sport that revolves around the concept.

Obviously, the full-contact nature of that spot is not suitable for children, but trampoline hoops can be an amazing source of entertainment for anyone. Obviously, they’re not meant for serious practice and they won’t make you a better shooter, but you can get a lifetime worth of dunks in a single session.

What To Look For

With trampolines being an integral component, a few safety considerations should be made. Most trampolines use springs which are the source of a majority of trampoline-related injuries. There are alternatives that use special composite materials to create bounce if you want to avoid using springs.

The jumping surface of the trampoline is usually surrounded by a padded, yet harder, material which acts as a walking surface. You want to ensure that the padding on this surface is sufficient to absorb the impact of landing on it straight after bouncing.

Different trampolines will have different safety limitations which will most often be stated in terms of weight limitations. There shouldn’t be any problems regarding the number of kids that are using the trampoline at the same time as long as their combined weight doesn’t exceed the stated limit.

Any half-decent trampoline hoops will have a safety net around the trampoline that should be at least as high as the rim. This net can be held in place with a metal pole or other, softer materials. Softer materials make it harder to get injured as a result of hitting a pole, but metal is tougher.

Finally, you have the backboard. The backboard can be either solid (usually plastic) and held in place with a metal pole, or it can be flexible and hung on the safety net. The solid ones offer better durability when dunking, but the flexible ones make it harder to get hurt if you hit the backboard.

As you can see, there are many considerations and there are no setups that are strictly better or worse than any other setup because they all have different trade-offs and serve different niches. It’s up to you to use this information to determine what is the best setup for your needs.

Recommendation For You – Springfree Trampoline

I have chosen to emphasize the safety aspect of trampoline hoops with a recommendation for the Springfree Trampoline Basketball Hoop. This trampoline has a number of safety features that make it the safest trampoline hoop on the market.

For starters, the springs are replaced with flexible composite rods located below the jumping surface which protects the users from accidentally hitting them and provides the same level of bounce. There are also no hard edges near the jumping surface which offers further protection from injuries.

Keeping in line with the safety theme, the backboard is flexible and it is attached to the safety net itself without using any metal or other solid poles. The bottom metal frame of the trampoline offers great rust protection and many users have reported that the trampoline is extremely durable.

If you’re thinking of buying a trampoline hoop for your yard and safety is your primary concern, this is probably the right product for you. With a generous load limit of 220 lbs., you’ll likely be able to try it out for yourself and get in on the fun.

Springfree Trampoline

Springfree Trampoline

How To choose the Best Portable Basketball Hoop For a Driveway 

We have already dedicated a section of this guide specifically to choosing a portable basketball hoop. Many people are going to be using their hoop in their driveway as it is the likeliest place anyone will have a concrete surface in their yard.

With that in mind, we have decided to revisit the topic of portable hoops with a tighter focus on choosing a hoop specifically for use in a driveway. The following segment will aim to expand a bit on the already familiar concepts important for choosing a portable hoop.

What To Look For

When picking your new portable hoop to use in a driveway, the name of the game is mobility. You need to be able to move the hoop out of the way quickly if there is a car coming in to park. This means that you need to pay special attention to the base and the overall weight of the hoop.

Two things should be considered regarding the base. The first are the already mentioned wheels as they make moving the hoop around a LOT easier. The wheels are usually located in the front or in the rear of the base, and the front ones are a better option in my opinion.

The second thing regarding the base is how easy is it to eject the filling from the base, whether it is water or sand. There shouldn’t be problems if you’re using sandbags. If you’re using water, then you should look for a base with a plug that can let the water out without having to tilt the base.

The overall weight of the hoop also plays a role, the ticker the support pole and the larger your backboard, the heavier and less mobile your hoop will be. Sure, you want a stable hoop but you need it to be mobile as well, and sacrificing a bit of stability is an acceptable trade-off here.

You should also note that plastic and acrylic backboards are generally lighter than tempered glass ones. Finally, it would be ideal if you could find a hoop that lets you adjust the angle of the support pole if your driveway is not a flat surface, but this will be very difficult to find in most cases.

Recommendation For You – Spalding NBA Hybrid with a 60’’ Backboard

The recommended product for this category is still the Spalding Hybrid Portable as I still feel it is one of the best portable hoops around, but there is one difference for this category. To reduce the weight, I suggest you go with the 54’’ acrylic backboard version instead of a 60’’ one.

When it comes to filling the base, I suggest using four 50-pound sandbags without any water as they should provide enough stability for playing, and you can quickly take them out once you need to move the hoop.

There are front-mounted wheels on the base of the hoop, so the 54’’ acrylic backboard version of this hoop checks pretty much all the major boxes when it comes to mobility and driveway use.

Spalding NBA Hybrid with a 60’’ Backboard

Spalding NBA Hybrid with a 60’’ Backboard

How To choose The Best Adjustable basketball hoop

So far, we have mentioned the ability to adjust the height of the rim as a desirable feature of someone the hoops that were listed as the recommended products for their category. Having an adjustable hoop is necessary if you are buying it with the expectation that children will be practicing or playing on it.

Not all games are played on 10’ hoops, the smallest youth categories play on hoops as low as 6’. As such, it makes no sense to force kids to use 10’ hoops before they are physically ready to do so. Besides, having an adjustable hoop lets people who aren’t naturally tall or athletic enough throw down a dunk.

As you can see, getting an adjustable hoop makes sense for multiple reasons and we are going to dedicate the following segment to the most important things you need to know regarding adjustable hoops.

What To Look For

For starters, all kinds of hoops can be adjustable, whether they are portable, wall-mounted or in-ground. This height adjustment can be done in two main ways. The first is to physically bolt the backboard lower or higher on the support pole. This method is used only on very cheap hoops.

Even mid-range hoops will use some sort of crank or lever mechanism to facilitate the height adjustment. The adjustments may be done in fixed increments or freely. The most advanced hoops will be able to automatically lock in certain rim heights, but this is reserved mostly for pro-level hoops.

Most consumer-grade hoops will use a crank or a lever, both of which are perfectly viable systems and they are used on some of the hoops recommended in this guide. Depending on the quality of the construction of these mechanisms, the stability of the hoop may be impacted.

In my experience, crank-based mechanisms are somewhat superior to the lever-based ones because they let you adjust the height at will instead of in fixed increments and they are sturdier, thus having a smaller impact on the stability of the hoop.

Recommendation For You – Ironclad Sports Game Changer GC55-LG

I will stick to my recommendation for the best in-ground hoop as the best overall adjustable hoop as well. The model in question was Ironclad Sports’ Game Changer with a 60’’ backboard. It features a crank-based height adjustment system.

This crank lets you adjust the height of the rim to anywhere between 7.5’ and 10’ in any kind of increments you wish. I have previously talked about the hoop’s features and I’d just like to reemphasize its high durability and great value for money as the two main factors that led me to pick it again.

Ironclad Sports Game Changer GC55-LG

Ironclad Sports Game Changer GC55-LG

How to choose the best portable basketball hoop under $300 

Up to this point, most of the recommended serious hoops have been in the mid to high price range. While it is inevitable that quality comes at a price, I certainly understand the need for budget options and it would only be fair that we touch on the subject of budget portable hoops.

Compared to our previous recommendations, picking out a budget hoop is a question of what you’re willing to sacrifice to make it fit into your budget. I’ll do my best to explain how to get under your budget with the least possible sacrifice.

What To Look For

Before you start deciding what to sacrifice, you should first know what are the main requirements you have from a hoop.

Probably the easiest decision to make is whether or not you need an adjustable hoop. If you’re the only person who will be using the hoop, getting a hoop with the rim fixed at 10’ is probably a good way to save some money.

There are two main considerations to make when it comes to the backboard – the size and the material. The smaller the backboard, the cheaper it should be. 60’’ backboards will still allow for a variety of layups and bank shots, and I would avoid going under 54’’ if at all possible.

I would only recommend going for a smaller backboard if you want to practice nothing but pure shooting. In terms of materials, I am not at all a fan of polycarbonate, but it is the cheapest option. Acrylic is usually a good mix of price and performance, so I recommend it for budget purposes.

If you only want a hoop for pure shooting, you might as well go for maximum savings with polycarbonate. You should also expect the base and the support pole of budget hoops to be on the smaller side which could lead to somewhat decreased stability.

It is entirely possible to find budget hoops with breakaway rims but I wouldn’t count on those rims enduring any hanging or powerful dunks. Still, they are a good option for the more realistic rebounding they offer compared to fixed rims.

Last but not least are the material protections against rust and UV radiation. Don’t expect them to be great; it is always a good idea to buy some protective coatings and apply them yourself from time to time if you want to give your hoop the best possible protection.

Recommendation For You – Spalding NBA 54″ Acrylic

I was positively surprised by the features of some of the budget options, especially the model I chose to recommend for this category – The Spalding Pro Slam Portable.

It features a 54’’ acrylic backboard (there are variants with a polycarbonate backboard too) that should be just big enough to practice all but the most advanced layups and bank shots. Acrylic will offer good interaction with the ball and close to realistic rebounding performance.

The rim featured on the hoop is a breakaway one, although it is a lower-end breakaway rim that I don’t recommend forcefully dunking on, let alone hanging on. Still, it should do just fine when it comes to rebounding performance.

The base and the support pole are not big, but they offer acceptable stability for their size. The height of the rim can even be adjusted with a mechanism at the back of the pole. Overall, I am very impressed with the hoop given that it can be picked up for just a bit over $200.

If you’re looking for a budget hoop but don’t want to make major sacrifices in any of the aforementioned segments, this is probably a good option for you.

Spalding NBA 54" Acrylic

Spalding NBA 54″ Acrylic

How to choose the best toddler basketball hoop 

Every once in a while, a young prodigy comes along in a sport and blows everyone away with their level of skill, such as Luka Dončić is doing that in the NBA right now. When we talk about young prodigies, they don’t get much younger than trick shot Titus.

You may remember Titus from the viral videos (like this one) or TV shows where he showed off his shooting skills. Toy hoops can be a great source of entertainment for toddlers and they may even spark a love for the game basketball that stays with them for the rest of their lives.

A small toy hoop attached to one of the doors in my apartment with suction cups is one of the toys I have the fondest memories of from the time when I was a little kid, and I still have that hoop somewhere in my room, although I haven’t used it in nearly two decades.

What To Look For

With hoops for toddlers, you want to make sure that there are no small parts that might be a choking hazard and that the hoop itself is as light as possible without any sharp edges so that they don’t get hurt if the hoop falls on this.

Most decent hoops for toddlers will be made of light plastic with curved edges, so finding a safe hoop should be relatively easy. The two main types of hoops for toddlers are portable ones and mounted ones.

The former ones have bases that usually aren’t supposed to be filled with anything (but the option is still there) because the hoops are very light and not meant for dunking, while the latter ones are meant to be attached to a door via either sticky pads, hooks, or suction cups.

Some portable hoops are adjustable in height so you can increase the height of the rim as your child grows. I definitely recommend getting a hoop like this if possible simply because the hoop will able to “follow” the growth of your child.

The rims on these hoops are usually oversized to make scoring easier and you may or may not get a ball with your hoop. Some of these balls are a bit heavier or harder, so make sure there isn’t anything easily breakable behind the hoop.

Recommendation For You – Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set

I definitely recommend portable hoops over mounted ones, and my recommendation for this category reflects that. The model in question is the Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set that comes with three balls.

It is made entirely out of light plastic and it has a base that can be filled with sand for added stability, but it can be used perfectly well without the added weight. The height of the rim can be adjusted between 2.5’ and 4’.

An oversized rim makes it easier to score baskets and a net ensures that the balls won’t go too far from the hoop. Overall, it is a very good hoop and great help in developing your toddler’s motor skills.

Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set

Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set

How to choose the best kids basketball hoop 

Basketball hoops for kids are in many cases similar to hoops for toddlers, they are simply scaled up in size and constructed in a more solid matter. They represent a good bridge between hoops meant for entertainment and hoops meant for serious play.

Some of the hoops in this category may lean more towards one side or the other, but there are very good options available out there whatever your preference may be.

What To Look For

Since there are many similarities between hoops for toddlers and kids, we won’t be repeating the concepts that are the same. We will just list them and try to focus on the few differences between the hoops for the two age groups.

Just as with hoops for toddlers, there are portable and mounted options. Since some of the kids are already getting their first tastes of “serious” basketball, I recommend that you pick a hoop that is as close as possible to what they will be playing or practicing on.

Some of the major differences between the hoops for toddlers and kids are the materials and the bases of portable hoops. The hoops for toddlers are made almost exclusively from plastic, but hoops for older kids may contain metal parts.

In these cases, it is advisable to fill the base of the hoop with sand or water to make it more difficult for the hoop to tip over and injure the child or break something in the house. It is highly recommended that you get a hoop with an adjustable rim height for the same reason as with the hoops for toddlers.

Some hoops for kids will not need special balls and they will be designed to work with regular smaller basketballs that are used in youth games. This should be accounted for if you’re placing the hoop indoors because these balls can easily break something.

Recommendation For You – Lifetime 32 Youth Portable Basketball Hoop

My recommended hoop for this category will be a great successor to the hoop recommended for toddlers. The model in question is the Lifetime 32’’ Youth Portable Basketball Hoop.

The 10-gallon base should be filled with either sand or water to provide stability because the hoop features mostly metal parts. The support pole and the rim are both made out of metal resistant to rust and the weather, making this a good hoop for indoor or outdoor use.

The rim height can be adjusted between 5.5’ and 7.5’ in 6’’ increments, and a 32’’ plastic backboard will allow your kids to start learning and practicing layups and bank shots. It is a good idea to use an official miniature basketball (size 4 or 5) with this hoop because of its design and metal parts.

It is not very pricey and it will make for a great first “serious” hoop your kid will have. Many full-size hoops can be lowered to 7’ which means that this specific hoop will make a great bridge between toy hoops and the real thing.

Lifetime 32" Youth Portable Basketball Hoop

Lifetime 32 Youth Portable Basketball Hoop

Conclusion

Congratulations, you’ve reached the final chapter of this guide. We have covered virtually every type of hoop under the sun, both the serious ones and the not so serious ones, but all of them enable us to play the game we love in some way or another.

I sincerely hope that this guide has answered all the major questions you may have had about the factors you need to consider when buying a basketball hoop and that you have learned how to select the best basketball hoop for you.

In the future, there are probably going to be more detailed guides and reviews on specific types or models of basketball hoops, so this is definitely not the last time that we will visit the topic of hoops.

If you have a suggestion for a specific topic that I should cover, let me know in the comments below.

In the meantime, I hope that you will get plenty of fun and quality practice out of your new hoops and that they will serve you well for many years to come.

What was your favorite hoop on our list?

Did you happen to play on one of our recommended hoops or did you decide to give one of them a chance?

Please let me know in the comments, I’m always interested to hear the experiences of the readers.

That would be all for this guide. Until next time, happy holidays and happy hooping!

The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Top Basketball Training Equipment Reviews In 2021

basketball training equipment

If you’re a basketball player, your summers are likely spent on local courts playing 3-on-3 or even 5-on-5 pick-up games whenever the weather allows it. If so, chances are that at some point in time, you have played either with or against THAT guy.

Your Guide

Edis Hajlovac   Edis Hajlovac

The guy who comes to the court dressed like he was just going for a casual walk. The guy dressed like he has absolutely no business being anywhere near a basketball, yet that same guy somehow ends up dominating absolutely everyone on the court.

I’m willing to bet these lines have brought up a few memories for most of you reading. As that guy has clearly shown, basketball is, and always will be, a game of skill.

While having the best gear is no guarantee of success, it can make all the difference on your journey to become a better player.

Whether it’s helping you avoid injury that could keep you sidelined for weeks or even months, helping you create the most realistic practice environment, or giving you that split second advantage needed to make a play, having the right equipment can be the difference between success and failure.

Even with the understanding of why proper equipment is needed, it is still difficult to choose the right pieces for you. What is it that makes a piece of equipment good, and even more importantly, what makes a piece of equipment a good fit for your specific needs?

The huge number of choices on the market might easily overwhelm someone who doesn’t know exactly what they’re looking for. We’re here to help you navigate that jungle of choices and help you select the equipment that will help you become the best player you can be.

We’re going to cover pretty much every single piece of equipment you could need as a basketball player, explain the key concepts or features you can base your decisions on, and provide our product recommendation based on both personal experience and research.

Let’s get started.

How To Choose The Best Basketball Hoop 

You can technically play basketball in pajamas and slippers, but you’re still going to need a ball and a hoop. Choosing a ball is relatively simple because can feel the weight and the texture of the ball when you hold it in your hands at the store.

Choosing a hoop, on the other hand, can be a daunting task given that it’s highly unlikely you can start launching three-pointers or do a few practice layups in the store. Portable basketball hoops come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, all of which can and will influence your experience and practice.

What are these differences? What are the main benefits of the different types of hoops? How do I select the one that is right for what I want to practice? There are some of the questions we will try to answer in the next segment.

What To Look For

The most obvious differences between hoops are in the base, the size of the backboard, and the type of the rim. The less obvious differences are in the materials used (especially the materials the backboard is made of), and the ability to adjust rim height.

Your exact needs and the amount of space you have should be the driving factor behind your choice of hoop base. If you have the space for a dedicated basketball court and value rim stability, then the dug in base is probably best for you. Otherwise, go for a hoop with either a mounted or portable base.

Portable bases are meant to be filled with other materials that can be easily emptied such as sand or water to ensure stability. As the name suggests, their mobility is their biggest asset. Mounted hoops are designed to be attached to an existing structure like a house wall or a garage door.

Backboard sizes range from 44’’ (112 cm) to the regulation 72’’ (183 cm). If you want to practice bank shots or difficult layups on your hoop, then the 60’’ (152 cm) backboard is probably the best choice for you. If regular shooting is your main priority, a smaller backboard will probably suffice.

You may encounter different shapes of backboards too, mainly rectangular and fan-shaped ones. If layups and bank shots are important to you, go for a rectangular one. Otherwise, a fan-shaped backboard will probably be enough for you.

Rims come in two main types, fixed and breakaway. In my experience, fixed rims are often very sturdy and will influence your shot in weird ways. A breakaway rim is probably the better choice if you want to have more realistic shooting/layup practices and/or practice dunks.

Backboard material impacts how the ball bounces off of the backboard and there are three main options. Starting from the most expensive and “gym-like”, they are tempered glass, acrylic, and polycarbonate. Acrylic provides a nice middle ground and might be the best choice for the average user.

Other considerations include the type of net and the ability to adjust rim height. Many hoops with portable or dug-in bases will give you the option to adjust rim height which is great if you have some younger family members that want to use the hoop. This option is rarely present on mounted hoops.

Nets come in either nylon or chain variants. Official games are played with nylon nets and they are the ones that produce that satisfying swish sound when a shot is hit just right. Chain nets keep the ball from going far when you hit a basket, but they can corrode and even damage your ball is some cases.

Deciding which hoop you’re going to buy becomes much easier once list your needs and know the specific ways different options on the market can fulfill them. My final advice before moving on is to keep in mind that tomorrow you may want to practice something you weren’t considering before.

Recommendation For You – Spalding NBA Hybrid with a 60’’ backboard

The specific hoop I have chosen to recommend has won me over with its versatility. It is the Spalding NBA Hybrid with a 60’’ backboard (it comes in 54’’ and 60’’ backboard versions). If you’re looking for a portable hoop that will let you practice a wide variety of moves, this may be a good choice for you.

It offers a good balance between mobility and stability thanks to its wide base. A relatively big backboard lets you practice bank shots and about 16’’ of space behind the backboard will allow you to drive in for layups without the fear you’ll hit the base of the hoop or the pole as you land.

If you have the option and space for a dedicated basketball court, then you are probably better off getting a hoop that can be dug in for added stability. If versatility and the ability to move the hoop when needed are important to you, then the Spalding NBA Hybrid is probably the right choice.

Spalding NBA Hybrid with a 60’’ backboard

Spalding NBA Hybrid with a 60’’ backboard

How To Choose The Best Basketball 

“Which ball are we playing with?” A timeless question that gets asked before the first 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 game of the day if there is more than one ball present on the court. It’s usually followed with a comparison of the available options and maybe a short debate if there isn’t an obvious consensus pick.

You’ve probably been in a situation where you simply had to play or practice with a ball that just didn’t feel right or was straight-up bad. Not something you want to repeat if you can avoid it, right? But what is it exactly that separates a good basketball from a bad one and why does ball quality matter?

A good basketball will not only make your game experience more enjoyable, but it will also help your practice sessions be more effective. I consider that the basketball is one of the two most important pieces of equipment to choose correctly, together with the shoes you’re going to be playing in.

What To Look For

Finding the right basketball requires first understanding what size is right for you, and then deciding where do you want to play with the ball you buy. The process is relatively simple once you have a bit of experience with the sport, but it is still easy to overthink given how many choices are available.

Let’s start with the size. Official rules of basketball dictate different size balls should be used by men and women. Men play their official games with a size 7 ball (29,5’’ or 75 cm circumference), whereas women play their official games with a size 6 ball (28,5’’ or 72,5 cm circumference).

Basketballforcoaches.com has a useful guide on this specific topic if you’d like to learn more. If you choose the wrong sized basketball, you run the risk of seriously breaking your shooting and dribbling mechanics due to the difference between your practice ball and the official game ball.

Your primary playing location will determine the basketball material that is the best for you out of the three main options: leather, composite, and rubber. The materials differ in the type of surface they are meant for, grip quality, the way they bounce off of the court/backboard/rim, and of course price.

Leather basketballs are the ones you’ll see in official games. They offer the best grip quality out of all the materials, even when your hands get sweaty. If you’re looking for a ball that will help you have realistic practices, leather is probably right for you.

Leather balls are pricier than the alternatives, and they have to be “broken in” before they start feeling and performing as a proper game ball should. They don’t handle outdoor courts well due to dirt and potential damage to the finish but are the best option by far if you’re looking for an indoor ball.

Rubber basketballs feel very different from game balls, and their grip control is often very poor. Another problem is that their weight is often significantly different than what it should be, meaning they can negatively impact your mechanics. I recommend you avoid them if at all possible.

Composite balls are jacks of all trades with a good mix of performance and price. They are usually suited for both indoor and outdoor play and they replicate the feel and weight of leather balls well. This might just make them the best option if you’re looking for a quality ball without breaking the bank.

There are also some more advanced options out there if you are a more advanced user, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have created a short guide to different types of both basic and advanced basketballs. Give it a look if you’d like to learn a bit more.

Recommendation For You – Molten GG7X

My hands tend to get very sweaty when playing which sometimes leads to problems maintaining control of the ball. This is why grip quality is one of the most important things I look for in a basketball.

Some rubber balls I’ve played with had amazing grip quality, and I still have one such ball laying around somewhere. However, that grip quality came at a great cost of poor performance in many other areas, as well as a weight which was much different than the rules of basketball call for.

The ball that solved the problem for me is the one that I’ll be recommending for this category, the Molten GG7X. It’s a composite leather ball which the producer labeled as an indoor and outdoor ball.

It has everything I want in a basketball – good grip control, great performance, and it feels very natural in your hand. It is an absolute joy to play with on hardwood. The only problem I have with it is that it isn’t a good ball to use on outdoor courts, despite the manufacturer’s indoor/outdoor label.

Outdoor surfaces will quickly degrade the finish, decreasing performance and grip quality. Dirt sticks to the ball quickly, making it slippery when used outdoors. If you’re looking for an indoor ball, this is probably a great option for you. But if you want an outdoor ball, there are better options out there.

Molten GG7X

Molten GG7X

How To Choose The Best Basketball Shoes 

Basketball shoes have two main functions – preventing slipping on the court and injury prevention. Since the ankle is one of the most commonly injured body parts in basketball players, choosing the right shoe for you is likely the most important choice you can make in terms of basketball equipment.

Even the best basketball shoe can’t guarantee that you’ll never roll your ankle, but they play a crucial role in decreasing the likelihood of such an injury according to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. If you do roll your ankle, a good basketball shoe can lessen the severity of the injury.

The word of the day is fit. Unlike your walking shoe which probably tolerates small size deviations, your basketball shoe needs to be a perfect fit for your foot. Basketball shoes that are too large or too small won’t do their job properly and can actually lead to further problems down the line.

YouTube video for this topic (a bit outdated regarding the models but the principles have remained current):

What To Look For

Basketball shoes differ in materials, cushioning type, and style. You are probably familiar with the two main styles of basketball shoes out there, high-top and low-top. Many people have a style preference one way or the other, but there are important performance differences to consider between the two.

Low-top shoes are usually lighter and are probably the choice for you if you’re looking for a shoe that emphasizes speed and agility. You’re usually going to see these worn by guards and some small forwards due to their style of play and height/weight.

High-tops are usually heavier than low-top shoes but offer superior stability as a result. You’ll often see power forwards and centers wearing this type of shoe because they are much taller and heavier than guards, and their style of play almost always demands the added stability offered by high-tops.

Many people mistakenly believe that high-tops are better than low-tops in preventing ankle injuries. A large study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine is just one of several studies that have found no difference in ankle injury rates between players wearing high-top and low-top shoes.

Similar results were found in a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. The shoe style is completely up to you. I know many guards who don’t enjoy playing in low-tops, and vice versa for power forwards. The most important thing is that the shoe fits and you feel comfortable wearing it.

Cushioning is also very important in a shoe, and it is found in the midsole. Different brands use different materials, but the cushioning will most likely consist of some sort of foam or a combination of foams. Some brands also offer “air” cushioning, where gas pockets replace the foam.

I recommend avoiding this type of cushioning, as the gas pockets can get ruptured, leading to a loss of cushioning in your shoe. Foam cushioning is a much safer alternative in this regard. One more thing you need to consider is the outsole, a.k.a. the bottom of your shoe.

This is the part of the shoe responsible for “sticking” to the surface you’re playing on and preventing slipping. They are usually made from rubber or synthetic materials, and the bottom of the outsole will have a pattern. The best traction is usually provided by herringbone or hexagonal patterns.

One final thing you need to keep in mind is that any shoe you pick will quickly wear away if you use it on hard outdoor surfaces like concrete or asphalt. Not only will these surfaces destroy the outsole pattern, but over time they will destroy the entire bottom of the shoe, rendering it unwearable.

If you plan to use your shoes on outdoor surfaces, it is probably a good idea to get shoes with a foam midsole and a thicker outsole, simply because they will last longer than shoes with thinner outsoles. Just keep in mind that shoes worn out by concrete/asphalt will have decreased indoor performance.

Recommendation For You – Adidas Title Run

Due to the size I wear, finding shoes has always been a problem, even when looking for basketball shoes. I always liked Nike basketball shoes, but on one occasion the only shoe I could find in my size was an Adidas shoe, a TS Commander model shoe in Celtics colors.

Given how I had no other choice, I bought it and the result has been one of the most pleasant surprises in all the years I’ve been playing basketball. The shoe was comfortable, very stable and durable. It was the reason why I started looking at Adidas shoes more closely in the future.

Despite not having as much hype surrounding the company as Nike, Jordan, or more recently UnderArmour, Adidas has been quietly improving and developing shoes with great performance at reasonable prices. One of their better models in recent years is the shoe I’ve chosen to recommend.

Adidas Title Run is versatile enough to fit nearly any position or style of play as it offers enough stability for heavier players while being lightweight and responsive enough for guards. Unless you have very specialized needs or prefer low top shoes instead, this shoe will probably be a good choice for you.

It uses the signature adiPRENE+ cushioning which has been praised for its comfort and quality. The outsole features a modified herringbone pattern with reinforcements on certain parts such as the inner balls of the foot for pivoting.

The outsole is made from thick rubber which improves the shoe’s durability for outdoor play. However, the outsoles seem to attract dirt easily which can make the shoes slippery if you don’t wipe the outsoles thoroughly after outdoor use. You can encounter the same problem with dirty indoor courts.

As with any shoe, it’s best to buy it in a store where you can check the fit and avoid nasty surprises that potentially come with online ordering. While many users have found the shoe to be true to size, some have complained about it being narrow, so you should definitely try before you buy.

These drawbacks can easily be avoided, but I still wanted to mention them just to give you a more complete idea of what you’re getting and not getting with these shoes. Overall, if you’re looking for a versatile and quality shoes at a reasonable price, Adidas Title Runs are probably a great choice for you.

Adidas Title Run

Adidas Title Run

How To Choose The Best Basketball Jersey 

The jersey is probably the most iconic piece of basketball equipment in existence. They’re often used to show team pride, or simply fandom for a specific player current or retired. You may see players with custom jerseys in pick-up games, or even players wearing generic jerseys or t-shirts.

Most people who wear a jersey while they play outside of official games do so because they are fans of the team or the specific player whose jersey they have. Since the NBA is the most popular basketball league in the world, we’re going to give you an overview of the options for your new NBA jersey.

Of course, if you’re a fan of a team or a player that aren’t in the NBA, by all means, feel free to look for the specific jersey you want, the principles we’re going to go over can be applied to virtually any jersey, regardless if it’s an NBA jersey or not.

What To Look For

Basketball jerseys have evolved a lot over the years, primarily in the materials they’re built from. A modern basketball jersey is supposed to wick away the sweat from a player’s skin without absorbing too much of it to allow for easier evaporation, all this while allowing the skin to breathe.

This means that quality jerseys are made from some advanced variant of polyester that is both durable and able to fulfill the functions described above. Keep in mind that not all polyester is made equal and different technologies are integrated into the jersey’s production process to improve performance.

Now that we’ve covered that, we can move on to the three main variants in which you’ll find genuine NBA jerseys on the market – authentic, swingman, and replica. There are many fakes out there as well, and this great guide from The Daily Universe will teach you how to spot them and avoid them.

Authentic jerseys are the same as the ones NBA players are wearing on the court. In terms of pure quality and performance, they are the best that money can buy. Accordingly, they’re also the most expensive aside from game-worn jerseys, but you get what you pay for.

If you’re a collector or a die-hard fan, an authentic jersey is probably for you. If you’re looking for a jersey you want to play in on a daily basis, one of the other two variants will probably suit your needs better at a significantly lower price.

Swingman jerseys don’t look that much different from authentic ones but you will notice the differences upon closer inspection. The material won’t be top tier polyester like the one found in authentic jerseys, but it still offers decent performance and durability.

The numbers and the lettering are heat pressed unlike in authentic jerseys where they are stitched on. In general, swingman is a step below authentic in quality but if you’re looking for a jersey to play in for a reasonable price, swingman is probably right for you.

There’s a great video guide made by zvExotics that takes you through all the differences between authentic and swingman jerseys in great details, give it a look if you’d like to learn more.

At the bottom of the totem pole are the replica jerseys which are a step or two below swingman jerseys. They’re usually made from low-tier polyester or even nylon in some cases and the fabric is thinner than swingman jerseys leading to decreased performance and durability.

Replica jerseys might be a good option for you if you’re on a tight budget or need a cheap jersey that you won’t miss too much if it gets ripped or otherwise damaged. In addition to the sleeveless jerseys that are associated with basketball, sleeved jerseys were introduced in the NBA a couple of years ago.

The materials are the same as in regular jerseys and it’s a matter of personal preference but many players have found them uncomfortable and restrictive, so they were quickly phased out of NBA games. Try playing in a tight t-shirt to get a better idea if this kind of jersey is right for you.

As far as fit goes, you don’t want the jersey to be tight and pressed against your body, nor should it be too loose and flying around. If you’re used to playing in t-shirts, a jersey will probably feel a bit long at first, but as long as it fits around the shoulders, you will get used to the extra length in no time.

Recommendation For You – Nike Icon Swingman Jersey

There’s a high probability that your favorite teams and players are different than mine. This is why I don’t feel comfortable recommending you to get a specific team or player jersey (although the image below will feature a Luka Dončić jersey for the sake of demonstration).

Instead, I will recommend a jersey variant, and my recommendation is the NBA swingman jersey line. They are probably your best bet if you’re looking for a durable jersey with good performance at a decent price. You can use this jersey in both casual settings as well as game attire.

I picked up one of these myself a few years ago, initially for collection purposes, but I soon started wearing it when playing indoors. That jersey ended up being much better to play in than I honestly expected. I usually played unofficial indoor games in my old college jersey which had some major flaws.

The biggest one was that the material stuck to the skin when it got wet which got distracting and uncomfortable after a while. If you’re familiar with this feeling, I’m guessing you’re not a fan of it either. Wouldn’t it be nice if it could be avoided? As it turned out, the answer is “yes”.

The swingman jersey solved that issue better than I could have hoped for and the difference in jersey performance was very noticeable. It also turned out to be surprisingly durable, withstanding more than its fair share of pulls and falls.

Overall, if you’re in the market for a durable jersey that looks good enough to be worn in casual settings and will offer great game performance, a jersey from the swingman line is probably the best option on the market for you.

Nike Icon Swingman Jersey

Nike Icon Swingman Jersey

How To Choose the Best Baseketball Shorts 

Basketball shorts are not often used to display team or player fandoms, which is why you’ll see team shorts much less often than team jerseys. If you have both, it’s a bit of an unwritten rule not to wear them together when playing, pick either the jersey or the shorts.

While a jersey can be substituted for a t-shirt (or a t-shirt with cut off sleeves) if that’s your personal preference, shorts don’t have such a good substitute as sweatpants are often too restrictive and either don’t wick sweat away or absorb too much of it without letting it evaporate.

Performance-wise, shorts fill a role very similar to jerseys wicking away sweat to let it evaporate faster. I’d argue that shorts are more important than a jersey since a bad pair of shorts can hinder leg movement, and you don’t want your legs to be slow on the court.

What To Look For

If you’re looking for a pair of shorts that represent your favorite NBA team or player, the variants available to you are the same as for jerseys (authentic, swingman, replica) with the same properties and differences.

Herb Brooks, hockey coach, and Olympic gold medal winner, often told his players that the legs feed the wolf. The same can be said in basketball. You want to be as fast as possible on offense, defense, and in transition, so it’s incredibly important to pick a pair of shorts that won’t restrict your movement.

We’ve already talked about the importance of materials when it comes to wicking sweat away and allowing the skin to breathe, the same principles can be applied to shorts. The best basketball-specific shorts will be made from some sort of high-tier polyester, so be sure to take a look at the composition.

As far as length and fit go, the shorts should come up to just above your knees, if they are going over your knees they may somewhat restrict your movements which we want to avoid. They should also be loose (like this), to allow for a large range of motion, but not so loose as to fly all over the place.

Recommendation For You – Under Armour’s Baseline Shorts

I’ve been really impressed with a pair of shorts I came across recently, impressed enough to list them as my recommendation for this category. The model in question is Under Armour’s Baseline 10’’ shorts 18.

They are extremely comfortable and do their job so well that I managed to notice a big difference in performance compared to other pairs of shorts I used to play in. The shorts are great at wicking sweat away while absorbing very little of it, allowing you to move around the court without any restrictions.

They are also much cheaper than any official NBA shorts while offering similar, or even superior performance in many aspects. Unless you’re a collector or a die-hard fan of a certain team/player, I wholeheartedly recommend you give these Under Armour shorts a try.

Under Armour’s Baseline Shorts

Under Armour’s Baseline Shorts

How To Choose The Best Basketball Socks 

When thinking of athletic equipment, few people are going to mention socks as something that can affect performance, but medical professionals such as Dr. Stephen M. Pribut state that socks are an important part of an athlete’s kit.

Socks perform a dual role in performance and injury prevention. They help performance by preventing the foot from sliding inside the shoe. Injury prevention is done in two ways – providing extra cushioning for the foot and preventing blisters and similar foot-related issues.

Shoes and socks go hand in hand when it comes to basketball. Even if you have the best shoes money can buy, you still risk injury if you don’t equip yourself with the proper socks. Here’s an overview of the main things to consider when buying your next pair of basketball socks.

What To Look For

Socks come in a variety of materials and you likely have a pair of cotton socks somewhere in your house for example. If you intend to play basketball, stay away from those socks as cotton is one of the most absorbent materials out there. To quote Dr. Pribut, “A soggy foot may end up being a healthy foot”.

Any socks you intend to wear during physical activity should be made from hydrophobic materials. Cotton is an example of a hydrophilic material as it “loves” and absorbs moisture very well. Hydrophobic materials are the exact opposite, they “fear” moisture and don’t absorb it well.

Hydrophobic materials are most often synthetic (or specially treated natural materials like smartwool). These materials are going to wick away the moisture from your feet and help you avoid blisters or other foot problems. Dr. Pribut’s article goes into more depth about this so give it a look to learn more.

If you’ve ever had a blister on your foot then you know how uncomfortable or even painful they can be, and you’ll easily understand why I’m talking about materials so much. If you’ve never had a blister on your foot then consider yourself lucky and just trust me on this, it beats learning the hard way.

Fit is another important thing to consider for your basketball socks. You don’t want any loose fabric when you put the socks on, you want them to be pressed against your foot or ankle, but they can’t be tight enough to affect circulation. Still, expect them to be tighter than your everyday walking socks.

It may take a bit of time to get used to the feel, but it won’t be long before it starts feeling completely natural. You should also consider how your socks will interact with your shoes. Some basketball socks are thicker than others, depending on the material and the amount of extra cushioning.

Thicker socks may add as much as half a size (US) or one whole number (European) to your shoe size, so always try the socks with your basketball shoes to see if they will make your shoe too tight. This extra cushioning may be important.

Unlike regular socks, basketball socks are reinforced in certain parts and may come with additional cushioning to lessen the impact of your movements on your joints. If you are heavier or if your game relies on quick changes of direction, then it’s probably a good idea to go for the extra cushioning.

Recommendation For You – Nike Elite Basketball Socks

I spent way too much time playing basketball in generic sports socks… As a heavier player who jumps a lot, cushioning was always something I could never get enough of, but cushioning is also something that generic sports sock could never provide nearly enough of.

A friend recommended I pick up a part of the Nike Elite basketball socks. He had several pairs of them and swore by them, so I decided to give them a try. I knew of these socks by reputation, as they are some of the best basketball socks ever made. They lived up to every bit of that reputation for me.

When they first came out, these socks were in such demand that people were selling them through eBay at a marked up price. They remain some of the best basketball socks on the market to this very day despite having been designed quite a few years ago.

If you’re looking for a sock that offers great comfort and superb protection with additional cushioning at every possible impact point on your foot and ankle, then you’d be hard-pressed to find a better and more affordable option than this one.

Nike Elite Basketball Socks

Nike Elite Basketball Socks

How To Choose The Best Basketball Knee Pads 

Have you ever bumped knees with someone else or seen two people bump knees in a basketball game? It probably hurt just seeing it happen and there was likely a stoppage of play for both parties to recover from the pain.

Hopefully, there weren’t consequences more serious than some pain and a bruise or two but in reality, such bumps can lead to a variety of injuries to the knee. According to an extensive study by Dracos et al., knee injuries are some of the most common and serious injuries among basketball players.

Knee pads are meant to offer a degree of protection against hits to the knee or falls that can occur in the heat of a game. They can also give a confidence boost to players who like to make aggressive moves to the basket and like the feeling of knowing they have some extra protection.

What To Look For

First of all, I must point out that knee pads are NOT a substitute for knee braces or other medical devices. Make sure to consult a doctor if you are suffering (or recovering) from a knee issue as a simple knee pad may not be sufficient protection and a brace may be required.

Knee pads can come on their own or as a part of a larger compression sleeve that can cover your entire leg. Compression sleeves supposedly improve performance by improving circulation and reducing soreness but these benefits have not been conclusively proven by science.

Still, some players swear by their compression gear, so if you want to get a knee pad, feel free to try both the stand-alone and compression sleeve versions before making a purchase. Also, make sure to pay attention to the material the pad is made from as the same rules apply as with jerseys or socks.

The pads themselves will be filled with some sort of cushioning material, usually foam, but the specifics depend on the manufacturer. This cushion may vary in thickness and size, but you generally want it to cover as much of the front of your knee as possible, and a bit above/below it.

The thickness of the cushioning is a matter of your personal preference and needs. Try it on and make sure that it isn’t too thick to restrict your movement. Most manufacturers have their own sizing charts that you should consult to determine the appropriate size for you based on your leg.

Recommendation For You – McDavid’s 6440 Hex Knee Pad

Full disclosure, despite having suffered a few knee injuries while playing I am still not a fan of knee pads because I feel they impair my movement. Never the less, plenty of people I’ve played with wear knee pads for various reasons. Some do it out of necessity and some simply as fashion statements.

I’ve never cared much for fashion statements on the court, and I spent a fair amount of time talking with the people who wore knee pads either for protection or because a doctor recommended them to do so.  Their personal preferences differed, but some things were a common theme for most of them.

A specific brand of knee pads kept coming up, McDavid. The few people I knew that owned their knee pads talked very highly of them, and more than a few of those who had knee pads of other brands wanted to switch.

I knew the brand by reputation, and hearing my friends talk about their knee pads and a few other products prompted me to find out more about them for myself. I liked what I saw, and if I ever find myself in need of some protective athletic gear, I’ll most likely be getting it from McDavid.

If that product turns out to be a knee pad, it’s highly likely that I’ll go for McDavid’s 6440 hex knee pad. I like this knee pad because it covers a large surface area and has great quality cushioning. The icing on the cake for me is that the pad doesn’t take any more space on your leg than it absolutely needs to.

For someone who hates being restricted by compression gear, this is important. If you’re looking for a pad that comes with a larger compression sleeve, there is also a sleeved variant of this knee pad.

If you ever find yourself looking for a knee pad, I highly recommend that you give this model a look. It is both protective and durable enough if you to get plenty of mileage out of it without a drop in performance. If I’m ever in need of a knee pad, this is the one I’ll be looking for.

McDavid’s 6440 Hex Knee Pad

McDavid’s 6440 Hex Knee Pad

How To Choose the Best Basketball Ankle Braces  

I was forced to wear one of these for a few weeks after a particularly nasty ankle injury and I really wish I had one before I actually needed it. Ankle braces are a common piece of equipment as ankle injuries are the most common type of injury in basketball players according to research by Roos et. al.

According to a research paper by McGuine et. al., ankle braces are a useful tool for reducing (but not completely eliminating) the risk of acute ankle injuries. The forces that the ankle is subjected to during events that cause an injury can be so severe that no brace in the world can prevent them.

Still, if a brace can make an injury less severe (which it certainly can), it’s well worth the cost to be able to get back on the court sooner and avoid any permanent damage to your ankles. If your ankle is recovering from an injury, a brace can help stabilize it so that it doesn’t suffer further damage.

Stephen Curry is notorious for having issues with his ankles and he wears an ankle brace in every game he plays to stabilize them. Of course, you should always consult with your doctor if you’re suffering from any ankle issues to see if further medical intervention beyond wearing a brace is required.

An ankle brace is an item that you objectively won’t need 99% of the time, but you’ll be glad you’re wearing one during that 1% of the time. As much as one wrong step can lead to a severe ankle injury and a brace could be the difference between a mild sprain and a few weeks on the sidelines.

What To Look For

Ankle braces offer varying levels of protection and different types of closure methods. We’re going to break down the most common ones so you can get a better idea of what is right for you.

At the bottom of the totem pole are the plain “sock-like” braces. These resemble a sock with the front part cut off. They’re made from some sort of stretchy fabric and offer next to no protection beyond keeping your ankle somewhat warm so you probably shouldn’t even consider them an option.

The more serious braces are closed either with laces, Velcro straps, or a combination of the two. Laces are probably better for you if you want to be able to customize how tightly each part of the brace fits around your ankle.

The fit should be tight enough to firmly grip your ankle without cutting off blood flow. Braces that are closed only with straps aren’t that common and they usually leave something to be desired when it comes to the level of protection, as the straps can make certain parts of the brace feel loose.

A loose brace is useless, and one that is too tight is straight-up dangerous, so pay careful attention to the manufacturer’s sizing guide to avoid any fit issues. If you’re looking for the most secure closing method, then a brace with a combination of laces and straps is probably your best bet.

We’ve already mentioned that laces offer great security on their own, and straps act as a failsafe in case the laces become loose for any reason. Of course, this option will be the costliest one, other things equal, but the added security might just be worth it.

A majority of braces will use some sort of synthetic material. Make sure to research the models you’re considering because in some cases repeat washes can cause the material to become loose. Your brace will likely have a bit of natural elasticity but you don’t want too much of it.

If you’re having severe ankle issues and need extra security, you may want to consider braces with extra plastic or steel reinforcements on the sides. These will likely severely limit ankle mobility but the unparalleled level of protection they offer might be worth it.

Recommendation For You – McDavid 195 Brace

Ideally, the protection provided by your ankle brace shouldn’t come at the expense of a large mobility loss unless you need the most rigid steel or plastic reinforced brace. Getting the right mix of protection and mobility is one of the key criteria I look for in protective gear like ankle braces.

This is probably the main factor that drew me to the McDavid 195 brace. It’s very lightweight yet very supportive and secure with a closing mechanism consisting of laces plus straps, which makes this brace a great pick-up if you’re a fan of the added security.

The low weight is a result of the brace consisting of one layer of polyester fabric which is more than enough for injury risk reduction in an average user. The only situation in which I’d recommend you to go for a thicker brace is if you have a condition that requires it.

As with most of McDavid’s products, this brace is quite durable and you’ll be able to get plenty of mileage out of it as long as you maintain it in line with the manufacturer’s instructions and don’t put it through extreme abuse.

As great of a brace as this is, it has some flaws. Despite being a single layer brace, it can be very rigid at the beginning which can make putting it on a bit hard and it will require a break-in period before you start feeling comfortable in it. Once this is done, however, it becomes very comfortable to wear.

While there are rarely any fit problems with this brace, the top strap may be too thick for some users with very high top shoes. You may not be a fan of how this feels with your shoes on, so make sure to try before you buy if at all possible.

Despite these minor setbacks, it is still an amazing piece of equipment. Unless you have an injury that requires that you wear a reinforced brace, the McDavid 195 will probably be more than sufficient for keeping your ankles safe and ease some of the worries you might have about injuring yourself.

McDavid 195 Brace

McDavid 195 Brace

How To Choose The Best Basketball Insoles 

After reading this title, you might be asking yourself “Aren’t my basketball shoes supposed to come with appropriate insoles?”. To be fair, the question is a legit one but the answer to it is a complex one.

Every foot is different, and the default insoles that come with the shoes might not be not perfectly appropriate for your feet. Can this be a problem? It doesn’t have to be but it certainly can lead to problems down the road, so it’s probably a good idea to change them if you feel it is needed.

Insoles are supposed to help you avoid injuries or chronic foot conditions by appropriately distributing the weight of your step, as well as provide additional cushioning. Most default insoles only do the latter at most. If you are suffering from a foot or lower leg injury, specific insoles can help with recovery.

What To Look For

When choosing an insole, you need to pay attention to both your foot size and your shoe size. If your foot is narrow, then it will be easy to find an insole. However, if your foot is wide then it might be a bit more difficult as you will have to find an insole wide enough to cover the entire surface of your foot.

You also don’t want your insoles to move around in your shoes, which is why you should find a pair that will fit your shoes perfectly. Don’t assume that insoles will fit your shoe if their stated size is the same as your shoe because different manufacturers may have different sizing principles.

This can be circumvented by getting a pair of “adjustable” insoles, which basically means that a pair of insoles can be trimmed down to the exact size you need. If you’re having trouble finding an appropriate size for your shoes, adjustable insoles may be a good solution for you.

Different insoles can be made from different materials depending on the purpose they are designed for. Insoles designed to help people recover from conditions such as plantar fasciitis will usually use firmer materials like nylon, while those designed for cushioning will usually go for softer ones like gel.

There isn’t a material that is objectively the best because they serve different purposes. If you have a foot or a lower leg injury, ask your doctor what would be the best insole for you. Beyond that, here’s a quick overview of which material suits which purpose.

Nylon is usually the firmest material used for insoles. It offers great support and is probably the best option for you if you’re suffering from an injury. Even cushioning-oriented insoles can be partially made of nylon in some areas like the foot arch to provide extra support where it is needed.

Gel or foam are primarily used for cushioning-oriented insoles. I have used more than a few of these and in my personal experience, gel insoles have very low durability and will need to be changed pretty often. If you’re looking for durable cushioning, foam is probably the better option.

Silicone can be used in both support and cushioning roles depending on its density which makes it the most versatile insole material. It is also very durable which probably makes it the best option for you if you’re using the insoles frequently.

Recommendation For You – Spenco GRF Basketball Maximum Performance

As I’ve already mentioned, specific foot conditions will require a specialized insole, so for the purposes of this recommendation I will go for an all-round insole that should be suitable for the needs of a majority of players.

The model in question is the Spenco GRF Basketball Maximum Performance. I chose to recommend this model because unlike many insoles, these are specifically tailored to the needs of basketball players and strike a great balance between arch support and shock absorption.

They’re also very light and probably won’t make your shoes feel tight as they’re not too thick. All of this makes them a great pick-up if you’re looking for a good, jack of all trades, all-round insole.

The flip side of being a jack of all trades is also being a master of none, so there may be better options for you out there if you’re looking for a specialized support-oriented or cushioning-oriented insole.

The all-round nature of this model will serve as a great indicator of whether or not you require more specialized insoles if you’re not yet sure. As with any other insole, I suggest you only buy one pair to first see if they’re right for you and then go for something else if you feel it is needed.

Spenco GRF Basketball Maximum Performance

Spenco GRF Basketball Maximum Performance

How To Choose The Best Basketball Bag 

If you’ve ever tried packing all of your basketball gear into an everyday backpack, you probably know how annoying it can be to try and cram everything into very limited space that most everyday backpacks provide.

This is why some people, especially the old-school ballers, usually pack their gear into gym bags that are worn over the shoulder. Not only are those not the most comfortable to carry for a long period of time, but they also won’t allow you to safely pack any non-basketball related items.

This is why basketball bags have become popular in recent years. Most models give you not only enough room to pack all of your gear, but also allow you to safely pack other items such as a laptop or books if you’re heading to practice before or after classes.

What To Look For

Your basketball bag isn’t going to look that different from a regular backpack except for being bigger, but it will have some important features that even the roomiest regular backpacks aren’t likely to have.

The first thing is the material. Many regular backpacks are made from some sort of canvas, which is not good if you’re packing any wet clothes (like a jersey for example) inside as the liquid can easily go through the canvas and get onto the clothes you are wearing or other items in the backpack.

Basketball backpacks will usually be made out of water-resistant materials such as nylon or polyester. On top of that, most of them should also have multiple compartments inside that allow you to safely store your wet clothes inside without having to fear that anything else inside will also get wet.

Since your basketball backpack can get heavy, especially if you have other items like books inside as well, it is very important that you pay attention to the straps which will ideally be padded for added comfort. Cheaper backpacks may have unpadded straps which can get very uncomfortable over time.

Another feature that may increase comfort is the third strap which connects the two straps that go over the shoulder. This strap is sometimes called the sternum strap and it usually looks like this. As a rule of thumb, the wider the straps the more comfortable they will be, other things equal.

One drawback that basketball backpacks may have compared to regular backpack is that items at the bottom may be harder to access due to the backpack being bigger and more items being stored inside, but some models have overcome this with cleaver placement of zippers and/or compartments.

Recommendation For You – Nike Hoops Elite Max Air Team 2.0

The product I have chosen to recommend in this category is one that I feel most closely resembles the features that an ideal basketball backpack should have. The backpack in question is the Nike Hoops Elite Max Air Team 2.0 Basketball Backpack. I like this model for several reasons.

It is made of pure high-quality polyester which makes the backpack both water-resistant and highly durable and it features extra-wide straps for comfortable carrying. It also features separate compartments for wet/dirty clothes which allows you to store them without endangering any other items inside.

If you’re in need of extra room to safely pack other items such as a laptop or some books, this model will likely suit your needs as a majority of the people who bought this backpack say they’re left with quite a bit of room after packing their basketball equipment.

One final feature that drew me to this backpack is a closing system that Nike has implemented on several of their backpacks that allows for easy access to anything stored inside regardless of the location.

If you’re on a tight budget, then this backpack may be too pricey as it is on the more expensive end of the spectrum, but you get what you pay for. Overall, if you’re looking for a high-quality basketball backpack, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding a better backpack than this one.Nike Hoops Elite Max Air Team 2.0

Nike Hoops Elite Max Air Team 2.0

How To Choose The Best Basketball Books 

Basketball-related books have been written on a variety of subjects, from highly specialized training manuals to biographies of some of the greatest players to ever lace them up, and everything in between.

Some will require specialized knowledge to be properly understood and utilized, while others can easily be read during your daily commute to and from work/class.

What To Look For

Training manuals are sometimes not suited for regular basketball players who lack the understanding of the underlying sports science principles utilized by the methods or programs outlined in the book. Even when this is not the case, I feel like videos are often the superior training material.

The main reason for this is the ability of the video to clearly demonstrate how a certain drill is properly executed. This is an area in which a book will simply fall short because it is an inferior visual learning source compared to a video. E-books can bridge this gap by including links to video resources.

Granted, some authors do a great job of explaining the outlying principles for their methods and/or programs in terms that an average person will understand. This can be a great sign that you’re looking at the work of a competent author.

On the less professional end of the spectrum are the books about the lives and careers of great players, coaches, or executives. These can take the shape of biographies or they can focus on one or more of the characteristics that made them great at what they did.

These can be excellent sources of knowledge about their specific training methods (which may or may not be suitable for you) or the things that allowed them to reach the level of success they had beyond pure basketball skills.

It all depends on what do you want to get out of a book, but it’s probably safe to say that there is a basketball book for you regardless of what you’re looking for.

Recommendation For You – Relentless by Tim S. Grover

One subject that always piqued my interest was the layer that separated the great players from “merely” good ones – the mental aspect of the game. A few years ago I came across an amazing book about this particular subject.

Stories of Michael Jordan’s competitiveness are a thing of legends, and one of the people who had the best insight into his state of mind as a basketball player was Tim Grover, his long-time personal trainer who also worked with other all-time greats like Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, and Charles Barkley.

Grover puts great emphasis on one’s attitude and mindset as a driver of success. Over the course of his own life and his years of work with some of the NBA’s biggest stars, he got a great insight into what separates a great player from one that is just good.

He compiled his observations into a book titled “Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable”, in which he not only outlines the mindset of some of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood but also gives advice on how the reader can start adopting and building the same mindset.

If you’re interested to learn more about what allowed these greats, including the G.O.A.T. himself, to rise to the very top of their profession, this is probably the right book for you.

The advice contained inside the book is applicable to many things in life beyond basketball which makes the book a great pick-up even if you’re not interested in becoming a world-class player. As long as you want to become great at something, this book will probably help you on your way.

Relentless by Tim S. Grover

Relentless by Tim S. Grover

How To Choose The Best Basketball Movies 

If you’re a true hoops junkie who is looking for some training videos or maybe a good basketball movie to watch while relaxing after a game or a practice session, you may have been hoping to see them mentioned here. No worries, I got your back even if the segment might not be what you expect exactly.

What To Look For

I strongly believe that the best idea when it comes to training videos is to keep your money in your wallet as there is a wide variety of amazing free basketball training videos available on YouTube. Few paid videos will be much better than what you can find for free online.

It may take time to find the best content creators for the specific kind of basketball training you want to do, but you will succeed sooner or later and the money you save can be used elsewhere. There are even specialized channels for just post players or just dribbling.

As long as the channel is concerned just with basketball it can be a good place to learn from. I usually avoid videos put out of various “everything tutorial” channels that just so happen to be basketball related as they are for the most part lack depth that is often necessary when learning a move.

If you’re looking for a basketball-related movie to relax to, I’ll assume that you’ve already watched a few and that you’re sick of the stereotypes like game-winning shots at the buzzer or sensational turnarounds which occur in these movies with alarming regularity.

Recommendation For You – Blue Chips (1994)

Predictable plot can easily destroy a sports movie for me and it’s the reason why I often have trouble agreeing with people’s top 10 lists. There’s plenty of proof out there that a good sports movie can be made without employing cheap overplayed tropes like the ones mentioned before.

Blue Chips is an example of one such movie. Despite not being a great success at the box office when it first came out in 1994, it gained somewhat of a cult following over the years. Despite coming out 25 years ago, the movie is strangely relevant to our time given recent events.

Academic integrity and the rights of college players to be compensated have recently been thrust into the limelight again with various investigations, scandals, and court decisions. These are also explored in the story of Blue Chips.

Plenty of people I know have seen the movie and I have yet to find someone who didn’t like it. It won’t blow you away with Oscar-worthy acting or screenwriting, but it will offer plenty of entertaining moments for fans of the game.

Blue Chips (1994)

Blue Chips (1994)

Concluding Thoughts

Congrats, you’ve almost made it to the end and you have probably learned quite a few things about how to select the basketball equipment for yourself and which parts of it you may or may not need. All that remains now is to pick up the pieces you feel you need.

If you lack experience, making this first step can be daunting. I suggest making your first step a simple one. Go for the basics first and get yourself a good basketball and a good pair of shoes. These two items will get you surprisingly far with proper practice and a bit of luck.

Once the basics are in place it will be relatively easy to work your way up. As you gain experience with the game, you will be able to better judge which pieces of equipment are right for you and which ones you don’t quite need.

By now, you may have made up your mind on whether or not you’re going to upgrade your basketball gear or add a new piece to your collection. If so, let us know in the comments below what your pick is, and maybe we’ll dedicate an article to it in the future to help more people learn about its features.

If you have any questions, if you’re torn between several pieces of gear, or if just happen to have any ideas about the topics you’d like to see us write about in the future, leave us a comment and your question or idea might just end up being the topic of a future article.

With all that being said, I most sincerely hope that this guide will help you make decisions about the equipment that will accompany you on your journey to becoming the best basketball player you can possibly be. I wish you the best of luck and thank you for reading.

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