Sports Love & family

Learning Life's Lessons through Sports


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Our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

We put together a list of items we love and that our kids just might get this holiday season (maybe 1-2 for us too)! Click on the pictures to get more information and prices. You can also check out our Stuff We Love page for more great sports gifts!

Practice Anywhere, Anytime
This net is designed to be durable, portable, and reliable. Set up and break down can be done within minutes; you can bring the practice session anywhere you go.

Launching levers and hidden contraptions make this miniature baseball game a real crowd-pleaser! Step up to the plate and swing for the fences! Realistic baseball action allows you to hit singles, doubles, triples, and homers with the spring-loaded bat. If you want to play baseball everyday even when it’s raining or night time, the Super Stadium Baseball Game is perfect for you.

This baseball inspired case is a cool way to protect your baseball lovers cell phone. The hard case offers great protection against small drops, bumps and scratches. It installs in seconds and allows for full access to all functions/ports.

By combining two American pastimes this fun gift combines a baseball and a bottle opener made from half of a REAL Leather Baseball.  The opener is magnetic so it sticks to any metal surface.

This pancake style glove is ideal for infield training. This device aids in developing soft hands and a quick glove to throw transition. If you have a baseball or softball player in your house that likes to work hard this is a great gift for them.

The Baseball Tumbler is a 30 oz stainless steel drink holder that keeps drinks cold for 24 hours and warm for over 12 hours even on the hottest and coldest days. This baseball tumbler is the perfect gift for any baseball fan to take to games or practice.

This sports hoodie is perfect for mom who has both a softball player and baseball player. This sports hoodie is perfect for mom who has both a softball player and baseball player.

Water Bottle – this one hangs on the fence and keeps your players water cold even in the hottest temperatures!

Frog Togs – keep all the kids cool through a hot summer day.

It’s the classic game of Capture the Flag that people have played for over 90 years – but adapted for today’s generation using glow-in-the-dark LED lights! Each kit includes 25 battery-powered, reusable lights that transform playing fields and players into glowing teams of blue and green. Complete with lit jail markers, territory lights, light-up wristbands and glowing crystals that serve as each team’s flag, this is truly a modern twist on a classic game.

The Star-Kick gives young players the touches they need to master ball control, develop proper passing and shooting techniques, and improve receiving. Maximize your training by minimizing ball chasing. Fits most players and securely holds size 3, 4 and 5 soccer balls.

The XTRAMAN Stand-In Basketball Defender can be used to help in your basketball training. In the past crucial drills have been performed using traditional tools like cones, but the XTRAMAN is the newest and only stand-in defender to accurately simulate the size and shape of a real player on the court.

Maximize your fitness potential with this Speed Agility Training Set. The package comes with one agility ladder, five hurdles, eight cones, one jump rope, and three latex mini bands. The perfect bundle to help your child increase their speed, agility, and muscular endurance.

The Perfect Curve CapRack18 is perfect for storing, displaying and organizing up baseball caps and visors. With two separate cords, each able to hold 9 caps/visors, you have the flexibility of putting both cords behind one door, or using a cord behind different doors in different rooms. Each cord has its own over-the-door and under-the-door hooks as well as a metal adjustment buckle to ensure a snug fit behind a door.

Let us know what’s on your athlete’s list this holiday season in the comments below.

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3 Great Indoor Baseball/Softball Practice Tools

Anywhere Ball:  The anywhere ball is a great indoor/outdoor training tool. It is a soft training ball that provides instant feedback. When hit correctly the Anywhere Ball will fly straight and round, when miss hit, the ball will pop up or down in an egg shape. The ball is safe to hit against a wall, window or even a mirror and is ideal for hitting in a confined space such as a basement. The Anywhere Ball can also be used for pre-game warm-ups, working on blocking with your catchers and for inexperienced players to learn how to catch without fear. My players love it because they can throw batting practice in a small space without an L-Screen. To check out this product, click on the link. https://amzn.to/2INW7u2 (affil.)
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Reaction Ball: This six-sided rubber ball leaps and pops randomly helping your athlete work on their hand eye coordination and reaction time. The Reaction Ball gives athletes a high energy, multi-sport training tool to challenge their reflexes and improve their skills. It is a great tool that can be used with or without a glove and can be used at different speeds and levels of difficulty. It can also be used in a small space at home. The Reaction Ball has had a huge positive impact on my teams ability to field the baseball. To read reviews and learn more, click on the link. https://amzn.to/2Ps9nag (affil.)
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Tanner Tee: The Tanner Tee is the industry leading and best-selling batting tee. It is excellent for all ages and skill levels. The Tee is easily adjustable and is the preferred Tee for travel ball, college and professional players. The hand-rolled flexible rubber ball rest will not do damage to your bat and allows hitters to feel the ball not the tee at contact. Our baseball organization has found these Tees to be highly durable and an asset for our drill work during indoor training sessions. Many players use this tee at home to hit into a net or tarp. To find out more about this well built tee, click on the link. https://amzn.to/2IM3KkP (affil.)
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Check out these great products being used in the video below.


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Knowing Your Role

Introducing the first in this four-part series about ‘Knowing Your Role’. To us this means knowing what you bring to your team and realizing that each role on the team is important. Join us as we discuss what roles we have, and then as we dive into the various roles on a team (Coach, Player and Parent).

Part I: Knowing Your Role
As adults we have careers, and within that career we have specific assignments or expectations of us. One thing that prepared us for this was playing sports growing up. It’s important to know your role on a team. We know that not everyone can be the coach, or the captain or the number one pitcher. We each have a specific role and each role is important (please remember to tell this to your children constantly).

As parents, we need to educate our children on this. Our kids learn this lesson in school daily, some may realize it and others probably don’t. This is another reason why sports play such a pivotal role in the development of a child. This is how I think we can control the sense of “entitlement-age” we’re living in.

We explain to our children that your team is like working for a company. You have the boss, which is your coach. You have other supervisors, which are the assistant coaches. You have the worker-bees, which are the players. Within that set you all have specialties, or in a company they might be departments. Everyone has a job description, everyone has a position they play. We tell our kids they are only 1/9th (baseball/softball) or 1/5th (basketball) of their team; because you can only control YOUR ACTIONS. However, if someone needs help performing their duties, typically others pick up the slack, because we are ONE team.

The greater good of the company is defined by how well each person performs their role. The success of the team is defined the same way. But, success can only be achieved when the right people are put in the right roles to obtain the best outcome. You can’t put someone at first base whom can’t catch the ball, it’s setting them up to fail. If each of us understand our role and accept it and know that our role is important to the greater good, success should follow.

The difficult part is not knowing your role, it’s understanding it’s importance to the team. When kids are little they hate playing outfield because at a young age they don’t receive much action. It’s our job to make sure they realize that there’s more to that role than catching a fly ball. On every pitch, every player should be moving and they should know where they’ll ultimately end up should that pitch be hit. At the youth level outfielders backing up infielders is critical on each play. I’ve seen many bases and runs given up because there wasn’t someone backing up a throw.

Explaining early on to our children that not everyone can be a pitcher or a point guard, will help them understand the importance of each role on a TEAM. Not everyone is going to be able to, nor want to be the CEO of a company, or the Vice President of a department. As long as we’re teaching our kids to be team players and that their own success can contribute to the greater good of the team or organization.


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Let Them Make Memories, Give Them an Experience

Recently we went on our first out of state tournament with our oldest child. My husband is the coach and you could say I’m the Team Mom. Going out of state was Todd’s idea. He wanted to give the boys an experience. When we discussed it, he wasn’t even focusing on baseball, he was talking about the bonding that happens during those tournaments. We know you don’t have to go out of state to have that, but next year we go to Cooperstown and we thought it was a good idea to have at least one out of state tournament under our belt!

The funny thing about the weekend (well, not so funny at the time) was we didn’t play good baseball. But, I’m betting, if you ask everyone if they had a good time, they’d say yes. The reason is we made sure to plan time for the boys to hang out together. We’ve planned these trips for other sports and have realized this is the key to giving the kids an experience.

The tournament was being played on Saturday and Sunday. We gave the option for people wanting to go on Friday a chance to go to the Detroit Tigers game. Of the eleven kids on the team eight families came to the game! We had a blast and got to check another stadium off the list!

We played two games on Saturday and were done around 6:00. We arranged for everyone to meet at 7:30 at an entertainment venue. This place had go carts, laser tag, a bounce house, an arcade and more. The kids played everything and the adults hung out. When looking for a venue I wanted to be sure there was food, adult beverages and kid entertainment. All of that was met at Paradise Park! We hung out for a few hours and went back to the hotel to get some rest before Sunday’s game.

While we didn’t play the best ball, we can appreciate how well the tournament was run and the experience that was created for these boys. If you have the opportunity to take a weekend trip with your team, I highly recommend doing it. Even if it’s only a couple hours away from your home town. From the hotel shenanigans, to the planned activities, it’s a weekend your players will never forget!

And let’s remember, there’s always a life lesson: “I won’t remember the wins and losses. That’s great and all, but I think I’ll remember friendships and my teammates.”  – Melissa Nafzger


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It’s Prime Day!

Are you a sports parent always looking for great items that you need? Here’s your chance to get all the sport essentials you’ve been eyeing, it’s Prime Day! In addition to our Stuff We Love page we put together a list of all the items we think every sport parent needs for the summer!

Pull Cart – a savior for all that equipment!

Spray Bottle – for those hot, hot days! Either work, one is sold as a “sports mister”

Water Bottle – this one hangs on the fence!

Canopy – a must for summer!

Beach Umbrella – this was great for when we had little ones

Frog Togs – keep all the kids cool with these

Suckers – these became my go-to treat this summer, helps with nerves too!

Let us know the essentials you bring to all your sporting events in the comments below.


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The Coach Who Doesn’t Coach

It’s a difficult balance of being a parent to an athlete and being a coach to an athlete. The struggle is real as they say. Have you ever been in a situation where your child plays for a coach that doesn’t know anything about the sport they are coaching? Logic says “this person is nice and the kids are having fun.” That’s the part that has seen mean coaches. The parent|coach part says “the child is learning nothing, they aren’t getting better.”

So, if you’re faced with this, what are the options? Well, the child can play for a different team, a different organization all together. This situation is scary, we don’t know what we’ll get some where else. You know the saying “the grass isn’t always greener” comes to mind. The parent could step in and try to help the coach with their knowledge (totally depends on personality how this would be taken). The parent could ask to coach the team themselves the next season. For many, this isn’t an option because of other children and other commitments. The final option is to continue what you’re doing. Continue playing at this level and try to coach and get lessons in from other resources when you can.

The goal for any organization is to develop players, but the goal for us parents is to develop OUR player. If you don’t want to make a change, then you need to take matters into your hands. We always tell our kids that they are only one part of the team (1/5th of the basketball team or 1/9th of the baseball team). The only actions you can control are yours. While the development of the team as a whole is very important, we need to look out for the development our own child.

So, if you’re ever faced with this situation, my suggestion would be to focus on the development of your child. Whether it’s making a change with the team or just focusing your efforts on player development, you need to do what’s best for them.


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Uniform Organization

We get asked all the time how we keep all our children’s uniforms organized. We’ve tried a few methods, and so far this works the best! It’s not fool-proof but it has cut down on “mom where is my….” Hopefully this can help you and if you have a great organizational tip, we’d love to hear it!