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Sole F85 Treadmill – Overall First Impressions

Before we jump right into the technical specifications of the Sole F85, I have to tell you about something that may be even more important than the size of the deck or the power of the motor.  What is it?  It’s my overall first impressions about how the machine looks, feels, acts, functions and if all those elements make it worth the effort to get it to where you need it and to pay the hefty price tag!! 
After all, I’ve owned at least 4 treadmills in my adult life and now I review fitness equipment for a living, so why would I choose a Sole treadmill over the many other options available at any good quality fitness store or online?
Well, I did my research online and narrowed my options to about 3 good quality machines that I knew were on the upper limit of my budget.  Then did some price shopping to determine which machine would be the winner, and yes, you guessed it, the Sole F85 came out on top!  Why?  Let’s get into it!
An Impossible Journey!
I’ll touch on all the awesome features in a second, but my story is much more interesting than boring specs!  When I arrived at the fitness store in St. Catharines, Ontario on a rainy Monday morning in the middle of the COVID-19 Worldwide economic shut down, little did I know that in less than 24 hours, all stores in Ontario, Canada would have to close for business unless deemed “essential” and apparently (if you can believe it!!) fitness stores didn’t make the cut. 
As I backed my 2007 Chevy Avalanche to the bay doors to have them load my treadmill, I was discouraged to see that 2 strong and very fit 20-something fitness fanatics struggled to move the box which was WAY too long to fit in my 8-cylinder truck box without sticking out past the back end.  
Luckily, I had some straps in the truck and was able to secure the box after watching them exert what appeared to be ALL their energy (in perfect unison) to push and heave the box onto my truck.  I kept my “social distance” at about 8 feet at least (though they did not keep any distance at all from each other). 
I noticed they were out of breath after loading the box and my heart sank at the thought of what was waiting for me in about 15 minutes from then in my driveway!  I needed to move that box about 10 times farther than they did, and my muscles were nowhere near as big as either one of them …. and there was only ONE of me!!!  AHHHH!
I asked if I needed to sign an invoice to prove I picked up the unit, and they looked at each other, then at me, then back at each other and said “NOPE, YOU’RE GOOD TO GO!”  I really must have looked like I had leprosy or something.  What a crazy world the Coronavirus has made!
The F85 treadmill from SOLE Fitness is ABSOLUTELY one of the few very best deals online today. Its specifications betray a much more expensive machine than you’ll actually pay. Read on to see that I’m telling you the TRUTH! Can you handle it?
See Latest Price and Availability AMAZON’S PRICE
At this point, it was raining and I had an uncovered cardboard box in my truck and I knew something had to be done quickly once I arrived home.  I broke the news to my wife as I peeled into the driveway, and we both started trying to unload the beast before it was completely soaked.  We wrangled it into our garage where I barely had room to unbox it given the extreme dimensions of the box itself! 
However, I was thrilled to see what looked like lots of individual pieces in the box and I thought it might easy after all to move it into our weight room if it was in so many small pieces. 
My optimism was dashed when I finished taking the 3 or 4 light plastic pieces to the workout room and realized that about 99.3% of the weight was still sitting in the box AND IT WAS IN ONE PIECE!!  That began our afternoon of hurt!
I was able to get an old compressed canister moving dolly to take most of the weight of the deck and motor while my wife and oldest son did our best to keep the machine on the dolly as I navigated our stone driveway that was soft and muddy in early spring.  I finally got it to our back patio area where I was able to begin a video (which you can see HERE) that shows the rest of the story!

How to Get this Beast into my HOUSE!
In case you didn’t want to watch the video or if you like reading instead, I’ll be brief!  My wife and I used Forearm Forklifts to gain some leverage in our battle against this gravity-loving entity!  In spite of our use of towels and “forklifts,” we nearly damaged our steps, wall and the machine itself during our move which included going up only 2 stone steps at the back of our house and into the room immediately on the other side of the door.  It could have been far worse if we needed to move it around through the house and up the stairs to a bedroom or downstairs to the basement!
After a few more minutes we struggled to get it into position, and after we did, the machine had one more nasty surprise for me.  You see, I didn’t read the warning (carefully enough) which said not to cut a retaining strap until the machine was in place.  Well, it WAS in place, but what I didn’t read was that “in place” meant the machine had to be sitting upright in its final position – as it would be if one was running on the deck. 
Our deck was sitting on its side when I made that fateful cut to the retaining strap only to have a steel support fly out at my shins faster than either my wife or I could see!  When I looked down it had already connected nicely with my shins and the pain was just beginning!  READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!
First Impressions
Aside from my “wonderful” experience so far, I had a whole lot of thoughts about the treadmill once I got it assembled.  It took me about an hour and I will warn you, please do each step VERY carefully.  The photos in the assembly instructions are decent, but not as easy to follow as you might think.  I had to unscrew and undo a couple of steps to get it right.
Once assembled I was itching to make ANOTHER VIDEO about my initial thoughts.  Here’s the gist of it if you skip the video;
Stability
Compared to every other treadmill I’ve owned, this one was by far the heaviest and that told me it would be sturdy and virtually immovable.  Even without officially “leveling” the deck with the adjustable feet, it was sturdy as an ox!
I like the look of the console which is big enough (and has enough features) to make it look like a pro health club machine!
Aesthetics
I love the look of the machine as it features a big control panel area with three distinct sections.  The bottom section features the main Start and Stop buttons as well as the safety key and quick speed settings just below the quick incline settings.  This area also has an input for MP3 music players and an output for headphones.  For what it’s worth, it’s just as easy to connect your headphones directly to your smartphone rather than going through the machine itself, but it sure does work!
The next section of the panel includes incremental adjustments for the incline and speed as well as 11 different custom controls for individual users and customized workout routines.  It also includes the main LCD screen that displays all the information you’ll need to make all your changes/inputs, etc.  And that’s not all.  This section also includes an integrated fan and speakers. 
Now, I have to toss in my two-cents regarding the speakers.  If you’re serious about listening to music that inspires and motivates your workouts, I’d give these speakers a failing grade.  Like every other treadmill I’ve owned that featured speakers, it sounds like my computer speakers from 1994 before bass woofers were invented!  They lack all bass and sound “tinny”.  
Invest in a great set of wireless headphones and you’ll be WAY happier.  I just bought THESE about 2 weeks before I bought the Sole treadmill!  They’re super cheap but work REALLY well and they look expensive!
Finally, the top section of the control panel includes a tablet/smartphone holder that doesn’t just rely on gravity to hold it in a trench, but it has an adjustable clasp on the top to hold your device tightly, which allows it to sit on a steeper angle facing you better.  Of course, there’s also a USB charging port right beside it so you’re good to go for as long as you can handle it!
A Word About the Controls
I have mostly good things to say about this treadmill, but it’s not all roses for the F85.  While it functions very adequately, I believe that (given its not-so-budget-friendly pricepoint) the buttons and controls are lacking a bit.  Like the utterly “non-useful” speakers which lack any motivating bass and power, the buttons and controls look much like something manufactured in 1992.
The key is not as slick as a magnetic option and button technology is decades old.
I was REALLY hoping that the screen was touch-sensitive, and given that most screens today on any machine or device is touch responsive, my finger immediately went to the screen to start inputting my information.  To my dismay, I realized I had to click “UP↑” and “DOWN↓” keys to enter information and I felt like I was on a computer from the era of “Back to the Future”.  The non-magnetic safety key is awkward to insert, and it’s obviously not meant to be inserted or removed at every use, nor does it insert cleanly and easily.  It goes in with some resistance and feels like it is never quite “set” when it’s fully inserted.
We did, however, like the side rail mounted speed controls which admittedly, are way easier to use than reaching up into forest of keys to try to find another speed-adjusting option.  But then, isn’t the whole point of exercising to get “uncomfortable” so that we actually use and stress our muscles in order to build and tone them?  Hmmm…. I still like the easy access these buttons offer!
Side rail-mounted speed controls are quick and easy to use – a welcome luxury
The Deck and Motor
I was quick pleased with the deck’s built-in hydraulic system that made lifting this heavy monster very easy, while also automatically opening it in a gentle and controlled manner.  In fact, it’s so easy to lower and raise, that the default position of this treadmill (when not in use) is always up.  That’s never been the case with any other treadmill I’ve owned.  The deck has a “cushion-flex” system to reduce strain on joints.  In fact, the cushion-flex whisper deck reduces joint impact as much as 40% compared to running on asphalt.  That’s a big claim, but it makes me feel good!

I honestly didn’t even look at the motor, but when I read that it was a 4.0 hp beast, I was immediately sold.  I have researched over 2 dozen treadmills recently and even the ones costing significantly more than this one didn’t have any higher powered motors than a 4.0 hp.  I was only mildly anxious about how “noisy” it might be, but after a quick test, I was pleasantly surprised by its quietness.  With headphones on (not even noise-canceling ones) you won’t hear it even a bit!
Sole is so proud of their features that they’ve placed stickers with them in prominent areas so you won’t miss noticing them!
Features
The engineering team at SOLE strives to exceed their customers’ expectations. That’s the official word from Sole and I believe them … to an extent.  Through emphasizing quality design, they consistently create quiet, stable, and durably made treadmills. Loaded with comfort features from the cushioned deck to the cooling fan, and with a lifetime warranty on treadmill frames and motors, SOLE treadmills are (in this reviewer’s opinion) one of the better deals on the market with a number of specs that are only available in higher-priced brands and models.
Bluetooth
You can listen to music through the Bluetooth 3.0 Audio Speakers from any enabled smart device. SOLE offers users the option to record workout feedback via Bluetooth from SOLE equipment to an Android or Apple smart device. Users’ workout feedback is automatically saved to the integrated personal calendar, and the data can also be downloaded to the free SOLE FITNESS APP, or transferred to compatible fitness apps (Fitbit, iHealth, Record, Map My Fitness, MyFitnessPal, and other open-source training apps).
Message Board
SOLE offers integrated message boards on most of their treadmill models. It’s an alphanumeric text center that sends scrolling messages to the user as guidance through the details of each workout. This feature can help you to understand the full capabilities of Sole treadmills at times when accessing the user manual may not be so easy (though we keep the manual nearby). The message board is also able to recap an entire workout and allow you to see the progress you’ve made.
High Torque Motors and Flywheels
All Sole treadmills feature the heaviest duty motors and chassis in their class. Industrial quality motors are used in conjunction with large diameter, all-steel, zinc coated, and balanced flywheels for a vibration-free and secure running surface. The flywheel extends the life of the motor by allowing it to run cooler and with a lower power consumption while their heavier weight lends to the same fluid motion found on commercial grade treadmills.
Belts
The belts are not plastic but are made of rubber for durability, PVC to prevent over-stretching, and nylon providing a smooth, static-free surface to glide over the deck and rollers.  
Rollers
The Sole F85 treadmill features large rollers which means a larger contact surface with the belt contributing to even movement and longer roller and belt life. Big rollers with sealed bearing design and copper ground wires reduce static as you exercise making for a smooth, quiet motion that will (with any luck) stand the test of time.

Specifications
Machine Dimensions:

Footprint (in.):
82″ L x 37″ W x 66.5″ H

Folded Dimensions (in.):
44″ L x 37″ W x 71″ H

Item Weight (lbs.):
280 lbs.

User Weight Capacity (lbs.):
400 lbs.

Running Surface:
22″ x 60″

Rollers:
2.75″

Carton Dimensions:
85.5″ L x 37″ W x 17.5″ H

Shipping Weight (lbs.):
308 lbs.

 
Controls & Features:

Motor Info:
4.0 HP

Speed:
.5 – 12 mph

Incline:
0 – 15 levels

Heart Rate Monitoring:
Hand pulse grips, chest strap compatible

Chest Strap Included:
Yes

Cooling Fan:
Yes

Standard Programs:
6

Custom Programs:
2

Heart Rate Programs:
2

USB Device Charging:
Yes

Bluetooth Compatability:
Yes

Bluetooth Speakers:
Yes

Audio System:
Built-in speakers (MP3 Compatible)

Console Display:
10.1″ high-resolution LCD

Display Feedback:
Time, speed, distance, calories, pulse, incline, program

 
See Latest Price and Availability on the SOLE F85 –  AMAZON’S PRICE
Warranty:

Frame and Motor:
Lifetime

Deck:
Lifetime

Parts:
5 Years

Labour:
2 Years

 

 
First Impressions of the F85
 

Overview
The Sole F85 is the top model in Sole’s folding treadmill series and it’s also Sole’s #1 seller!  It features a 4.0 hp motor (while more expensive machines from competing brands feature 3.2 hp or 3.5 hp motors).  Speeds up to 12 mph can be reached with 15 different incline settings if you start feeling like Batman!  For me, I keep the incline low since I’m staring down the barrel of 60 years of age!!!!  AHHHHGH!
The F85 also has Sole’s biggest deck area and a 22-inch wide running surface and their longest commercial-sized belt. 
It features heart rate controls and a full chest heart rate monitor as well!  If you weigh 400 lbs (I hope you don’t, but if so, start moving more but do it carefully and with supervision) or less, this machine will work nicely for you.
We found the F85 treadmill console is fairly user friendly with a nice-sized display showing feedback about Speed, Incline, Time, Distance Traveled, Calories, Pulse, and Pace at all times, and includes a 1/4 mile track feature and a peak and valley graph for specific programs. Built-in speakers allow you to hook up any MP3 player for easy listening while you exercise, and cooling fan and speed/incline controls are easily accessible on the armrests. 
You can also change the measurements from Metric to Imperial so you can have Kilometers or Miles.

 

The post Sole F85 Treadmill – Overall First Impressions appeared first on Sport Consumer.


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NHL Point Leaders Halted With Season Stoppage

The stoppage of the 2019–20 NHL season could rob most of the league’s point leaders of hitting the century mark. Seven players were on pace to reach 100 points. Six more were scoring at a pace of just under 100 total points, needing a burst in their final dozen or so games. Use this guide to see how players were getting on before the stoppage as well as for a promotional offer.
Oilers Topping NHL Point Leaders
Prior to the NHL’s league-wide suspension on March 12 due to COVID-19, Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl was the only player currently over 100 points. The German forward is well over the mark too, posting 110 points made up from his 43 goals and 67 assists.

Draisaitl’s league-best 1.54 points per game is .03 higher than teammate Connor McDavid’s average, who is second in the NHL with 97 points in 64 games — 1.51 per game.

Behind the two Oilers are Boston’s David Pastrnak and New York’s Artemi Panarin with 95 points each; Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon with 93; and rounding out the top 10 are Boston’s Brad Marchand, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov, Chicago’s Patrick Kane, Toronto’s Auston Matthews, and Buffalo’s Jack Eichel, all having over 80 points.
13 NHL Scorers in Sight of 100 Points
Over half of the top 10 were on pace to crack 100 points. All were in reach of triple-digits.

If the NHL does play all 82 games, Draisaitl’s on pace for a league-leading 127 points. McDavid would finish second with 113, Pastrnak and Panarin tied for third with 111, MacKinnon in fifth with 109, Marchand at sixth with 101, and Kucherov in seventh with exactly 100.

There were a handful of players needing to go on a streak to hit 100, such as: Patrick Kane, on pace for 98 points; Auston Matthews, on pace for 93; Jack Eichel, on pace for 92; Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau, also on pace for 92, Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, on pace for 91; and New York’s Mika Zibanejad, on pace for 90.

In this era, these are the 13 players surely to be on every fantasy hockey player’s radar.
High Number of NHL Point Leaders to Hit 100
Seven players were on pace to hit 100 points in 2019–20. If all seven did, this season would have the most triple-digits scorers compared to the past 10 full NHL seasons.

Over the past 10 full NHL seasons, a player reached 100 points 18 times. That’s 1.8 players per season, a much lower number than the seven on pace to do so this year.

Considering league-wide scoring is at its highest total since 2005–06, the numbers add up. By the way, 2005­­­ had seven 100-point scorers too, and was the second-last NHL season where seven scorers hit that mark (2006–07 the other).

The 2019–20 NHL season was also on pace for something that hasn’t happened in the 21st century: four scorers hitting 110 or more points.

2005–06 had two scorers of over 120 points (Joe Thornton, 125 and Jaromir Jagr, 123), but 2019­­–20 was set to feature the best group of top point-scorers since 1995­–96.
NHL Suspension Postponing History
1995–96 was a remarkable season; six players hit 110 points led by Pittsburgh’s otherworldly duo of Mario Lemieux (161) and Jagr (149).

2019­–20 was projecting to compare to the 1995–96 season. Draisaitl and McDavid were supposed to be the first two teammates to finish one and two in scoring since Lemieux and Jagr did 24 seasons ago. While the two Oilers would still finish one and two if the season’s cancelled, their accomplishment will have an asterisk from the shortened year.

Draisaitl was supposed to join Jagr, Kucherov, Thornton, and Sidney Crosby as the only 120-point scorers this century. Draisaitl’s projected 127 points would sit second for the highest single-season point total this decade, Kucherov’s 128 last year at the top.
2019–20 NHL Season Left with Unknowns
Given Draisaitl’s ability to score in sprees, and players like Matthews and Zibanejad catching fire, who knows how high this year’s crop of elite talent could’ve taken their numbers.

Then there’s the potential goal-scoring history. Three players were projected to reach 50 goals in 2019–20: Alex Ovechkin, 57; Pastrnak, 56; and Matthews, 55. Draisaitl and Zibanejad were on pace for 49 each too.

Three players haven’t scored 50 goals in an NHL season since 2009-10. Crosby and Steven Stamkos led the NHL with 51 goals that season, and Ovechkin had exactly 50.

Five players hadn’t scored 50 goals in a season since 2005­–06, one of the many feats that were possible in 2019-20, but now may never get to play its course.

Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’8mnvf_UYRwZo9XPSJckghQ’,sig:’yM8gP37hKdezWuChm6jP2V8WEQvSUaeKAbU7BGskq58=’,w:’594px’,h:’414px’,items:’1136509425′,caption: true ,tld:’ca’,is360: false })});The post NHL Point Leaders Halted With Season Stoppage appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Todd Tryon on IFL’s current plans, lessons to learn

Indoor Football League Commissioner Todd Tryon had just gotten off of a conference call during the middle of weeks 1 and 2 of the 2020 season.

He was typing up the notes recapping the meeting during the NBA’s Jazz – Thunder game when the news started to break.

Rudy Gobert had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the NBA cancelled its season, and the rumors of the NHL doing the same came soon after – all in a matter of minutes.

It was a curve ball that the first-year commissioner had to adjust to.

“Our staff at that point was thinking, ‘We are going to play our games this weekend and re-convene on Monday,” Tryon said. “It’s crazy how the perspective was changing by the hour. That’s probably the most remarkable thing of everything going on.”

Tryon kept paying attention to the cancellations and held another conference call on Thursday.

It was then that the league decided it would postpone the rest of its games for the season, minus the pair of games scheduled for that weekend in California.

“Let’s get the games in that the arenas are allowing you to play this weekend, at that time,” Tryon said. “At that point we decided that we were going to postpone the season until further notice and kind of let this play out.”

So, the plan was to have Iowa and Oakland face off as well as Cedar Rapids and San Diego on the ensuing Saturday night.

As the weekend progressed, however, both games were cancelled and the IFL joined the other major leagues in America in putting a halt to the action.

“It’s kind of funny,” Tryon said. “As you look back at making these decisions, the most difficult ones to make (at the time) turned out to seem like pretty easy decisions. I was always following the path of what the NBA and NHL were doing. If they were going to play, we were going to play.”

That leaves IFL fans in the same boat as fans of the NBA and NHL, amongst nearly every sports league in the United States.

Tryon shined some light on what the current plans are for the indoor league.
Where does the IFL go from here?
The league, at the current moment, plans on playing its championship game during the August 22nd weekend at the latest.

It would allow the league – if they started up play on the weekend of May 15 – to still complete 17 weeks of a regular season with each team playing 14 games.

Unfortunately, the chances of having more than a four-team playoff go out the window, because of the condensing of the schedule, but Tryon identified the 22nd as the weekend they plan on playing the title game.

“That buys us about five more weeks (from now),” Tryon said. “Basically, I’ve reached out to all of the arenas and I’ve got the dates for July and August. (Then, we) can kind of build a schedule backwards. We’re at the mercy of the arenas. As soon as they deem it safe to play, we’re going to play.”

With each weekend past May 15 that this goes, it will trim the schedule even more.

If it goes through May 28, teams will play 12 games instead of 14 due to the lost time. So on and so forth.

If it goes far enough, Tryon said they will have no choice but to look at cancelling the entire season.

“I’m not speaking for the owners, but I’ve talked to enough of them that I feel like I can say this,” Tryon said. “If every team can’t get five home games and five away games in, then we’ve really go to look hard at potentially cancelling the season.”

Tryon did say, of course, that the league will resume when the arenas allow them to.

However, unlike the two planned games from week 2 that didn’t happen, the IFL is not likely to allow teams to compete without fans.

“It would be really tough to do that. Our industry is different than the NBA and the NHL,” Tryon said. “We rely on the season ticket holders, the sponsors… It would knock out a large revenue stream for us. Not only would we honor potential refunds, but we’d also have the expenses of playing the game, so that’d be a double-whammy there.”

Tryon said that he wasn’t saying, ‘No,’ but that it would be really tough for these teams to play without fans.

The only thing left to do is sit back, wait for this to pass, and learn some lessons along the way.

That’s a big part of what Tryon is focusing on now, and he summed it up with this:

“Any time you go through scenarios like this, there’s always lessons to learn,” Tryon said. “I’ve got three kids and I’m always trying to use moments to teach them lessons. The biggest thing in times like this is that you’ve got to take care of yourself. There’s never been a time where health and wellness was of more importance. This is a time to take care of yourself, to exercise, start eating right, respect and appreciating your elders, and doing all the small things we’re supposed to do anyway. My kids, at night, we call the grandparents every night. Tomorrow is never promised. I think that’s another thing that we’ve got to take advantage of the day we’re given, be excited about it, and help people.”

We’ll keep you updated as best as we can, as long as you take care of yourself.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to watch 14 games for each and every IFL team. Until then, we’ll wait.The post Todd Tryon on IFL’s current plans, lessons to learn appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Canadian Football 101: The Basics

In Canada, winter sports are the most prominent. So much so that the country’s flagship sport is ice hockey (and lacrosse, coincidentally). However, other sports are also played. This is the case with Canadian football, which is considered the second most popular sport in the country.
Canadian football, because of its contact and strategy, could be considered a fusion between American football and rugby, though Canadian CFL is older than its American NFL  counterpart. Many specialists say it is rugby with protection. In each match, two 12-player teams play, each of which fights to obtain an oval-shaped ball and take it to the end zones that are delimited by an end line where two H-shaped posts are located. The winner is the team that scores the most points.
How is it similar to rugby? After the start of the match, the player can catch the ball and run or pass it to his teammates fighting against the players of the opposite team. As in rugby, you can only make passes sideways or backwards. Its relationship with American football is about scoring. That is, if the player runs into the end zone with the ball, he gets 6 points and if he kicks the ball into the end zone, he gets 3 points.
This sport was first introduced in the country in 1861 as a variation of rugby. The first documented match of this sport, called at that time Rugby Football, was at the University College of Toronto. Little by little, it expanded and although there was no official regulation it was taking off. In 1873, the first matches were held to lay the foundations of an organization to govern this sport discipline. From then on, the path was opened to the creation of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 1958.
The CFL is made up of 9 teams: 4 in the Eastern Division and 5 in the Western Division. Each season they play approximately 18 games each. Among the most prominent teams are: Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, Ottawa Redblacks, Toronto Argonauts, BC Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The popularity of this league has been so great that the games between these teams are the programs with the highest audience. The same is true for sports betting in Canada, where soccer is one of the most popular options.
One of the most recognized bookmakers in the country is Bodog, which offers the best possible online experience, providing each user with personalized attention on a 100% secure platform. You can place your bets on the main soccer championships in the world, but also on the CFL, since one of its missions is to promote the national sport.
If you are passionate about Canadian football and you like to bet, you have at your disposal several platforms that are easy to use and also have the appropriate certification to offer you security in your bets. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy yourself and, if possible, earn some extra money.The post Canadian Football 101: The Basics appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Indoor Football League Suspends 2020 Season

This afternoon the Indoor Football League announced they would follow the lead of various other leagues and suspend the season.

The IFL is the first of the three remaining Indoor/Arena leagues to postpone their season due to the COVID-19 outbreak, coming after only one full week of play.

In their statement, the IFL has stated that games in Oakland and San Diego will be played as normal, however without fans in attendance.

Currently no statement has been made on Champions Indoor Football, whose season begins this month, or the NAL whose season begins next month.

The full press release from the Indoor Football League can be found below:

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of this weekend’s games in Frisco and Sioux Falls, along with the state of California’s limit on the size of crowds due to the pandemic, the Indoor Football League will be postponing its season until further notice following Saturday night’s games in Oakland and San Diego.

Both games are still scheduled to kick off at 6:05 PT, but will be played with no fans in attendance. Each game will be broadcast live on Youtube.

“This is an unprecedented situation that we are taking very seriously,” said IFL Commissioner Todd Tryon. “We are monitoring this on a constant basis and are working with the local municipalities and arenas in all of our markets. Our goal is to resume play as soon as possible. The health of our players, coaches, staff, fans, and sponsors is of utmost importance to our teams and to the league, and we will not compromise on those values.”

The IFL will continue to evaluate ongoing events and the safety of our players and will rely on the guidance of public health experts and our league’s Board of Directors in determining when to restart the 2020 season.

UPDATE: The CIF has announced that they will also delay the start of the 2020 Season.The post Indoor Football League Suspends 2020 Season appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Players to watch during the IFL’s 2020 Season

The Indoor Football League is filled with players to watch, year after year.

2020 is no different. The season is officially underway, with a plethora of talent ready to take the field for season openers over the next two weekends.

We took the liberty of identifying some of the most exciting players that fans will watch this season – keeping it at one player per team, of course.

We’ll let everyone else make their own opinions, but here are some of the most exciting players that will take the field in 2020.
Players to watch during the IFL’s 2020 Season
Arizona Rattlers – QB Drew Powell
Drew Powell runs into the end zone in front of an Arizona defender during Iowa’s win against the Rattlers in their home opener. Photo by Connor Ferguson.

Now in his second season and first full campaign leading the Arizona Rattlers, Drew Powell has his sites back on the IFL MVP Award and looks to lead the Rattlers to another United Bowl championship. Powell earned the league’s MVP award in 2018 and had 166 yards on a 76% completion rate in last year’s United Bowl loss to the Sioux Falls Storm. Don’t be surprised to see Powell thrive again this season under the leadership of Arizona head coach Kevin Guy.

 
Bismarck Bucks – DB Marcus Green
A Birthday photo for Bismarck’s Marcus Green. Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Football.

Marcus Green opened his 2020 IFL season on Sunday in Bismarck by leading his team with six tackles as well as an interception in a 50-36 loss. The Bucks have re-stocked their team with a plethora of talent on the defensive side of the football, so look for the former Oklahoma Sooner to keep the momentum going through the rest of the year.

 
Cedar Rapids River Kings – WR Shaq Currenton
Shaq Currenton runs off the field after a big play. Photo courtesy Tucson Sugar Skulls.

The Cedar Rapids River Kings had a busy off-season trying to rectify a roster that finished last season 1-13. The River Kings brought in Victor Mann to coach the team in 2020 and made a splash with signings in the off-season. Shaq Currenton averaged 41.0 yards per game last season as well as 13 touchdowns for the Sugar Skulls. He’ll be a big part of the River Kings offense if Cedar Rapids makes a push for the playoffs.

 
Duke City Gladiators – WR Dello Davis
Dello Davis was a normal occurance on the CIF Players of the Week lists before the Gladiators moved to the IFL. Photo courtesy CIF.

Dello Davis was a regular sight to see on the CIF’s players of the week lists in 2019. The wideout ended his year in second in the league in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. As the Gladiators transition to the IFL, they’ll need a lot out of their returning players that have made the core of the back-to-back championships the team is coming off of. Davis will be a big help with that.

 

 

 
Frisco Fighters – QB Jonathan Bane
Quarterback Jonathan Bane kisses a trophy after winning a championship with the NAL’s Jacksonville Sharks. Photo courtesy Jonathan Bane, Twitter.

The Frisco Fighters enter the IFL as one of three, true expansion teams – if you count Duke City as a transitioning franchise. Under the leadership of former AFL Coach of the Year Clint Dolezel, the Fighters look to have a strong inaugural season in Texas. They’ll go to battle with the quarterback that led the Jacksonville Sharks to the 2019 NAL Championship in Jonathan Bane. The Texas native threw for nearly 2,000 yards as well as 39 touchdowns ahead of the championship game. Dolezel has been known to work well with quarterbacks, so it wouldn’t be surprising for Bane to put up better numbers in 2020.

 
Green Bay Blizzard – DB Bakari Triggs
Bakari Triggs earned IFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors a season ago. Photo courtesy IFL.

The Green Bay Blizzard had a breakout season in the IFL last year. After six straight losing season’s, Coach Corey Roberson helped the team to a 9-5 season in route to the Playoffs. Returning for 2020 is defensive back Bakari Triggs – the IFL’s defensive rookie of the year. Triggs tied at the top of the league with six interceptions along with 38 tackles and a sack to add to his resume. Triggs will be a big part of an already dominant Blizzard defense that looks to return to the playoffs.

Iowa Barnstormers – WR Connor Hollenbeck
Wide receiver Connor Hollenbeck tosses a ball to a ref following a first down. Hollenbeck is already making an impact at the position just two weeks into his career in Iowa. Photo by Connor Ferguson

Dixie Wooten has left Des Moines, but one of the IFL’s most talented receivers is staying put in Iowa. There’s a reason that Connor Hollenbeck was the first official signing under new head coach Ameer Ismail, too. Over the past two seasons, Hollenbeck has been a regular to the top 10 leaders in receiving yards for the league including a ninth-place finish with 627 yards in 2019. Hollenbeck added 14 touchdowns last year and helped the Barnstormers to a second straight IFL semifinal appearance.

 
Oakland Panthers – RB Davonte Sapp-Lynch
Davonte Sapp-Lynch awaits the start of a game at Wells Fargo Arena. Photo by Connor Ferguson

Bursting into the Indoor Football scene in 2019, Davonte Sapp-Lynch quickly made a splash for the Nebraska Danger. If asked, he’ll tell you Marshawn Lynch – the former Seahawk and Panthers owner – is a brother to him, not the other way around. Rightfully so, Sapp-Lynch will take the field in Oakland for 2020 a year after finishing in the top five in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. It would be a big surprise to not see him back there this year.
Quad City Steamwheelers – WR Keyvan Rudd
Keyvan Rudd jumps up to catch a ball during a regular season game. Photo courtesy Rich Glancey/Pictureman Sports Photos.

One of the most electric players in the IFL during the 2019 season is coming back to the Quad Cities for another run with the Steamwheelers in 2020. Keyvan Rudd had some of the most electric catches and plays around the league last year. Rudd finished second in the IFL with 925 yards and led the Steamwheelers to a 6-8 record, just missing the playoffs. Already off to a hot start this season, Rudd helped get Quad City’s season started with a win over Cedar Rapids on Saturday that included a 34-yard touchdown.

Sioux Falls Storm – QB Lorenzo Brown Jr.
B.J. Butler chases down Sioux Falls Lorenzo Brown in the 2018 United Bowl. Photo by Connor Ferguson.

If there was ever a player known for explosive plays in the IFL, there hasn’t been one that has been known to do it for as long as Sioux Falls quarterback Lorenzo Brown Jr. has. Once again returning to the Storm following a championship season, Brown Jr. will try to lead his team to more success. Brown Jr. finished 2019 with 67 touchdowns – 46 through the air and 21 on the ground – and looks to be another top duel-threat quarterback in the IFL this year.

 
San Diego Strike Force – WR/KR Marques Rodgers
Marques Rodgers returns to the field in 2020 after being named LWOS IFL Honorable mention a year ago.

Marques Rodgers just missed out on being one of LWOS’ players of the year, instead earning a honorable mention for his performance in the 2019 season. The breakout star for the San Diego Strike Force ended the year with 1,322 yards on kick returns alone, proving to be as exciting as he was valuable for his team. He returns in 2020 as the Strike Force try to improve in their second year as a franchise.

 
Spokane Shock – QB Charles McCullum
The Spokane Shock, under the new leadership of Billy Back signed former All-NAL QB Charles McCullum. Photo courtesy Spokane Shock.

When head coach Billy Back was announced as the next head man to the returning Spokane Shock franchise, it was expected that two-time IFL MVP Charles McCullum would be returning to the league.  McCullum was one of the first players signed to return to Spokane and will be one of the many names competing for the overall MVP as well as, potentially, the championship.

 
Tucson Sugar Skulls – WR Ryan Balentine
Ryan Balentine celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the Iowa Barnstormers semi-final victory against the Nebraska Danger. Photo by Connor Ferguson

On the other side of things, when coach Dixie Wooten took off to take the lead of the Tucson Sugar Skulls, it was all but a done deal that his right hand man Ryan Balentine. On top of winning LWOS IFL MVP a season ago, Balentine led the league in receiving yards with 1,084 and 28 touchdowns for the Barnstormers. Look for him to play a big part in Wooten’s offense as a wideout as well as the backup quarterback.

 

The IFL season will start up again on Thursday with the third game of the season scheduled to begin in Frisco, Texas for a matchup between the Fighters and Duke City.

The game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. CT and will be live-streamed on YouTube. The post Players to watch during the IFL’s 2020 Season appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Alejandro Pozuelo Scores, Toronto FC Draws Season Opener 2-2

Alejandro Pozuelo’s penalty kick goal was the highlight in a 2-2 draw between Toronto FC and the San Jose Earthquakes in the season opener.

Pozuelo’s goal came at the 40th minute in the first half, after taking a penalty in the box. The Reds midfielder is coming off a season in 2019 where he recorded 14 goals and 15 assists.
Alejandro Pozuelo Scores, Toronto FC Draws Season Opener 2-2
Richie Laryea also scored for the Reds (1-0). Toronto improved its season opener record to 5-7-2.

Andres Rios and Oswaldo Alanis responded with goals for the Earthquakes (0-1). San Jose’s historical record against Toronto is 6-5-6.

The Reds controlled the scoring chances in the first half, despite losing the possession battle 63%-37% to the Earthquakes. The Toronto midfielders were finding their strikers in open space, while the Reds defense was active in the box.

Pozuelo got pushed in the box late in the first half, en route to the Reds’ first goal.

In the 51st minute, Laryea recorded his first goal of the season off of a rebound caused by Tsubasa Endoh’s shot towards the San Jose net.

Rios cut the deficit to one goal in the 53rd minute, thanks to an assist by Cristian Espinoza. In the 95th minute, Alanis’ strike secured the draw between the Earthquakes and Reds.

Quentin Westberg of the Reds made three saves in the victory while Earthquakes goalkeeper Daniel Vega stopped two shots on target.

Both Michael Bradley (ankle surgery) and newly acquired left-winger Pablo Piatti (hamstring string) were out for the Reds in the season opener.

The Reds record against the Earthquakes has improved to 5-6-6. Toronto is looking to have another successful season, after making it to the MLS Cup Final last year.

Toronto FC will play its first home game of the season on Saturday, March 7th against New York City FC.

 

Main Photo: Alejandro Pozuelo registered his first goal of the season off of a penalty kick.  (Getty Images)The post Alejandro Pozuelo Scores, Toronto FC Draws Season Opener 2-2 appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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The Deuce will debut in the IFL in 2020

This morning the Indoor Football League announced a slight change to the rules for the 2020 season. This year the IFL will introduce “The Deuce” as another way to score points.

As a refresher the National Arena League also uses the rule, and the basic premise is if the kickoff goes through the uprights the kicking team gets two points.
The Deuce will debut in the IFL in 2020
There are some changes in comparison to how the National Arena League uses their rule however.

The biggest of these being that the deuce only comes into play during the last 60 second of each half. The NAL, on the other hand, allows it through the entire game.

The breakdown of the rule has been added to the rule book and is below, verbatum:

1. On a free kick in the final 60 seconds of the half or game, if the kick passes through the uprights, a two (2) point “Deuce” is scored, and the ball will be spotted at the B 5 as the touchback spot.

2. If Team A fouls during the kick and the kick is good, the “Deuce” is not scored, and the ball is spotted at the 25-yard line. The kick will not be repeated.

3. If Team B fouls during the kick and the kick is good, the foul is declined by rule and the ball is spotted at the five (5) yard line. (Exception: UNR/UNS fouls will be enforced half the distance from the five (5) yard line.)

“We believe this rule will add additional excitement and strategy at the end of each half, but it’s limited to only the end of each half as to not affect the integrity of our game,” IFL Commissioner Todd Tryon said in a release. “We had some great conversations as to how to implement the Deuce and I think we all ultimately came to the best use of the new rule. I’m excited to see it play out this season.”

Players have already started sounding off on social media about the rule.

We’ll get our first look at how teams utilize this extra wrinkle to the rule book in the first game of the season two weeks from Saturday. Quad City and Cedar Rapids will open the year on March 7.The post The Deuce will debut in the IFL in 2020 appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Toronto Marlies Come Back to Defeat Belleville Senators 7-6 in Overtime

Tags :

Category : AHL , Hockey , Toronto Marlies

Egor Korshkov’s overtime-winning goal carried the Toronto Marlies to a 7-6 victory over the Belleville Senators. Korshkov’s goal came at 1:01 in overtime, where he was assisted by Joseph Duszak and Tanner MacMaster.

The Marlies overtime winner was made possible by Adam Brooks scoring with 16.4 seconds remaining in the third period. His slap shot that found the back of the net, also assisted by Duszak and MacMaster.
Egor Korshkov Scores Overtime Winner for the Toronto Marlies
Scott Pooley, Mason Marchment and Matt Read also scored for the Marlies (26-19-3-2). The Marlies won their fourth consecutive game on Saturday.

Jordan Szwarz, Josh Norris, Jonathan Aspirot, Vitaly Abramov and Joseph LaBate each responded with a goal for the Belleville Senators (32-16-3-1). The Senators dropped their second straight game to the Marlies on the back-to-back, losing on Friday 4-2.

The Senators started the game scoring four consecutive goals. Senators forward Jordan Szwarz opened the scoring at 7:39 in the first period, taking advantage of a shot off the post that found his stick in front of the net. His second goal occurred 7:05 in the third period, where Alex Formenton assisted in the slot to seal the win for the Senators.

Josh Norris generated his 26th goal of the season at 10:27 in the first period, with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that went top-shelf.

Moments later at 12:27 in the first period, Jonathan Aspirot tipped the Erik Brannstrom shot from the point, extending the Senators lead to 3-0.

Senators left-winger Vitaly Abramov scored the fourth goal for the Senators at 13:44 in the first period, shooting the puck past Woll on the breakaway.

Scott Pooley cut the Marlies deficit to three goals at 15:17 in the first period, sending a wrist shot into the back of the net at point-blank range.

At 6:59 in the second period, Senators forward Joseph LaBate regained Belleville’s four-goal lead with his seventh goal of the season, assisted by Murray and Parker Kelly.

Mason Marchment extended his goal streak with a powerplay goal at 9:55 in the second period. The Marlies forward has scored eight goals in his last five games.

Mac Hollowell scored his first of two goals down low on a scramble in front of the net at 18:20 in the second period. His second goal occurred at 1:51 in the third period, which brought the Marlies within one goal of the Senators.

At 17:26 in the third period, Matt Read cut the deficit to one goal again for the Marlies, scoring his ninth of the season with the goalie pulled. Read’s goal soon preceded the tying goal from Brooks and the ensuing overtime goal by Korshkov.

Marlies goalie Joseph Woll stopped 30 of 36 shots, while Senators goaltender Filip Gustavsson made 21 saves.

The Marlies continued their success on the penalty kill, going two-for-two on the game compared to the Senators’ one-of-three. Saturday was the fourth consecutive game Toronto has not given up a powerplay goal.

Toronto is now one point back of the final playoff spot in the AHL’s Eastern Conference (57 points).The post Toronto Marlies Come Back to Defeat Belleville Senators 7-6 in Overtime appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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The 10 Best Youth Baseball Bats of 2020 | Price, Power, and Speed

You may have a little slugger on your hands, but have no idea what to look for when it comes to finding them the best baseball bat for their size. Choosing the best youth bat is an important decision, not only because you need one that is the right size, but also because choosing the right bat can help improve the hitting distance of the ball. Make sure you are getting a home run choice before the first grand slam is even hit.
Things to Consider
Like youth gloves, it is important to know that not all bats are created equally. Bat manufacturers put a lot of thought into how to make the best baseball bat for young hitters. This list is so you don’t have to put a lot of thought into researching the best bats because the hard work is already done for you.
Different Types of Bats
The number one thing to consider when making this purchase is the two different kinds of baseballs that call for different types of bats; Tee Ball and Little League. When it comes to tee-ball the length of the bat can be no longer than 27 inches, while little league bats can be anything over that limitation, of 27 inches.
Top Youth Baseball Bat Comparison Chart

PictureNameTypeDrop (Length – Weight)PriceWhere to Buy?

1. DeMarini Voodoo Overlord Youth Baseball Bat Alloy-13$$$$Check Price on Amazon

2. Easton 2018 USA Baseball 2 5/8 S550 Youth Baseball BatAlloy-8$$Check Price on Amazon

3. Easton Mako Composite Youth Baseball BatComposite-12$$$Check Price on Amazon

4. Louisville Slugger YBAR152 Youth ArmorAlloy-12$$$Check Price on Amazon

5. Easton Yb13Cy Cyclone-10 Youth Baseball Bat
Alloy-10$Check Price on Amazon

6. Louisville Slugger YBVA153 Vapor
Alloy-13$$$Check Price on Amazon

7. Rawlings 2019 5150 USA Youth Baseball Bat
Alloy-11$$Check Price on Amazon

8. DeMarini 2020 Voodoo One Balanced 2 5/8″ USA Baseball Bat Series
Alloy-9 -10$$$$Check Price on Amazon

9. Rawlings YB5R13 5150 Youth Minus 13Composite-13$$$Check Price on Amazon

10. Louisville Slugger Youth 225 Hornsby Ash Baseball BatWood – Ash-5$Check Price on Amazon

Youth Bat Lengths
Now you are probably wondering how to tell what length baseball bat would be best. Typically you can figure this out based on the child’s age. As they grow older the longer the bat will need to be. Below is a list of how to determine what length you’ll need based on age.

AgeLength

5-7 Years Old24-26 inches

8-9 Years Old26-28 inches

10 Years Old28-29 inches

11-12 Years Old30-31 inches

13-14 Years Old31-32 inches

15-16 Years Old32-33 inches

17+ Years Old34+ inches

 
Bat Materials
Another thing to determine before purchasing a baseball bat is what material the bats are made from. There are many different composite and natural materials that baseball bats are made out of:
Wood
Despite what you see pro players use on TV, wood is the least common material used to make youth baseball bats. Wooden bats are heavier bats so it is harder for the players to swing them. Wooden bats also absorb the impact of the hit which can disadvantage the distance of the hit. There are some youth bats that are made from less dense wood, so it is easier for them to swing. But because most are made out of a dense wood, they can break down more easily. There are only three types of wood that are approved to be used for wooden baseball bats; Maple, Yellow Birch, and Northern White Ash.
Maple
Maple bats are lightweight, making them easier to swing. They also transfer more energy to the ball allowing the ball to travel longer distances to make that desired grand slam. Maple wood is smooth and makes you look like a pro from the stands
Yellow Birch
Yellow Birch wooden bats are best for rookies. While the density of these types of bats adds a little bit of weight, they still swing and hit the ball well. With a little bit of absorption, while hitting the balls, these types of bats pack a punch.
Northern White Ash
This seasoned wooden bat is normally used by well-seasoned hitters. It provides a jumping feeling while striking the ball. Because Northern White Ash is porous it makes the bat give a little and it is incredibly lightweight. In fact, it is the lightest wood approved for wooden bats.
Alloy
Alloy is the most common material used for making baseball bats. But only the second most popular used by the youth. Alloy is a lightweight material, but it is also very solid so there is no risk of breaking these bats. Different companies use different types of alloys in their production of baseball bats so some have more advantages than others. For example, there are performance alloy bats that are made out of a mixture of more superior alloys which are meant to be the best performing bats on the market. But these “performance alloy” bats can easily get damaged in colder weather.  It’s also recommended that youth players use batting gloves to minimize blisters when using alloy bats.
Composite
Considered the best material for youth baseball bats, composite is a mixture of synthetic materials and metals. Most companies have their own concoction to make this material. The nice thing about composite bats is that they are so durable, they can last through many home runs and seasons. The only downfall to composite bats is that they need to be broken in. Just like any player, these types of bats need a lot of practice.
Breaking in Composite Bats
The idea of breaking in a bat might be a little confusing since it is not something you wear. But breaking in bats is relatively easy. All you have to do is use the bat! Most bats on average take about 500 – 700 hits before they are broken in, and you want to make sure you are; rotating the bat between a quarter to a half an inch with every swing to help with even distribution and you want to start off by swinging with less power than you normally would when naturally swinging.
Half and Half
To have the best of both world’s some baseball bat companies make bats out of two different materials. These bats typically have a different material for the barrel and the handle. This type of combination has the advantage of being able to absorb more energy while striking the ball. In these bats, it is typical that the handle is made out of composite and the barrel from an alloy like aluminum.
Bat Drop Weight
Knowing the drop weight of the baseball bat is important because some league and age ranges have limitations. Figuring out the drop weight may seem a little confusing at first, but after some explanation, it should make a lot of sense. The drop weight is simply the ratio between the weight and length of the bat. Youth baseball bats, from ages 7 – 13 have a drop weight anywhere between -7 to -13.5. The higher the number is after the negative sign, the lighter the bats are. As you get up to ages 13 and over you can see a drop weight as little as -3. While normally the heavier the bat the farther it can send the ball, it can also disadvantage the child by slowing down their swing. Make sure that the weight of the bat is something the hitter is able to hold and swing easily, without too much strength.
Legal-ness
Needing to address the issue of legality, some leagues require that the bat that the child is hitting with be stamped with a logo of an official supplier. These stamps ensure that the length, material, barrel size, and weight have been approved and double-checked before being put onto the shelves in stores. Currently, most youth bats are governed by the 1.15 Bat Performance Factor. This number refers to how fast the ball comes off of the bat. Before purchasing any bats for your child after signing them up for tee ball or little league, check with the league and see if they have any specification on the legality of the baseball bats your little slugger can use.
Top Ten Youth Baseball Bats Reviews
Below is a list of youth baseball bats that have stolen a base and found their way home to the top ten best bats for young sluggers. While most bats have the same features or average sizes, it is important to notice the differences between these bats that make them all truly unique.

 
1.   DeMarini Voodoo Overlord Youth Baseball Bat   
Ever since Bryce Harper hit a 502 foot home run at the age of 16, the DeMarini Voodoo has been a very popular baseball bat among the youth. This 2015 model has a drop weight of -13, so it is incredibly lightweight and easy to handle. With a 2 ¼ inch barrel diameter and an Ion V end cap youngsters should find it comfortable to handle with very little vibrations from the ball and bat collision. Another comforting feature in the DeMarini Voodoo is the firm grip on the handle, which allows the hitter to have total control. This bat is made out of an alloy with X12 alloy added into it, giving it more strength and no break-in time needed. And although it has no effect on the use of the bat, this bat does come in many different colors and designs.
PROS

No break-in period required
Absorbs shock with no impact
Lightweight and Comfortable

CONS

Cold weather can cause it to crack
Painting and designs chip off over time

 

 
2.   Easton S550 Youth Baseball Bat
The Easton S550 bat is relatively cheap in terms of other youth baseball bats. It is a one-piece aluminum alloy (Alx50 Military-grade aluminum).  Because the alloy used in this bat is not as light as it could be, it gives the bat a drop weight of -8, making it easier to send the ball over the heads of the outfielders. Also, the Easton S550 has a 2 and 5/8 inch barrel making it hard to ever strike out. Easton is one of the most popular baseball bat manufacturers in the world and this model tends to be the most popularly bought bat for youth baseball. Whether it is because of the varying lengths you can purchase it in or the reasonable price, or even the fact that it is a 1.15 BFP certified and legal for many different leagues.
PROS

Reasonably priced
15 BFP Certified
Slugger weight of -8

CONS

Thin handle
Not super light for speed (though it will give the ball distance)

 

 
3.   Easton Mako Composite Youth Baseball Bat
At first glance, the Easton Mako bat looks cool and professional with a two-tone gray and orange color blocking combination. The gray and orange diamond handle on this bat is detachable making it a two-piece composite bat. But don’t let the material steer you away. This bat is made with TCT Thermo Composite Technology which is said to allow the batter to hit at lightning speed. Plus, the length to weight ratio is -11 making it easier to hit those out of the park home runs. The barrel is measured at 2 ¼ inches, which is about the average with for most youth baseball bats. And this bat comes in a variety of lengths for your slugger of any age and size. There is so much to say about the Easton Mako baseball bat because it is so popular among the youth. It is even one of the top bats that is used in the Little League World Series.
PROS

TCT Thermo Composite Technology
1.15 BFP Certified
Many sizes available

CONS

Can crack in cold temperatures
A little pricey

 

 
4.   Louisville Slugger YBAR152 Youth Armor
The Louisville Slugger may be the most infamous baseball bat company since they have been making bats for over 100 years. Despite what you may be expecting, this bat is not a wooden bat. In fact, it is made out of one single piece of aluminum that is strong enough to last many seasons. Although some aluminum bats have a tendency to vibrate upon strike, this bat has a vibration dampening end cup to help with the shock. This vibration cup makes using the bat more comfortable for children. The drop weight of the Louisville Slugger is -12, also making it easy for children to use since it is so lightweight and can be swung quickly. But it also features a narrower barrel than most bats, at only 2 inches in diameter. A narrower barrel doesn’t mean it is a bad thing, in fact, when hitting the ball with a smaller barrel gives you more control over the placement and angle of hitting the ball.
PROS

Vibration dampening cup
Single piece design

CONS

Low-quality handle padding

 

 
5.   Easton YB13 CY Cyclone
The Easton YB13 Cyclone youth baseball bat is perfect for beginners or someone who needs to work on their batting technique. Created with an extended barrel that provides strength and a balanced swing. Plus the hitter can swing this bat faster when compared to other youth baseball bats. The Easton Cyclone bat is a two-piece bat that absorbs the shock and vibrations from the impact of the pitch. With a socket pivot point connecting the two parts, it allows the bats to have thinner walls which gives the hit a popping sound that most grand slams sound like, just like the pros.
PROS

Has popping sound
Pivot point reduces vibrations

CONS

Color finish can fade
Connecting pieces can break

 

 
6.   Louisville Slugger YBVA153 Vapor
This performance alloy bat provides a traditional feel when stepping up to the plate. For a reasonably priced bat, it provides durability and power to last for many seasons. With a comfortable taper 7/8 inch handle and synthetic grip that won’t feel any vibrations while hitting grand slams. Another advantage to this bat when it comes to swinging is the drop weight. This Louisville Slugger Vapor baseball bat is made from a durable 7050 alloy, but its drop weight is only -12, making it an incredibly lightweight bat. The barrel size of the vapor falls into the average range of most youth baseball bats at 2 ¼ inches wide. A larger barrel like this helps move the ball in the intended direction with ease.
PROS

Durable and strong
Lightweight

CONS

Handle grip wears easily

 

 
7.   Rawlings 2019 5150 USA Youth Baseball Bat
Rawlings says it likes to keep things simple with regards to their design mandate:  Make a big sweet spot, eliminate vibration and keep it affordable.  Nice.  But did they do it?  We think they sort of did, but let’s explore.  The 5150 comes in well under $100 on Amazon, and it IS APPROVED by USA Baseball so it can be used in Little League and most other leagues!  Of course, like many bats, it’s made of aircraft-grade 5150 alloy and it has proprietary “PoP 2.0 technology” for an expanded sweet spot.  We’re not sure with that is, but anything that expands the sweet spot is okay by us!   It’s a single piece design for added durability and balance.
The 5150 really has a lot of options for drop weight, length and weight.  In fact, there are way more options that we’ve seen for any other make or model.  This alone makes it one of the absolute best options for, well, …OPTIONS!
PROS

Approved by USA Baseball so it can be used in most leagues
Lots of size, weight and drop weight options when ordering on Amazon
Great price

CONS

Some have claimed that weights and lengths on the order chart (on Amazon) are not all accurate

 

 
8.   DeMarini 2020 Voodoo One Balanced 2 5/8″ USA Baseball Bat Series
The best thing about the DeMarini Voodoo One baseball bat is that it is made by, well, DeMarini!  Anything that comes from this high-end company is typically very good and we feel confident in endorsing it.  This bat is made of a one-piece alloy construction which gives maximum stiffness.  It’s a 30-inch bat weighing 20 oz and it comes in both -9 and -10 drop weights.  We love that it’s approved for USA Baseball standards as well.
The X14 Alloy Barrel delivers maximum pop and distance while giving young players the durability and light weight they’ll need to succeed at their age level.  The end cap is also a very cool tech upgrade since it’s built with a blend of lighter and stronger material.  The ReAction end cap offers increased barrel performance without sacrificing swing speed.
If you’re looking for the lightest bat available from DeMarini, check out the SABOTAGE (Amazon Link)
HISTORY:  It may be helpful (or at least interesting) to read about how the DeMarini bat company started.  Check out this biography from the company:

Ray DeMarini (1946-2001). Meet the man behind the brand.
Ray DeMarini was one-of-a-kind. At the age of 40, playing on his company softball team quickly turned into a full-blown obsession with the sport. His scientific approach to training, a 96 mph batting speed and a bombastic attitude quickly earned him the reputation of a savage competitor among the biggest guys in his league. Ray turned his attention to creating an earth-shattering high-performance bat. “The top bat manufacturers weren’t innovating. I realized there was a great opportunity to create a technical bat for the sophisticated ball player.” Ray was the personification of insane dedication. Even after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 1998, Ray kept working. When the cancer eventually claimed his eye, he was still out at the field—hitting in an eyepatch. Ray’s intensity and drive remains at the core of the company today.

PROS

USA Baseball approved
1-piece alloy construction
Iconic, high-end brand

CONS

A little on the pricier end

 

 
9.   Rawlings YB5R13 5150 Youth Minus 13
This brightly green colored baseball bat is a little different from your typical little league bat.  It features a lot of stuff that I would think extreme overkill until I realize some kids have high goals and could really use the best equipment to give them every advantage for the future.  The features begin with aerospace-grade 5150 Alloy from Rawlings, which is their absolute highest performing alloy.  The one-piece construction is a big bonus for balance and speed.  Speaking of speed (of swing that is), this bat is made with a composite end cap with 36% more carbon fibers which increases your kid’s swing speed!  Amen to that!
The sweet spot size just got an upgrade in this model so it’s 25% bigger (that’s a lot by the way!) so your kid’s stats will change almost immediately!  However, having said that, some leagues won’t allow it because it does not have the USA Baseball stamp on it!
PROS

Expanded sweet spot
Rawlings’ highest-end alloy
Decent price

CONS

Finish may fade
Not USA Baseball approved, so may not be able to play in Little League

 

 
10.   Louisville Slugger Youth 225 Ash Hornsby
Priced at the lower end of the price spectrum, the Youth 225 Ash Hornsby offers very good value.  It’s strong and durable and it has a large sweet spot.  Consistent performance is a hallmark of Ash construction as well.  Ash has higher moisture content and is much more porous than most other woods.  It’s vacuum dried and compressed to ensure a very hard hitting surface so your only worry is to connect an airborne ball with the sweet spot moving quickly!
The Louisville Slugger line of Ash bats is proudly made in the USA, and the Youth 225 Ash Hornsby is made specifically for the younger athlete with increased flexibility and a lighter swing weight.
The 225 is approved for most youth leagues in the country.
PROS

Easy to swing
Distributed weight
Made in the USA
“old school” look that is the envy of lots of younger players

CONS

Won’t generate as much power as a metal bat
Can break if the ball is hit hard a little too close to the handle

 

Conclusion

Overall, all of these baseball bats could be the best bat to use for youth leagues. But it is important to figure out what bat works best for the hitter. Whether it is to determine how easy it is for them to swing the bat, or if it means that you have to follow the rules of the league about what type and size of bat is allowed to be used. Even though there are suggested lengths based off of age, it is important to keep in mind that is based off of average ages and sizes of the child. Every hitter will be different and may require a different length bat than what the suggested size is. The best way to determine what size of bat, or even what type of bat to buy would be to go to a store and having the hitter try out the bat.
When it comes to this list of baseball bats, the overall best bat to purchase would be the DeMarini Voodoo baseball bat. After purchasing this bat, it is ready to use immediately without any break in period needed. Plus it absorbs the shock and vibrations created while hitting the ball that can be uncomfortable and disturbing to beginner hitters. Lastly, because this bat is so lightweight with a drop weight of -13, it is safe to say that it is easy to swing this bat quickly to hit many balls out of the park.
But if you are looking for the best bang for your buck, the Easton S500 would be your go to bat. It is relatively cheaper than the rest of the bats on this list, but it performs just as well. With a drop weight of -13, it is easy for any slugger to swing this bat and hit the ball into the outfield. Another nice advantage to this bat is that it is 1.15 BFP certified so you don’t have to worry about it not being legal in any league that the player may be enrolled into.
 

The post The 10 Best Youth Baseball Bats of 2020 | Price, Power, and Speed appeared first on Sport Consumer.


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