Category: EXPERT TRAINING TIPS

How to prepare your cricket bat

At Sportsmart, we offer bat preparation for you:

New natural-faced cricket bats need to be oiled and knocked in before play. The deluxe cricket bat preparation will eliminate hours of manual preparation. Please allow 4-5 business days for this service to be completed.*

If you prefer to do your own bat prep, follow the steps below:

Cricket bats are made primarily from two different types of wood. English Willow or Kashmir Willow. Both are very soft types of wood, and require preparation before they can be used to hit a cricket ball.83154_500

There are four stages involved in preparing your cricket bat:

1. Pressing, 2. Oiling, 3. Knocking In, 4. Playing In.

Stage 1: Pressing

Pressing the bat is important for two reasons. 1) It strengthens the fibers in the bat, and 2) Saves hours off the knocking in process. Some brands already do this stage for you, i.e. Kookaburra (KPP), but it doesn’t hurt to do a little bit more yourself.

Most bat prepping is done using a machine. Or using a mallet to knock it in, however this takes twice as long.

Stage 2: Oiling

Oiling helps reduce the chance that your cricket bat will crack or split. Oiling your bat helps to maintain moisture levels within the bat.

How:

  • Using Linseed Oil, apply a light coat to the face, edge, toe and back of the blade – avoid the stickers and splice area. Allow to dry for 24 hours. Then, using a very fine sand paper (+180), give your cricket bat a light sanding. Reapply a light coat to the face.
  • 2-3 coats should be sufficient. Allow each coat to dry fully (it’s best to dry your cricket bat in a slightly elevated horizontal position).

Stage 3: Knocking In

Knocking-in is probably the most vital stage in the preparation process. This process compresses the fibers in the wood, protecting the bat against ball impact. If done correctly, this can increase a cricket bat’s performance and lifespan.

How:

  • Using a special bat mallet or an old quality cricket ball, carefully and repeatedly strike the bat (increasing the force gradually) in any area where one may hit the ball. The edges and toe should not be struck directly at right-angles to the blade as this can cause damage.
  • This stage should take a minimum of 6 hours (every bat varies).
  • Finally, using an old quality cricket ball, hit some short catches. If the seam, on the ball, leaves a mark, go back and continue knocking in. Allow at least another hour for this stage.

Stage 4: Playing In

This stage is important to determine if you have knocked-in the bat well enough.

How:

  • At this stage, the cricket bat can be used in nets with a soft ball. If the ball contact leaves a mark on the bat, go back and repeat the knocking in process for another hour until no marks are left on the bat.

*Our services should not be considered as full preparation – you still need to work your bat in against an old ball prior to use against new hard balls.

Shop our range of Cricket bats in store and online here.

How to choose basketball shoes

Basketball can be played on many different surfaces; from synthetic indoor flooring to outdoor, concrete and asphalt. It is important that whatever basketball shoes you pick can withstand the surface that you typically play on. If you play basketball indoors, it is also worth checking if there are any rules about the type of shoe you can use on an indoor court.

In addition to the basketball court surface, the level you are playing at is another big factor to consider when purchasing basketball shoes. A casual player may opt for a better value option than a highly competitive player who plays multiple times a week. Other important aspects to consider when purchasing your new basketball sbball shoeshoes include:

  1. Cushioning and stability

Basketball requires many start­–stop movements along with quick direction changes, running and jumping. A basketball shoe that hasn’t got enough cushioning can result in strong jolts in your legs. For the sake of your joints, it is important to ensure you have a correct fitting shoe, as well as shoes with enough cushioning, stability and grip to ensure you don’t hurt yourself or jar your joints. A good quality shoe with a strong grip is perfect for basketbaIMG_20170908_155507_005ll, to ensure you don’t slip over with any sudden direction changes.

  1. Fitting

It is important to ensure the fitting of basketball shoes is perfect. Again, with the amount of movement involved in basketball it is easy to roll an ankle. One way to help prevent this is to ensure your feet are snug in your shoes, to prevent any extra movement within the shoes. This also helps to prevent blisters due to rubbing. A better fitting basketball shoe will also provide more comfort and overall support.

  1. Breathability

It is inevitable that your feet will get hot and sweat, no matter what sport you play. To reduce this effect, choose good-quality, breathable basketball sbball wallhoes. They will be more comfortable and better fitting, with less pressure on your feet.

Sportsmart stocks a range of basketball shoes from Adidas, AND1 and Nike. Visit us in store for expert advice and fitting. We offer free shipping on footwear purchases over $50 when buying online.

How to choose a basketball

So, we’ve helped you pick a basketball system…now how to pick the perfect ball. After all, you can’t play basketball without a basketball!

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When looking for a basketball, be aware that there are different sizes available for different age groups. The following is a standard basketball size guide:

  • For ages 3+ (Male & Female): Size 3
  • For ages 5-8 (Male & Female): Size 5
  • For ages 9–12 (Male Only): Size 6
  • Women aged 9+: Size 6
  • Men aged 13+: Size 7

These sizes fit consistently and comfortably across the different age groups.

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Additionally, depending on whether you are playing indoor or outdoor basketball, you may want a ball with a different texture. Outdoor balls will need to be tougher than indoor to last well on the concrete courts. Some people simply prefer the feel of one type of ball over the other, in which case it is always best to pick what feels most comfortable to you.

Sportsmart stocks a variety of basketballs from Molten, Spalding and Wilson. Visit us in store or look online to see our range.

Understanding Compression Wear

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What is the point of compression clothing?

Compression wear is the best to wear when engaging in demanding physical activity. It helps boost circulation – resulting in more oxygen being transported to the active muscles, helping to improve performance. Compression wear can also help to reduce muscle fatigue. Compression wear is lightweight, breathable and body firming, making it ideal for both low and high impact training, competition as well as recovery.

How does compression wear work?

Compression wear works through the use of strategically placed panels. These panels wrap and support the major muscles being used in physical activity. Compression wear helps to reduce vibration and fatigue in the muscles. It can also help to keep you feeling dry, as the material is designed to wick moisture away from the skin. Many high-end compression brands contain a 50+ UV protection, making it perfect to wear all year round.

How does compression wear fit?

Most compression brands determine size using the BMI index, weight and height. Compression wear should be quite tight to work effectively.

At Sportsmart we stock compression tights, tops, shorts and socks. We also offer both normal compression and thermal compression – perfect for winter.

Choose from our extensive range of Men’s, Women’s and Junior compression, from brands including 2XU, Skins, Champion Performax and Mitre.

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KID’S

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WOMEN’S

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MEN’S

What causes a stitch when exercising?

Having just completed Connor’s Run on the weekend, I experienced that all too familiar burning pain in the side of your abdomen that signals a stitch. It makes any runner want to stop in their tracks until that pain subsides. So, I decided to do some research to understand what causes this familiar pain and the best way to prevent it from happening in the first place.

What is a stitch?

Basically, a stitch occurs when there is a reduction in blood flow to the diaphragm. There is no definite reason as to why this occurs. Theories suggest it is caused by pressure from the legs on to the diaphragm from below, in addition to quick breathing putting on pressure from above, resulting in the muscle pinching and cutting off the blood and oxygen supply.

How can you prevent a stitch?

1. Stay hydrated: Ensure you are well hydrated in the 12 hours before exercising.

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2. Don’t eat too much food or sugar: Avoid large quantities of food in the 2 hours prior to exercising. Also stay away from sugary drinks and lollies.

3. Deep breaths: Most runners swear by deep, steady breathing to help avoid a stitch. If this doesn’t help, try slowing your pace and reducing intensity until the sensation subsides.

See a doctor if you experience persistent pain following exercise.

5 REASONS WHY KIDS SHOULD PLAY SPORT

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At Sportsmart, we are passionate about kids’ participation in sport. Here are some of the benefits:

  1. Sport improves physical health.
  • Participation in sport at any age promotes health and wellness. Instilling this philosophy in children is the best way to promote health and wellness not only when they are young but for the rest of their lives. Learning these habits as a kid makes it easier to maintain as we get older.
  1. Sport increases self-esteem and confidence.
  • Playing sport helps to establish a healthy self-esteem and can boost confidence. Seeing the results of practice pay off on match days, and the positive reinforcement and encouragement from parents, coaches and teammates, will improve a child’s self-esteem and confidence in their abilities.
  1. Sport encourages teamwork, communication and leadership skills.
  • Team sports require teamwork, communication and leadership: three important criteria that an adult is required to be able to demonstrate when going for any job. Learning these skills as a child provides a great base for future success.
  1. Sport is a good way to relieve stress.
  • Physical activity produces endorphins, which make you happy. Sport is a great outlet for stress relief, and to reduce the effects of negative emotions.
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  • The biggest reason for kids to engage in sport is simply because it is FUN! So get out there and get your children involved in sport!

Benefits of using an Elliptical machine

Ellipticals are becoming increasingly popular as the gym equipment of choice for many. When it comes to your workout, how do ellipticals differ from treadmills?

  1. Less impact on the joints

In comparison to running (high-impact), an elliptical is a lot softer on your joints (impact free), making it the perfect exercise machine if you have joint problems. The low impact exercise also helps with recovery times.

  1. Works the whole body

The arm motion on an elliptical machine gives a quality upper body workout while simultaneously providing a lower body workout and an overall cardiovascular workout. The elliptical saves you time by working all these muscle groups at once.

  1. Increase your cardio fitness

The elliptical machine is believed to be one of the most effective machines for increasing cardiovascular fitness. Improved cardiovascular health leads to other benefits such as better quality sleep, increased alertness, and faster metabolism.

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If you want to work out at home this winter, investing in an elliptical machine is a great option. Check out our range of Ellipticals in-store and online NOW.