“ Manufacturer: TP / Type: Outdoor Play Equipment „
This time of year, the outdoor sports businesses start to reap a bit more profit as the weather supposedly improves, the cricket and outdoor tennis seasons start and people start with renewed vigour to promise themselves some more outdoor exercise and a tan. Parents decide to get their kids involved in more exercise and competitive sports and this inevitably brings out the keen intent to get them training in the back garden.
Sadly, we don't have a garden but when I play cricket in the summer we try and get as much practice in as possible and this often involves incorporating as much fun into proceedings as possible. A lot of the kit we have is old and frayed, but we try and make things last and take the occasional bit of delight in a piece of equipment we have battered for a couple of years but is still going strong.
Intended to be for kids but equally effective for adults is this little spring based toy, ideal for catching practice or just to get your hands and arms warmed up and seasoned. Catching a tennis ball is one thing, but catching a cricket ball hurtling towards you is a bit more than your hands may be used to on a regular basis, so getting your hands used to the feel of a ball coming at you hard and fast is not something anyone particularly 'enjoys' practicing. This clever little toy retails for just over £30, although I don't know how much we acquired it for. We don't always use it with cricket balls as despite its durability we're not entirely sure that it was designed for adults hurling cricket balls at it, more for kids to throw slightly lighter balls at it, so we don't push it to its limits......well not all the time!
Essentially, it's a net that sits at an angle on a metal frame, the two parts held together by a series of elastic tags running round the outside. The frame is very sturdy, and heavy enough to maintain its position with the occasional hard throw. Some balance based objects can easily topple with excess force, but adults having kid moments and blasting the occasional ball at this at a random angle from 30 yards away for the entertainment of physics is not beyond the majority of us, and its balance has been well tested.
The wear and tear you'd expect does happen. Misplaced throws ding off the frame, the elastic at the sides gets hit, and the occasional tearing ball can slip through the gaps where the net and frame are linked. I suppose this does seem like an annoyance or even a weak area in design, but the gap is inevitable with the elastic content of the rebounder. All it means it that you have to be a bit more accurate - it's good for practicing your aim!
We do however make sure that we practice with various other balls, mainly tennis balls, and this has a similarly good effect. The springy nature is much better and more pronounced with the heavier cricket ball, but you do feel every time you throw it that it could split and that the ball may be too much for it. The netting has frayed in parts and I can see that it would only be a matter of time before some permanent damage happens that is irreversible. This hasn't happened yet, but we can see the occasional elastic tie and piece of netting looking like they may not last much longer.
It's durable and fun. I can imagine that kids would have a field day with this - it's good to play with someone else or on your own, and as long as you keep it stored away from the elements when not using it to preserve it and not get water damage, then it should last a long time. We use it and push it to its limits far more than kids probably would and it stands up to the usage, so I can imagine its durability is easily enough for kids' use. Recommended.
The ideal way to improve catching as well as target practice with two different positions to suit different ages and abilities. With an easy to assemble, robust steel frame that is ideal for one or two players. Age range: From 3 years.