In today’s day and age, sports equipment has never been more accessible! Just a quick search online will reveal an enormity of websites offering all the latest fitness gear, sports equipment (even for the most technical of sports!), as well as information on the right sports equipment to suit your ability level in your chosen discipline.
For example, in a sport, such as a tennis, TheTennisBros.com, offer hundreds of reviews of tennis rackets and even consultancy services to find the right tennis racket to suit your level of tennis, physicality, and even budget!
There’s certainly never been a better time to be involved in sport, but does having all the latest sports equipment and gear really make a difference to your performance? How important is it?
The article will deal with the key factors that help determine this answer, and, ultimately, help you evaluate your budget and how deeply you want to dive into all the technical equipment in your sport.
Equipment To Suit Ability Level
In a sport like a golf, there are literally thousands of different types of clubs out there with varying price tags – some cheap and some astronomically high! However, what is most interesting about this is that the clubs are all marketed towards a certain ability level. Those of you reading this who have no interest in golf, please stay tuned! There is a huge amount to learn from this example scenario!
For instance, manufacturers will steer beginning or high handicap golfers towards irons with large, chunky heads. The reason being, because the large head offers an oversized sweetspot for forgiveness of any off-centre ball strikes that the novice golfer will almost certainly incur. Additionally, the larger than average head sizes offer enhanced power, since the beginner golfer hasn’t yet developed the necessary technical skill set to tap into huge distance on their shots.
By contrast, an advanced or low handicap golfer has ample technique and power available. They time the ball very well, almost every time, so do not need a set of golf clubs that offer lots of forgiveness for off-centre ball strikes. Instead, what they crave is CONTROL. However, in order to access control in its truest form, the golf club needs to be built in the opposite way to the example in the previous paragraph. Advanced golfers will use a thin, “blade” golf iron, it order for them to be able to shape their shots better. This type of club will provide a less “pingy” and distance-orientated response, than the above, oversized irons example, and offer better precision.
If either of these golfers were to swap clubs, they would experience a huge drop off in their respective games! Therefore, in a very technically orientated sports, the equipment does play a huge role in the development in a player. This is why sports such as these are often less accessible and less budget friendly than a sport like swimming!
Technical Vs Natural
The golf example can teach us a lot about the value of sports equipment. However, golf is, indeed, a very technical sport by nature. But is this still relevant for a more purist, natural sport like athletics?
Yes and no.
Let’s imagine you are a 100m sprinter. Racing in a pair of quality running spikes in comparison to an old pair of trainers, is certainly going to win you more races – especially in an event like sprinting, where medals are won by the finest of margins!
However, using last year’s running spikes instead of the latest pair that were released last week… the difference would be less than minimal… even non-existent. Often, the big companies just employ clever marketing tactics to make you FEEL like you need the latest equipment.
So, is good sports equipment really that important? It certainly can be! This very much depends on how technical the sport is, and also, your ability level within that sport. However, it’s important not to become overly obsessed with equipment and overspend, as in almost every sport, diminishing return from equipment often sets in much sooner than you think!