Great Christmas Items For Your Favorite Athlete - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/14/05

Great Christmas Items For Your Favorite Athlete

With just 10 shopping days left until Christmas, the pressure to find those perfect gifts is mounting, especially if your loved one is a sports fan. We've sifted through the volumes of gift ideas and have narrowed it down to a few of the hottest selling items, in a variety of price ranges, that are sure to put a smile on all of your athlete's faces christmas morning.

Athletic shoes are a multi-billion dollar industry, and Racquet & Jog in Tyler sells a lot of them. But there's no hesitation when it comes to identifying this years most popular one... The Nike Shox.

"We sell more Shox then probably any of the other shoes," said Racquet & Jog's Matt Pollard.  "You can't go wrong. They're going to have a smile on their face."

The unique looking shoe sells for $99 to $150. But if it's a serious runner on your list, the Asics Kayano is the must have, retailing for $126. And with apologies to all the Aggies fans out there, Racquet & Jog says, when it comes to sports apparel, everything Texas Longhorns is gold right now, or at least burnt orange.  You can find all of these items at your favorite sporting goods or shoe store. 

Randy Stuart of Golf Connection in Tyler knows exactly what the duffers on your list want. The must-have club of the season, is the Nike Sasquatch Driver, a $300 technological breakthrough that has taken the golf world by storm, making the club head as long as it is wide.

"Nobody has done that until now," said Stuart.  "When you take a driver and you take distance and add straightness to it. It's been a pretty hot item."

A less expensive option but equally sought after product is the new hybrid club, which has the face of an iron and the body of a small wood.  The goal is to make your long irons easier to hit. The hybrids range in price from $50 to $200. And for the golfer who has everything, the grand daddy gift of them all is the P3 Pro-Swing Golf System.  Connect the swing analyzing mat and software to your computer, and you'll be playing a round of golf with Tiger Woods himself.

"For $848, it makes virtual reality more of a reality then dreaming of having something of this that normally would cost $40,000 or $50,000," said Stuart.

The golf items can be found at your favorite golf store.

If baseball or softball are more your speed, you can't go wrong with the popular Hit-A-Way for $30, or the brand new product called Zip-N-Hit, which acts like a portable batting cage, zipping a ball down two chords at a batter. SFA's softball team, among others, has begun using it as a training device. The Zip-N-Hit is $20.  Or how about the R-Z Trainer, a football on a bungy chord tied to your waste, to practice throwing and catching by yourself, without having to run after the ball. That's $27. The Star Kick is similar, but for your soccer player, helping work on passing and settling, and retailing for about $13.

But the product receiving some of the biggest buzz this holiday season involves a sport you've probably never heard of.

"It looks like a squash racket but it's short like a racquetball racket," said Tyler Tennis & Swim tennis pro Stephen Villanueva, who we enlisted to test the game Speedminton.  It's a high-energy, addictive game combining the best dimensions of tennis, badminton and racquetball. And for $30, the pros gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.

"I think it's definitely something in the spring months you can get out there and really have some fun with," said Villanueva.

Check your favorite sporting goods store for these items.  Otherwise, you can find them online at www.amazon.com, or straight from the manufacturer at www.properformancesports.com.

Of course, if you still haven't seen anything that works for your sports fan, a couple of quick and easy gifts that can never go wrong, especially for all the fisherman and hunters out there, are the Swiss Army Knife, starting at $10, or the Leatherman, multi-tool, starting at $30.  Classics that never go out of style, and can be found everywhere.

Kevin Berns reporting.
kberns@kltv.com

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