It’s that time again – back-to-school – which means loading up on all of the basics, from a new laptop and smartphone, to pens, notebooks, and a stylish backpack.
For the student athlete, however, there’s an additional list of gear you’ll need, and some cool tech items that might also come in handy to help ensure your game is always on point.
1.A good pair of headphones
Whether you’re on the football team, play tennis, or swim, chances are part of your school routine will include working out to stay in shape. And music is always a good motivator. There are plenty of earbuds designed specifically for active individuals, with features like tangle-free cables and sweat-resistant designs. The Urbanears Reimers on-ear Bluetooth headphones ($65), for example, have a reflective cable for running at night, and are sweat-resistant; whilethe Bose SoundSport in-ear wireless headphones ($99.99) are also sweat-resistant, and have StayHear tips so they remain secure during vigorous movement.
Or, consider going wireless, a trend that is becoming more and more common among athletes. If you truly want to go without wires, look at the new Samsung Gear IconX ($279.99), which don’t wrap around the back of your head, or have tiny wires that bring the earbuds
up to your ears from around the neck and shoulders. Instead, they simply pop right into your ears, and stay there. No wires at all. They are compatible with Android 4.4+ devices, and also include built-in activity tracking, heart rate monitor (captured through the ears), and 4GB memory for music. A Voice Guide even provides feedback on your workout progress.
2.Activity tracker/fitness band
Keeping track of one’s fitness is important to any athlete. And students on a budget will be seeking out an activity tracker that’s affordable, but still includes the desired features. The Fitbit Flex ($129.95) fits the bill, as it’s simple in both function and design, as well as affordable.
But it also includes all of the essential features an athlete might need, like activity tracking, progress display, and charts and graphs within the app to analyze your performance. Plus, the new Sleep dashboard in the latest app update will remind fitness fanatics when it’s time to put the books away and get some shut-eye so they’re in top form for the early-morning training, game, or workout session. And the silent alarm will help them wake up on time.
More intense athletes might be willing to fork over a few extra bucks (or hope for a gift!) of a device like the $399.99 Polar M600 Sports Watch, which provides wrist-based heart rate measurement, and has features like integrated GPS and Polar Smart Coaching through the Polar App. Powered by Android Wear, it can also play back music from its own 4GB of internal storage, or sync through Google Play, and listen without a smartphone.
Swimmers will appreciate one like the Misfit Speedo Shine 2 ($120), which has features specific to swimming, like proprietary lap counting algorithms, and a vibration motor and lights to indicate progress. And, of course, it is fully water-resistant, up to 50 metres.
As an all-in-one option, the Samsung Gear Fit2 (available Q3; pricing TBA) comes with an integrated GPS tracker,
heart rate monitor, and 4GB of memory to function as a standalone music player. It’s water- and dust-resistant, and has a 1.5” curved AMOLED screen that can be used both to monitor fitness activities as well as see notifications from a connected phone.
3.Specific sports tracking
A device like the Zepp multi-sport sensor ($150) can come in handy for helping to perfect things like one’s softball swing. Place it on the baseball bat, and it will analyze your swings and provide real-time feedback and customized reports to help you improve. It’s great for solo practice time before the big game.
Fitness is fashion. And finding tech gear that can not only help you train, but also make you look good, is an added bonus. The FlipBelt ($40), for example, is worn around your waist, and can hold essentials like a smartphone, keys, cash, and ID while you head out to run laps around the track before practice. Since it’s a continuous pocket, items can be placed at the front, or near the back, allowing you to fit more, without having any bulk, or things bouncing around.