When it comes to getting some training in on your own, all you really need is a ball and a wall. But, for those that want to add an extra dynamic, you should definitely have a rebounder. There are many on the market to choose from right now, but one of the highest rated is the SKLZ Quickster Soccer Trainer rebounder. It has a lot going on and offers the opportunity to really work on multi-touch skill.
So, to really test the hype, see what benefits it has to offer, and check out the overall value we picked one up!
Getting It Set-Up
First thing to note is that you are going to have to pull out your engineering skills to get this one together. Thankfully, the instructions are super easy to follow and the pieces are pretty obvious. It took around 15 minutes to complete the process from unboxing to complete set-up. Do, however, set it up close to where it will be used as the dual purpose rebounder is wide. If you construct it indoors, you’ll find it tough to get it through a doorframe without taking some pieces off!
One of the key features to this one is the fact you get to use both sides of the rebounder, with different performance training on offer. Why I found this to be even more useful is you can have two players working on their game at one time. One the main side, you have an angled net the produces a wave like effect, where the ball is supposed to run up the net and spring back off the top. In order to achieve this, you do need to work on the fundamentals of controlling a pass toward the base of the net. If you can master that, it will rebound and you get the opportunity to work on improving first control. The only negative is the fact you will continually be close to the rebounder. The spring back is dynamic, but the net is not taut enough to send the ball several feet from the rebounder. Of course, the harder you kick the ball the further back it will shoot off the net, but don’t expect that to be 15 feet away.
On the other side you get to work on low, quick passes. This is perfect as part of a warm-up where you need to work on shifting your feet and getting quick touches on the ball. Because the net is angled in toward the center of the rebounder, there is no chance of the ball shooting upward through the drill.
How Does It Stay In Place?
With the order of a rebounder, you get four large lock-down pegs for natural FG surfaces. They do the job really well thanks to some super large teeth that you can push down into the surface. If you play in super dry conditions or on an HG surface, you might have some issues getting them locked in. If you play on AG surfaces, you won’t be able to use the pegs and will need some additional weights that SKLZ sell.
Can you use the rebounder without pegs or weights? You can try, but ultimately the rebounder is going to shift and move about as you strike hard balls towards it. You really need to lock it down in order to get the most out of it.
This is a well built product, with high quality materials throughout. The construction includes two high tension rods that bend to create a tight fit without locking the net. It is the toughest area of the product to piece together, but that makes complete sense given its role. As a result, there is also some give in the net as you hit it. So rather than whacking a high tension net with a ball and tearing the fabric, there is stretch that helps overall durability. SKLZ also use a stretch fabric between the net and its connection with the bars. On the end of this fabric there are hooks that attach and keep things in place. I did notice that these detached from time to time, but it was simply a case of rehooking them. As it stands, and after maybe a month of use, I’ve no areas of concern in regards to durability!
Is It Worth The Money?
With a retail around $100, a lot of you are going to want to know what you are getting before you purchase. I’m a big fan of using rebounders, especially in situations where you are looking to get some additional training in on your own. Given the fact I’ve played pro and have a pretty decent first touch, my only use for it is as a warm-up product, where I can get a large number of sharp touches and foot movements in quickly. For players who are developing and trying to work on their game, it becomes a much more invaluable training aid. Being able to use a dynamic system that produces unpredictable spring-back is the perfect way to work on getting your body into position while controlling the ball in the process. It becomes a solid training tool that can serve a purpose for any young players from ages between 10 and 16.
Add to that the fact that this has two sides for multiple use and it gives it some extra value. I would recommend it as a top quality rebounder that is worth checking out and adding as part of a training regime.
Final, Important Tip
If you are using this, or coaching someone to use it, make sure to emphasize the need for quick feet after kicking the ball. All too often players will simply kick the ball and wait for it to spring back. Come game time, you need to be on your toes and in anticipation of the ball coming at speed. Take the opportunity to train like you are in a game time situation. Bounce on your toes and shift quickly as the ball comes back toward you. The goal is to take control of the ball in the most limitless way. It should never bounce away from you and you should not need more than a second after controlling to reset and replay a pass. To get the most out of it, you will need to put some work in!