The 10 Best Soccer Rebounders
10. Franklin Sports Tournament
9. Trigon Sports
8. Crazy Catch Wild Child
7. EZGoal Multi-Sport
6. Kwik AFR-1
5. Soccer Wave Jr.
4. Tekk TA-01
2. SKLZ Quickster
1. Goalrilla Striker
What A Pass!
They say that a pass is only as good as the person receiving it, and that goes for everything from soccer to basketball and hockey. It doesn't make a lot of sense in golf, or bowling, but who needs those sports, anyway? The point is that the best players in the world–and we're talking about soccer here–can take the worst passes and make something magical out of them.
In order to train yourself to receive passes, the best thing you can possibly have at your disposal is another player. Whether that player is better or worse than you is somewhat immaterial, as a bad player can certainly help you learn how to receive a bad pass and a good player can make bad passes to you on purpose.
The problem arises when you have to practice receiving passes alone, when there's no one around who can deliver you the ball. In cases like these, you could wing your ball against a set of steps or the wall of a building, and there will be a decent kickback and return to you. When you do that, though, it absolutely tears your ball to shreds, as the roughness of those materials scratches and scuffs the soft, sensitive ball.
A soccer rebounder, on the other hand, uses soft elastic netting strung tightly into a large frame to receive and return your ball. In addition to the springy quality of the netting, some rebounders employ springs around the edges of the frame to increase the energy return. Either way, you get more power in the ball coming back to you thanks to a little cornerstone of physics.
Essentially, any action results in an equal and opposite reaction. That's Newton's third law. When you kick a soccer ball, you fill it with energy that takes it through the air. When that ball hits a brick wall, the ball compresses and loses the bulk of its energy. Even more of the energy is absorbed into the wall.
When that same ball hits a rebounder, however, the softness of the net and its trampoline-like motion allow the ball to retain both its shape and, by extension, the bulk of its energy. That same springy netting, and in some cases additional springs, absorb and return that energy into the ball as the net regains its original shape.
How Will You Train?
Choosing from among the soccer rebounders on our list is going to come down to the person or persons in training, and to what particular set of skills they wish to hone. Some of the rebounders on our list are designed for multiple training purposes, while others work more simply to return your balls as passes.
If you need to work on your accuracy as much as your pass reception, it may be a good idea to shoot for a rebounder that more closely resembles the size and shape of a goal. Even if the size isn't quite there, the ability to train toward picking out and hitting corners is invaluable, and the time saved by having the ball returned to you by the net itself will only increase your training's yield.
The other advantage to having a rebounder that's roughly the size and shape of a soccer goal is that, in the event that you do gather up a few like-minded soccer pals, you can actually have a little scrimmage with a real goal. That means less gear to keep stored as you improve.
Size, however, has its complications in the other direction as well. If the space that you have to train is on the smaller side, like a compact backyard, for example, a smaller rebounder may be necessary. Fear not; these have just as much to teach you about the beautiful game as anything else.
While the pitch may be enormous, and while a lot of the game is played across pretty long distances, the most important parts of an attack almost always occur in tight spaces. If you can train yourself to work well at sending and receiving passes in tight quarters, the opens spaces will seem that much more open, and you can become a lethal forward.
Hands-free For Ages
Soccer, or fútbol, as it's known anywhere that uses the metric system, has its roots in a number of ancient games, most of which involved a ball that players could manipulate with any part of their body except for the hands.
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, which is the governing body of international soccer, officially recognizes an ancient Chinese sport from the Han Dynasty called Tsu'Chu as the first form of soccer to utilize a codified rules system. I find no small irony that the game of football originated in a land where foot binding was so prevalent for so many centuries, but that's history for you.
More recently, after the game developed through Europe into a kind of mob sport in which everyone vied violently for possession of the ball, public schools in England throughout the 16th century began to regulate the game into something we might recognize as today's sport.
The first dedicated, competitive clubs for soccer cropped up in the 18th century, and by the 20th century, several elements of the technology to create a kind of ball return system were already in place. These included things like the soccer goal itself, the baseball backstop, and a system for returning balls to a single table tennis player. In 1976, citing these and other inventions, Fred R. Daffer Jr. patented the first soccer practice net with a removable rebounder.