When it comes to sharpening your skills on the soccer field, few training accessories can rival the rebounder. These training aids are designed similarly to a soccer goal, but instead of merely receiving the kicked ball, their spring or bungee-loaded netting reacts and returns it. This reaction allows you to practice your shooting power, accuracy, placement and speed without the need of a partner or constant ball retrieval. Rebounders can also be used to practice passing and receiving skills thanks to multiple angles of ball return. Even goalkeepers can benefit from training with these structures by working on their footwork, throwing and diving.
To make sure that you have the best rebounder for your soccer needs, you’ll want to consider the size, frame, netting and bungee or spring setup used.
Rebounders can come in a variety of sizes depending on the needs and wants of each player. When making a sizing decision, think about two things: your age and which aspect of the game you want to focus your training.
A small rebounder might be great for accuracy, but an older player’s kicking power might be too much to handle and would constantly knock the structure over. Also consider how portable you would like your rebounder to be. While some models feature quick breakdown designs, smaller nets are going to be more portable than larger ones.
The frame of your rebounder should be strong, sturdy and able to withstand kick after kick. Plastic and fiberglass rebounders are available and have notable qualities, such as their lightweight design and flexibility, but because of their lack of weight they can easily tip over. Plastic and fiberglass rebounders are still a great option for children and for low impact kicks.
A majority of rebounders that you’ll find are made of a metal material, most likely aluminum or steel. The metal framing creates a sturdier base that is better suited to withstand a variety of kick strengths. With metal rebounders, you’re more capable of testing and training your kicking power.
Look for rebounders featuring rounded tubing for framing and an all-weather coating. The rounded structures can be easier on the soccer ball and can prevent potential pops or ruptures. The all-weather coating is a nice addition because it helps the materials withstand the elements and keeps them from rusting or degrading.
Lastly, the frame of your rebounder does not have to strictly be a T-shape. To mix up the return paths of your kicked ball, try searching for rebounders with different angles or adjustable components. Creating a variety of angles can help better prepare you for action on the pitch, as not every pass or kick is going to come directly back at you.
PRO TIP: To help lessen the chances of your rebounder falling over, secure the base with field stakes or weights. These can help keep the structure upright during training.
Another quality to consider is the rebounder’s netting. Look for netting that features all-weather qualities with a small, tight knit. Similar to your frame, the all-weather netting will be better at withstanding the occasional rainstorm, while the tight weave is meant to create a better reaction and allow for training with smaller soccer balls.
You should also look at the rebounding material. Most structures will either feature a bungee cord or spring to provide tension to the netting, thus creating the rebounding qualities. While both offer quality responsiveness, springs will be more efficient as they can better withstand weather conditions. Bungee cords can become brittle when exposed to harsh elements and can lose their elasticity easier and more quickly. Both bungee cords and springs are easily replaceable, though, so the decision to go with either depends on your needs and wants.
If you are looking to tackle multiple training exercises in an afternoon, the less equipment needed the better. There are some rebounders available that can double as soccer goals, making them ideal for these types of sessions.
With multi-purpose rebounders, the rebound net is stretched across the face of the goal and attached with either bungees or springs. The net has multiple openings cut into it to allow the soccer ball to pass through with ease. These openings allow for accuracy drills and scoring reps, while the rebound net efficiently returns any errant kick or shot.
Rebounders can be a fantastic tool for all players. Their versatility and performance offer a number of opportunities for players to better themselves on the pitch. Follow these guidelines when making a purchase so that you can begin putting in the reps to train for that championship season.