• Play Like a Champion

Fun Christmas Gift Ideas for the Athlete, Coach or Fan in Your Life

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

The last thing the internet needs is another list of Christmas gift we created one anyway.

Here at Play Like a Champion, we're big fans of all things sports. So naturally, when it comes times to send our Christmas lists to the North Pole, they're filled with sports related items. With a week to go before Christmas, we thought we'd have some fun and help out any last minute shoppers by sharing some of our favorite gift ideas from 2018 for the coach, athlete or fan in your life. With one notable exception, we have no affiliation with any of the companies or items below, other than having seen them, used them, or generally thought they were cool.

For the Reader

There were a few books released in 2018 that would make a great addition to the bookshelf of any coach or athlete. Endure is author Alex Hutchinson's bestseller on the limits of human performance and one of our favorites this year. You don't have to be an endurance athlete to learn from this fascinating book, which discusses a myriad of topics relevant to anyone looking to better their own performance or that of their athletes. Along the same lines, Habits of a Champion is a brand new book by Dana Cavalea, who spent 12 years as a coach for the New York Yankees and uses anecdotes from a career in high performance coaching to give the reader plenty of useful tips for sports and life in an easy to read format. Plan ahead, as Cavalea will be a speaker at the 2019 Play Like a Champion Sports Leadership Conference - and while tickets aren't yet on-sale for that, they'll make a great gift soon.

Although not specifically a sports book, Daniel Coyle's The Culture Code is a must read for leaders in all fields and uses research from teams like the San Antonio Spurs to shed light on how a great culture is developed. It's a fantastic read for any coach or athlete.

At the top of the bestseller list, Tiger Woods is a deep dive into the life of its enigmatic subject, as journalists Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian profile Woods' journey from child prodigy to one of the greatest athletes of all-time. From his personal and athletic development to the building of a global brand, this exhaustive biography considers how family influences and those closest to Woods impacted his meteoric rise and stunning fall from grace. For the fan, coach/administrator, or anyone interested in the idea of greatness - and the costs associated with a life lived in its pursuit - it's a fascinating read.

For the Office or Home Entertainment Area

Photo courtesy NorthwestGifts

Looking for a unique gift to liven up the walls of your favorite coach's office or home? We think these items are pretty cool. Ballpark Blueprints has framed blueprints of iconic college football stadiums, as well as stadiums and arenas from professional sports around the world. If you're looking for some thing a little more personal, consider these Personalized Vintage Coach Signs. The same company also has a variety of other vintage and pub-style signs.

For the Athlete

Whether heading to the gym, the weight room or out for a run, a good pair of headphones can help the athlete get through a demanding workout. This author has been a fan of Jaybird's headphones for years, with the latest X4 wireless headphones a current favorite (their release also means previous models can be found at a discount). The headphones are light and comfortable while providing a reliable Bluetooth connection and good sound.

Fitness trackers and watches seem to be among the most popular gadgets this year, with Garmin's Forerunner Series widely considered the best on the market for athletic performance. These range in price depending on what you need - from simple distance tracking to a wrist-sized personal trainer that monitors your vital signs. If those options leave you with sticker shock, Fitbit makes a wide range of excellent trackers and watches as well.

Need more ideas? Foam rollers are a great and inexpensive tool for keeping athletes healthy and pain-free. Know a runner in need of new shoes? We've used a number of different running shoes and find those from Hoka One One and Brooks to be among the best in nearly every category. We're also intrigued by Under Armour's HOVR, which might be the future of athletic shoes: they connect to your phone to provide tracking data while you move.

For the Golfer

For the family member or friend who would rather be on a golf course somewhere, the PuttOUT allows them to take the putting green just about anywhere. It's a unique device that forces the golfer to hit putts just right - those too strong or weak will roll back to the putter.

For the College Sports Fan

We're big fans of college sports. Naturally, we thought these vintage football jerseys were all kinds of cool. You can also represent your favorite school and keep your favorite drink hot (or cold) with one of these custom Yeti mugs. Of course, we think you should just scroll down to the Play Like a Champion Today logo. While you're at it, visit the official Play Like a Champion Today shop to find clothes, bags and more with your favorite motivational phrase.

For the Pet Lover

Finally, we thought this was fun. For the pet that needs to sleep while supporting his or her favorite team, the folks at Nap Cap have you covered. These over-sized ball caps provide a comfortable spot for man's best friend to rest and come in a variety of teams. Looking for something a little less expensive? The company also makes hat shaped chew-toys.

Of course, Christmas isn't about the gifts under the tree but rather about the celebration of the holiday and the people you spend it with. Wherever this Christmas takes you, we hope you have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Editor's Note: The Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series does not officially endorse nor are we affiliated with any of the companies or products linked above, with the exception of the Play Like a Champion Today shop, which is owned and operated by Play Like a Champion Today, Inc, a business partner of the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series.

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