Archive for the ‘Tennis Racquets’ Category

A Guide to Less Arm Pain

August 23, 2010

So You Have Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, commonly shorted to TE, has been a plague that has beset the tennis nation more and more. Increasing numbers of players complain of this pain that seems to come from around the elbow. “It hurts,” says one. “After I play tennis, I need copious amounts of ice,” complains another. What can you do?

First of all, if you’ve been having serious pain for any serious length of time (one week or more), stop and put away your rackets. Playing while injured in ANY sport is not a good thing. Tennis is no different. If you’ve been suffering from tennis elbow consistently, STOP. Let your arm heal. The only way to do that is to STOP HITTING. It’s not pleasant and you may miss the sport, but do your arm and your body a favor. Take a month long break.

Fact of the matter is, technique is the NUMBER ONE CONTRIBUTOR to tennis elbow. If you have shoddy technique, you are a very likely candidate for tennis elbow. Stopping the racket mid swing, not swinging out, hitting too close to the body, arming the ball, etc are all indicative of poor technique that can lead to arm pain. After taking a break, see the nearest pro and have them critique your technique.

So now you’ve been to your local pro and he tells you that your technique is fine. After giving you a pointer or two on how to better hit that pesky inside out forehand approach into the corner, you come onto the court the following day… and continue to have arm pain! The next things for you to look at are your strings. Are you using polyester strings? Are you using kevlar strings? If the answer is YES to either of these, get rid of them! Polyester and kevlar strings are stiff and a major contributor to tennis elbow. If you absolutely INSIST on keeping polyester in your frame (and you really shouldn’t), then switch to an arm friendly polyester. Something like Babolat Pro Hurricane, Pro Supex Big Ace, Genesis Black Magic, etc. A much better and more arm friendly option is to switch to either a synthetic gut (if your wallet has been taking a pounding), a multifilament, or a natural gut (if you care to splurge). These much softer options are far more arm friendly. The best string if you have tennis elbow is natural gut (a particularly soft and comfortable one is Pacific Prime, although even the cheapest/worst gut is better than any multi in terms of elbow friendliness). Natural gut is the most comfortable, the least stiff, the absolutely best string for anybody suffering from arm pain. If you can’t afford a full bed of natural gut, consider a hybrid of natural gut and synthetic gut. The natural gut in the mains will contribute most of the feel and softness and arm friendliness of the gut, while the synthetic in the crosses sharply decreases the overall cost of the string bed.  If this hybrid stuff confuses you, just remember this: natural is good.  The more natural, the better.

Next, what tension are you stringing your strings at? If you’re one of THOSE people that strings Luxilon Alu Rough at 75 pounds in your Pure Drive and wonders why your arm is in a sling… STOP! Unless you have arms of steel, do not string Luxilon in the 70’s! The lower the tension, the better off your arm is. Lower tensions absorb more of the impact from the ball hitting the strings, and less power/shock is transferred to your arm. A good starting point for anybody suffering from mild arm pain/discomfort is to lower your tension by 3 pounds. If that’s not enough, try lowering 2 more pounds. If that’s still not enough, then you need to switch strings.

Grip size is rarely mentioned as a contributor to tennis elbow, but it is a contributor nevertheless. Try to avoid playing with anything too small, as the twisting of the racket in your hands doesn’t make your arm happy. Playing with something too big may strain your hand too much and you may not be able to hold onto the racket properly, again damaging your elbow. Don’t be stupid and try to emulate the pros with their smaller grip sizes. They’re pros and they’re able to generate massive amounts of speed that makes the twisting of the racket much less of an issue. Unless you can generate headspeed like Nadal, don’t imitate him by using an overly small grip.

Next on the chopping block is your racket. There are some rackets that are simply menaces. That’s not to say that they’re not great rackets for some people. However, rackets that are overly stiff and overly light kill the arms. Light rackets aren’t good for the simple reason that the lighter the racket, the greater the impulse that is transmitted to your arm. Brining elementary physics into the picture, the momentum of the ball has to go somewhere. That “somewhere” is dependent upon mass. If you’ve got a feather for a racket, then virtually all of that momentum goes straight up your arm. Stiff rackets are likewise horrible for your arm. The stiffer a racket, the greater the shock that is transmitted through the racket into your arm. The more flexible, the less. Thus, rackets that extremely light and extremely stiff should be avoided at all costs. Other rackets that are often cited for causing arm problems include the Babolat Pure Drive, Babolat Aero Pro Drives, Head Extremes, Wilson 6.1 95’s, and others. If you’ve made sure your technique is good, your strings are soft, your tension is low and your grip size is right for you and you’re STILL having arm pain, it’s time to switch. Switch to something that’s flexible, and preferably somewhat hefty. Good advice with regards to weight is to use something that’s as heavy as you can handle. Prokennex makes excellent rackets that are extremely arm friendly. Find something that catches your eye and try it out! Another racket/family of rackets that is very arm friendly is the V1 line by Volkl/Becker. Both the MP and OS versions are excellent arm friendly rackets that provide some nice oomph.

Tennis elbow is something that’s extremely unpleasant. It’s also something that doesn’t necessarily reflect the immediate. If you used to play with something extremely stiff a few months ago but then switched, pain might not manifest for a few months. Keep this in mind when your arm starts to hurt. Take a while off, and then find what exactly it is that is causing you arm pain.


School v. Athletics: the balance to greatness

April 13, 2010


I have been working as a high performance tennis coach for the past six years and the biggest challenge when working with high level players is to create the same sense of urgency to be successful in the sport they are pursuing as they put into their education.

In the United States, education is required; every child is expected to start school in kindergarten or first grade and continue to go until they graduate from high school 12 years later. In addition to education, an emphasis is placed on other cultural enhancements, choir, playing an instrument, or debate team. On the other hand, sports and athletics are a leisure activity, participated in to round out the transcript or to teach a child “life lessons.” What parents need to understand is, if they want their child to succeed in their athletic career, the same level of commitment needs to be placed on practice, competition, and sports related homework, as is placed on education and cultural activities.


Parents will take great pride in their child’s attendance record and deans list awards at school, but think nothing of canceling a tennis lesson because their child has a play date, an important test, or the parent has something else on their schedule. This is problematic for a couple reasons. First, being that parents will cancel that tennis lesson but then put the same level of pressure on the child to succeed when in competition. Secondly, the child will not put the same level of effort into achieving success on the athletic field as they do in an academic setting.


The second reason is the area that I find most troubling. Many times I will ask a kid to tell me their effort level on a scale of 1-10 or what percentage out of 100 they are trying. To often the answer is 5 out of 10 or under 100%. How is it possible for a child to expect success when they are only trying to succeed half of their max level?    

This mentality by parents creates distorted expectations and an unfair level of pressure on the children. A disconnect is created when the level of commitment is not the same for athletics as it is for school. Children are shown that it is not as important to maintain their level of focus and commitment in sport but they are then expected to excel nonetheless.

Most parents expect their children to receive A’s in school, and insure they are doing their homework and study for their tests. In the same breath, they expect their children to excel in sports but don’t make sure they stretch before working out, ice after, or allow them to work out at all. This mentality is one of the major factors limiting American.     

Pro Supex Nano Energy Tennis Racquet

Along the same lines, parents need to create a support system with their children to ensure success. A parent would never think of sending their child to school without the proper school books, but they would send them to practice without the correct racquet. A parent would make sure a child struggling academically would receive a tutor; a struggling athlete may be expected to perform without additional help.

While I understand academics are considered the most important thing as a child. I was home schooled and feel that athletics were just as much a part of my education as book learning. I believe they way to well rounded children is excellence in all areas of life.

Pro Supex Dynamic Energy and Babolat Aero Pro Drive

March 19, 2010

I’ve owned a Pro Supex Dynamic Energy for about a year now, and I must say that I’m a fan. It’s a good racket, one that provides excellent access to spin, isn’t string sensitive at all (meaning that whatever string I throw in the racket usually feels pretty good), gives me with a bit of extra oomph on the days when I’m not feeling it, and is just an all around great frame. It’s not my preferred weapon on the courts, but I do enjoy the racket.

Today, I finally got the opportunity to try out the Babolat Aero Pro Drive Cortex (APDC), the racket upon which the Dynamic Energy is based, and is reputed to play very similarly to. The Dynamic Energy was a 4 ½ with a Prince calfskin leather grip and a Slazenger overgrip. The Babolat APDC on the other hand was completely stock, down to the Syntec grip. The Dynamic Energy weighed in at around 12 ounces, while the Babolat around 11 ounces. The following are my observations:

Power: There is no doubt in my mind that the APDC is more powerful. It provides more oomph off the ground and on the serve. I hit the hardest serves I’ve ever hit today. However, this is not to say that the Dynamic Energy lacks power- there’s plenty of power to be had. However, there is a notable difference.

Control: These both have about the same amount of control. I did not find myself hitting out more often with either frame, and I did not feel that there was a lack of control. The APDC was able to tame its own power by providing excellent topspin. Speaking of which…

Spin: I must give a slight nod to the APDC. While both rackets are spin machines, the APDC is able to generate more spin on all shots. Slice shots were beautiful coming off of this racket. Again, I must stress that both rackets provide excellent spin.

Maneuverability: Considering that the APDC is a full ounce lighter, it’s more maneuverable. It’s easier to get into position at the net, and whips through the air a bit faster. The Dynamic Energy is not exactly sluggish, but it’s a bit harder to position on those reaction shots.

Comfort: Here is a category in which the Pro Supex COMPLETELY blows away the Babolat. I have never experienced tennis elbow, but today my elbow was definitely in pain. The Babolat is incredibly stiff, and that stiffness is very evident. While I can’t say that either racket was jarring on off center hits, the Babolat lacks the weight/stability and the moderate flex of the Dynamic Energy. If you’ve been having trouble with tennis elbow, the Babolat is NOT a frame that should be on your demo list.

Overall: In my opinion, the Pro Supex Dynamic Energy is an excellent imitation of the Aero Pro Drive line. While the two are not the same, the two play similarly enough that there is very little doubt they’re related. If you lead up your rackets and are looking for a heavier Aero Pro Drive in stock form, the Dynamic Energy is an excellent racket to consider. If you’ve been enjoying the Aero Pro Drive, but not so much that tennis elbow that comes with it, try the Dynamic Energy. Considering the $65+ difference in price, there is no doubt in my mind that the Dynamic Energy is a worthy alternative to the Aero Pro Drive.  Head on over to the Tennis Depot to pick one up today!

Racquet Customization 101: Sweat the Small Stuff

October 22, 2009

Being in the business of racquet customization, I am constantly surrounded by players (like myself) that are very particular about their equipment.  Many start out slowly in the sport, usually with a used or big chain store-bought racquet  After all, you never know whether your newly found hobby will turn into some serious competition or remain as an occasional activity for sunny Sunday afternoons.  Assuming you have followed the former path, chances are you have moved on to purchasing a “performance” frame (or two or three) and have become enlightened into the world of stringing.  In my experience, the more time invested in the sport, the greater the need to have confidence in your equipment.  If you have yet to experience the anxiety of breaking a string in the middle of a crucial match, it can be an extremely unsettling feeling.  Knowing that over in your bag sits an identical back-up racquet can do wonders for your piece of mind; the opposite can also have you second guessing your chances.

Having an identical back-up racquet (or two or three) means having more than just the same model frame sitting idly by your side.  Everything that goes into or on your frame will affect the three big spec’s of racquets: static weight, swing weight and the balance point.  A vibration dampener can often add 5 or more grams to the static weight and make the racquet swing a little heavier as it is placed in the string-bed higher than the midpoint. Overgrips are one of the most overlooked additions that alters the vital stats; a concentration of weight on the handle can easily make the frame a point or two more headlight that the previous balance.  I see a lot of bumper guard tape on frames which easily increases the swing weight and  makes the racquet more head heavy.Strings can alter a racquet beyond just their playing characteristics.  Two similar strings of different gauges can vary substantially in weight, thus altering the frame’s stats.

300 1 Black Front

Want to know the worst part?  Even if you have your racquets setup identically (strings, grips, dampeners etc.) chances are they will still differ in static weight, swing weight and balance; possibly up to half an ounce.  We can thank poor quality control from racquet manufacturers for this discrepancy.  This is how we can explain the fact that players often have a racquet that is their “favorite”.  This choice isn’t just in your head; with differing weights among your gear you are bound to prefer one over the others.

What can you do to ensure you have identical (or at least similar) racquets?  Here are a few tips for piece of mind and confidence in your equipment:

1. If buying new frames, ask your dealer if you can weigh them on a scale.  If they have good stock of frames, you can make sure to buy the two or three (out of five or so) that are the closest in weight.

2. Make sure your racquet setup (grip, overgrip, strings, dampener, etc.) is the same for each racquet.  Even though each aspect that differs doesn’t make a huge difference in weight, a little goes a long way in how a racquet will respond on court.

3. Get your racquets custom matched.  This is the only way to completely ensure that every racquet has an identical static weight, swing weight and balance point.  It may seem overkill, but you can’t put a price on confidence and piece of mind.

If you have any additional questions about customization, please contact me through Sweetspot Tennis , where I offer affordable racquet customization and matching.

Look for more customization blogs in the near future.

2009 GSS Symposium Recap

October 13, 2009

The 2009 GSS Symposium has come to an end. First and foremost, we would like to applaud Tim Strawn for organizing such a wonderful event. The seminar leaders were all fantastic. Dave Bone, president of the USRSA was on site offering the insight scoop of all the latest information from his organization. We urge all stringers to make it a priority to attend this event next year. Not only do you meet fellow stringers from across the world, but the information received is so valuable that you are guaranteed to leave the symposium with a greater level of knowledge. From learning how to customize racquets to mastering customer service, the seminars are simply fantastic. Bob Patterson from Racquetmaxx was also one of the seminar leaders offering his knowledge to all attendants.

There was also a speed stringing contest. The winner was Vasiliy Guryonov. His best time came in the finals finishing in just 13 minutes, 57 seconds! All contestants were stringing on the Prince 6000. The racquet was the Prince EXO3 Rebel (18×20) using the poly Prince Twisted string. Considering the tight pattern and the string being used was a poly, Vasiliy managed to complete the racquet in just under 14 minutes. Born in Uzbekistan, Vasiliy is a 25 year old currently working in Midtown Athletic Club (Chicago). After meeting with him several times throughout the symposium, he has great ambitions and hopes to one day string on the pro tour. We think he has the potential.

In addition to all of the great seminars, the trade show was also a great success. The Tennis Depot was present representing Genesis, Pro Supex, and Topspin. What made us really happy is all the people who stopped by our booth looking at the products these brands offer and understanding that the quality and performance exceeds those of the major brands. From the Genesis side, we offered a preview of the new Genesis Spin X silver color. In addition, we offered white and silver stencil ink, perfect for all the black strings that are coming on to the market. While there were no new Pro Supex products, we did display the entire range of Pro Supex polys, synthetics, and accessories. The Pro Supex Leather Grips received lots of attention. After all the price/performance ratio is superior.

Without doubt the most exciting part of the trade show came from Topspin. The Tennis Depot together with Alpha Tennis previewed 3 new strings from the Topspin range! These new Topspin strings are: Cyber Twirl, Cyber  Whirl, and Cyber Black. The Cyber Twirl is a pentagonal shaped string that is twisted. It will be offered in both natural and black colors. Cyber Whirl is an octagonal shaped string that is available in orange color. Lastly, Cyber Black continues Topspin’s heritage of offering superior playing soft co-polys. Cyber Black is round shaped and as the name applies, it will come in a black color. All of these new strings will be available later this fall.

With all of this excitement, you are thinking can there possibly be anything else. Well yes there is! The Tennis Depot previewed the X series and Fusion series racquets. Soon enough, these racquets will be made widely available throughout the country. We also met with the owner and president of Topspin who came to Orlando for the symposium. There are many great plans for the future of Topspin Tennis in the USA. Besides bringing in new strings and the new racquets mentioned above, The Tennis Depot will soon be re-releasing the Pure series racquets to American consumers.

Last but certainly not least, Alpha will be launching a new electronic machine this November! The Alpha Odyssey, is a constant pull machine offering all the latest bells and whistles. Designed to compete directly with other electronic machines such as Prince 6000 and Babolat Star 5, the new Alpha Odyssey will be offered at a rock bottom price of just $2200. Certainly a great value, The Tennis Depot will be offering this wonderful machine very soon.

With all of this excitement stirring, we would like to thank all of our supporters. The Tennis Depot is looking at a great future and we will continue to introduce new products on a monthly basis.

Blog Post Position

October 6, 2009

We have received TONS of requests on the blog post position. We are thankful for so many supporters. Our customers are the reason why The Tennis Depot is the fastest growing online retailer. With one of the largest distribution networks in the world, The Tennis Depot is truly the premier online tennis destination.

All those who submitted applications for our new position; we would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to select you. We are sorry to say that we are unable to select all applicants. As we have received over 30 applications, only a few will be selected. Regardless if you join our team or not, we do wish you the best of luck and hope to interact with you in the near future.

Don’t forget, the sympoisum we have all been waiting for is this upcoming weekend. The Tennis Depot will have staff members throughout the entire 4 day event. Additionally, we will have a booth during the trade show (Monday). We will be representing 3 brands we distribute; on the behalf of Genesis, Pro Supex, and Topspin.

For a quick preview, there will be some new products in the Genesis lineup. As for Topspin, we will be inviting all guests to take a look at the Topspin Xtreme Racquet series, offered exclusively through The Tennis Depot.

As always, if you ever have any questions, feel free to let us know.

Pro Supex On The Rise

April 30, 2009

Pro Supex has been one of the fastest growing companies in the tennis industry. With revolutionary products at terrific prices, it is no wonder that more people each day are switching to Pro Supex. One of the biggest tournaments in the juniors is the Easter Bowl. The Easter Bowl is a Super National where the top juniors perform in California. This year, Pro Supex was one of the hottest brands at the Easter Bowl. Below is an excerpt from one of our customers who was the official stringer at the 2009 Easter Bowl Championships:

Dear Pro Supex:
Just wanted to follow up with you from the Easter Bowl. I had the banner up and waving in the area we were stringing in. I was suprised how many people commented that they knew of or used Pro Supex before. Several people even brought some in for us to string with! This is a great sign, as only the best tennis players in the country were at this tournament. I also sold some string to many different juniors, who commented that they liked the way it played (as well as the PRICE!). As always the big seller was big ace, though several players asked for maxim touch, since we did not carry wilson NXT. One kid had me string 8 of his racquets with a blue gear/big ace hybrid. He really loved the stuff. I gave many people the info on the string and where they could get some (your website).

So what are you waiting for?  Get on the bandwagon and try Pro Supex- the strings for winners! For more info on the full line of Pro Supex products, please visit

For ordering, visit our retail website:

Pro Supex Dynamic Energy- New Design, Same Great Racquet

March 30, 2009

The Pro Supex Dynamic Energy, a high-performance racquet with similar specification to the Babolat Aero Pro Drive has an entirely new look for 2009. The 2009 Pro Supex Dynamic Energy provides the player with metallic blue paint and a shiny finish. The Dynamic Energy is a terrific racquets and offers great access to spin. Our testers really loved the unique combination of power and control affored by this racquet. Demos are available! Click here for more info.