December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays from Tennis Fixation!

Merry Christmas from Tennis Fixation and may you get your best tennis wish - to finally master that kick serve!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

December 10, 2010

Roddick's Tennis Art Brings In Biggest Bucks for Charity

Well, guess who was the big winner in the ATP's "Art of Tennis" charity fundraiser? Not the usual suspects - Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. Nope, it turned out to be Andy Roddick!

While Andy didn't make it too far in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (Federer won the tournament), the piece of art he created drew the highest bid, selling for $33,100! All of the money raised by all of the players went to benefit charity, with 50% of the proceeds going to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals official charity - Save The Children - and the other 50% going to each player's chosen charity. Roddick's is, of course, the "Andy Roddick Foundation." You can see Andy's handiwork in the pic to the left - not sure this is the look I'm going for in my own home but obviously someone thought it was worthwhile.

FYI - I did some looking on eBay, where these items were sold, to try and figure out who came out the winner of Roddick's piece. But I can't tell - all I can say it was someone who shops on eBay quite a bit as they have an eBay "blue star."

Here's how the art produced by the other players fared:

2. Roger Federer - $27,300
3. Rafael Nadal - $26,500
4. Novak Djokovic - $22,103
5. Andy Murray - $7,301
6. Robin Soderling - $5,100
7. David Ferrer - $3,350
8. Tomas Berdych - $3,001

My conclusion to all of this - Yay for Andy Roddick for beating everyone else at something for a change!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

November 28, 2010

I'm Drinking Even More Coffee!

If Dr. Oz tells me to drink more coffee, I've got to do it, right?

In a recent "Health and Fitness" newspaper column, written by Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz, it was pointed out that "compared with people who skip coffee, those with high blood pressure who enjoy one or two cups daily have better 'artery distensibility.'" Meaning? The arteries of coffee drinkers are better at expanding and contracting. Meaning? The coffee drinkers' flexible arteries may improve their blood pressure.

You probably know that Dr. Oz is one of Oprah's big buddies. And you probably know that Drs. Roizen and Oz are the authors of the popular "YOU" series of books, including YOU: The Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger. So I'm just saying if they're drinking coffee to improve their blood pressure, of course I'm drinking coffee too.

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

November 26, 2010

Happy Black Friday! Tennis Art For Sale!

It's Black Friday - the biggest shopping day of the year! Instead of joining the throng at the mall to save $5 on pajamas, go for something truly unique, feed your Tennis Fixation and support the charity of your favorite tennis star - all at the same time!

While the stars of the ATP play in the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, an auction of art created by them is going on. Each of the players recently created a unique piece of art by hitting paint-covered tennis balls against large canvases. Each canvas was then overlaid with a stenciled image of the star, ultimately revealing a one-of-a-kind self-portrait.

Just to give you an idea of how all of this worked, check out these photos. Here's Roger Federer working on his piece:

And here he is with the stencil:

Here's Rafael Nadal with his piece:

And here's Andy Murray with his piece:

Want to see these cool pieces or actually place a bid? Just click on this link: ATP Art of Tennis. You'll be taken to the site where you can bid, through eBay, and you can check out more images showing these "artists" at work.

The other cool part of this is that, as you probably would guess, they're doing it all for charity. All proceeds from the art as well as autographed racquets used by the players will benefit charity, with 50% of the proceeds going to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals official tournament charity – Save The Children – and the other 50% going to each player’s chosen charity.

So spend your Black Friday supporting your fav tennis stars, checking out some awesome art and shopping for charity! And do it soon - all of these pieces will be sold by the end of the ATP Finals - November 28.

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

November 22, 2010

Eenie, Meenie, Miney - Tennis Coach!

This is Part 3 of a series on finding and getting the most from your tennis lessons.

So, you've decided to spend the time and money on private lessons. You're looking for a great tennis coach. You've even come up with a list of potential coaches. But how do you find the one that's right for you?

1. Give all of your potential coaches a call. While this seems obvious, I know plenty of people taking lessons from coaches they never spoke to prior to their first paid-for lesson. People like, ummm . . .  me! But you can learn quite a bit by just making this phone call and you most likely will weed out one or two potential candidates just based on your phone conversation.

2. Ask for AND talk to references. Before you commit to a coach, ask him to give you some references who you can call. Don't be embarrassed about this. A good coach should have several names to give you, people he teaches who won't mind spending some time talking to you. If your potential coach avoids giving you references, avoid that coach.

3. Talk to other students. So you get some references. Give them a call! Don't  avoid the hassle. You're potentially entering into a long term relationship with this coach. Do your homework and make the calls asking - How long has the student taken with this coach? What are her work habits like? Is she always on time? Does she cancel at the last minute? What are her strengths? Weaknesses? What to they really like about her? What do they hate?

4. Watch some lessons. This is such an easy and cheap way to find out what a coach is like. You may feel weird about it, you might think you're disrupting the lesson, but most people won't have any problem with this. And I'm not talking about sitting there staring at a one hour lesson. Just drop by for 15 to 20 minutes in the middle of a lesson to see what's happening and see if this lesson represents the kind of lesson you want to take.

5. Take a lesson. After doing all (or even some) of the above, just go ahead and take a lesson. And pay for it. No coach is obligated to give you some kind of free try-it-out lesson and you shouldn't expect that. It's their business after all!. But you also don't have to get into a long-term relationship right off the bat. So take the test drive, see if you click with the coach you've honed in on. Do you understand what's happening during the lesson? Do the instructions make sense? Are you getting too much talking and not enough hitting? Are your questions being answered? The actual lesson experience should tell you whether this is the coach for you.

Want to read other posts in this series? Just click on these titles and find out how to get the most from your tennis lessons:

Part 1 - Federer Hired A Tennis Coach - Should You?
Part 2 - Where, Oh Where, Can I Find A Great Tennis Coach?

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

November 20, 2010

How To Make Me Quit Your Tennis Team

I am a quitter. I admit it. I'm a quitter and I'm leaving one of my tennis teams at the end of this season because I just can't take it anymore.

Now, I am the first person to tell you that a good team player doesn't quit just because she's "unhappy" with the team. A good team player puts the team's success above her individual success. A good team player plays when and where her captain sticks her, no questions asked. That may mean playing with the player no one else wants to play with. That may mean playing the "sacrifice" line. That may mean playing a much lower line than you believe you deserve to be playing. That may mean playing with sub after sub after sub. That may mean playing the late match EVERY SINGLE WEEK. But does it mean playing in the face of ALL of those things?

I think not.

But that's what I've been putting up with on one of my teams and, this past week, I reached my breaking point.  And what was it that finally gave me the last push I needed to come to this decision?

This past week, I was once again playing with a sub I had never met before we stepped on court to be partners.  She was very sweet but somewhere during the 3rd or 4th game of the match she told me, "I am having a really hard time when I'm up at the net and you come up to the net. I don't know how to play when we're both at the net. It's confusing to me."

Did I mention we were playing doubles?  And she was having problems with both us of being at the net?

We won that match but to say it was a struggle would be a huge understatement. I worked really hard as did my partner (no surprise there). But I just can't keep playing every week with different partners and trying to figure out how my partner plays on top of trying to figure out how my opponents play.

So I'm quitting this team.

And this has not been an easy decision for me to come to. I have really questioned myself - do I have the wrong attitude about all of this? Am I really justified in thinking I should be playing a higher line? Does my captain actually believe I'm so strong that I can win with any old sub she can dig up to stick with me? Is there some secret over-arching strategy in place here to win lines that I am unaware of? Or is there some subtle message I'm being given that I'm not wanted on this team? Am I possibly over-thinking this and veering into some kind of tennis team paranoia?

Guess what? I don't care anymore.

Just to make clear - I know its hard to be a team captain because I've captained several teams. You are constantly balancing winning against keeping your team cohesive and happy. But as far as I can tell, my captain is not the least bit concerned about my happiness. Maybe she cares if I win my line or not but she is making it way too hard for me to do that.

So, to my captain I say - Congratulations! If you hoped to come up with some way to get me to quit because you didn't have the guts to tell me to leave, you have succeeded.  Good luck finding another player who shows up every week and plays with subs who apparently are oblivious to the basic strategies of doubles.

Because I quit!

This post originally appeared on Tennis Fixation's blog page on the Tennis Now website. Click here to read this and other great Tennis Fixation posts on Tennis Now!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

November 16, 2010

Another Great Tennis Cake

Remember when I told you all about the great people at Wilton and how they had come up with a tennis ball cake that you or I or any other tennis fanatic could make?  Well, guess what?  There are all kinds of crazy tennis themed cakes happening in the world!  This is definitely a whole new Tennis Fixation category.

I know what you're thinking - someone here at Tennis Fixation has WAY too much free time on her hands when she is actually spending time on-line looking at tennis cakes.  But once you start, it is really hard to stop. 

For example, take a look at Tim's cake, shown in this photo.  Someone went to a really big effort to make sure Tim's birthday celebration included this very unusual tennis-themed birthday cake.  I'm not quite sure what to make of this.  Is Tim the last man standing? Does he really favor pink shorts? And what of his English partner? Maybe Tim is a great doubles player and he took his two opponents out.  But did he take out his partner too?

Anyway, I thought this was Tennis Fixation-worthy and if I wanted to see it, I knew you all would want to see it too. I definitely have to make a tennis cake for my next team party.

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

November 12, 2010

How I Get Coached By The Bryan Brothers

If only you had a tennis coach you could call upon anytime, day or night. Someone who would always be there for a last-minute stroke tune-up right before a match. A coach who could show you step-by-step exactly how to hit that two-handed backhand return, even if you want to know how to do that in the middle of the night. If only you could get coached by the Bryan Brothers. Well, your wish is granted! Simply download The Tennis App for your iPhone, iTouch or iPad and your own personal tennis coach is just a touch or two away.

I've searched and looked at every tennis app available for my iTouch and this is, hands down, the best thing out there. It's completely interactive. It shows you how to hit every, single important stroke in tennis. And, in many videos, it features the very cute and very Slam-winning doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan.

The Tennis App provides you with what seems like a gazillion videos from the Bryans and several other top-level touring players showing you how to hit incredible tennis shots. You want to see how to hit a really great topspin forehand? Well, download that stroke and you can see Bob Bryan doing just that in three different videos - from the front, the back and the side. And you can slow each of those videos WAY down to see him hit the shot frame by frame by frame. Comments and tips are included with the videos so even us less-than-stellar players can figure out exactly what Bob is doing.

But maybe you like Mike better and want to see his topspin forehand. Guess what? The same series of videos is available with Mike. Other featured players include Jelenda Jankovic and Anna Chakvetadze so you know you're getting high quality stuff.

Sounds good but what if you're a lefty and you don't think all of these prejudiced-towards-the-right-handed-player videos will work for you? Just scroll down to the Preferences and select "Left Handed" to see all of this stuff from a lefty's perspective. How cool is that? I'm impressed and I'm right-handed.

And there's more! There's a "News & Info" section, giving you up-to-date tennis news, player tweets, ATP and WTA rankings and live scores when matches are happening.

What is my absolute favorite part of the Tennis App? Believe it or not, it's free! All of this stuff costs you nothing! I actually paid good money for my Bejeweled 2 app so I'm amazed that I'm getting everything the Tennis App offers for free.

My recommendation? Download this app NOW. These guys are going to figure out what a valuable little item this is and I'm sure it won't be free for long!

This Tennis Fixation post originally appeared on one of my favorite tennis web sites: Strawberries & Scream.


© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

November 7, 2010

Why I Love Playing Tennis Indoors

Andy Roddick, Roger Federer and a bunch of other ATP guys are in Basel, Switzerland right now playing in the Davidoff Swiss Indoors tournament.

And guess what? I played an indoor match today too! Me indoors . . . Roddick and Federer indoors . . . mere coincidence? Or some kind of strange tennis destiny. You decide.

In the meantime, I was thinking how much I love playing on indoor courts.  Because when you're scheduled to play indoors, you know you're going to play!  You never have to worry about the weather.  Or the sun. Or the wind. Or the lawn care guys blowing leaves. Or little kids walking by the court going, "Hey lady!"  (Yes, it happened.)

But when I first joined my indoor team, I wasn't too crazy about being indoors.  It was always too loud. Or too echo-y.  Or too air-condition-y.  Or too weirdly lit (I can go on and on with this stuff.  Just see the post Top Excuses For Losing In Tennis.)

So there are a few things to watch out for when playing indoors.  Here's the list I've come up with:

1. Court Surface - Not all indoor courts are "hard" courts.  They may be made with a softer material that results in a slower or lower-bouncing ball.  You may know this about your own home courts (as I do since mine are like this) but it can take a few games to figure it out if you're playing a match in a new place.

2. Ceilings - Surprisingly, there is no standard indoor court ceiling.  They can be flat or pitched.  They can be solid white or have dark wooden beams running all over them.  They can have hanging light fixtures.  So you need to look up at each indoor court you play on and see what's going on.  And I mean look up before that first lob comes your way.

3.  Noise - While you may not have a small child pestering you (see above), these are often strange noises to contend with on indoor courts.  Fluorescent lights buzz.  Air conditioners switch on and off.  Bystanders are seated very close and talk very loud.  They may be watching your match, which can be intimidating, or they may be talking about their new tennis shoes, which is just rude.  Be aware of these distractions and blow them off.

4.  "Wind" Conditions - OK, so you don't have to deal with the real wind.  But I have played at a place where the air conditioners were hung over one end of the court and blew on me every time I served.  This is exactly the kind of stupid thing that bothers people with tennis ADD like me.  And exactly why I never serve from that end of the court whenever I have to go play there.

5.  Temperature - Amazingly, indoor courts can get pretty hot.  At my club, I think the strategy is to run the air conditioners during the winter and on major Jewish holidays.  That's the only logic I can come up with.  So don't overdress - wear layers and adjust to the temperature as you play.

6.  Players - Watch out for these indoor players.  In my experience, I feel like people who play indoors just play a different, trickier kind of tennis.  They're often older and have been playing tennis for a long, long time.  They know they can't use the outdoor elements to wear you down.  So they come up with an unending supply of spin shots, slice serves, sharp angles, short balls and perfect lobs.  I've gotten to the point where, if I have an indoor match and look over and see a couple of old ladies, I take a deep breath and try to mentally prepare myself to work my butt off.    

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

November 5, 2010

Let's Get Real - How Many Calories Can I Burn Playing Tennis?

So you think tennis is a really great workout? Not so fast, my volley-slamming friend. Let's calculate how many calories you can really burn off playing tennis.

We all know how to lose weight - burn off more calories than you take in. The question then is how many calories can you burn off by playing tennis?

I went on-line and found several sources to tell me what the calorie burn is for tennis. I first checked out, an on-line site that lets you easily keep track of your calories taken in and calories worked off. (This site also has an iPhone/iTouch app that is very easy to use.) Myfitnesspal gives these calorie counts for tennis:
  • Tennis, General - 408 calories per hour
  • Tennis, Doubles - 291 calories per hour
  • Tennis, Singles - 466 calories per hour
Another site that gives calorie counts is This site has a Physical Activity/Exercise Database that you can search to find the number of calories you burn while exercising. The little twist with Fitwatch is that you enter your weight to find the number of calories burned, so presumably the calorie count is a little more customized. For me, at my weight (which I am not telling you), here's what Fitwatch has to say about calories burned during tennis:
  • Tennis, General - 433 calories per hour
  • Tennis, Doubles - 371 calories per hour
  • Tennis, Singles - 495 calories per hour
And then I visited a third site - Again, with this one, you had to enter your weight to get the calories burned calculation. They had this to say about calories burned during tennis:
  • Tennis, General - 414 calories per hour
  • Tennis, Doubles - 295 or 355 calories per hour (there were two different kinds of doubles)
  • Tennis, Singles - 473 calories per hour
With these figures in mind, I'm guessing that, in doubles, you probably burn off about 300 calories an hour and, in singles, you can burn off about 450 calories an hour. And when calculating how many hours you've played, be sure and deduct some for all of that time spent standing around, chatting, drinking water and running to the bathroom between sets.

Now remember - it doesn't do any good to burn calories playing tennis if you're just packing them back in by mindlessly eating. To give an example, let's say you're at a match waiting to play. Let's say your league requires the home team to provide snacks and the usual junk is out there. So while you're waiting, you have a banana (90 calories), 10 peanut M&Ms (103 calories) and 3 mini Reese's peanut butter cups (132 calories). You've now taken in 325 calories without eating a real meal. You have to play a solid hour of doubles to burn those mindless snacks off. (Unfortunately, this is pretty representative of what I do while I'm standing around waiting to play.) Conclusion - play a lot of tennis and stay away from the M&Ms!

This post originally appeared on Tennis Fixation's blog page on the Tennis Now website. Click here to read this and other great Tennis Fixation posts on Tennis Now!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

November 4, 2010

Tennis Ball Cake, Anyone?

Sometimes I worry that I’m taking all of this tennis stuff way too seriously. For example, I lost a match yesterday 6-1, 6-0. Not fun. In fact, it kind of ruined my day and made me wonder, “should I even keep playing tennis? What is the point of all of this hard work when I lose like that? How in the world can I keep going when the next match may just be another blow-out?”

And then, something happens that puts it all into perspective. And that’s exactly what happened this morning when I came across the Tennis Ball Cake. It seems my obsession with tennis isn’t all that crazy — because there other are people in the world, specifically the people at the Wilton cake decorating company, who understand just how fanatical tennis players can be. Crazy enough to invest significant amounts of time and money in a sport where they often get blown off the court. Fanatical enough to want a Tennis Ball Cake.

Am I going to order a Tennis Ball Cake anytime soon? Perhaps. Will I keep thinking about this cake to the point where I eventually take a stab at baking one? Very likely. For now, I’m enjoying the idea of the Tennis Ball Cake as evidence that, at least for a tennis player, I am 100% normal.

This Tennis Fixation post originally appeared on one of my favorite tennis web sites: Strawberries & Scream.


© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 31, 2010

Your Serve Won't Be The Only Scary Thing On Court

How do you combine tennis, fashion and a good dose of Halloween horror? Love All has figured out a super cute way to do so with these Halloween t-shirts, made for the courts.

Why am I in love with a t-shirt I can wear for about 3 hours out of the whole year? First, Love All has done an adorable job with the scary tennis theme. Just look closely at the orange and violet tees - those aren't Os in the word "Boo!" - they're tennis balls! Corny enough to be adorable!

Second, and let's get serious here, these shirts are for Halloween. I will go out of my way to support any holiday in which eating candy is one of the required activities.

Finally, these are just plain old fantastic tees. They are in a burn-out fabric with a vintage, worn-in feel. The material is 50 % cotton and 50% polyester so these tees are sheer enough to look a little sexy but strong enough to make it through the wash. The colors are bright, vibrant and lots of fun. And, most important, the fit is close and slim - very girly.

Bottom line? Love All has lots of tennis t-shirts to lust after. Buying them all may require some type of credit card "trick", but for now, "treat" yourself to one of their Halloween tees.


© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2010

Serena Williams Is Serious About This Nail Thing

I don't usually buy Vogue magazine (as evidenced by my predilection for workout clothes as fashion). But I picked up the August issue because, as I was standing in line at the grocery store flipping through magazines, I came across the article "She's Got Game," featuring Serena Williams doing the nails of Vogue Editor Marian Rust. So I had to buy Vogue.

Remember a while ago I told you that Serena was training to be a nail technician? (See this post: Serena's Plan For The Future.) Well Vogue heard about it and sent someone to get her nails done by Serena. Which she happily agreed to do in her Calvin Klein frock (see the pic above). It turns out Serena has had a lifelong fascination with nails and plans to one day open a salon or 2 (or 52).

Here's a little teaser of what's to come: in January 2011, nail polish manufacturer OPI will partner with Serena to roll out the "Glam Slam" collection. Check back with Tennis Fixation as we will not only keep you updated, we will probably have to try out the whole dang collection!


Photo by Derek Kettela for Vogue

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 27, 2010

Top Excuses For Losing In Tennis

I just suffered a devastating (in my mind anyway) loss this past week. I was on a 7 match winning streak when I was blown off the court 6-1, 6-0 in a doubles match. I have a good excuse - it was my partner's fault.

And that brings me to the subject of today's post - a list of the top excuses for losing in tennis.  Let me preface all of this by saying - I get it.  Making excuses as to why I lost a match says a lot more about my psychological issues than my partner's lack of game.  But, right now, I don't care.  It is going to take a while for me to just let go of this particular defeat.  So, here is a handy list of excuses, ones we've all heard that can work for almost any loss you ever experience.  Keep this list handy for when you lose that difficult match and you just can't let go. 

1. "I've hurt my (fill in the name of body part) and it's killing me. I'm going to see an orthopedic doctor next week and hopefully getting an MRI." Maybe it's the shoulder. Maybe it's the knee. Or the back. Or the wrist. Just fill in the blank. Everyone else always seems to have an injury so why shouldn't you?

2. "Gosh, I'm can't believe I'm so bad today! I never play like this!" This one's great if you're the passive-aggressive type.  You focus attention on your own unexplainably poor play rather than your opponent's terrific play.  This one is used again and again by Serena Williams so I don't see why you and I can't throw it around too.

3. "I'm really terrible today because I haven't played in (fill in some amount of time)." It could be years, months, weeks, days or even hours. Because we all know that if you don't play tennis every single day, you're not up to par.  In my case, I have been known to put it this way: "If I don't play on a daily basis, I can't even get to mediocre."

4. "There's just too much noise in here." Oh my goodness, do I love playing indoors!  Because there is a never ending stream of excuses to justify your losses on an indoor court.  Noise levels are just one of the many, many excuses you can use.  The converse of this excuse can also work: "It's just too quiet in here!"

5. "The lighting in here is too dark (or too bright or just too weird)." Another fabulous excuse for losing an indoor match.  Although, don't underestimate the value of this excuse for outdoor matches on a sunny day, an overcast day or even in the evening. 

6. "It was my partner's fault." In a doubles match, this has absolutely got to be the Number 1 most called-upon excuse to justify a loss. It's the one I'm going with to explain the snap of my winning streak. I mean, as long as there weren't too many witnesses around, it's just my word against my partner's, right?

This post originally appeared on Tennis Fixation's blog page on the Tennis Now website. Click here to read this and other great Tennis Fixation posts on Tennis Now!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 25, 2010

Tennis Destination: Back To Vegas Baby!

Apparently, my husband and I have turned into one of those couples that makes a yearly trip to Las Vegas as we were there again this past weekend. We stayed at the Encore, part of the Wynn complex, which is gorgeous in an Asian way, but, frankly, is just too far down the Strip. We were constantly running or leaving places early to get back to our hotel in time to change.

Here you can see a pic of me, with racquet, outside of Caesar's. Notice I am wearing my adorable Lulu Lemon outfit. As I've pointed out before, walking around in Las Vegas in tennis togs, even as cute as these, and carrying a racquet doesn't even get you a second glance.

We once again played tennis at the Hilton Flamingo. Remember: if you go to Vegas and want to play tennis, anyone can play at the Flamingo for $25 an hour. When we asked the concierge at the Encore to book us a court, she was completely unaware of this and tried to send us to some off-site tennis center where they would come pick us up in a van. I would much rather play at the Flamingo where I not only get some tennis time, but can see a tattoo themed wedding, gamble away $75 and enjoy 2 for 1 Miller Lite, all before 11:00 a.m. Here is the photographic evidence of me on the court in my Lulu Lemon outfit. Please, if you want to serve well, do not copy my service motion:

The most exciting part of the trip? We went to see Cher who, at 64 years of age, is truly amazing! I can't say enough about what a fabulous show she put on and I'm not even all that big of a Cher fan. But she was incredible and here is a pic of me with a few of her costumes, outside the Caesar's Colosseum where she performed:

We tried to keep count of the number of costume changes she went through but couldn't keep up. It was a lot!

Here's a final shot of me in the airport with the racquets. This is the price you have to pay to play tennis while traveling - carrying those racquets around. I personally think its worth it. Too bad if several people get poked or hit in the head as we're boarding the plane.

Thanks to my fabulous husband for being my photographer and not complaining every time I made him take a picture of me with my tennis stuff!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 24, 2010

Get Your Pink On


Okay ladies and gents – it’s October. Translation: it’s time to show some support for breast cancer research. How to do that? By shopping for some super cute tennis gear, of course!

Naturally, you’ll want to start with some pink tennis balls. Both Penn and Wilson make pink tennis balls that not only let you show you care, but also result in donations to breast cancer research groups. Penn donates 15 cents per can of pink balls sold to fund breast cancer research. Wilson’s entire “Hope” line of sporting goods includes not just pink balls, but also pink vibration dampeners, pink hats, and pink ribbon wrist bands and benefits The Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation.

But maybe pink tennis balls just aren’t enough for you, and you’re ready to take your support for breast cancer awareness to the next level! If so, check out New Balance’s “Lace Up for the Cure” line, with plenty of things here to keep you in the pink out on the court.

New Balance works closely with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and has some great running gear that translates beautifully to the tennis court. I especially love the Tonic Crop 3.0 sports bra in magenta trimmed in black and white:


And of course there are tons of adorable t-shirts, running shorts and tights with New Balance dry-wicking technology to keep you dry yet fashionable during your match. New Balance contributes 5% of its “Lace Up for the Cure” collection with a minimum guaranteed donation of $500,000 each year to Komen.

Can’t get enough of this pink stuff? There are at least two fabulous web sites where you can shop, support breast cancer research, or help pay for mammograms. Check out and to pick up some sweet pink items that will not only make you look good, but will make you feel good too, on and off the court.

This Tennis Fixation post originally appeared on one of my favorite tennis web sites: Strawberries & Scream.

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2010

Communicating In Doubles

This is a guest post from Brian Montez, tennis pro and owner of K Factor Sports.

A big part of playing doubles is communicating. Often, especially at the club level, you will play with multiple partners with varying styles of play. Lack of communication can cause teams to lose on a regular basis, while miscommunication can cause a team to implode.

To help with the communication barrier, I suggest determining what your strengths and weakness are as individuals and as a team. Then come up with a game plan and communicate it well with each other.

Don't be vague in your suggestions to your partner. You should make sure that your partner understands why you are suggesting a particular strategy or a change in their play and your play as a team.

For most players, results are important. No one likes to go out every week and put up an "L" for themselves or their team. So come up with a way to work and communicate with each of your partners. Remember: It's not personal. Listen to what your partner has to say to you and communicate your ideas with them. DON'T GET DEFENSIVE AND FRUSTRATED!

Your game plan may not always work. You may have to continue to make changes. But do so until you and your partner figure out how to win. It may not always be pretty, but get it done and move onto the next match!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 20, 2010

Tennis Nutrition: Planning Your Ideal Diet

This is a guest post from avid tennis player and blogger, Maria Rainer.

If you’re going to invest in maintaining the best possible conditions for your primary tennis equipment, your own body should top the list. Sure, it’s important to re-string your racket and make sure your shoes don’t slip, but taking care of your body is even more important. Even beyond wearing braces for vulnerable joints, your diet and nutrition should be a focal point of your tennis fitness routine.

Because it’s so easy to slip when you’re on a specific diet, planning ahead can help you ensure that you’ll have the best possible opportunities to maintain healthy tennis nutrition. To start planning your success, check out the following categories of nutrition you’ll need to address.

General Nutrition
To maximize the benefits you receive from everyday meals, avoid more than three servings of alcohol each week and stay away from excess calories and saturated fats. Make sure that you aren’t experiencing any mineral or caloric deficiencies by taking vitamins designed for your gender, age group, and level of activity.

Use an online calorie intake calculator to determine how many calories you should consume in a given day, then make sure that you don’t come up short of this number or exceed it by too much. You can do this by using a caloric value calculator if you don’t have access to nutrition labels on everything you consume.

You daily caloric intake should be accounted for by the following:

• 3 ounces of whole grain
• 2 ½ to 3 cups of vegetables
• 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruits
• 3 cups of milk products
• 5 to 6 ½ ounces of meat or other proteins
• 2 to 3 liters of water

Pre-Match Nutrition
Many tennis players and nutritionists who understand the demands of extended, high-intensity physical activity advocate carbo-loading before a match. This means that it’s advisable to consume enough carbohydrates to get you through the match without sapping permanent energy stores like muscle.

To do this, avoid “empty” or simple carbs like sugar and white bread and focus on complex carbs instead. Start adding more complex carbs to your diet the evening before your match, at the very latest. Anything that contains barley, buckwheat, bran, cornmeal, oatmeal, wheat germ, brown rice, or similar whole grains will help you store energy for the upcoming match.

Add extra water, juice, and sports drinks to your diet as you begin to consume more complex carbs and consider adding salt to compensate for sodium loss through sweat. This will help you to stay hydrated during the match.

During-Match Nutrition
Keep drinking and make sure that you’ve packed some isotonic sports drinks (containing six to eight percent carbohydrates). Drinks that contain sodium, glucose, and electrolytes are also helpful. Avoid drinking too much straight water, or you might risk causing mineral deficiency.

Post-Match Nutrition
Try to consume a high-carb meal within two hours of finishing your match. If you can do this immediately, you’ll be able to replenish your energy stores much faster than you will if you wait too long. In addition to restoring carbs, you’ll want to keep consuming fluids and electrolytes to make sure that your body won’t be deficient in these important diet components.

To adhere to your new diet, make sure that you plan when you’ll go shopping for groceries, which types of meals you’ll make and when you’ll prepare them, and which restaurants you’ll go to for healthy food that fits your diet. Set yourself up for success by focusing on tennis nutrition and maintaining it with deliberate planning.

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching areas of online degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 18, 2010

Where, Oh Where, Can I Find A Great Tennis Coach?

This is Part 2 of a series on getting the most from your tennis lessons.

So you've read the first post in this series, Federer Hired A Private Coach - Should You?, and made the decision to put your time and money into private tennis lessons. How will you find the perfect coach to make it all worthwhile? You need to start by coming up with a list of possible pros. Don't just start taking lessons with the first coach you come across. He may be the right coach for your best friend but may be totally wrong for you. Here are some great sources to help you find a tennis coach:

1. Talk to your friends and teammates. This might be the best way to find a good tennis coach. Or it might not. But its definitely the place to start. If any of your friends and teammates are taking lessons, talk to them about the tennis coach they use and what it is they like about him or her. Try to drop in on a few lessons with these pros to see what their teaching style is.

2. Look at the pros at your club or tennis facility. If you're playing on a team or in a league, chances are very good that you belong to a club or other tennis facility that has tennis pros on staff. Take a look at these pros, watch their lessons and see if you can work with them.

3. Use the USPTA's "Find-A-Pro" system. The United States Professional Tennis Association is the world's largest association of tennis-teaching professionals. Among other things, it provides a certification program for recreational tennis coaches. Chances are that a USPTA certfied coach will be a pretty good teacher. You can search for USPTA coaches in your area through the group's on-line "Find-A-Pro" database. Just click here to try it out.

4. Search through the PTR's database. The Professional Tennis Registry is another organization of tennis coaches and teachers. The PTR has four levels of certification, ranging from Associate Instructor to Master Professional. Like the USPTA, the PTR has an on-line database you can access to find a coach in your area. Click here to look for a PTR tennis coach.

5. Try the Internet. This is a source I recommend with some caution. I mean - it's the Internet. Anyone can claim to be a pro at anything. When I looked for pros in my area, I honestly didn't see the name of anyone I recognized. But, depending on where you live, this might be the way to go. Just be sure to ask for references and to visit some lessons before getting involved with a pro you come up with from the Internet.
Want to read other posts in this series? Just click on these titles and find out how to get the most from your tennis lessons:

Part 1 - Federer Hired A Tennis Coach - Should You?
Part 2 - That's this post!
Part 3 - Eenie, Meenie, Miney - Tennis Coach!
Part 4 - Get A Goal And Get More From Your Tennis Lessons
Part 5 - Make Every Lesson Your Best Tennis Lesson Ever!

This post originally appeared on Tennis Fixation's blog page on the Tennis Now website. Click here to read this and other great Tennis Fixation posts on Tennis Now!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2010

Quick Tennis Fix: My Tennis Team Problems Are Solved!

Tell me, just tell me, you have not had this problem. You're at the court, ready to play your doubles match. Both of your opponents have arrived. The minutes are ticking by, bringing you closer and closer to a forfeit, because your partner has yet to show up.  You assure your opponents that "she's on the way!" as you rummage through your tennis bag, desperately seeking her cell phone number to find out just where the *$#!%!- she is. You come up with two rosters from other teams that you're no longer playing for and a copy of the league tennis rules from two seasons ago. But no phone number.

Wouldn't it be nice if all of the phone numbers for all of your teammates were in one, easily accessible place - somewhere you could always find them for those times when you absolutely, positively need to know what the heck is going on?

Well, today I saw the solution. The team I played against had large laminated luggage-tag-like rosters attached to each of their bags. I snapped a photo to show my Tennis Fixation Fans. What an incredible idea! It's way too simple and obvious of a concept to patent. I would love to have one of these for each of my teams so I can make that phone call telling my partner she needs to get it in gear!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 14, 2010

Burning Women's Tennis Issue: I'm Competitive - Is That A Problem?

You really don't know someone until you've played them in tennis. In my experience, all of the nice ladies I volunteer with and have lunch with and carpool with undergo an incredible transformation out on the court. Turns out a lot of them are not so nice after all. They LIKE to win and will do whatever it takes - call my ace serve out (this has actually happened), hit me in the face with their volley (this has actually happened), make inappropriate hand gestures on court (this just happened yesterday and was done by my partner) - to make sure they win.

So I was somewhat puzzled when I read the article "Play to Win" in the October 2010 issue of Marie Claire magazine. The author believes that women avoid competition in sports. And since she was talking specifically about tennis, I had to read on. She says:
I avoid losing, which also means that I avoid winning . . . . [W]hen I play tennis, I don't keep score. My hitting partner and I stick to ground strokes, standing at the center of the baseline, thwacking the ball like a well-balanced metronome. Once in a while, the heat rises and I thread a backhand down the line or she rips a forehand crosscourt. But we'd sooner hurl our rackets at each other than actually than actually beat each other. In our games, social niceties seem more important than winning--I would hate it if someone didn't have fun.
Where, oh where, are these mythical women who don't want me to lose at tennis and when can I play a match against them?

She goes on to explain how she signed up for a weekend-long tennis camp "not to pretty my strokes, but to practice competing." And, ultimately, she gets it - "I was having fun: moving into the ball, being more aggressive, and perfecting a better balance on my shots. Suddenly I had a sanctioned outlet for blowing off steam and winning . . . ." Of course, her new-found assertiveness carries over into her everyday life and she ends up getting a refund from Amtrak for a delayed train trip.

It's a pretty short article.

Anyway, it just made me think how I have really never encountered anyone who didn't want to win at tennis. I've even played with women who were determined they were going to win our warm-up. And, guess what? I am one of those women too! I want to win and, while I have not yet made any inappropriate hand gestures on court, I have aimed a forehand line drive right at the net person to get her to back off.

I personally think one of the great things about tennis is that you can be competitive and not be seen as some kind of bitch out on the court. Maybe all of us competitive tennis ladies are here in Middle America, not playing in the literary circles of New York like this writer.

For me, I intend to go right on being competitive. And if inappropriate hand gestures get me a few points, maybe I'll throw a few of those in too.

This post originally appeared on Tennis Fixation's blog page on the Tennis Now website. Click here to read this and other great Tennis Fixation posts on Tennis Now!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 9, 2010

Federer Hired A Tennis Coach - Should You?

This is Part 1 of a series on getting the most from your tennis lessons.

Remember right before the U.S. Open when all of the pros were making coaching changes? Andy Murray split with his long-time coach as did Marcos Baghdatis and Bernard Tomic. Murray tried to get Darren Cahill to come on board while Roger Federer actually hired Paul Annacone.

So, let's talk about tennis coaches. Do you have one? Are you ready to bring on your own tennis coach? How do you know if its worth putting in the time and expense involved with taking private lessons?

Just to be clear - I'm not talking about how to find the right coach - that is definitely a huge topic unto itself (and don't be surprised if you see that topic in a future post!). No, what I'm talking about is whether you should take that initial step of committing yourself to regular, probably weekly, private lessons on your own or whether you can use some other less costly, and possibly more convenient way, to improve your game.

And if you're already taking private lessons, take a few minutes to read on and consider whether you're getting the most for your money.

I think the best way to decide whether to hire a tennis coach is to think about the pros and cons.

Pros to Taking Private Lessons:
  • The focus is completely and 100% on you. The great thing about one-on-one lessons is that you don't waste any time listening to or working on someone else's problems. Your problems and issues are the only ones that your coach will work on during your lesson. So, you can quickly improve the strokes and techniques that are most important for you. And, if you don't have a backhand technique that may lead to tennis elbow, you don't have to hear how someone else can change their backhand to avoid tennis elbow.
  • You can learn new things! No matter how long you've been playing tennis, there is always something new to add to your "arsenal" of shots. Did you know you can add spin to your overhead to help keep it in the court? I didn't know that until about two weeks ago. What a revelation! (Please don't laugh if this is something so obvious that everyone else already knows it but no one ever mentions it.) And I learned it, without asking to, from my tennis coach!
  • You will work on things you may otherwise neglect or ignore. Footwork. Does anyone really want to work on footwork? Probably not. But in a private lesson, your coach will put you through some drills that work on things you know you should be better at but don't usually feel like fooling with. Things like footwork, proper lob technique, placement of shots, court position, etc.
  • You can practice strategies in live ball drills and games. It is one thing to come up with a great strategy during a match. It is quite another to actually execute that strategy. A private tennis lesson gives you an opportunity to learn various strategies and then try them out over and over until you can make them happen. Hopefully during a match.
  • You can get a good work-out! You can burn A LOT of calories chasing down balls all by yourself. Way more than you will in a doubles match. So consider your private lesson your work-out for the day.
  • You have a tennis professional with lots of experience to take your questions to. Again and again, things happen during my matches that I'm not sure how to handle. If I want to play aggressively at the net but my partner doesn't, do we play one up, one back? Both back? Do I spend a lot of time trying to convince her to come up with me? Or do I just accept that we're going to lose that match and never play with that partner again? These are the kinds of burning questions you can discuss with your coach so that you're ready when the situation arise again (when you get partnered with that same person again!).
Cons to Taking Private Lessons:
  • They're expensive! This is probably the biggest drawback to private lessons - you're going to have to spend some money on them. In my area, a one-hour lesson with a certified tennis coach or someone teaching at a club can cost anywhere from $50 to $75 an hour. Cheaper lessons can probably be found but this is a situation of you get what you pay for.
  • They can be time-consuming. If you're going down the private lesson road, you'll probably have to make a weekly commitment. And if you're not willing to really make this commitment and show up week after week, private lessons may not be for you.
  • They can be boring. As I said above, in a private lesson the focus is on you. There's no one else to provide any relief, comic or otherwise. You have to keep your attention up all by yourself for a whole hour. For many people, myself included, this can be psychologically draining, especially if you're learning something new or practicing something that you're really bad at.
  • The strategies you practice may not apply in the real world. This is not to say that you won't learn great strategies. In fact, you'll probably learns all kinds of wonderful strategies and tactics that would blow your opponents away in a perfect tennis world. But, in doubles for example, if your partner isn't on the same page with these wonderful strategies, they may not do you much good. Just to give an example: I'm totally down with both doubles partners playing aggressively up at the net. My last three partners have NOT been into this. The last one flat out told me, "As soon as I see you come up to the net, I'll go back." This one up, one back strategy is NOT what I've worked on in my private lessons.
  • You have to have the right coach. It can be hard to find a tennis coach that can help you take your strengths and weaknesses and come up with a winning game. You have to make sure you do not waste your time and money on someone who is not teaching you well (and, again, that's a great topic for a future post!).
  • It's difficult (but not impossible) to work on doubles. A one-on-one lesson is not the best place to work on your doubles game. I know because I do a private lesson every week and I play doubles almost exclusively. There are doubles drills that you can do as an individual but working with two to three other people is probably the best way to improve your doubles game.
So, are you in or out with the private lessons? Personally, I'm in. And apparently so is Roger Federer. All I'm saying is if it's good enough for me and Roger, maybe it's good enough for you!

This post originally appeared on Tennis Fixation's blog page on the Tennis Now website. Click here to read this and other great Tennis Fixation posts on Tennis Now!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

October 8, 2010

Anna Kournikova Takes Cardio Tennis To The Biggest Losers

I'm going to be very honest with you - I never thought the day would come when I would write a post that had anything AT ALL to do with Anna Kournikova. But that day has come.

Anna appeared on NBC's "The Biggest Loser" this week, taking the losers through a Cardio Tennis workout.  I've done Cardio Tennis, both at the Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ and here at my club.  It can be a really great workout (assuming it doesn't degenerate into just a regular old tennis drill session).  A lot of running is involved.  A lot of footwork drills go on (running ladders, jumping cones, fun stuff like that).  And A LOT of tennis balls are hit.  So I think Anna actually did a great job giving the contestants a pretty good Cardio Tennis workout.

Here's the clip from the show.  It's only about 2 1/2 minutes and, if you're unfamiliar with Cardio Tennis, it gives you an idea of what the workout is like:

Maybe this happened because Anna is about to become the face of Cardio Tennis? Maybe it happened because people will pay attention to anything, including Cardio Tennis, if Anna Kournikova is involved? I don't know the answer. I just know I'm happy to see anything involving tennis on prime time TV.

Here's a cute shot of Anna with the losers (although I prefer the photo at the top of this post where she's exiting her helicopter in her K-Swiss tennies, begin protected by a bodyguard with an umbrella):

If you want to find out more about Cardio Tennis, check out their web site: They have a locator in the middle of the home page (and on the bottom of other pages) that will help you find a Cardio Tennis site in your own home town.

Photos via

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved