September 28, 2010

Beautiful Indoor Courts Are The Icing On Champ Tennis Victory

I played tennis indoors last week on these absolutely awesome courts at Houston City Club.  Maybe they had just been re-surfaced or re-painted or just swept or something because they were in pristine condition.  It always seems like indoor courts are covered in tennis ball fuzz but there was not a speck on these.

My favorite part - the colors!  The contrast between bright blue courts and white lines surrounded by a more traditional green made calling the lines incredibly easy.  Throughout my entire match, there was only one call by my opponents that I found only slightly questionable and it wasn't even worth an "Are you sure?"  Note to all tennis court owners and painters - please paint your tennis courts in highly contrasting colors!  Green courts surrounded by slightly darker green outer fields do not help us make good calls.  (And are really not that pretty.) 

I should also point out that part of my giddiness over these courts may be due to the fact that I was playing for my Champ level team and my partner and I creamed our opponents 6-2, 6-2.  Everything seems to look rosier when you win.  But really . . . these courts were very pretty 

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

September 24, 2010

Tennis Fashion Fix: Stella McCartney Gear Out For 2011

Didn't the U.S. Open end just a few days ago? Seems like it to me. Well, apparently that's no reason for Stella McCartney to wait to show off her tennis and fitness wear line for 2011.

As all of you Tennis Fixation fans know, Stella has been dressing Caroline Wozniacki quite successfully for the past few years. During London Fashion Week (which was this past week), Caroline and quite a few models showed off some of the many pieces from the Adidas by Stella McCartney line for spring and summer of 2011. They're not all designed for tennis, however. According to British Vogue:
We had models on bikes in one room, models working weights in another, upstairs they were doing a yoga class and camping out in a room in the back – which was complete with its own woodland setting. We’re talking fresh green grass, trees and campfire tales.
Models pretending to camp inside an enclosed room to show off fashion? What will those crazy designers come up with next? But, to get to the point, what does the tennis gear look like? Well, here's a shot of Caroline playing 3D tennis in a dark blue dress that is accented with pink:

I'm guessing that's an open stance forehand she's hitting. Even more "interesting" is this shot of a model, also in a dark blue tennis dress, that reminds me of something I've seen before:

It's kind of hard to see in this picture, but she has a pink undergarment visible through the sheer material up at the neckline. Is it me, or does this have a kind of negligee look to it? Are you trying to tell me this wasn't at least "inspired" by some of the stuff we've seen Venus Williams in lately? (For more info on that, see this post: Tennis Fashion Fix: French Open 2010 - Venus In A Black Lace Negligee???) And is that all the work Stella McCartney does to come up with her next season, look at what everyone else is wearing? AND is on-court underwear really the direction tennis fashion needs to go?

I think not but maybe I'm not as hip and trendy as I should be. Let me know what you think.

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

September 21, 2010

Target Your Tennis Serve

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

Placing your serve is critical in doubles. If you are hitting short weak serves or serves to your opponent's strong side, you leave your partner vulnerable to attack at the net or you allow your opponent to control the points off the return.

You can remedy this by choosing a target and working on keeping your serve deep in the service box (except for the wide serve which should be placed shorter in the box). You will begin to control and win more points if you have good placement of your serve. Make no mistake, no one, and I mean no one, always hits their target. But if you consistently have a plan and see your targets, your execution will improve over time.

The best way to work on your serve placement is to set up visible targets. You can use cones, balls, or whatever is handy. You must also understand where your racquet should make contact with the ball and how much spin you should generate. Work with your pro if you are not sure how to control the direction and placement of your serve and then hit as many baskets of balls as possible on your own. The results will speak for themselves!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

September 15, 2010

More Reasons To Drink Coffee

Just when I think I've decided to cut back on my coffee consumption, I come across more reasons to keep on drinking. The September 2010 issue of Prevention magazine gives these interesting stats:
  • If you drink at least 1 cup of coffee per day, you lower your risk of early death from ALL causes by 37%.
  • If you drink at least 2 cups per day, you reduces your risk of death from heart disease by 25%.
  • If you drink at least 3 cups per day, you can drop your risk of dementia and Alzheimer's by 65%!
  • If you drink at least 4 or more cups per day, you reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 56%.

With these kind of percentages, it seems like doctors should be prescribing coffee drinking! My conclusion for now is that I'm definitely not cutting back on my coffee consumption. In fact, I plan to enjoy it even more!

Want to know more great reasons to drink coffee?  See this post - The Benefits Of Caffeine.

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

September 11, 2010

Peace, Love & Tennis

If I’m going to wear a t-shirt from the U.S. Open, I don’t want to look like someone gave it to me for being one of the first 100 people standing in line for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. I want something splashy and fun. I want it to be cool and figure-flattering. I want the Peace, Love & Tennis tee from the 2010 Open.

I don’t know who designed the women’s tees for the Open this year, but a big “Thank You!” for finally figuring out what we girls want. We don’t want something baggy and shapeless that our kid brother might wear. We want something exactly like this Peace, Love & Tennis tee. It’s made from a sheer material and promises to have a “very tight and narrow fit.” All the better to show off that athletic body for which we’ve put in all those hours on the tennis court. And it’s tagless. I know you are thinking who cares?, but this is a feature I consider to be the bare minimum in any tee worth wearing these days.

Best of all: the Woodstock-inspired design. Check out the dove perched atop the tennis racket handle and the peace sign just behind the strings. How retro and hip is that? The colors are vivid shades of aqua blue, brick red and lime green – truly psychedelic. And note the very small and discreet placement of the two U.S. Open logos: just above the left chest and at the bottom of the tee. Guess what? I’m happy to walk around advertising the U.S. Open if I don’t have to wear a tee that looks like a billboard.

Priced at just $28, the Peace, Love & Tennis t-shirt is available at the U.S. Open's on-line shop.

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

Photo via


© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

September 10, 2010

What Gauge Is Your Tennis String?

Oh my goodness - there is still more to say about tennis strings!

If you've bought a tennis racquet recently, as I have, you know that you can't just buy a racquet and start playing with it. No, no. You have to get it strung. (Not to be obtuse and state the obvious.  It's just to remind everyone - most racquets don't come pre-strung.  Unless you're buying a relatively cheap or a used racquet.)  (And that's not to make any kind of judgment if you bought a relatively cheap or used racquet - those are perfectly acceptable.)

But you can't just use any string to get it strung. First, you have to pick a string made out of the material that is right for you. How do you know what material your string should be?  Check out this post - Tennis Strings - What Kind Should You Use?

Once you know what kind of string to use, you need to figure out what gauge that string should be.  What the heck does that mean?  Well, the gauge of a string is how thin or thick the string is.  A thicker string will wear down slower than a thinner string and will break less often - thus lasting longer.  A thinner string, however, has more resiliency or "feel" which is important to a lot of players, especially as they become more advanced.  Thinner strings may also generate more power and spin.

String gauges are given in numbers ranging from 15 (the thickest gauge) to as high as 20 (the thinnest gauge).  Most average players will use a string in the range of 15 to 17.  There are even half-gauge strings, represented by the letter "L."  So a 16L gauge string is like a 16 1/2 gauge string, between a 16 and 17.

At this point, you may be saying, "Wow!  This string gauge stuff is incredibly fascinating!  But I really have no idea what gauge string I'm playing with."  Don't worry.  If you're happy with what you've got, tell your stringer "Just do the same thing again" next time you take your racquet for restringing.  He or she can figure out what you're using and you don't have to be too concerned.

If, however, you think you might like to know what you're playing with now, the gauge is usually printed on the strings in the most minute font possible.  You might be able to read it.  If not, a professional stringer certainly can and he or she can tell you what you're using (because maybe you bought a pre-strung racquet!).

And next time you get your racquet strung, don't be afraid to try a different, probably higher, gauge string.  Will it make a difference in your game?  Possibly.  Will it give you something interesting to discuss with your stringer?  Well, I think so!

(And don't forget to tell your stringer what tension you want your strings to be.  Read this post - Finding the Right String Tension for You and Your Racquet - to find out all about proper string tension.)

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

September 8, 2010

What Is The Deal With Venus?

As we go into Week 2 of the U.S. Open, the last American standing (in singles anyway) is Venus Williams. And my questions is - what it the deal with these outfits? The montage above shows what she's worn for 4 out of the 5 days she's played. I can't seem to quickly come up with a photo of the dress she wore a few days ago but it is a red version of the spangly, fireworks-inspired looks she's done in black and magenta.

Anyway, my problem with this entire wardrobe is that all of these outfits just look so dang uncomfortable!  Forget about whether you or I or any other average tennis-skill level purchaser of tennis wear would buy this stuff.  Venus herself just doesn't seem to be comfortable in any of her outfits.  They all ride up with every move she makes.  Whether its a serve, return, backhand, forehand or overhead, Venus is constantly pulling and tugging on the hem of these dresses, trying to cover herself.  I don't know about you, but when I'm playing tennis, I have lots of things to think about, the least of which should be whether or not my dress is staying in place.  I can only imagine that a serious contender for the women's U.S. Open singles title also has plenty to think about when she's on the court.  And she certainly should not be worrying during her serve about whether ESPN is shooting a close-up of her behind for television viewers everywhere.    

Photo to the far right via Getty Images

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

September 4, 2010

Choosing Sides In Doubles

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

Most doubles players think its best to let their partner return from their stronger side. But this isn't always true. As a team, you should decide the advantages and disadvantages of each player on each side and see what makes the most sense for your team. For example, if you have a better inside out backhand than your partner, but a weaker forehand, you would be better off playing the deuce court and having your partner play the ad side. Talk to your partner and try to figure out what is best for your team. Your results will improve if you do!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

September 3, 2010

It Must Be (App) Love!

The U.S. Open is here at last! Yay! While I personally can’t be courtside to see every rocket-powered forehand or designer-inspired tennis fashion mistake, I will be keeping up religiously and, I have to say, giddily, with the U.S. Open app I just downloaded to my iPhone. Talk about U.S. Open love! Have you seen this thing? Playing around with this app is almost as much fun as being right there in the stadium court at Flushing Meadows. You can be anywhere and feel like you’re courtside.

This app is what I believe a techno-geek would call sexy. I mean it looks good. Real good. Sure, its got all of the basics—draws and brackets, live scores, schedules of upcoming matches. But how about pics of the Jonas Brothers performing at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day? Not your thing? How about the incredible video of Robert Kendrick making it through the qualies? Or the latest tweets from featured players like Andy Roddick and Venus Williams? Even Serena is there with you! The U.S. Open iPhone app has it all.

And there’s more! One of my favorite features is sure to be radio. Not only will it let you hear live play-by-play from some great commentators, but you can submit your own insightful questions that might actually be answered on air. My questions include: Where can I buy a shirt like the one the ball boys wear? Is that Serena in the stands? Which one of the Bryan brothers is Bob? Fun, right?

Now, if you are one of the lucky few who actually attends this year’s Open, you must get this app. There is an entire “Visiting the Open” section that not only tells you where all of the bathrooms are, but also goes into delicious detail about your U.S. Open dining options. How else would you know about the Mojito Restaurant & Bar’s refreshing cucumber and mint mojitos?

In conclusion, this app has managed to make the U.S. Open even more fun and interactive—whether you’re at Flushing Meadows or not. It’s a must-have.

Photo via

This post originally appeared on one of my favorite web sites: Strawberries & Scream

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

September 2, 2010

Stretching Strategies You're Sure To See At The 2010 US Open

Here's a great post on stretches that the pros will very likely be doing to prepare for their matches and avoid injury at the U.S. Open: 3 Stretching Strategies You're Sure To See At The 2010 US Open. And if the pros are doing these stretches, you can bet that you and I should be doing them too!

This post is from the TennisMindCamp blog which is one of my go-to places for tips on all aspects of tennis, especially the mental stuff. We've certainly discussed stretching here is posts like Winning The Warm-Up and Quick Tennis Fix: Stretch! To make the most of your time on the tennis court, be sure you've added a quick and effective stretching routine to your game.

© Kim Selzman 2010All Rights Reserved

September 1, 2010

Yoga Can Improve Your Tennis!

Happy National Yoga Month! Yes, September is National Yoga Month and, believe it or not, this is pertinent to all of us tennis fanatics because yoga can actually improve your tennis game. And I know we are all looking for that next "fix" that will take our game to a higher level.

So what can yoga do for you on the court?

First, it can improve your flexibility and balance.  Yoga helps you stretch your muscles in new and different ways, ways that you're probably not doing out on the tennis court.  And many yoga poses require you to hold and stabilize yourself, boosting your body awareness and balance.

Second, yoga can reduce and even prevent injuries. It can do this, again, through increasing your flexibility and body awareness.

Finally, through meditation and breathing techniques, yoga can improve your mental focus. Yes, yoga may actually help you get into "the zone", that mental state we're all searching for during our matches.

Am I doing yoga to improve my tennis game?  As of today, I am! If you're ready to get hooked on yoga to improve your tennis, check out this article: Yoga for Great Tennis. It has some specific moves you can try out to hopefully up your game right now.

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved