July 29, 2010

Tennis Fashion Fix: US Open 2010 - Sharapova

The U.S. Open is about a month away so player kits are starting to surface. And here is the outfit Maria Sharapova is expected to wear this year. Here's Nike's description:
An eyecatching Court Day Dress as worn by Maria, this dress is a beautiful new colour and a fantastic new style with lots of attractive assymetrical features. The button plackets on the chest and right hem are non-functional, providing an eye-catching style to this dress. The black hem of the dress is delicately ruffled with a pop of colour shimmer under the dress.
So what's my take on this? I, for one, am going on the record as being against "non-functional" touches like button plackets. Why have buttons on a tennis dress if they're not doing anything? And I'm not 100% sure what a "pop of colour shimmer" at the hem means. Is that the black ruffle or is there something else under there? (That's more of a criticism of the fashion intern assigned by Nike to write the description.) While I like this turquoise color, this definitely looks like a dress that can only be judged when Maria's actually wearing it. So we'll just have to wait and see.

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

July 26, 2010

I Want Candy!

My new favorite tennis accessory? Not my gold and silver zebra-striped tennis bag. Not my bedazzled ankle socks that spell out “Court Queen” in rhinestones. Not even my Hello-Kitty-with-a-tennis-racquet good luck charm. None of these are as critical to the success of my game as my new number one tennis aid—Sports Beans.

Leave it to the geniuses at Jelly Belly to come up with the perfect performance sports snack. Packed with carbohydrates for fuel, electrolytes for recovery, and vitamins to support your muscles, Sports Beans are truly serious athletic snacks. But me, I don’t care about that science-y stuff. What I love is that Sports Beans are really yummy jelly beans—jelly beans that I can actually feel good about eating. Regular Sports Beans come in four different flavors—Orange, Lemon Lime, Berry, and Fruit Punch—so there’s something for everyone. Can’t decide on a flavor? There’s a variety pack with assorted flavors so you can try a little bit of each. Having now tried them all (just doing my job), I’m a Berry girl all the way.

But what if you need a little “boost” to get your game going? Then you may be ready for Extreme Sports Beans. These sweeties give you all of the goodness of regular Sports Beans but with an added shot of 50 mg of caffeine! That’s about what you get in a half cup of coffee. How great would it be to come out on the court refreshed and raring to go all because you just had some jelly beans? Extreme Sports Beans come in two flavors—Watermelon and Cherry—and I’m giving the nod to Watermelon here.

And don’t worry about overdosing on your Sports Beans. These come in individual resealable packets with about 14 jelly beans and 100 calories in each. Thank you Jelly Belly for giving me some portion control as I’m sure I could eat a lot more than 14 of these in a match.

Now, here’s the true genius behind Sports Beans—all kinds of athletes love them! Runners love them because they’re so convenient to carry. Bikers love them because they can pop a couple without slowing down. Swimmers love them because they’re just as good wet as they are dry. Even cross-country skiers love them—they don’t freeze!

So get your hands on some of these “magic” beans and see if you don’t feel more energized and focused during your matches.

This post originally appeared on one of my favorite web sites:  Strawberries & Scream: I Want Candy!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2010

"Weird" Tennis Rules: Reaching Over The Net

If you're going to put a lot of time, effort and money into playing tennis, you should also put some time and effort into learning the rules of tennis. I'm a huge advocate of knowing the rules because points, games and matches are won and lost based on the proper, and sometimes the improper, application of the rules.  I can definitely remember at least 3 times when I gave up a point to an opponent because I didn't know what the rule was in some unusual, weird situation.  And my opponent at least convincingly acted as if she knew the rule.

So let's talk about at least one weird application of the tennis rules that I've never seen in any of my matches but I have seen in a pro match and I've heard of other people coming up against. It's the rule about reaching over the net - when you can and when you can't.

First, do you remember when we talked about this rule about a year ago? I'm guessing not (although maybe (hopefully) you're so fixated on tennis that you have every post here memorized). The post was Reaching Over The Net and in it, I gave some tips about how to handle the opponent who plays so close to the net that you're pretty sure she's reaching across it to return the ball. This is a problem for your opponent because Rule 24(h) of the USTA's Official Rules of Tennis says that a player loses the point if "[t]he player hits the ball before it has passed the net . . . ." It's a problem for you because it's up to your opponent to make this call, not you, so you have to rely on her to fess up.

There is, however, one situation where you or your opponent can reach across the net. The USTA's website gives a great explanation in the article "Reaching Over The Net" (click on the title to read the whole article). This article explains:
If the spin or wind brings the ball back over the net to the side of the player(s) who hit the shot, the opponent(s) may then reach over the net and play the ball. They may not touch the net or the opponent’s court. This is the only situation when a player may reach over the net to play a ball. If the opponent does not play the ball and it bounces on the side of the player who hit the spin shot, that player who hit that shot wins the point.
So are you picturing this? Your opponent hits some kind of nasty spin drop shot that comes over the net, bounces on your side but then spins backward over the net to their side of the court. You need to reach over and tap the ball into their court, without touching the net or their side of the court. If you fail to tap the ball with your racquet and it lands back on their side, they win the point.

While this is a weird rule that you probably won't see too often, that one time you do see it, you'll know the rule.  And now that you know it, maybe its some inspiration for working on your nasty spin drop shot.


© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

July 18, 2010

Tennis Destination: The Canadian Rockies!

I just got back from a 6 day bike trip through the Canadian Rockies and didn't spend a single day of it playing tennis. But here's a photo of me, 4 tennis courts and the Fairmount Banff Springs in the background. So see? I found a tennis connection!

I've got lots of great pics and lots of great tennis tips thanks to my bike trip. Because when you're riding 30 to 60 miles a day through the Canadian Rockies, up and down hills (mostly up) you have lots of time to think about lots of things - including tennis. I even read a great tennis book that I'll not only review soon but I'll make it a prize in a cool Tennis Fixation giveaway!

So stay tuned!

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved

July 8, 2010

The Benefits of Caffeine

I know it's the middle of a sweltering summer and the last thing you're thinking when you're sweating it out on the court is, "If only I could get my hands on a steamy cup of coffee!" But don't give up on your caffeine just because of the heat. According to a recent issue of Prevention magazine, there are all kinds of great reasons to drink coffee:
  • It can help prevent DNA damage that leads to skin cancer.
  • It is full of healthy antioxidants.
  • And, people who drink 3 to 4 cups a day have a 25% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Wow! Just remember - caffeine is a diuretic (see this post - Quick Tennis Fix: Cut Your Caffeine - for more info on that) so you don't want to be drinking coffee or any other caffeinated beverage during your match. Instead, enjoy your coffee during a non-tennis-playing moment and load up on water and other forms of hydration during matches (see Drink! Drink! Drink! to find out what you should be drinking).

© Kim Selzman 2010 All Rights Reserved