August 30, 2011

Tennis Fashion Fix: Maria Sharapova at the 2011 U.S. Open

The U.S. Open has just begun and most of the top women have made it through their first round (whew!) so we still have a chance to see what they're wearing. One of those first round winners was Maria Sharapova who is actually a contender this year. And here is a side-by-side shot of her Nike day dress (on the left) and night dress (on the right):

I actually watched a 3 minute Nike video (despite my ADD) about Maria's U.S. Open kit and was surprised how much thought went into some of the little touches that I never pay attention to when I buy my own Nike outfits.  The guy who is head of the shoe design team waxed on about the "pearlescent" effect that her shoes would give off when the sunlight hits them.  Wow.

Anyway, I'm sure Maria will look lovely in both of these dresses.  Here's a shot of her provided by Nike showing off the day dress:

Let's hope she sticks around long enough for us to see both of these dresses in action!

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

Photos via Nike

August 24, 2011

"What A Waste Of A Bike!"

Like you (I'll bet), tennis is not my only physical activity. Like you, I actually get out and do a few other things on occasion. I run. I do yoga. I do work-out classes. I lift weights. And I bike.

And when I bike, the bike in this photo is the bike I ride. Yes, it has a basket on the front. Yes, it has a rack on the back. Yes, if you look closely, you will see it has one of those padded gel-thingies on the seat. And yes, I understand that this is not anywhere close to being a serious high speed racing bike. That's obviously not what I'm aiming for (as evidenced by the basket on the front). But it's still a great bike to me and I can happily ride it for several miles and feel like I'm getting a work-out.

So, I was shocked on one of my recent bike outings on my neighborhood Hike and Bike Trail when I distinctly heard a man call out, "What a waste of a bike!"

Now, I know this was aimed at my bike, and by obvious implication at me, because there was no one else around. I kept riding because I just couldn't process what I had heard quickly enough. And when I finally figured it out ("That guy was yelling at ME!"), I was down the trail far enough that I didn't want to turn back to reply. (Like I would really have confronted a man on my neighborhood Hike and Bike Trail anyway.)

Because this little encounter has stuck with me, however, and because I have been thinking of all the things I wish I would have said to that guy, I am writing this post which has nothing at all to do with tennis but everything to do with being a physically active and fit person and with plain old common etiquette. In your honor, Mr. Trendy Hipster Bike Guy, here is why MY bike is NOT a waste of a bike:

1. Within the last year, I had the gears and brakes on this bike refurbished and had the rack installed at a real bike shop, not at a big box sporting goods store. I thought that this was more ecologically beneficial than just buying a fancy new bike. I also thought it would be good of me to support this small specialized business so that people who ride fancy bikes and buy all of the trendy accompanying gear can keep shopping there. People like you, Mr. Trendy Hipster Bike Guy.

2. I had the rack installed so I could bungee cord my tennis ball basket to the bike and ride down to the nearby tennis courts to practice. As opposed to driving the 1/3 mile to the tennis courts that are right off the Hike and Bike Trail.

3. I wear a bike helmet when I ride. Sure, it has pink flowers on it and its very cute, but at least I wear one. Just like a real biker.

4. I have two pairs of padded bike shorts, bike gloves, and leg warmers and a lot of other bike gear. I don't wear them on the Hike and Bike Trail because I'm not out for a serious 20+ mile bike ride.

5. But I own those things because I have been on a 6 day bike ride through the wine country in Napa Valley and Sonoma, California that included rides of up to 30 miles per day.

6. Oh, and I also went on a 6 day bike ride through Alberta, Canada, starting in Banff, going through Banff and Jasper National Parks, stopping at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake and the Columbia Icefields and going all along the Icefields Parkway. I rode about 35 miles a day with my longest day being 50 miles.

7. I didn't ride my bike on these rides because I understand my bike is a fun little bike for riding around in my neighborhood. It is not a serious road bike like the one I used on these real bike rides. Or like your's, Hipster Bike Guy.

Perhaps all of this doesn't add up to much. Perhaps in the wonderful world of "serious" biking, my bike is a waste of a bike. But I like my bike. I like the rack on the back and the gel-thingy on the seat. I especially like the cute rattan basket on the front (Wal-Mart, $14). Because that basket is the perfect place to store water balloons, among other things. Are you getting the picture, Mr. Trendy Hipster Bike Guy? Watch your back!

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

August 22, 2011

Tennis Conditioning For iPad Rocks!

I'm currently reading Complete Conditioning for Tennis on my iPad and I can finally say - I get it! I get the iPad book! At last, I understand why a book designed for the iPad can be so much more than the hardcover edition of the same book.

While an iPad is a lot of fun to have around, I've never understood why I would read a book on my iPad. Sure, I can download a book to my iPad pretty much instantly instead of having to wait until I can get to the store to buy it. And, yes, I can have my entire library of iPad books anywhere and everywhere that I have my iPad. And maybe, just maybe, the digital version of the book is a little bit cheaper than the hardback.

But I can honestly say that my iPad version of Complete Conditioning for Tennis offers a whole lot more than I could get from a regular book. First of all, it includes 62 high-def looking photos and 13 photo slide shows.  These are truly fabulous pictures - very clean and crisp. If you don't believe in the split step, as I have been known to not believe in it, you will after seeing a slide show of Roger Federer performing it.

Next, it has 75 video clips to make sure that even the most imagination-challenged of us knows exactly what we're being told to do.  So, as I'm reading about the One-Leg Stability Test, if I'm having trouble picturing what that might look like, I can just click on the video to see a demonstration. The video is embedded right on the page with the explanation, see?:

Very cool. In fact, I have to admit that this is honestly the first iPad version of a book that I think is more valuable than the hardcover book/DVD set. Because, frankly, I'm too lazy to get up and put the DVD in my player to see the One-Leg Stability Test demonstration. And I'm guessing you might be too.

And I haven't even told you about the contents of the book! Everything you need to get into tip-top tennis shape is here - from "Agility and Footwork" to "Solid Shoulder Stability." And all of this content is focused just on us tennis players!

How can you get this book? Well, it's actually an iPad app so go to the iTunes store and search for Complete Conditioning for Tennis. You should be directed to this app which costs $19.99. Download it as you would any other app. Because it is an app, once you have it on your iPad, you can launch it directly, as opposed to going through iBooks or Kindle or some other book-reading app.

I'm still reading this one and poring over the videos because there is just so much great information here. If you too decide you are ready to reach your highest level of tennis conditioning, give Complete Conditioning a try. And be sure and let me know what you think of it.

FYI - The publisher of this book, Human Kinetics, provided me with a free copy of the iPad version of this book to review.

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

Images taken from Complete Conditioning for Tennis page on iTunes

August 12, 2011

Retro Tennis Fixation: How To Be A Great Tennis Team Member!

Slowly, ever so slowly, it's coming back to me . . . why I am not a tennis team captain anymore. I agreed to be the substitute captain for one of my teams, just for two weeks, while the real captains take well-deserved summer vacations. But, as I sit here writing this post on the night before our league matches, and as I patiently wait for people to return my calls and confirm whether or not they're playing tomorrow morning, and as I actually start feeling that little knot of desperation start to tighten in my stomach over this ("what if they don't return my calls? who can I sub in at the last minute?"), I'm remembering just how hard it is to be a tennis team captain.

And I'm also remembering this Tennis Fixation post I wrote a while ago, a Retro Tennis Fixation post as I like to call it, about what it takes to be a great tennis team member - something that all of us should strive for. Just so our tennis team captains aren't developing stomach ulcers as they sit and wait for us to return their calls. So here it is from December 2008: How To Be A Great Tennis Team Member!

After you've captained a tennis team, you realize that your best team member is not necessarily your most highly skilled player. If you want to be the team member that your captain plays again and again, follow these tips:

1. Be available. Nothing is worse for a captain than forfeiting a line because she can't find anyone to play that day. So make sure that you are always available to play. Captains love the team member who is ready and willing to play at the last minute. This means if you are on a Wednesday team, don't schedule your manicure for Wednesday morning. Keep your Wednesdays open for tennis.

2. Play at whatever line you're needed. You may think you are a Line 1 player - and maybe you are. But sometimes your captain needs a player at Line 4 so she won't have to forfeit Line 4 that day. Sometimes she needs someone to play with that team member that others find "difficult" to partner with. Sometimes she has a strategy that includes playing stronger players at lower lines. If you are always willing to play any line, your captain will not only appreciate your attitude but will play you more often.

3. Play at whatever location you're needed. Depending on where you live, this may not be an issue. But where I liveand the leagues in which I play, getting to a match can often involve a 30 minute drive. If you exclude yourself from playing those "far away" matches, you will definitely cut down on the number of times your captain can use you.

4. Be a willing partner. Nothing is harder on a captain than having one team member who no one else wants to play with. I have had team members come to me and actually say, "Don't ever play me with her . . . ever!" While you may feel that way about certain players, the reality is that a captain has some obligation to play everyone on the team at least some of the time. And eventually someone has to play with that player that no one likes. And it should not be the captain over and over. So be willing to "take one for the team" occasionally and partner up with that unwanted team member.

5. Be a good partner. If you want to avoid being the "unwanted team member" referred to in No. 4 above, be a good partner to your fellow team mates. Be positive. Make good, honest calls. Don't throw in the towel in a match even when you feel like you can't come back. Don't blame your partner for her mistakes. Don't ever say to your partner "You have to get those." Be the partner that everyone enjoys playing with and your captain will be happy to play you often.

6. Appreciate your captain. Being a tennis team captain is not easy. A captain may have to set new lines each week. She is often strategizing ways to win points just to keep your team from being moved to a lower level. She has to deal with league directors, other captains and, of course, a whole team full of players, each with their own personal agendas. If the team is losing, players may blame the captain for making bad pairings and following the wrong strategies. If the team is winning, players may feel its only due to their superior tennis skills. So, appreciate your team captain. Tell her what a great job she's doing every once in a while. Your support will not only make her happy, but may result in you playing as often as you'd like!

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

August 10, 2011

US Open Secrets Revealed!

Oh, how I wish I was going to this year's U.S. Open. And if I was, I would know all of the secrets to getting the best seats, avoiding long lines and staying in the nicest hotels because I would follow all of the tips given by Match Point Travel on

Match Point Travel is a service web site run by a true tennis fan who has visited nearly all of the major tennis tournaments world-wide and is ready and willing to pass her insider secrets on to you and me. And she has plenty of those secrets available to us right now for free! Like - have you been taking the 7 train to get out to the U.S. Open site? Well, you can save a lot of time by taking the E or F express trains to the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue stop, and THEN switching to the 7! You just can't pay enough for that kind of helpful info. And that one is just one of the many that are absolutely free!

Besides the free tips, Match Point Travel offers some very reasonably priced (i.e., cheap) options for getting additional, personalized advice. At last, you can have someone who knows New York just a phone call away and ready to tell you what restaurant to eat at in the city and where to wait to get Rafael Nadal's autograph when you're on the tournament grounds.

If you're on your way to the U.S. Open this year (lucky you!), you must visit so you don't miss out on any of the fun of one of the best tennis Slams going. And if you can't make it this year (boo hoo!), visit anyway for some great highlights and recollections from past tournaments and so you can start making your plans for next year.

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

August 1, 2011

We Have TWO Tennis Fixation Giveaway Winners!

It is time to announce the winners of this past week's Tennis Fixation Stringlet Giveaway! And the best part is . . . there are two winners of this giveaway. So here we go!

Our first winner of a Stringlet set is Beth! Beth gets the first set of Stringlets that has one one Optic Yellow, one Natural and one Blue and Optic Yellow Twist.

Our second winner is Candice T.! Candice gets the second Stringlet set that has one White, one Black and White Twist, and one Blue and Tangerine Twist Stringlet.

So congratulations to Beth and Candice T. for being such great Tennis Fixation followers and commenters. I know they are going to love these cute things. I'm still wearing mine. If you were not a winner but want to check out Stringlets for yourself (or your team) and see all of their adorable color combos, just visit their website:

Beth and Candice T. - to receive your Stringlets, just e-mail your shipping address to me at kimselzman(at)gmail(dot)com. And be sure to contact me within the next three days or I will have to draw a new winning name from the entries.

Thanks to everyone who commented and entered the Stringlet giveaway. I'm always receiving tennis items to try out and I always try to pass them on to my loyal followers. So stay tuned for more giveaways coming soon!

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved