November 27, 2011

The Tennis Fixation Best-Ever 2011 Gift Guide!

It's the most wonderful time of the year - time for the Tennis Fixation Best-Ever 2012 Gift Guide!

Every year, we (i.e., I) at Tennis Fixation scour websites, stores and the tennis courts, looking for the cutest, hippest, trendiest tennis items to bring to you, our faithful Tennis Fixation followers. And this year, we've found some real "winners" that we want to "serve up" to you. Read on for Tennis Fixation's suggestions of just what to ask Santa for this year.

1. Be sure and bag a great tennis bag. Let's start with a fab tennis bag. If you've been using yours for a few years (or the past year), isn't it time for something new and trendy? Of course it is! So here's my pick for a fun bag that you won't see every other player on court carrying:

This tennis tote is by Ame and Lulu and has a fun graphic print in black and white highlighted with red trim. And - bonus - it can be monogrammed! I found this one on the Slam Glam website (and tons of other cute stuff) for less than $100.

2. Finally . . . tennis balls for a tennis diva! If you're anything like me, you've been wondering, "when will someone come out with animal print tennis balls?" Well, the wait is over! You can find leopard print balls and an entire "Safari Collection" over at (pronounced "sequin" or "seek-win," you decide). Take a look at the leopard print version:

Totally fun. While the leopard print balls are available now for only $20 a can (!!), the Safari Collection will ultimately include all of your favorite animal prints: giraffe, zebra, tiger, jaguar and python. And the "Kaleidoscope Collection" is also on its way. (I'm hoping that will include purple balls, the iconic symbol of Tennis Fixation.) Honestly, I'm not too sure about playing a match with leopard print balls. I have enough trouble seeing the optic yellow balls. And at $20 a can, I wouldn't want to ruin these by doing something crazy like hitting them with my tennis racquet. But they would make a very fun and very unique gift for your favorite tennis fashion diva.

3. Fun with vibration dampeners! The vibration dampener has been cute-ified! Over at String-A-Ma-Jig, they're putting out sweet little vibration dampeners that you are going to love. Here's my favorite:

This is the Mojito Margarita vibration dampener. So now, when you spin your racquet, instead of asking "P or D?" or "M or W?" (boring), you can ask "Mojito or Margarita?" And isn't that the question you wanted to really ask anyway? At only $4 each, you can choose from a huge selection of fun dampeners. There's even something for the tennis-playing dog and cat lovers.

4. How about a very pink watch? Lacoste has a sweet collection of tennis watches and this is my favorite:

At only $95, the "Pink Color Block Goa" watch is within my budget and totally adorable. I can see me wearing this watch all the time - not just on the tennis court.

5. A cool pair of shades. Here's something else I love from Lacoste. These are the Lacoste Women's Brisbane Sunglasses in Purple and Lilac:

While I don't think I could wear these on court, the purple color is so sparkly and splashy! And I think the color totatlly justifies the $128 price tag. I love these!

6. Black tennis shoes! While I'm really attached to my Nike Air Max Breathe Free II tennis shoes, they are the shoes that never go on sale. Ever. But if I was going to make a change, I think I'd go for something really tough-looking, like these:

These are the Asics Gel Resolution 3 in black, lightning and hot pink. I've never worn black shoes but I could see myself giving these ones a try. I mean, aren't you always intimidated by women who take the court in black tennis shoes? I am!

7. How about tennis ball lights on your tree? I'm always looking for something unusual and different that might be cute at a tennis party. So when I saw these Tennis Ball Patio Lights, I knew I'd found the perfect finishing touch for this year's party:

You get 10 light-up tennis balls for only $18.99 - certainly cheaper than decorating the tree with leopard print balls! 

8. I love my Tennis Anatomy book. And I think this is the perfect gift for the serious tennis player:

For all the details on why this is such a great book and how to get one, click over to my recent review: Check Out My "Tennis Anatomy."

9. And I love my tennis canvas print! Here's another item I recently reviewed and think makes a perfect holiday gift:

This is the canvas print I got from Easy Canvas Prints. While I stuck with the tennis theme and had them make me a canvas print of my son playing tennis, they'll put almost anything you want on almost any size canvas. Their website is super easy to use and you'll end up with a completely personalized gift that your recipient is sure to love.

10. And now for the fantasy . . . Here's the bag I've been coveting for quite some time. the Cortiglia Belvedere Nero Tennis Tote:

Hand-crafted in Italy, this bag looks like an elegant handbag but can accommodate two tennis racquets and all the odds and ends you need out on the court.  What's my hesitation in buying this for myself? The price - a cool $435. I found this one on and added it to my "Wish List" (in case my husband is reading this and is in a generous gift-giving mood). I haven't yet convinced the people at Cortiglia to donate one that I could try out but I'm working on that. In the meantime, I'll continue to dream of the day I show up at a match with an Italian-made leather tennis bag on my shoulder - proof of my serious dedication to the sport.

So those are my top 10 tennis gift picks for 2011. Have I missed something? Do you have a favorite item that didn't make my list? Let me know so we can make sure that we're all dressed to kill out on the tennis court! Happy Holidays!

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving From Tennis Fixation!

Happy Thanksgiving!

No tennis on the schedule for today. Instead, the usual - run the Turkey Trot 5K with my family, cook lots of super-fattening, super-delicious Thanksgiving foods, eat same, watch football and nap. And think about playing tennis later on.

And, of course, I'm thinking about all of the holiday fun we'll be having here at Tennis Fixation. So check back in throughout the rest of the year so you won't miss out.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

November 21, 2011

Why I Love Tennis Singles (I Mean The Game Of Course)

I made it to the semi-finals in a singles tournament!

I have been wanting to play more singles for a while now, complaining (whining) that all I ever do is play doubles. But singles is not very popular in my tennis circle. My club doesn't even have a singles ladder. And I am not really motivated to play "fun" matches that I arrange myself, even in doubles. If I play, I want it to count.

So, I signed up for an intraclub singles tournament this past weekend. FYI - my first match in this singles tournament was my second singles match ever. So I wasn't expecting much. But - good news! - I made it into the semi-finals and lost to the player who ultimately won the tournament. In my strange tennis world where I can make almost anything sound better than it actually is, it's as if I was a finalist (since I lost to the champ)!

So, here's what I learned from playing my first singles tournament and here's why I think you and I should be playing more singles:

1. Singles is WAY more of a work-out than doubles. It's obvious that singles is going to burn a lot more calories than doubles. Because there's no doubt that when you're the only one on your side of the net serving, returning and getting balls back in play, you're doing a lot more work. In the post Let's Get Real - How Many Calories Can I Burn Playing Tennis?, I estimated the calorie-burn difference to be about 150 calories an hour, with doubles burning about 300 calories per hour vs. singles burning about 450 per hour. That alone is reason enough to be playing more singles.

2. Singles is WAY more of a mental game. Actually, singles is completely, mentally exhausting. At least if you want to win. Because you're out on the court all alone. There's no partner to encourage you, re-focus you and help you shake off your mistakes. You've definitely got to have more mental fortitude for singles than you do for doubles.

3. Singles requires you to have a game plan. Maybe this seems more true to me in singles because there's only one opponent out there to concentrate on and there's only one person to get the ball back in play - me. All by myself, I have to figure out my opponent's weaknesses while, at the same time, trying to play my strengths. For example, in my first tournament match, my opponent was younger but much heavier and had a killer slice forehand that always came up short. So, early on, she would hit a short shot to me and then lob me or just pass me. After a few games of this, I beat her by avoiding her forehand, hitting to her weaker backhand and, when I could, forcing her to run back and forth because she was kind of out of shape and got tired easily. I won 6-2, 6-2 and was struck by the fact that I not only came up with a plan, but that it worked!

4. Singles players are just different from doubles players. The ladies I played against were not just nice after our matches, they wanted to chat about the match - what they were thinking, what they thought of my game, what they were trying to do with their game, how much more they liked singles than doubles. Maybe this is because singles players don't have doubles partners to talk to about this stuff. Anyway, I found this a pleasant change from the usual post-match discussion with doubles opponents (which is often nice but certainly doesn't involve talk of strategy or how great MY game was).

5. A singles win is more satisfying than a doubles win. When you win in doubles, maybe its because you and your partner were the better team. Or maybe its because your partner was really great and was able to carry you. Or maybe its because both of your opponents were just weak. Or maybe one of them was really weak and you picked on her the whole time. Its hard to know sometimes just why you won in doubles. But in singles, there's no doubt - you, and you alone, were the better player. And that all by itself is a good reason to play singles.

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

November 17, 2011

Tennis Fashion Fix: Lacoste Teams Up With Jonathan Adler

Talk about being a tennis fashion detective! I just saw the cutest tennis racquet cover in the November 2011 issue of Marie Claire magazine. Since Marie Claire doesn't usually focus on tennis fashion, this thing caught my eye and I decided to track it down.

So it turns out that Lacoste, which as you know sponsors Adny Roddick, has teamed up with super-trendy designer Jonathan Adler to produce some very, very limited edition polos for this holiday season.  These things are so special that they are being produced as part of Lacoste's "Holiday Collector's" series (I didn't know that existed) and I can't even figure out where to buy them. Supposedly Nordstrom's and Neiman Marcus carry them but neither of their web sites turn up any of this stuff. Neither does Lacoste's website. So for now, I haven't bought anything.

But . . . because I really wanted you to see this stuff, I kept digging and Voila! - I found a blogger who apparently not only attended the Tokyo launch party for this collection, but took tons of great photos. 

The blog is called Just Another Typical Night in Tokyo and if this is what a typical Tokyo night looks like, I'm going.  All of the images I'm showing here are from this blog.  The first one, above, gives you an idea about the racquet covers I first noticed in Marie Claire. These are needlepoint covers showing the iconic Lacoste crocodile with a graphic Adler print in the background. They're kind of hard to see in the photo because, here's the best part, you can't buy the racquet covers. You buy the polo shirt, I think for $250, and it comes in the racquet cover! So the focus is on the shirt, not the cover. It's so hip and exclusive that I'm kind of not getting it.

This is a photo showing what I believe is the super, highest-level-of-exclusivity total needlepoint polo shirt:

Are you understanding this shirt? Completely in needlepoint? I think it comes in the ceramic crocodile shown on the right (because of course you'll want that to display at home). According to different sources I saw on-line (and I'm not claiming any of them are reputable), these needlepoint shirts are made by French nuns and take 400 hours per shirt to make. Not even I can make this kind of stuff up. I think maybe you don't wear a shirt like this. Or at least you don't wear it to play tennis in.

The Typical Night blog has several other fabulous photos from this party so if you want to check those out just click on this link: Just Another Typical Night in Tokyo.

And don't even ask how much time I spent looking for this stuff on-line - it's all just part of the job.

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

November 7, 2011

Check Out My "Tennis Anatomy"

Not too long ago, I hurt my back while playing tennis. I never figured out how I did it. Clutzy moves? Complete lack of control and form? Old age? Bad luck? Probably all of those things. Anyway, I ended up just taking it easy for about two weeks until everything seemed normal again.

But it really bothered me. How exactly did I hurt myself? And what could I do to prevent it from happening again?

About the same time I was asking myself these questions, the wonderful people at Human Kinetics offered me the chance to review another of their tennis books - Tennis Anatomy by E. Paul Roetert and Mark S. Kovacs.  "Sure," I said. It sounded like something I might be interested in.

I believe this is where a weird concept called synchronicity comes into play and I'm not talking about the hit song by The Police. Synchronicity is when two or more apparently unrelated events occur together in a meaningful manner. E.g., just when I was wondering about my back and how to get it into proper shape for tennis, I get asked to review the book that tells me that exact thing. Creepy.

Anyway, as Tennis Anatomy's introduction explains, "[t]his book is written for serious competitive and recreational tennis players. Many tennis books emphasize fitness or strength and conditioning. Tennis Anatomy takes the next step and focuses on why and how you should get fit to play tennis."

Tennis Anatomy is simple to use - with chapters on "Shoulders," "Arms and Wrists," "Core and Torso," etc., it's easy to zero in on your problem and find the exercises and drills to help get tennis fit. Each chapter covers a different area of tennis anatomy and and provides a thorough explanation of the muscles, how they function in general and why they're strength is important when playing tennis. A number of weight-bearing exercises are illustrated showing how to build the muscles and then showing how these muscles come into play on the tennis court. Here's an example of the detailed illustrations using a recommended shoulder exercise. The first photo shows how to perform the exercise and what muscles are involved:

The really cool part is the second illustration, which shows you exactly how building your shoulder muscles with this exercise will help you on the tennis court:

There is also a chapter full of great on-court drills and a chart where you can zero in on what your pain or problem is, what might be causing it and how to deal with it.

I am really enjoying going over the illustrations in this book and finding ways to strength my strokes without even stepping on the tennis court. And if you or someone you know is a tennis fanatic, Tennis Anatomy would make a perfect gift (so this review is just in time for the holidays!).

Meanwhile, did I figure out the cause of my back problem? No. Am I performing Lat Pull-Downs, Seated Rows and Reverse Flys to strengthen my back muscles as recommended in Chapter 5? You bet I am.

You can order Tennis Anatomy and tons of other great tennis books at

Thanks to Human Kinetics for providing me with a review copy of Tennis Anatomy.

Images via

 © Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

November 2, 2011

We Have A Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner for the October Go Pink 4all Giveaway! The prize is a very cute Blush Pink Jo Polo. And the winner is . . . Jen who left this comment: "My favorite tennis team color is white - but I want to win the pink shirt!"

So, Jen, to get your Jo Polo, just send your shipping address and the size of polo you would like to me at kimselzman(at)gmail(dot)com. You can visit 4all's website to see exactly what size would be right for you - 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 this giveaway. I know I will have a few more coming very, very soon so stay tuned!

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved