Monday, February 4, 2013

Head YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro Review

THE fact that Novak Djokovic uses this  frame (or at least endorses it) makes it seem pretty obvious that this is not really a stick for beginners. However, that may not necessarily be the case when it comes to the Head YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro as this new update from Head does not follow in the footsteps of  highly unforgiving advanced players sticks of the past.
        Compared to traditional pro players choices which weigh in excess of 12oz, this frame is by comparison relatively light at 11.7oz strung and is easily maneuverable thanks to its headlight balance. Its 22.5mm-22.5mm-21.5mm beam also makes it more forgiving and than an old-school 17mm or 18mm straight beam frame.
     This setup also makes the Graphene Speed Pro more cushioned and exudes a dampened feel more common to racquets these days.
     The Head YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro is a very control oriented racquet and will suit heavy hitters who are looking for ways to rein in all that pace and place the ball on a dime. Putting away volleys, especially when it comes to doubles, is a plus point for this stick thanks to its maneuverability at the net and the nice dampened feel it has.
      Players lacking power in their shot may need to look elsewhere as the lower mass of this stick will not make power for you. Long strokes with good follow through is essential for you to put the ball deep whether on serve or when hitting groundstrokes as you will need to generate a lot of pace to put some heat on your shots.
        A great modern take on a players racquet which will allow you to place the ball where you want it to, when you want it to.

Head Size: 100 sq. in.
Length: 27in
Strung Weight: 11.7oz (331.69gm)
Balance: 6 pts HL
Swingweight: 328
Stiffness: 68
Beam Width: 22.5mm-22.5mm-21.5mm
Grip Type: Hydrosorb Pro
String Pattern: 18 Mains-20 Crosses
String Tension: 48-57 lbs

Find the Head YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro for some of the lowest prices online here


TENNIS TIPS FOR BEGINNERS: How to win a match.

THREE Easy pointers to help you win: Assuming you are playing opponents of roughly the same or just slightly more advanced than yourself, these tips will let you get the best out of your game.

1 Make sure you get your second serve in

This may seem obvious, but a lot of players still new to the game still find it hard to get their second serve in for a number of reasons.

Some players still try to hit the second serve hard and due to their inexperience and limitations fail miserably.

Cut back on your power (read: swingspeed) and try to hit higher over the net to give you more clearance over the net.

This is not hard, however, will you will need to practice this in training.

If you find this too hard, a simple under-arm serve will suffice.

This type of service is similar to hitting a forehand, however, instead of waiting for the ball to bounce your left hand will feed the ball.

The under-arm serve, though often debated, is allowed in the sport and was once used by Michael Chang at the 1989 French Open.

The under-arm serve is also a great 'surprise weapon' for more advanced players which we will discuss later.

2 Hit the ball deep

Hitting deep is key if you are to win a tennis match regardless of whether you are a beginner or a touring pro.

Hitting deep means hitting the ball to make it land closer to the baseline of you opponent to make it hard for them to hit an offensive shot which will allow them to win the point.

A shot (a groundstroke generally) that lands within the service box is considered to be short and can be put away easily by an opponent.

How to hit the ball deep? - Hitting the ball deep is not as hard as it is sometimes made out to be.

Aim to have your shot clear the net by roughly 1 meter and your will be safe in terms of depth.

If you are already able to hit the ball with topspin you can hit even higher than 1 meter as the spin will keep your shot from going out.

3 Dont think about winning too much!

The mental aspect of the game is often overlooked when it comes to beginners.

Do not pressure yourself to win too much. This will cause you to lose focus on what you are doing and can even cause your body to stiffen and make your shots, which are usually good in training, fail miserably.

Instead, just take each point at a time, Remember the 1st and 2nd tips above and just enjoy yourself. Victory will come.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Andre Agassi Open: An Autobiography Book Review

Growing up in the late eighties and early nineties, Agassi was always a figure who stole the limelight for both the right and wrong reasons.
   Following the top players progress from tournament to tournament (which of course meant Agassi as well), I always wondered what went behind the scenes and what top players went through being constantly in the limelight.
   Open, when I first got wind of its release, was thought to be by me, and many others, to be another fake and "tailored to readers wants" biographies intended to generate more money from a retired player's legacy.
    Open, however, turned out to be a very honest, (cant be 100% sure about that, but it feels that  what is written is the truth most times) account of what a very talented, yet confused Agassi went through in his playing days.
    Accounts of feuds and rivalries (Sampras, Becker etc), despair (failed romances, injuries and losses) as well as triumphs and key life changing moments are all part of a rollercoaster ride that is written very well and is definitely worth a read for all tennis fans, not just fans of mr Agassi himself.

Read more reviews here

Or get Open: An Autobiography here

Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT Review

Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT
The racket that 14-time grand slam champion Pete Sampras famously dumped his beloved Wilson Pro Staff's for is a refreshing choice for players looking for a modern day players stick.
   Weighing in at 12.1oz (strung), the Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT is certainly on the lighter end of the spectrum compared to more traditional players sticks, but it does weight significantly more than its kid brother- the standard Pure Storm GT (10.9oz).
      The added weight gives it more power and stability, a key bonus point for heavier rackets, than the standard version but does not hinder maneuverablity due to its more neutral, slightly headlight balance.
    The Woofer technology in Tour, which allows the strings to move freely when in contact with the ball, and Graphite Tungsten (GT) construction the Tour features gives the frame a very solid and more forgiving feel on the arm compared with other frames with similar stiffness. 
       With its slightly larger headsize at 98sq inches, the racket also offers a bigger sweetspot than its rival from Wilson, the, and is consequently more forgiving.
    Featuring a 21mm straight beam, the tour does offer a lot of control for players who have long, fluid strokes and can be a deadly weapon for those who strive for precision in their game. Power levels are on the low side, which is consistent with its status as a players stick, and is apparent on the serve, however, driving deep, topspin heavy groundstokes near the baseline with accuracy are effortless for a player with long, fluid strokes.
     Wilson purists may want to stick to the but Babolat players who are already used to the pure drive or regular pure storm gt and want to improve their game will be pleasantly surprised with Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT.

Get a great deal on the Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT here

    acquet Specifications
  • Headsize: 98 sq. in.
  • Length: 27.00 in.
  • Weight (strung):12.10 oz.
  • Stiffness :64
  • Balance: 6 pts Head Light
  • Cross Section: 21mm straight Beam
  • Swingweight: 333
  • String Pattern:16x20
  • Grip: Skin Feel

Babolat Pure Drive GT Review

Babolat Pure Drive GT
A racquet that boast Kim Clijsters, Li Na, Carlos Moya, Ivan Ljubicic and Andy Roddick ( who has his own signature model now) amongst its users must really have something to it.
   The pure drive is really in a new category of rackets called hybrids, which is a cross between and tweener and a traditional players frame.
The racket has a tweener-like headsize of 100sq inch which offers a healthy sweetspot to aim with and also has a manageable strung weight of 11.2oz, which is relatively light compared to classic players rackets such as the Wilson BLX Six.One 95 or even the Babolat Pure Storm Tour, but is a step higher than beginners sticks. 
    The Pure Drive, with its tapered 22-25mm tapered beam, offers a healthy amount of power which not surprisingly is most apparent when serving with it. Consistently hitting heavy first serves is considerably easy with good technique, while spinning in second serves, either with slice or topspin is also a breeze thanks to the healthy headsize.
  The Pure Drive is loaded with technology with this latest GT version featuring graphite tungsten construction which is meant to give the racket an improved, more stable and solid feel.
    Hitting deep penetrating groundstrokes off both the forehand and backhand sides are also easy however the use of topspin is essential due to the powerful nature of the racket.
   When compared to a traditional players stick the Pure Drive does lack in control, but its 16x19 string pattern does allow a healthy dose of spin generation which will help rein in the power. 
    Players with good technique and used to more old-world specified players sticks may hate the pure drive for its power and headsize, which can feel cumbersome for serve-and-volley type players used to 85 to 95sq inch rackets, but can offer much to those with an NTRP rating of 3.0 upwards.
 With its user-friendly features, it is no wonder the Pure Drive is the choice of many up-and-coming teens looking for a racquet to move into the top-tier but choose to stick with the racket even when they have turned pro or play at a higher level.

Read more reviews here 

Or get a great deal on the Babolat Pure Drive GT here

    Racquet Specifications
  • Headsize:100 sq. in.
  • Length:27.00 in.
  • Weight (strung):11.20 oz.
  • Stiffness :67
  • Balance: 4 pts Head Light
  • Cross Section:22-25mm tapered Beam
  • Swingweight:327
  • String Pattern:16x19
  • Grip: Synthetic

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wilson BLX Six.One 95 Review

Wilson BLX Six.One
The perfect balance of control and power -  that is how I would sum up the Wilson BLX
    The is no doubt a players racket but unlike its big brother, the Six.One Tour, is a considerably more forgiving stick. With a 8pt headlight balance it feels a lot lighter than its weight of 12.2oz  and with a 95 sq inch headsize also offers a bigger sweetspot to aim for.
       Its heavier weight subsequently gives it a very solid feel on groundstrokes and also keeps the racket from twisting when returning big serves and putting away volleys.

    Hitting deep, penetrating shots consistently on both the forehand and backhand sides is a breeze for players with decent technique and enough strength to handle the mass of this stick.
       Control is certainly a key strength of this frame as it will allow a player with decent skill level to place shots with precision. Power levels, which can sometimes be sacrificed for more control in players rackets, are also good which makes serving with it a joy.

     The open 16x18 string pattern makes it a very spin friendly racket, which will definitely appeal to today's players who looking to rip the cover off the ball, yet keep the ball safely in the court.
    Theis BLX version of the classic pro staff 6.1 mold, which harks back to the early 90s, has a softer, more cushioned feel to it compared to the k factor version it replaces thanks to the Basalt construction which is specifically meant for boosting such traits. 
          Even with its more forgiving nature compared to more hardcore players sticks, those moving up from a tweener frame, however, may take some time to adapt to this racket due to its weight.
       When I started using this mold a long time ago (during the nCode version), my single-handed backhand did suffer initially as i was not strong enough to generate enough swingspeed to create sufficient topspin, but that was solved as my muscles grew stronger as they adapted (some protein after playing also helps).

    A long list of pros using this stick is also a key indicator of the pedigree the has and over the years has also garnered a large fan base who look forward to every update that Wilson come up with.
      This is definitely a worthwhile frame to demo for intermediate players looking to upgrade their game with more control yet without sacrificing power to get it.

See what others have to say about the Wilson BLX Six.One here

Get great deals on the BLX Six.One here.

    Racquet Specifications
  • Headsize:95 sq. in.
  • Length:27.00 in.
  • Weight (strung):12.20 oz.
  • Stiffness :67
  • Balance: 8 pts Head Light
  • Cross Section:22mm Straight Beam
  • Swingweight:338
  • String Pattern:16x18
  • Grip:Wilson Pro Hybrid Grip

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Babolat Pure Storm GT Review

The 2011 Babolat Pure Storm GT
Newer players looking to move up in the game will not be disappointed with the Pure Storm GT.
    With a light weight of 11oz (strung) it makes for a very maneuverable stick for those just coming out of the beginner phase yet with its almost neutral balance, which sometimes feels slightly head-heavy, offers a solid strike of the ball not too far off many players sticks weighing  significantly more.
    The 98 sq inch head size offers a comfortable sweet-spot without the having to lose maneuverability as is often the case when using oversized rackets which many beginners use as an entry point to the sport.
    Groundstrokes hit with decent backswing are nice and crisp with spin being available in more than satisfactory amounts. Sliced backhands are nice and solid thanks to the rackets neutral balance. Volleys are also nice and solid on the stick which also makes it an excellent choice for doubles enthusiasts looking for a lighter racket to play with for long hours.
   For players used to Babolat's most familiar offering, the Pure Drive, many will certainly find the Pure Storm a different kettle of fish.   
     With a more traditional 21mm straight beam, power is not a strength of the racket but the moderate levels it offers compared to the Pure Drive allows for more accurate serves and groundstrokes, which are important if a player is progress in the game.    
2009 Babolat Pure Storm GT
      The power levels, however, can be tweaked significantly by string type and string tension selection. I usually use Ashaway hybrid kevlar but loss a lot of power on my serves but one i switched to poly strings became a non-issue.
    If your are wondering what the GT in the rackets name stands for it is actually the short form for Graphite Tungsten, a material that is a combination of graphite and tungsten filaments that gives the Pure Storm more control and feel.
       Despite is status as tweener racket the Pure storm is also the choice of WTA and ATP Tour pro's Fernando Gonzalez and Samantha Stosur which stands testament to the pedigree of the stick and is certainly worth a try for those looking to progress in the game.

Pro's: Healthy sweetspot, lightweight, offers good control on all shots.
Con's: Slightly underpowered but can be tweaked with string type/settings or lead tape.
Tips: If you are looking to save money get 2009 version which is exactly the same racket with only a different (older) paintjob.

See what others have to say about the Babolat Pure Storm GT

Get great deals on the Babolat Pure Storm GT here  and here.

    Racquet Specifications
  • Headsize:98 sq. in.
  • Length:27.00 in.
  • Weight (strung):11.20 oz.
  • Stiffness (Babolat RDC):63
  • Balance:1pt headlight
  • Cross Section:21mm Straight Beam
  • Swingweight:327
  • String Pattern:16x20
  • Grip:Babolat Skin Feel