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Tennis Equipment

Tennis Equipment

If you are thinking of taking tennis seriously, rather than just knocking around in the local park, you will need the correct clothing and equipment.

Tennis clothing is no problem as in the summer months there is a wide variety on sale online, not just in the specialist sports shops. Just remember to check with your tennis club if there is an all-white rule as some clubs still maintain this.

Equipment

Even though your racket will probably come with a cover, or at least a head cover, it is best to get a tennis bag. You can put all your clothing and shoes in this, a bottle of water, your racket and anything else you wish to take to the courts.

SHOES

The most important piece of equipment that you will need, whatever your level of play, is a decent pair of tennis shoes. Decent footwear is crucial to your game. There is no point in buying a cheap shoe because inferior shoes can cause an injured lower back or a sore knee.

Buying tennis shoes that have specially designed lacing systems for enhanced lateral support are recommended. Look for broad outsoles and sturdy uppers, cushioning and shock absorption.

The shoes should have adequate tongue padding so that the laces don't bite into you and to avoid blisters break in your shoes by wearing them round the house before you play in them.

Soles

Different types of soles are needed for different surfaces.

Hard Courts need the traditional herringbone pattern.

Grass needs non-slip soles or small rubber studs.

Indoor carpet needs completely smooth soles so your feet don't stick on the carpet, putting stress on ankles and knees.

Clay courts need special clay shoes which slide easily.

Size

Shoes that are too big will cause blisters and those that are too small will crush the feet.

TRAINING AIDS

Training aids are a great help when you are learning tennis. They include inexpensive plastic cones which can be used on court as targets to practice your serve, or laid out in a line to run in and out of as you practice your fitness.

A new training aid just brought out is the stroke and footwork trainer which has over 8,000 practice hits. It is small and can be set up anywhere. For more details see www.practicehit.com

Former Champion Tracy Austin has endorsed the racket bracket which is a device to stabilize the wrist, blocking incorrect wrist movements during volley and ground strokes, one size fits all. www.tennisbracket.com

Rebound is endorsed by Greg Rusedski and is designed for players of all abilities, especially children. Similar to the old tennis ball on elastic that has been around for many years, this is the more sophisticated version. It can be set up anywhere, in the garden, on the beach, in the park. www.reboundsports.co.uk

BALL MACHINES

Tennis ball machines are ideal for beginners, improvers and advanced players although they are no substitute for a good coach or a practice partner. They are invaluable for practising and grooving strokes.

Beginners benefit from consistent feeding of the ball accurately and at a pace they can handle.

Intermediates can practise smash and overhead shots as well as more advance play.

Ball Machines are mostly bought by clubs and coaches. Unless you have a court at home or a very large, enclosed garden they are really not much use to the individual player.

They are also not easy to carry around even though they are advertised as being portable. All that means is they operate on a battery. They also need a large number of tennis balls to make them a consistent opponent.

The best ball machine on the market (UK) is the Lobster Elite 3 Battery Tennis Ball Machine.

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