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March 2005 Volume 33 Number 3 $5.

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COURT CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE GUIDE
Q Solutions for Compacted Clay Courts Q Outdoor Soft-Court Winners

Q Building for a New Demographic Q Fixing Cracked Asphalt Courts

2005 Racquet Selection Map
Our exclusive guide will help you find the right racquet for your customers

Q Cardio Tennis Rolls Out Q String Playtest Q Ball Machine Review Q Ask the Experts Q Tips and Techniques

Tennis Welcome Centers Enter the Next Phase

Contents
EXCLUSIVE! 16 2005 Racquet Selection Map
Use our comprehensive guide of the latest racquets to help your customers find the perfect frame for their game.

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INDUSTRY NEWS 7 Cardio Tennis rolls out to industry 7 Penn donates $50,000 for
tsunami relief

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ASBA elects new officers and directors Universal Cooler Stand by Advantage “The Winner’s Mind” new book from USRSA Short Sets Tecnifibre launches racquets for U.S. market PTR sponsors Special Olympics Championships USTA Foundation offers US Open paver donation project Prince Pink string aids fight against breast cancer People Watch Williams sisters use Wilson’s nCode racquets Ashaway introduces squash footwear line

SPECIAL SECTION

Court Construction & Maintenance Guide 25 Active Aging
Changing demographics are causing everyone in this industry—including facility designers and builders—to take a look at how they do business.

28 Get Wise to Cracks
There’s no getting around it: Asphalt courts will crack. Here’s what you can do to repair the damage.

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New Solutions for Surface Compaction
Two machines from the golf industry are helping to rehabilitate, and rehydrate, compacted clay courts.

34 A Soft Market
These outdoor soft-court winners of the RSI/ASBA 2004 Facility-of-the-Year Awards hit some common themes.

DEPARTMENTS 4 Our Serve 14 Tennis Welcome Centers 38 String Playtest: Toalson Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 42 Ask the Experts

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Tips and Techniques Ball Machine Review: Super Coach Your Serve, by Karlyn Lothery

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Our Serve
Lessons From a USTA Section
(Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)

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n January, I was invited to the USTA Southern Section Annual Meeting in Atlanta. The nice folks on their

Publishers David Bone Jeff Williams Editor-in-Chief Crawford Lindsey Editorial Director Peter Francesconi Associate Editor Greg Raven Design/Art Director Kristine Thom Assistant to the Publisher Cari Feliciano Contributing Editors Cynthia Cantrell Rod Cross Joe Dinoffer Liza Horan Andrew Lavallee James Martin Mark Mason Chris Nicholson Mitch Rustad Drew Sunderlin Jonathan Whitbourne RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY Corporate Offices 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084 Phone: 760-536-1177 Fax: 760-536-1171 Email: RSI@racquetTECH.com Website: www.racquetTECH.com Office Hours: Mon.-Fri.,8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time Advertising Director John Hanna 770-650-1102, x.125 john@racquettech.com Apparel Advertising Cynthia Sherman 203-263-5243 cstennisindustry@earthlink.net
Racquet Sports Industry (USPS 347-8300. ISSN 01915851) is published 10 times per year: monthly January through August and combined issues in September/October and November/December by Tennis Industry and USRSA, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084. March 2005, Volume 33, Number 3 © 2005 by USRSA and Tennis Industry. All rights reserved. Racquet Sports Industry, RSI and logo are trademarks of USRSA. Printed in the U.S.A. Phone advertising: 770-650-1102 x.125. Phone circulation and editorial: 760-536-1177. Yearly subscriptions $25 in the U.S., $40 elsewhere. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Racquet Sports Industry, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084.

Media/Public Relations Committee (Marc Kaplan, Ron Cioffi, and Marcy Hirshberg) asked me and Seth Sylvan, director of communications for the national USTA Community Tennis division, to speak on “Getting the Word Out” about tennis.
Our presentation at the section committee meeting, along with the Q&A session, went well (in a future issue of RSI, you’ll read about some of the things we presented, and how you can get the word out in your community about all that you have to offer tennis players, and potential players). While I’d like to credit my and Seth’s presentation style for the positive comments we received, it really was the enthusiastic and interested people in the audience and on the committee that made us look good. And that’s what this boils down to. Whether you make your living from this business, or whether you’re a volunteer who loves tennis and wants to see as many people playing and watching it as possible, it all comes down to the amount of interest and enthusiasm you have in wanting to make this industry—and sport—better. Whether volunteers, staff, teaching pros, facility managers, and so on, the people in the USTA Southern Section, like those in the other 16 USTA sections who take the time to be involved with the sport, “get it.” Now I’m sure you’re asking, what does this have to do with me? Well, if you’re making your living from tennis, you need to get in touch with what the USTA is doing and the people who are doing it—especially at the local level. Right now, I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes. I realize that nationally, the USTA is a huge organization that deals with hundreds of millions of dollars every year. And I also know that—justified or not—it’s easy to take shots at the USTA and some of the decisions it makes. But let’s not forget that the organization does a lot of good for the sport, which in turn benefits your business. More importantly, though, it’s the people who make up the USTA, especially at the community, district, and section levels, that deserve your support and can benefit from your expertise. Serve on a committee, get involved with a local CTA, volunteer at a local clinic, raise funds to rehabilitate courts. The people in the USTA Southern Section showed me, once again, that getting involved is a good thing and can only lead to better things down the road.

Peter Francesconi Editorial Director

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INDUSTRY NEWS
INFORMATION TO HELP YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS

Penn Donates $50,000 To Aid Tsunami Victims
Penn Racquet Sports donated $50,000 to “Ellen’s Tsunami Relief Fund,” which will benefit UNICEF and The American Red Cross, during the Jan. 25 broadcast of the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The popular talk show featured a visit by rising ATP star Taylor Dent and Kevin Kempin, vice president of Penn Racquet Sports Worldwide. During the show, Dent and Kempin sat in DeGeneres’s “Luxury Box,’’ where they presented Ellen with an oversized check. They also presented the host with an autographed oversized Penn Racquet Sports ball and a racquet signed by Andre Agassi. The ball—autographed by Dent, Jim Courier and Roger Federer—and racquet will be auctioned on ebay to raise additional funds for the relief efforts. In other fund-raising efforts for tsunami victims, Jim McIngvale of Houston teamed with Jim Courier’s company, Inside Out Sports Entertainment, to put on an event at the end of January in Houston which featured Courier, John McEnroe, Anna Kournikova, Andy Roddick, and Chris Evert. Also, pro players at tournaments early in the year, including at the Australian Open, donated money to the relief efforts. Carlos Moya donated his $52,000 winner’s check from the Chennai tournament in India, a country hit by the tsunami, Maria Sharapova gave $10,000, and Lindsay Davenport donated an undisclosed amount.

Cardio Tennis Program Rolls Out to Industry
fter eight months of research and playtesting, Cardio Tennis is rolling out to the tennis industry. The TIA is encouraging tennis facilities and pros to apply at www.Partners.CardioTennis.com to be an official Cardio Tennis site. Cardio Tennis is a new nationwide program that features a fun, group activity with drills on court designed to give players of all abilities a high-energy workout. The consumer rollout is expected in the second half of 2005. “We analyzed existing programs, tried new drills, did playtests with players wearing heartrate monitors, and have come up with a format that delivers heart-pumping fitness,” says TIA President Jim Baugh. “If Americans want to find a great new way to get in shape and burn calories, they must try Cardio Tennis.” “The new Cardio Tennis DVD is just what our industry needs,” says Dino Bondallian of Hawaii, who, with his wife Donnia, is one of the original architects of the aerobic style of tennis. “It will help every pro and facility operator see this big opportunity, and learn how to do it right.” By June, the TIA hopes to have 1,000 “quality sites” signed on to the program. “We want all Cardio Tennis sites to go through a multi-step process to ensure we deliver this program properly,” says Baugh. “This is really a fitness activity. While people are 1. Contact the TIA (843-686-3036) playing tennis, we must deliver a great cardio workout.” or visit In related news, the TIA has hired Michele Krause as the busiwww.PartnersCardioTennis.com ness manager for Cardio Tennis. Krause, who is the director of to receive a personalized Cardio tennis at the Punta Gorda Tennis DVD. Club for Tennis and Fitness

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How to Become a Cardio Tennis Site

in Punta Gorda, Fla., was chosen from a list of more than 100 candidates. “I loved Michele’s passion for Cardio Tennis, tennis and fitness overall,” says Baugh. “She is a successful teaching professional and club operator, knows the fitness world, and has the sales and marketing skills I was looking for.” Krause helped develop a state-of-the-art tennis and fitness facility at Punta Gorda and has been dedicated to fitness and strength training for more than five years. She’s been involved in “figure competition,” a professional sports discipline with an emphasis on aesthetics/beauty combined with an athletic physique. In addition, she runs a successful tennis aerobic and fitness program similar to Cardio Tennis. “Cardio Tennis is a huge idea,” says Krause. “We need quality programs throughout the U.S., all giving the consumer a new, fun, fitness activity. We can grow tennis participation and business for our pros and facilities at the same time.” For more information on Cardio Tennis, visit www.Partners.CardioTennis.com, call the TIA at 843-686-3036 or email info@tennisindustry.org.

2. View the entire 40-minute DVD. 3. Write down the I.D. number that will appear at the end of the DVD, then go to www.Partners.CardioTennis.com /apply and fill out the site application. 4. You’ll be asked a few questions, which you must answer correctly. The answers are on the website and DVD. 5. Once approved, the TIA will call to verify data and send you a Cardio Tennis Site Kit, which contains an educational DVD for staff, a banner, heart-rate monitor map poster, promotional counter card, talking points, info on ordering music and Polar

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INDUSTRYNEWS

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ASBA Elects New Officers and Directors
avid Marsden, a Certified Tennis Court Builder with Boston Tennis Court Construction Co. of Hanover, Mass., was re-elected as chairman of the American Sports Builders Association. The ASBA (formerly the U.S. Tennis Court & Track Builders Association) recently announced election results of its new officers and directors. Marsden (right) is a longtime active member of the ASBA and has served multiple terms as Tennis Division president. Other officers and directors are: Q George Todd Jr. as the ASBA’s new secretary-treasurer. Todd is a CTCB and president of Welch Tennis Courts in Sun City, Fla. Q Alex Levitsky as the new president of the Professional Division. Levitsky is principal of Global Sports & Tennis Design Group. Q Brion Rittenberry, re-elected as president of the Indoor Division. Rittenberry is president and CEO of Kiefer Specialty Flooring Inc. of Zion, Ill. Q Sam Fisher as the new president of the Track Division. Fisher is a Certified Track Builder and president of Fisher Tracks Inc. of Boone, Iowa. New to the ASBA’s board of directors is Randy Futty, the national sales manager for Lee Tennis of Charlottesville, Va., who joins as an elected representative of the Associate/Affiliate Division. Also new on the board is Mike Vinton, CTCB, of Vasco Asphalt, who will represent the Builders Division. Remaining on the board of directors are Associate/Affiliate Division President Bruce Frasure of LSI Courtsider Sports Lighting of Cincinnati; Tennis Division President Gerry Wright, CTCB, of Court One in Raleigh, N.C.; and board members Ron Nemeth, CTB, of Conica Technik, New Port Richey, Fla.; David Nielsen of Leslie Coatings Inc. of Indianapolis; Gerald Perry, CTCB, of Gerald Perry Tennis Courts of Springfield, Mo.; and John Schedler, CTB, of FieldTurf Mid-America of St. Louis.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

dvantage Tennis Supply’s new Universal Cooler Stand adds the convenience of a water fountain without having to dig up your courts. The stand holds any size and any style of cooler. It’s unique powder-coated wire top adjusts from 11 to 20 inches in diameter, allowing it to hold any size beverage cooler as well as a squarebased ice chest. The system shown at left includes the Advantage Court Keeper Basket, and Igloo cooler (different Igloo choices are available). The cooler stand, in either black or green, retails for $120. For more information, call 800-4765432 or visit

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New from Dr. Allen Fox is the book “The Winner’s Mind: A Competitor’s Guide to Sports and Business Success,” published by Racquet Tech Publishing, an imprint of the USRSA. Jam-packed with tennis examples and anecdotes, this book offers analysis of what makes a winner tick, both in the athletic arena and in business. Fox offers up a prescription for success that includes using intellect to conquer emotions that make you lose, avoiding achievement limits, overpowering fears of failure, setting and achieving goals, controlling your competitive destiny, expanding your capacity for work, and much more. For more information or to order ($15.95 for USRSA members; $17.95 for nonmembers), visit www.racquettech.com.

SHORT SETS
> Tecnifibre has re-signed twins Bob and Mike Bryan to a two-year extension of
their contract for 2005 and 2006. The brothers have used the Tecnifibre NRG2 multi-filament string since 2001. For information on the company, visit www.tecnifibre.com. The U.S. Davis Cup team, captained by Patrick McEnroe, will meet Croatia in the first round of the 2005 Davis Cup March 4 to 6 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Expected to play for the U.S. are Andy Roddick and Mike and Bob Bryan. Tickets, which range from $90 to $375 for the three-day series, are available by calling 888-484-USTA. expanding > Olympus isand will nowits partnership with the USTA be the official camera of the US Open and the US Open Series, which is the eight-week summer tennis season that links 10 tournaments to the US Open. The four-year deal also designates Olympus as the official binocular and official photo image storage and image printing sponsor of the Open. The U.S. Fed Cup team will host Belgium in the quarterfinals April 23 to 24 at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Fla. Top player Lindsay Davenport has committed to play the match. Tickets can be purchased by calling 888-334-USTA. The WTA Tour has announced a landmark six-year, $88 million global sponsor-

ship that makes Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications the worldwide title sponsor of the tour, which will be renamed the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The deal is the largest and most comprehensive sponsorship in the history of tennis and of women’s professional sport. The USTA Tennis & Education Foundation awarded 40 grants to programs across the country in 2004, totaling $785,000. The grant awards ranged from $5,000 to $50,000. Combined with scholarship awards, the Foundation disbursed about $1 million last year. The Brickell Tennis Club, a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Miami, opened in December with a party and tennis exhibition matches, featuring Butch Buchholz, Harold Solomon, Fred Stolle, Cliff Drysdale, Jay Berger and top young pro Brian Baker. The club has seven hydro-clay courts. The USTA Southern Section has signed BMW of North America as title sponsor of Combo Doubles for the USTA Southern Section and USA Tennis Florida. The deal runs through Jan. 31, 2007. BMW’s Mini Cooper brand will be an Official Sponsor of the USTA Southern Section and USA Tennis Florida Combo Doubles Program. The USTA has acquired a 25 percent stake in the JPMorgan Chase Open and now has an option to buy majority control of the women’s event. The $85,000 tournament, which was one of the 10 events comprising the inaugural US Open Series in 2004, will be the week of Aug. 8 in Los Angeles.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Tecnifibre Launches Racquets for U.S.
ecnifibre USA is launching two series of tennis racquets into the U.S. market. The frames will be available March 1. The company says the T-Fight series of two racquets (325 and 315) is for hard-hitting baseliners and the T-Feel series of four frames (305, 305XL, 290XL, 275XL) is for all-court players. The racquets will carry suggested retail prices from $170 to $190. “Three are global racquets that have had very strong sales in Europe and Asia during the past summer and fall, and three models were developed specifically for the U.S. market,” says Paul Kid, Tecnifibre USA’s sales and marketing manager. In January, Tecnifibre signed world No. 26 player Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina to a three-year contract to use the T-Feel 305 racquet. For more information, visit www.tecnifibre.com or call 877-3320825.

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PTR Sponsors Special Olympics Championships
he Sixth Annual Special Olympics Tennis Championships, hosted by the Professional Tennis Registry, will be March 14 to 16 at the Van der Meer Shipyard Racquet Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C. In the past, the three-day event has attracted more than 100 athletes from 10 states and four countries. Officials from the Special Olympics and the USTA will attend the event, and an exhibition match with former ATP Tour players will follow the opening ceremony. The event will also feature training for coaches, two days of competition, a dinner dance and medal presentations. “This is one of the most rewarding things I do,” says Dennis Van der Meer, PTR founder and president. The PTR has more than 11,000 members in 122 countries. For more information, contact Julie Jilly at 843-785-7244, email ptr@ptrtennis.org, or visit www.specialolym-pics.org.

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USTA Foundation Offers Paver Donation Project
he USTA Tennis & Education Foundation is giving tennis enthusiasts the chance to leave their mark on the USTA National Tennis Center—home of the US Open— and make a difference in a child’s life. The foundation is spearheading an “Avenue of Aces” paver project, the proceeds from which will fund college scholarships and the development of after-school, mentoring, literacy and tennis programs for at-risk children across the country. The Avenue of Aces will be located between the tennis center’s East Gate entrance and Arthur Ashe Stadium. From March 1 through June 30, 2005, USTA members can purchase an 8-by-8inch Brick Paver for a $750 donation—a 25 percent discount off the $1,000 price. Also available are 8-by-16-inch pavers in cast aluminum for a $5,000 donation; $2,500 for cast bronze. Pavers in the prestigious Founder’s Court, measuring 16 by 16 inches, are $25,000 in cast aluminum and $15,000 in cast bronze. Pavers purchased by July 1 will be in place at the 2005 US Open. The donations are taxdeductible. For more information, contact the USTA T&EF at 914-696-7223 or email foundation@usta.com.

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been promoted to U.S. director of sales and marketing for Wilson Racquet Sports. Muir, who was the company’s U.S. director of marketing and promotions, has been with Wilson for seven years. In other Wilson moves, Jim Burda is the new U.S. promotions manager. Burda, the founder of Racquets for Life, a family racquets consulting, education, and publishing firm involved in tennis retail management at several clubs, has more than 18 years experience in the tennis industry.

• Megan Costello is the new communications

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Prince Pink String Aids Fight Against Breast Cancer
n support of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the quest to find a cure for breast cancer, Prince Tennis has unveiled a special edition Lightning XX Pink racquet string. Through February 2006, Prince will donate 15 percent of the wholesale price for each Lightning XX Pink string package sold to a retailer to the Komen Foundation. “Physical activity is a major factor in lowering a woman’s risk for breast cancer, and we feel that the Lightning XX Pink string will be a great way for tennis enthusiasts to show their support of the Foundation and its efforts while also protecting their own health and well being,” says Linda Glassel, vice president of marketing and communications at Prince.

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manager at Head/Penn Racquet Sports, where she will be responsible for all marketing and communications programs, including public relations and advertising for Head/Penn racquets, balls, and accessories. Prior to joining Head, Costello was the marketing manager for the tennis division of Völkl.

• Jim Courier, Yannick Noah, Jana Novotna, and Butch Buchholz will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in July. The ceremony coincides with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, played at the Newport Casino in Newport, R.I., July 4 to 10.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Serena Williams Wins With Wilson’s nCode

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erena Williams captured her seventh Grand Slam using the new Wilson n3 nCode racquet, which she switched to just before playing in the Australian Open. The championship match between Williams and Lindsay Davenport showcased two of Wilson’s nCode frames. Davenport is using the nTour. Venus Williams also is playing with an nCode model, which is due out in the summer of 2005, says Wilson. Both Williams sisters had been testing the frames since their debut last summer, says the company. Serena’s n3 is the first frame on the pro tour that incorporates the nCode process with what Wilson calls “volcanic geometry” and the new Triad technology. Also playing with Wilson’s nCode frames are twins Bob and Mike Bryan, who made it to the men’s doubles final at the Australian Open this year. Wilson’s nCode racquets feature an exclusive nanotechnology process in which nano-sized silicon dioxide crystals permeate the voids between carbon fibers, reinforcing the molecular structure of the frame. The nCode technology offers increased strength and playability and has been Wilson’s most comprehensive racquet launch in years, says the company. For information, visit www.wilson.com.

Ashaway Introduces Squash Footwear Line
shaway Racket Strings has introduced a new line of shoes for squash players. The Ashaway AST family of shoes features “Anatomic System Technology,” which the company says allows the shoes to mold to the natural shape of the foot, increasing comfort and stability and reducing fatigue. We work closely with squash players, from top professionals to those who play recreationally, and across the board they have asked us to extend our squash line into footwear and accessories,” says Steven Crandall, vice president of marketing for Ashaway. For more information, contact 800556-7260 or visit www.ashawayusa .com.
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ADVANCING ITS POSITION
After the initial push, the Tennis Welcome Center campaign is BY PETER FRANCESCONI refining—and improving—its offerings.

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ake no mistake, the Tennis Welcome Center campaign that began successfully a year ago is alive and well—and looking to make some improvements for 2005 and beyond. Last year, nearly 400,000 unique visitors went onto the TennisWelcomeCenter.com website to find out where they can learn to play tennis in their local areas. More than 4,000 tennis facilities and parks signed onto the TWC campaign, exceeding the initial goal of 3,000 tennis venues. Research by the industry shows that last year, 51 percent of TWCs saw an increase in new players at their facilities, and 63 percent felt the national marketing campaign was effective. “In terms of wholesale industry acceptance, the Tennis Welcome Center initiative has been the most successful initiative we’ve ever launched,” says Kurt Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive of Community Tennis. The TWC campaign is a joint USTA-Tennis Industry Association initiative that saw the active involvement of all the different groups in tennis—teaching pro organizations, manufacturers, associations, retailers, tournaments, media, and more. TWCs are designed to get new people into the game and to bring back players who have left the game by providing them with a local “friendly” facility where they can “learn to play tennis . . . fast.” “There were a lot of successful parts to the Tennis Welcome Center campaign,” says Kam-

perman. “But there are clearly some areas we need to improve. And we’re taking the steps needed to make the TWC initiative even stronger.”

FOCUS ON CUSTOMER SERVICE
One concern, following the rush to get facilities on board as TWCs, was that there was a wide range of customer-service issues. In 2005, to remain a TWC, “facilities have to reapply, and there is an application and renewal process that asks for specific criteria to determine eligibility,” says Jim Baugh, president of the TIA. “Also, we’ll be doing more and better-defined ‘secret shopping’ of TWC sites, to make sure they meet certain service criteria.” The more stringent application and renewal process is expected to whittle down the number of TWCs. “It would be great to maintain 4,000 nationwide, but if we have 2,500 quality TWCs signed up, we’d be quite happy,” says Kamperman. Also planned are TWC seminars and training workshops across the country, especially dealing with customer service and local tennis marketing. “One of the things we learned,” says Kamperman, “is that in our overall tennis delivery system, like any service-oriented business, we have ongoing customer-service challenges. There are a lot of facilities—private, commercial, and public— that are not prepared to appropriately take on new customers.” Kamperman explains that usually, players walk

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into their club or facility, wave to the desk person, then breeze on by to the assigned court. “With a Tennis Welcome Center, it’s a different dynamic,” he says. “You have people calling for the first time, not knowing what the procedures are like, what they need to wear, etc. We need the facilities to take a hard look at how they can make that first impression as inviting and as friendly as possible.” Another key area for 2005 is local marketing. “Our national marketing proved to be successful,” says Baugh, “but we clearly need to get more local facilities active in marketing efforts. We’ve come up with a really easy-to-use, turn-key marketing package for local facilities.”

LESSON PLANS
While the initial TWC program encouraged all facilities to have certified pros, there seems to be an acknowledgement that many facilities, especially parks programs, simply don’t have access to a PTR or USPTA pro. The USTA is expanding its Tennis in the Parks program, working with the NRPA to provide grants to park and recreation agencies to help them hire certified pros, say industry sources. Also available starting in 2005 will be “generic” entry-level pro-

grams that TWCs may use, if they desire. “The USPTA and PTR are offering entry-level lesson plans if pros want to tap into them,” says Kamperman. Other important enhancements for 2005, says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer, include enhancing the two main TWC websites, TennisWelcomeCenter.com for consumers and Partners.TennisWelcomeCenter.com for the trade. “We’re also developing a ‘Get Connected for 2005’ plan of benefits that will include individual websites, hosting, emails, online registration, a find-a-game feature, and more,” says de Boer. On the quality-control side, the two teaching organizations will add educational certification and develop specialty courses for TWCs, says de Boer. In addition, a TWC project manager position has been established, and the USTA is looking at tapping into local USTA volunteers to help with TWCs in their areas. In terms of marketing support, the USTA is expected to commit about $3 million to support the program this year. Inserts are again planned for newspapers and national magazines, and the ATP and WTA Tour will provide signage and other marketing opportunities at pro events. In the tennis trade, there will be an increased effort to make sure manufacturers have TWC mentions and links on their websites. Also, retailer involvement will be promoted in local markets, along with links to “Welcome to Tennis” events leading up to National Tennis Month in May and the US Open. “We want to raise the bar and have more high-quality Tennis Welcome Centers,” says Kamperman. “For consumers, that means a better first impression of tennis, and a stronger likelihood they’ll stay in the game.” Q

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OUR EXCLUSIVE GUIDE TO HELP YOUR CUSTOMERS FIND THE PERFECT FRAME FOR THEIR GAME.
by Crawford Lindsey

Weight Matters
The Racquet Selector Map plots power and swingweight. This seems pretty straightforward, but some explanation of what is behind these numbers is elucidating. The power formula used here is: (headsize x length index x flex x swingweight)/1000. "Power" refers to the intrinsic power potential of the racquet. This potential is primarily determined by the amount and distribution of mass, which manifests in the racquet in four very important ways: weight/mass (resis-

tance to motion in a straight line), swingweight (resistance to rotation about an axis in the handle 10 cm from the butt), recoilweight (resistance to rotation about the balance point), and twistweight (resistance to rotation about the long axis from tip to butt). Racquet features that influence these are headsize (how far from the long center axis mass can be located) and length and balance point (how far from both the swing axis in the handle and the recoil axis at the balance point that mass can be located). All these "weights" are important to power for one very important reason—they
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RACQUET SELECTION MAP KEY
1. Power/Control (columns). (formula = length index x headsize x flex x swingweight) ÷ 1000. Length index calculation: 27" = 1.0, 27.5" = 1.05; 28" = 1.1, etc. 2. Maneuverability (rows). RDC (Babolat Racquet Diagnostic Center) swingweight units. 3. Racquet ID. The number in the grid correlates to the accompanying racquet list. 4. Headsize. Midsize and midplus (≤104 sq. in.) have no indicator. Oversize (105 -117 sq. in.) = •. Superoversize (≥ 118 sq. in.) = :. 5. Length. x = extended length. Standard length (27") racquets have no indicator. 6. Flex (RDC). a = < 60; b = 60-64; c = 65-69; d = 70-74; e = > 74. The higher the number, the stiffer the racquet. 7. Company. Coded by number and color. See accompanying racquet list on the following pages. 8. Racquet Quadrants and the Center of the Racquet Universe. The center of the racquet universe is located at the intersection of the two red lines. Approximately half the racquets lie to the right and left, and half above and below these lines. The lines divide the racquet universe into four color-coded quadrants – clockwise from top left: (1) quick power, (2) quick control, (3) stable control, (4) stable power. These characterizations provide a general vocabulary for comparing racquets. 9. Racquet Finder List. The racquet list accompanying the map identifies each racquet and gives additional information. The map provides specific (very narrow ranges, anyway) swingweight, flex and power statistics, and general size and length characteristics. The racquet list specifies the length and size and further specifies weight, balance, and price.

How To Use It 1. Ask questions. What are you looking for that your current racquet does not provide? What do you like most and least about your current racquet? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your game? 2. Locate current racquet on map. If the racquet is not in the list, take measurements. 3. Locating potential racquets. Depending on the answers to the above questions, draw an imaginary arrow (a wide or skinny one) from your present racquet in the desired direction for power and maneuverability. 4. Narrowing the field. Shrink the choices using the length, headsize, and flex codes to match customer preferences. 5. Selecting racquet demos. Once the choices are narrowed, locate the racquets by number in the racquet list.

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USRSA Racquet Map Selection Guide: 2005 Performance Racquets
Power Rating (headsize x length index* x flex x swingweight : 1000) *
Control
1900 1800 1700 1600 1500 3000 2900 2800 2700 2600 2500 2400 2300 2200 2100 2000

Power

Quick 270

3400

3300

3200

3100

275
161d 43xc 13c 51.5xb 51b 78b 122b 77b

280
155x•d 20c 127•b

285
38x•c 59x•b
31x•b 49xb 64c 9c 130c 131xb 36b 48b 121xb 92xb

290
23x•c 37x•c 19d 47xc 120xc 142x•b 30xb 146d 45xb 128b 16c 42xc 80d 58x•c 21d 4c 156xd 104x•e 56x•c 157xc
10d 133d 103xc 96d 98d 163xc 41c 69c 112c

QUICK CONTROL

QUICK POWER
34x•e 165x•d 52x:b 118x•c 32d 162e 119x•c 17x•d 83x•d 166x•d 97x•c
88x•d 55x•c 33x•c 81x•c

295

Avery Babolat Bancroft Blackburne Dunlop Fischer Gosen Head Power Angle Prince Pro Kennex Slazenger Tecnifibre TopSpin Volkl Weed Wilson Yonex

300

154a

305
116x:d 134:c 99x•d 138x•e 164x•d 63xc
28d 73xd 5x•c 140xd 6d 108x•c 100d 132c

107c 160b

46a 148a 91c 143xb 159b

125xb 158b

310
18x:d 76x•d 117x•d 12x•d 95x•b 84xc 11xd 85x•c 29x•d 123x•a 22d 82xd 50xc 153xb

62x•c 75xd

14c 72xc 44•c 61x•b 94xc 136xc
65b 110c 126c

315
141x•e

54x•d 101x•d 139x•d

68b

102xb

147a

320
53x•d 109xd 144x•c 60xd 151x•c 66xc 7c 86•b
27•d 129xd 137x•c

89x:e

15b 70•b 124b 149c 113xb

114c 145c 93b 150c 39c 71b 35a 106b

KEY

March 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY
74x•b 25•e 79xd 105x•c ••

Maneuverability (Swingweight)
40•c 3c 8xc 115xc 2d 26•c 111xd 152xb 67b 1d Racquet Quadrants Quick Power Stable Power

325

24x•e 135x:e (3825)

330

335

340

90x•e

57x:d

STABLE CONTROL

STABLE POWER

345

350

355

>360 Slow

Quick Control Stable Control Center of the Racquet Universe: half to each side and half above and below

Racquet: Headsize: Length: Flex:

Number corresponds to racquet list No indicator = Mid and MP (≤104); • =oversize (105-117); =super-oversize (≥118) x = extended ( *Length index: 27' = 1; 27.5 = 1.05; 28 = 1.1; etc.) a = Soft (,60); b = Medium (60-64); c = Medium Stiff (65-69); d = Stiff (70-74); e = Super Stiff (≥75)

17

RACQUETS AS OF JANUARY 2005
Racquet Headsize (in2) Length (in.) Weight (gm) Balance (cm) Balance Flex Swingweight Power (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula Retail Price

AVERY AVERY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 Avery Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Babolat Bancroft Bancroft Bancroft Bancroft Bancroft Bancroft Blackburne Blackburne Blackburne Dunlop Dunlop Dunlop Dunlop Dunlop Dunlop Dunlop Dunlop Dunlop Dunlop Dunlop M3 Aeropro Control Aeropro Drive Drive Z Lite Drive Z Max Drive Z Tour Pure Control Pure Control + Pure Control Zylon 360 Pure Drive Pure Drive + Team Pure Drive OS Team Pure Drive Zylon 360 Pure Storm MP Team Pure Storm Team Soft Drive VS NCT Drive VS NCT Power VS NCT Tour Classic 280 Classic 315 Classic 335 Vapor 260 Vapor 270 Vapor 280 Double Strung 107 Excalibur Ti 107 Double Strung Excalibur Ti 97 Double Strung 1000G ICE 200G XL 300G OS 600G ICE 800G ICE Lady G M Fil 2 Hundred M Fil 3 Hundred M Fil 5 Hundred M Fil 7 Hundred Maxply McEnroe (70 Holes) 95 98 100 100 107 100 98 98 97 100 100 110 100 103 98 104 110 118 100 107 98 98 107 115 107 107 107 97 115 95 105 102 110 108 95 98 105 110 98 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.20 27.00 27.00 27.50 27.00 27.00 27.50 27.50 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.50 27.88 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.50 28.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.50 27.50 27.50 27.00 27.50 27.50 27.00 27.00 27.25 27.50 27.00 372 343 324 274 272 298 346 345 310 317 313 289 261 298 311 284 271 264 294 276 310 330 270 277 278 292 280 280 278 314 294 285 281 280 346 309 279 268 320 32.25 32.25 33.75 36.00 37.00 34.75 31.75 32.25 33.50 33.00 33.50 35.00 35.50 34.50 33.75 34.50 36.25 37.50 34.00 34.50 33.50 33.25 38.25 38.50 38.00 36.75 37.00 36.25 37.25 32.75 34.25 36.00 36.75 35.00 32.75 35.00 34.75 35.50 34.00 BABOLAT BABOLAT

800-758-9467 • www.tomavery.com 12.70 12.70 13.29 14.17 14.57 13.68 12.50 12.70 13.19 12.99 13.19 13.78 13.98 13.58 13.29 13.58 14.27 14.76 13.39 13.58 13.19 13.09 15.06 15.16 14.96 72 71 69 68 68 74 69 69 65 71 73 72 66 68 64 69 72 70 71 68 73 74 66 82 80 364 341 337 306 321 316 334 335 304 313 322 320 281 313 320 299 303 319 292 288 307 318 290 329 345 2490 2373 2325 2081 2382 2338 2259 2379 1917 2222 2468 2661 1855 2192 2007 2146 2520 2865 2073 2095 2196 2306 2150 3413 2953 $180 $179 $179 $169 $169 $169 $190 $190 $189 $190 $179 $191 $189 $179 $179 $160 $209 $199 $199 $189 $179 $179 $189 $189 $189 877-316-9435 • www.babolat.com

BANCROFT BANCROFT

800-779-0807 • www.bancroftsports.com

BLACKBURNE BLACKBURNE

781-729-3891 • www.blackburneds.com 14.47 68 341 2481 $199 14.57 14.27 14.67 12.89 13.48 14.17 14.47 13.78 12.89 13.78 13.68 13.98 13.39 71 71 70 61 61 73 68 75 58 63 68 67 67 327 320 321 296 295 297 314 295 337 308 293 294 333 2484 2204 2713 1801 1984 2211 2466 2509 1857 1902 2144 2275 2186 $299 $299 $229 $170 $180 $220 $190 $191 $169 $179 $199 $209 $159

CUNLOP DUNLOP

800-277-8000 • www.dunlopsports.com

18 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

Racquet

Headsize (in2)

Length (in.)

Weight (gm)

Balance (cm)

Balance Flex Swingweight Power (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula

Retail Price

40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 51.5 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79

Dunlop Dunlop Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Fischer Gosen Gosen Head Head Head Head Head Head Head Head Head Head Head Head Head Head Head Head Head Power Angle Power Angle Power Angle Power Angle Power Angle

Super Revelation 108 Super Revelation 95 GDS Rally FT GDS Spice FT GDS Spirit FT Pro Tour Extreme FT Pro Tour Pro No. 1 Impact FT Pro No. 1 Pro No. 1 FT Pro Tour FT Smash Ti. Strike Ti. Twin Tec 1250 FTi Twin Tec 750 FTi Twin Tec 950 FTi Twin Tec Speed FTi Carbon-15 Twin Pro Liquidmetal 1 Liquidmetal 2 Liquidmetal 4 Liquidmetal 5 Liquidmetal 8 Liquidmetal Fire Liquidmetal Heat Liquidmetal Instinct Liquidmetal Instinct Tour XL Liquidmetal Prestige Mid Liquidmetal Prestige MP Liquidmetal Radical MP Liquidmetal Radical OS Liquidmetal Radical Tour MP Liquidmetal Rave Protector MP Protector OS Power 102 Power 115 Power 98 Power 98/K Spin 102

108 95 102 102 107 95 100 102 98 98 98 102 102 118 105 112 107 115 120 110 105 102 107 112 102 102 100 100 93 98 98 107 98 98 102 115 102 115 98 98 102

27.00 27.00 27.38 27.25 27.00 27.25 27.00 27.38 27.00 27.40 27.38 27.00 27.38 27.75 27.63 27.75 27.38 27.50 28.00 27.38 27.38 27.50 27.38 27.33 27.38 27.00 27.00 27.63 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.38 27.38 27.63 27.38 27.38 27.00 27.00 27.50

298 291 297 276 296 340 312 309 334 309 338 297 277 272 291 281 290 249 264 258 266 289 263 282 292 295 307 331 348 329 310 314 349 297 282 283 274 268 322 326 283

36.50 36.00 33.50 35.00 35.50 32.00 33.75 33.50 32.00 33.25 32.25 33.25 34.75 36.00 36.25 36.00 35.75 38.25 39.00 37.50 36.00 36.00 37.50 35.50 34.75 34.25 33.70 32.25 32.00 32.30 33.25 33.00 32.50 34.50 36.75 38.00 36.50 37.25 30.50 30.75 38.00

14.37 14.17 13.19 13.78 13.98 12.60 13.29 13.19 12.60 13.09 12.70 13.09 13.68 14.17 14.27 14.17 14.07 15.06 15.35 14.76 14.17 14.17 14.76 13.98 13.68 13.48 13.27 12.70 12.60 12.72 13.09 12.99 12.80 13.58 14.47 14.96 14.37 14.67 12.01 12.11 14.96

67 68 67 67 66 62 59 65 64 63 66 64 63 63 70 70 69 69 71 65 63 72 61 66 68 66 64 66 63 63 66 60 63 69 66 64 72 74 63 64 71

335 317 296 284 311 301 307 293 308 297 319 282 284 297 326 316 314 307 342 306 290 330 310 312 315 297 319 330 341 317 318 321 332 310 320 340 314 318 289 289 354

2424 2048 2100 1989 2196 1817 1811 2015 1932 1907 2142 1841 1893 2373 2546 2663 2405 2558 3205 2270 1991 2545 2099 2382 2267 1999 2042 2314 1995 1957 2057 2061 2050 2175 2235 2659 2392 2808 1784 1813 2692

$170 $170 $155 $180 $140 $210 $140 $180 $180 $180 N/A $100 $120 $240 $180 $210 $180 $130 $170 $120 $180 $225 $225 $250 $150 $140 $170 $170 $225 $225 $200 $200 $180 $170 $300 $300 $149 $149 $149 $149 $149

FISCHER FISCHER

800-333-0337 • www.fischertennisusa.com

GOSEN GOSEN

800-289-7366 • www.head.com

HEAD HEAD

800-289-7366 • www.head.com

POWER ANGLE POWERANGLE

877-769-3721 • www.powerangle.com

March 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

19

Racquet

Headsize (in2)

Length (in.)

Weight (gm)

Balance (cm)

Balance Flex Swingweight Power (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula

Retail Price

PRINCE PRINCE 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince Prince AirDB Midplus AirDB Oversize AirDrive B900 MP AirDrive B975 OS Diablo XP MP Diablo XP OS Graphite Classic OS Graphite Classic Pro MP (90””) O3 Red MP O3 Silver OS Thunder Rip OS Tour Diablo Mid Tour Diablo MP Tour NXGraphite Mid Tour NXGraphite MP Tour NXGraphite OS Turbo Beast MP Turbo Beast OS Turbo Outlaw MP Turbo Outlaw OS Turbo Shark MP 100 110 100 110 96 110 107 90 105 118 115 93 100 92 100 107 100 110 100 110 100 27.00 27.50 27.25 27.50 27.50 28.00 27.00 27.25 27.75 28.00 27.00 27.25 27.00 27.25 27.50 27.00 27.50 27.00 27.50 27.00 295 288 287.8 280.2 326 299 348 294 270 274 340 314 359 336 336 292 281 291 285 330 34.25 35.00 34.75 34.00 33.00 35.25 30.80 34.50 37.50 37.00 32.00 32.00 31.00 32.00 31.50 35.00 35.00 35.75 35.00 33.00

800-283-6647 • www.princetennis.com 13.48 13.78 13.68 13.39 12.99 13.88 12.13 13.58 14.76 14.57 12.60 12.60 12.20 12.60 12.40 13.78 13.78 14.07 13.78 12.99 70 68 74 72 69 69 62 73 78 78 67 63 64 66 64 74 67 71 71 70 302 312 315 301 325 326 335 312 320 340 310 298 329 310 325 310 305 311 312 320 2114 2450 2389 2503 2260 2722 2222 2451 3166 3355 1932 1924 1937 2097 2337 2294 2360 2208 2559 2240 $170 $170 $160 $160 $190 $190 $200 $250 $300 $210 $170 $170 $200 $200 $200 $120 $120 $150 $160 $150

specs not available at press time

20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

Racquet

Headsize (in2)

Length (in.)

Weight (gm)

Balance (cm)

Balance Flex Swingweight Power (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula

Retail Price

101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117

Prince Pro Kennex Pro Kennex Pro Kennex Pro Kennex Pro Kennex Slazenger Tecnifibre Tecnifibre Tecnifibre Tecnifibre Tecnifibre Tecnifibre Topspin Topspin Volkl Volkl

Turbo Shark OS Core 1 No. 06 Core 1 No. 10 Core 1 No. 22 Kinetic Pro 15g Reach Type C 93 Pro X1 T Feel 275 XL T Feel 290 XL T Feel 305 T Feel 305 XL T Fight 315 T Fight 325 CL603 CL628 Catapult 1 (with FIRE) (Generation II) Catapult 2 (Generation II)

110 95 102 115 105 93 95 107 102 98 98 98 98 93 97 120 115

27.50 27.13 27.25 27.50 28.00 27.00 27.00 27.50 27.50 27.00 27.50 27.00 27.40 27.00 27.50 27.75 28.00

293 339 310 259 309 346 336 294 297 321 316 334 345 342 306 261 269

35.00 31.75 33.75 37.25 32.75 32.00 32.00 36.00 35.00 33.25 35.00 33.00 32.50 32.75 35.75 36.50 37.25

13.78 12.50 13.29 14.67 12.89 12.60 12.60 14.17 13.78 13.09 13.78 12.99 12.80 12.89 14.07 14.37 14.67

71 61 68 76 65 60 67 65 72 68 70 65 60 66 67 72 70

319 317 311 306 345 328 305 323 325 315 342 318 327 322 339 311 324

2616 1860 2211 2808 2590 1830 1941 2359 2506 2099 2463 2026 2000 1976 2313 2889 2869

$190 $190 $200 $250 $189 $169 $180 $190 $190 $170 $170 $170 $170 $150 $160 $270 $240

PRO KENNEX PROKENNEX

760-804-8322 • www.prokennex.com

SLAZENGER SLAZENGER TECNIFIBRE TECNIFIBRE

800-277-8000 • www.slazenger.com 877-332-0825 • www.tecnifibre.com

TOP SPIN TOPSPIN

760-804-8322 • www.prokennex.com

VOLKL VOLKL

800-264-4579 • www.volkl.com

March 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

21

Racquet

Headsize (in2)

Length (in.)

Weight (gm)

Balance (cm)

Balance Flex Swingweight Power (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula

Retail Price

volkl continues VOLKL continued 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 WEED WEED 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 Weed Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Yonex Yonex Yonex Yonex Z-One 35 H1 Outer Edge 135 H6 (Hammer 6) MP H6 (Hammer 6) OS H-Cyclone H-Rival 112 H-Rival 96 n1 n5 (110) n5 (98) n6 (110) n6 (95) nPro nProStaff 95 nProSurge nSix-One 95 (68 holes) nSix-One Tour nTour 105 nTour 95 nVision Pro Staff Blitz Triad 5 OS 110 (T5) RDX 300 MP RDX 300 Super Mid RDX 500 RDX 500 HD 135 135 95 110 115 112 96 115 110 98 110 95 98 95 100 95 90 105 95 103 100 110 98 103 90 98 27.00 28.50 27.25 27.50 27.90 27.50 27.50 27.90 27.25 27.25 27.50 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.25 27.25 27.25 27.00 27.38 27.25 27.50 27.00 27.00 273 253 271 276 251 256 285 256 272 278 275 269 311 298 313 347 354 297 305 277 280 271 311 296 331 333 36.25 39.25 36.25 36.75 38.75 38.50 36.25 38.75 37.25 37.50 36.75 37.50 33.25 34.25 33.25 32.00 32.00 35.50 35.50 36.50 35.50 36.00 33.25 34.00 32.50 32.25 WILSON WILSON Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Volkl Catapult 3 (with FIRE) (Generation II) Catapult 4 Gen II Catapult 6 Catapult 8 V-Engine Catapult V1 MP Catapult V1 OS Tour 10 MP Gen II Tour 10 V Engine Mid Tour 10 V Engine MP Tour 5 Tour 6 Gen II Tour 8 V Engine MP Tour 9 V Engine (70 Holes) Tour 9 V Engine (76 Holes) V1 Classic V1 Classic 10 Year Anniversary 110 105 100 100 102 110 98 93 98 105 100 100 98 98 102 102 27.75 27.50 27.25 27.25 27.00 27.50 27.00 27.13 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.60 27.00 27.13 27.00 27.00 273 289 294 307 297 306 339 336 334 274 289 314 321 322 313 298 34.00 34.25 33.75 33.50 33.00 34.00 32.25 32.00 32.25 34.25 33.50 34.00 33.00 33.00 33.50 34.50 13.39 13.48 13.29 13.19 12.99 13.39 12.70 12.60 12.70 13.48 13.19 13.39 12.99 12.99 13.19 13.58 14.27

800-264-4579 • www.volkl.com 68 69 66 64 64 59 64 60 65 64 61 70 66 64 68 72 67 296 304 299 301 288 321 322 308 319 283 293 328 301 303 320 310 314 2380 2313 2023 1975 1880 2187 2020 1740 2032 1902 1787 2434 1947 1924 2220 2277 2840 $220 $190 $180 $190 $250 $250 $180 $200 $200 $130 $150 $160 $180 $180 $240 $200 $250

800-933-3758 • www.weedusa.com

773-714-6400 • www.wilsonsports.com 15.45 75 329 3825 $220 14.27 14.47 15.26 15.16 14.27 15.26 14.67 14.76 14.47 14.76 13.09 13.48 13.09 12.60 12.60 13.98 13.98 14.37 13.98 14.17 13.09 13.39 12.80 12.70 67 65 75 70 72 75 60 63 67 65 70 59 59 68 66 67 63 63 58 70 70 68 62 61 314 326 315 317 323 323 299 312 329 322 304 315 305 329 325 334 340 316 304 287 307 305 312 313 2049 2447 2961 2610 2344 3037 2023 1974 2546 1988 2085 1766 1800 2125 1931 2408 2086 2102 1763 2294 2159 2243 1741 1871 $140 $140 $160 $150 $150 $300 $240 $240 $200 $200 $200 $170 $200 $200 $200 $220 $220 $180 $120 $200 $189 $189 $199 $199

YONEX Yonex

310-793-3800 • www.yonex.com

22 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

Racquet

Headsize (in2)

Length (in.)

Weight (gm)

Balance (cm)

Balance Flex Swingweight Power (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula

Retail Price

160 161 162 163 164 165 166

Yonex Yonex Yonex Yonex Yonex Yonex Yonex

RDX 500 MP Ultimum RQ Ti 210m Ultimum RQ Ti 260m VCon 17 100 VCon 17 107 VCon 30+ 107 VCon 30+ 117

98 102 98 100 107 107 117

27.00 27.00 27.00 27.50 27.50 27.50 27.50

322 258 264 295 287 264 269

32.50 36.00 37.00 35.25 35.75 37.00 36.75

12.80 14.17 14.57 13.88 14.07 14.57 14.47

64 73 76 68 71 73 74

306 281 298 312 315 297 306

1919 2092 2220 2228 2513 2436 2782

$199 $119 $139 $229 $229 $279 $279

Continued from page 16.

determine the amount of energy loss that occurs when the ball pushes the racquet around in translation, rotation, and twisting.

Interpreting the Selection Map
How does this all relate to the Racquet Selector Map? Because twistweight and recoilweight are not easily measured, headsize and swingweight stand in for them in the power potential formula. Twistweight is increased more the further the weight is from the long axis. So the bigger the head, the further from the axis the weight will be and the greater will be the twistweight. As to recoilweight, it generally moves relative to swingweight, so racquets sorted in order of swingweight will also be very close to being ordered in terms of recoilweight. So swingweight, which is easily measured on commercial machines, serves as a proxy for recoilweight in the power formula. Swingweight also shows up on the other axis as the maneuverability index. This is the real meaning of swingweight. Strictly speaking, it does not affect the intrinsic power potential of the racquet, except as a proxy for recoilweight, which does. But it does contribute to the final ball speed because it influences how fast you can get the racquet moving. But that contribution is due to swing speed, not intrinsic racquet power potential. If you can keep that straight, you won't be confused by swingweight showing up in one way or another on both axes. Finally there are flex and length. Flex is included in the power potential formula because stiffer frames bend less and thus lose less energy doing so. Length is actually already implicitly accounted for in swingweight and recoilweight because it influences those values by delineating the maximum distance from the axes that weight can be located. But it is also included explicitly in the formula because if you do hit the ball farther from your hand as a result of the longer racquet, then the impact location on the racquet will be traveling faster than a point closer to your hand and will add to ball speed (assuming swingweight didn’t increase too much with the extra length). Q Note: Swingweight, twistweight, recoilweight, and hittingweight (not discussed here) can all be determined for any racquet with the USRSA's online tools in the member section of www.racquettech.com. Further discussion of all these topics is available in the book The Physics and Technology of Tennis, available from the USRSA.

Energy Loss
"More powerful" actually means less energy loss. So, although racquet ads are constantly singing the praises of "more powerful" racquets, these racquets have no propulsion system. All the energy that is possible is present before the impact. That is the energy of motion in the racquet and ball approaching each other. The impact does not produce energy; it only loses it. Designing a powerful racquet is ALL about limiting energy loss, not about producing energy. The most productive, even if not always the most practical, way to limit energy loss is to make the racquet "heavier" in all the ways listed above. This limits the energy that goes into translation, rotation, and twisting, making it potentially available to propel the ball. If you make the racquet 5, 10, or 20 pounds, it will give back much more energy. The only trouble is that you might not be able swing it fast enough to create as much available energy to begin with. Energy is directly proportional to mass and to the square of racquet velocity. So, if, for example, you double the mass of your racquet, you still have to be able to swing it at least 70 percent of the speed that you could swing the lighter racquet just to maintain the same racquet energy. Even if you could develop a racquet that lost almost no energy, you still have to be able to swing it fast enough to maximize the amount of available energy to begin with. Sometimes, losing nothing of a small amount of energy may not be as good as losing a lot of much more.

Ultimate Power Potential
There is in fact an ultimate limit to how fast you can hit the ball. Even if you designed a racquet that lost no energy at all, the maximum attainable ball speed for a serve would be twice the racquet speed at the impact location. For a groundstroke, the maximum possible speed is twice the racquet speed plus the incident ball speed. The power potential of such a racquet would be awesome. But it would be too heavy to swing, and the power output would be nil—zero ball speed for a serve and the speed of the incident ball for a groundstroke, if the ball happened to collide with the unmovable racquet.

March 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

23

COURT CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE GUIDE

ACTIVE AGING
Every year, this game changes. Your members and players change, too. And you have to be ready to change, in all the things you do—giving lessons and clinics, running tournaments and social play, marketing your programs, laying out your facility. “We are now in the middle of the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world,” says John Welborn of Lee Tennis, who, along with Alex Levitsky of Global Sports & Tennis Design Group, presented a seminar at December’s Technical Meeting of the American Sports Builders Association (formerly the U.S. Tennis Court & Track Builders Association) titled “Ageless Marketing/Marketing to the Baby Boomers.” “The retirement age of 65 was established in the 1930s, when life expectancy was 68,” Welborn says of some of the “macro trends” taking place. “Now, life expectancy is over 80.” By the year 2015, the U.S. population will match what are the current demographics in Florida—49 percent of the population will be over 50 years old, says Welborn. “Over the next 15 years, the 50-to-69 age group will increase by 87 percent.”

Changing demographics are causing everyone in this industry, including facility designers and builders, to take a look at how they BY PETER FRANCESCONI do business.

E

From 2001 to 2010, spending by those in the 24-to-44 age group is expected to decline by $115 billion, while spending by the 45-to-64 age group is expected to grow by $329 billion, says Welborn. Currently, the 40-plus market is 45 percent larger than the 18-to-39 age group. By 2010, the 40-plus market will grow to 60 percent larger. Welborn says that there will be an emphasis by the public sector to get this older demographic active. “A lot of things are going to change, mindset-wise—traveling, adventure, sports,” he says. “These people are going to do something. Tennis has

March 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

25

COURT CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE GUIDE
a lot to sell, it has all the elements. So we need to start talking about it. “What all this means,” he adds, “is that if your business is to grow in the next 20 years, you’ll need to deal with this demographic.” in your area, you need to look at demographic and market studies, says Levitsky, and, importantly, “ask your customer.” Also, make use of the internet, consult with professionals, and contact the AARP or other groups in your area that cater to this demographic.

Safety and Comfort
In terms of tennis facility design, Levitsky points out certain concerns of this older demographic, such as safety, comfort, maintenance, and affordability. “When we talk about the boomers, we need to focus in on safety and comfort,” he says. Where you have active areas at your facility, says Levitsky, there should be fewer obstructions, and the flow should be more continuous. Other safety concerns include: Q Emergency communications that are easily accessible. Q Wider access points and through passages, to anticipate access by emergency vehicles. Q Smooth transitions from walkways, with adequate lighting. Often, the walkways are used as an activity in itself, when people circulate around the facility. Q Accommodating the provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Q Divider fences and nets that reduce tripping and collisions. Where comfort is concerned, Levitsky says facilities need to take into account: Q Convenient and sufficient parking. Q Efficient pedestrian circulation, with signs and graphics that are easy to read and understand. “The first time you visit, you need to know where you’re going,” says Levitsky. Q Convenient water fountains and restrooms. Q Shade shelters. Q Higher lighting levels, since eyesight changes as people age. Q A variety of surfaces, which provide a variety of experiences. Q Backdrops and windscreens. Levitsky says some facilities are now looking at covering courts, but leaving the sides open. Q Socializing spaces, which allow for food and refreshment. Q Breaking up hard landscapes, and breaking up paved areas. “Softening the space is especially important in tight areas,” says Levitsky. In determining what’s best for your facility or for facilities

Marketing Tactics
“These mature customers are guided by their inner values,” says Welborn. “They generally share a desire to live meaningful and purposeful lives. In addition, meaningful activities, exercise, and personal well-being programs are the best way to control increasing medical expenses.” Welborn adds that the words “senior” and “retirement” are outdated descriptors for this group, and that “aging” is no longer a metaphor for decline and dependence. In promoting your services to this group, there are certain things you should consider when it comes to “the language of ageless marketing,” says Welborn. For instance: Q Avoid terms such as “senior” and “elderly,” which may generate negative images. Q In marketing material, use inclusive terms, and use conditional and experiential images in visuals. Q Remember that this audience will fight aging and will stay active. “The interest in fitness and wellness is growing big time,” says Welborn. Q They also have time and money. Q This group also will exercise and socialize more in retirement. Q In advertising, show the people, not the product. Q A “need-driven” strategy is no longer relevant to this older group. They don’t “need” things anymore; they need to want things, says Welborn. “Today’s older consumer is healthier, wealthier, better educated, and more selfdirected than in the past,” says Welborn. This older demographic desires programs, equipment, apparel, shoes, and facilities all designed for them. Softer courts must be a consideration, he says. But most important, “They need a nudge from us to get tennis on their menu choices,” Welborn says. “We need to communicate how tennis can be a gateway to a more meaningful, personally enriching life. “To reach this group, we must help them visualize themselves getting what they want through tennis.” Q

26 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

GET WISE TO CRACKS
COURT CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE GUIDE
Photos Courtesy of Armor Crack Repair System

There’s no getting around it: Asphalt courts will crack. Here’s what you can do to repair the damage. B Y D A N C L A P P , A R M O R C R A C K R E P A I R S Y S T E M ,
AND CHRIS ROSSI, PREMIER CONCEPTS INC.

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Cracks have been the bane of the hard-court industry for many years. But it seems as though courts now are cracking faster and to a greater extent than ever before. While asphalt courts are significantly more affordable than concrete, asphalt’s major drawback is its tendency to crack. There are a number of reasons why cracks develop. For instance, improper site preparation, defective materials, or faulty installation can each lead to cracking. But after many decades of asphalt court construction, it appears clear that besides the weakening of asphalt and asphalt binders, a big reason why asphalt courts crack prematurely is due to a combination of not enough structural material for the conditions or the region and improper preparation and a lack of proper time between construction steps.

also compromised the success of asphalt courts by rushing the process. The customers, therefore, can create flaws in the court right from the outset. Fighting costs and forcing contractors to cut time both conspire against asphalt tennis courts, laying the groundwork for cracks to develop.

Flaws in Asphalt
Also working to crack the surface are flaws inherent to asphalt, such as the quality of asphalt and the fact that the court is paved as a jointed system. In addition, asphalt has a natural tendency to shrink as it weathers and ages. And over time, asphalt will lose its flexibility and become more brittle. The pressure created by the tension of the net on the net post footers is a factor in cracking. The placement of concrete in and around the court for fence posts, net posts and centerstrap tie-downs also creates problems due to the different expansion and contraction properties between concrete and asphalt. Other factors, such as continual ground movement, settlement of the subsurface, weathering, and improper construction, can all work to crack hard courts, especially asphalt.

Flaws in the Process
Essentially, either the court may not be constructed with enough base stone, base asphalt and/or surface asphalt, or some part of the process may be rushed. For instance, the contractor, for one reason or another, may not allow the proper amount of time to compact properly, or to compact in lifts, or to allow for some settlement to occur before laying the asphalt, etc. Often, project owners may be to blame for requesting the absolute minimum amount of materials or procedures in order to cut costs. Because contractors simply aren’t in a position to press the issue with owners, they can’t ensure that the proper amount of materials will be used. Project owners have

Surface Cracks and Pavement Cracks
Surface cracks, which are just on the top of the asphalt, can be distinguished as follows: Q Hairline cracks: Small, irregular cracks present over large

28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

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areas of the court. If left untreated, they will develop into more serious cracks. Q Alligator cracks: These interlocking cracks make a pattern over the surface, resembling an alligator hide. Q Shrinkage cracks, or stress cracks: These are a random pattern of interconnected cracks with irregular angles and sharp corners. They are usually very small. Products that contractors can use to repair surface cracks include very flexible surface coatings, fabric membranes, or a new asphalt overlay. Pavement cracks go all the way through the four inches of asphalt. The types of pavement cracks include: Q Heat-checking cracks: Caused during compaction of the asphalt when the roller “stretches” the asphalt horizontally. Q Structural cracks: These penetrate the total thickness of the asphalt. New cracks are very thin and grow in width as they age. Q Reflection cracks: Appearing in asphalt overlays, reflection cracks simply mirror the crack pattern in the old pavement surface beneath the overlay. Q Radial cracks: These radiate off the corner of the concrete net-post footings.

Crack Repair Products and Alternatives
The last five years or so have seen the development of products that will help to maintain cracks more effectively, and at reasonable prices. Several of these types of products involve using polyurethane or acrylic-based caulks as new types of fillers, thus extending the life of a simple crack-fill project. Several products utilize fabrics that have the ability to stretch extensively, yet return to their original state and position to isolate the crack from the repair system, thereby preventing the crack from reflecting through the repair system. Also, full surface system alternatives to total reconstruction or asphalt overlay systems have proven their effectiveness. Several of these systems rely on installing products directly over the entire court, but attaching them only around the perimeter. This type of installation method allows the existing cracks, or future cracks, the ability to move without reflecting through the overlayment system, thus eliminating crack problems on the surface. (See “Tennis Court Crack Repair Alternatives” below.) Keep in mind that quality design and construction may minimize or delay cracking, but it can’t completely eliminate it. Once cracks appear, it may be impossible to repair their cause, but it is not impossible to repair the crack itself and to better maintain the court from total deterioration.
Dan Clapp is the president of Armor Crack Repair System (www.armorcrackrepair.com or 877-99-ARMOR) and Chris Rossi is the vice president of Premier Concepts Inc. (www.premiercourt.com or 800-458-4675). This article is based on a presentation they gave at the 2004 Technical Meeting of the ASBA.

Tennis Court Crack Repair Alternatives
There are a number of methods and products available to repair pavement cracks. The short-term and long-term repairs listed here are ranked from least expensive to most expensive. (Chart provided by Armor Crack Repair System.)

REPAIR METHOD
Crack Fillers and Caulks

DESCRIPTION

ADVANTAGES

DISADVANTAGES

Material is poured, troweled, or caulked into the Very inexpensive, but only a quick, Cracks reappear almost immediately. Wide crack to fill the void. Designed for temporary short-term fix. The flexible material is cracks can’t be filled; small cracks are too narrepairs between normal resurfacing intervals. usually tinted to match the court color. row to fill. Fiberglass fabric is glued over the crack, then the court is painted. Inexpensive, and looks good initially. Cracks reappear as soon as it begins to get cold. May delaminate from the surface, causing a tripping hazard. May hear a “hollow” sound when ball bounces directly on center of repair. Does not work on cracks that emit heavy moisture. Ends up being an expensive way to trade one crack for two parallel cracks. Does not allow for movement. No long-term success.

Fiberglass Membranes

Armor Crack Repair System

An expandable fabric is applied over the crack to Good for long-term repair, without absorb movement without tearing or delaminat- spending three to five times more ing. Covered by typical color coating material. money. No machinery required. An area of asphalt about a foot wide, containing the crack, is cut out. The void is then filled with new asphalt. Sounds impressive.

Saw Cut & Asphalt Patch

Infrared Asphalt Patch

Propane is used to heat the asphalt around the None. crack, in an attempt to get the new asphalt to bond to it. court. New asphalt is installed over the whole court.

Geotextile & Asphalt Overlay Fabric is laid over the cracks and/or the entire Pre-Fabricated Roll-Out Surface (such as Premier Court) Stone Screening & Asphalt Overlay Total Removal & Reconstruction
A sand-filled turf or cushioned mat is installed over the entire court surface. New asphalt is installed over a layer of small stones, which act like a bed of marbles that prevent cracks from reflecting up into the new surface. Remove the existing court and build a completely new court in its place.

Can correct surface planarity problems. Requires access for heavy machinery and Very effective crack repair. replacement of the net posts and their concrete footings. Hides cracks well and adds cushion to the surface. No heavy machinery or removal of the fence is required. Effective repair for existing and future cracks. It can correct both surface planarity and slope problems. Corrects surface planarity and slope problems. Not a good surface for inline skating or basketball. Requires access for heavy machinery and replacement of the net posts and their concrete footings. The ground that caused the original surface to crack may very well cause the new surface to crack, too.

March 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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NEW SOLUTIONS FOR SURFACE COMPACTION
COURT CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE GUIDE

Two machines from the golf industry are helping to rehabilitate, and BY ED MONTECALVO, LEE TENNIS rehydrate, compacted clay courts.

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Clay tennis courts are in increasingly heavy demand by clubs and avid players alike because of the health benefits they provide, including a cooler, softer surface that is easy on the joints. To best maximize revenue with a clay-court facility, you need to keep your clay courts in excellent condition. The last thing you want to do is give your players and members an excuse to go elsewhere. If clay courts aren’t maintained properly, one condition that can occur in some areas is “surface compaction,” which is when the top halfinch or so of the clay becomes compacted and hard. The characteristics of the court change when the surface becomes compacted. For players, it will often feel like they’re playing on a hard court. Outdoor courts in the Northeast are not particularly susceptible to surface compaction, in most instances due to the cycle of freezing and thawing. This condition however, can occur in areas where there are longer playing seasons, with an increased demand for courts, which leads to less down time for watering and rolling. Indoor tennis courts are one example where facility managers need to be aware of surface compaction. Other areas of concern would be in the ever-growing Sunbelt regions from Georgia to California, below the 35th parallel.

Failing to scarify the surface regularly and also rolling the surface when it’s too wet can cause surface compaction, whether indoors or out, in warm climates or cold. In afflicted courts, the condition shows as a distinct layer of compacted material, starting as a thin layer at the top and working downward. The particles of surfacing material are pressed closer together in a smaller space, the bulk density increases, porosity decreases, and the water infiltration and water retention rates decrease. Essentially, with surface compaction there are no “void spaces,” so water cannot work its way up and down through the surface material. When it rains, a compacted court may stay wet longer because of a lack of “porosity.” Staying ahead of surface compaction is not difficult. Scarifying the surface regularly, daily if possible, will keep the surface agitated and generate sliding material. “There’s not a lot you can do to permanently hurt a clay court or fast-dry court,” says Fred Manchester, a CTCB with Tennico of Columbia in South Carolina. “The damage will occur if you’re not aggressive enough.” Back in the day, a compacted court had to be completely dug up. To help maintain courts, hand tools are good for a certain amount of depth, but if you have courts that are heavily compacted, you need something with more firepower. Thank-

March 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

31

Photos courtesy of Lee Tennis

COURT CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE GUIDE
fully, there are a couple of pieces of equipment, both adapted from the golf-course maintenance industry, that do an excellent job rehabilitating clay courts that suffer from surface compaction. They do so in a fraction of the time and expense it would take to dig up the courts and with a minimum of down time for players.

Rehydrating Courts
To punch through compacted soil on a golf course or, in this case, to punch through clay material so that water can move through it, the Toro HydroJet (below) can shoot 10 millisecond jets of water at 5,000 psi. The water comes out of the machine at 600 mph, the diameter of pencil lead. The HydroJet drills these tiny holes into the surface every 3.5 inches (or 15 to 20 holes per square foot). Instead of keeping a court out of service for days, with a machine like the HydroJet, which basically shoots holes through a surface that is almost as hard as concrete, it takes one man-hour per court. And you can go over the court surface multiple times, depending on how extensive the compaction is. The HydroJet not only makes vertical holes, but also causes lateral fracturing, further loosening the compacted area. After using the machine, the surface needs to be lightly scarified, then a coarse blend of top dressing is applied and broomed into the holes, so that they won’t re-compact. Last, a regular top dressing is brushed in and the surface is watered normally. The holes will have disappeared, the surface will be rehydrated, and the courts will look and play nearly brandnew.

Another piece of equipment being pressed into service on compacted clay courts is the Dryject machine (above) provided by Dryject, a New Jersey-based national franchise servicing the golf-course industry. Bill Shaughnessy, a CTCB with The Racquet Shop Inc. of Colts Neck, N.J., says he used the Dryject machine at an indoor facility in New Jersey with excellent results. “The courts were so compacted, because the facility just kept adding material to it, that they became extremely slick and the lines got buried,” he says. “We were able to turn it back into granular material.” Dryject fills the holes at the same time it injects and makes the holes. The machine injects a coarser blend of material into the holes, which helps water to move up and down. After using the Dryject machine, the courts were scarified and renovated. While it’s reassuring for clay-court managers to know there are remedies out there for fixing surface-compacted courts, the idea is to not let it get this far to begin with. Have a claycourt specialist take a look at your courts to see what state they are in, then adjust your maintenance schedule as needed to make sure the courts stay playable, all the time. A successful club can keep their members happy with this routine procedure. Q
Ed MonteCalvo is a technical representative for Lee Tennis and can be reached at emontecalvo@luckstone.com or 800-327-8379. He recently spoke about surface compaction at the annual meeting of the American Sports Builders Association.

32 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

COURT CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE GUIDE

A SOFT MARKET
These outdoor soft-court winners hit some common themes.
A few things quickly become apparent when looking at the eight outdoor soft-court winners of the Racquet Sports Industry/American Sports Builders Association 2004 Facility-ofthe-Year Awards. First, all of these winners made use soft-court material from Lee Tennis. Second, all of them installed subsurface irrigation systems. Third, they all made use of laser-grading, so if you haven’t made that investment yet, you really ought to look at it. And fourth, two Florida-based court-building companies cornered the market on the soft-court awards this year: Fast Dry Courts of Pompano Beach had three winners, and Welch Tennis Courts of Sun City had five winners. These soft-court winners included five new projects (Four Seasons Resort–Bahamas, Chautauqua Tennis Center, North

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Shore Park Tennis Center, VillageWalk, and The Stirling Club) and three that were upgrades of existing construction (Woodfield C.C., Johns Island, and River Forest Tennis Club). Number of courts ranged from six to the 12 at North Shore Park. Subsurface irrigation, while it may be a bit more expensive to install initially, saves money in the long run, since water doesn’t evaporate from the surface as in standard watering, and the courts don’t have to be taken out of service while they’re watered. In two instances (Woodfield C.C. and Four Seasons), Fast Dry Courts Inc. also installed additional above-ground sprinkler systems. While all these facilities have a number of common threads, each project came together to form its own unique, winning pattern. Q —Peter Francesconi

Chautauqua Tennis Center
Chautauqua, N.Y.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.) Number of Courts: 8 Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc. Surface: Har-Tru (Lee Tennis) Subsurface Irrigation: HydroGrid (Welch Tennis) Windscreens: J.A. Cissel Lighting: LSI Courtsider Sport

For details on the 2005 Outstanding Tennis Facility Awards, contact the ASBA at 866-501-ASBA or email info@sportsbuilders.org.

34 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

Johns Island
Vero Beach, Fla.
(Nominated by Fast Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.) Number of Courts: 10 Architect/Engineer: Fast Dry Courts General & Specialty Contractor: Fast Dry Courts Surface: Lee HydroBlend Underground Irrigation, Line Tapes: Lee Tennis Windscreens, Net Posts: BP International Trench Drain: Zurn Industries

North Shore Park Tennis Center
Miami Beach, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.) Number of Courts: 12 (10 Har-Tru, 2 DecoTurf) Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc.; Agile Courts Construction Co. Surface: Har-Tru (Lee Tennis), DecoTurf Subsurface Irrigation: HydroGrid (Welch Tennis)

River Forest Tennis Club
River Forest, Ill.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.) Number of Courts: 10 General Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc. Surface: Har-Tru (Lee Tennis) Subsurface Irrigation: Hydrogrid (Welch Tennis) Windscreens: J.A. Cissel

Four Seasons Resort
Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas
(Nominated by Fast Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.) Number of Courts: 6 Architect/Engineer: Wilson/Miller Inc. and Fast Dry Courts Inc. General Contractor: FoxCor Specialty Contractor: Fast Dry Courts Surface: Lee HydroBlend Underground Irrigation, Line Tapes: Lee Tennis Windscreens, Nets, Net Posts, Wall/Pole Pads: BP International Trench Drain: Zurn Industries Lighting: RLS TE 2000

March 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

35

The Stirling Club
Las Vegas, Nev.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.) Number of Courts: 6 Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc. Surface: Har-Tru (Lee Tennis) Subsurface Irrigation: HydroGrid (Welch Tennis) Durascreen: Ball Products

VillageWalk of Sarasota
Sarasota, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.) Number of Courts: 6 General Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc. Surface: Har-Tru (Lee Tennis) Subsurface Irrigation: HydroGrid (Welch Tennis) Windscreens: J.A. Cissel Lighting: LSI Courtsider XL

Woodfield Country Club
Boca Raton, Fla.
(Nominated by Fast Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.) Number of Courts: 7 Architect/Engineer: Global Sports & Tennis Desing Group General Contractor: Weitz Golf Specialty Contractor: Fast Dry Courts Surface: Lee HydroBlend Underground Irrigation, Line Tapes, Net Posts: Lee Tennis Windscreens, Nets: BP International Trench Drain: Zurn Industries Lighting: RLS TE 2000

36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

string Toalson Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123
Toalson Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 is a new monofilament developed for tournament players based on the opinions and experience of Toalson contract players worldwide. According to Toalson, Thermaxe 123 affords an excellent combination of elasticity and durability by blending special polyester material with themoplastic. Toalson recommends that you reduce your normal tension by 5 to 10 percent when using this string.
Toalson Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 is available in 1.23 (16L) in silver only. It is priced from $9.95 for coils of 44 feet 4 inches, and $149.95 for reels of 656 feet. For more information or to order, contact ATS Sports at 800-866-7071, or visit www.atssports.com. Be sure to read the conclusion for more information about getting a free set to try for yourself. with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 21.5. No playtester broke his sample during stringing, 17 reported problems with coil memory, five reported problems tying knots, and two reported friction burn. score— up in the range of the better nylon strings—is testament to its wellrounded nature. If you think that Toalson Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 might be for you, be one of the first 250 USRSA members to fill out and return the coupon to get a free set to try. —Greg Raven Q EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings) Number of testers who said it was: much easier 1 somewhat easier 1 about as easy 8 not quite as easy 20 not nearly as easy 3

PLAYTEST

ON THE COURT
Our playtesters found that Toalson Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 has outstanding durability, rating it third highest of all the strings we’ve tested in this category. This is not a complete surprise for a polyester string designed for big hitters, although this rating is accompanied by ratings well above average for Spin Potential, Holding Tension, and Resistance to Movement. Additionally, our playtesters rated Toalson Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 as above average in both Power and Control. These strengths combined to give Toalson Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 an overall score well above average. Six testers broke the sample string during play, with one at eight hours, one at nine hours, one at 12 hours, two at 16 hours, and one at 25 hours, for an average time before breakage for these six playtesters of 14.3 hours.

OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often) Number of testers who said it was: much better 0 somewhat better 5 about as playable 11 not quite as playable 14 not nearly as playable 3

IN THE LAB
The coil length measured a whopping 45 feet 3 inches. The diameter measured 1.22–1.24 mm prior to stringing, and 1.21 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 74 RDC units immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine. After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 69 RDC units, representing a 7 percent tension loss. Our control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units immediately after stringing and 71 RDC units after 24 hours, representing a 9 percent tension loss. Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 added 14.95 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame. The string was tested for five weeks by 33 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 5.5. These are blind tests,

OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge) Number of testers who said it was: much better 9 somewhat better 23 about as durable 1 not quite as durable 0 not nearly as durable 0

CONCLUSION
If Toalson’s definition of a “tournament player” is someone who blows through strings but can’t afford to forgo other aspects of string performance, the polyester blend in Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 has definitely met its design goals. Toalson Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 aced the four main categories for a string of its type (Durability, Spin Potential, Holding Tension, and Resistance to Movement), without sacrificing Power or Control. And Toalson Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 is more than “just” a string that can hang in there in punishing conditions: Its overall average

RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best) Playability Durability Power Control Comfort Touch/Feel Spin Potential Holding Tension Resistance to Movement 3.2 4.5 3.3 3.4 2.9 2.8 3.4 3.5 3.9

38 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

CONTINUED

string
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PLAYTEST

Reminds me of that famous silver-colored poly. Full power and confidence. Love the string, and it would make a great hybrid with my current string. I would recommend this string to poly players. I love this playtest program! 3.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head i.radical OS strung at 62 pounds LO (Forten Aramid Gear/Luxilon Big Banger 15/16L)

TESTERS

Very good control string, similar to my normal string only a bit softer. Tension loss is minimal, but still occurring due to the type of string. Overall 8/10 for exception feel and control for this type of string, and great durability. 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson Pro Staff 6.0 Original strung at 58/56 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon 17)

TALK

For a poly, this sample plays well. I get good spin as the ball comes off the stringbed, and with above-average durability for a thinner gauge, this string will be an appealing choice. While the stringbed seemed a little stiff overall, the string still played comfortably. I also liked the lack of string movement. 4.0 male all-court player using Yonex RDX 500 strung at 59 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

I am pleasantly surprised by the playability of this string. Given its durable nature, I would think it to be an excellent choice for hard hitters. I am looking forward to find out what it is. 4.0 male all-court player using Volkl Catapult 7 strung at 55 pounds CP (natural gut 16)

“Pretty good feel for a polyester. I’d like to try it
in a hybrid combination in the mains.”
4.0 male all-court player using Prince TT

This string feels like a typical polyester. I would use it for any of my big hitters who break strings quickly. 5.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Head Liquidmetal Radical MP strung at 67 pounds LO (Bow Brand Championship Gut 16L)

Bandit OS strung at 59 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut 16)

This string is “rock solid.” After 30 hours of teaching and playing I had very little tension loss and virtually no movement. 4.0 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal Radical OS strung at 60 pounds LO (Head Ultra Tour 17)

Some coil memory during stringing. On court, this string played quite well. I found lots of power and control. I would consider using it as a hybrid string for the mains. Lots of pop on volleys and I was able to produce more spin. 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson n5 strung at 58 pounds LO (Wilson Stamina 16)

A stiff monofilament feel, but with no string movement. A nice combination of control and power with a slight concession to feel. 4.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Head i.x6 MP strung at 54 pounds CP (Gamma ESP 17)

For the rest of the tester comments, USRSA members can visit RacquetTECH.com.

(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in parentheses.)

FREE PLAYTEST STRING PROGRAM
Toalson has generously offered to send a free set of Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123 to the first 250 USRSA members who request it.

“ “ “

Good string. I found good power in the first 10-12 hours, then it became loose. This would work great as part of a hybrid. 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Control Zylon + strung at 59 pounds CP (Babolat Super Fine Play 17)

Good poly. I liked the thinner gauge. 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince Turbo Shark strung at 62 pounds CP (Gamma Power Play 18) Very nice string. Reminded me of Luxilon Big Banger. Not the easiest string when doing the crosses, but not too difficult either. Had nice pop, even after several hours of steady hitting. 5.0 female baseliner with heavy spin using Head Liquidmetal 4 strung at 51 pounds LO (Wilson Stamina 17)

To get your free set, just cut out (or copy) this coupon and mail it to: USRSA, Attn: Toalson String Offer, 330 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084 or fax to 760-536-1171 Offer expires March 15, 2005 One set of free string per USRSA membership Offer only available to USRSA members in the US

FREE! Toalson Cyber Blade Tour Thermaxe 123!
Name: USRSA Member number: Phone: Email:
If you print your email clearly, we will notify you when your sample will be sent.

A very consistent string that held tension well. 5.0 male all-court player using Prince More Control DB 800 strung at 58 pounds CP (Prince Premier w/Softflex 16)

40 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

ask
Q

the EXPERTS

Your Equipment Hotline
50-50 STRINGING
I AM FAIRLY NEW TO STRINGING and I always string from head to throat on two-piece jobs. My friend who has been stringing for about seven years starts the crosses in the center of the frame (half on each side) and weaves half up toward the head and the other half down toward the throat, and ties off normally. He says it reduces stress on the frame. Seems logical to me and makes more sense than starting at the head. Are there any disadvantages of doing it this way? Is there any chance of damaging the frame or putting extra stress on it? THIS TECHNIQUE IS KNOWN AS 5050 stringing. The benefits are that you have two short ends for the crosses instead of one long end, and as a result, you have less wear and tear on the crosses from pulling the entire length through the mains each time. The obvious drawback is that you have two difficult “last crosses” to weave instead of one. What’s less obvious is that there is a real danger to the frame when stringing this way. Before starting the crosses, the mains are all in and tensioned, so the hoop is compressed lengthwise (that is, it’s shorter than it should be because of the pull of the main strings). If you measure across the hoop from the 3 o’clock to the 9 o’clock position, you will find that the hoop is also wider as a result of this compression. When stringing the crosses normally from the head to the throat, the tension of the crosses gradually pulls the hoop back to its normal width. The accompanying chart shows this progression of hoop deformation and recovery on a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 Classic (16 x 18 pattern) during stringing on a Babolat Star 3. For this test, we used a “box pattern,” which means that we installed 14 mains, then the top cross, then one outside main, then the bottom cross, then the final outside main, and then continued filling in the crosses from the head down. We measured the length of the hoop (12 o’clock to 6 o’clock) and width of the hoop (3 o’clock to 9 o’clock) using frame micrometers before starting, and after the installation of each of the 34 strings. The chart shows 37 data points: one for each of the strings; plus an initial point for the unmounted, unstrung racquet (point zero on the chart); a final point for the unmounted, strung racquet; with the next-to-last point being the measurements taken after tying off the final cross and releasing the string clamps. As you can see, the first pull actually lengthens the hoop because there is nothing to offset the tension of the string

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42 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

pulling the far end of the hoop toward the tension head. The installation of the second main starts to pull the hoop back, but by the fourth main, the hoop is clearly becoming shorter and wider. Installing the crosses once again pulls the hoop back into shape, and the resulting deformations are well below the maximum acceptable deformation of 0.094 inches (3/32 inches). You will note that the hoop of the strung racquet is

compressed so that it is both shorter and narrower than that of the unstrung racquet. However, even these figures do not tell the whole story. When stringing 50-50, the first crosses (in the center of the hoop) exert a tremendous amount of pull immediately at the point where they have maximum leverage. The more effective these crosses are at returning the hoop to its normal width, the more the width of the racquet will return to normal immediately (rather than gradually). This relatively sudden change in the width of the hoop will transfer the stress and compression of the hoop into the “shoulders,” causing them to square off. This concentration of stress is usually less of a problem toward the throat, where the hoop is reinforced by the shaft, but at the head, the combined tensions of the mains and crosses serve to turn a curve into a corner, which can weaken the frame at the shoulders and make it more susceptible to breakage.

cates on some racquets you use the crosses to tie down the end of bumperguards. Threading this “middle cross string” creates significant friction, and I worry about notching the mains. Any suggestions? AS IT SAYS, THIS PROCEDURE is needed only in those cases where the ends of the bumperguard must be secured against the frame. The trick is to install the crosses so that the loop of string outside the hoop on each side of the racquet holds down the bumperguard ends. The only way to accomplish this is to skip the cross at the ends of the bumperguard (that is, install the next cross in sequence), and then come back to fill in that skipped cross. For the cross that skips a hole, the weave will be the same as the last cross you installed. To reduce the friction on the fill-in cross, weave it before tensioning and clamping the previous cross. This is called weaving one ahead, and it is a good procedure for installing each of the crosses. —Greg Raven Q
We welcome your questions. Please send them to Racquet Sports Industry, 330 Main St., Vista, CA, 92084; fax: 760-536-1171; email: greg@racquettech.com.

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SECURING BUMPERGUARD ENDS

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I HAVE AN OLD COPY OF THE Racquet Service Techniques that indi-

March 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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Readers’ Know-How in Action
SPEED SEARCH
To increase my stringing speed, I always start my crosses so that the weave is over the top of the first main string, similar to the tip from David Haskins’ that you published in August 2003. On two-piece string jobs I go one step further, starting my crosses on the first cross “outside” the last main—even if it is three or four crosses down from the head. I then have to pull through only enough string for the remaining top crosses, instead of the string for all the crosses, and I can easily establish my weave starting over the top, no matter what the skips are. After that, I tension and clamp from the top down as normal. Alpha string sample pack w/ 5 strings per pack to: Dan Kerr, MRT, Wiarton, Ont Editor’s note: Installing your first cross farther down on the stringbed, and then filling in toward the top before tensioning, is more simple than trying to figure out whether to go over or under an “inner” main string so that you will be going over the outside mains for the rest of the crosses, but it does make it so that you have two “last crosses,” which are typically more difficult to weave. through to the short side instead of pulling 30 feet through to the long side. This eliminates pulling of well over 100 feet of string on each string job. 5 sets of Volkl Power-Fiber 18 to: Barry Farwell, San Diego, CA wrestle with it, I simply put the leather grip in the microwave oven for 10 seconds or so. This makes the grip a lot easier to wrap and stretch. 5 sets of Prince PolyGut 16 to: Joel Disbro, MRT, Kalamazoo, MI

tips

and TECHNIQUES

P-200 RACQUET PROTECTION

PRE-FORMING REPLACEMENT GRIPS
When you remove a replacement grip, you will notice that the butt-cap end of the old grip has taken on a spiral shape. Duplicating this spiral on the new grip will make for easier installation and a smoother job. This can be accomplished by gradually stretching the first few inches along the outside edge of the butt end of the new grip between your thumb and forefinger. 5 sets of Gamma Synthetic Gut 16 with WearGuard to: Joseph Pillsworth, Troy, NY

BEGINNERS
The most common P-200 throat adapter used for tennis racquets is the "H" adapter. For racquets that have a thin throat bridge and a thicker frame, the back of the adapter can make contact with and push into the side of the frame, causing damage. The solution is to cut off the back half-inch of the adapter. If you find a frame that clears the adapter but contacts the back of the adapter mount, a spacer can be placed between the front of the adapter and the adapter mount for clearance. Gosen T-shirt plus 5 packs of TournaGrip to: Bill Sommers, Apple Valley, MN

KEEPING POSTED

PRE-STRUNG MAINS
On one-piece string jobs, I pre-lace all the mains starting from the long side, leaving extra string at the center mains to start my pulling. There’s a bit of science involved in leaving the minimum amount of string to be cut off of the short side after tying off, but the benefit is that I am pulling only half the string (say 20 feet)

NUKE 'EM
Older leather grips can be difficult to wrap around the angles of the butt cap, as well as those at the top of the handle. Using double-sided tape helps hold it in place, but doesn’t make the wrapping any easier, and you still need a lot of muscle to stretch the wrinkles out of the grip. Rather than

I tape two 3x5 Post-It notes together and use them to highlight stringing instructions in the Stringer’s Digest for the racquet I’m working on. The Post-Its last many weeks, and when they finally lose their tackiness, I simply replace them with new ones. 5 sets of wilson Stamina 16 to: Bob Provines, MRT, San Antonio, TX —Greg Raven Q
Tips and Techniques submitted since 2000 by USRSA members, and appearing in this column, have all been gathered into a single volume of the Stringer’s Digest— Racquet Service Techniques which is a benefit of USRSA membership. Submit tips to: Greg Raven, USRSA, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92804; or email greg@racquettech.com.

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ball machine Super Coach
Super Coach is a one-machine company, but that one machine is the first we’ve ever encountered that really can feed any ball a person can. It offers a seemingly endless list of features and settings and is designed to withstand a lot of use and last a long time. It is great for use anywhere that has secure, dry storage space. It does not have a battery, so it must be plugged in during use. The Super Coach sells for $7,495 and comes with a two-year warranty. To contact Super Coach, call 408-855-9644 or visit www.tennismachine.com.

REVIEW

ASSEMBLY
The Super Coach is quick and easy to assemble. However, at 121 pounds, it weighs enough that it has to ship in a wooden crate, and it needs to be delivered by a freight company with a pallet jack, as opposed to a parcel carrier. Once it’s out of the crate you just have to affix the ball basket with four wingbolts and attach the handlebar. One small inconvenience is that Super Coach asks you to keep the crate for re-use if you should need to return it for repairs. This is a pretty big box to have to hold onto. The sturdy 10-inch inflatable tires make the machine easy to roll around. In fact, the size of the wheels and the tall handlebar even make it relatively easy to move up or down stairs. The machine comes with a plastic outer body that reduces rust problems, but it does not include a cover. The machine is surprisingly small considering all it can do. With the ball bin and handle off, it will fit on the seat of most cars.

USEMBLY
We filled the Super Coach to its 200-ball capacity. Balls exit the machine through a large opening in front, which is necessary because the shell of the machine is stationary. The opening is wide enough to allow ball feeds to both corners of the court and tall enough to allow feeds from line drives to lobs. The opening has a plastic shield to stop balls from entering the machine from the front. It is possible for

balls to get stuck in the opening, but most just bounce back out. The hopper has a stirring device to keep the balls moving and help avoid jams. The stirring action tends to knock balls out of the bin when it is full. Unfortunately, the machine we received had problems with the stirring device and Super Coach had to replace the piece by mail twice before we got one that worked properly. This is the first machine we’ve seen that allows you to program different types of speeds, spins, timings, and trajectories within a drill. The Super Coach offers the ability to adjust ball speed, feed frequency, topspin and underspin, power, elevation, and oscillation, and features a remote control, 30-shot programs, and program memory. This means that there are a lot of buttons on the control pad, which can be intimidating. But the machine comes with three users manuals that explain how each of the features work. You just need to set aside some time to read the manuals because some feature adjustments are complicated and require quite a few keystrokes. The machine also offers 10 pre-programmed six-ball drills designed for recreational players and seven professional-level drills. You just select which drill you want to do and tell it what level player you are and the machine automatically adjusts the trajectory, spin, speed, and timing of the shots. The 10 drills designed for rec players worked well, but it is hard to imagine even tour-level players who could perform the professional drills for more than a minute or so. The Super Coach is unique in that you can adjust the calibration of the machine, for instance, if you want to adjust for use at different altitudes or using different types of balls. Once recalibrated, it’s also easy to reset it back to factory settings.

balls have started to gather around the players’ feet. It would have been nice if the keypad could be used from farther away. This way a coach could adjust the program for the machine from the other end of the court. Super Coach tells us they do offer a long cable version.

FEED TRAY/INTERVAL
The 200-ball capacity seems a little small considering this machine is capable of feeding balls so quickly that multiple players can be drilling with it at the same time. Since you can program drills of up to 30 balls, you can only do the drill six times before you have to refill the hopper. We experienced no ball jams in all the hours that we used the machine, and not many misfeeds. And we were impressed with the way this machine handles misfeeds. If a ball does not drop through the hole, then the feed mechanism does not move to the next feed direction. So, if the machine is feeding alternating forehands and backhands, you don’t get two forehands in a row, just a delay between shots. This comes in handy if you have multiple players doing a drill. The interval between shots can be adjusted to any amount of time you want. When using the drills that come built into the machine, we found the timing good for simulating groundstroke rallies, but too slow to simulate volley rallies. Luckily this timing can be adjusted. One interesting aspect is that the machine automatically schedules a delay (which can be adjusted) between repetitions of a drill. This is a great feature especially if you are developing 30-ball

REMOTE CONTROL
A two-button remote comes standard to control ball feed, and it works well from the other end of the court. We were able turn off the ball feed until we reached the other side, so we did not have to waste balls. And you can stop the ball feed when

46 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2005

programs. This delay can give you a chance to catch your breath before you repeat a drill, or give you time to move one player off the court before the next player starts the drill.

THE PROS
Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Arrives almost fully assembled. Easy to unpack. Two-button remote comes standard. Big, sturdy wheels for rolling around and even climbing stairs. Non-rusting plastic outer body. Balls don’t get stuck inside machine. Unlimited adjustable settings allow different types of feeds within a drill. Three manuals explain how to adjust all settings. All the bells and whistles will be used regularly. Operates very quietly, no complaints from other courts. Pre-programmed six-shot drills are quick and easy to use. 30-shot programs allow for countless different drills. Memory features let you store a drill once it is perfected. Feeds frequently enough for multiple players. No ball jams during our testing. Top speed is faster than we could react to at net. Oscillation is smooth and very quiet. Offers unlimited different types of balls for each shot in a program. Outer body remains still during oscillation and elevation changes. Can store up to 28 programs of up to 30 balls each. Surprisingly small for all it can do. Offers some easy-to-use pre-programmed drills. Drills are easy to adjust for different level players. A light lets you know when ball is about to feed. Hard to tell where ball is aimed—harder to cheat. Adjustable calibration. Interval can be adjusted for any type of rally at any level. Delay between repetitions of drill is adjustable. Pre-printed program sheets mean you can design drills at home. Offers a random feed setting to simulate match play.

SPIN/HEIGHT
The Super Coach can feed a ball with topspin or underspin to any part of the court. At full topspin, the ball drops quickly and really takes off when it bounces. The height of feeds is adjustable from deep, high lobs to line drives. However, adjusting the height of the shots is fairly complicated, so unless you really plan ahead, you will probably end up using the pre-installed height settings for different levels of play.

OSCILLATION
Oscillation worked smoothly and quietly, moving from one direction to another quickly, to any part of the court. Oscillation is controlled by programs that you can customize, which comes in handy if you have multiple players hitting at the same time. When the oscillation is engaged, the outer body of the machine does not move, so it is harder to tell which direction the ball is about to be fed, a nice feature that makes it harder to move before the ball is fed. Finally the machine offers a random feed setting to simulate match play.

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PROGRAMMABILITY
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Super Coach is the almost unlimited programmability. The machine uses a large keypad that can be removed for security. The machine also comes with a sturdy stand to hold the keypad and has a slot in the back to protect the keypad from balls being hit back. There is virtually nothing that this machine cannot be programmed to do. The basic programming is fairly simple and can be learned quickly. However, advanced programming is what really makes this machine special. But this advanced programming is pretty complicated, requiring many keystrokes. We recommend not trying to do advanced programming while you have players waiting. Instead, this should be done ahead of time so you can make the necessary adjustments to the program. But once a drill is successfully programmed you can save it into memory. The machine even comes with preprinted sheets to help you decide how to program it. One drawback, though, is that each keystroke takes a moment to register, so even when you become efficient at programming, you can only go as quickly as the machine allows.

THE CONS
Q Q Q Q Q Q No unpacking instructions, but we didn’t need any. Can’t tell how low the balls are getting from other side of court. Too heavy for one person to lift. No battery option—requires an outlet. Short cord requires an extension cord. Probably too expensive for most families, so most will probably be sold to clubs. For this much money we would think a cover should be included. 200-ball capacity seems a little small for a machine that can run drills for multiple players. Manuals did not explain the use of remote or the lights on front of machine. Ball feeds not quite as consistent as some other machines. Have to store a big packing crate. Control pad is a little intimidating. Advanced programming requires a lot of fine tuning and is pretty complicated. Professional drills appear almost impossible. Remote doesn’t control oscillation or allow programming. Programming should not be done with players waiting. Keypad is a little slow registering each keystroke.

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CONCLUSION
The Super Coach is the most amazing machine we’ve ever used. There seems to be no limit to what you can do with it. It is pretty expensive, but it is easy to imagine how this machine could help you make more money and quickly pay for itself. The limitless programmability makes it truly special, but make sure you are patient enough to make all the necessary adjustments and plan ahead to get things just right before you use it in a lesson. —Dave Bone Q

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Your Serve
Adding Value To Tennis
It’s easy to see the social case for embracing diversity, but consider what your business, and the sport, stands to gain, too. B Y K A R L Y N L O T H E R Y

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sk any good financial advisor how to maximize the value of one’s portfolio, and they’ll tell you to diversify. The same is true for generating the highest return in the tennis industry. Embracing diversity is one key component to rejuvenate the prosperity of the sport. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, for Americans aged 70 and older the ratio of white to non-white is 9 to 1. At the opposite end of the spectrum, for youth aged 7 and under—who we hope will be the tennis players of tomorrow—the ratio is 1.5 to 1. With data like this as a sign of the diversification of our country as a whole, the USTA has adopted its own diversity statement as the first of many signs of our commitment to make tennis more inclusive. We have to focus on making our tennis events, clinics, marketing approach and materials, staff, vendors, and the US Open more inclusive and attractive to people of all backgrounds. While anyone can make the social case for embracing diversity, the truth of the matter is, it just makes good business sense. As the USTA’s first chief diversity officer, it is my charge to continue driving the message of inclusion and the importance of diversity when boosting the bottom line. The tennis world is enjoying some degree of the so-called “Tiger Woods effect.” The success of Paradorn Schrichipan, for instance, has sparked a tremendous tennis boom in the Thai community. The Williams sisters have advanced the earlier steps of Althea Gibson, Zina Garrison, and Arthur Ashe as seen with the new crop of young players taking the game by storm. More black teens are playing tennis than ever before. The girls look at the Williamses and see that not only is tennis a sport of skill and power, but a sport of high visibility and good fortune. Recent junior tourney winners Scoville Jenkins and Timothy Neilly continue to excel, with help from multicultural participation grants from the USTA. At the 2004 US Open we saw the most

diverse group of wild-card recipients ever: Five of the eight were multicultural women, while two of the eight were multicultural men. The signs are all here that the sport is starting to diversify. For the first time, the stars of tennis are starting to look like the total picture of our country, those who exhibit extraordinary talent and skill are joining the more traditional faces at center court.

“People look at brochures, fliers, posters, and mailings to see if anyone shown represents someone from their community.”
With this wide variety of professionals to emulate, the number of multicultural players is increasing, and the number of multicultural juniors, who at one time never considered playing a sport like tennis, are now looking at the game in a whole new light. They’re making their way to our public parks, tennis clubs, and recreational facilities to try their hands at tennis. If we look to our own communities for others who may identify with our up-and-coming stars, and show them that tennis is a sport for everyone to enjoy for a lifetime, we will continue to grow the game. Believe it or not, people look at brochures, fliers, posters, and mailings to see if anyone shown represents someone from their community. If not, they think twice about whether they’d like to participate. If they see someone like them, they’ll be more likely to try the sport, the facility, or the product. It is with this in mind that the USTA has revamped its promotional materials and its website. “Diversity” is now a main menu choice on the home page, containing everything from FAQs and available grant opportunities, to how to do business with the USTA. We’ve even launched a Spanish translation

of the www.usta.com site. This is critically important when you consider that one of every four new tennis players is of Hispanic origin. To that end, the utilization of minority vendors is an underestimated way to increase multicultural participation. Doing business with minority vendors establishes a “sponsorship-like” relationship. They will want to continue to do business with you, so they’ll take a greater interest in the overall success of our sport. They’ll talk about tennis, watch more of it on television, try the game, or play more often than before. And most importantly, they’ll spread the word that tennis is for everyone. And positive word of mouth, when delivered from a third party, is always more effective than singing your own praises. Finally, employers who value diversity within their staff create their own network of foot soldiers to talk about tennis, play the game themselves, and encourage others around them to do so. They become the unified army to grow the sport in their communities. It’s not enough to simply have minorities on staff. There should be a diverse group of managers and executives in any organization looking to capitalize on the benefits of diversity. Only when the perception of a glass ceiling is shattered will an organization be recognized as creating an inclusive environment. The USTA is proud to be leading the effort to create a more inclusive game and make tennis a more diverse sport. Diversity is one of the easier ways to add value to any business. It lends itself to increasing one’s market share, fan base, and ultimately the bottom line.Q
Karlyn Lothery, who joined the USTA as the association’s first chief diversity officer in April 2004, is the primary driver of the “USTA Diversity Plan: Multicultural Focus.” An avid tennis player for more than 25 years, Lothery has a decade of experience in public relations, marketing, and journalism. We welcome your opinions. Please email comments to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

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