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February 2007 Volume 35 Number 2 $5.

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OUTLOOK 2007
What’s in store for racquets, apparel, and footwear How to Serve a Changing Market

Contents
Outlook 2007 27 What’s in Store for the New Year?
With equipment sales growing and more people trying—and coming back to—tennis, the new year looks to be a good one for your business.

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INDUSTRY NEWS 7 Lee introduces new Claytech
court surface

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USTA invests in The Tennis Channel Prince launches new O3 Speedport frames Inaugural GSS Stringers Symposium set for April Stringing Championships returns to Las Vegas John McEnroe re-signs with Dunlop Sports “On Court With USPTA” receives creative award Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet wins design award 2007 PTR Symposium set for Feb. 17-23 Community Tennis Development workshop in Atlanta TIA recognizes Top 50 Tennis Welcome Centers Völkl has new marketing and distribution TIA to offer “Better Your Business Workshops”

28 Living in the Fast Lane
For spring, racquet manufacturers are looking to boost swing speed to help players generate more power and spin.

30 Court Couture
Apparel makers are giving players exactly what they need to perform their best on court.

34 Getting Serious
Footwear manufacturers are designing tennis shoes to meet the needs of hard-core players.

FEATURES 36 Change of Pace
The industry needs to create an environment that will better serve the changing market and culture of today.

38 Order on Your Courts!
A few bad apples can spoil the fun for all. Post our “Seven Sins of Social Tennis” at your facility.

40 Nice Touch
Cushioning comes into play for the hard-court winners of the RSI/ASBA Facility-of-the-Year Awards.

Cover photo: Stephen Whalen Photography

DEPARTMENTS 4 Our Serve 18 Industry People 20 Marketing & Promotions 22 Teaching Pro

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Community Tennis String Playtest: Klip Ask the Experts Tips and Techniques Your Serve, by Colette Lewis
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INDUSTRY NEWS
INFORMATION TO HELP YOU
USTA Invests In The Tennis Channel
The USTA has made a financial investment in The Tennis Channel, the 24-hour TV network dedicated to tennis. In conjunction with the deal, which industry insiders say may be as much as $10 million, the USTA will have an active role in the direction of the network. “We are keenly aware of the importance of The Tennis Channel to the visibility and growth of tennis and are now pleased to be an investor,” Franklin Johnson said when the deal was announced in mid-December. Johnson is the immediate past president and chairman of the board of the USTA, whose term ended Dec. 31. “By supporting The Tennis Channel, we are supporting the sport of tennis and we look forward to helping the channel grow and reach more and more fans.” “This is an investment in the growth of the sport—and one that will help to expand the amount of tennis available to the U.S. television audience,” said Arlen Kantarian, the USTA’s chief executive of Professional Tennis. “Destination television for the top sports is important for the future, and a successful namesake network for tennis is a natural next step.” “For the people who run the sport in the U.S. to share a role in the growth of this network amounts to an extremely gratifying vote of confidence,” said Ken Solomon, TTC chairman and CEO. “We look forward to working closely with the board, staff and entire USTA family.”

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Lee Introduces New ClayTech Court Surface
ee Tennis, the producer of the Har-Tru clay court material, has introduced a new surfacing option that the company says “blends the sliding comfort of clay with the simple, low maintenance aspects of a hard court.” The product, called ClayTech, debuted in the U.S. in early December at the American Sports Builders Association Technical Meeting in Daytona Beach, Fla. It consists of a polypropylene membrane topped with a layer of natural clay. The membrane product has been used for a number of years in the European tennis market. “ClayTech is another great sliding surface option for all players who want to play for life, and it’s a solid match for Har-Tru,” says John Welborn, the director of Lee Tennis. “ClayTech’s versatile nature affords its players slide comfort, minimizing the risk of injuries and maximizing health benefits, all-year-round playability, and minimal maintenance similar to that of a hard court.” From the samples available at the ASBA trade show, the ClayTech product has a look and feel similar to a full Har-Tru court. ClayTech can be installed over an asphalt or concrete base, or an existing tennis court, by placing an adhesive between the base and the product. Court lines are painted in place. ClayTech is available in two colors: red clay and Har-Tru green. According to Lee Tennis, maintenance requirements are a simple sweep, and water consumption is reduced because ClayTech facilitates water absorption and drainage. The surface also is playable in all weather, including after a rainfall, and is resistant to UV rays, says the company. Lee is the sole U.S. distributor of ClayTech, which is a FieldTurf Tarkett product. For more information, visit www.ClayTechTennis.com or contact Lee Tennis at 877-442-7878 or claytech@leetennis.com.

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Inaugural GSS Stringers Symposium Set
he 2007 GSS Racquet Stringers Symposium will be April 1 to 4 at the T-BarM Resort and Conference Center in New Braunfels, Texas, and will feature some of the world’s top racquet technicians and industry professionals in a hands-on learning environment. Sessions will explore the latest trends and technologies in the racquet sports industry. This first-ever event, presented by GrandSlamStringers.com, will include sessions on racquet customization, equipment selection, stringing for the pro tours, working with natural gut, machine repair and maintenance, basic and advanced stringing, and much more. MRT testing and a stringing contest will be held on Wednesday, April 4. Not only will participants be able to pick the brains of expert racquet technicians and learn the tricks and secrets the experts use to service touring pros, but there also will be vendor booths highlighting the latest in stringing machines, diagnostic equipment, and other products. Seminar leaders include Bob Patterson, John Gugel, Richard Parnell, Ron Rocchi, J.C. Carpentier, Mark Gonzalez, Grant Morgan, Frances Davies, and Tim Strawn. Event sponsors include Alpha, Bow Brand, and Wilson. The cost of the symposium is $350, but if you register before Feb. 12, you'll receive a 10 percent discount. Visit www.grandslamstringers.com or to register directly, visit www.regonline.com/104378.

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Stringing Championship Returns to Vegas
he Wilson World Stringing Championships will return to the Tennis Channel Open in 2007. Tennis enthusiasts and professional racquet stringers go head to head to record the fastest time stringing a racquet. First rounds will be held on Friday, March, 2, at the Darling Memorial Tennis Center at Summerlin in Las Vegas. Final rounds will be March 3. Prizes and/or prize money will be awarded. Registration is $50 and includes a complimentary ticket to the tournament for the March 2 day session. Participants advancing to the second round will receive a ticket for March 3, too. To register or to view the rules for the event, visit www.tennischannelopen.com/events or call 866-641-6795. The Tennis Channel Open will be held in Las Vegas from Feb. 25 to March 4.

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Prince Launches New O3 Speedport Frames
rince debuted its new O3 Speedport racquets in a launch to dozens of key specialty retailers in late November, which was held at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix. The launch also served to preview other upcoming Prince products, including new strings and grips, shoes, new bags, apparel, and a new stringing machine. But the big news was the introduction of three O3 Speedport models, the Silver, Blue, and Red (see page 28). Dealers had a chance to hit with the new frames on the courts at the Arizona Biltmore with teaching pros and tennis legend Stan Smith. Speedport is the latest take on Prince’s highly successful and award-winning O3 Technology, which was introduced in 2005. Instead of the round grommet-less string holes in the original O3 frames, the new Speedport frames feature slightly larger, rectangular string holes. Prince says the new Speedports increase the frame’s racquet-head speed by 24 percent and creates a more forgiving string bed and larger sweetspot. "O3’s core premise revolves around oversize string holes [O-Ports], which are ideally suited to improve aerodynamics,” says Roberto Gazzara, director of research and development at Prince. “By refining the size, location, and shape of these ports, we've been able to increase racquet speed dramatically, which improves the ability for players to get their racquet in position, making better ball contact and hitting more clean and precise shots.” “The message is, ‘Engineered for speed,’” says Linda Glassel, Prince Sport’s vice president of marketing. She said that the marketing and advertising support for the new racquets

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will be “the strongest commitment that we’ve made. We’re going to take [consumer awareness] to the next level.” A new website launched in early January with 360-degree views of the racquet, and various point-of-purchase materials and wall displays are available for dealers. In addition, Prince is supporting other efforts, such as an “O3 Speed Challenge”—a city tour where consumers can take the challenge of extra racquet speed, says Glassel. Also planned are demo events advertised nationally and regionally. Nearly 100 touring pros have switched to O3 since its introduction in 2005, and Prince says that touring pros continue to switch to the new technology at a 56 percent conversion rate. The company also says that all these pro players’ rankings have improved since switching to an O3 frame. For more information, visit www.princetennis.com.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Sales of Ashaway PowerNick 18 Growing Steadily
Officials at Ashaway Racket Strings report that sales of the PowerNick 18 Squash String have grown 20 percent a year since its introduction in 2002. The string, which was one of the first on the market to use high-tech Zyex fibers in its core, is noted for its combination of playability and durability, says the company, and is the string of choice for twotime squash World Champion David Palmer. PowerNick 18, with its vibrant shade of red, is recommended for professional and advanced amateur players, or the player who is working toward a "red-hot" power game, says Ashaway. For more information, contact sales@ashawayusa.com or 800-556-7260, or visit www.ashawayusa.com.

USTA Partners with Active Network
he USTA and The Active Network Inc. announced a new partnership in mid-December that will provide the USTA with the ability to better service its members and increase participation, says the USTA. Active, a leading provider of application services technology and marketing solutions for community service and participatory sports organizations, will host and support the USTA’s TennisLink infrastructure, the registration and match-result system for USTA League and Tournament players. Active and the USTA will also work together to build an online tennis community at www.Active.com that will feature local tennis events and tennis tips and drills. Through marketing opportunities such as newsletter placements and local tennis event announcements, Active will help support the interest in tennis participation among the more than 690,000 USTA members and the 12 million Active members. “This relationship will allow us to increase benefits for our current members while also giving us the capability to promote tennis to millions of individuals already interested in living an active lifestyle,” says Franklin Johnson, the immediate past president of the USTA. “Our interest in maximizing participation in activities such as tennis that support healthy lifestyles and our dedication to creating a better experience for online users are precisely aligned with the interests and goals of the USTA,” says Jon Belmonte, Active’s COO. Additional partnership highlights include a seat on the board of Active to be held by USTA board member John Korff. The USTA and Active will work together to expand the current offerings included in the membership benefits program to support players and their families, including discounts on travel, hotel reservations, sports gear, dining and entertainment features.

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John McEnroe Re-Signs with Dunlop Sports
ennis legend John McEnroe has extended his racquet and ball sponsorship with Dunlop Sports Group Americas through September 2009. “My Dunlop racquet is a very important and integral part of my game,” says McEnroe. “I played with a Dunlop racquet during the best years of my career and I still play with a Dunlop racquet. I am delighted to be an ambassador for Dunlop, since we have had a very successful partnership for so many years.” In a career that has spanned three decades, McEnroe has won 155 singles and doubles titles and is considered to be one of the most talented players of all time. The Emmy-nominated broadcaster won his first Wimbledon title in 1981 with a Dunlop Maxply racquet. “John’s endorsement of the winning qualities of Dunlop racquets is the highest praise we could hope for and is testament to Dunlop’s position as the leading brand in performance tennis equipment,” says Steve Hall, director of marketing at Dunlop.

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“On Court with USPTA” Receives Gold Award
he cable TV show “On Court with USPTA,” produced by the USPTA, received the Gold Award in the MarCom Creative Awards 2006 competition. The award-winning episode, “Blueprint for Junior Success,” which aired on The Tennis Channel, won in the category of video/film/TV program (cable). “On Court” is a 30-minute instructional show featuring USPTA-certified pros as guest instructors. The USPTA became the first tennis-teaching organization to produce and air an educational television series on playing and teaching modern tennis on The Tennis Channel in 2003. Since then, more than 30 shows have been produced that provide instruction about technique, strategy and other facets of the game, such as fun and fitness. “Blueprint for Junior Success” featured guest professional Rick Macci, a USPTA Master Professional. The episode incorporated key elements that contribute to the success of a junior tennis player including building the correct foundation, developing good footwork skills and having a good attitude. It also examined the junior competitive ladder, USTA’s progressive development phases and USPTA’s general performance components. The Gold Award is presented to entries judged to exceed the high standards of the industry norm. About 16 percent of the entries received this honor. DVDs of “Blueprint for Junior Success” and all other “On Court” episodes are available for purchase online at www.uspta.com.

WTT Crowns 2006 Delaine Mast Award Winners
onita Elder of Los Angeles and Rich Gottfried of Rockville, Md., were recognized as the 2006 recipients of the Delaine Mast Award at the WTT Rec League National Finals in Indian Wells recently. The annual award recognizes a male and a female World TeamTennis Rec League director who contributes to the growth of tennis and WTT, as well as being a leader and role model in their local tennis community. Delaine Mast is the national director of the WTT Recreational League. In related news, WTT named its top Rec League directors in the U.S., based on the numbers of players that play in their WTT Leagues throughout the year. In addition to the recognition, the directors receive Wilson, Bälle de Mätch, and WTT gifts. The top WTT Rec League directors for 2006 are: David Bell, Raleigh, N.C.; Ann Bent/Orly Mayron, Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Fla.; Martin Brody, Tulsa, Okla.; Mary Cook/Harvey Jones, Atlanta; Scott Hanover, Kansas City, Mo.; Mike Hasan, San Diego (North County); Mark Johnson, Mobile, Ala.; Carol Jory, San Diego; Pat Purcell, St. Louis; Steve Riggs, Irvine, Calif.; Tri City Tennis Association, Albany, N.Y.; Elaine Wingfield, Key Biscayne, Fla.

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Wilson, Emersontennis Partner for EZ Tennis Wand
ilson Sporting Goods has signed a licensing agreement with Emersontennis to market, manufacture, and sell the EZ Tennis Wand, one of several tennis-training tools from Emersontennis. It will be part of Wilson’s EZ Tennis program. Wilson’s EZ Tennis product category is one of the leading catalysts to the growth of tennis participation in the U.S., says Jim Burda, Wilson’s director of promotions. Emersontennis has also agreed to expand its existing website to provide a more “teaching-centric” venue. Emersontennis, based in Mechanicsville, Va., provides tennis instructional products to promote tennis and the art of tennis instruction. Visit www.emersontennis.com, or

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Orange Bowl Names 2006 Champs

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Q Boys’ 18s Singles: Petru Alexandru Luncanu, Romania Q Boys’ 18s Doubles: Daniil Arsenov, Russia, and Roman Jebavy, Czech Republic Q Girls’ 18s Singles: Nikola Hofmanova, Austria Q Girls’ 18s Doubles: Sorana-Michaela Cirstea, Romania, and Urszula Radwanska, Poland Q Boys’ 16s Singles: Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria Q Boys’ 16s Doubles: Xavier Spong, Netherlands, and Ilija Vucic, Serbia Q Girls’ 16s Singles: Allie Will, Boca Raton, Fla. Q Girls’ 16s Doubles: Jessica Alexander, Tyler, Texas, and Lauren Embree, Marco Island, Fla.

he 2006 Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships was held Dec. 4-10 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, Fla. It was the 60th anniversary of the prestigious event. Past champions include some of tennis's greatest players, such as John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Chris Evert, Gabriela Sabatini, Anna Kournikova, and Elena Dementieva. The 2006 champions include:

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Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet Wins Top Design Award
rince’s O3 Hybrid Hornet recently won the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design 2006 Good Design Award. It’s the second major award for the O3 Hybrid Hornet after being named a Tennis Magazine Editor’s Choice for 2006. The award also marks the fourth national award for Prince’s O3 technology. Earlier in 2006, O3 was given an Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) Bronze by the Industrial Designers Association of America (IDSA), and in 2005, O3 received the Popular Science “Best of What’s New” Award. The O3 Silver was named a Tennis Magazine Editor’s Choice in 2005. “We are truly honored to receive such a distinguished award from The Chicago Athenaeum, an organization with a time-honored commitment to design and aesthetics,” says Linda Glassel, Prince Sports’ vice president of marketing and communications. “The O3 Technology platform has redefined our business and is being recognized among the most creative, innovative products in the world. The award is a testament to Roberto Gazzara and our stellar design team.” For more information about the Good Design Award, visit www.chiathenaeum.org.

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• Trevor Lavelle is the new Southern Regional Sales Manager for Head/Penn Racquet Sports. His replacement in the South Florida territory is Joe Habenschuss.

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• Sarah Maynard has joined Wilson Racquet Sports as territory manager for Connecticut and Westchester County, N.Y. Previously, she was with Völkl Racquets for eight years. • The Tennis Channel recently promoted four
staffers: Josh Ross to senior web producer, Neema Nikravan to facilities manager, Daisy Guzman to systems manager, and Mark Schaefer to operations coordinator. In addition, Jennifer Kenas rejoins the TTC as a consultant for tennis industry relations.

• Alex Metreveli of Russia is the recipient of
the 2006 Davis Cup Award of Excellence, presented by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation.

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2007 PTR Symposium Set
here’s still time to register for the 2007 PTR International Tennis Symposium and $25,000 Championships, which will be Feb. 17 to 23 at Shipyard Plantation on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The week includes presentations by some of the industry’s best, professional development courses, a trade show, an opportunity to network with others in the business, and much more. Speakers will include Jim Loehr, Mike Barrell, Tim Mayotte, Pat Etcheberry, Rodney Harmon, Lisa Duncan and many more. Also, the Symposium offers popular Professional Development Courses that will include such topics as Growing Kids, Growing the Game; Team Coaching; Advanced Coaching; Successful Doubles; Racquet Stringing; Sports First Aid; and more. There will also be the popular “Drill Exchange,” where PTR members share their favorite drills. Registration starts at $325 and includes presentations, Awards Banquet, Flag Ceremony, Head Dinner Party, Gamma Casino Night, Kaelin Dinner & Fashion Show, Trade Show admission, USTA Recognition Breakfast, Closing Ceremony, and portfolio. For more information or to register, visit www.ptrtennis.org, or call 800-421-6289 or 843-785-7244.

• Billie Jean King was inducted recently into
the brand-new California Hall of Fame, along with such luminaries as Ronald Reagan, Walt Disney, Clint Eastwood, Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride and Cesar Chavez. Hosts of the ceremony were California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver.

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• The International Tennis Writers Association
recently honored pro players Roger Federer and Amelie Mauresmo. Tennis writers voted both players as Players of the Year, then also honored them with the ITWA’s Ambassador for Tennis awards, which recognize players who go out of their way to advance the sport on a global level. It’s the third straight year that Federer received both the organization’s annual accolades.

• James Hunt (right) of Orlando, Fla., has been named chairman of special populations for the USPTA. Hunt has been a member of the USPTA for 25 years and holds a Pro 1 certification. In his role, he hopes to get the USPTA and its members involved in taking tennis to both the Special Olympics and special populations. Contact 407-924-7505 or jamihunt@localnet.com.

Community Tennis Workshop Slated for Feb. 9-11

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he USTA is again presenting the Community Tennis Development Workshop— a weekend packed with opportunities and ideas to help increase tennis participation and to increase your business. The 2007 CTDW will be Feb. 9 to 11 at the Hilton Atlanta, in downtown Atlanta, Ga. Attendees will participate in an educational weekend with leading speakers and have a chance to network with peers who are growing tennis across the country. Topics include budgeting, event planning, media relationships, advocacy, branding, fund-raising, customer service, and more. Full workshop registration starts at $300; single day registration starts at $240. For more information, visit www.usta.com or contact ctdw@usta.com or 914-6967205.

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Luxilon Expands Global Player Servicing
uxilon, a leading manufacturer of specialty monofilaments, says it will aggressively expand global player servicing and sponsorship initiatives for 2007. The new comprehensive program will include reallocating resources and placing a stronger emphasis on direct player services and the development of specific sponsorship programs. “The first year of our Luxilon/Wilson partnership has been a tremendous success, with pro player demand for our string beyond even our own expectations,” says John Lyons, Wilson’s global business director of accessories. Lyons will manage the day-to-day Luxilon business related to product development and marketing. Global Tour Director Michael Wallace will continue to oversee all players for both Wilson and Luxilon. Supporting Wallace will be the following expanded Luxilon Global Service Team members:
Q Q Q Q Massimo Calvelli, European Tour Manager (Florence, Italy) Alex Muresan, USA Junior Tour Manager (Chicago) Renaud Vallon, European Junior Tour Manager (Lyon, France) Birgit “Biggi” Ziener, Amer Sports Europe (Munich, Germany)

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Tennis Pioneer Lamar Hunt Dies
all of Famer Lamar Hunt died Dec. 13 in Dallas after a long battle with cancer. He was 74. Hunt is the only individual to have been inducted into three major Halls of Fame: the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972, the Soccer Hall of Fame in 1982, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993. He co-founded World Championship tennis in 1967, which existed for 23 years before giving way to the start of the ATP. Hunt helped develop and build the American Football League in 1959 and is credited with coining the term “Super Bowl.” After the AFL and NFL merged in 1966, he was credited with introducing the two-point post-touchdown conversion to the NFL. He was currently owner of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Lamar Hunt Trophy is presented annually to the American Football Conference Champions. Hunt was also an original investor in the North American Soccer League (NASL).

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Also for early 2007, Wilson and Luxilon are set to launch two new hybrids. Champions Choice, a combination of Alu Power Rough and natural gut, and Ultimate Duo, a hybrid of Alu Power and Wilson’s top-rated NXT Tour multifilament. Coaches, teaching pros, and trainers seeking more information should contact their Wilson rep or visit www.wilson.com. ATP, WTA, or ITF ranked junior players seeking Luxilon sponsorship should contact Ms. Birgit Ziener, phone +49 89 89801 274 or email birgit.ziener@amersports.net.

USRSA MEMBER CLASSIFIEDS
FOR SALE: Babolat Star 3 $1895. Purchased new in 2001. Machine recently checked out and certified by Albert Lee. Will deliver within 200 miles of Reston, Virginia. Email or call Robert Barnett for particulars. racketbear@comcast.net or phone 703-478-9874. FOR SALE: Babolat Star 3 Stringing Machine. Completely Reconditioned by Tennis Machines Inc. Serial No. 10971/MFG. Dated 8/9/89. Very Good Condition. $2800. Contact Russ Sheh, USPTA/USRSA 760/323-7536.

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ASBA Draws Hundreds To Daytona Meeting
he 2006 American Sports Builders Association drew more than 300 court and track builders, including 50 first-time attendees, to the Plaza Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach, Fla., in early December for seminars, presentations, a trade show, awards, and more. “We’re a group of competitors that puts aside its competition and comes together to benefit the industry,” said Gerry Wright, the ASBA’s chairman, at the opening session. The keynote speaker for the conference was Greg Hoyle of Hoyle & Associates of Denver, who spoke about Team Building, Conflict Resolution, and Lessons from a 14th Century Contractor. Among the highlights of the meeting were a tennis “Problem-Solving Roundtable,” led by David Marsden of Boston Tennis Court Construction of Hanover, Mass., and Joe Matoskey of General Acrylics of Phoenix. Also, the Tennis Division meeting featured “A State of Tennis” session with Keith Storey of Sports Marketing Surveys and John Welborn of Lee Tennis, who represented the Tennis Industry Association. Geoff Norton of the USTA also presented to the group on USTA Public Facility Funding and how it impacts the ASBA. The ASBA will hold its Winter Meeting Feb. 22 to 26 at the Tradewinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach, Fla. The 2007 Technical Meeting will be Dec. 1 to 4 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, Texas. For more about the ASBA or any of its meetings, or to join, call 410-730-9595 or 866501-ASBA, or visit www.sportsbuilders.org.

TIA Recognizes Top 50 TWCs
he TIA is recognizing the best in Tennis Welcome Centers with its new TWC Top 50 Awards. The facilities were chosen based on the numbers of new and returning players, the level of participation in grassroots initiatives, and community tennis development (including Block Parties, Co-Op Program funding, and beginner adult, junior, and adaptive programs). Also considered were compliance with introductory program listing criteria, survey activity response, and registration on www.tenniswelcome center.com. The Top 50 TWCs are:
Q Heatherwood Country Club, Birmingham, Ala. Q Scottsdale Park Ranch Sports Complex, Scottsdale, Ariz. Q Arizona Tennis Association (multiple TWC locations), Scottsdale, Ariz. Q Sunburst Park, Joshua Tree, Calif. Q Northstar Tennis, Truckee, Calif.

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Q Los Gatos High School, Blossom Hill Park, Castillero Middle School, Los Gatos & San Jose, Calif.

Q Rudgear Park, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Q 5 Star Tennis at Lindero Country Club and Stretch-n-Grow Tennis, Los Angeles County, Calif. Q Barnes Tennis Center, San Diego, Calif. Q Claremont Resort and Spa, Berkeley, Calif.

Q Meadow Creek Tennis and Fitness Club, Denver/Lakewood, Colo. Q Valley Country Club, Aurora, Colo. Q Delaware Tennis Center at Bellevue State Park, Wilmington, Del. Q Treasure Bay Golf and Tennis, Treasure Island, Fla.

Q Littleton Golf & Tennis Club and Holly Tennis Center, Littleton and Centennial, Colo.

Q Paul J Maxwell Tennis Center, Pembroke Pines, Fla. Q The Cherokee Tennis Center, Woodstock, Ga. Q Bitsy Grant Tennis Center, Atlanta, Ga.

Q Reynolds Plantation Lake Club Tennis Center, Greensboro, Ga.

Q Homewood-Flossmoor Racquet & Fitness Club, Homewood, Ill. Q Pike High School, Indianapolis, Ind. Q Indian Creek Racquet Club, Overland

Q Apple Athletic Club Tennis Facility, Idaho Falls, Idaho

Q Querbes Tennis Center, Shreveport, La.

Park, Kan.

Q Herb Neils Tennis Center, Libby, Mont.

Q Maine Pines Racquet & Fitness Club, Brunswick, Maine

Q William E. Carter Playground, Boston, Mass.

Q Millbrook Exchange Tennis Center, Raleigh, N.C. Q TennisTIP.com, New York, N.Y.

Q The Atlantic Club Tennis Center, Manasquan, N.J. Q East Williston High School, Roslyn Heights, N.Y. Q South Towns Tennis Club, Orchard Park, N.Y. Q Point Set Indoor Racquet Club and The Woodmere Club, Oceanside and Woodmere, N.Y.

Q Shadow Valley Tennis & Fitness Center, Maumee, Ohio Q Towpath Racquet Club, Akron, Ohio Q Family Circle Tennis Center, Daniel Island, S.C. Q Grande Dunes Tennis Club, Myrtle Beach, S.C. Q Lexington County Tennis Complex, Lexington, S.C.

Q Tennis Center of the Black Hills, Rapid City, S.D. Q Circle C Tennis Club, Austin, Texas Q Southlake Tennis Center, Southlake, Texas Q Summit Athletic Club, St. George, Utah

Q Arlington Tennis Center, City of Arlington Parks and Recreation Department, Arlington, Texas

Q Regency Sport and Health Club, McLean, Va.

Q Rowe Tennis Center at the Rappahannock Area YMCA, Fredericksburg, Va. Q An Acheiveable Dream Academy, Newport News, Va. The ASBA’s Tech Meeting was put together by (from left) Executive Vice President Carol Hogan, Financial Manager Judy Mellendick, and Association Coordinator Cynthia Jordan. Q Spotswood Country Club, Eastover Park, Purcell Park and Harrisonburg High School, Harrisonburg, Va.

Q Columbia Basin Racquet Club, Richland, Wash.

Q Sports and Fitness Edge of Essex, Essex Junction, Vt.

Q City of Oconomowoc Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department, Oconomowoc, Wis.

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SHORT SETS
> The Southwest Tennis Buying Show will be held Feb. 9 and 10 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in The Woodlands, Texas. More than 100 buyers and 200 tennis-teaching professionals are expected to attend the show, which is hosted by the Texas Division of the USPTA. Deadline to reserve booth space is Jan. 31. Contact Jenny Gray at gray.jenny@hotmail.com or 903-561-3014. developing competitive players. Registration is $250 and includes all materials and access to The Tennis Channel Open. Contact education@uspta.org or 800-877-8248. of >Zina Garrison will continue as captainthe the U.S. Fed Cup team through 2007, USTA announced. The U.S. will host Belgium April 21-22 for the 2007 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group I quarterfinal at a site to be determined by the USTA. straight year its principal sponsorship of Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education, a nonprofit organization that serves more than 10,500 children in the greater Philadelphia region with yearround programs that combine tennis instruction with educational initiatives. The USTA Florida Section Foundation is committing $50,000 to build two multi-purpose tennis courts at the Real Life Children’s Ranch in Okeechobee, a residential group home caring for boys and girls ages 6 to 18 who are physically, sexually, or emotionally abused; homeless, neglected, or mildly disturbed. ATP rankings >Based onMasters Cup inafter the endof-season Shanghai last fall, Dunlop is the most widely used racquet among the top 10 European men on Tour, with Tommy Robredo ( No. 5), Tommy Haas (No. 7) and Tomas Berdych (No. 9) using Dunlop frames. A new tennis magazine, serving Northeast Florida, is set to launch in 2007. JAX Tennis magazine, published by Richard Vach, will serve areas including Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine to the south, Amelia Island to the north, and the greater Jacksonville area. Vach is the former publications editor for the ATP Tour, and a contributing writer for Tennis Week and The Tennis Channel and TENNIS Magazine websites. Contact 904-992-4332 or rvach@comcast.net. Reports indicate that Jimmy Connors intends to travel with pro Andy Roddick as much as 16 or 17 weeks in 2007, nearly double what he did in 2006 as coach of Roddick. In 2006, Roddick was on the road for ATP events for 19 weeks. title >Smash Magazine has renewed itsCup, sponsorship of the Smash Junior to be held on Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 23-26. More than 400 regionally and nationally ranked boys and girls ages 8 to 18 are expected to play the event. The winner of the Girls 18 Division is awarded a wildcard into the Qualifying Draw of the 2007 Family Circle Cup.

>

Cup team, led by Captain >The U.S. Davis will face the Czech Republic >The USTA has created the Janet Louer Patrick McEnroe, National Organizer of the Year Award for in the first round on an indoor clay court at CEZ Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Feb. 911. The U.S. has an overall 4-1 record against the Czechs in Davis Cup. USPTA’s Competitive Player Develop>The Conference will be Feb. 25-27 at the ment Suncoast Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the USPTA Intermountain division and The Tennis Channel Open. Some of the industry’s leading experts will speak on USTA Junior Team Tennis. The award will be presented to an individual who delivers USTA Junior Team Tennis to their community and embodies the true meaning of having a positive impact on children. Louer, who died of cancer in May 2006, was instrumental in the development of junior tennis and served as the administrator for USTA Junior Team Tennis in Georgia.

>Advanta Corp. has extended for the fifth

With New Distribution, Völkl Takes Aim at U.S. Market

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ölkl Tennis, based in Germany, has moved its U.S. marketing and distribution from New Hampshire to California, and now will be distributed by Klip America, says Sean Frost, the vice president of sales. “We’re investing more dollars and more manpower than what had been invested previously,” Frost says. “And Boris Becker, who owns 50 percent of Völkl, will be more involved in the company and more visible in the U.S.” Officially, Klip America will be doing business as Völkl Boris Becker Tennis North America. (Also under Klip America is the Sergio Tacchini apparel brand and IsoSpeed strings.) The team at Klip includes Benjamin Robbins, who has a long history in the sport with the ATP Tour, Octagon sports marketing, Nike, and Adidas, and Benny Neumann, who will be the brand’s marketing manager. Frost says that racquet dealers on the West Coast will notice they’ll be receiving product quicker. He adds that Völkl will be working on special shipping terms, too. Upcoming for Völkl are four new racquets, the DNX 2, DNX 4, DNX 6, and DNX 7 (left). “The ‘Attiva’ series, which includes the DNX 2 and 6, are geared toward women players,” says Frost. “They have rounder-shaped grips, are a bit more head light, and slightly more flexible. The Attiva Sensor Grip system also provides extra cushioning.” Frost says Völkl plans to add apparel in the second half of 2007, along with strings, accessories, and court products. In 2008, he says, the brand is looking to add footwear. “Our goal is to be that one-stop shop, to cover the player from head to toe,” he adds. “Völkl has been one of the best kept secrets in tennis,” says Frost. “Internationally, we’ve been known as a ski company that makes great racquets. But now we want to make tennis stand alone. We’re going to get the brand to the next level.”

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RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2007

INDUSTRY NEWSS

TIA Offers “Better Your Business Workshops”

he TIA is planning at least 12 “Better Your Business Workshops” throughout the country in 2007, designed to assist Tennis Welcome Center and Cardio Tennis sites with their overall daily operations, programming, and marketing. The interactive BYB Workshops will include business solutions in the areas of public relations, marketing, customer service, technology, and program design and implementation. The workshops also will feature Cardio Tennis training. “The workshop will help you increase your business by attracting and retaining more tennis players, plus offer solutions to help increase your bottom line,” says Brian O’Donnell, the TIA’s manager of national grassroots programs. There will also be a separate Cardio Tennis on-court training session for certified teaching pros. To sign up for the workshops, which are offered for a nominal fee, visit www.GrowingTennis.com. The TIA says it may add four to six additional workshops to the existing schedule, which is as follows: Q Hilton Head Island, S.C., Feb. 20 Q San Francisco, March 30 Q Los Angeles, March 31 Q Richmond, Va., May (date TBD) Q Dallas, May 4 Q Las Vegas, May 18 Q Tucson, May 19 Q Denver, June 9 Q Louisville, Ky., June or July (TBD) Q Fond du Lac, Wis., June or July (TBD) Q Tampa, Fla., September (TBD) Q Chicago, September (TBD)

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February 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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INDUSTRYNEWS

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 0 7

IMG Acquires Tennis Week And TennisWeek.com
ports and entertainment giant IMG has acquired Tennis Week Magazine and its companion online news site, www.tennisweek.com. The deal, which closed in December, was announced in early January. Terms were not disclosed. Tennis Week, which lists its circulation as 60,000 subscribers, was founded in 1974 by Eugene L. Scott, a former Davis Cup player with a world ranking as high as No. 11. Scott remained publisher and editor-in-chief of Tennis Week until his death last March at the age of 68. "IMG's acquisition of Tennis Week and tennisweek.com is the result of talks Gene began before he died," says Tennis Week President Polly Scott, who inherited ownership of the magazine from her husband. "He recognized that both the magazine and the website had enormous potential for growth and was very excited about those possibilities.” IMG says it plans to launch a “fully re-conceptualized first issue” of Tennis Week in mid-March, at the Sony Ericsson Open, with a schedule of six glossy, perfect-bound, 100-plus-page issues in 2007. Andrea Leand, formerly of Tennis Week, has been named executive director of the publication for IMG. Leand, a former tennis touring pro, graduated from Princeton University in 1998 and received an MBA from Johns Hopkins School of Business in 2003. Industry sources say that Leand was interested in putting together a group to buy Tennis Week as early as last spring. This will not be IMG’s first foray into publishing. In 2003, the company introduced The Daily, a fashion week publication with a readership of more than 100,000 fashion and media executives. The Daily MINI, and fashionweekdaily.com were subsequently introduced to extend coverage.

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Cardio Tennis to Debut at Fitness Expo
ardio Tennis will be joining the “Better Your Body Get Up and Go! Sports and Fitness Festival,” which will tour three major cities this year. This sports and fitness expo will visit Dallas May 5 to 6, Chicago Sept. 29 to 30, and New York Nov. 3 to 4. At each site, visitors can see the latest in sports and fitness equipment, go to clinics and seminars, and actually bring their workout gear and take part in the activities. “We’ll be putting tennis right into the fitness industry,” says Brian O’Donnell, the TIA’s manager of national grassroots programs. “It will be kind of the first time that’s been done.” More information is at www.betteryourbody.com.

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Waite Tapped as PTR Director of Development
Jack Waite is the new director of development for the PTR. He'll oversee develop, and conduct PTR Professional Development Courses throughout North America, including the PTR on Campus program. A former pro tour player, who reached the ATP's Top 50 ranking in doubles, Waite was the CEO of Le Petit Tennis, a program designed to bring tennis to young children in their schools. He also worked at Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla.

16 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2007

INDUSTRY

people U.S. Coach Helps to Bring Wheelchair Tennis to Developing Nations
s wheelchair tennis grows in popularity and relevance in American sports, steps are being taken to introduce the sport in developing nations, where other wheelchair sports are already on the scene. For nearly two weeks this past summer, wheelchair tennis coach Dan James visited Tanzania on behalf of the International Tennis Federation’s Silver Fund, a program that, in cooperation with the Johan Cruyff Foundation (www.cruyfffoundation.org), establishes wheelchair tennis projects in countries otherwise unable to embrace it. There, he introduced the sport to more than 75 coaches and players at sites in the cities of Dar Es Salaam, Moshi, Iringa, and on the island of Zanzibar. “We truly were bringing some information to wheelchair (athletes) and coaches that they just haven’t seen before,” says James, who is the USTA’s wheelchair tennis national manager. The training James provided included the basics of wheelchair tennis, including mobility, stroke production and strategy. According to Mark Bullock, wheelchair tennis development officer for the ITF, countries must show commitment to developing a wheelchair tennis program to be eligible for assistance from the Silver Fund. Once a country expresses interest or is approached by the ITF, Bullock visits the country for a few days to meet with committees dedicated to growing the sport. Since 2002, the Silver Fund has supported programs in Africa, Asia, and South America by sending in experts like James. The sites in Tanzania where he trained the players and coaches, James says, were “challenging,” and

BY KRISTEN DALEY

A

included a dirt surface and a cement slab with chalk lines to mark court boundaries. “The quality of courts we played on would be considered incredibly sub-par in the U.S.,” he says. Despite conditions, however, the participants’ response was passionate. “It was very clear that to commit to and develop in a new sport was exciting to them,” says James. Each of the four sites that James visited has committed to continuing wheelchair tennis programming and mapped out a threeyear plan for the development and growth of the sport. In addition, the Tanzanian Paralympic Committee has plans to bring wheelchair tennis to other cities in the country. Along the way, the Silver Fund will assist in providing necessary equipment and guidance as it works with the country of Tanzania for at least the next two years. “The people of Tanzania have a great start because of the ITF and Cruyff Foundation,” says James, who hopes to take part in return visits to the country. According to Bullock, other Silver Fund countries have seen increased numbers of wheelchair tennis players, with some going on to compete in the international NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour. While in Africa, James also helped introduce the sport to both able-bodied and disabled players in Nairobi, Kenya. He joined Dr. Elizabeth Odera, the organizer of sports programming for more than 6,000 children in the area, whom James met at the annual Professional Tennis Registry Symposium in February. While at Sadili Oval, Odera’s facility in

Nairobi, James taught wheelchair tennis to the Kenyan wheelchair basketball team, and also worked with some of the country’s top-ranked able-bodied junior tennis players. James’ trip to Kenya also included emotional and eye-opening visits to Kibera, an impoverished neighborhood of Nairobi. “I’ve never in my life seen anything like it,” says James. “Your initial reaction is a little bit of shock, because it’s so vastly different. The financial disparity

between our two countries is enormous.” Natives of the area followed James, Odera and former PTR Director of Development Geoff Norton wherever they went, as the three carried on Sadili Oval’s mission of introducing sport and education to disadvantaged youth. “It very much helped me to understand life in Kibera and Kenya, to go in and see it, touch it, feel it,” says James. “Growing tennis is a good thing,” says James. “Growing wheelchair tennis, for us, is essential. And in terms of a sport being well-rounded, taking it to all parts of the world is advantageous.” For more information on the ITF and its projects and programs, visit www.itftennis.com. Q

18 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2007

&

marketing

& PROMOTIONS

Kicking It Up
With some creative marketing and promotions, you can drive participation in your programs.
BY ROBIN BATEMAN

“I

for assigning “homework” to his students. Usually, homework is an instruction-based activity—for instance, hit 100 serves in, etc. However, one night, he told his students they must carry their racquets with them for 24 hours. “I want you to sleep with your racquet,” he said to his beginner players. “Bring it to work with you. When you go on your lunch break, that racquet better be right with you.” ing inspirations. Lately, he’s been on the want MaconTennisConnect to be I stare at him while he tells me this, marketing/promotion bandwagon. He on everyone’s lips when they think of no longer concerned about my now cold has loads of ideas, some of which he’s tennis in Macon,” says my boss, Carl vegetable plate. “And did they do it?” already executed. Hodge, the tennis manager/head pro for “Wendy and Sandra are Like “Bring Your Racquet to Work the city of Macon, Ga. in the class. Call them Day,” which he just implemented “Okaaaay,” I say, settling into my when you get back to in his adult beginner’s class (Play chair. We’ve just sat down for a power your office and see.” Tennis Macon). Carl is famous lunch. I love these meetings. They’re Wendy Mullis and Sanalways so productive. dra Hill both work in our “So, I know your gonna Parks and Rec Departreally think I’m crazy.” He Looking for funding for your marketing efforts? Check ment. takes a deep swig on his iced out your local district. In our area of Macon, Ga., the Some of Carl’s other ideas tea before he continues. USTA Southern Section and USTA Georgia are actively include: “Every morning before I fully Q T-Shirt Tennis Pride wake up, before I even get out involved in supporting the growth of tennis at the grassroots level. Generous funding from USTA Georgia is made Day. I sense a national holiof bed, I make myself answer available to CTAs to make programs like ours take off. day here. At present, he tarone question: What can I do gets our Junior Tournament to make my programs betAt least once a year, Georgia's Community Tennis AssociaClub for this approach. Tennis ter?” He sighs. And I smile. tion leaders gather to share best practices, get inspiration from Pride Day, and all you do is What a powerful tool. What others, and ask and answer questions about tennis in their communities. wear your MaconTennisConcommitment. USTA supports local tennis initiatives all over the country; contact your state nect T-shirt every third TuesBut I want examples. “Like or section office to find out more. day of the month. Talk about what?” And don’t forget about the Tennis Industry Association’s Growing Tennis getting your customers to “Anything,” he says. “Any50/50 co-op funding program. The 50/50 program offers matching advertiswork for you! thing, from instruction, to ing/promotional dollars to teaching pros who want to attract new or former Q Free Classes. OK, this marketing, to admin efficienjunior and adult players into the game. isn’t a new concept, but cy.” He scoops up a forkful of here’s the key: Offer them to beef tips and rice and I wait. “The co-op program is geared toward the entrepreneurial tennis pro who is people who can help support “But the key is, I can’t get out serious about building their business and wants to further their marketing or promote your programs. of bed until I come up with dollar,” says the TIA’s Matt Allen. “This program is a no-brainer for any pro Anyone in the media—newssomething.” who spends time and money to market their entry-level programs.” For more papers, radio, TV. And offer He slides into his zone and information, visit www.tennisindustry.org. —R.B. them to those who may make rattles off a few of his morn-

Getting the Bucks

20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2007

decisions about your annual budget. Get these people to realize what you already know—tennis is fun, and brings your business solid returns. Q The Birthday Club. Parents are always looking for ways to celebrate their child’s birthday. Why not on the tennis court? You provide the tennis instructor, racquets, balls and lots of fun games and the parents will provide lots of novice players for you to show what a great game tennis can be. What a fantastic opportunity to entice these new players into the game. Giving coupons for one free lesson or a discount to your junior programs is a must. Q Church Groups. Modify your leagues format to fit the busy schedule of these players. Churches are quick to endorse activities that attract people of the same faith. A church league addresses such needs. An added benefit: Your

program will probably be printed in the church bulletin. Q Newsletters and Websites. While these methods aren’t new, don’t overlook the amount of traffic on your website. Sponsors love numbers and if you can tell them, “We have 800 players we send our monthly newsletter to,” or “We generate 300 hits on our website daily,” they may be more willing to be there when you need support. One way to increase your website membership is to offer discounts to all players who are registered website members. After all, every-

one loves saving a few dollars. Back at my office, I punch in Wendy’s number, even before I sit down. "Hey, Wendy, I just spoke with Carl and he says you had to take your racquet to work yesterday as your homework.” "Yes, I did. Both Sandra and I did. I took my racquet with me everywhere. In fact, I had to go to finance and Adah Roberts asked about it. She wants you to call with class information.” Bingo. Now that’s taking the “ask me about tennis” buttons to the next level. Q
Robin Bateman is the site coordinator for the Tattnall Tennis Center in Macon, Ga., where she coordinates tennis program and leagues, is a tournament director, serves as a team captain, and assists junior teams competing at district, regional, and section events.

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teaching

PRO

Sharing the Knowledge
Fitness training guru Pat Etcheberry teaches coaches how to assess a player and devise a winning program.
BY GREG MORAN

A

s tennis has become faster (and more stressful to the body) at both the professional and recreational levels, more and more instructors are recognizing the importance of agility, strength, and fitness training towards helping their students reach their potential. But one person who has been ahead of this curve is Pat Etcheberry. A former Olympian (he competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games as a javelin thrower), Etcheberry (far right) has been a pioneer in sports fitness training for more than 30 years. Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and Jim Courier are just a few of the tennis stars who have stretched, strained, sweated, and won under Etcheberry’s training. His students have won more than 100 Grand Slam titles and Olympic medals. “Etch,” as he’s known to his players, has also worked with players from the PGA, Major League Baseball, NFL, NHL, NBA, speed skating, motor racing, and even sumo wrestling. His premise that, “A fit body creates the emotional and psychological base for top-level performance,” has led him to the corporate arena, where he has created client-specific programs for top executives and Fortune 500 companies. Clearly, when Etcheberry speaks about improving performance on court, we should listen. I recently had the opportunity to listen and learn when I attended his new, two-

day “Coaches Certification Workshop” held at the Sport Fit Club in Bowie, Md. Etch, fabulously fit at 64 years old, created the workshops as a way to pass along his philosophies and techniques to a new generation of coaches. Designed for tennis teaching pros and fitness trainers, the workshops are held in the classroom, on the court, and in the gym. To become accredited, participants must pass an extensive written exam and an on-court test, covering strength, endurance, flexibility, movement, and nutrition. Workshop attendees receive continuing education credits from both the PTR and USPTA. In fitness training, one size doesn’t fit all. Etcheberry teaches workshop attendees how to assess a player and then devise a program, using sport-specific drills that will help that player reach his or her athletic potential. During the weekend, which was hosted by the club’s director of tennis, Kevin McClure, I came away with an endless supply of training secrets. With Etch’s permission, here is one of them: When Etcheberry meets with a student for the first time, he puts them

through a very basic test, which you can use to give you an indication of your player’s fitness level. 1. Have your player stand in the center of one of the service boxes. 2. Say “Go” and then, for 30 seconds, the player quickly moves from side to side, touching the singles sideline and then the center service line with their racquet. Keep count of the number of times they touch the lines. 3. Rest for 30 seconds and then do it again (30 seconds, keeping count). 4. Rest for 30 seconds and then do the drill for one final 30-second period, again counting each time the player touches the lines. When they’ve finished all three 30second sets, you’ll have three figures representing the number of lines they touched during each set. The first figure tells you how fast the player is and, obvi-

22 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2007

ously, the greater the number of lines they touch, the better. The second number tells you how quickly they recover. Tennis is a sport where you play one long point after another, with just 30 seconds in between to recover. Their score in the second set of the exercise will give you a sense of your player’s recuperative ability. Ideally the number should equal the score during the first set. The final number tells you a bit about the player’s stamina. Etcheberry compares this third number to the third set of a match and, ideally, it should be right up there with the first two scores. When I returned from the workshop, I tested one of my juniors. His scores were: 22 touches, 17, then 13. So, what does this tell me? First, for his age, my junior player is pretty fast. But the fact that his second score dropped so severely tells me he needs to work on his recovery after long points. With his third score dropping even further, I can see that during a long match, his fitness (or lack of) could be a deciding factor. Armed with this information, I was then able to put together a series of exercises for my player to do on and off the court. I told him that, in one month, we would do the test again. Hopefully

his scores will improve. If they don’t, then I’ll know that he hasn’t been doing his fitness work, which, in turn, will tell me a bit about his motivation to improve. All participants in the workshop received Etcheberry’s new DVD series, “The Etcheberry Experience,” which includes 76 drills and a chart that allows you to compare scores to the pros and your player’s peers. Though he’s best known for teaching people to look within themselves and “dig deep,” Etcheberry displayed the spirit of a champion recently as he successfully battled colon cancer. While undergoing chemotherapy, he continued to train his athletes, and even worked out himself. Because of this experience, Etcheberry has developed a conditioning program that allows cancer patients to be proactive in their own recovery. The Coaches Certification Workshop, which my facility in Connecticut will host in May, gives teaching pros the wisdom and experience of one of the game’s best fitness trainers to help players improve. Q

Pat Etcheberry’s Coaches Certification Workshops
Feb. 23-24: PTR International Tennis Symposium, Hilton Head Island, S.C. March 10-11: Etcheberry Sports Performance Center, Wesley Chapel, Fla. May 5-6: Four Seasons Racquet Club, Wilton, Conn. June 16-17: Etcheberry Sports Performance Center, Wesley Chapel, Fla. Sept. 22-23: USPTA World Conference, Wesley Chapel, Fla. Dec. 15-16: Intercollegiate Tennis Association Convention, Miami For more on the workshops, go to www.etcheberryexperience.com.
Greg Moran is the director of tennis at The Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, Conn., and the author of the recently released book, “Tennis Beyond Big Shots” (www.TennisBeyondBigShots.com).

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community

TENNIS

Looking to Serve
Throughout the country, Tennis Service Representatives are finding out what local tennis leaders need to grow the game.
BY SCOTT HANOVER
he auto e-mail reply on Richard Dedor’s instant message summed up his life, and what his tennis job does, perfectly: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Dedor is one of 90 Tennis Service Representatives for the USTA, and he’s all about building relationships and making people feel good about themselves and the sport of tennis. The TSRs help facilities, Community Tennis Associations, and other tennis organizations discover and identify what they can do to promote and develop the growth of tennis. The USTA’s national coordinator for TSRs, Mark McMahon, says they help facility operators step outside their tornado of activity to see what opportunities might exist to help develop their business. “It’s whatever the facility identifies that they can build upon or improve upon to improve their business,” McMahon says.

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TSRs work for their USTA sections. But importantly, McMahon says, the TSRs aren’t pushing just USTA programs, but the brand “tennis.” “It’s been a very positive aspect, going to areas that the section believes are important,” McMahon says. “It’s a ground-up approach, versus a [national USTA]-down mentality.” According to McMahon, through September 2006, TSRs visited more than 9,000 tennis facilities in the U.S., meeting with over 33,000 teaching pros, facility managers, teachers, NJTL personnel and other local tennis leaders. I recently spent the day with Dedor, 22, who lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and is the TSR for the Iowa District of the USTA Missouri Valley Section. Smartly dressed in khaki pants and a USTA logo shirt, he waved me into his car as we hit the road in central Iowa.

9:00 A.M.
The first stop in Des Moines was with, arguably, Iowa’s biggest tennis guru: Bunny Bruning, a former WTA circuit player. She operates the highly successful Wakonda Club, a private facility in Des Moines. But as a volunteer, Bruning also oversees the action of the Central Iowa Tennis Alliance. Bruning is very involved in Junior Team Tennis, and she finds the program to be fun, but it is also exhausting and expensive for teams going to

nationals, she says, and she has trouble with the format. After-school programs, CTA banquets, USA League tennis, bad umpires, district snafus—she’s seen it all. We sit down in Bruning’s office, which is packed with notebooks and other resources, and Dedor helps her with some ideas about where her next volunteers might come from. Dedor knows his way around a discussion, having debated in high school and when he ran for mayor of Mason City as an 18-year-old, garnering more than 14 percent of the vote in a 10-man race. Bruning says she’s happy that the meeting indicates the USTA is concerned about what’s happening at the local level. “I also got some ideas on what volunteers could do as a team concept,” she adds.

10:45 A.M.
Next, we meet up with Gary Scholl and his enthusiastic young assistant, Anthony Perkins, at Aspen Athletic Club in West Des Moines. Like Bruning, Scholl wears a number of hats, including director of tennis at Aspen (Bruning works there, too, in the winter) and USTA Missouri Valley volunteer chair of the Junior Tennis Council. Scholl and Perkins also find time to promote the Greater Des Moines Tennis Association ladder, assist with an urban program at the Willkie House, and help teach kids tennis in rural Osceola, Iowa. Like the visit with Bruning earlier,

For more on how a Tennis Service Representative may be able to help your facility or club, contact your USTA Section office.

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February 2007

Dedor calls this a “fact-finding mission.” His goal is to learn as much as possible about what Scholl is already doing, as well as what he might be able to do to assist Scholl.

12:30 P.M.
Extra time at the Scholl meeting means a very quick stop at Subway to inhale lunch on the way to the Urbandale Parks & Recreation. There, Director Mollie Willhite and intern Mike Boone contemplate what they need to do to make their program grow. Urbandale is surrounded by seven other Des Moines-area communities, so competition for participants can be fierce. The Urbandale Park & Rec is already successful, with junior lessons taught by high school coaches. But Dedor suggests new things to add to the menu, such as Cardio Tennis and adult social leagues, to complement the instructional program. The parks & rec also runs all the community education programs, and they market directly to many of the school districts, plus have a scholarship program.

easier to call people,” he says. “‘Hi, it’s me again. How did that go?’ People are real receptive. You’re not selling them anything. It’s tennis.” Dedor says he plans to communicate frequently with the people in his territory, using e-mails, letters, and phone calls. And he plans to personalize his visits as much as possible. “The real test will be in a year,” he says, “to see what happens in each of these cities.” Recently, when I sent Dedor a followup email, I noticed he had changed the message on his auto reply: “I would rather

attempt something great and fail than attempt to do nothing and succeed.” It impressed me that Dedor, and his TSR colleagues, are putting it on the line for tennis, looking to help the sport succeed in all corners of the country. And that is a great thing. Q
Teaching pro and longtime USTA volunteer Scott Hanover is the general manager of the Plaza Tennis Center in Kansas City, Mo.

3:30 P.M.
After Urbandale, it’s a 40-minute trek to Indianola, home of Simpson College, which has college teams and a healthy intramural program. But Tennis Director Nicole Darling feels the intramural tennis could use some added pizzazz. Darling has a busy office, adorned with posters, photos, and memorabilia that make it look more like a dorm room. She’s been at the job for six years. The trouble has been folks not showing up for league play, so they end up just having a one-day tournament. Dedor runs through a few possible options for Darling, including using the World TeamTennis format for their oneday tournament, which will bring the college kids together for co-ed tennis. He also suggests teaming up with the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association and applying for a USTA section grant to help realize some of Darling’s goals for the intramural program.

HEADING FOR HOME
As we drive back to Cedar Falls, Dedor says that he’s pleased he made these contacts in person. “Now, it becomes

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OUTLOOK 2007

OUTLOOK 2007
With equipment sales growing and more people trying—and coming back to—tennis, the new year looks to be another good one for your business.
t’s been a nice couple of years for tennis equipment retailers and manufacturers in the U.S., as we’ve seen two consecutive years of growth in gear sales, according to the Tennis Industry Association and Sports Marketing Surveys USA. Reports indicate that dealers and court contractors remain optimistic about the new year, too, in part because more new players than ever are trying tennis and there’s been a significant increase in lapsed players heading back to the courts. And importantly, for all of our businesses, it seems that the spirit of cooperation among the various groups and constituencies in tennis appears to be continuing. Manufacturers, for their part, are committing to new products and features designed to give consumers and players what they want and need in equipment and tenniswear, as you’ll see on the following pages that show some of the racquets, apparel, and footwear that will hit retailer walls this spring.

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OUTLOOK 2007—RACQUETS

LIVING IN THE FAST LANE

For spring, frame manufacturers are looking to boost swing speed BY JAMES MARTIN to help players generate more power and spin.
nology, called Speedports. Instead of round grommet-less string holes, the Speedports are rectangular and a bit larger. Positioned throughout the frame’s head, the Speedports increase racquethead speed by 24 percent, according to Prince. They also allow for even more movement of the strings, which creates a forgiving string bed and bigger sweetspot on impact. You’ll find Speedports in three new models, the names of which correspond with the original O Port frames: The O3 Speedport Silver is for players with short swings. It has a whopping 118-square-inch head, is super light, and has a head-heavy balance. For more of a blend between power and control, Prince offers the O3 Speedport Blue (left). It has a 110square-inch head, a medium weight, and an even balance. The O3 Speedport Red (above), with its 105-square-inch head, is made for players who want more control and have moderate to fast swing speeds. All Speedport racquets also have a new aerodynamic shaft.

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peed kills. You’ve heard that phrase used to describe the importance of being quick on your feet. But it also neatly summarizes the main trend in the racquet industry this spring. In an effort to help players swing faster, manufacturers have developed new frame materials and dimensions to make their racquets more aerodynamic. Other companies have devised constructions to help compliment fast and furious swings. The thinking behind the speed kills theory is simple: If you swing faster, you’ll generate more power and spin. The extra action on the ball then gives you more control. It’s the holy trinity for tennis players: power, spin, and control. Here’s a look at what some companies are doing this season to help you take a better rip at the ball.

Prince
WWW.PRINCETENNIS.COM 800-283-6647
Proving that the Sopranos isn’t the only exciting thing coming out of New Jersey, the folks at Prince have done an excellent job of reinvigorating their racquet line over the last few years with O Port technology— the grommet-less string holes designed to allow players to swing faster. This spring, Prince will introduce a new version of the tech-

Head
WWW.HEAD.COM 800-289-7366

Head Extreme Pro

Prince O3 Speedport Blue

With its two new racquets, the Extreme and Extreme Pro (right), Head is unveiling a new technology specifi-

28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2007

Prince O3 Speedport Red

cally for the younger generation of players. You know, those baseline bangers you see swinging for the fences, trying to maximize their racquet-head speed. To better help these players generate more spin (and thus control) on their shots, Head has increased the length of the cross strings at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. This produces a round head shape. What this does, according to Head, is allow the ball to travel farther across the strings on impact as the player rolls over the ball. This, in turn, will enable the player to impart more topspin. With a more expansive string bed, it’ll also provide a greater margin for error, so you don’t have to be on the money every time. Both the Extreme and Extreme Pro have 100-square-inch heads. The Pro is 27 inches and weighs 11.6 ounces strung, while the Extreme is 27-1/4 inches long and slightly lighter at 10.9 ounces. Each frame will also feature Head’s new Microgel, which is injected between the carbon fibers throughout the frame to disperse shock for a rocksolid feel, says the company. In addition to the Extreme, Head is expanding two of its existing racquet lines this spring with the Metallix 2, Metallix 6, and Airflow 1.

technology is the lightest solid in the world (look it up in the Guinness Book of World Records), weighing .0001 pounds per cubic inch, yet it’s sturdy. This cloudy, transparent material of silica and air, aptly nicknamed “frozen smoke,” is placed throughout the frame. The benefit? It gives the racquet some backbone, if you will, as well as a comfortable Yonex sensation, Dunlop says. The RDS-002 Tour beauty, of course, is that you reap the benefits of added stability without weighing your swing down. You’ll find aerogel in four new Dunlop sticks this spring: the Aerogel 2Hundred, Aerogel 3Hundred, Aerogel 5Hundred (below), and Aerogel 5Hundred Tour. And keep your eyes peeled for an Aerogel 4Hundred later this year.

Yonex
WWW.YONEX.COM 310-793-3800
This season, Yonex plans on releasing the RDS-002 and RDS002 Tour (right). They both have the company’s new Aero-Box Variframe, which combines (you got it) an aerodynamic shape on the sides of the head so you can swing faster, along with a box shape at the top and bottom so the racquet remains stable when you’re taking such a quick, fast cut. Yonex is also building on its success with the RSQ-11 racquet, which is used by Martina Hingis, by introducing the RQS-55 and RQS-33. These frames have larger head sizes and stiffer constructions that will appeal to the beginner and intermediate player who isn’t quite ready to challenge on the pro tour.

In other news. . . .
Wilson (www.wilsonsports.com; 773-714-6400) will host a global launch in February of its “[K]Factor” technology. Roger Federer switched to the new [K]Six.One Tour at the Australian Open, and we hear he had a hand in the design and development. Völkl (www.volkl.com ; 866-554-7872) will have four new sticks: the DNX 7, DNX 6, DNX 4, and DNX 2. Q

Dunlop
WWW.DUNLOPSPORTS.COM 800-768-4727
Although Dunlop has been quiet for quite a few months, the company looks to create some excitement this spring with its new Aerogel racquets. The titular

Dunlop Aerogel 5Hundred
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COURT COUTURE
OUTLOOK 2007—APPAREL

Apparel makers are giving players exactly what they need BY CYNTHIA SHERMAN to perform their best on court.
hen it comes to tennis apparel for the upcoming season, color, detail, and embellishment are everywhere. And, of course, versatility is key. More and more, tennis fashion reflects haute couture in an extremely user-friendly way.

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Kaelin
WWW.KAELINSPORTSWEAR.COM 800-252-5415
Kaelin for fall ’07 continues its use of bold colors and graphics, combined with performance fabrics based on Meryl yarns for moisture wicking and breathability. The Meryl jersey has a soft hand that holds color after repeated washings, and is resistant to pilling. The popular “espresso,” a dark brown, returns and is combined with maize and teal in muted stripes, a bold print, and sporty piping. Another group features “grassland” and “tranquility blue” in bold stripes and stylized floral prints. Each group has a variety of solid, print, and stripe skirts that coordinate with tops, hooded sweats, and warmups. And Kaelin also offers skirts with built-in shorts, and a range of solid basic tops and skirts to mix and match. Warm-ups, in virtually all fall colors, are in Kaelin’s exclusive micro-fiber woven fabric.

Diadora
WWW.DIADORAAMERICA.COM 800-DIADORA
Diadora looks to fill a niche market with its specialty tenniswear for people who want something “new and different.” The company positions its clothes as “European style with an American fit.” The women’s Linea line, featuring an athletic and active fit, is tailored yet feminine and flattering. Skirts are 15 inches long and most have attached shorts, and subtle features include the Diadora embroidered logo and Italian chevron crest. The classic color here is black with melon trim and piping in 100 percent poly with moisture-wicking DiaDry. Menswear includes a new Italian crest and emblem logo. Classic colors are trimmed with a “popping” color, for instance in the men’s Victorio line, royal blue is trimmed in yellow. Clothes are 100 percent poly with moisture-wicking DiaDry.

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Fila
WWW.FILA.COM 410-773-3000
Fila emphasizes the technical side of its very wearable garments. The Center Court collections stress moisture-management, antimicrobial properties, and UV protection. Meryl Microfiber technology enables a very fine and closely-woven knit, which features great softness, breathability, and wind/rain resistance in lightweight apparel. It also offers excellent UV protection.

Lejay
WWW.LEJAY.COM 800-932-7535
Animal patterns are hot, and Lejay features leopard in white and red. Prints of all kinds, an oriental focus, rhinestone accents, and various trim around necklines and hems all point to the details, says Trish Levin, Lejay’s vice president of merchandising. Black and white, pink and brown, patchwork, and geometric patterns speak to the variety. Lejay’s line is designed for every body at every age, with fit in mind—some of which are trim and athletic, while other pieces are more forgiving.

In-Between
WWW.TENNISSPORTSWEAR.COM 800-892-2035
Jane Lazarz, president and designer of InBetween Court & Sportwear, says its “Transition Wear” falls into that allimportant versatility category. Consumers are looking for crossover/activewear pieces that can go from the court, to the gym, to the store, and beyond, and that are of quality construction and easy to care for, she says. In-Between’s signature Micro-Tek Supreme and Body Care applications feature customer-requested moisturewicking, antimicrobial properties, and UV protection. In-Between also features a full line of active innerwear, including its popular “CourtShorties.” Customers seem to favor a skirt and panties as separate components rather than the all-in-one skort, says Lazarz, so In-Between offers a wide variety of CourtShorties styles. InBetween has also added women’s plus sizes and now carries a new line for girls from XS to XL.
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OUTLOOK 2007—APPAREL

Prince
WWW.PRINCETENNIS.COM 800-2-TENNIS
Prince is launching a new apparel line based on technical fabrics, fit, and function on the court. Key is moisture management, which Prince addresses with new lightweight fabrics that emphasize comfort. Pieces are serious athletic gear, says Prince, but are also colorful and fun to wear. The new Tour collection, for men and women, is for serious tennis, says the company, and consists of “cutting-edge apparel with attitude.” Highlighting the Tour collection are new technical fabrics that offer a softer hand and an attention to the details in tenniswear. For women, the Tour collection focuses on white with pastel accents; the men’s Tour apparel features bold slates, oranges, and blacks. The Competition collection, for men and women, emphasizes a fresh, athletic look with colors suitable for individual or team wear. Pieces in the Competition collection are white, with accent colors of red, navy, black, yellow, green, and more.

LBH & Lily’s
WWW.LBHGROUP.COM 800-421-4474
LBH and Lily’s have carved out a niche that is fun and flirty. While the LBH line still has a more athletic flair, Lily’s sports a bit more floral and frilly accent. Emphasis is on trim, detail, and fabrications, while graphic designs, bright colors, pastels with zebra print, textured stripes, and burn-out prints give clothing more dimension. “People are interested in adding more variety” to their tenniswear and activewear, says Katie Curry, LBH’s vice president of marketing. Dresses are more popular, and in keeping with trends, LBH is introducing a long short, which speaks to versatility—it’s fitted but not tight, so more women will find it a flexible addition to their active wardrobe. Pinks continue to be popular, along with aqua, blue, and periwinkle. There are 10 fashion collections and a classic collection among the LBH, Lily’s, and Wimbledon lines.

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Bälle de Mätch
WWW.BALLEDEMATCH.COM 800-356-1021
Bälle de Mätch continues to be strong in kids and men’s clothing, but new this year is a line for baby-boomer women looking for a more relaxed fit and softer fabrication than the athletic-youth line Bälle is famous for. Look for bright colors for spring, as well as solids to mix and match, which offer great merchandising possibilities. Also, the “Tweener” group—girls between ages 12 and 17—features a line of shorts, tees, tanks, and sweatshirts that cross over from tennis to fitness. Speaking of crossover, Bälle balances yoga, pilates, and fitness with its tennis line by introducing the “She-long,” a below-theknee short for women. The company’s big focus is on buyer availability and team wear (Bälle is the official apparel sponsor of World TeamTennis). To accommodate this large segment, they’re introducing “Cute Bunz” shorts within shorts, which they expect will sell well on the team circuit.

Bolle
WWW.BOLLETENNISWEAR.COM 888-977-7272
Bolle sports many hues, from soft romantics to bright colors. Graphic blacks and whites are still popular in “engineered placement prints,” which are designs focused on a specific area of the garment. For ’07, Bolle also introduces prints in almost every line, with an athletic look without the extreme body-hugging fit. Skirts, shorts within skirts, mix and match pieces, and shorts within shorts dominate, and feminine details of ruffles and flounces indicate that “pretty is in,” says Bolle’s Mary Gibb. Barely Bolle, the company’s popular undergarment line, offers support without a constricting fit. The fabric-driven undergarment pieces feature appealing loft, soft feel, and moisture-wicking capabilities.

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GETTING SERIOUS
OUTLOOK 2007—SHOES

Footwear manufacturers are designing tennis shoes to meet the BY JAMES MARTIN needs of hard-core players.
f there’s one disappointing thing in tennis shoes today, it’s that all too often they’re made first for style, second for substance— footwear, in other words, that will appeal to weekend hackers. This season, however, manufacturers have gotten serious with a bumper crop of kicks designed for serious players. You’ll find shoes here that meet all the needs of hard-core court rats, from durability and stability to a low-to-the-ground ride.

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K-Swiss
WWW.KSWISS.COM 800-291-8103
Toe-draggers who burn through rubber faster than Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights will appreciate K-Swiss’ latest model, the Reinforcer, which has a replaceable forefoot outsole. When you wear it out, simply unfasten the outsole lugs with a tool provided by K-Swiss, snap on some new rubber, and screw it into place. The K-Swiss Reinforcer will be available for men and women.

Nike
WWW.NIKE.COM 503-671-6453
The Swoosh will spring forward with the Air Zoom Vapor IV for men and the Air Zoom Mystify II for women. Both shoes, which are being marketed for advanced players, are light and feature Nike’s new Heat Block technology in the midsole to help keep court surface heat from reaching your feet. Players who spend a lot of time on hard courts will appreciate this.

34 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2007

Reebok
WWW.REEBOK.COM 781-401-5000
Here’s a blast from the past: Reebok is bringing back the Pump with the men’s and women’s Pump Triple Break, which provides an adjustable fit and snug support. The shoe also emphasizes cushioning with DMX Mega to reduce the stress of heel impact. Expect Nicole Vaidisova to be styling in the Pump Triple Break this spring.

Wilson
WWW.WILSONSPORTS.COM 773-714-6400
Wilson has two new shoes out this spring, the Wildcard II and the Challenge II. Advanced players will dig the Wildcard II, a cool-looking, lightweight shoe with a lowto-the-ground ride for maximum stability. The Challenge II, on the other hand, is a little heavier (for more support) and features a classic design.

Adidas
WWW.ADIDAS.COM 800-448-1796
Elite tennis players also have plenty to like from Adidas this season. The a3 Accelerator for men is designed to deliver a low-profile ride for support on quick stops and starts. The women’s ClimaCool Divine, meanwhile, is super light, (a mere 10 ounces for a size 7) with an emphasis on breathability—and a touch of style, too, thanks to Swarovski jeweled eyelets.

Prince
WWW.PRINCETENNIS.COM 800-283-6647
Prince continues its M Series shoes in three models: the MC4 (for maximum cushioning), MS4 (for maximum stability), and the MV4 (for maximum ventilation). The idea is that consumers can pick the shoe that best fits their unique needs. The different attributes of the M Series models are from the variances in density and placement of Prince’s “precision tubes” in the heel and forefoot.

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PROGRAMMING FOR PROFIT

CHANGE OF PACE
The industry needs to create an environment that will better serve the changing market and culture of today.
BY SANDY COFFMAN
But guess what? They are back! And they would like to bring friends with them. There are 78 million baby-boomers in America today, and the older adult market is guaranteed to increase exponentially. Whether they have played tennis in the past or not, they are now preparing to live another 20 or 30 years—the third third of their lives—and they need and want a fun, energizing activity to keep them physically healthy and mentally balanced. Team sports and recreational sports are definitely on the rise for all the baby-boomers who make up nearly one-third of the population today. Tennis is a terrific answer to all their needs, but we have to serve them on their level and on their terms, not ours. In addition to the obvious physical challenges of an aging body, the outside influences of the world affect our market and business, too. In a world filled with stress, anxiety, fear, and apprehension, participants of today are looking for more than a workout or a physical challenge. They need to experience the joy of movement, a social, recreational experience, and have a sense of belonging along with a sense of accomplishment.

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anufacturers, retailers, facility owners, club managers, coaches, and teaching pros—unite! The market has changed, the culture of the industry has changed, and the opportunities and responsibilities of everyone in the tennis industry must come together to accept new marketing strategies and communication skills to grow the sport and to serve its players. Tennis has always been touted as a “lifetime” sport, but we got a bit too complacent over the years and unaware of a changing market and culture. While we continued running our business with the same programs, lessons, leagues, and attitudes, we lost players—by the millions! The good news is that we are seeing the light. We have identified the market, made some changes, and the wonderful sport of tennis is once again on the upswing. To ensure that this upswing continues, it’s important to educate ourselves about the players of today and how we can create an environment that will serve them better.

The Newer, “Older” Market
First of all, let’s take a look at the majority of the millions that left tennis. They are the baby-boomers and beyond who loved the sport but found that injuries, ongoing competition, and too many physical demands took the joy out of the game. An hour and a half of singles three times a week, league competition, tournaments, traveling, and drill sessions resulted in bad knees, sore shoulders, stiff joints, and more.

Communication Skills and Marketing Techniques
The communication skills and relationship-building qualities of all of us in the industry must be raised to higher levels. We will have to give participants in this new market what they need by giving them what they want! Understanding the difference and working togeth-

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er as an industry will ensure a win-win situation. First, let’s start with the equipment manufacturers and retailers. They have given us lighter racquets, better grips, easier, forgiving balls, quality supportive footwear, and comfortable, tasteful apparel. Let’s start communicating that to the market in a positive, productive way. Retailers could specifically and personally invite the 50-plus potential players in their communities to come into their stores on a specific day of the week to learn about the new equipment and how it’s made, try out a racquet and hit some balls, see and learn about the comfort and high-tech quality of the shoes and apparel of today. The customers on this day could take advantage of special offers in the stores and sign up for special one-day events being offered at the local tennis clubs, and recreational facilities. The next step is to meet them at the tennis courts and tennis facilities themselves. Tennis clubs could offer one-day special events inviting first-time or players of yesterday to participate in a social, partylike day of tennis. The day should guarantee a successful experience on court by giving these potential new players the opportunity to use the newest equipment designed specifically for them. The day must provide fun, enjoyment, and sociability. They need to make new acquaintances with similar interests, skill levels, schedules, personalities, ages, and genders.

Developing Professional Personalities
Professional greetings from the coaches and pros will gain their confidence and respect. This may take some specific coaching as well. Developing professional personalities and communication skills does not come automatically in all tennis leaders. The coaches and pros must be able to put people together, foster friendships, and create fun environments. This will probably be more effective than moving directly into a drill session or being tested for a skill rating. It’s all about taking the newer, older market through steps 1, 2, and 3, before moving them into step 4.

belonging and a chance for a happier, healthier, active lifestyle. What are the service keys that work here? Q Personal invitations and professional greetings at special events. Q A group environment that encourages sociability, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging. Q Leadership that educates, encourages, and teaches with empathy and enthusiasm. Q Hands-on opportunities that offer successful, can-do experiences. Q Specific follow-up events that will keep the potential players moving forward with anticipation and excitement. Q Delivered promises—sociability, fun, activity … success! Q Professional personalities that know how to build relationships, establish trust, and create motivating and inspiring environments. Q Newly designed programs, lessons, and schedules that focus on sociability, immediate success, and relaxed technical demands. Yes, we’re all in this together. The manufacturers and retailers have given us the newly advanced, more usable equipment for today’s market, but they must communicate to the consumer in a way that the consumer will see it. Tennis clubs and recreational facilities must put on special events to introduce the tennis programs of today that will serve the market of today. The coaches and pros must take on the responsibility of building relationships and trust with a population that will only respond to professional greetings, sincere encouragement, respect, and understanding. The bottom line is that all the leaders of our industry may need to take on the responsibility of learning professional communication skills to better serve our market of today, and tomorrow. It’s really more of an opportunity for us to make a difference in peoples’ lives and the world. Q
Sandy Coffman is president of Programming For Profit, a speaking and consulting firm in Bradenton, Fla. She specializes in customer service, retention, and dynamite programming. With 30 years of experience, Coffman is nationally and internationally acclaimed as a featured presenter at USTA events, IHRSA, Club Industry, Athletic Business, ICAA, and CanFitPro. She’s also authored articles and spoken at several universities. Coffman, who guarantees that her sessions are educational, motivational, and inspirational, can be reached at SLCoffman@aol.com or 941-756-6921.

Deliver the Promise
Delivering the product may determine immediate success. The oncourt experience will determine whether they will sign up for future lessons. That on-court time should probably emphasize doubles, and play, which should probably focus on round-robins rather than leagues, and membership, which will provide that sense of

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CUSTOMER RELATIONS

ORDER ON YOUR COURTS!
A few bad apples can spoil the fun for all. Help your players by posting these Seven Sins of Social Tennis at your facility.
BY ROBERT F. HELLER

£
Sin No. 1: Cell Phone Mania

THE SEVEN SINS OF SOCIAL TENNIS
Sin No. 4: Conversations Across the Net
Trying to hold conversations with your “friend” across the net means that you are talking loud enough that players on adjacent courts are hearing you. Hold off on small talk until changeovers, or better still, when you are back at the clubhouse. Ringing and answering cell phones are a growing distraction to all. With very few exceptions, no one needs to have their cell phone on for the 60 to 90 minutes they are on the court. Shut if off or place it on silent mode. At a professional match I recently attended, a cell phone went off during the second point of the match as one of the players was about to serve. We all looked around for the culprit. A few seconds later, the server runs up to his tennis bag, finds his phone and turns it off! We all had a good laugh. However, it’s far less funny when partners or opponents interrupt play to respond to phone calls, or when players on other courts get distracted by cell phones going off.

Sin No. 5: Monopolizing Amenities
If you have chairs to sit on at your courts and tables for your bags, be aware that up to eight people may be sharing this space during changeovers. Your towel on one chair, a bag on another, and you in a third doesn’t equal “fair.” Be aware of how much room you are taking and share the space accordingly. At the end of your time, take your trash with you and leave things as you found them, or better yet, cleaner and neater than you found them.

Sin No. 2: Chronic Lateness
Arriving late takes away from the limited playing time available. If everyone has already warmed up by the time the latecomer arrives, it’s annoying to have to warm the latecomer up separately. If the latecomer starts to play without any warm up, the initial poor play takes away from everyone’s fun. Plan your schedule so you can arrive a few minutes early, or at least on time. Set your watch 10 minutes ahead if you need to. If all else fails, agree to pay each person you keep waiting $1 per every minute you are late!

Sin No. 6: Poor Ball Etiquette
Errant balls will land on adjacent courts. Saying “thank you” when someone is about to serve or in the middle of a point is a no-no, unless they don’t see the ball and are about to trip over it. Wait for their point to end to ask for your ball or to return their ball.

Sin No. 3: Whacko Warm-Ups
Blasting balls when your opponent is at the net, hitting lobs 30 feet in the air, and going for “winners” should be left for the match. The warm-up is supposed to be a controlled rally whereby both you and your opponents loosen your muscles and get a “feel” for the ball, the court, and the conditions. Focus on keeping the ball in play rather than going for winners or moving your opponent all around the court.

Sin No. 7: Complaining, Criticizing, and Whining
“I got a bad bounce. These courts need to be fixed.” “They strung my racquet too loose.” “I have such a weak partner.” “I can’t believe I missed that shot!” This type of verbal moaning is a turn-off to all those who have to listen to it. Appreciate the bigger picture: You have the good fortune to be able to play tennis! 

Dr. Robert Heller, based in Boca Raton, Fla., is a psychologist and consultant in the areas of performance enhancement and stress management. He is the author of “Mental Skills for Match Play” and “Mental Toughness.” For information on telephone consultation, products, and other services, contact robertheller@adelphia.net, www.thewinningedge.usptapro.com, or 561-451-2731.

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RSI/ASBA 2006 DISTINGUISHED FACILITY-OF-THE-YEAR AWARDS

NICE TOUCH
Cushioning comes into play for these hard-court award-winners.
here were four outdoor hard-court winners (not including residential projects) of the Racquet Sports Industry/American Sports Builders Association 2006 Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards. But what’s interesting about these winners is that three of the four listed their projects as “cushioned” hard courts, which could indicate that court facility owners are looking for more forgiving surfaces for their players. In fact, two facilities, Ace Insurance Company in Bermuda and the Lombard St. Reservoir/Alice Marble Tennis Complex in San Francisco, used prefabricated “sheet” products to give owners the desired cushioning. Both of these projects also were constructed over other structures. The Ace Insurance court was an upgrade on top of a parking garage deck, and the Alice Marble complex, complete with four courts, a practice court, and a basketball court, was new construction built on top of a city water reservoir. The acrylic hard court at the USPTA Headquarters in Houston also is an upgrade; it’s converted from a clay court to a post-tensioned concrete court with a cushioned surface. The four-court complex at Person High School in Roxboro, N.C., is a new project, complete with lights, player seating, shaded areas, and spectator viewing areas. Construction required extensive rock removal, including blasting holes for four of the light poles, and building concrete swales for drainage. —Peter Francesconi

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USPTA World Headquarters Houston
(Nominated by Dobbs Tennis Courts Inc., Austin, Texas) Number of Courts: 1 Specialty Contractor: Dobbs Tennis Courts Inc. Surface: Sportmaster CushionMaster System Fencing: Dobbs Tennis Courts Inc.

For details on the 2007 Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards, contact the ASBA at 866-501ASBA or info@sportsbuilders.org.

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Ace Insurance Company Hamilton, Bermuda
(Nominated by Classic Turf Co., Woodbury, Conn.) Number of Courts: 1 General Contractor: Bermuda Project Managers Ltd., Hamilton Specialty Contractor: Classic Turf Co. Surface: 8mm Classic Turf Tennis Court System Net, Net Posts: Lee Tennis

Lombard St. Reservoir/ Alice Marble Tennis Complex San Francisco
(Nominated by Vintage Contractors Inc., San Francisco) Number of Courts: 4 Architect/Engineer: San Francisco Department of Public Works, Landscape Architecture Section General Contractor: Proven Management Specialty Contractor: Vintage Contractors Inc. Surface: Premier Court/Plexipave Fencing: Vintage Contractors Inc. Nets, Net Posts, Fence: Fraser Edwards Co.

Person High School Roxboro, N.C.
(Nominated by Court One, Youngsville, N.C.) Number of Courts: 4 General Contractor: Court One Surface: Advanced Polymer Technology Net Posts, Center Strap Anchors: Ball Products Nets, Center Straps: J.A. Cissel Lighting: LSI Industries Windscreens: M Putterman

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string Klip Armour Pro 17
Klip Armour Pro is a natural gut string with an unusual feature: The gut is completely coated with a hard shell.
Klip says that Armour Pro takes natural gut to the next level, increasing durability and control, while reducing string movement and tension loss. It also states that the technologically advanced coating eases string installation while maintaining the benefits of natural gut. According to Klip, Armour Pro is for players looking for long lasting, great feeling string. Armour Pro is available in 16 (1.30) and 17 (1.25) in “Great White” only. It is priced from $32. For more information or to order, contact Klip at 866-5547872, or visit www.klipstrings.com. Be sure to see the conclusion for a special offer from Klip on Armour Pro. unraveling, although it sometimes makes a cracking sound when going around the outside of the frame, and if you pull the crosses too fast, you’ll get burning that makes it much more difficult to pull each successive cross. One playtester broke his sample during stringing, eight reported problems with coil memory, three reported problems tying knots, and eight reported friction burn.

PLAYTEST

ON THE COURT
EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings) Number of testers who said it was: much easier 0 somewhat easier 2 about as easy 18 not quite as easy 11 not nearly as easy 5

IN THE LAB
We tested the 17-gauge Armour Pro. The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter measured 1.17-1.21 mm prior to stringing, and 1.15-1.17 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 72 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 67 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. Armour Pro added 15 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame. The string was tested for five weeks by 36 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 5.5. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. The average number of hours playtested was 29.5. The coating gives Armour Pro a feel that is not at all like natural gut when stringing. It does reduce problems with

OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often) Number of testers who said it was: much better 0 somewhat better 7 about as playable 7 not quite as playable 22 not nearly as playable 0

OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge) Number of testers who said it was: much better 3 somewhat better 11 about as durable 15 not quite as durable 6 not nearly as durable 1

Our playtest team rated Klip Armour Pro well above average in Spin Potential and Tension Holding — not surprising for a natural gut string — but it also rated Armour Pro well above average for Durability, a category in which natural gut doesn’t typically do well. In fact, Armour Pro’s Durability rating is just under that of Klip X-Plosive when configured with natural gut in the mains and the poly in the crosses. Our team also rated Armour Pro above average in Power, Control, and Resistance to Movement, for an overall aboveaverage score of the 107 strings we’ve playtested to date. Five playtesters broke the sample during play, one each at five hours, 11 hours, 17 hours, 18 hours, and 40 hours.

CONCLUSION
Judging by our playtest results, Klip’s Armour Pro fills a unique market niche: A natural gut string for big hitters. One has to keep in mind when viewing these results that we tested the 17gauge Armour Pro. Presumably, the durability of the 16-gauge version would be even better. If you think that Klip Armour Pro might be for you, Klip has a special offer: Buy 3 sets of Klip Armour Pro, and get 1 at no charge, with a free Klip player’s hat. —Greg Raven Q

RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best) Playability (#10 overall to date) Durability Power Control (#5 overall to date) Comfort Touch/Feel Spin Potential Holding Tension Resistance to Movement 3.1 3.6 3.3 3.4 2.8 2.9 3.3 3.5 3.3

42 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2007

TESTERS

TALK

This is a really nice string. Very solid and crisp on volleys. It is also comfortable on ground strokes and powerful on serves. I would consider switching to this string! 4.5 male using Wilson n5 Force strung at 60 pounds CP (Wilson Stamina 17)

This string excels in nearly every category. I like it so much that I’m still using it! 3.5 male serve-and-volleyer using Wilson n1 Force strung at 57 pounds CP (Natural Gut 16)

“ “

This string has an aramid feel, but, surprisingly, it is responsive, with good touch and control. This string is a wonderful compromise between durability- and playability-based strings. 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson nSix One strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson NXT Tour 17)

This is a nice-playing string with good durability. It is a nice teaching string, with good control. 4.5 female using Head Flexpoint Radical MP strung at 55 pounds LO (Head FXP 16)

This string provides an enjoyable hit. While the overall performance is very good, I am most impressed by the control, durability, resistance to movement and tension maintenance. All other characteristics are average or better, making this an excellent string. 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 strung at 57 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

This string provides quite a lot of power, and, due to limited string movement, control. The only downside is the harsh feel. 4.0 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal Flexpoint 6 MP strung at 49 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.)

I’m surprised this natural gut didn’t unbraid during installation. This is a goodplaying string with great touch, control and durability. 5.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Prince O3 Hornet Hybrid Midplus strung at 70 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut with Duraflex 16)

The crosses are very hard to weave, but this string is otherwise easy to install. I really like the way this plays and lasts. Due to its tough coating, this string holds tension well and the strings don’t move. 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Fischer Twin Tec 950 FTi strung at 65 pounds LO (Klip XPlosive 16)

This string has exceptional control, playability, resistance to movement and durability. It does peel after 18 hours of play. 5.0 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Control Zylon 360 + strung at 62 pounds CP (Babolat Attraction 17)

February 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

43

ask
Q A

the EXPERTS

Your Equipment Hotline
BABOLAT STAR 5 CLAMP BASE ADJUSTMENT
IN YOUR REVIEW OF THE BABOLAT Star 5, you say that locking the clamp bases requires a small rotation of the ergonomic handle. However, on mine, I have to turn the handle nearly 90 degrees. Is there an adjustment to reduce the amount I have to turn the handle to lock the clamp bases? KEN FARRIS AT BABOLAT Machine Services has a technical paper on adjusting the Star 5 clamp base. If you contact him at 877-316-9435, option 6, he can e-mail or fax you the instructions. this same stem diameter, and are the same length as the Babolat clamps.

RAISING THE SWEET SPOT

Q A

I HAVE NOTICED THAT MY daughter hits the ball most of the time just above the sweet spot, and I was thinking of putting lead tape at the 2 and 10 o’clock positions of the head. Should I counterweight the butt end to keep the balance the same, or will that negate the raising of the sweet spot? ADDING MASS IN THE UPPER part of the hoop may be just what your daughter needs to make her racquet perfect for her, but unless you add a huge amount of mass there, it won’t raise the sweet spot very much. It will change other characteristics of the racquet, though, which may give you the improvement you seek. You don’t say what racquet your daughter uses, so we’ll use a Babolat Pure Storm Team for illustration. Strung with a poly/gut hybrid, and with an overgrip, it might have the following characteristics: Starting mass Starting mass 315 Starting balance 33.1 Starting balance Starting swingweight Starting swingweight Starting COP Starting COP 52.19 Starting recoil weight Starting recoil weight Starting hitting weight Starting hitting weight 315.00 33.10 307.00 307 52.19 139.00 139 172.00 172

ance, swingweight, and hitting weight changed pretty dramatically. The higher swingweight will make it more difficult to accelerate and decelerate the racquet, but once it’s in motion, the higher hitting weight will give the racquet more power. The higher recoil weight should make the racquet more comfortable on impact. If your daughter could cope with the higher weight and swingweight, but liked the original balance, you could restore it by adding 3.82 grams of lead tape at 10 centimeters up from the butt cap. The racquet would then have these characteristics: Final mass Final mass 321.82 Final balance Final balance 33.1 Final swingweight Final swingweight 315 Final COP Final COP 52.4 Final recoil weight Final recoil weight 144 Final hitting weight Final hitting weight 175 321.82 33.10 315.00 52.40 144.00 175.00

BABOLAT CLAMP REPLACEMENT

Q A

I'VE GOT TO GET NEW CLAMPS for my Babolat Star 3 and I'm finding it difficult to justify spending $525 on a pair of replacement clamps. I have read many good things about the clamps on the Silent Partner Aria, which look similar to those on the Babolat Sensor and Star 5. Do you know if the Babolat and Silent Partner clamp posts are interchangeable?

If you add 3 grams of lead tape about 6 centimeters down from the tip (around 2 and 10 o’clock), the racquet will have these characteristics: New mass New mass 318 New balance New balance 33.38 New swingweight New swingweight 315 New COP New COP 52.4 New recoil weight New recoil weight 141 New hitting weight New hitting weight 175 318.00 33.38 315.00 52.40 141.00 175.00

THE ARIA CLAMPS USE THE SAME 11.95-mm (0.470-inch) stem diameter as the Babolat machines, but the stem length is longer at 3.25 inches, compared to 2.35 inches for the Babolat clamp. If you have a way of cutting down the steel stem on the Aria clamp and chamfering the end, it should work. Keep in mind that Gamma clamps also have

With the additional mass in the handle, the original balance is restored, but the new higher swingweight, COP, and hitting weight are preserved. The yethigher recoil weight once again should make the racquet more comfortable on impact. So, counter-balancing additional mass in the hoop with additional mass in the handle does not negate the gains from the additional mass in the hoop. Your actual figures depend, of course, on where you put the additional mass, and how much you add in which location(s). USRSA members have access to several on-line tools and calculators to help model the effects of modifications such as these, including an all-new three-in-one version of the Racquet Customizer, and the Racquet Mass Mover. These and other tools and calculators can be found at http://www.usrsa.com/top/tools_toc.html. —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.

You will note that the COP moved only about 2 millimeters, while the bal-

44 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2007

Readers’ Know-How in Action
CLAMP SLIPPAGE CHECKER
I finally have a device to detect any string slipping through the clamp after tensioning. I disassembled a springloaded clothespin and filed down the clamping areas to create two flat surfaces. I then took some scraps of replacement grips that had the selfadhesive backing, and cut them to fit the jaws of the clothespin. After putting the clothespin back together, I had a device to place next to my clamps to show any string movement. It’s easy to use and the synthetic grip surface area provides a great grip on the string. It is one of my most used tools beside the pliers and cutters. Every machine should have one on its tray! For a couple of dollars each I could make more to share with other stringers. Contact Doug Hofer at hofertennis@sbcglobal.net. 5 sets of Ashaway MonoGut 17 to: Doug Hofer, CS, Visalia, CA

tips

and TECHNIQUES

STENCILING WITH TOOTHBRUSHES
I gave up fighting with worn stencil ink applicator tips, and now use toothbrushes, which distribute ink to the very edges of the stencil. Toothbrushes also prevent excess ink from being deposited on the side of the stencil that will next contact the string bed. A jar of paintbrush cleaner or other solvent keeps the toothbrush head soft, but in my experience it is seldom needed. I used to change stencil ink applicator tips quite often but now the old toothbrushes do a better job. 5 sets of Wilson NXT OS 16L to: Stan Parry, Surrey, England

REPLACEMENT STENCIL TIPS
A couple of years ago, you ran a tip that started out with the words, “Is there any one else out there who dislikes stenciling racquets as much as I do?” At the time, I was thinking I could give that tipster some competition in this category, because I wasn’t doing much stenciling, so that in the interim, my stencil applicator tips would get rock hard. I had resigned myself to this state of affairs until I got some replacement stencil tips from Grand Slam Stringers (www.grandslamstringers.com). Not only do the applicator tips last much longer than the original equipment tips, but GSS also has “high-boy” replacement caps that have extra clearance between the

46 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2007

underside of the cap and the felt of the applicator tip. This absolutely prevents the ink on the tip from sticking to the underside of the cap. Brilliant! The GSS replacement tips also work much better than standard tips, giving really full coverage and nice flow control. Forten Tournament Bag to: Kevin McCormick, Lucerne, CA

COLORIZING LEAD TAPE
Lead tape works wonders when customizing sticks. Unsightly as it may be on a racquet’s hoop, we just accepted its drab gray color because there was no other choice. Not anymore. I found a way to dress up lead tape with 3M Scotch-brand PVC electrical tape, available at home improvement stores. Application is as easy as affixing a layer of PVC tape over the lead tape and trimming off the excess PVC tape before applying the lead. These PVC tapes come in various colors so you can use the appropriate colors to blend into, or create a color contrast with, the frame. As a bonus, the PVC tape keeps the lead oxidation in check so it doesn’t get on your fingers or the frame. The 3M Scotch-brand PVC electrical tape also comes in half-inch wide multi-colored multi-packs, perfect for single half-inch wide

or side-by-side strips of quarter-inch wide lead tape. It's also the perfect width to use as grip finishing tape. 5 sets of Klip Synthetic Gut 16 & a Klip Hat to: Modesto Santa Maria, Piscataway, NJ

EVER-LASTING STRINGBED TENSION
After years of being plagued with tension loss, I have found a method of tensioning that gives racquets months of consistent string bed stiffness. Here is how I reduce tension loss to a minimum: a. Reduce reference tension 10 to 15 percent, or more, depending upon the string selected. Less beginning tension means less tension loss, and less stress on the string (stress is a function of the load on the string, divided by the area of the string cross-section), b. When tensioning, a pre-stretch load is added (between 10 to 25 percent of reference tension). This makes the string a little stronger so it provides

better load-holding characteristics than normal. Obviously, this is most easily done with a constant-pull electronic machine with built-in pre-stretch. Some people claim that pre-stretching the string changes the resiliency characteristics. However, the drop in the reference tension balances the instantaneous loading during pre-stretching on nylon and Zyex strings. The resiliency change after one week is minimal on a nylon 16 gauge string pulled to 60 pounds by standard constant pull tensioning as compared to the same string pre-stretched from a 51 pounds reference tension. Customers now return for restringing when the stringbed stiffness drops by ten percent instead of the USRSA-recommended 20 percent. 5 sets of Head FiberGEL Power 16 to: Carl Love, Albany, OR —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.

Tim Strawn

February 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

47

Your Serve
An International Flavor
A longtime observer of junior and college tennis says limiting foreign players at U.S. colleges is a bad idea. BY COLETTE
LEWIS

J

ay Cunningham of Edmond, Okla., a redshirt sophomore on the University of Tulsa’s tennis team, has a résumé typical of many top American juniors. He won the Oklahoma state high school singles title twice, topped his section’s 16s ranking, and was recruited by several high- profile Division 1 programs. Deciding to stay near home, he joined a team with six foreign players and two other Oklahoma juniors. From his perspective, the current outrage over foreigners in the collegiate game is difficult to comprehend. “Having the foreign players levels the playing field,” says Cunningham, 21. “The bigger schools, the Stanfords, the UCLAs, they can get top Americans, but for schools like us, it helps us to get good foreigners to come in and see our program and facility, and they’ll come to Oklahoma.” Cunningham touches on just one of the many ways the influx of foreign players has created a sea change in college tennis. Like Tulsa, many college teams have more international players than Americans, resulting in calls for scholarship limits and quotas. But here are a few reasons affirmative action for U.S. juniors is a bad idea: Q Foreign players have raised the level of competition: “We want the best competition we can have,” says Peter Wright, head coach of the University of California-Berkeley men’s tennis team. “At the top of Division I tennis, we want guys who have goals and aspirations of playing professional tennis.” “Our level of tennis, our depth, has gotten so much better,” says Manny Diaz, men’s head coach at the University of Georgia since 1989. “I think it does help the American kids. It raises everybody’s game.” To play tennis on this level regularly, without sacrificing higher education, is an option available only in the U.S., a key reason why so many players from other countries seek the opportunity. Shielding U.S. juniors from foreign competition only fosters the conviction that we are entitled to success by virtue of our citizenship.

Whether it’s cars, cell phones, or tennis players, it’s competition that produces excellence. Q Sports is the ultimate meritocracy: If a U.S. player has the talent, the ambition and the heart, no college coach would bench him or her in favor of a foreign player. Q The world is flat: Understanding other cultures is an important step in anticipating the post-college world where tennis is hardly the only industry that’s gone global. “The cultural differences are definitely

"If we are truly committed to excellence, we have nothing to fear from competition."
tough at first,” says Cunningham. “But it’s made me a better person. We have a really close team, they’re like my brothers now. Getting to know the different cultures and learning to deal with different people helps you grow up as a person and a tennis player.” Q We want the best and brightest from other countries at our universities: Not only do these motivated, disciplined young people have an opportunity to see the U.S. from the inside, but they may choose to stay and work, perhaps even seek citizenship. If they do return to their countries, certainly their experiences and friendships in the U.S. will have had a profound impact on their world view. Q U.S. juniors can learn about appreciating opportunities from those who have less privilege: “Some of the foreign players don’t come from the most affluent backgrounds,” says Wright. “So they come to America and see these wonderful facilities—the training room, the weight room, the staff to help them in school—and say, ‘Wow, this is unbeliev-

able.’ They’re incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to pursue their tennis at the highest level and to pursue their academics.” Q Maturity is a process, not a number: No one advocates scholarships for former professionals or teams made up of 23-year-old sophomores. But age restrictions in tennis aren’t relevant after 18. College is an appropriate time to start getting used to that. Q It’s not us vs. them: That attitude ignores the regard we all have for the game. A conversation with your local college or university’s international players will reveal they are not mercenaries or hired guns, but studentathletes who love the sport and are willing to give back. California’s Wright, for instance, has instituted a pilot program for Bay Area juniors that gets them interacting with local college players. “If we tackle this well, hopefully those foreign guys at your locale are helping your kid get better,” Wright says. “Instead of saying, ‘Damn foreigners, I hate these guys’, you’re saying, ‘Hey, that guy’s from Serbia and he’s hitting with my kid, playing sets with him on weekends.’” The U.S. should be proud of the reputation of its higher education system. If we are truly committed to excellence, we have nothing to fear from competition—we recognize that it makes us better. Our ideals, admittedly not always achieved, remain dedicated to equal opportunity. Protecting college tennis from those outside the U.S. simply doesn’t fit that framework..Q

Freelance tennis writer Colette Lewis has covered topflight college and junior events for The Tennis Channel, Smash Magazine, Tennis Magazine, and The Tennis Recruiting Network. She serves as editor of the USTA Boys 18s & 16s National Championships' website in her hometown of Kalamazoo, and maintains a website devoted to college and junior tennis—www.zootennis.com.
We welcome your opinions. Please email comments to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

48 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2007