orange tennis racket beside green tennis ball

Start the New Year in Fresh New Gear

Refresh Your Tennis Gear for the New Year!

The new year is almost here and soon 2020 will be in the rearview mirror. Now is the best time to refresh and upgrade your tennis gear for the new season. From racquets, string, and shoes – keeping your equipment fresh and updated can help you get the most out of your game.

One of the ways we thought we could help you is to uncover and round up the top trends in tennis gear that are on the horizon. So, USTA Mid-Atlantic checked in with two of our partners, Smith Chaiyakan at  Mains and Crosses, a full-service professional racquet stringing service in Alexandria, Va., and Darrell Haines of Tennis Topia, a tennis shop in Rockville, Md. Not only do Smith and Darrell have their pulse on the hottest equipment in the Mid-Atlantic, all of the products mentioned below can be purchased at their respective shops.  

Refresh Your Tennis Gear with Tennis Topia

Racquets

Wilson Clash. For those of you who don’t follow Wilson Sporting Goods, the Clash is the latest offering from Wilson. According to Darrell, the Clash offers players an “arm friendly, flexible-framed racquet without sacrificing power or sweet spot.” In other words, this racquet is perfect for players who want to get more power from their racquets without risking arm injuries such as tennis elbow. The Wilson Clash comes in a range of options from the Clash 98 to the Clash 108 and even offers options for junior players. The Clash retails between $199 – $249.

If you are new to tennis and looking for a racquet, Darrell says that the Head Titanium Ti S6 is excellent for beginners. The Ti S6 is lightweight and has an oversized racquet head. This means that the racquet is easier to control and will be more forgiving of a mishit ball. The Ti S6 retails for $80. 

String

Restringing your racquet should be a regular part of maintaining the quality of your game because strings lose tension over time and this decreases performance. Smith and Darrell offer the following suggestions for string:

Refresh Your Tennis Gear with Mains and Crosses

Babolat Blast RPM – the best selling string in the world and the string of choice for pro Rafael Nadal. This string offers players spin, durability and playability.

Solinco Hyper G and SolincoHyper G Soft – is a co-polyester string designed to offer more playability and control while allowing players to generate extreme power, spin and bite.

Tecnifibre Triax – According to Smith, the Triax has “performance and durability and is still soft enough for those recovering from tennis related injuries.”

String prices vary but typically start around $12.

Overgrip

There are so many options for overgrips on the market. However, Smith noted that  Tourna Grip is enjoying a popularity spike. It is an overgrip that professional tennis players such as the Bryan Brothers and John Isner choose. Tourna Grip offers a dry, comfortable grip and is able to accommodate all types of players. Tourna Grip retails starting at $5. 

Shoes

According to Darrell, the trend in tennis footwear is a shoe that offers “out-of-the-box comfort.” Additionally, more players are looking for shoes that are as light as a running sneaker with the durability of a traditional tennis shoe. Many brands offer footwear that meet this need and Nike is still one of the best selling brands. However, the K-Swiss Hypercourt Express 2 is the best selling shoe at Tennis Topia. The Hypercourt Express 2 is engineered to be supportive, stable, comfortable and durable. These shoes retail for $105.

Masks

As indoor tennis season is upon us,  players may need to wear a mask while visiting indoor tennis facilities and possibly during tennis play. Darrell  suggests Zensah Sport Performance masks. These masks are designed to be comfortable, breathable and no-slip – perfect for playing sports. Zensah masks retail for $16.

USTA Mid-Atlantic thanks Smith and Darrell for all of their excellent advice. Follow them on social media to continue to get updates on the latest in tennis gear. You can find Smith and Mains and Crosses on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.  Darrell and Tennis Topia can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

Don’t forget, USTA Mid-Atlantic’s 12 Days of Gifting! You can join in the fun by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Summer Tennis Successes - Kids Jumping

Summer of Tennis Successes

Tennis brought back fun for kids in the summer of uncertainty. 

Even with the change in normalcy this summer and in a time of the pandemic, there is plenty of summer tennis successes to report on. The momentum for tennis in the Mid-Atlantic kept ongoing, especially among youth players. Tennis proved to be the perfect solution for kids to have fun, stay active, and keep up with healthy habits while maintaining appropriate social distance (without being socially distant). 

And we are keeping that momentum going through the end of 2020. We know that tennis has the power to continue to bring us all together, which is why we are continuing to make an impact before the year ends so we can grow tennis in the Mid-Atlantic for the next generation. Click here to learn more.

We also learned how to be resilient, adapt and innovate in 2020, which influenced how we ran our Summer tennis programs this year.

Summer tennis programs needed to be different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. With safety as a top priority USTA Mid-Atlantic – a nonprofit organization – and TGA Premier Youth Tennis innovated to host a variety of summer programs that met the needs of players, parents, and kids alike. Programs were provided in a way that was accessible to more people in support of USTA Mid-Atlantic’s mission.  

Summer of tennis successes in youth programs.

Through innovative experiences and new partnerships, record numbers of youth got active with tennis. In less than three months, USTA Mid-Atlantic saw 924 registrations in our summer recreation tennis programs.  

Kids and adults of all ages and levels practiced tennis, learned new skills, built friendships, and had plenty of fun. 

We are excited to share a few highlights of the successes from the summer season: 

Loudoun County, Va.: 

  • We ran more than 20 one-day clinics. This gave families the flexibility without a long-term commitment. This was a new USTA Mid-Atlantic program and each clinic averaged 8-15 students. 
  • For high school tennis players, missing out on their spring season was devastating. But they came back swinging on the courts participating in two high school round-robin tournaments hosted by USTA Mid-Atlantic. This gave players a chance to keep up with their tennis skills and have a friendly competition. Each tournament sold out due to demand.

Howard County, Md.:

  • A new record was set this summer for tennis camps. With our partner Howard County Recreation and Parks, there were 14 summer tennis camps. There were 186 participating players, the most that the county has seen in one summer.
  • USTA Mid-Atlantic also ran three neighborhood community tennis programs, to help residents get active. This included the first-time program at a senior-living community – showcasing that tennis is a lifetime sport. 

Fairfax County, Va.:

  • In Fairfax, both youth and adults played tennis through recreation programs offered in two neighboring communities. 
  • In the Kingstowne community in Alexandria, Va., there were 32 registered players across several youth and adult classes, which was greater than previous summer tennis seasons. 

Virtual tennis: 

Applying lessons learned from a pilot in the spring, we continued offering virtual tennis classes this summer so that young players could practice tennis from the comfort of home. 

  • Overall, we had 66 registrations this summer, which is more than double from the spring pilot program.
  • Certified coaches from USTA Mid-Atlantic also ran free, weekly virtual tennis sessions through Facebook LIVE. This 30-minute program ran for 9 weeks and reached more than 1,500 people every week!
    • All of these sessions are now saved on USTA Mid-Atlantic’s Facebook page, click here. 

Continuing Summer Momentum:

“Going into the summer, there were a lot of unknowns and we were not sure how we would plan and provide our programs,” said Alex Chan, director of recreation programs for USTA Mid-Atlantic Section.

“But we knew families were looking for a safe sport that could get them out and active and saw a need for tennis in the Mid-Atlantic. We are really proud to have given so many people the chance to play tennis, and be active safely through our summer tennis programs.” 

Summer tennis this year in the Mid-Atlantic region was creative, innovative, and FUN. Through the creation of new, accessible opportunities across the Mid-Atlantic Section we were able to spread the love of tennis to more people, especially children who gain myriad benefits from the sport. 

The tennis fun will continue through the fall for children. No matter what the school year looks like, USTA Mid-Atlantic’s TGA Premier Youth Tennis has accessible and flexible options for tennis after school. To find a full list of programs near you, click here. 

Did you know USTA Mid-Atlantic is a non-profit organization with a mission to grow tennis? We are especially focused on ensuring more children have access to the sport no matter background, ability, or zip code. We invest resources and depend on generous donations that help us provide tennis programs in underserved communities so that ALL children can experience the life-long benefits of the sport. Learn more about our impact.

Teaching Moments from Tennis

Teaching Moments from Tennis, by Autumn Schiff

Tennis is an important staple in Autumn Schiff’s life. She is an avid player, fan, and this year she coached USTA Mid-Atlantic’s summer youth programs – teaching the next generation the life-long benefits of the sport. As she completed her summer coaching, she reflected on the important “teachable moments” you get from playing tennis, which are especially reinforced when you are teaching the sport to someone new to the game.

Lessons like “approach, and put it away” or “stand tall and play to win” not only help guide a person’s tennis game but can be applied to everyday life too.

Autumn writes about her favorite teaching moments from tennis she has learned over the years and how you can apply them directly to your life.

Read more below:

Play for Love: Who couldn’t like a game that literally starts with love? The origin of this term in tennis is a mystery.  I prefer to think it is based on the idea of playing for the “love of the game” and  being a good sport.
Autumn Schiff and her daughter playing tennis.
Keep Your Eye on the Ball:  t his one is an obvious metaphor, but so true. If you take your eye off the ball [whether in tennis or in life] for even one second, you miss your shot. Stay focused!
Autumn’s first tennis tournament in 1990, she is pictured on the left.
Dig Deep and Stay Light on Your Toes: This concept requires you to stay strong, but exhibit grace. Or as leadership expert Brené Brown says, “lead with a soft front and a strong back.”
A photo of Autumn on the tennis court this summer.

Each lesson that Autumn has learned has been helpful for both her tennis game and strategy as well as her life and career. She applies what she learns on the court to how she navigates through life off the court.

To read Autumn Schiff’s full blog go to http://www.careercharters.com or click here. And let us know what life lessons you have learned from playing tennis. Share your story with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or by emailing Megan Driscoll at driscoll@mas.usta.com.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.”

Arthur Ashe

Serving Off Court: Gearing Up With TennisTopia

Excitement is building in the Mid-Atlantic as tennis players are getting out more and more to play. Over the last few weeks, USTA Mid-Atlantic teamed up with local business owners on our  #ServeItForward business list for info that can help you get back on the court. So far, we shared fitness tips from LaRue Cook, owner of LEC Fitness, and a healthy recipe to fuel your body from Corey Kuck, owner of Catering By Corey

Now, we turn our attention to tennis gear and caught up with Darrell Haines, the owner and founder of local Mid-Atlantic tennis shop TennisTopia

A Michigan native, Darrell was introduced to tennis by his dad who managed a tennis club and supported Darrell in his love for tennis. Growing up, Darrell played junior competitive tennis tournaments and eventually went on to play for Ferris State University in Michigan. While at Ferris State, Darrell majored in Professional Tennis Management and Marketing. After college, he eventually landed in Montgomery County, Maryland and opened TennisTopia in Rockville, Md., in 2006.

What Darrell loves most about TennisTopia is connecting with people. From competitive players to those just starting out, Darrell enjoys learning about his customers and then helping them select the right tennis gear that is suited to their needs and play – a highly personalized approach. He also loves the diversity of tennis and how tennis can bring people together. 

In our conversation with Darrell, we chatted about tennis gear and the services that TennisTopia offers. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: What are a few unique products or services that your shop offers? 

Darrell Haines: We offer while-you-wait racquet restringing services. We have two professional stringers that have both strung on the pro tour. In fact, one of the stringers is one of the few stringers in the world to string three of the four grand slams in the same year.

Stringing really can make a difference for someone depending on their level of play. When you have a bad string job, you can really tell the difference. It is our stringing services that set us apart from other shops.

We also offer one-to-one customer service and our staff is very knowledgeable about our products. The goal of every staff member is to help players choose gear that is best for them, no matter what their level of play is. 

As we return to play, what are your top 5 items everyone should have in their tennis bag?

First and foremost, everyone should definitely have their mask and hand sanitizer, but apart from that, I recommend having an extra racquet so you have a backup. You never know when you might break a string or have something happen to the grip. 

Next, I recommend having an extra pair of shoes for after you play. Fourth, I recommend having wristbands. Wristbands are great to help absorb extra sweat and to keep the sweat from getting on the racquet. Finally, keep extra tennis balls in your bag. 

What are a few tips for taking care of your gear – especially after a prolonged absence from tennis?

After not playing for a few months, I highly recommend that everyone restring and regrip their racquets. Regular restringing helps keep your game consistent. I would recommend restringing your racquet twice a year. Also, it is important to replace grips because good grips help you from gripping the racquet too hard which can lead to tennis elbow. Lower level players often undervalue the power of a newer string job and what a new grip can do for your play and technique. Those two things really do make a big difference on your play.

Any final thoughts about getting back on court?

People are getting back to playing tennis and it’s so nice to see. It really is a lifetime sport.

As a valued partner of the #ServeItForward campaign, TennisTopia is offering 10% off all purchases with promo code: MAS10 and all online orders of $50 or more are eligible for 2-day free shipping. Visit the store in-person in at 827-A Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD or check out their online store!

USTA Mid-Atlantic invites everyone to continue to #ServeItForward both on and off-court, and get involved in helping to support tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section.  Learn more about how you can #ServeItForward and support the USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization, as we bring the healing power of tennis to our Mid-Atlantic community. 

Corey Kuck - Eating healthy to return to tennis

Serving off the court: Fueling Your Body for Tennis

You’re playing tennis regularly and working on your game but still feel like you need extra energy to make it through a match. Sound like you? If so, you may need to take a look at your nutrition.

Healthy, balanced eating consistently could give you the boost of energy and enhance your athletic performance on the tennis courts.

So many people are excited to get out and play tennis in the Mid-Atlantic region, and so we want to help you not only get back to playing but have a few nutrition tips and a healthy recipe that can help you get your nutrition on point, and ready to fuel your tennis game from the inside out.

We caught up with another local business owner featured on the #ServeItForward business list Corey Kuck, Chef, and owner of Catering By Corey for his thoughts on tennis, cooking and a simple, healthy recipe for you to try out. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: Where are you from originally?

Corey Kuck:  Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Where do you live now? 

Leesburg, VA

How long have you been playing tennis? 

A little more than 1 year.

How did you get started playing tennis?

 I never really played before but did I try out for my High School team against the number 1 player. I didn’t win. I didn’t pick up a racquet again until I met my girlfriend and last year, she got me involved in playing tennis.

How often do you play and where? 

I try to play socially at River Creek Club in Leesburg once or twice a week. If I am not able to hit with someone, then I use the ball machine to improve my skills. I try to take lessons once a week as well. 

How does it feel to be back out on the courts?

 It feels great to be on the courts. My game is progressing and tennis is one sport that you can safely play during the pandemic. It helps me relieve stress.

Let’s switch gears and talk about food  . . .

How long have you been a Chef? 

I have been in the industry as a cook and chef for 22 years 

Where did you train?

 I am a self-taught chef. I started early on by watching my mother at home; my mother is a great cook. I then progressed to learning through hands-on experience from people with all skill levels in the industry. I jumped from restaurant to restaurant every two years to make sure that I learned to cook dishes from all over the world and continuously honed my skills.

What drew you to cooking? 

Cooking is artistic, delicious and I get to play with knives and fire.

What’s your favorite dish? 

That is an impossible question to answer as it always changes because of my love for food. I always like a good Taco.

What do you want people to know about your business?

I not only cater, but I make homemade meals for busy families or those that want healthy home meals.

What are a few nutrition tips tennis players should keep in mind while returning to the courts? Always hydrate. Watch your sugar intake and make sure you get enough potassium and carbs before a match.

To help fuel your body to get back out on the court, try Corey’s Summer Herb Pesto crusted Pork Tenderloin with Mediterranean Couscous:

Ingredients:  

1 or 2 pork tenderloin

2- 3 teaspoons minced (Dried) onion

1 teaspoon granulated garlic per pork tenderloin

¾ of a teaspoon ground ginger

salt and pepper to taste

1 capful apple cider vinegar per pork tenderloin

3 heaping tablespoons summer herb pesto (store brand is fine) 

1 ½ cup of plain couscous 

1 ½ cup vegetable or chicken broth

1 12oz can of quartered or chopped artichoke hearts

1 med to large fresh tomato

½ to ¾ cup fresh basil

½ cup fresh Italian parsley 

4 or 5 cloves of fresh garlic 

½ of medium red onion

½ cup feta cheese

⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar

⅓ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

½ of lemon

½ of lime

Herb pesto crusted Pork Tenderloin: 

  1. Clean Pork Tenderloin of all silverskin, pat dry then drizzle about one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar on pork and rub in.  Season with dried Onion, granulated garlic, ground ginger, salt, and fresh ground black pepper and rub in.  
  2. Sear pork in a medium-high cast iron pan with oil of choice.  When all sides of pork are seared and have a rich golden brown color, take off the heat and let cool for 5 min. 
  3. Rub the summer herb pesto all over the tenderloin.  
  4. Place on a lined cookie sheet and finish in a 350-degree oven for 13 to 17 min depending on the size of tenderloin and preference of the doneness of pork (Medium to well done).  

For the Mediterranean  Couscous (you can make a day in advance) 

  1. Prepare a plain couscous with a vegetable or chicken broth according to the directions.  Fork fluff the couscous and put in the fridge.  
  2. Mince fresh garlic (4 or 5 cloves) and lightly roast in a small pan with oil at medium-low temperature until toasted, take off the heat, and set aside. 
  3. Cut fresh basil and Italian parsley, dice artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes, and red onion.  
  4. In a large bowl toss in the couscous,  drizzle white balsamic vinegar over couscous, and extra virgin olive oil about 1/4 cup of each.  
  5. Add all of the vegetables and herbs and squeeze one half of a lime and lemon into the couscous and toss all together and refrigerate until you serve.

Now that you have a few quick nutrition tips, don’t forget to check out LaRue Cook’s tips on preparing your body for tennis

USTA Mid-Atlantic invites everyone to #ServeItForward both on and off-court, and get involved in helping to support tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section as part of the recovery process we’ll all need.  Learn more about how you can #ServeItForward and support the USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization, as we bring the healing power of tennis to our Mid-Atlantic community. 

Let us know how you or your tennis friends #ServeItForward by emailing hughes@mas.usta.com.

Sources: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Harvard Medical School

https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise-eating-healthy#breakfast