Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Right Equipment

Last week, after much advising (heckling?) from my brother, I caved and decided to drop some real money on a professional tennis racket.  I went to Dick's to look at some rackets to see what size handle I should get, and even though I didn't leave with a racket I did leave with a pair of shorts with pockets.  For WEEKS I had been searching for tennis shorts with pockets.  I went to Sport's Authority, TJ Maxx, Marshall's (where 2 friends found their tennis shorts), Modell's, and Dick's twice.  The second time I was at Dick's, I asked a woman if they had shorts with pockets, got a negative response, and went to look for a hanger to attack someone with (believe me, after 3 weeks of searching you'd be frustrated too).  I absentmindedly began flipping through another rack of shorts when all of a sudden I noticed something: these shorts had pockets.  I couldn't believe it.  And then showed the employee and she couldn't believe it.  And then I told the people at the cash register that they had to keep these shorts in stock because I would be back to buy more.

For those of you who also suffer from the fact that manufacturers don't believe women need pockets in their shorts, these are the ones I got (mine are blue).  They were in the training section.  Who knew?

Anyways, this post isn't about those shorts (or maybe it is), it's about having the right equipment for when you play.

For weeks I was playing with a tennis racket that was too small, had dead strings, and the grip tape was peeling off.  I thought about getting the racket restrung, but my brother's friend who was going to do it said he'd probably snap the racket because I was yet again playing with a youth racket.  That following week, my brother's friend led me to tennis warehouse and I immediately went to the sale section.  I picked mine based on weight, size of the head, and (of course) color.  I absolutely fell in love with this racket - it was the perfect size and weight and had the right specs and it looked awesome.  And it was $80 off!  Even though it was still $70 but what ever it was $80 off!  I ordered it and had it strung with these nice strings and it finally came in the mail yesterday.  So, I grabbed my friends and hit the court today.

Although it didn't make me play like I pro (I'm not going to lie, I was kind of wishing it would), almost all of my balls were making it over the net.  The racket took the impact of the ball, leaving less pain in my elbow and shoulder.  I felt like I had more control and my swings were coming easier, plus playing with a new fancy racket gave me a lot of confidence.  It was like I was in Ollivander's shop picking out a wand and I found one that chose me, that worked for me, and I performed well with it.  Ok that's a little corny but I have Potter-fever.  You'll benefit from this fever as well, I have something Harry Potter related planned for this weekend!!  But, more on that later.

Moral of the story - if you're going to invest a lot of time into something, you will not regret putting the money down for some great equipment.  After using this new racket, my shoulders, elbows, and forearm are not as sore as they normally are, my hits were looking relatively better than before, and I had slightly more control (something that will definitely come with practice).  Making sure you have the right equipment is important for all sports and activities.  Would you go running in a pair of old Converse?  Or would you go biking without bike shorts (believe me, that's an experience no one would want to have)?  Or would you play football with cheap pads?  Ok you get the point: the right equipment will change your game immensely.  And look at it this way - if you put a good amount of money down for your new equipment, you'll definitely be motivated to get a lot of use out of it.  I will be playing tennis for the next 2 days.

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