Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Junior Aces Program Brings Tennis to the Youth of Kenya

In November 2011 a tennis program was launched focused on bringing the game of tennis to less fortunate kids from the slums of western Kenya. “We shall work with kids from the slums because that’s where the tennis talents are,” said Tennis Academy director, Collins Agwanda.

This initiative, known as the Junior Aces Program was designed by the United Kingdom based Ace Coaching and the Victoria Tennis Academy. Kenya is the first African nation to profit from this program which works to develop and promote tennis skills around the globe.

Agwanda also stated his hopes on the future for this program, “Our target now is to see more than 1000 less fortunate kids across the slums in Western Kenya playing tennis daily, starting in 2012.”

This Junior Aces program is similar to the USTA`s 10 and Under youth program which also aims to offer tennis court equipment like tennis nets and courts to America`s younger athletes.

The Junior Aces program has attracted quite a bit of attention from approximately 200 youth players from different parts of Western Kenya, a member of Kenya`s parliament and 15 local schools.

According to the Ace Coaching website, the program is a rare online tennis community hoping to provide services and education for coaches, players and fans. However, this movement might be difficult because the Junior Aces program does not yet have enough tennis equipment so program coordinators are depending on public donations.

As of right now, junior players are practicing on make-shift tennis courts composed of white chalk lines on  large dirt fields and poor quality tennis nets  in the slums of Kisumu.

The Kenya Lawn Tennis Association has generously donated some racquets and tennis balls but much more equipment is needed in order to allow this program to live up to its potential in promoting youth tennis in Kenya. To contribute in any way, please contact Collins Agwanda at collinsagwanda@gmail.com.

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I`m Never Leaving Home without My Whak Sak Tennis Bag

So I got one of my Christmas presents early this year and it was just what I wanted. The Whak Sak Pennies in Heaven Baby Sak Tennis bag for women. I was so excited to try my new bag out, so the next morning I packed it up, getting ready for my weekly match.

I filled my water bottle with freezing cold water, kept cold by the specialized magnetic, insulated, detachable cooler and fastened my keys to the key hook. I got my sunscreen, SPF 80 (I burn easy), my sunglasses, cell phone, wallet and gum and loaded it all into the front zippered pocket. I also stuffed a change of clothes into the main compartment.

I walked out my front door and just as I was pulling out the driveway I realized I forgot the most important thing. My racquet! I rushed back inside, running late at this point and grabbed my racquet and my spare; both easily fit in the main compartment with my clothes!

I hurried to the court and was there just on time to start the match. After the game while walking back to my car, a lady stopped me… “Where`d you get that tennis bag? It`s beautiful.” Another women heard out conversation and jumped in. “That bag is fantastic… how many racquets can you fit?”

“Two,” I answered, “but along with my two racquets I can fit a change of clothes and all my other stuff!” I proceeded to unzip the front compartment to show them how roomy this Whak Sak tennis bag is…all of them envious!

Finally at my car, I jumped in and went home. I took a short nap then woke up to my dog licking my face, bringing my tennis ball to my hand… just begging me to play.

My dog is a lab and loves the water so I decided to take her to dog beach. I got my new tennis bag, already loaded with my sunglasses, sunscreen and all the other essentials, threw in some doggie bags (not the good kind) and a few of her tennis balls and off we went.

As I was leaving I realized that the Wak Sak Pennies in Heaven Baby Sak is not only a sling tennis bag, it is easily converted into a backpack… perfect for the beach because both my hands are tied up with my 85 pound dog!

There are so many options of tennis bags for women from Whak Sak and I couldn’t have asked for a better early Christmas present than the Whak Sak Pennies in Heaven Baby Sak. It was so convenient, not only at the tennis court but at dog beach and anywhere else I feel like going!


Dear Santa, All I Want for Christmas is a New Tennis Bag

I don`t mean to be greedy but I am in need of a new tennis bag! There are so many options I just can’t choose. There`s the Court Couture Cassanova tennis bag that comes in scarlet red, the Jet Racing Stripes (Zebra) tennis tote bag, the 40 Love Courture Natural Cheetah Tennis Backpack, and the Cortiglia Marina Nero Tennis Tote.

The Court Couture Cassanova tennis bag in Scarlet Red is beautiful and comes with a matching mini make-up bag. Being an animal lover, I am so happy this bag is made of Croco embossed patent faux leather. It has metal feet to protect the bottom from damage and dual shoulder straps with a 10″ drop. The interior is composed of a fine textile lining with 2 oversized racquet compartments. It also comes with plenty of pockets to store extra things for the court like water bottles, sunscreen, sunglasses and much more.

The Jet Racing Stripes (Zebra) tennis tote is perfect for the court but can double as an overnight bag or even a purse. The two large side pockets are for racquets with the main compartment in between to hold anything you want. The bag also has velcro and snap closures, a name card holder in case it’s ever lost, padded shoulder straps, and an extra side pocket. One of my favorite features about this bag is that the front pocket comes with a built in organizer so you don’t ever miss a match.

The 40 Love Courture Natural Cheetah tennis backpack come in cheetah print with brown trim and orange accents made of durable sun/stain resistant outdoor fabric. One of my favorite features about this bag is the Swarovski crystal rivets on the outside which add even more style to this tote. It also has a removable padded shoulder and bottom liner for added protection. It has four interior pockets to hold any of your extra accessories.

The Cortiglia Marina Nero Tennis Tote is on the expensive side but worth it in my opinion. It was featured in Tennis Magazine and Daily Candy, made in Italy. This tote is an excellent tennis bag as it can hold 2 racquets but is also a perfect carry-on.

Santa, this is the only present I want this Christmas, nothing else.  I have been good and I think it`s well deserved. Please, when I wake up Christmas morning, let me find a new tennis bag underneath the tree!


So Many Options of Tennis Ball Hoppers

When I was younger, practicing to be a star tennis player, I used to make my little brother pick up the tennis balls I had hit all over my grandparent`s tennis court. Unfortunately, he is older now and refuses to help me! I tried it myself for a while but found I was wasting so much practice time chasing tennis balls. I decided a tennis ball hopper would be a great tool for me to save my time and my back. I can honestly say… it was a worthy investment!

As a tennis player you have enough strain on your body, why add extra stress on your back and waste valuable time picking up tennis balls when you can get a ball hopper? Tennis ball hoppers come in so many different varieties that you can be sure to find the perfect one for you whether you play for fun, professionally or you need them for coaching and clinics.

Ball Tubes

A great option for tennis athlete that plays for fun and exercise is a tennis ball hopper tube like the HOAG Hoagee Ball Tube which makes picking up tennis balls quick, easy and you don’t have to bend down and strain your back. This particular tube holds up to 21 balls.

Another great option is the Gamma Ball Tube 15 Ball Hopper which is a great option for junior players as it is so lightweight that anyone can carry it and comes with a convenient shoulder strap for easy transportability. Something like this would have really helped my younger brother on the court!

Carts

Like tennis ball hoppers, carts are a great choice for tennis coaches because they are constantly commuting to and from different locations.  The Gamma Ball Hopper Brute Divider has two sections allowing you to hold two different types of balls; perfect for lessons and clinics.

Another option, like tennis ball hoppers, is the HOAG 350 Ball Teaching Cart #9605, which offers the best wheels with ball bearings on axles and casters that are sealed to resist dust, dirt and clay. The heavy-duty plastic coated cart also comes with a storage tray for holding racquets, books and other teaching tools. Racquets can also be locked inside the cart offering extra protection of your valuable equipment.

The Head Coaches Cart #588991 holds up to 250 tennis balls and is perfect for a traveling coach because it is easily transportable like most tennis ball hoppers, as it fits into the trunk of most cars. This cart also comes with a lockable lid that can double as a storage tray, a lifetime wheel guarantee and a basket hanger.

 Roller Hoppers and Mowers

Tennis roller hoppers and mowers offer the quickest and easiest ways for any player to pick up tennis balls. The Gamma Ball Mower tennis ball hopper can pick up to 240 tennis balls in just minutes with arms that span 54” and are detachable for easy storage.

The Gamma Roller hopper 150 Ball Hopper is multi-functional in that it picks up tennis balls and stores them.  It is lightweight and perfect for on-the-go teachers and personal use.

As you can see, there is a multitude of options for ball hoppers. You are sure to find the one that meets your needs! To save time and your back, a tennis ball hopper is the way to go.


Health Scares for the Tennis Star Sisters

Tennis pros and sisters, Venus and Serena Williams, have had their share of health issues. After an 8 month recovery stint, to nurse a foot injury, the younger sister, Serena, ended up in the hospital due to a blot clot in her lungs. In the hospital, Serena was rushed into surgery for a hematoma.

Since then, older sister, Venus, was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease known as Sjogren`s Syndrome, with the most common symptoms being dry eyes and a dry mouth. Those complications seem minor but Sjogren`s can also cause joint pain, swelling, numbness and fatigue.

Experienceing these symptoms would be difficult for any person, especially a professional athlete. Because of these symptoms, Venus had no choice but to drop out of the U.S. Open. In an interview on Good Morning America, Williams discussed her health problems, “I had swelling and numbness and fatigue, which was really debilitating. I just didn’t have any energy,” Williams said. “And it’s not that you don’t have energy; you just feel beat up.”

Although getting diagnosed with such a serious disease is difficult, Serena is hopeful now that she has an explanation for feeling the way she did. “I think I’ve had issues with Sjogren’s for a while. It just wasn’t diagnosed… The good news for me is now I know what’s happening.”

Sjogren`s Syndrom can be managed with treatment, but the tennis star is also helping herself by changing her diet, including less meat and much more vegetables. With the new and improved lifestyle, Serena says, “My goal next year is to play a full schedule. It will take some work to get there, but I’m no stranger to hard work.”