Not all Tennis Backboards are Created Equal

Just as tennis ball machines or a rebound nets, tennis backboards make great partners when humans partners are unavailable.

When looking to purchase a tennis backboard it is important to remember that not all backboards are created equal in the sense that different manufactures use different materials and technology to design them.

Tennis backboards are typically made out of fiberglass, UV treated plastics, polyurethane, wood, brick and even foam.

Wood and brick tennis backboards typically wear faster than other materials soto get the most out of your money, it is wise to invest in a backboard that is made to last with more durable materials.

For those who want make the best investment and buy long-lasting, durable tennis backboards, manufactures like Bakko Backboards, Rally Master and Court Master offer some great options whether it is for a private home court or a busy tennis club.

Tennis backboards come in different styles like flat and curved; each has advantages but it really just depends on personal preference.

Traditional tennis backboards are flat and meant to protect walls like a garage from damage as they aren’t meant to be used as tennis equipment. Flat backboards are typically easier to install and are perfect for entertaining the kids, easy warm-ups before a match or exercise drills.

Curved tennis backboards are more advantageous for practice because they can better simulate playing in a real match. The curved backboards return the ball similar to how an opponent would; if you hit low, the ball will return high, hitting the ball high will give you a low return.

With busy schedules it is not always easy to find a practice partner. Tennis backboards can make great practice partners and are especially convenient if they are installed right in your backyard.

No matter what you are looking for, be it small, big, curved or flat, manufacturers like Bakko, Rally Master and Court Master offer a variety of tennis backboards that will surely meet your needs.

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Tennis News and Court Shoes

Tennis players that make headlines and are loved by millions get to the top because of their natural talent and competitive nature, but many wouldn`t be where they are today without the proper gear; Technologically advanced racquets, training equipment and of course, the right court shoes.

This year, the Masters Series event for men and women at the Madrid Open will be played on a blue clay court instead of the classic red. While Venus Williams feels as though it is a fashion statement, another player calls it a “Smurf clay” and Rafael Nadal says it  “…is a mistake.”

Whether the players agree with the new shade or not, the Madrid Open isn’t going back on their decision and instead of worrying about the color, pros should focus on the type of shoe they are going to wear because clay courts, blue or red, require specific court shoes.

Unfortunately, Andy Murray had to pull out of the Madrid Open due to a back injury saying “I always love coming to Madrid so it is a big disappointment. I look forward to returning next year.”

The good news is that his feet are safe and sound thanks to his court shoes. Murray prefers the Adidas Barricade 7 which offer durability, extra cushioning and support needed for hard court surfaces.

What is interesting about Andy Murray is that he won the event in 2008 when it was played on a hard-court surface but has had no such luck since the Madrid Open decided to change to clay. This could be due to the fact that Murray doesn`t have the right shoes.

Although the Adidas Barricade 7 shoes are some of the finest court shoes on the market, there are others better suited for a clay surface. The Adidas Barricade Team tennis shoes, for instance, are designed to offer maximum traction on all court surfaces.

Babolat also offers a court shoe specifically made for playing on clay surfaces; the V-Pro Clay Tennis Shoes. The V-Pro Clay has a sole designed for ideal grip and slide balance with a Michelin twin chevron clay court pattern.

I`d have to say that what makes the pros as successful as they are is predominately skill but we can`t ignore the equipment that assists them throughout every match. Footwork is one of the most important aspects of the game and the proper court shoe enhances the natural talent, making every player the best player they can be.


Umpire Chairs: More Than Just a Seat

Umpire chairs are great for tennis matches but they can serve other purposes as well.

Remember the movie The Sandlot? The beautiful lifeguard, Wendy Peffercorn, watched over the kids in the pool from the top of her umpire chair.

No matter what you do with an umpire chair, officiate tennis matches or use it as a lifeguard tower, it is important to do your research before you purchase.

Tennis umpire chairs are typically about eight feet tall, giving umpires or lifeguards a good view to make good calls or save a swimmer in need of some assistance.

Many sports equipment retailers, like Courtmaster and Gamma, offer umpire chairs that are made to last.

The Courtmaster PVC Umpire Chair is multi-functional; perfect for tennis courts, golf tees, and pools or basically anywhere a judge is needed.

This umpire chair is made out of white PVC pipe with wheels that provide convenient portability and a green seat cushion that offers comfort. It also comes with the option to add a canopy if needed.

The Gamma Aluminum Tennis Umpire Chair is built to the highest quality ensuring durability and safety for whoever sits in it. The aluminum construction will not rust or rot and is able to pass through typical gates or doors.

The Courtmaster Royale Umpire Chair is cuprinol dipped to withstand weather wear with wooden steps, armrests, seat and back for a traditional look and even comes with a desk and the option for an umbrella is available.

This particular umpire chair has a padded front feet swivel in order to adjust to uneven surfaces and the legs are made of 1-1/2” forest green square tubing. Wheels on the rear legs make for easy rolling.

As you can see, tennis umpire chairs are more than just a seat. They provide comfort and the perfect view, allowing officials to make the right calls. Whether it is center court at a tennis match or poolside at the neighborhood watering hole, umpire chairs literally offer the “best seat in the house!”


UK Tennis Club Welcomes New Member: A Tennis Ball Machine

The Masham Tennis Club in the UK welcomed a new member to the team; a brand new Tennis Tutor tennis ball machine!

Part of the Masham Sports Association, the Masham Tennis Club aims to “provide superb subsidized coaching and have developed thriving Junior and Intermediate sections.” Thanks a “Community Chest” grant from a Harrogate Borough Council, the club was able to purchase their new tennis ball machine to aid in perfecting the skills of tennis players.

The new Tennis Tutor tennis ball machine can throw tennis balls over the net at 85 mph and can also change direction and elevation as needed. Paul Barker, Tennis Club chairman said, “It is great fun to use and I’m absolutely certain this will help to improve everyone’s general standards of tennis although I am a little nervous at being beaten hands down by the machine!”

Barker expressed his gratitude to HBC for their generosity with assisting in purchasing the new tennis ball machine and is ecstatic that this small club is becoming even more player friendly. In addition to the new machine, the club has also resurfaced all three of their courts.

The new tennis ball machine will be a great tool in coaching sessions with the club`s professional coach, Chris Worwood.

Tennis Tutor tennis ball machines are manufactured by the company, Sports Tutor, and are famous for being the best-selling tennis ball machines in the world. Their portable machine, the Tennis Tutor, is the number one seller in the US.

Tennis Tutor tennis ball machines are even employed by coaching pros at the ATP training center in Florida.

The new tennis ball machine will no doubt help club players refine their skills and grow as tennis competitors which is the ultimate goal of the Masham Tennis Club. Thanks to a generous grant, the growing club can better serve the needs of their current and future club members.


A Busy Year to Come For Edwards Tennis Nets

2011 was a busy year for Edwards Sports tennis equipment and it looks like 2012 will be just as eventful for the UK based company who produces equipment for many different sports. In 2011 the sports equipment manufacturer supplied Edwards tennis nets and other court accessories to major tennis events including the Doha Asian Games, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and the legendary Wimbledon.

In 2012 the company plans to supply custom canvas screens for the London 2012 Olympic Games as well as Edwards tennis nets, posts, umpire chairs and other accessories.

The company is known for its quality products, so much so that their 35,000 sq. ft. factory, located in Bridport, was featured on UK`s, “The One Show.” The episode focused mostly around Edwards tennis nets due to the town`s rope and net heritage.

“The One Show” mentioned that Edwards  nets were used in the 1966 World Cup Final but in the 125 years that the company has been in business, their equipment has seen many tournaments for a variety of sports including football, cricket, badminton, basketball and many more.

The most legendary tennis tournaments of them all, Wimbledon, uses Edwards tennis nets and according to the company website, “All our products are made to the appropriate British and European standards…”

Edwards tennis nets come with one of their three headbands; vinyl coated, standard polyester and premium polyester. All headbands are built with premium, top-quality materials.

In doing my research, I also realized that Edwards tennis nets can even be customized to any color and size. The company will even add a label, name, logo, or all three!

Edwards tennis nets as well their other sports equipment products have served not only the tennis community but the sports world as a whole. With top quality materials and a love of athletics, the Edwards Sports Products company has been committed to producing premium sports equipment for over 125 years.


Bakko Backboards: What`s with all the Racquet?

When I was younger, my brother and I would play handball against the garage door after school… my mother hated it! The constant sounds of balls slamming against the old wooden garage would drive anyone crazy. Just like my mother, James Stewart was frustrated by the relentless sounds of tennis balls pounding against the garage door. Rather than reprimanding his children for having fun or taking the game away completely, he came up with a solution; Bakko Backboards.

James Stewart invented Bakko Backboards in the 70`s and in the last three decades the company has only grown in experience.

According the company website, “…Bakko has continued to utilize innovative ideas to expand Bakko Backboards offering many options for the tennis enthusiast, while remaining a small, quality-conscious, family-owned business.”

Not only do Bakko Backboards reduce noise but hitting balls against garages or any other wall over a period of time can cause damage that requires costly repairs, thus backboards save money in the long run by eliminating the need for these expensive maintenances.

In order to meet the needs of their customers, the company offers Bakko Backboards in many different shapes, sizes and colors and can even be customized if needed. Not only that but the company provides a line of rebound nets that can fit into smaller areas.

Bakko Backboards are offered in a fiberglass series that ship in panels for easy assembly. The company is so committed to quality that more than 20 steps go into the building of each panel.

The pre-fabricated panels of Bakko Backboards are designed to allow unlimited size and/or placement. When interlocked they create a seamless wall… just as good as a garage!

It is said that the greatest ideas are inspired by necessity and that is definitely true with Bakko Backboards. One father`s frustration turned into a business that has served the tennis community over generations with high quality materials and exceptional service.


The Rise of the Babolat Pure Drive

The Babolat brand was originally known for being the first company to introduce natural gut tennis string back in 1875, but over the years they have proved to be much more than that with their innovating line of racquets including the Babolat Pure Drive.

In 1994, Babolat decided to enter the racquet market and has since become the fastest growing manufacturer in the world with racquet lines like the Babolat Pure Drive. After their U.S. launch some years ago, the brand is now competing with market leaders like Wilson, Prince and Head. In fact, 22% of the top male and female tennis players prefer Babolat tennis racquets.

Kevin Kempin, vice president for sales and marketing of Head/Penn stated, “Where it was once Wilson, Head and Prince, Babolat has come along and added a fourth competitor.”

In the late 90`s Andy Roddick was introduced to Babolat racquets by his coach at the time, former French pro, Tarik Benhabiles. “After about five minutes, I asked him to get me a couple more,” said Roddick.

Andy Roddick decided to switch to Babolat racquets and four months later he was ranked world No.1 among junior players. Roddick now has his Babolat racquet named after him; the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT.

The entrance of Babolat into the racquet market almost came to an end just four years into the racquet push. In 1998, Babolat CEO, Pierre Babolat passed away in the Swissair crash off Nova Scotia, making Eric Babolat the new CEO. He was only 28 years old and had just a few years of marketing experience under his belt.

“I can say that it was a tough time, but it was clear for everyone to push the racket part of the business,” Eric has said, but he proved successful. In 2006 he had a sales growth of about $116 million.

Babolat`s first big pro to endorse their new racquet lines was Carlos Moya, who won the 1998 French Open  using the blue and while Babolat Pure Drive, however, the major step forward for the brand`s racquet line may have been signing Andy Roddick.

With superstar Roddick and other big hitters such as Rafael Nadal, the Babolat Pure Drive frame was No.1 in pro/specialty sales in September 2002 and remained at No.1 all the way through March 2006 with the exception of only two months in the four year period.

Although U.S. sales are continuing to grow, Babolat still has some challenges to overcome. “You keep wondering: Will [Babolat] Pure Drive keep selling?” stated John Swetka, owner Swetka’s Tennis Shop in Mountain View, California.

In the U.S., despite growing from about 150 to 900 outlets, Babolat has had distribution problems and has had to assure retailers about local exclusivity and competitors like Wilson and Prince have recently introduced new innovative racquet technology. “Right now they are kind of a two-racket company,” says Jon Muir, general manager of Wilson Racquet Sports, speaking about the Babolat Pure Drive and AeroPro Drive lines.

Despite some challenges, the Babolat Pure Drive and AeroPro Drive lines pose a threat to market competitors. With only 18 years in the tennis racquet industry, Babolat has made immense progress and will no doubt continue to grow.