Top 10 Items to Always Have in your Tennis bag

If you’re heading over to the public courts for a quick rally or match with a buddy then don’t worry about what you bring with you (apart from a racquet and shoes) as there is no consequence for quitting early due to equipment malfunction or injury. However, if you are going into battle, so to speak, where winning might actually matter to you, you should have your tennis bag packed with a few just-in-case items. Obviously, preparing for every eventuality is impossible so don’t bother trying. Keep the following basics in your bag and you can feel comfortable that you have taken reasonable measures.

The List (in no particular order of importance — and, yes, I recognize that I can’t count.  There are, depending on how you categorize these, 11, 9 or more items here):

At Least Two Racquets: What are you going to do if your break a string?  Whip out your spare of course!

Food and Water:  It’s a pretty simple concept but one that people inexplicably fail to act on.  Plain water and a banana (potassium) is good enough.  But don’t forget water!  If you’re really working hard then consider an electrolyte mixture (electrolytes are salts that help prevent cramping).

A Towel: Gilles Simon must have, specifically, a white towel with him on court.  But, that’s weird as the point of a towel is to absorb moisture.

Over Grips: It is very easy to gunk up or otherwise ruin an over grip which, in turn, makes it harder to hold onto your racquet. Wouldn’t it be nice to simply change the grip so you don’t accidentally chuck your racquet over the fence (possibly striking and killing a small dog)?

Medical Kit: Especially aspirin and blister repair stuff (Band-Aids, scissors, tape and powder).

Socks and an Extra Shirt: Your feet are important, and if you start to get a blister or your socks are too wet, you’ll want to change them out.  A dry shirt is also one of those items that wouldn’t seem too important unless you’ve changed into one in the middle of a tough match. It feels soooo much better!

Sunscreen: Yeah, don’t look like a cooked lobster.  Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours if you aren’t sweating. If you are sweating then you need to reapply it every hour or so.  Not that you’re going to play a 5 set match or anything, but consider that each set will take 1 hour.

A Hat and Sunglasses: If it’s cloudy and there is no glare you can take off the hat.  If it’s sunny, you can put it back on — easy.  Janko Tipseravic wears frames in which are transition lenses. When he plays indoors or in cloudy weather the glasses are clear, but if it’s sunny they become sunglasses. Now, if Tipseravic can wear sunglasses then so can you! Protect yourself out there.

Flip Flops: When your match is over and your feet are killing you, it feels great to take them immediately off and walk around in some sandals.

If I’ve forgotten something obvious, let me know in the comment section!

Preparing for your First Tennis Lesson: Things to Bring

Anybody who has worn actual tennis shoes while playing tennis knows why they are a must-have clothing item – the must have item. However, if you’ve never played before, you might not know why it’s a bad idea to show up to your first lesson in, say, flip-flops, Crocs, or even running shoes. After all, a person is perfectly capable of running barefooted; why not play tennis in whatever is comfortable? When you schedule your first lesson you want to show up ready to play.  Lessons aren’t cheap, right?  Spend more time playing and less time fighting with your equipment and clothing.  Here’s what you should have:

A Racquet: Duh, right? Hold on though because it’s not that simple. There are many kinds of racquets for many kinds of players. If, for instance, you are a parent who has signed her new-to-the-sport kid up for a first lesson you might not want to invest hundreds of dollars in a new racquet right away. At Gonzo Tennis we can help. Let us know ahead of time and we can equip your kid with a racquet that is the proper length and weight. If he likes the sport then you can go make the investment and we can give you pointers on what to look for when purchasing a new racquet. Tennis racquets come in different lengths and grip sizes (not to mention weights and stiffness). A child needs a shorter racquet with a smaller grip. Therefore, don’t lend your small child your own racquet for his first class as he won’t be able to swing it and grip it correctly.  Again, let us know and we can help size your kid for a racquet.

If you are an adult looking for a new racquet for a first lesson we can help you, too.  Again, call or e-mail us before your first lesson and we’ll bring some demos for you to try of various weights and stiffness.

Shoes: Tennis shoes are an absolute must on the tennis court. It isn’t a matter of fashion either. You’ve seen those signs on courts that tell you to wear non-scuffing shoes. This might lead you to the false conclusion that tennis shoes are simply a fashion statement or a way for clubs to keep courts scuff-mark free. The real reason that there are shoes specifically designed for tennis is the same reason you shouldn’t wear running shoes onto a basketball court unless you really want to twist your ankle. Running shoes, you’ll notice, are designed to rock back to forward; the soles are not flat, and they are narrow. Tennis shoes are very low profile, flat shoes providing more contact with the ground. They are designed for stop and go movements side to side. If you’ve ever tried running in a straight line for a mile wearing tennis shoes you will see how uncomfortable they are in that capacity. But, the same goes for wearing running shoes while playing tennis – very uncomfortable.

Clothing: This is where you get to be a fashionista if you so choose. You can subscribe to the Venus Williams or Andre Agassi approach to fashion which is to look crazy while being awesome. Or you may choose to be more traditional about it, white being the approved color of the Newport and Wimbledon clubs. Any way you want to dress is fine as long as you can move freely and not overheat on a hot day. Get creative! All this being said there is one design that your clothing must have. Men, wear shorts with pockets! Women, you are a complete mystery. I saw a lady last week who had nowhere to put the second tennis ball and her solution was to shove it down her sports bra! It was borderline comedy. Every time she needed a second serve, she reached down her bra and produced the ferreted away tennis ball! Why? Why not just wear shorts or a tennis skirt with an extra ball holding function!?

A Hat: For years Ivan Lendl wore a legionnaire’s hat when he played in the Australian Open. Sun protection is no joke on the tennis court. Have sun screen and a nice hat ready in your bag. I lament the fact that men tend to think a baseball hat is enough sun protection. I see women out on the courts practicing all the time in wide visors and proper, athletic sun hats. Why not men, too?

Water: Bring water, people! If you’re taking a private class with Gonzo or one of his instructors, you will most definitely need water. Running around for an hour, stopping and starting, turning, sprinting and twisting can be much more tiring than running a 5k (I would know as I’ve done a lot of both).

To schedule your first lesson: