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How to Buy Tennis Shoes

Does the Shoe Fit ?Tennis is all about balance. You have to maintain good balance when you swing. You have to strike a balance between power and control on your shots. Few people, however, think enough about the balance that has to exist between their feet and their shoes.

The truth is, it’s critical that your footwear be properly matched to the anatomy of your feet and the surface you play on. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to blisters, ankle and knee pain, and loss of movement on the court. But when your shoes and feet are in sync, you’ll feel good and play your best tennis.

What’s Your Foot Type?
The first step in finding the right shoe is to figure out what type of foot you have. There are three basic foot types. While only a podiatrist can give you a fully accurate analysis of your foot type, you can evaluate yourself at home too.
The next time you step out of the shower, take a close look at the footprints your wet feet leave on the floor. If you see a crescent-shaped footprint with little or no impression made by your arch, you have a supinated foot. Supinators tend to wear out the outside part of the bottom of their shoes (the lateral side) before the medial (big toe) side. Supinators also tend to have wide feet and need to look for a shoe that provides extra room in the forefoot and toe box. They also need a shoe with extra cushioning to compensate for their high arches.
If your foot leaves a wet mark on the floor that’s completely filled in, arch and all, you have a pronated foot. Pronators often have flat feet, and the medial portion of their shoe bottom wears down before the lateral part. People with this foot type often need extra support from their shoes so a mid-cut model or a shoe with extra stability on the medial side is usually a wise choice.
If you’re one of the few people who leave a wet footprint with a moderate amount of arch, you have a neutral foot. Consider yourself lucky-this is the most efficient and biomechanically versatile foot type. Players with neutral feet can play tennis in almost any shoe.

Understand the Design
You know your foot type. Next up is understanding the shoe’s design so you can pick the one that will perform best for you. There are four parts of a shoe you need to consider:

The top portion of the shoe, or the upper, is usually made of leather, synthetic leather, or a combination of materials. If you need extra support, look for lacing systems that thread into reinforcements going down the sides of the shoe; they’ll provide added stability.
When you try a shoe on, be sure the upper is comfortable against the top of your foot and is not too tight. If you drag your toe when you serve, look for a durable toecap. And if you hit your forehand from an open stance (that is, with most of the front of your body facing the net), you’ll benefit from additional material along the medial portion of the upper since that area often slides along the court and wears down faster as you play.

This is the portion of the shoe that your foot rests on, and it’s the least technical part of the operation. If you’ve had foot problems and wear orthotics, check to see if the insole is removable. In most cases it will be, allowing you to replace a worn-out insole with an over-the-counter one that provides extra cushioning.

The midsole is the section that lies between the shoe bottom and the insole. It’s generally made from ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) foam or polyurethane (PU) and in many cases is supplemented by air or gel inserts. The midsole supplies a shoe’s cushioning.
It can often be tough to tell when the midsole breaks down and ceases to perform, but as a rule of thumb, a two- or three-day-a-week player will wear out a midsole in five to six months. Frequent players and people who are extremely aggressive on the court will go through midsoles more quickly due to the pounding they give their shoes.

If your shoes don’t feel as cushioned as they did when they were new, the midsole may be shot. You should consider buying a new pair.

Buying Shoes Can Be DifficultOutsole:
This is where the rubber meets the road. The outsole’s design affects the traction you’ll get on hard and clay courts.
Herringbone designs that form a tight, wave-like pattern perform best on clay, while outsoles with the most variation in the design (a little herringbone here, a wider groove there) give you the best traction on hard courts.

An outsole should also be durable enough to stand up to your style of game. If you play often or wear out shoes quickly, look for heavy-duty outsoles and try to get a pair with an outsole warranty; if they don’t last, you can send them back to the manufacturer to get them replaced.

Heavy or Light?
How heavy should a pair of tennis shoes be? Well, light is nice, but heavy has its advantages, too.
The lighter your shoes, the faster you can zip around the court. So why are tennis shoes almost always heavier than running shoes? The stop-and-start demands of tennis require that shoes have ample cushioning, extra support, and more durable outsoles, all of which add weight.
In an effort to lighten up their shoes, manufacturers often use an hourglass-shaped outsole design for some models. But this may move the shoe’s flex point toward the middle of the shoe, near your arch, rather than at the ball of the foot, where your foot naturally bends. (To test a shoe’s flex point, hold it firmly around the heel in one hand and press the palm of your other hand against the sole at the toe end. Notice where the shoe bends. If it’s back toward the arch, you could have problems with support and stability.)

Only you can decide how much weight you’re willing to live with in the name of increased stability and durability. Consider owning two pairs of tennis shoes: a lighter game-day shoe and a heavier training shoe (this technique has been used by distance runners for years). If you practice in a heavier shoe and play your matches in a lighter shoe, you’ll feel quicker in competition and you’ll go through your shoes more slowly while you’re at it.

The Bottom Line
When you get beyond fashion and examine the function of footwear, you’ll wind up performing better on the court. What more could you ask of a tennis shoe?

Buying a pair of shoes should be an educated endeavor, not something that you leave to the luck of the draw. When purchasing tennis shoes, keep the following things in mind:
-Buy shoes after you’ve played tennis or late in the afternoon (feet typically swell 5 to 10 percent after exercise or by the end of the day). And be sure to bring the same kind of socks you wear to a match so that you can accurately gauge what size shoe you need.
-If the salesperson or shopkeeper doesn’t measure each part of your feet, he or she isn’t fitting your shoes properly. Be sure that the length and width of each foot are measured before you buy anything. It’s not uncommon for people to have one foot that’s larger than the other. If that’s the case, buy a pair of shoes to fit the larger foot.
-Bring your old shoes. The wear on your used pair will help a smart fitter determine how much support, cushioning, and durability you need. The salesperson may also ask you what shoes you’ve worn comfortably in the past.
-Based on your foot type, support needs, and style preferences, your fitter should be able to recommend at least two or three different pairs of shoes to try.

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A Tennis Racket Can Make Or Break Your Game

Tennis RacketYou are in love with the game of tennis and can not get enough of it. Starting off in school learning to play on basic gym equipment was the beginning-then in college you made sure that you took tennis as your required physical education classes.

The time has now come for you to get your own personal equipment and you want to get a tennis racket of your very own. To make a personal statement to everyone that you have come of age, are serious about this sport, and want to compete with your friends evenings and weekends.

What type of tennis racket are you going to purchase? They vary in length, weight, and head size, and you will need to figure out which one is the best for you. Think back to your beginnings playing this sport-what did you like or dislike about the different tennis rackets you used. This can be a starting point to begin narrowing down your choices.

A very important component for the tennis racket is the head size as the power behind your swings is directly affected. A larger head will give you with more power than a small head and also provides you with a larger hitting area making it a little easier to hit the ball. Generally speaking, a smaller racket head appeals to more accomplished players seeking more control, while larger rackets appeal to beginning and intermediate players seeking more power and a larger head.

They range in length from 27-29 inches with most people selecting the 27 inch ones. However, a longer handle provides more reach on ground strokes, adds leverage on serves, and slightly more power, than one with a standard length.

The weight has also been reduced making them lighter and easier to hold.
If you have friends or co-workers that also play, ask them about the type they use and why. They will enjoy talking to you about the sport and in providing you with information and advise. And, there is nothing more flattering than to ask someone for their opinion on a topic that they really enjoy and believe that they are an expert in.

Some of these people might even loan you some of their equipment so that you can try it out and find out whether or not you like it. No matter what your preference for a tennis racket is, you have to find the best one that meets your needs. This may even mean renting them and testing them out for a few games. This is probably the best way to have an opportunity to use many different types, styles, models and different manufacturers without spending a lot of money on ones that will just end up collecting dust in the closet.

Get out and play every weekend. The exercise is good, you will meet new people, and be out in the fresh air. This is much better than spending your weekend sitting in front of the television or going to the office to catch up on work.

Enjoy yourself, life is too short.

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