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      Fuel Your Fitness Fire

      Check out some of the products our staff have been loving.

      Völktober Part Two: All About V-Feel

      Völktober Part Two: All About V-Feel

      Welcome to our second installment of Völktober! Last week we told you about Völkl’s origins in Germany and how they eventually added tennis equipment to their collection in the 1970s. Völkl is currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of their V1 racquets. Here’s a bit more about one of their most popular sticks!

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      Take the 2019 Babolat Pure Aero for a Spin

      Take the 2019 Babolat Pure Aero for a Spin

      Aggression has its place, and often that place is the tennis court. The new 2019 Pure Aero series from Babolat is “Fueled by Fight.” We interpret this as the fight within each tennis player to excel, improve, and defeat the competition. The 2019 Pure Aero’s mission is to help players focus that fighting spirit with racquets that offer improved control and spin.

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      Head Graphene Touch Speed ADAPTIVE w/ Tuning Kit: Play at the Speed of Light

      Head Graphene Touch Speed ADAPTIVE w/ Tuning Kit: Play at the Speed of Light

      Enter the world of Fine-Tuning with HEAD's new Adaptive Tuning Kit. Novak Djokovic’s racquet of choice, the HEAD Speed Graphene Touch, comes with a slue of new tricks. There are three sets of grommets varying in weight and string patterns, 3 spacer rings for adjusting beyond the standard length of 27”, by adding +0.2, 0.4, or +0.6 inches to the overall racquet. Lastly, the additional weighted end cap helps beef the racquet with +0.35 oz.

      Now that you know what comes in the kit, lets talk about what this kit could do for your game. The racquet comes standard (unstrung) at 285 grams/ 10.1 oz. and at a balance of 325mm/0.7 IN HL. Of course, the kit can adjust weight, balance, and length.

      Maneuverability

      If you like the 22 mm beam on the HEAD Speed racquet and would like to increase maneuverability to whip cross court shots like Novak himself, use the standard 16/19 string pattern and add the heavy end cap to push the weight to 295 grams/ 10.66 oz. and a balance of 313 mm. This combination adds maneuverability without sacrificing control.

      Control

      Now, if you are an aggressive baseliner looking for more precision from all areas of the court, then switching your grommets to the heavier 16/19 (+0.5g) and adding one of the spacers (+0.2) helps achieve a more balanced weight from head to end cap. Remember that the heavier weight end cap is to remain in the racket to give the racquet the balanced swing weight. At this point with everything added, the racquet will come in at 300 grams or 10.95 oz., a balance of 324 mm, and a length of 690 mm, 5 mm over standard.

      Power & Spin

      If you’re a player wanting to impose spin and power from your end of the court, then opening the string bed and increasing the weight is what you need to do with your adaptive kit. Switching to the heavier 16/16 grommet (adding +0.5g), keeping the standard length grip size, and using the heavier end cap will change from a more controlled oriented racquet to a power and spin-friendly racquet.

      The Jack of All Trades

      Some of us are in search of the racquet that can do it all. A great setup to achieve maneuverability, control, spin, and power would be the following: By changing the 16/19 grommet to the 16/16, removing the (0.2 mm) spacer, coupled with the heavier end cap, you’ll get a good balance of control and power allowing you to withstand harder-hitting players and put more action on the ball. The finished product will weigh in at 295 grams or 10.63 oz. with a balance of 319 mm. Please note that all of these configurations can be altered between string jobs. We focused on various characteristics and weights being altered but the string being used plays a very important role in the racquet's playability. String is a very personal choice. My recommendation for any of these configurations would be HEAD Velocity MLT for power and comfort or the HEAD Hawk Rough for power and spin.

      Shop the Latest Collection of HEAD Speed Tennis Racquets

      This blog was posted in February of 2017. Sadly, we no longer carry this product.

      What Is Countervail Technology? And What Does It Mean for Your Tennis Game?

      What Is Countervail Technology? And What Does It Mean for Your Tennis Game?

      On January 5th, Wilson's East Coast National Account Manager, Sarah Maynard, came in to discuss the newest and coolest Wilson products. She had the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 (autographed and designed by Roger Federer,) the Wilson Blade Serena Williams 104, Wilson Amplifeel high tops, and multiple racquets infused with "Countervail technology" among a few other things.

      When she said "Countervail technology" and held up the Wilson Blade SW104, you could almost hear the brain-spoken "ooos" and "ahhhs" from Holabird's tennis enthusiast-filled staff.

      "Countervail? What does that even mean?" we asked collectively (again, in a brain language only audible to staff).

      Sarah started... "This technology maximizes a player's energy."

      Cue tennis geeking.

      "I'll give you an analogy. There's a construction worker outside, working a long shift with a jackhammer. He's exhausted by the end of the day, grabs a cold one and remembers his day, fighting fatigue the entire time. Now, a different picture. The Tour de France, the winning biker, and those brutal cobblestone streets, facing that same fatigue as the man working the jackhammer, allll of those vibrations working against him. But this time, this person is prepared. Infused into his bicycle is: Countervail technology. He's able to cut down on the vibrations caused by that brutal terrain and go on to win."

      Dutch champion Dylan Groenewegen rode the Bianchi Oltre XR4, with Countervail vibration-canceling technology.

      CountervailÂź can be tailored to balance stiffness, strength and damping performance that outperform constructions using traditional approaches, so it was the perfect choice for Wilson's Blade and Burn families

      A study by the University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology found that players using Countervail had:

        • 40% more control over shots when nearing exhaustion
        • 30% less racquet vibration
        • 10% less fatigue, meaning players were able to hit 10% more shots
      The Countervail in select racquets in Wilson's and  lines is located between impact point and hand. The one-of-a-kind carbon fiber layer is placed within the racquet's frame to dramatically minimize vibration caused by a shot's impact. Which means... that on contact, Countervail disperses the ball's energy within the frame instead of directing it to the player's body! You expend less energy during every swing without compromising the feel of the racquet.

      The Department of Defense and the aerospace industry also use Countervail as it increases energy efficiency during movement in extreme conditions. So, basically, Countervail technology helps us fly into space and defend our country. Wilson wanted in. Milos Raonic switched to Wilson's Countervail racquets and says he's "never felt stronger in the biggest moments of matches since [he] started using Countervail- it's helped [him] save energy without compromising feel." His average speed of his 5th set first serves during Wimbledon victories against David Goffin and Roger Federer using Countervail? 131 miles per hour. The amount of 5 set wins in 2016 (already matching his career total) using this new tech? 4.Amount of arm sleeves he needs now? 0.Milos is currently ranked number six, eight spots better since the transition. Shop the entire raquet line. Have any more questions? Reach out! Or comment below.

      Shop Countervail Racquets at Holabird Sports!

      Babolat Pure Strike Tennis Racquet Review

      Babolat Pure Strike Tennis Racquet Review

      When Babolat announced that they would be releasing an entirely new family of player-oriented racquets called Pure Strike, lots of people got excited. Although they've had some control frames in the past, Babolat has been best known for lighter, more powerful frames like the Pure Drive and later on the AeroPro Drive. For players who are intimately familiar with Babolat's racquet lineup, the new Pure Strike family will be more or less replacing the Pure Storm family; however, the Pure Strike frames are completely new racquets and really aren't intended to be a direct replacement for the Pure Storms.

      Although the Pure Strike line has several different racquet configurations—including a Pure Strike 100 and a Pure Strike 18x20—I decided to try the Pure Strike Tour first since it's fairly similar to my normal racquet. The Tour is definitely the heavyweight of the bunch, weighing in at 11.8 ounces strung. It has a 98 square inch head and an 18x20 string pattern. As you'd expect, the Pure Strike Tour (and the other Pure Strike racquets) feature plenty of proprietary Babolat technologies, but the real story is more about the Pure Strike Tour's solid feel and precision performance.

      From the baseline, the Pure Strike Tour actually provided a bit more pop than I initially expected, but it's still a demanding control frame for advanced players who are taking big cuts at the ball. The Tour lends itself well to heavy-hitting and its weight helps provide a stable platform even when returning big shots. If you get stretched out or pulled out of position, be prepared to work for pace and depth; the Pure Strike Tour isn't going to give you much help. It did, however, seem to be fairly forgiving on off-center hits.

      I tried the Pure Strike Tour without a dampener and was happy to hear a solid thwack at ball impact. I know some people prefer more of a ping sound, but that's just not for me. It's completely a personal preference, of course, and shouldn't really affect the playability of the racquet, but I never really liked racquets that were too "pingy."

      The ball came off the racquet with plenty of spin and I was able to hit safe shots with margin as well as flatter shots when the situation demanded. My usual racquet has an 18x20 pattern like the Pure Strike Tour, so I'm used to it, but I wish Babolat had made a second version of the Tour with the same heft but a more open string pattern. The tennis world seems to be focused on mega-spin right now and I would've been interested to see how the Pure Strike Tour might have played with an open pattern.

      Volleys felt solid and the Pure Strike Tour's weight made it stable enough to handle passing shots hit with lots of pace. But the weight is a little bit of a double-edged sword at the net. Even though the Pure Strike Tour is head light, it's still a heavy racquet and isn't the most maneuverable at net. It didn't bother me any but I don't spend that much time at net anyway. Serve-and-volley players or doubles players might be more interested in some of the lighter racquets in the Strike lineup, but if you don't mind the weight, there's no reason you can't serve-and-volley successfully with the Pure Strike Tour.

      Serving with the Tour felt fine, but I didn't really notice any spectacular change in power or spin. Admittedly, my serve is usually a bit rusty by this time of the winter, but the Pure Strike Tour neither wowed nor disappointed. It just felt
 normal. I was able effectively place first serves and the Pure Strike Tour gave me enough depth and spin on second serves so that most second-serve points at least started on neutral ground.

      In the end, finding the right racquet is all about personal preference and a little bit of trial-and-error, so I can't say that the Pure Strike Tour is for everyone, but I liked it. As a whole, the Pure Strike Tour is really an impressive racquet that deserves some serious consideration from advanced players who are looking for a control-oriented frame. It has a nice, solid feel on groundstrokes, volleys, and serves, but won't provide a lot of extra power. While that's perfect for players who are used to generating their own pace, players looking for something a little more forgiving might be better served trying one of the other Pure Strike offerings—like the Pure Strike 100. I had no issues generating enough topspin, but folks looking for maximum spin might ultimately get better results trying something with a more open string pattern.

      View All Balablot Pure Strike Tennis Racquets

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