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Fuel Your Fitness Fire

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

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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Top Tennis Gift Ideas for Him

Top Tennis Gift Ideas for Him

When it comes to the sport of tennis, style is essential. After all, tennis whites were a requirement (and still are in some clubs) to even be able to play the game!

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TENNIS Magazine's 2017 String Guide

TENNIS Magazine's 2017 String Guide

Like racquets, players should experiment with many different types of strings until they reach the proverbial "just-right" type that works for them. It's a Goldie Locks and the Three Bears scenario every time you pick up a string, and with SO many to choose from it can sometimes be overwhelming!

But have no fear, TENNIS magazine reached into the world's bag of strings and pulled out five for you to try in 2017 to make it a little easier for you: two natural guts, two multifilament and one polyester.

Let's see what they are!

NATURAL GUT

First, what is it?

Natural gut strings are actually made from a rather complex process that transforms the gut of a cow into tennis strings.

If you didn't know this, it's a big "oh my gosh! Really!?" And if you did, it's still pretty crazy.

Once you get past that, you’ll be pleased to know that they are some of the best tennis strings on the market and a popular choice among many professional players: Roger Federer, Bob and Mike Bryan, Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Sabine Lisicki, Kei Nishikori and Serena and Venus Williams.

Natural gut strings are known for their elasticity, tension stability, playability, superior feel and spin and control. They’re not nearly as durable as synthetic gut tennis strings, and they are without a doubt the most expensive to purchase, so if you're a club or recreational player, it's better to go with synthetic gut strings that will provide you with similar characteristics; however, the elasticity of the material is exceptional, it’s fantastic at holding tension, and it’s easy on the arm.

Babolat VS Touch Natural Gut

This string possesses great power, comfort, and feel, this natural gut is the epitome of arm-friendly playability.

Luxilon Natural Gut

Designed for enhanced ball-pocketing and tension-maintenance, the low-friction coating, resealable zip-lock packaging and half-set indicator make it ideal for hybrid set-ups.

MULTIFILAMENT

Without a doubt, the most popular and common material of the synthetic string family is nylon. Nylon strings ("synthetic gut strings") are made from high-quality nylon fibers tightly threaded together. These provide players with great feel and added durability that you wouldn’t find with natural gut strings.

HEAD Velocity MLT

Velocity MLT is soft and arm-friendly without feeling overly mushy. It's good value for non-string breakers or as the cross string in a hybrid set-up.

Tecnifibre HDX Tour

Like an all-in-one hybrid, HDX Tour is comprised of soft Elastyl fibers and firm polyester bundles to get the best of both worlds. It also has an anti-abrasion coating that serves to improve durability and allow for easier string movement.

POLYESTER

Polyester strings are incredibly durable, but because of that, can be quite hard on a player’s arm. If you're a player who's fighting an arm injury, these aren't recommended.

But polyester strings do have some popularity with players who frequently break strings and are typically combined with natural gut or nylon strings to provide players with durability while maintaining a more soft, natural feel.

Fun fact: Rafael Nadal strings his racquet with a full bed of polyester.

Babolat RPM Blast Rough

The octagonal shape of RPM has made it a favorite among spin seekers. This latest version sees the addition of a rough coating, which gives the string even more bite.

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.

Thorlos Socks: Running Versus Tennis Socks

Thorlos Socks: Running Versus Tennis Socks

Created in the early 80s by Jim Throneburg to be the best in foot protection, Thorlos socks have become, as he puts it, "the caretakers of the world's feet."

And that's a feat.

As a third-generation family owned and operated company like ourselves, Thorlos is very near and dear to our hearts. We buy Thorlos because we love their mission, science and USA-made products. Everyone at Thorlos is committed to craftsmanship, and with that craftsmanship comes quality, value and the benefit of better feeling feet.

So why love Thorlos socks? 

I could provide you with thousands upon thousands of reviews from customers, or I could give you the facts. I'm actually going to give you a little bit of both though. have clinically-tested padding. Each pair of Thorlos is made with the wearer in mind. Whether you're a runner or a tennis player, Thorlos designed its socks for you.

The key findings from their clinically-tested padding? 


  • Significant reduction in the frequency of occurrence of blisters

  • Significantly smaller blister size, if blisters do occur

  • Reduced foot pain by 51% compared to participants’ own socks

  • 25.6% pressure reduction compared with participants’ own socks

  • For people with healthy feet, Thorlos significantly reduced pressures in the ball of the foot

When you pay $13-16 for a pair, you want to get a lot out of your socks. Thorlos knows that. In order for you to consider it a bargain, they have to be the bees knees! And they have to last. That’s the goal of Thorlos: to set themselves apart by giving you so much more than you expect in terms of protection, comfort and foot health.

Thorlos for Running

For runners, the heel-toe action of running puts tremendous shearing and impact forces on the ball and heel of the foot. You’ll find the clinically-tested padding in those areas of the socks for protection against the common injuries suffered by many runners in the Experia socks.® eliminates all but the essential Thorlos® patented thin cushion padding, which is sculpted and contoured to match the natural foot's ball and heel strike pattern resulting in impact protection without extra weight and an aerodynamic fit that hugs the foot. The socks' lightweight Achilles tendon pad protects against rubbing and chafing while also functioning as a heel lock, so these socks make great friends with the high performance runners, cyclists, hikers and fitness walkers.

Thorlos for Tennis

In tennis, you need extra protection for the tops of your toes; otherwise you will be a candidate for the painful condition known as “tennis toe.” So Thorlos has extra padding over the top and ends of your toes for protection and comfort. It's patented and engineered with high density padding to cushion the foot from impact and abrasion caused by quick starts and stops. The is Thorlos' most popular tennis sock. Its unique cushioning protects the foot from shock without being too bulky. These crew socks are also excellent for clay court play as they'll prevent bits of clay from getting into your sock and rubbing your foot during the match.

The Padding Density Varies...

For these reasons, depending on the part of the foot that needs protecting, the padding density will vary. Where the shear and impact forces are extreme—usually in the ball and heel—the padding will be more dense to buffer against those forces, reducing the causes of foot aches and pain. The padding is also particularly dense where your foot experiences peak friction or shearing forces. The terry fabric in Thorlos socks works as a system to dissipate the forces that would otherwise occur, often resulting in blisters, pain and pressures. Over the years, new and long-time loyal customers have shared why their experiences with have been the best: fit, comfort, protection and longevity. And that's why Holabird Sports continues to support Thorlos, because they support our customers and continue to take care of the world's feet.

Shop All Thorlos Socks

2017 Must-Have Wilson Tennis Bags and Shoes

2017 Must-Have Wilson Tennis Bags and Shoes

Wilson is coming out shining in the new year with bright, bold, exciting colors for your tennis game.

Wilson calls this "a new kind of disruption," with racquet designs no one has ever seen before- ones that focus on only the essentials and strip away all the unnecessary elements. What remains are timeless, uncontaminated designs, meticulous in detail and bold in their beauty. They create racquets that want to be held and a psychological edge for the player bold enough to pick one up.

And to pair with their racquets, their bags represent the color and feel of the new Burn and Blade families.

The Burn represents the baseliner: consistent and patient, a lateral mover unafraid to step inside the baseline and hit through the court and their opponent. They want their racquet to accelerate their power, basing their game around groundstrokes. The Blade represents the attacker: an aggressive player in need of a racquet that controls their power. They step inside the baseline and when they get a short ball, hit big for a winner. Commanding shots and dictating play is their m.o.

With Wilson's consumer segmentation, Wilson helps players identify their correct racquet based on their individual styles of play. When you think Burn, think orange. And when you think Blade, think green.

To add to those colors, Wilson is also adding the Wilson red to their bags and exciting purples and blues to their shoes.

These bright colors reminds us of the old days. Think Andre Agassi in the mid-90s, minus the hair.

We've got the Wilson All Court Amplifeel high tops that are cool, comfortable and make a statement.

The Wilson Amplifeel™ is a brand new model designed for the ultimate on-court speed demon. This advanced shoe includes the amplifeel™ technology gives players premium responsiveness and support during lateral movements. The Pro Torque Chassis arch technology further enhances stability during explosive movements. Players will enjoy a strong feel with each step they take on the court during play.

And to match the Blade family, Wilson presents the Wilson Vancouver Backpack Bag Black/Green and Wilson Vancouver 15 Pack Bag Black/Green. The backpack holds two racquets and the 15 pack, well, 15!

And for the Burn? Orange would only make sense. And a bright orange at that.

The Wilson Vancouver Backpack Orange/Gray, Wilson Vancouver 9 pack Orange/Gray and Wilson Vancouver 15 Pack Bag Orange/Gray complete the Burn family and make the perfect companion to your own racquet collection.

Switching gears a little bit, let's talk Federer. The RF97 and Pro Staff line are 100% designed by Roger Federer himself, inspiring all of 2017's performance racquet aesthetics. Wilson wanted players, young, old, experienced, inexperienced, to feel like Federer when they prepped for and stepped out on the court.

So in addition to the Federer-designed racquets, Wilson created the Federer DNA Backpack and Bag line in Wilson red and Federer Pro Staff black.

The premium Wilson Federer DNA Backpack Black is designed with a sleek and sophisticated color with red details for a serious on court look. This highly portable bag features a large main compartment to carry your shoes and favorite gear as you travel to and from the tennis court. With this special Roger Federer autograph bag, you can carry at least two of your favorite frames to practice and tournaments.

 

    • Large Roger Federer signature and Wilson wordmark featured at the front and on each side.
    • Zippered sections on the side are ideal for storing smaller accessories.
    • Padded and adjustable backpack straps enhance comfort.
    • Store and organize smaller gear in the internal zippered pockets.

 


The design also comes in a 12-pack: Wilson Federer DNA 12-Pack Red and Black. And a Wilson Federer Team 6-Pack 2017.

And if you're planning on being at the court all day, the Wilson Federer SUPER DNA 12-Pack Black comes with an attached solar panel battery charger, the Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel, which has the innovative technology to charge USB devices directly from the sun. Detachable kickstand for modularity and power-flow indicator ensure the best solar charging experience. Easy-to-read LED indicator displays strength of solar conditions, so you can receive immediate feedback on panel-to-sun placement to improve solar charging experience.

And to bring back the iconic Wilson red, the 2017 Wilson Match Juniors Triple Bag Red joins the Wilson Tour V 15 Pack Bag, Wilson Tour V Large Backpack, Wilson Tour V 9 Pack Bag and Wilson Tour V 6 Pack Bag.

What about the US Open!? Well Wilson couldn't enter the new year without designing a bag for the 2017 US Open could they? The US Open collection includes the and . And that's Wilson 2017 for you. Find your playing style. Get your racket, shoes and bag. And win your match.

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.

Countervail® 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!

Ask the Stringer: My String Is Short

Ask the Stringer: My String Is Short

Q: I'm almost done stringing a racquet and I must have made a mistake measuring the string because it came up short. I'm new at stringing and it took me a while to do this racquet, is there anything I can do to salvage the string job or do I need to pull the strings out and start from scratch?

A: Sorry to hear that happened. I've been there more than a few times, especially when I was still a new stringer myself. Few things are more frustrating than almost finishing a string job and having to go back and start over. Whether or not you can salvage the string job depends on your exact situation.

First of all, did you have enough string to complete the last cross with some left over for the knot, but just not enough to reach the tensioner? If so, your situation isn't terribly dire. The easiest (and probably best) solution is to use a starting clamp—if you have one—with some spare string to act as a "bridge" to the tensioner. If you don't have a starting clamp, you should DEFINITELY invest in one. They're indispensable tools that are useful in several situations, including when you come up short. Starting clamps have saved my butt countless times in similar situations. If you don't have a starting clamp, you can try splicing a scrap piece of string to the end of the string you're trying to tension. It's been quite a long time since I've tried this (since I usually use a starting clamp in this situation), but I have done it in the past with mixed success. Some types of strings lend themselves to this method better than others and you may or may not be able to get your splicing knots to hold while pulling tension.

If you didn't have enough string to complete the job (you're short by a cross or two, for example), my personal recommendation would be to just suck it up and take the extra time to go back and do the job right. Stringing is a craft and like any craftsman, you should take pride in your work and doing the job the right way; trust me, a quality string job is well worth the time and effort you put into it. That being said, there are still technically a few workarounds, but I would NEVER recommend using these on a customer's racquet and you should really only use them on your own racquet in a pinch.

If you're stringing off of a reel or have extra sets of your string lying around, you might be able to just remove your botched crosses and save the mains you've already installed. If you strung two-piece, your mains are already tied off and you can remove your crosses and install new ones. If you strung one-piece, you'll need to move a clamp back to the last main on the long side and cut the first cross, leaving enough to tie off that side of the mains. You can then remove your old crosses and install new ones, ending up with a two-piece string job. Keep in mind that your mains almost always sustain a little bit of wear even if you're careful during installation, so if you go this route you'll be subjecting your mains to some additional wear.

You can also try patching in a piece of string, if and only if you're really desperate for time. This isn't a practice I normally recommend, but if you're ten minutes away from needing your racquet for a tournament match, you might not have any other choice. Tie off what you have and cut another length of string long enough to complete the last few crosses you need. Find a hole large enough, put your new piece of string through and tie a starting knot. Then, weave and tension your remaining crosses and tie off at the end as usual. You may need to carefully enlarge a few holes to accommodate the additional knots—again, not a practice I normally encourage—but it can serve in a pinch.

So, in summary, the "solution" really depends on your circumstances. If you've managed to finish weaving all the crosses and just don't have enough string to reach the tensioner, using a starting clamp as a "bridge" to the tensioner is definitely the best solution. If you didn't have enough string to finish weaving the crosses, your best bet really is to start over so you can provide the highest quality job possible. The other solutions I provided are what I might call "hacks" and really shouldn't be used except under desperate circumstances.

Hopefully that helped! Best of luck.

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