We are down to single digit shopping days left until Christmas, and if you’re like me you’ve still got some friends and family left on your list to shop for. Here are some great last minute gift ideas for your tennis-loving loved ones:
Looking for a new racquet? The Babolat AeroPro Drive GT is an excellent, all-around performing racquet that could be used by virtually any level and style of player. The former racquet of choice for world #1 Rafael Nadal, this 2010 version offers a crisp, lively feel, perfect for the modern game.
Maybe your feet are doing more than barking. I know there are times when mine are screaming.
However, I do my best to limit those occasions, which means good socks hold a spot very close to my heart.
The importance of socks hit me at a young age. You see, as a youngster I once threatened to run away from home. My bluff was called when I reached the front door of our house, and after running to my mom for a hug, she looked in my bag to see what I had packed. Along with a few other random items, I had packed every pair of socks I owned.
So it seems from an early age I’ve been of the opinion, if you’re wearing the right socks for the job, you’ll be all right.
Take tennis for instance. I pay very close attention to my socks when I play. I wear crew socks almost exclusively. Yes, this means I have great tan lines just above my ankles, but for me that’s not the main attraction. Rather, I just love the fit and feel of a good pair of crew socks. My ankles feel naked without them. I also often wear lace-up ankle supports when I play, so having crew socks helps prevent any rubbing around my ankles.
When heading out to play or practice, rarely is one pair of socks enough. Some folks double bag their groceries, I double bag my feet. That’s right, two pairs of socks do the job perfectly. The simple reason is that two pairs of socks provide better blister protection. The outer sock can slide against the inner sock, so there’s less rubbing for the skin to absorb.
Another plus for me is shoe fit. I have skinny feet, so wearing two pairs of socks helps me fill out the width of shoes a bit and gives me a more supportive ride. With two pairs of socks, my feet are less likely to slide around inside the shoes and that also helps me from getting blisters.
There are only two kinds of socks that I don’t double bag, Thorlo Level 3 and Eurosocks Slam Cool socks. Both offer the kind of protection around my heel and under my toes that I usually only get from two pairs of socks. The Eurosocks feature a thinner, more ventilated feel on the top of my foot making them more comfortable and breathable. That makes the Eurosocks my current favorites.
On big tennis days, socks are at the top of my priority list. Before a big match, I’m going to be digging through my sock drawer, looking for my favorite socks. After all, good tennis starts with good footwork, and good footwork comes from happy feet.
Keep your feet happy. Don’t underestimate the importance of good socks.
Without actually revealing my age, I was in my first year of college the last time I sported a jockstrap. I played on the basketball team, and the school provided equipment such as shoes, uniforms, socks, and yes, jockstraps. So what the heck, I’ll take advantage of the free gear. First game, I got dressed and immediately realized this jock was not going to work for me. Not sure how my 5’10”, 165 lb. frame was mistaken for Shaquille O’neal’s, but since our game was on the road, I had to make do. Let me just say that the straps in the back were so loose, I got a first hand look, or feel rather, of what it was like to wear a thong. Too much info? Probably. That would be the last time I would be a supporter of wearing a jockstrap, or should I say a jockstrap would be ‘supporting’ me.
Back then, compression shorts were called ‘tights’ or ‘spandex shorts’ and were seen mostly in the aerobics room at your local gym. They went hand in hand with the classic Reebok aerobic shoes and headbands that were ‘in’ back then. Flashdance comes to mind, “I’m a maniac, maniac. . .” You’re catching my drift, I’m sure. My girlfriend at the time worked at a store that sold dance/workout wear. Parking my pride at the curb, I went in and found a pair of ‘tights’ and have never looked back. Not only do you get the same certain ‘support’ you would get from a jockstrap, but the added tautness around the glutes, hammies and quads helps as well — a much more comfortable and supporting option as far as I’m concerned.
I’m certainly not in the minority when it comes to that decision as you will notice in today’s sports, most players are also wearing compression shorts. Both men and women have taken advantage of this comfort and support. Is the jockstrap dead? Not yet, but those who wear them would be termed as ‘old school’, or ‘traditional’. Let’s just say that compression shorts are the overwhelming choice in athletics today.
To this day, I still play basketball, as well as tennis. I also frequent the gym. For all of these activities, it is second nature to throw on compression shorts under my shorts. I guess I could say I feel naked without them. Literally.