In this fourth installment of playtester favorites of 2011, we’re looking at accessories. This could include grips, overgrips, dampeners, wristbands … you get the picture.
In the spirit of year-end Best Of lists, some of our playtesters picked their favorite products of 2011 and explained why. So just who are these playtesters? Chris, Spencer, Jason, Brittany and Tiffani — we’re all familiar faces on the playtest team, and our jobs put us in contact with all of the newest products that go up on our web site.
Here are the playtesters’ picks for 2011 accessories:
Tiffani on the Vibrafun Dampener: “Call it silly, but I love to have fun with dampeners. A favorite of mine, but not new to 2011, is the Gamma String Things Dampener featuring the frog. It comes in a two-pack with a flower, but really, I stick with the frog. It reminds me of Sanrio’s Keroppi. For 2011, though, I have to give it to Wilson for the new Vibrafun Vibration Dampener designs. My personal favorites are the glitter hearts. I prefer the clear because it feels softer and more pliable. I’ve gone all girly since having a baby girl.”
Brittany weighs in: “The Wilson Vibra Fun dampener in glitter hearts is a fun addition to any racquet. Seriously, who wouldn’t love this dampener? It has glitter and is in the shape of a heart. Ok, maybe it is not for everybody but I can’t resist. In fact, I am not even really a fan of vibration dampeners and I will still use it.”
Jason took a more serious approach. As playtesters, we often have to share racquets. That can make a replacement grip wear out very quickly. An easy fix is an overgrip. Needless to say, we go through a lot of overgrips, so it’s easy to see understand why Jason would pick a new overgrip for his favorite 2011 accessory.
Jason on Prince DuraTac Overgrip: “Because it’s tacky, and I like that.”
This pick by Chris isn’t a single product but a series of three items from Wilson. Tennis can do a number on your body if you’re not careful, and many TW playtesters, Chris included, have struggled with arm/shoulder pain at one time or another.
Chris on the Shock Shield System: “Put the string, grip and damp together and you can turn even the harshest feeling racquet feel plush and comfortable. What a great way for players to improve comfort without the expense of a new racquet.”
Spencer chose two accessories. First is the Yonex Dampener. They come with Yonex racquets, but we started selling them separately in 2011. This dampener is a favorite not just with Spencer. Tiffani would have to agree that this is one of the best.
Spencer on the Yonex Dampener: “It has a nice rubber consistency, it’s easy to install, and it stays in.”
For his second pick, Spencer went with sweat management. Even on the indoor testing court, things can get pretty heated!
Spencer’s take on the Volkl wristbands: “Perfect length, not too short, not too long. Perfect tightness, not too loose, not too tight, and excellent moisture absorbtion.”
Check back in tomorrow for our next installment of playtester favorites. We’ll take a look at socks.
Are you tired of your racquet looking like everyone else’s? Do you want to add a little style to your racquet to set it apart from the competition? Here are a few simple ways to add your own touch to a racquet.
An easy and cheap way to add a little something-something to your racquet is a vibration dampener. If you want something a little more personalized than the generic brand logo, try out Gamma’s String Things. Each two-pack contains fun characters such as fish, pandas, and frogs as well as flowers and smiley faces. Wilson VibraFun dampeners come in packs of two and have even more designs such as a clover/broken heart combo, glitter hearts, multicolored flames, and a yin yang/peace sign combo. My personal favorite is the broken heart dampener. I show no mercy on the court, and my racquet agrees! Not only are these dampeners fun, but they also are useful for reducing string vibration.
If you are tired of the same old black or white overgrips and want to add a little color to your racquet, check out some of the over grips from Gamma, Prince and Forten. Gamma Hand Print Overgrips come in a variety of fun patterns to spice up your racquet. You can choose from four different colors of camouflage, including blue, grey, orange and pink. In addition, there is a fun flower print in two colors of red and blue and a checkered flag pattern. If are interested in a more subdued pattern, check out Prince’s MicroSplat Overgrip that comes in a three pack with a variety of swirled colors. If you are not interested in patterns, check out the Forten Wrap-Tac O-Grip 60 pack that comes in eight assorted colors so you can match your grip to your racquet.
Think strings come in only neutral colors? Think again! Actually, there is a string for every color of the rainbow. Check out the Tennis Warehouse tennis string page to find a variety of strings in every color and type. Can you make your own rainbow of string colors? Here is mine:
Orange- Gamma Zo Tour 16
Yellow- Dunlop Synthetic S-Gut 17
Pink- Prince Lightning XX 16
Green- Prince Beast XP 17
Purple- Weiss Canon 6 Star 16 (1.3)
Another easy and fun way to customize your racquet is with stencil ink. Tourna Racquet Logo Stencil Ink is the perfect solution to add a personal message or design to your racquet. Whether you add your initials, team logo, smiley face or lightening bolt, the stencil ink can add a quick special touch in red, blue, black or white. You can use it, too, as a fun way to unite a team to put the same message on all the players’ racquets.
Try one or all four of these ideas for a look that is completely your own! Have fun with it!