Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tennis Teaching Aids: The Sky's The Limit

Here's how much of a TCN (Tennis Coach Nerd) I am: recently I was watching one of my guilty pleasure TV shows, What Not To Wear. I know, I know, this has nothing to do with tennis, but stay with me here. In case you haven't seen it, this is a makeover show. A lucky person, usually female, is selected to receive a style makeover from industry experts. The makeover includes a $5000 gift certificate used to update the recipient's wardrobe. As I was watching, I couldn't help but wish I were the recipient. But instead of imagining myself roaming the boutiques of New York City, I thought of the new OnCourtOffCourt tennis supply catalog. NERD!

Have you received the new 20th anniversary catalog? If not, you can download one here. Lots of great toys. If I had $5K to spend with them, here's what I would buy, in no particular order.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with OnCourtOffCourt. I don't get any kickbacks if you buy some of this stuff. I just like their catalog and their website.

Rebounder p 90 $149 - the smaller net one so I could move it more easily. Great for working on stroke technique and as an additional task station on court.
MultiMower p. 80 $365 I have a thing for court mowers, I don't know why. My head tells me a nice, leisurely ball pick-up involving all students is a necessary part of tennis clinics, allowing for a little rest, water break, etc. But my heart wants a mower!

Tenn Tubes p. 81 $89 I would only buy these if they were the colorful ones. We have enough of the plain yellow ones, and one lone clear one. Everyone fights over the clear one.

MultiCart with MultiColor Baskets p. 78 $179 The Type A magpie in me cannot resist the colorful baskets matchy-matchy with the balls they contain.

Knockdown Targets p. 61 $46 We had these at another club where I used to play. Man, are they fun! The kids get a huge kick out of knocking them around. Truth be told, so do the adults!

Pop-Up Targets p. 56 $39 Anything that helps keep the ball out of the net is a winner IMO.

AirZone p. 54 $99 Ditto - see above.

Tennis Challenge Ladder p. 40  These visual display tools have a curious effect on participation and performance. Some players avoid it, but most relish it and check it frequently to see 1) who is playing; 2) how they are doing; and 3) how they stack up against everyone else. If Darwin had played tennis, he would approve.

Streamers Tail Balls p. 25 $$24 for set of 12 How fun are these? I imagine they take a beating and have to be replaced frequently, but what the heck - money is no object today!

Smart Spots p. 24 $36 I am a huge fan of encouraging my young players and focusing on the good stuff. Who knows, maybe something as simple as these messages may be the only positive thing that happens to them all day. . .

Transition Balls pp. 12-13 $459 Not super sexy, but you can never have enough fresh balls.

Believe it or not, there is some stuff OCOC doesn't sell that I would love:

Foam dice available here $7 per dozen - what a screamin' deal!! I use dice frequently and my students get a huge kick out of them.

Tubes that pick up red balls - do they exist?? I have not been able to find them but honestly have only spent 1.5 Google searches looking for them . . .

In case you were wondering, yes, there is actually something at OnCourtOffCourt that I would Not Buy: Rainbow Hoppers p. 79 $59. Ditto the mini-size ball baskets. They are lightweight and cute. The mini baskets are perfect for red ball players. But neither has convertible legs for teaching out of, which means they are only good for ball pickup. For something that is only good for ball pickup, I have to go with the Tenn Tubes for both lower price and easier storage.

For you math nerds out there, I just spent about $1525 at OnCourt and $7 elsewhere. Probably some shipping costs involved there (ya think??), so call it $2000. What can I say - I'm a cheap tennis date! How would you spend the other $3,000?