With Christmas and Chanukah fast approaching, it is time to purchase a racket sports gift for a relative, friend or even yourself.
Here are some items to consider, with help from Phil Primerano and Lisa Noworyta, the co-managers of JB’S Tennis Shop in Williamsville:
Pickleball has been booming in Western New York for the last five-plus years. Initially, JB's only stocked four or five paddles. Today, they stock almost 50.
What is the secret of the sport's success? It's easy to play, can be played by players of all ages, and provides a great workout. Onix, Selkirk, Engage, Paddletek, Gmma and Head are the leading paddle manufacturers. Primerano said composite or graphite paddles are much better to use than wooden ones. JB’s also has a full line of pickleball bags and accessories. Paddles sell for $48 to $130 and bags sell for $25-80.
Many superb tennis rackets are on the market.
- The new Head Graphene 360 Speed racket is selling like hotcakes. These rackets are part of the new Novak Djokovic line. Djokovic is the world's top-ranked player. The 360 refers to the high-quality material used throughout the racket. The racket gives players at all levels more control than most rackets. There are five models to choose from. The rackets range in price from $190-220.
- Wilson Ultra Rackets has a large line of rackets that are user friendly. The rackets range from the pro Ultra Tour model to the Ultra 110 for the recreational player. This line has the most popular selling rackets at JB's. There are five models to choose from, and the rackets are priced from $190-$220.
- Babolat Pure Aero 2019 has a new string pattern and grommet system that makes the sweet spot more solid. The racket sells for $200.
- Yonex V-Core frames are very comfortable and user friendly. The new V-Core series has a specially oriented string pattern. The racket sells for $205.
- Babolat Boost Series is the racket for you if you are looking for a great bargain. The price range is from $100-110.
- Junior rackets are being made better each year. Junior rackets range in size from 21 inches for the smallest peewees, 23 inches for the average 5-6 year olds, 25 inches for the 7-8 year olds, and 26 inches for 9 and 10 year olds who are not quite ready to use adult frames. Junior frames can sell for $20-$100. Be sure to have your son or daughter test two or three rackets to ensure that the racket is the right one for them.
The Nike Premium shoe line has many colors and a bold look that will attract everyone's attention. The shoe sells for $140.
The Asics Gel Resolution shoes have cushioning that provides excellent comfort and are great for relieving foot problems. There are many colors to choose from for players at all levels. The cost is $130.
Squash is growing by leaps and bounds in Western New York. Racquets by Dunlop and Head sell for $79-$200 and sneakers sell for $45-$120,.
The game is played strictly outdoors. Paddles cost $90-$170.
Yonex is the most popular badminton racket. A range of six models allows players at all levels to find a racket that feels comfortable. Rackets range from $25-$99.
Head is the best-selling racket in the U.S. and the Head Radical, featuring graphene technology to help weight distribution, is an addition to the line of rackets. The rackets range from $89-$220.
Babolat POP Tennis Sensor
The Sensor is a great accessory for any serious tennis players or teaching pros. The unit attaches to a wrist band and automatically records when you are hitting a shot. The information is then downloaded into your smartphone or tablet to allow you access to hundreds of different statistics. The unit is an outstanding bargain at $39.
Story topics: tennis