Is My Life Bidi Badu?

Apparently the Bidi Badu life is magical, slightly crazy, and always positive and authentic. Is my life Bidi Badu? My partner would definitely say I am slightly crazy (but who doesn’t talk to themselves in funny voices, sing songs from musicals in the shower and twerk whilst making dinner?!) and I try and be as positive and authentic as possible (also in this blog, which reminds me – I received some free clothing from Bidi Badu for this blog post, but I will, as always, give you my honest and unbiased opinion), but is my life magical? There have been, without question, a number of magical moments in my life, including trekking the Inca Trail for days to see Machu Picchu at dawn, sky diving over Fox’s Glacier in New Zealand, and snorkelling with sharks in Thailand. And I am sure I will continue to experience moments of magic in the future. So I think I can confidently say my life is Bidi Badu and I am thus well-placed to provide a review of their sports clothing 🙂

I received a LOT of clothing from Bidi Badu for this blog post: a dress, three tops and matching skorts/shorts, leggings, three t-shirts, and a lightweight jacket! The quality of all the pieces was extremely high, but there was such a wide range of colours and styles that, unsurprisingly, I found some of them suited me and were more to my taste than others. I have thus decided to select the outfits I liked best for this post.

My two favourite outfits come from the new Kilian Kerner collection: the Ambar Tech dress with its flirty white pleated skirt and longer shorts (much needed for such a short dress), and the Karin Tech Tank with its sexy black mesh back and matching Anna Tech Skort.

Bidi Badu tennis fashion

Bidi Badu tennis fashion

The black Lori Tech Capri leggings are super comfortable and come with a tennis ball holder, so they can be used for both training and matches. The two t-shirts I have matched with the leggings have such a cool fit that I would wear them both on and off the court. I have discussed in previous blog posts my desire to cover up more when playing tennis in the summer, to avoid overexposing my skin to the midday sun, and these leggings and the lightweight pink t-shirt will be great for that purpose.

Bidi Badu tennis fashion

Bidi Badu tennis fashion

Bidi Badu tennis fashion

The final look I selected is the coral Bella Tech V-Neck Tee (which just happens to match my nail colour right now) and the Nica Tech 2 in 1 Shorts in the same coral and navy blue. In the height of the Italian summer I wear shorts for anything from running, to fitness training, to tennis lessons, so I am sure to put these to good use.

Bidi Badu tennis fashion

Bidi Badu tennis fashion

I’d love to hear what you think about these outfits in the comments below. And if you are interested to see how these outfits perform on the tennis court, then make sure you follow my Instagram account as I’ll be posting some videos there soon.

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Review: QLIPP Tennis Sensor

During my long tennis career 😉 I have tried a couple of different tennis sensors – my partner has the Babolat POP (which I have already reviewed for this blog) and I have used the Zepp tennis sensor. The Babolat POP has been a great success and my partner uses it for every single training or match. I have not used the Zepp so much as I have the flex mount that sticks out of the end of the racket, and it feels a bit strange to play with – I think I will need to buy the pro mount that will allow me to attach the sensor directly to the end of the racket. Now if, like me, you follow lots of tennis accounts on Instagram, you will have recently noticed a deluge of posts about the QLIPP dampener sensor. It looks like the makers of QLIPP are following the modern trend of using Instagram accounts with a high number of followers to promote products. And I was lucky enough to be one of those Instagram accounts! (Update: they have now also created a discount code for me, and so if you buy a QLIPP sensor with the code “helenqlipp” or directly from this link, you will get a 10% discount.)

The QLIPP tennis sensor is a dampener that collects information about your shots on an application installed on your smart phone. It retails at around 100 US dollars and can be shipped internationally for free. It is a little heavier than typical dampeners, but the extra weight did not bother me, and I liked the dampening effect it gave. Once you have installed the app onto your phone, you need to turn on the sensor, and it should pair automatically (provided you have Bluetooth turned on). You then start the sensor from the app and start playing. I left my phone on the chair at the side of the court, and the sensor did disconnect a couple of times, but in almost all cases it reconnected itself straight away. I recorded 20 minutes of my training, and afterwards I was able to get a summary of the whole session in terms of average speed, sweet-spot and spin power as well as a log of each stroke. It will distinguish flat shots from those with slice or top spin, for both backhand and forehand. In addition to providing information on each session, it also shows your progress across sessions, so you can see whether you are improving on any of the aforementioned parameters. One thing it does not do (as far as I could tell) is allow you to separate training sessions from matches, which would be a useful feature to see whether your performance is affected by those match nerves (well, I already know that this is the case, I just don’t know by how much!)

Another feature it has, and which I tested out, is the possibility to video yourself whilst using the sensor. In addition to being able to see how your footwork and loading affects your speed and accuracy, a good use of this feature is to check whether the sensor is distinguishing correctly between the slices and top-spin shots etc. This is something that is difficult to gauge with other tennis sensors, and you have to just trust that they are working correctly. I did notice that my battery drained quite quickly with this video feature (which I used for 16 minutes in total), so it is not something you would want to use for a whole match or training session.

The final main feature, which I have not yet used, is related to the service. This is something I am really keen on using as I really hope to see an increase in my service speed in the coming months. If I manage to see any improvements, I’ll be sure to share the QLIPP statistics with you here!

Racket Box Review: A Monthly Tennis Equipment Service

Racket Box

Racket Box

Earlier this month I received a Racket Box in the post for me to review for my blog. I immediately posted a photo of the goodies inside the box on my Instagram profile (along with a cheeky flash of my legs, which haven’t seen the light of day for quite a few months now!) Since then I have had a chance to try out some of the items in the box, and I wanted to let you know how I got on, and my thoughts on these subscription tennis boxes.

First up, let me list the contents of the racket box that I received:

  • Two tubes of Robin Söderling tennis balls
  • A pack of three white Wilson overgrip
  • A bright yellow Karakal grip
  • A pair of white Asics tech running ankle socks
  • Luxilon Savage Black racket strings
  • A Wilson emoji vibration dampener

Now, I would estimate that the contents of the box, if you were to buy them individually, would cost just under £40 (about  €45), whereas if you sign up for a monthly racket box it costs £29.95 (and a bi-monthly box costs £14.95 per month). Hence, you are certainly saving money by signing up, but is it still worth it?

I have so far tried the Wilson overgrip, the vibration dampener, the tennis balls and the socks. These are obviously all good quality products: I liked the feel of the smooth overgrips; the socks provided great cushioning; the balls, though super stylish, were a bit too hard for my liking; I was pleased to find out via Instagram that Dan Evans has the same emoji dampener 😉

Signing up for a monthly (or bi-monthly) tennis box is certainly an investment that is best suited to regular tennis players. I like the fact that there is an option to receive boxes every two months rather than every month, as monthly boxes might lead to too many products for some players. Those of us that train and play regularly know how useful it is to regularly stock up on tennis balls, strings and overgrips and we are always on the look out for new tennis gadgets and equipment to try out. And by investing in a racket box you are going to be exposed to lots of different tennis products that you might not otherwise have heard of or have access to. The producer of Racket Box also tells me that there may be the possibility in the future to request particular items, such as tennis balls, as this is something you might not want to constantly change.

Have you ever signed up for a tennis box? Let me know your thoughts on these boxes in the comments below.

 

A Trip To The Court With Our TopspinPro

A couple of months ago I posted a boomerang video on Instagram of me playing with my TopspinPro (that was acquired by my partner with the official reason being to teaching his son a good top spin technique, but the real reason being that he – and I – have a serious addiction to buying tennis goodies online!). After posting the video, Phillip Hofmeyr (the designer of the TopspinPro) asked if I would like to publish an affiliate link on my blog (which means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission). I said I was very happy to do so, because I really do feel that the TopspinPro is a great product and I was planning to post about it on my blog anyway. So if after reading this post you are interested in purchasing one, you can find out more via my affiliate link: https://topspinpro.com/ref/40ish_love/.

Let me tell you a bit more about the TopspinPro and the fun we have had practicing with it. The TopspinPro is a gadget that teaches you to hit a ball with a ‘wind-shield’ wiper action. You need to hold the racket with a semi-western grip and hit the ball with the racket at the right angle such that it will spin, but the racket doesn’t touch the mesh screen – as shown in the video below:

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• Indoor Tennis Training • The tennis court we usually go to on a Sunday is being refurbished, but it turned out to be a good excuse for me to dress up in my @sweatybetty tennis dress and practice indoors with our new @topspinpro 🎾👗🙌🏼 There are some great videos online with footwork drills you can do with the TopSpinPro, and I hope to try them out in the future and post about them on my blog. In the meantime, I have been researching adult tennis training camps for my blog – check out my latest post (link in bio) on a unique tennis academy in Spain -@equeliteferrero – that uses the @playsight system. #tennis #tennistraining #tennispractice #tennisplayer #tennispassion #tenniscamp #topspinpro #boomerang #tennislesson #tennisgirl #tennislife #tennislove #lovetennis #tennisdress #instatennis #tennismotivation #tennisaddict #blogger #blogpost

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Although you certainly can (and should) use it at home like I did to practice the right grip and angle with which to hit a top spin heavy forehand or backhand, it is also a great gadget to take onto the tennis court with you, and to incorporate into some footwork exercises. We discovered some really useful YouTube videos made by Clay Ballard of TopSpeedTennis.com that use the TopSpinPro and so after watching a couple of them, we decided to take our TopSpinPro with us to the tennis court and see how my partner’s son would get on with using the gadget.

First we started off with some static exercises – a simple split step followed by a step forward to hit the ball (as shown in the top photo of this post). We focused on making sure we were at the right distance, with the ball in front of us at the point of contact. We then added in footwork, using a small cone as a marker and to force us to move in a circular fashion when returning to the base line and then moving back to hit the ball. Finally, we removed the TopSpinPro and tried to repeat all the same movements during a normal forehand shot.

TopSpinPro

TopspinPro

We had lots of fun and it definitely helped my partner’s son with his forehand technique. We plan to take it with us every time we train from now on. I think that it is also a good gadget to use during the warm up, and would work really well if you arrive early to the court and want to spend a bit more time warming up before your opponent arrives.

I have lots of video material from our training today, and so I think I’ll soon put together a YouTube video of our drills for my new channel. So if you are interested in such a video, subscribe to my channel so you’ll get a notification when it is uploaded!

UPDATE! I finally got round to making that YouTube video which you can view here.

 

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Review: Babolat POP Tennis Sensor

Although it didn’t feature in my Christmas Gift Ideas for Tennis Lovers blog post (as I only discovered it afterwards) I ended up buying my other half a Babolat POP from Tennis Warehouse Europe for Xmas. I wasn’t sure if it was just a bit of a gimmick, but it actually turns out that he loves it and is using it for all of his trainings and tennis matches. He has even developed Excel spreadsheets for tracking his progress (which I have turned into a template that you can download at the end of this post!). So I asked him to help me write a review about it on my blog, in case anyone reading this is thinking of buying one and wants to find out more.

The Babolat POP is a sensor that slips inside a wristband which needs to be worn on your dominant arm when playing tennis. You connect it to your smartphone via a downloadable app. It records data related to your forehands, backhands, serves, volleys, and smashes and you can assign each recording you do to either a training session, a match or an open session (which might be, for example, when you are warming up or rallying with a friend). For your forehand and backhand it can identify the racket speed and whether the shot is flat, sliced or with top spin. It will also record the racket speed on your serves and the total number of smashes and volleys. Once the app has recorded all of your shot statistics, it will calculate a PIQ score for your forehands and backhands. We aren’t sure of the exact details of the calculation of this score, but it appears to be a quality score that combines the speed, style and spin (see screenshots below).

The first thing my partner did when he had installed the app was to record an open session in our living room, where he simulated a number of different shots. He just wanted to see how close the sensor got to reality (even if, admittedly, he wasn’t really playing tennis). The sensor did well, and identified the various forehands, backhands, slices, top spin, smashes and volleys that he simulated. This was good enough for him (phew – my Xmas pressie was a success!) and he has worn it every time he has been on a tennis court since (and so he is no longer a Babolat POP ‘newbie’, has passed through the ‘rookie’ stage, and has now reached the slightly more respectable state of ‘ace’).

The features he likes best are the racket speed and PIQ scores and the fact that he can compare the statistics from his training sessions and matches. He has been surprised to see just how much worse his shots are in matches as compared to training, and so his objective this year is to improve his scores in both, whilst at the same time reducing the difference between them.

Although the app does provide some visual representations of the data, my partner felt he needed more post-processing (for example, it only gives the average PIQ score from the last 6 sessions rather than all of them) and so he created his own template in Excel where he can copy that data from each recording, and it produces summary graphs. (I think I have told you before that we are both engineers and love our statistics!) Here is a screenshot of his summary sheet so far (I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing it with you…)

babolat_pop_piq-overview

If you would like to produce some similar plots with your own Babolat POP data, you can download his simple template (with some example data). It is rather rudimentary, but we hope the Babolat POP team can come up with something similar (though better!) in the future.

To conclude, the Babolat POP tennis sensor is a great gadget for a tennis player, it works well (as far as we could tell through simple tests), encourages improvement and allows you to track your progress over time.