RacquetWorld's Newsletter Racquetball Tip of the Month

 

What's in Pat's Bag 2009

 

Every year the same question…”Pat, what do you use?” Over the years I’ve told people what I use but more importantly I’ve told them why. With the coming of the new year, I’m cleaning out my bag and looking at the year in review and the year ahead to see what I’ll be reloading my bag with, what I won’t and why. 

In addition, I never wrote an article in 2008 that had direct product links. My brother once again explained that the lack of those links in the most read part of our newsletter is lowering our overall Google ranking. So while I write this for everyone, I hope my brother will get off my back now.

In prior years, I was a diehard tournament player. Now, however I’m more of a club recreational player…in packing the bag terms. With that in mind, my equipment choices have evolved.

The bag itself…I have three…all embroidered with my name so I know who I am at all times and that security sometimes helps me. I have an Ektelon Tour Bag for travel. People still laugh at the wheels when you walk in your club… but that looks changes when they see you in the airport and you’re wheeling and their lugging. I have a Head Club Bag because the better ones have metal zippers and it’s the zippers that usually go before the bag wears out. Metal zippers and an external pocket make it great for the day to day commute to the club. The club size bag has enough room for everything. Lastly, I have an E-Force Backpack. When I travel, I don’t want to lug (or wheel) my Ektelon Travel Bag with me to the courts, so I throw the bare necessities in the backpack and even a guy my age looks stylish walking to the courts.

My sneakers, which last about 4 months because I inadvertently cut my grass or something else stupid that turns them into a non-playing pair, are the Ektelon T9 Roadster (Wide). These are the only racquetball sneaker that comes in a true width. It’s not a 4E…but people with slightly wider feet will really enjoy this fit. I personally wore a size 10 in a regular sneaker…but it was always a touch long…I felt like I had clown feet. With this added width, I fit into a size 9.5 and it is perfect. The gum soles are stiff at first, but after a week these sneakers break in very nicely. As an added benefit, these sneakers are “clean” looking…mostly white with black highlights…you can wear them outside the court when they are retired from active duty. They also breathe well.

The eyeguards are very important. I use the E-Force Dual Focus. The have fully adjustable side pieces and come with multiple nose pieces. They incorporate slits in the upper portion of the eyeguards for less fogging. The do come with a strap but these can be adjusted to fit you so there is no need for the strap. I don’t like straps…personally. My backup pair, and you should have two, is the Head Pro Elite. They are just slightly sleeker than the Dual Focus and fit great. I actually pick the Dual Focus because eyeguards are really made for protection first and I think the Dual Focus offer a hint more protection. With balls whizzing around at 150+ mph you can’t be too careful. 

There are so many balls today and most of them are round and bounce. Should there really be a preference? It seems like everyone has a preference when it comes to balls. I prefer to play with the Penn HD. It’s lighter and causes less stress on my arm. It does die faster and sometimes seems to float a little more. The early death may cost you a little more money. The little float may cost you a playing partner. That’s why it’s important to carry a couple different balls in your bag. My second choice is a blue ball…Penn Blue or Ektelon Blue…both are very easy to see and seem to come off as lighter than any of the green balls. An honorable mention goes out to the Fire Ball and the Penn Ballistic (both red). While I play indoors and the red lines on the court bother me when looking for a red ball…these balls are faster and are great outside. Deep in one of my bag pockets sat a Wilson Pink ball. I also thought that was a great ball if you were man enough to bring it out.

I use a Python Grip on all my racquets. I say that because it affects my glove choice. I wear the E-Force Weapon Glove. It has stay soft leather that really stays soft even when your salty sweat tries to stiffen it. The black leather palm does not discolor your hand or become discolored with the use of any color grip. The glove also breathes well with a back mesh. The most important thing to me in a glove is fit. These gloves run a tad small…which means when you find the right size they do fit perfectly with no wiggle room. This leather is also very thin so you can feel the ridges on your grips. This makes it easier to switch between a backhand and forehand grip. The leather itself is great. It’s what I like to call “just before tacky”. Once you lock in your grip, this glove doesn’t let your racquet spin. My second choice is the Ektelon Classic Pro. It has a white leather palm, great thin leather and it’s cheaper. However, like most gloves, this glove does get crispy after a while.

The million-dollar question…which racquet is in Pat’s Bag. I do have them all so what do I carry around…Here’s our Racquet Chart. This secret may have to die with me. I do hit with them all at one point. I invite you to come to the NY State Singles Event (pdf) and see for yourself. Free NY State Fleece to all players…it will be worth the trip!