Which Tennis Racket Should I Buy?

There is a dizzying range of tennis rackets out there on the market. The major brands are Head, Wilson, Babolat, Prince, Dunlop, and Yonex. And like cars, each racquet comes with its own unique name and number to add a little glamour to the product.

The marketing departments of the relevant brands will come up with names like the Head “XT Instinct” or the Babolat “Pure Drive”, one of the best Babolat racquets for an intermediate player and even the star wars themed Prince racquet called a “Thunderstick”.

Now all these names are meant to reflect your style or anticipated style of game. I hit it hard therefore I need a thunderstick or I am more of touch player so perhaps I should go for an Instinct. There are so-called beginners racquets, intermediate and advanced too!

There is a wide range of racquets that will suit your game. And just to complicate things there is further information that you can research and review as regards the weight of the racquet and the tension of the strings. Oddly enough the looser the tension the harder you can hit the ball ( it’s the trampoline effect) and the tighter the strings the more control and spin you can impart.

As an example, a racket which is strung at 55lbs is at the looser end of the scale. As regards the weight of the racket – there are more complications. If it is too light then you will start flicking at the ball and this will result in poor technique and tennis elbow and if too heavy this will also reduce your technique and knacker your arm at the same time.

And then there is the grip – should it be a thick handle or a thin one depending on the size of your hands. Ideally, you should be able to fit your little finger in between your thumb and your other fingers when holding your racket and that can be determined by your grip that goes around the handle of the racket.

If you are like most people you will also have a look to see what your favourite player uses. Andy Murray uses a Head Graphene Radical Pro. Caroline Wozniacki uses a Babolat Aeropro Drive. Roger Federer has stuck with his Wilson Prostaff for many years with adaptions and Serena Williams also uses a Wilson.

Her rival Maria Sharapova, for example, favors a Head Graphene XT Instinct. Now when I say favor what I probably also mean is that these giant brands are probably paying a lot of money to these tennis superstars to play with their rackets.

And the real truth is that if you asked those individuals to swap rackets – they would probably achieve exactly the same results. In other words, it is more the talent of the individual rather than the technology of the racket that is the critical issue.

Lastly, of course, there is the price. If you pay more – do you get a better racket or more significantly if you pay more – will you play better. There are some rackets on the market for as much as £300 and there are some quite decent products for less than £50. Ideally of course you want a quality racket that feels right for you and at the cheapest possible price. You are not necessarily going to play any better by throwing money at the technology

How To Choose Your First Pickleball Paddle Ever?

Hello Everyone! I’m Austin from Spoke Pickleball and today I’d like to talk to you about choosing your first pickleball paddle ever!



Remember, there are lots to choose from….

With the great variety of pickleball paddles available, purchasing the right one for you may seem like a daunting task. However, this does not need to be the case. Most likely you’ve already tried a friend’s paddle and thinking of purchasing the same model or you would like to do some comparisons and check out other paddles that are available in the market.

For example, the Paddletek Tempest Wave is one of the top tier pickleball paddles in the market today.

Making a first purchase can seem a bit confusing due to technical factors like surfaces, composite fiberglass graphite paddle, polymer aluminum and other paddle sizes. There are also a lot of great brands out there!

There are a variety of sizes of pickleball paddles. That’s all too much to worry about. There’s a simpler way of finding your first paddle ever! When it comes to purchasing your first pickleball paddle it can be as simple as choosing an appropriate weight, feel and grip.

  1. Lightweight paddles are generally six-and-a-half to 7 ounces.
  2. Medium weight paddles are between seven and eight ounces.
  3. Heavy pickleball paddles are 8 ounces or more.

Within the different weight classes of paddles, there are some that designed for more power, some are designed for more control and many paddles in between.

In addition to weight, choosing the right grip is important for the overall feel of the paddle. Paddle’s come with different grip sizes, so it’s important to find the one that feels right in your hand. Each paddles weight and grip give it a distinctive feel and that feel is the most important thing to consider when choosing your first paddle.

For a beginner, you can start from a heavy paddle so you have more power to your shots with your limited technique. But once you have enough experience playing pickleball, I suggest that you buy a lightweight paddle for more control and comfortability!

And lastly once you find the paddle with the right combination of weight, grip and feel and maybe even color, you’ll be all set to go out on the court and play the fun and challenging game of pickleball! Now, go grab a paddle and play!

Dealing With Pains and Aches During Pregnancy

The number one complaint of moms who are expecting is trying to deal with the aches and pains that are associated with carrying an unborn baby. As the body grows, the abdomen expands, and the baby becomes larger, mom experiences discomfit that is indescribable. Whether it is using a pregnancy pillow or getting a good massage, there are ways to alleviate the aches and pains that are associated with pregnancy. The following tips can help you get the comfort that you are looking for during a time when comfort seems impossible.

Getting plenty of rest.

Over exerting your pregnant body can cause you to have aches and pains. It can lead to muscle spasms throughout the night that threaten your sleep pattern. To avoid over-exertion, allow your body periods of rest throughout the day.  Prop your feet up and relax for 20 to 30 minutes a couple of times day. Your body needs rest. If you do not get rest during the day, you may pay for it during the night.

Purchasing a pregnancy pillow.

A really popular and best way to deal with the aches and pains of pregnancy is buying a pregnancy pillow. If you find that you cannot get comfortable at night because of an aching back, neck, or pelvis, a pregnancy pillow may be your answer. Available in many shapes and sizes, there is sure to be a pregnancy pillow that can help alleviate the pain you are feeling and help you get a comfortable night rest. The results will be immediate. You will be sleeping better in no time.


Another good answer to the aches and pains is massage. This is especially true in the latter part of your pregnancy when the aches and pains are most prevalent. Dad to be can be the perfect answer to a good massage. Many partners are willing to help out with massages because they are aware of the pain that you are going through.

Light exercise.

It is important that you make the attempt to keep your body in shape during pregnancy. Consider walking a short distance daily to try to help with the aches and pain. Be careful not to overdo it. Do not start any vigorous exercise program without first consulting your doctor.

Exercising vigorously can increase your aches and pains. If you do choose to exercise, make sure it is very light and that the moves are recommended for people who are expecting.

Soothing the aches and pains that come with being pregnant can be a challenge. Thankfully, this challenge has been met by items such as the pregnancy pillow. If you are uncomfortable because of pregnancy, consider purchasing a pregnancy pillow.  Get plenty of rest during the day to avoid aches and pains that you may feel at night.

Massages and light exercise can also help with the aches and pains. Most importantly, take advantage of advice offered by other moms who have been able to beat the aches and pains of pregnancy.


Making Connections in Math Through Reading

counting grain of rice

Making Connections in Math Through Reading – A Million Grains of Rice

Thank you to Calcustar for this wonderful informational article. Visit their site and learn what’s the Top 5 Graphing Calculators today.

We need to make changes in the way we teach students math. A comparison of state standardized test scores show that test scores a leveling off or are flat State Mathematics Comparisons 2000 – 2009 (National Center for Education Statistics). During the early part of the decade our students made great strides in improving their test scores. This appears to be due to an increased emphasis on math in schools; a dependence on rote memorization of facts and direct instruction.

Now there needs to be another reform in the way students learn math by using project-based teaching and learning strategies. This integrates problem-solving which is a critical skill that students need in mathematics. The use of reading strategies that incorporate project-based learning, helps set a situation in which math is learned. These circumstances help students understand that math is more relevant to their own world – making math personal.

Math Lesson Integrating Reading – Use the book “How Much is a Million” by David M. Schwartz


Ask the Students:

  • How much a million grains of rice really is and what they think it looks like?
  • How long it would take to count to a million?
  • How long they think it would take to count one million grains of rice?
  • How much a million grains of rice would weigh?
  • How they would go about counting a million grains of rice?


  • Students (in groups):
  • Count the rice grains in a cup of rice (150–200 grains).
  • Weigh their cups of rice – subtracting the weight of the cup.
  • Records their data in a data table for the whole class to see (e.g., draw a chart on the board or poster paper, or enter the data into a spreadsheet).
  • Estimate the total number of grains of rice that have been counted so far and the total weight.
  • Add the estimates to the data.
  • Add up the total number of grains and compare the actual number to the estimates, along with the weight.

More Questions

Hold up a 2 pound package of rice.

Ask the Students:

  • How many more cups would they need to count in order to reach 1 million grains?
  • To estimate how many grains of rice are in the package?
  • To estimate the number of 2 pound packages of rice needed to equal one million grains of rice?
  • To calculate the number of 2 pound packages needed. (The answer is around 31 packages)?

After stacking the 31 packages rice the students can visualize how many grains of rice it takes to make a million. They also have concrete evidence of what one million grains of rice looks like.

Try using this same activity with other math trade books, such as: “If You Hopped Like a Frog“: by David M. Schwartz and illustrated by James Warhola – ratio and proportions. “One Grain of Rice” by Demi – villager in a developing country trying to feed her village.

This lesson makes the necessary connections that students need to make between project-based learning, problem solving, numbers and operation, measurement, data analysis and probability, reasoning and proof, communication, and representation. These are skills necessary to help change math and help students score better on standardized testing.

Where Marketing and Maths Meet



Think of a number. Any number. I’ll think of 76 and i’ll talk to you about that number for a short while.

Base 10

I don’t want to dive into the detail of binary numbers without first talking briefly about Base 10, the number system you’ll be most familiar with. The number 76 can be calculated in the following way: We multiply 10 7 times and add 6.  If you cast your mind back to primary school, that’s 7 10s and 6 units. Whenever we right numbers down in English, we are implicitly talking about base 10 or the decimal system.

Any number we write down in base 10 is related to a power of 10. For example, if we have the number 13263, we have 3 units, 6 tens, 2 hundreds, 3 thousands and 1 ten thousands. We’d usually say that the number was thirteen thousand, two hundred and sixty three. If you said one ten thousand, three thousand, two hundreds, six tens and three units you’d get a strange look, but you’ll be technically correct.

As we work from right to left, each digit refers to a different power of 10.The last digit of any base 10 number represents the value up to the base; in this case, the value up to 10. This is because 10 to the power 0 is 1. The second last digit, represents how many 10′s we have: i.e. 10 x 1. The third last digit, represents how many 100′s we have: i.e. 10 x 2. In the decimal system, each digit used can be between 0 and 9. We have 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 available to us when we count.

You need two digits to represent the number 10. This might seem obvious, but it’s really important when it comes to understanding other base systems. For any base, we can use any number up to one less than the base number for any digit of that number. For base 8, we could use the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 to count. We can’t use 8; we have to stick with numbers one less than the base.

Binary: Base 2

If we have a binary number, each place value represents a power of 2, rather than a power of 10 in base 10 decimal notation. As we are working in base 2, we can only use a 0 or a 1 for a digit of the number.The value of zero in base 2 is 0. It is represented as 0.If we the decimal number 1, that number in base 2 is 1. It’s when we get to representing the decimal number 2 in base 2 where things get interesting. Remember that in base 2 we can only use a 0 or a 1 when we count. We would write the decimal number 2 as 10 in base 2.

That is, we have: The number 76 in binary is 1001100. There are 7 digits in this number. Computers use base 2, because an electronic current can be either off or on.The power of a computer is built on its ability to count in binary. As computers have evolved, so has their ability to count. The Sega Master System I played on with my friends in the early 1990s had an 8-bit CPU. The CPU could count using 8 bit precision: i.e. it could use 8 digits to store something whilst processing.

If that something was a number, the biggest number it could handle was 255.The decimal number 255 in binary is 11111111. If we can only use 8 digits to store the number, we can’t store the decimal number 256 as, in binary, this number is 100000000 and it would require 9 digits.

The Sega Mega Drive I finally bought myself in 1992 had a 16-bit processor. This number may be familiar to you if you used versions of Excel prior to Excel 2007. Prior to Excel 2007, each workbook could only hold 65,535 rows, a limit imposed because of the bit depth of that version of Excel. My Sega Mega Drive could handle numbers up to 65,535 but only if sign wasn’t important. If it needed to represent negative numbers, it would only be capable of dealing of numbers up to 32,767, as one bit would be required to hold the sign of the number.In 32-bit computing, the largest signed integer which can be stored is 2147483647. This number crops up in computing when you least expect it.