The 80_20 rule Header

Active Away Tennis Holidays Blog: Guide to Improving Your Doubles Part 5

Carrying on from part 4 last week where we looked at the three basic doubles position if you haven’t read part 4 please click here to have a read. This week I want to have a look at the one up one back situation.I think we all know that in an ideal world we wouldn’t really like to be in this position but at the same time I think most of us would agree that at a recreation level (even up to top club level) the one up one back situation happens a high percentage of the time. Our 80/20 rule is one of the keys to unlock the door and turn your team in to the offensive pair at the net and put the other team on the back foot.

There are 3 ways to turn a neutral/defensive position in to an attacking one:

  1. Holding your ground at the back of the court, waiting for a short ball to pounce on

  2. Hitting a strong shot to put your opponent in a defensive position and following in behind your shot

  3. Ghosting in behind a high deep shot without your opponent seeing you

The 80/20 rule is all about your recovery position. Its simple 80% of the time before you hit the ball you should be either holding your ground or moving forwards to strike the ball, 20% of the time you will have to move back. You have to recover to an appropriate ready position that allows you to do this.Lets imagine your opponent hits a ball that you need to move forwards to but not short enough to allow you to follow it in to the net. After you hit your shot you need to recover back (how far back depends on a number of factors). If you don’t recover you will find yourself out of position for the next shot likely having to move backwards as you strike the ball. If you recover to your correct 80/20 position this will allow you to hold your ground/move forwards for the shot rather than being on your back foot.

90% of you reading this blog post are going to be well aware of what i mean by a recovery position but I would challenge you to ask yourself do you think you work hard enough off the ball to maintain a good recovery position? We believe that a sloppy recovery position leads to being out of position a high percentage of the time.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and can take a few of these thoughts in to your next match.

Tennis Holidays are a great way to make real progressions in your game, it is an intense week of learning new skills in the morning and putting them in to practise in the afternoons. Being able to play for 20 hours in one week means that you can really make changes in your game fast! Our Tennis Holidays our suitable for all levels whether you are a complete beginner through to county level players – everyone is welcome!

Tips fo Court Positioning in Tennis

Active Away Tennis Holidays Blog: KIS Coaching – Improve your doubles Part 4

Did you manage to read part 3? We focused on the importance of finding the right partner. People seemed to really like it. If you haven’t read it yet, click here to have a read.

Now that you have found the right partner and worked on the first ball (serve and return), it’s time to talk about court positioning. There are three basic court positions for doubles: two up, two back and one up, one back.

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Two Up

Two up doubles positionTwo up means that both players are positioned at the net. This is the best of the three because you are offensive and can cover most of the court from this configuration.The one wild card is the lob. Because there is nobody there to back you up, covering the lob can be tricky for the weekend warrior. You must learn to recognize the lob earlier by watching the opponent’s court position and racket face.For example, if you’ve come in behind a deep approach shot or hit a deep first volley and you see your opponent back up, odds are you will see a lob. Anticipation is the key to covering the lob effectively.

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 Two Back

Two back doubles positionTwo back means that both players are positioned on the baseline. Although most of the court is covered and you do not have to worry about the lob, this is not considered as effective as two up because it is difficult to be offensive from the baseline in doubles. This configuration should be used if you are and your partner are not good volleyers, or at times when your opponents are moving a lot at the net and outplaying you from there. Then the best bet is to step back to make it more difficult for them to hit winners and to make sure you don’t go home with a bunch of bumps and bruises courtesy of the other team drilling you with the ball.

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One Up – One Back

One up one back doubles positionOne up, one back means that one player is standing at the net while their teammate is on the baseline. This is the least desirable of the three configurations mainly because there is a big gap left open in the court right down the middle. As long as the ball stays in front of the player at the net, it is not as big a problem. But if the pattern switches and the ball is cross-court from the net player, then you are in trouble. It also makes poaching (the opponents net player crossing the middle of the court to intercept the ball) more effective because there is a big open target to hit to when the opponent gets the ball. Many times you will find yourself caught in a one up, one back situation. Don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world. But do try to get up to the net with your partner at the earliest opportunity to be more aggressive. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this because of the level of your volleys, then work on your volleys until you do feel comfortable. You will also find that the more often you move forward to the net, the easier it will become to see the lob coming before your opponent even makes contact with the ball.

Tennis Holidays are a great way to make real progressions in your game, it is an intense week of learning new skills in the morning and putting them in to practise in the afternoons. Being able to play for 20 hours in one week means that you can really make changes in your game fast! Our Tennis Holidays our suitable for all levels whether you are a complete beginner through to county level players – everyone is welcome!

Find The Right partner

Active AWay Tennis Holidays Blog: KIS Coaching – Improve your doubles Part 3

Did you manage to read part 2 last week based on improving your slice serve? People seemed to really like it. If you haven’t read it yet, click here to have a read.

In the Blog we are going to talking about the importance of finding the right partner. Now we might not all be lucky enough to have a sibling who also happens to play great tennis. The number one rule when playing doubles tennis is to find the right partner. Remember, this may not mean the best singles player, but someone who plays at the same or higher level and at the same time compliments your game.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]I’ll tell you one big secret singles players don’t care about doubles. Double is for practice “Ernest Gulbis” [/quote]

For example, if you are a good server and play well around the net, but have trouble breaking serve, find someone that returns serve well and can help you in that department.Conversely, if you return well but struggle to hold serve, playing with someone who likes to volley and moves well around the net may be the best choice to help you win your own serve and give you the best opportunity for success.

Team Work Imagae

It is also very important to find someone who is compatible from a personality standpoint. If you are the type of person that likes to be in control and call the shots, then playing with someone with similar characteristics may lead to friction. You should find someone who is more open to suggestion and will follow your lead.

Dissension among partners is a very difficult obstacle to overcome mid-match, and I’m sure we’ve all seen matches where it boils over. It’s not pretty. At the same time, two players with more docile personalities may not work well together because there is no leader or decision maker.Play can become less cohesive and the energy on court can become flat.So finding the right partner for your game style and your personality is crucial.

Tennis Holidays are a great way to make real progressions in your game, it is an intense week of learning new skills in the morning and putting them in to practise in the afternoons. Being able to play for 20 hours in one week means that you can really make changes in your game fast! Our Tennis Holidays our suitable for all levels whether you are a complete beginner through to county level players – everyone is welcome!

Improve YourSlice Serve

Active Away Tennis Holidays Blog: KIS Coaching – Improve your doubles Part 2

Did you manage to read part 1 last week based all about the first ball we focused on talking about the importance of the serve and return. People seemed to really like it. If you haven’t read it yet, click here to have a read.

Learning to hit an effective slice tennis serve may be tough its its something new for you but it is definitely worth pursuing this skill. Here are our seven top tips to get you started on hitting a perfect wide slice to the deuce side.

  1. Position yourself more to the right of the middle to have a better angle. You can even stand half-way between the middle and the sideline.
  2. Use a continental/chopper grip (or at least move round towards this if you are not comfortable with being in a completely chopper grip) so that you will impart slice naturally.
  3. Toss the ball in front and little to the right. Experiment to find the right place without losing balance when you serve.
  4. Imagine cutting round the side of the ball
  5. Continue your movement forward with the edge of the racket going forward – a kind of karate chop at he ball. Again, hit many serves to refine this feel.
  6. Rotate your shoulders and finally face with your body towards the target. If you end up facing straight ahead then it’s hard to steer the ball left.
  7. Practice, practice, practice.

I once coached a player from whose groundstrokes and volleys were pretty average for his level of play, but his serve was exceptional.

I asked him where he learned the serve, who coached him, how did he practice and so on.

He said he just served every day for an additional hour following his regular practice. No coach, no drills, just trying to serve more accurately and faster.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and can take a few of these thoughts in to your next match.

Tennis Holidays are a great way to make real progressions in your game, it is an intense week of learning new skills in the morning and putting them in to practise in the afternoons. Being able to play for 20 hours in one week means that you can really make changes in your game fast! Our Tennis Holidays our suitable for all levels whether you are a complete beginner through to county level players – everyone is welcome!

Get The First Bal In

Active Away Tennis Holidays Blog: KIS Coaching – Improve your doubles Part 1

The most important part of doubles play is the first ball. The serve and return in doubles are the keys to success, and how you play these first balls will decide your fate. Our Tennis Holiday’s focus predominantly on doubles play, looking at key areas that you can take back to your club and make a real impact in your club matches.

When serving, having a high first-serve percentage is essential to holding serve. You will have better results taking a little pace off the serve and serving 70 percent with less aces or service winners than you will serving 40 percent with 10 aces and 10 winners.

More: In Next Edition of Tennis Holiday KIS Coaching We Will Be Looking At Developing Your Slice Serve

This is because of the mentality of the returner. On the first serve return, a returner is not looking to be as aggressive or offensive. So even when they are not seeing huge first serves, they are more likely to just put the ball in play and less likely to actually do something with it.

This means you are starting on offence 70 percent of the time when serving a high percentage, rather than 40 percent of the time when you are going for the big bomb.

The thought process of the returner will change, whether consciously or subconsciously, when receiving a second serve. Now the opponent is looking to do damage with the return and begin to attack themselves. This means trouble if your opponent has a decent return!

When receiving, the biggest mistake I see is players trying to do too much with the return. This is a singles player mentality and must change when playing doubles

I hope you enjoyed reading this and can take a few of these thoughts in to your next match.

Tennis Holidays are a great way to make real progressions in your game, it is an intense week of learning new skills in the morning and putting them in to practise in the afternoons. Being able to play for 20 hours in one week means that you can really make changes in your game fast! Our Tennis Holidays our suitable for all levels whether you are a complete beginner through to county level players – everyone is welcome!

Myths about grips in Tennis

Active Away Tennis Holidays Blog: Myths about Grips


We have had a busy time recently out in Turkey meeting loads of fantastic new people as well as seeing lots of friends that have been away with us previously.

Today I am going to give you a few tips on how you can improve your set up.

First of all we have to define what I mean when I talk about set up. The set up is a combination of your grip, the preparation of the swing, the movement to the ball and the position of your feet at contact. As you can see there are already four different teaching points within this one area of our coaching process and if you cast your mind back to the previous email we talked about how important it is to work on one teaching point at a time – work out what comes first”

I would use the below as a guide as to what you should be working on first:

  1. Using an appropriate grip
  2. The preparatory phase  – turn of the shoulders and begin your movement to the ball
  3. Using an appropriate stance at contact

As well as all of the above, you also need to be able to read the ball effectively to help you maintain a consistent contact point as without this you won’t be able to maintain your balance once you are set up…this is the old “chicken and egg” conundrum. We need to be in a good position with a strong set up but in order to do this, you need to be able to read the ball effectively. We will be talking about developing your ability to read the ball in the 4th instalment of How to Win More Points.

For the rest of this article we will be discussing how to find an appropriate forehand grip for you; I have focused on the forehand as this is an area where there are many people doing many different things and you have to find out what works for you.


The Forehand Grip

You will not be pleased to hear this but there is no one answer nor one correct grip; there is simply just finding a grip that works for you. When talking about various grips on the forehand there is always a trade off between power and spin/control. The further round you go on the grip the harder you find it to generate power but ieasier to generate more spin and therefore more control.

Over the last 20 to 30 years players have evolved from relatively defensive players into athletic, physically dominant baseline players who also have all court capabilities.

Part of this evolution has been the technical development of more powerful, whipping, heavy-spin, but versatile forehands. These forehands have allowed players to continue to defend unbelievably well, but also attack with aggression and force. Rafa Nadal’s forehand—one of the best weapons in the modern game– is the epitome of this trend.

Although Nadal is famous for his relatively extreme grip, I believe that a Rafa style forehand can actually be built with a range of grips, ranging anywhere between a strong eastern (bevel 3-4) and an extreme semi-western (Bevel 4-5).

grips image

The result of this incredible shot comes from a combination of the speed of the racket and the path of the racket through the shot – more on this in future articles.

An example of a strong eastern is Roger Federer’s grip, with the index knuckle between the third and fourth bevel. An extreme semi-western is Rafa’s grip, with the index knuckle between the fourth and fifth bevel.

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Most, if not all modern pros, have grips in the same range as discussed above. This is one reason why players have very versatile forehands and can transition to fast court play more effectively than in past decades.

It is a common mistake to call Rafa’s forehand grip a full western or extreme western, with the palm of the handle completely under the grip. This is inaccurate, it is a simply a myth that top pros use a western grip to hit big, heavy, whipping forehands.

I would always suggest using a forehand grip in this range and ideally a strong eastern grip (Roger Federer’s) as this gives you a great combination of power and spin.

I have covered a lot of information in this article, although bear in mind I have really drilled down in to what comes first. I have been talking about developing your set up of your shot; the first element being the grip and in particular the forehand grip with an aim for you to become more consistent from the back of the court and help you win more points.

I have concentrated each article on one teaching point to help keep you focused. Remember to focus on improving “what comes first” – always ask yourself if you are working on improving the most appropriate point for you and where you are on your tennis journey or are you jumping ahead down the coaching process.

I look forward to seeing you soon working on these in person on one of our holidays. Dates are now live on the site click here to have a look for 2014.

All the best,


Matt Allen profile pic

Flying travel tips

Active Away Tennis Holidays Blog: Top 10 Flying Travel Tips

Active Away Blog March – Flying Travel Tips!

I’m currently onboard an Easyjet flight to Sofia – heading out to Bansko for our Skiing weeks. After many years of flying, both long and short haul, I’ve found there’s certain things I do to help make my journey a little easier, and wanted to share those with you.

Flying has definitely become far less glamorous than in say the 70’s or 80’s with the general consensus of Airlines being ‘low cost, ontime, no frills.’ This allows much more of the population to venture abroad than before, something that I believe is fantastic!

I’ve outlined 10 of my ‘top flying travel tips’  below…

1) Purchase a ‘1 Size Fits All’ carry on bag!

Many airlines (including BA) offer ‘hand baggage only fares.’ This means that when booking, the price excludes a check in bag/suitcase (normally around 20kg) and you will be charged extra for this. Fortunately when travelling with Active Away, this is included in the price of your holiday! However if you are flying short haul quite a lot, you can take advantages of some cheap fares by packing everything you need in your carry on bag and saves you paying for a bag which is normally around £50.

N.B. Buy a carry on that can be accepted in by all Airlines – sizes do differ from Airline to Airline, I would personally recommend the: Stratic Suitcase Agravic, which is currently able to fit in every hand baggage allowence.

2) Check in Online

An obvious one that will save you time at the airport is to check in online. All you require is your ‘booking reference number’ and surname, enter these on the airlines website and simply follow the steps. Some airlines, for example Easyjet require you to check in online before you travel.

3) Mobile Boarding Passes

I love my iPhone, and am a big Apple geek, and keep discovering it’s capabilities! With the latest iPhone software, inbuilt is an app called ‘Passbook’ which allows you to save your boarding pass to your phone. I hate being unorganized and having loads of paper in my pockets. Most airlines now offer a service whereby you can download your boarding pass to your phone, and simply use that at the airport to scan and board with. I find it really handy, as I have actually ended up loaing my boarding card before, and you can also keep a record of your trips!

4) Give yourself time!

I find airports intriguing and also strangely productive. I don’t like to be rushed, so tend to give myself time to grab a coffee and do some work on the laptop. You may find there are long queues at security or at the check in desk, so allow for this!

5) Use public transport to get to the airport!

Most airports in Britain now have a pretty good transport link to the nearest city. With parking prices consistently increasing, I find travelling to the airport on the train a very relaxing and cheap experience. I ‘persuade’ a family member/friend to provide a 10 minute drive to Sheffield train station, where I can catch my train directly to Manchester Airport, all for £17.50 return, with a reserved seat and no stress of driving!

6) Join the Rewards Club/Airmiles

I tend to travel on British Airways and Emirates fairly regularly and am a member of both of their rewards schemes (free to join). Everytime you travel just remember to claim your miles, and before you know it you’ll have a free upgrade! British Airways is known as one of the most generous rewards schemes with their ‘Avios’ system.

7) Ask the question + Be polite!

Being 6 foot 2, sometimes it’s nice to have a little extra legroom on the flight! I always speak to the person at the check in counter and see if they have extra legroom available (for free). I would guesstimate the success rate to be around 50% and has provided me with a little more comfort! Ask the cabin crew again when you are on the plane, as if the extra leg room seats aren’t sold they will often tell you that you are able to take the seat after takeoff.

The amount of times I’ve seen customers be rude to try and get around a situation (delays/cancellation/seat change etc) astonishes me. The chances are you aren’t going to change things anyway, so being rude is going to get you nowhere!

8) Bring Entertainment!

Yes, if you are travelling on your own, flights can be monotonous and boring, so do bring some kind of multimedia device. Ipads/Mp3 players/Laptops can save you from boredom! Alternatively if you are travelling with friends discuss your upcoming trip!

9) Food/Drink

Accept that you will pay more! I like to eat well before I get to the Airport, as I know that the chances are if I find I require a snack I end up out of pocket!

My personal highlights were paying £3.50 for a bottle of water in Amsterdam Airport, and a slice of Pizza at Dalaman Airport for £8.00!

10) Airport Security

This is a point of frustration for me – I’m the person that always gets their bag searched and gets frisked!

Be prepared – you know you have to take your laptop out of your bag, your belt off, and your coat/jacket off  – so do it before you get to the desk! If everyone was to do this, Airport security would move a lot faster (even if they do frisk me!)


I hope you enjoyed my tips!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me:


Look forward to seeing you on a flight soon!

Josh Thompson

Tennis Elbow Header

Tennis Elbow – Do You Suffer From Tennis Elbow

Having been involved in competitive tennis now for just over 20 years, its fair to say I have had my fair share of injuries. The worst by far though was tennis elbow. It was incredibly painful and the hardest one to shake.

Have you ever suffered from tennis elbow?

Its one of the most infuriating, frustrating and painful problems you will have from playing tennis. Rather surprisingly I managed to cure my tennis elbow by doing loads of bicep curls. This was however born out of frustration and isn’t the way I would suggest managing the problem.

In this blog post I am going to cover:

  1. What the symptoms are of tennis elbow

  2. What Causes Tennis Elbow

  3. Suggestions on how to manage tennis elbow

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What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow causes pain and tenderness on the outside of your elbow. You may also have pain in your forearm and in the back of your hand.

The pain of tennis elbow can range from mild discomfort while using your elbow, to severe pain that can be felt when your elbow is still. The pain is often worse when you use your arm, particularly for twisting movements (i.e hitting your forehand). Repetitive wrist movements, such as extending your wrist and gripping (serving), can also make the pain worse.

What causes tennis elbow?

The elbow joint is surrounded by muscles that move your elbow, wrist and fingers. The tendons in your elbow join the bones and muscles together, and control the muscles of your forearm.

Tennis elbow is usually caused by overusing the muscles attached to your elbow and used to straighten your wrist. If the muscles and tendons are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (the lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow.

As the name suggests, tennis elbow is sometimes caused by playing tennis. However, tennis is not the main cause, it is often caused by other activities that place repeated stress on the elbow joint, such as decorating or playing the violin. Pain that occurs on the inner side of the elbow is often known as golfer’s elbow.

How to treat tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is a self-limiting condition, which means it will eventually get better without treatment. However, there are treatments that can be used to improve your symptoms and speed up your recovery.

  1. STRAPPING: We have had a number of guests who have highly recommended various strapping for tennis elbow.
  2. REST: It’s important that you rest your injured arm and stop doing the activity that’s causing the problem.
  3. ICE: Holding a cold compress, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, against your elbow for a few minutes several times a day can help ease the pain.
  4. PAINKILLERS: Taking painkillers, such as Paracetamol, may help reduce mild pain caused by tennis elbow. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can also be used to help reduce inflammation.
  5. PHYSIO: If the pain continues and is not going despite rest, ice and anti inflammatories then I would suggest a visit to see a physiotherapist. In my experience massaging and manipulating the affected area can help relieve the pain and stiffness, and improve the range of movement in your arm.
  6. CORTISONE: Cortisone injections can offer fast-acting relief there are rarely complications but could involve infection and bleeding.
  7. LAST RESORT: Surgery may be used as a last resort to remove the damaged part of the tendon.

Research shows that most cases of tennis elbow last between six months and two years. However, in about nine out of 10 cases, a full recovery is made within a year.

I hope you have found this useful and look forward to seeing you soon.

If you are injury free and love your tennis,  then come and join us on one of our tennis holidays. We organise group tennis holidays to exclusive 4 & 5 star resorts, where you can meet new people, make new friends, share your great experiences whilst having lots of fun. Active away tennis holidays are suitable for everyone.

Click here to view all the dates for our tennis holidays.


Choose the right jacket

Ski Jackets: Choose the Right Jacket for your Ski Trip

Gliding down a mountain through fresh snow with the sun on your face surrounding snow covered peaks, with fresh air and blue sky. For me this is the most incredible feeling on earth…

But having the right jacket can be essential. Here are a few tips on what to look for when buying a new ski/snowboarding jacket!

Skiing can be a very expensive past time and you can spend anything on £50 up to £400 on a jacket depending on how influenced you are by fashion and the latest brands. I personally have a penchant for the more expensive items of clothing but this is generally because I am easily influenced by extremely clever advertisers!

When I started to learn I made my way to the old faithful TK Maxx store on the high street where you can pick up perfectly good jackets for around £50, some of them maybe last season but they do the trick.

There are generally two types of ski jackets, winter and spring jackets. The spring jackets are much thinner and more breathable so make sure you know when you are going before you buy your clothing. There are many features you can get on jackets these days ranging from holes for Ipods through to burger recipes (yes you heard me correctly, the latest jacket my best friend bought had a burger recipe).

Here are my top 7 suggestions that I would recommend you wouldn’t want to do without

Goretex image

1. A waterproof, breathable fabric

You need a fabric that keeps the snow and rain out, and lets your sweat escape too. Gore-Tex is still the industry leader in this respect: a membrane which is sandwiched between an outer and inner layer of fabric, and has over 1.4 billion pores per square centimetre.

Gore-Tex isn’t completely essential, though – there are many waterproof and breathable membranes available which are just as good. Look for fabrics waterproof to 16,000-20,000mm which have a breathability rating of 10,000-15,000grams. There’s a great guide to what these ratings mean at

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Tapered Seems

2. Taped Seems

There’s no hope your ski jacket will be waterproof unless it’s got taped seams. Why not? Because the stitching in a seam goes right through the waterproof membrane and offers the perfect entry-point for water. Pictured, left, are the taped seams on Peak Performance’s top-of-the-range Heli Alpine jacket.

Speaking of weak points in your jacket, remember that the main zip at the front of the jacket will let in moisture too, unless you’ve got some kind of covering for it. A fabric flap held in place by Velcro fastenings is best.

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High collar

3. A High Collar

I’ve spent many a chair-lift ride on windy, sub-zero days wishing the collar on my ski jacket was higher. High collars can be pulled up over your  chin, lips and even the tip of your nose to keep the wind off. If it’s properly Arctic, then you should probably invest in a neoprene facemask, too, but it’s great to have the extra protection offered by a good ski jacket. This one, modelled by Peter Sidebo at Peak Performance, does the trick nicely.

If the jacket has a hood, make sure there are drawstrings which let you tighten the collar independently of it. Otherwise, the hood acts like a wind funnel, gathering any gusts and channeling them around your neck. Yuck.

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Snow cuffs

4. Extra Long Sleeves/or Snow Cuffs

You don’t want snow up your sleeves, and there are two ways the design of a ski jacket can help you avoid the problem. The first, is if the sleeves are extra long (for example, the sleeves on a Peak Performance Heli Alpine jacket come right up to your knuckles). The second is by the inclusion of stretchy inner cuffs which hook over your thumb (as you’ll see in the Elevenate jacket shown here). Not only do these stop the snow from finding a way in, they are also prevent your sleeves riding up your arms.

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Under Arm Ventilation

5. Underarm Ventilation

You are on a mountain covered in snow and asking yourself the question, how am I hot? This happens all the time and is one of the mistakes a lot of people make when they go skiing for the first time. If you are a boarder you”ll know that feeling of burning up as your skooting along all too well. As soon as the sun comes out you can find yourself really getting hot even in sub zero temperatures. Thats where ventilation comes in very handy!

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Lift pass pocket

6. A lift-pass pocket on your left arm

Most of the time these days lift passes are electronic, however I did find out last year that Whistler of all places was still in the technological dark ages when it came to lift passes. Because most places are electronic that means you don’t need to get your left pass out to scan each time you go through the turnstiles. Most of the sensors are located on the left hand side so try to get a jacket with a pocket either on your left arm or left of your chest where you can keep your left pass safe. You don’t want to be opening this pocket all the time as you will risk loosing your lift pass – not good.

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snow skirt

7. A Snow Skirt

Yep you heard me guys, this isn’t a cross dressing exercise instead this is a very helpful extra length of material that sits inside your jacket and fastens around the top of your legs to stops and snow coming in to your jacket when you fall over – which is inevitable, if you don’t fall your not pushing yourself, at least that’s what I tell my partner!


How to Find the Right Tennis Racket for You

How to choose the right tennis racket?

How do you choose the right tennis racket? For many tennis players, including myself choosing a tennis racket can be a difficult and daunting task.

There are many things to consider, brands, head sizes, weight, string pattern, balance, and many more! One of the most common questions I get when I’m on court coaching is ‘What do you think of this racket?’

Racket manufacturers such as; Babolat, Wilson, Head, Prince and Dunlop offer power-oriented rackets.

Option 1: Short Length Swing/Beginner/Power

These rackets usually have a larger than average head size (the average being around 100in²), these rackets being 110in² or larger, and are described as ‘oversize’.

  • Length – The length of the racket is normally 27 inches, with some being slightly longer (28 inches max).
  • Balance – They are balanced head heavy or evenly balanced, to allow enough weight to travel through the contact zone.
  • Weight – Weight wise they are normally less than 280 grams, meaning that they do not put too much stress on the joints.

These rackets are perfect for players who have shorter, slower swings and want a racket that is going to generate power easily for them.

A great example of a power-oriented racket is the ‘Head Graphene PWR Prestige’ which can be viewed here

Option 2: Medium Length Swing/Intermediate/Blend of Power + Control

There are many options for rackets that offer a mixture of features from a Power focused tennis rackets and a Control focused tennis rackets. This type of racket will normally have an average sized head size – around 95 to 102in², and are described as ‘midplus’.

  • Length – The length of the racket is 27 inches.
  • Balance – These rackets are balanced anywhere from slightly head-light to slightly head-heavy.
  • Weight – For the weight they are somewhere between 285 – 310 grams, with the average weight for a tennis racket being around 295 grams.

This type of tennis racket is ideal for players who have a medium length/speed swing, and are looking to choose a tennis racket that is versatile in all areas. They appeal most to intermediate/advanced tennis players.

A great example of a Intermediate/Advanced tennis players racket is the ‘Head Youtek Extreme Midplus’ which can be viewed here

Option 3: Longer Length Swing/Advanced/Control

This brings us too the rackets that are designed for the advanced players. These ‘weapons’ will have a smaller head size – around 90 to 98in² and sometimes have ‘tour’ after the name of the racket.

  • Length – The length of the racket is normally 27 inches, with some being slightly longer (28 inches max).
  • Balance – The frames of the racket are usually thinner, and are balanced head light, which means the racket will not be particularly powerful for someone with a slow swing.
  • Weight – These tennis rackets are usually 300-330 grams

This racket is perfect for someone who has a fast swing and generates power very easily.

A great example of a Advanced players racket is the ‘Head Graphene Speed Pro’ which can be viewed here

Grip sizes: This is a really difficult subject to get right as it does come down a little to personal preference.

Here is my guide for you below with a list of grip sizes:

L0 | L1 | L2 | L3 | L4 | L5

In general ladies should choose grip sizes L1 + L2. Men should pick, grip sizes L2 or L3 with a maximum of L4 for those of you with extra large hands! My personal preference is L2 with an overgrip. It’s always best to go for a smaller grip size, and then use an overgrip, as these are easy to replace. The grip size is the most important part of the racket, mainly because if your grip is too big you are unable to get your hand round the racket and feel the ball properly.

I hope you enjoyed this blog, and when you are purchasing your next racket, if you require any more advice, please email: and I would be happy to help.

Why not try a few of our demo rackets on one of our tennis holidays!

Active Away are specialised tour operator, we organise group tennis holidays to exclusive 4 & 5 star resorts, where you can meet new people, make new friends, share your great experiences whilst having lots of fun. Active away tennis holidays are suitable for everyone.

How To Keep Fit1

Introduction on How to keep fit for Tennis


First let me start this blog by saying there is no better way to get fit for tennis than actually playing the game, this is assuming you are fit enough to play. No matter what exercise you do, jogging, gym work etc you will always find playing tennis uses muscles that you didn’t even know existed. So how do you get fit for tennis?

Tennis is such a complex sport it requires so many different physical attributes. You require a good Cardiovascular fitness as well as, strength, power, stamina and flexibility. I am going to look at this not from a Pro players perspective but from a typical tennis holiday client of ours who generally plays doubles from improver to advanced club levels.

Firstly fitness for a doubles player does not have to be anywhere near as high as for a singles player. In doubles you will do lots less running and will get loads more rest than in singles. You will play over half the amount of shots and will only serve 1/4 of the times.

Ways to improve your general tennis fitness. All of the below points will help and I’ve put them in my preferred order of importance.

  • Funnily enough I would say try and play some singles! You will be made to move more and you will hit double the amount of balls. Don’t just play points though, try and arranged 1hr practice sessions where you are just trying to stay as consistent as possible. Yes this should be physically hard work and you should be able to get a very good work out if you are not getting out of breath during this session then you are not working hard enough, chase the ball more no double bounces. Do some simple drills like you hit down the line whilst your partner hits cross court.
  • Warm up and cool down every time you play. This is the most missed opportunity not only will it help to prevent injury but it will also improve your fitness if you add it to your tennis sessions. Turn up 15mins early forget the preplay chitchat and complete a thorough 15min warm up before hitting a ball (include some jogging, skipping, crossovers during which make sure you are loosening up your upper body. Try and understand your body and loosen off the areas you feel need it the most). At the end of the session spend 10mins stretching all areas of your body.
  • Yoga – look no further Yoga will help you improve you flexibility and strength it might also help with you focus on court. If you can’t make any classes then buy a learn yoga dvd and get started at home.
  • Jogging – start off with a couple of steady 20-30min jogs per week. Measure your distance and try and improve your time / distance each time. Best to buy running trainers for this not tennis trainers
  • Learning to weight train. You are never to old to lift weights, I train with a my good friend Pat who is 75 and holds the world record for combined squat deadlift and bench press he’s a true inspiration. Now I’m not asking you to go crazy but if your were to manage to train with weights 2 times for 45mins per week you will increase your strength dramatically not only this, it will help keep your bones strong, help reduce body fat and help prevent injuries. Done correctly weight training will also improve your core strength. The upside is you will feel stronger when playing shots and will find certain shots will improve due to the extra strength. I would advise you book the services of a good personal trainer who will show you the basic movements and can give you a simple to follow program.
We now offer a ‘tennis fit’ package add on to a number of our hosted tennis holidays. The package includes the following:
  • 3 x 30min Morning jogs and stretch with an instructor.
  • 2 x 1hr Yoga sessions (All levels)
  • 2 x 1hr group personal training learning to weight train
  • 2 x 55min Cardio Tennis sessions
  • 1 x Personalised fitness program

The object of ‘tennis fit’ package is to give you the knowledge and understanding of how to improve your basic fitness. The sessions will be fun and informative. At the end of your tennis holiday you will leave with a personalised fitness program which can be easily followed upon your return home following your tennis holiday.

Cost of the above program is £149. There will need to be a minimum of 5 participants for tennis fit to commence on the tennis holiday.

Many Thanks


Health Benefits

Tennis Holidays: The Health Benefits of Tennis Holiday

People often utilise their holidays by engaging in fun activities, entertainment and exploring new places but some people prefer to have healthy holidays, which are not just fun but can offer numerous health benefits, relax your mind and provide a way to enjoy fun activities.

Tennis holidays for instance, are considered best when you are thinking of going for a healthy holiday! You cannot only sharpen your tennis skills but also meet new friends, share great experiences and have lots of fun. These tennis breaks are perfect even if you are not a great player. Tennis breaks also offer a number of tennis lessons – which can provide you the perfect opportunity to not only learn the sport but also sharpen your existing skills. You can even enjoy planning tennis with your kids or friends and enjoy relaxing after an exhausting and fun day playing. There is nothing better than giving out that extra time and relax your mind on your holiday whilst taking a great tennis break!

Either way, tennis helps to maintain your health, fitness, strength and agility. Research suggests that a good one hour tennis session can help you burn around 600 calories for men and 420 calories for women. Overall, playing tennis keeps you fit as it requires continuous movement which is not only good for your body but also the mind.  You may not be able to take out as much time to play tennis with your busy work routine but a tennis holidays can provide the perfect opportunity to you to play the sport as much as you like. The good thing about tennis is that it is a very flexible sport that can be played at any age and at any skill level.

Health Benefits of Tennis Holidays

There are a lot of health benefits of playing tennis that can make your tennis holidays the healthiest one.

For instance, playing tennis regularly increases the aerobic as well as anaerobic fitness. One may gain more power and speed plus it also strengthens the body, making it balanced and enhances the coordination as well. People who play tennis regularly are usually very flexible and stay fit. Playing tennis also makes your bones strong and makes you fit throughout. Tennis is the best sport for cardiovascular fitness as well.

However, you do not just get the fitness benefits by playing tennis but it also has a huge positive impact on your personality, social life and mental health as well.

It is interesting to note that tennis players often score high in optimism and self-esteem while scoring low in depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and tension than other athletes and non-athletes. The reason to it is that playing tennis may generate new connections between nerves in the brain, developing positive personality characteristics.

In addition to the physical, mental and social fitness benefits of playing tennis, there are a lot of psychological benefits as well. For instance, it develops a work ethic in one’s life and makes them relatively disciplined. Also it enables you to accept responsibilities, manage stress effectively, learn how to recover, plan and implement strategies and learn sportsmanship. Most importantly it creates a great ability in one’s life to manage team work and develop social skills. The blend of all these health benefits makes tennis a great way to stay fit and have great fun on your holiday.

All in all, tennis is the healthiest activity to choose as your holiday plan. Although, there are other sports that are also excellent in providing health benefits but no other sport than tennis has been so widely acclaimed from all disciplines to offer a range of physical, mental, emotional and socially benefits.

So, you can make the most of your holiday and not only have fun and relax but play your favourite sport. Active Away are specialised tour operators to organise group tennis holidays to exclusive 4 & 5 star resorts, where you can meet new people, make new friends, share your great experiences whilst having lots of fun. Whether you are a couple looking for the fun tennis break or single who would like to meet new people with similar interest or would like some tennis coaching and would like to share your experience with like-minded people, then you can contact Active Away to book for you your perfect tennis break.  Active away tennis holiday is best suited for everyone. With them you may enjoy numerous UK tennis breaks.