What is “Best Overall Performance”?

In our “Recommended Stringing Frequency” calculator we state that this frequency is to get the best possible performance from your racquet.   But, what exactly is “best performance”?

To establish this we need to take you, the player, out of the picture for a moment and concentrate on the racquet and string setup.  the reason is simple:  no two players strike the ball the same way.

We start with “Swing Weight” which is the most important dynamic property of a racquet.  So a higher swing weight will contribute to power and stability, thus performance.

Overall weight is important because you need to be able to get the racquet to the court and out of your bag!  Heavier racquets contribute to energy, stability, and comfort.

Effective Stiffness is important because it represents the stiffness of the string bed (SBS) and the racquet stiffness (xxRA, or something like that).  This number represents the impact each time you strike the ball.  The higher the number, the stiffer, of course.

Of the four (4) things mentioned above we can control the string bed stiffness with ease.  One of the easiest methods is to string your racquet regularly to maintain the effectiveness of the elongation of the string being used.  Elongation relates to energy return in a string and while strings will stay resilient for a long time a well-worn string takes a while to return energy to the ball.

You, the player, of course, determine performance so when using the SFR you can enter a high UTR or Style rating or a low UTR or style rating if maximum performance is not required.

New Head MXG 1

Head is introducing two (2) new racquets to the MXG Series, and this is an excellent thing in my opinion!  It is not that we need a bunch of new racquets, but this signals a commitment to the MXG concept.

In case you don’t know, the MXG Series racquets incorporate a “string suspension system” (my words) into the throat of the racquet.  The most notable of this system is the bright silver paint. However, the most important function(s) is the increase in main string length across the entire throat area and torsional stiffness for control.  We now have ten (10) main strings that are the same length in the throat, and this does contribute to “power.”

The Head MXG 1 is a 98 square inch head with a thin beam (22mm) that puts it in the “player” category, but it may need additional weight for big hitters.  You will see all the specifications below.  If you are a player and have shied away from the MXG for head size reasons, this is for you!

Head MXG 1

The MXG 1 demo is available now.  Call to reserve it!

The new MXG 1 is available for pre-order and will available May 11, 2018.

ManufacturerHead
Racquet ModelHead MXG 1
Reference Tension53
String
Head Velocity MLT 17
Machine UsedTrue Tension Pro
Static
APPS, RDC50.0
ASPS, FlexFour59.0
Racquet Flex, RDC65
Racquet Flex, FlexFour48
Weight, Grams312
Weight, Ounces11.01
Balance, mm319.0
Balance, Inch12.56
Length, Cm68.5
Length, Inch26.986
Head Width9.51
Head Length13.50
Head Area, cm2649.9
Head Area, Sq. Inch100.7
Number of Main Strings16
Number of Cross Strings19
Ratio Cross/Mains.593
Main String Grid7.20
Cross String Grid9.37
Density (% of head filled with string).658
Average Cross String Space.490
Average Main String Space.445
Dynamic
Dynamic Tension, Kp, ERT34
Dynamic Tension, Lbs/in190.16
First Moment, Nm.762
Polar Moment320.0
Torsional Stability15 (the difference between polar moment and swing weight. Higher is better)
Swing Weight, Kg/cm2305
Swing Weight, Ounces10.76
Swing Weight Calculated317.5
Power, RDC51
Control, RDC51
Manueverability, RDC83
Power, Calculated 1996.9
Head Points7.40
Head Weight, %46.6%
Center of Percussion21.5
Dwell Time, ms9.00
Effective Stiffness28.3
K, Lb/In160.26
Recoil Weight157.54
Twist Weight211.48

After the String is Strung!

I have often wondered what players know about the “stringing” process and in particular what goes on after the “string is strung”.  So, while Madelyn was here she decided to video me doing what we do after each racquet is strung and just coming off the machine.

Had I known we were going to do this I might have dressed up a little, emptied the trash and fixed the crack in the wall behind the RDC!  But I didn’t.

This video is offered as a “real-time” view of what we do with every racquet and is intended for information and fun only.  If you have any questions please let us know…now enjoy the movie!

Congratulations Sophie!

A huge congratulations go out to Sophie Williams for her terrific run at the recent Easter Bowl in Indian Wells, Ca.!

Sophie played the finals against the number 3 seed Elena Yu…

Having the experience of making the Girls’ 12s final last year, Eleana Yu of Mason, Ohio, said she only had to fight a moderate case of nerves as the No. 3 seed won the Girls’ 14s USTA gold ball and her first Adidas Easter Bowl national title with a 6-1, 6-0 win over No. 7-seeded Sophia Williams of Charleston, S.C.

“Having been in the final before really did help,” said the 13-year-old Yu. “I did feel a little nervous at the start, but once I found my rhythm it was fine and I just felt really confident. I think my opponent was more nervous, but the match was definitely closer than the score indicated.”

Sophie’s great result at the Easter Bowl continues her recent extraordinary results at tournaments around the country.  Below is Sophie holding the first place trophy of a previous tournament.

Sophie, the Winner!

Sophie, the Winner, again!

 

If you have been to Racquet Quest in the past several years, you have probably seen some of Sophie’s forty-five (45) racquets either in “process” or being prepared to ship to her.  Sophie is left-handed, so all the leather grips and overgrip is wrapped left-handed, and each racquet is “sequenced”.  All of the racquets are “matched.” so the only thing that is different is the string bed stiffness (SBS).

Even racquets that are done on the same day may have slightly different string bed stiffness numbers due to the time between racquet number one and racquet number eight.  Sequencing indicates in what order the racquets can be used.

That may seem like a lot of racquets, but if you play as many tournaments as Sophie you need a few!

When Sophie is in town, she is either at the USTA Center or training with Robert Kendrick at the Winter Park Racquet Club.

Congratulations, Sophie!

 

 

Mr. Dailey Makes a Visit!

The Racquet Quest World Headquarters had the pleasure of having Curt Dailey, CEO of LaserFibre Strings, visit today!

Racquet Quest, LLC will be doing a little evaluation work on LaserFibre string made in the United States!  LaserFibre is the only string supplier committed to making all of their string products in the United States.  Right now this is not the case, but they are headed in that direction.

Curt has been in the tennis business for many years and is trying hard to bring updated string products to the market.

Welcome to Racquet Quest, Curt!

 

What Keeps Us Going?

Have you ever wondered what keeps the Racquet Quest World Headquarters going? I can’t imagine why you would, but here it is anyway!

IMG_4065

Power!

These are made in France, of course, so they are good for you, and after work, they pair up nicely with a good Bordeaux!

 

And Now This…

In the words of Lord Kelvin (May 1883) “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science.”

That is why every racquet we do has over fifty (50) numbers attached to the finished data. Most of these numbers will remain unknown to the client, but for us, it is imperative that we know them.

Numbers Matter!

Which leads me, again, to this very important discussion.

Every day we see a statement from tennis string manufactures claiming, or suggesting, their string is the “softest ever tested” and other claims.  What the heck is “soft” anyway?  There is a lot more to it than meets the eye so we have done significant analysis on bunches of string and can now quantify “soft” as it relates to tennis string.

What is “soft”?
In 1994 I did a presentation for the USRSA in Atlanta. What was the topic?

“Understanding String.”

It is now 2016, and we are still trying to understand string! Especially “soft” polyester based string.

In 1994 PolyStar was the only polyester based string I was familiar with. Since then there are dozens of offerings from anyone that can afford to purchase from manufacturers and market the string. If you have a desire to do it, I applaud you!

In 1989 I started testing string and calculating “power potential.” Why “power potential”? Because “modulus,” “elongation” and “elasticity” didn’t get to the bottom line of string performance quickly enough! The steps to arrive at power potential are many.

For the testing, several calculations take place including “stretching” the string as in a ball impact. The difference between the first calculation and the “stretched” calculation is the power potential!

I have calculated hundreds of power potentials but have not until now quantified “soft.”

I think now is the time!

Under the direction of Dr. Rich Zarda, we have done a tremendous amount of work on this issue so we can now distill this work into the following explanation.

So, what is a “soft” tennis string?

Strings in a tennis racquet carry the ball impact load in two ways:
1) Via the pre-load string tension placed in the strings caused by a stringing machine (and the racquet frame “holding” those tensions in place) and
2) Via additional tensions that develop in the same string caused by the elongation of the strings as they deflect with ball impact.

Both of these conditions occur simultaneously and contribute to the string bed stiffness (SBS, units of lbs./in). Racquet technicians measure SBS by applying a load to the center of a supported string bed and measuring the resulting deflection. Dividing the load by the deflection provides the SBS (lbs./in). The lower the SBS, the more power you have (power here is the ability of the ball to easily rebound from the string bed), but the less control (presumably); the higher the SBS, the less power you have but, the more control you have (presumably).

One more point about SBS: the lower the SBS, the less the load your body will feel for a given swing. But for an SBS too low (less than 50-80 lbs./in), balls will be flying off your racquet going over the fence; and for an SBS too high (greater than 200-240 lbs./in), the racquet will hit like a board with significantly less ball rebound. So the most common SBSs are between 100-200 lbs./in: a balance between control and power.

As already expressed, SBS is a function of the pulled string tension and the string elongation. Here is what is interesting: For large string elongations (for example, greater than 15%) and reasonably pulled string tensions (greater than 30-40 lbs.), SBS only depends on the pulled string tension, and it does not depend on string elongation. Additionally, for this condition, SBS, for these high elongation strings, does not change as a ball is hit with more impact.

linearity_noname

But for a string bed with low elongation strings (less than 5%) under low pulled tensions (less than 20 lbs., or tensions that have been reduced due to racquet deformation and/or string tension relaxing with time), the SBS additionally depends on the string elongation and will significantly increase, in a nonlinear ever-increasing way, for harder ball impacts.

In order to achieve a repetitive feel for a player when hitting with a racquet, it is best to have an SBS that is independent of an increasing ball impact force. This will lead to a more consistent playability of the racquet, which includes a more repetitive feel. This desired “feel” implies using high elongation strings (greater than 10%). If low elongation strings are used (less than 4%), the SBS will significantly increase as the ball impact force increases, resulting in a racquet feeling “boardy” for higher impact loads. And low elongation strings will cause un-proportionally increasing load into the body.

deflections

As you can see by the graph, elongation contributes to SBS in a big way. The red line indicates a stiff string, about 4%, and the blue line indicates a “soft” string, about 15% elongation. You can see the loads increase dramatically as the impact increases. So the harder the hit the higher the loads on the body.

So to the question asked at the start “What is a soft tennis string?” In the context of the SBS discussed above, I would suggest that a soft tennis string is one whose elongation is 10-15%, and a stiff tennis string is 4-6%. And any string under 4% should be categorized as ultra-stiff.

String elongation (soft, stiff, ultra-stiff),  stringing machine strung tension, and string pattern(s) all contribute to SBS and SBS is an important measure of how a racquet plays and should be adjusted for an individual player, stiff and ultra-stiff strings can lead to less-repeatable racquet performance and player injury.

Soft = 10 -15% Elongation                Power Potential Range = 10.0 – 16.0
Stiff = 4 – 6% Elongation                   Power Potential Range = 4.0 – 7.0
Ultra Stiff =  Less than 4%               Power Potential Range = .65 – 3.96

 

Why Offer Racquets?

My answer is simple! To give you the very best performance you can get from your racquet dollar!

You are probably thinking “aren’t I getting that now from my online purchase?”

Probably not! I see a lot of racquets from online sources and what I see convinced me that you need to have another option!  The issues I see are typically poor string selection and really poor string installation.  String and stringing are very important, and you deserve better! We  offer racquets, in a limited sort of way, so you are getting what you expect!

How do I select what brands I will offer? Well, I review almost every racquet made either before or right after they are introduced and this review yields a great deal of information that is not normally known to the online consumer.

The Head Selection!

The Head Selection!

Wilson!

Some New Wilson’s

That is why you will see Head and Wilson racquets when you visit the World Headquarters of Racquet Quest. This selection does not mean other brands are not worthy of your consideration, and we are pleased to discuss all brands and offer them when appropriate.

Our racquet prices are attractive and the special service we offer adds to the value of your purchase.

Even if you just have a racquet question, we will be very pleased to help!

 

Monogut ZX = Zero Polyester

Ashaway MonoGut ZX Family

Image 7-18-16 at 2.20 PM

Ashaway, RI – “While it is certainly premature to proclaim the demise of polyester and co-polyester monofilament strings,” said Ashaway Vice President Steve Crandall in a newly published column, “I think it is certainly fair to say that the tide is against them, and that a counter trend towards “Zero Poly” monofilament strings is gaining momentum among tournament and other high-end players.”

In addition to growing complaints of arm pain and wrist pain and even injury, Crandall claims players are simply not reaping the benefits touted by the makers of these ultra-stiff high tech strings. “More and more high-end players are coming to realize they can get equal, if not better performance from newer zero poly monofilament alternatives, along with better feel, better playability, and reduced risk of injury,” he said.

In terms of spin generation, polyester’s main claim to fame, Crandall cited technical reports by Australian physicist Rod Cross and Tennis Warehouse University’s Lindsay Crawford, which demonstrate that topspin is generated not by the stiffness of a string material, but its ability to move laterally and snap back when striking the ball, characteristics shared by non-poly alternatives.

This is the case with Ashaway’s own MonoGut® ZX strings, Crandall claimed. “Here is a material that, 1) is nearly as slippery as polyester, and 2) has much better dynamic stiffness,” he said. “This means it can generate almost as much spin as poly, but with more power. Not to mention that it plays softer and offers much better feel. This is a combination people are beginning to notice.”

Crandall also cited comments by leading stringer John Gugel, who he quotes as saying, “To get the benefit of poly you have to hit the ball really hard. That’s when the string bed becomes non-linear and much stiffer. You can see it with professional players. They hit the ball just about as hard as they can every single time. And there are unintended consequences to that.”

Gugel said he, too, finds that players are increasingly looking for alternatives, and that they are very pleased with the performance of MonoGut ZX. “Most of the players that I introduce MZX to are a little bit skeptical of what it can do. However, after hitting with it, it is the consistency of string bed stiffness that they like. They find the spin as good as polyester and some find it better.”

Gugel said he actively discourages junior players from using polyester and that he has “a lot of juniors using 100% MZX and playing at a very high level.” Hybrid stringing is also a popular alternative, he added, with one of the best combinations being natural gut in the mains and MZX Pro in the cross strings.

Ashaway Racket Strings are made by Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co., the only U.S. manufacturer of string for squash, tennis, racquetball, and badminton. Operated by the Crandall family since 1824, Ashaway has been making racquet strings since 1949, and is responsible for several important technical innovations. Ashaway has been the Official String of USA Racquetball for more than ten years, and is also the Official String of Professional Tennis Registry. Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co. also makes braided products for medical and industrial applications. For more information visit www.ashawayusa.com. Zyex is a registered trademark of Zyex Ltd.

For additional product information, contact:
Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co.
PO Box 549
Ashaway, RI 02804 USA
Tel: (800) 556-7260 (U.S. only) or +1 (401) 377-2221
Fax: +1 (401) 377-9091
Website: http://www.ashawayusa.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ashaway/
Twitter: @Ashaway1824
Email: sales@ashawayusa.com

Welcome to Racquet Quest!

Racquet Quest - John Gugel

 Racquet Preparation Specialists as close as 407.491.4755 or 407.494.4702!

Appointments are accepted and encouraged.

We are glad you are visiting our site.  We encourage you to ask any tennis, racquet, and string questions, post ideas, share tennis and racquet related stories with other tennis and racquet enthusiasts.

While visiting our website check the periodic specials page where our racquet analysis and stringing services specials are posted.

Join our Facebook page to stay up to date as new posts are published.

There must be hundreds of web sites and forums that discuss tennis and tennis racquets specifically.

Racquet Quest is different…

I have spent over forty (40) years working with racquets; from designing to manufacturing to stringing to customization, plus retail and anything in between!  I know that each racquet and player combination is unique.  So, the racquet specifications must be exclusive to the player.

Even if you go no further into this site I want you to know that you, the player, is what this is all about.  Some fun, some ideas, some questions, some suggestions, and most importantly, your involvement.

I hope you will enjoy your visit!

This is Important!

I was just going through some older posts and came across this “E” Book post and believe it is more relevant now that when I originally posted it!

Take a look because this is important!

What is Soft…er?

Head MXG 1 and MXG 7 are Here!

The new additions to the Head MXG series have arrived and waiting for you!

The new MXG 1 is a 98 square inch head with ten (10) extra long main strings to deliver the power needed to hit massive topspin!  The rigid throat piece maintains torsional stability so the massive topspin will go where you want it to go!  According to Head;

“Designed like no other for those who play like no other: With MXG, the MXG 1 features the first racquet technology that combines precision-injected Magnesium and Graphene to provide the ultimate balance of power and control like no other racquet ever before. In addition, the MXG1, the heaviest of the series, provides ultimate stability to support players at each level to raise their game. Based on a completely new way to engineer a racquet, the racquet features an innovative Magnesium Bridge construction that allows for longer free-moving main strings which leads to a much larger sweet spot and, ultimately, more power. At the same time, the molded bridge ensures that the upper hoop does not deform under pressure, which gives the player total control on every shot. The MXG 1 is the perfect weapon for tour players who need extreme control.”

All of the data is posted here, but it is worth hitting with this racquet to see for yourself what power with control feels like.

The new Head MXG 7 is also here and deserves the attention of players now using or considering big headed racquets such as Weed, for example.  The MXG 7 is 115 square inches of hitting power in a very easy to handle package.  The ten (10) long main strings are at the ITF limit of 15.5 inches long, about the same as the Weed Open 135.

You can see all the specs here but you should really hit with this to see that you too can play with a “performance” racquet masquerading as a game improvement racquet!

New Head MXG 7

Head is introducing two (2) new racquets to the MXG Series, and this is an excellent thing in my opinion!  It is not that we need a bunch of new racquets, but this signals a commitment to the MXG concept.

In case you don’t know, the MXG Series racquets incorporate a “string suspension system” (my words) into the throat of the racquet.  The most notable of this system is the bright silver paint. However, the most important functions are the increase in main string length across the entire throat area and torsional stability that contributes to control of this 115 square inch racquet.  We now have ten (10) main strings that are the same length in the throat.  These 15.0 inch long main strings do contribute to “power”.

The Head MXG 7 has a slightly “fanned” pattern for the 16 x 18 string format and a built-in vibration damper in the throat.  The MXG 7 will accept the Head Tennis Sensor.

The Head MXG 7 is a 115 +/- square inch head with a variable beam (28, 29, 26mm) that puts it in the “game improvement” category.  You will see all the specifications below.  If you are considering a new racquet and prefer power,”. this is a “must see.”  Head has always done a good job in the game improvement category, and this adds a new dimension to the series.

Head MXG 7

The MXG 7 demo is here so call to reserve your spot!

The MXG 7 is available for pre-order and will be available May 11.

ManufacturerHead
Racquet ModelHead MXG 7
Reference Tension57
String
Head Velocity MLT 17
Machine UsedTrue Tension Pro
Static
APPS, RDC43.0
ASPS, FlexFour55.0
Racquet Flex, RDC67
Racquet Flex, FlexFour50
Weight, Grams282
Weight, Ounces9.95
Balance, mm370.0
Balance, Inch14.57
Length, Cm69.7
Length, Inch27.44
Head Width10.13
Head Length14.75
Head Area, cm2756.7
Head Area, Sq. Inch118.8
Number of Main Strings16
Number of Cross Strings18
Ratio Cross/Mains.610
Main String Grid8.56
Cross String Grid11.31
Density (% of head filled with string).793
Average Cross String Space.622
Average Main String Space.519
Dynamic
Dynamic Tension, Kp, ERT32
Dynamic Tension, Lbs/in178.98
First Moment, Nm.830
Polar Moment340.0
Torsional Stability18 (the difference between polar moment and swing weight. Higher is better)
Swing Weight, Kg/cm2322
Swing Weight, Ounces11.36
Swing Weight Calculated386.1
Power, RDC59
Control, RDC42
Manueverability, RDC72
Power, Calculated 2631.7 (compare to 1996.9 for the MXG 1)
Head Points-6.77 (negative = head heavy. See % below)
Head Weight, %53.1%
Center of Percussion20.6
Dwell Time, ms9.70
Effective Stiffness26.2
K, Lb/In137.82
Recoil Weight118.85
Twist Weight215.2

Our Standard Stringing Process

After seeing “After the String is Strung” some of you wanted to see a “While the String is Being Strung” video.  I have several videos of the stringing process but I use them for my own review and to see if there is anything that can be done better.

So, the video(s) will not be “professional” videos and are intended for fun and maybe some understanding of what we do.

Grab a coffee, or something, and enjoy 24 minutes of stringing fun!

Change It!

It doesn’t matter if this is two games or two months, it needs to be changed!

Overgrips are not expensive, in fact, we install a new overgrip when we do a racquet for a couple of reasons;  we don’t want to touch the old one, and it is part of doing a proper job!  I recently posted “overgrip overload” which showed a big pile of overgrips taken off of one racquet!

Overgrip Overload

This many overgrips is not necessary and can contribute to ugly shot placement!

Don’t be either of these players!

Change it!

MonoGut ZX +ZX Pro…let’s talk about it.

If you have been around Racquet Quest for a while, you know we talk a lot about Ashaway MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro, with ZX Pro being the 17 gauge version. During this post when I use MonoGut ZX it will include the ZX Pro Version, to save pixels!

A few questions need to be answered before we begin:

1. Do you get paid to talk about Ashaway MonoGut ZX?………. No
2. Do you get Ashaway MonoGut ZX free?………. No
3. Do get to spend the summer at a lavish resort in Ashaway R.I. ………. No
4. Why do you do it, then?

The short answer is MonoGut ZX works in so many applications that it is impossible not to talk about it whenever talking about tennis racquet string, arm issues, durability, and performance!

The first thing we need to know about MonoGut ZX is that is not polyester. It is Polyetheretherketone, or PEEK, for short. MonoGut ZX can look exactly like many common polyester strings due to the monofilament format. Monofilament means it is one strand of material and is typically very smooth and shiny.

The appearance is where the similarities end. Without going into a lot of detail, the stiffness of the base material dictates the stiffness of the string, especially in monofilament formats. Every string we get is tested for “stiffness” and entered into our database. This stiffness is converted to Power Potential using proprietary software. Power Potential is easy to understand…the higher the number, the more powerful the string is.

To get to the meat of this topic, we need to know the relative values of these materials.

MonoGut ZX has a power potential of 14.62
Babolat RPM Blast has a power potential of 4.29
LaserFibre Silverline 2 has a power potential of 4.59
Luxilon ALU Power has a power potential of 4.42
Luxilon ALU Power Soft has a power potential of 5.72

There are hundreds of polyester based string, but this gives you some idea as to where they stack up vis-a-vis MonoGut ZX.

Why does this matter? Strings with very low elongation (power potential) get stiffer the harder the ball is hit! So what? So, if you have low power potential, you need to swing harder to get the ball to go as far as it needs to go especially if you are trying to hit with huge topspin.

MonoGut ZX is suited to many playing styles, racquets, and string patterns. That is why so many really good players are currently using it and winning with it.  That is why it is important that we continue to talk about MonoGut ZX!

Maybe it is time to try MonoGut ZX yourself.

Ashaway MonoGut ZX Black

Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro Natural

WPRC Member Guest 2018

Jack Anthrop teamed with Chris Granville to play in the 2018 version of the Winter Park Racquet Club Member-Guest Tournament this weekend. This highly anticipated event brings most of the best tennis players from around the area, and beyond, to compete for beer as nearly as I can tell.

Jack, at age 14, does not drink beer so he is playing for the experience and fun of competition as if he doesn’t get enough during the week at the USTA Center in Orlando, daily training, and other tournaments around the country.

“Quiet in the Stands” does not apply for this family-friendly event managed by Rich, Robert, Nancy and the entire WPRC Staff.  Well Done!

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