What’s in Your Racquet?
You probably haven’t had the opportunity, or desire, to hack off a portion of your racquet to see what is really in there. Well, I have. On many occasions, actually, when customizing a clients racquet to get the exact specifications they want.
You may be surprised. I thought I would give you a peek at some of the things you may find. First you need to understand why there is anything at all in your racquet! The reason is weight, or the more technical term, mass. But why?
When a racquet is “molded” the graphite composite “tube” has a certain weight and distribution of that weight. If no weight is added to the “rear end” of the racquet you end up with what Wilson termed a “hammer” (head heavy) system. Not everyone wants to play with a “hammer” system so the manufacturers need to add weight.
Where and how much depends on what style the racquet will be. We normally think in terms of “player”, “tweener”, and “game improvement” with “game improvement” having no weight in the rear end.
Let’s take a look at some “weight”.
This is a quick overview of the variations. Can you tell which “style” each piece represents?
Here you can see both steel plates on the inside of the tube. Also included is a “foam” that is normally used to prevent any rattling caused by the metal. This pallet is a molded polyurethane over a carbon fiber tube.
Here is a view of steel pins that are molded into the center membrane during manufacturing. In case you don’t know, a tennis racquet is a long tube made of a composite held together by a resin system that is forced into a mold that has the shape of the finished racquet. So, where the two tubes come together in the grip area is a perfect place to put steel pins or steel plates. When the racquet is molded under heat and internal pressure the weight is permanently installed.
This is a good example of steel and silicone. The steel adds a gross weight and the silicone is added to fine tune the weight if necessary. This is an example of a single tube grip pallet. That is the grip size and shape are formed by the carbon fiber tube during molding. Obviously this grip size can not be reduced.
This is an example of silicone only weight. This racquet was a “game improvement” racquet so very little weight was required. You can see how thin the material is at this position of the racquet.
This is the view of a racquet that has not been cut off. You can see the bulges that are caused by the “molded in” steel pins. This is a one piece molded grip pallet.
This is an example of using more fiber and resign to create the desired weight. This is a two (2) piece bonded on grip pallet. You can see how thin the molded pallet is at the corners. This is another example of a grip that can not (should not) be reduced.