Category Archives: Customization!
Customization. What it can do for you!
Is this instance we are talking about racquet weight. Not the few pounds we put on yesterday, Thanksgiving Day!
In the early 1990’s we made a tennis racquet which weighed slightly over 7 ounces. Awesome, some said! This racquet traveled along with the standard weight racquets in the line and was available for anyone to hit with.
“Hit” in this case is a misnomer because the mass of the racquet was not enough to get the ball over the net in most cases! Instead of a “hit” it was like a light “shove”!
With out a doubt the weight of a racquet must be “usable”. Take a look at these brief warm-up videos to see weight in action then we will find out how much these racquets weigh and the swing weight…
This is a Wilson Blade 98 18×20 pattern. Racquet weight is 329 grams (11.61 Oz.) with a swing weight of 332 kg/cm^2.
Next let’s take a look at a different player…
This is a Head Radical with the Pro Cap System creating a racquet that weighs 340 grams (11.99 ounces) with a swing weight of 349 kg/cm^2.
It is obvious that both payers are swinging the racquet with gusto and it should be obvious that the racquets are stable on impact and this stability is necessary for power and control.
So the next time your oppponent asks if you have “gained weight” it will because the ball is coming at them with more “heaviness”! And you can repsond “yes!” with a smile on your face! Just like Robert, Sophie, and Aleks!
Having one celebrity in the shop is quite rare but two…that is amazing!
The World Headquarters was visited by Bill and Aleks (aka GBS)! What is also amazing is that they came in separate cars so they did have a choice! If you are in the area stop by. You may see a celabrity! Probably not but you will see the latest racquets!
In all the years I have been involved in tennis racquets I have worked with players of all levels, from top-ranked to no ranking at all! The one thing that remains constant is that every player received the same attention to a goal.
Typically that goal is to win!
As I reflect on the high points of this journey there are a few players that really stand out. One of those players is Brittany Tagliareni.
- Brittany is one of the best tennis players in the world.
- Brittany has won many awards and accolades from the tennis community and press.
- Brittany is Autistic.
Here is the deal. Every day I talk to players about the most minuscule of performance specifications…one (1) gram here, one gram there, one (1) pound here, and so on.
Brittany is different.
Brittany is very busy and wants to get to her next function whether it is taking care of dogs or tennis! She really doens’t want to talk to me about tennis racquets!
So, to really understand what needs to be done her mother, Catherine, communicates for Brittany.
Brittany plays with a Yonex SV100 racquet strung with Ashaway Monogut ZX at 46 pounds.
She travels with three (3) matched racquets. This is where it gets interesting and one of the reasons I wanted to write this post.
Brittany needed some extra encouragement to hold the racquet with the proper grip (she is left-handed) to generate the amount of spin her coach wanted her to have. Just telling Brittany how to hold the racquet was not consistently working so we re-shaped the grip to offer some tactile “encouragement”.
The grip has been changed to have different “feelings” for each bevel of the grip shape. So one side is exaggerated for a certain length on the grip and other sides were accentuated shape wise.
The grip re-shaping had to be done in a laminated way because it works, is expedient, and minimizes costs associated with major grip modifications.
Now when Brittany holds the racquet she can feel exactly where it needs to be.
Brittany is incredibly busy so it is difficult to keep up with all of her travels. Most recently she was in Dubai!
I am very happy to see players of every age returning to, or buying for the first time, racquets that have some weight! Weight is your friend! Any racquet can be “customized” to suit the needs of the player, of course.
But what do you do if you already own a Head Radical Pro? You simply add the Head Players Cap System to your current Radical Pro. This can be done the next time the racquet needs stringing and can be removed at the next stringing if wanted.
This is a “side by side” look at the Cap System Radical and the standard Radical. You will need to like the color “orange”.
The Cap System can be added to many past Radical Pro racquets. The Cap System does not fit the Radical MP, unfortunately.
The image below shows the racquets and the specifications of each one. You can see the difference between the two. It is obvious that the major difference will be weight and swing weight. The numbers between the two racquets are the data for the Radical Pro with the Cap System.
Briefly, Pointy is a program that allows shoppers to enter a barcode, or Google product search online, to see if that product is available locally.
As a long time user of Square as the POS in the shop, we engaged with Pointy as a service through Square so our clients can quickly see what we have in stock. A link to our Pointy shop is below so you can take a look around and let me know what it needs to be a valuable resource for you.
Every product you see on the page was input by Racquet Quest so it is in stock at the time the shop was opened, however, the images are supplied by the software so some may not be exactly updated packaging.
If you have any questions or would like to hear about any “special offers” please call or text!
The World Headquarters of Racquet Quest was pleased to have Erika and Federic from Head visit recently. Erika is with Head in Phoenix and Frederic is from the Headquarters in Kennelbach, Austria.
Team Head player, Jack Anthrop was on hand to provide a players perspective.
The purpose of the visit was to discuss a “grassroots” program that can effectively address, and contribute to the growth of tennis worldwide.
I was commenting on racquets and string selections, of course, when it dawned on me that Head has done an extraordinary job in designing racquets that have vast player appeal! A prime example is the Adaptive Series, introduced about a year ago, consisting of a “Speed” and “Instinct” model.
This series can go from a lightweight standard length racquet to a more substantial, longer racquet in a few minutes! Plus this series can be either a 16 x 19 or a 16x 16 string pattern!
This concept is valid, and one that allows players to maximise the performance of the racquet. And the implementation is easy. Some changes can be made at courtside!
So, while I believe more can be done to get players into the correct racquet, the Head Adaptive Series is very close to being perfect!
It is easy for me to post pictures of racquets being made ready for shipment to tournament players. However, there is a lot more work before these can be tagged, bagged and packed!
Paperwork is what I am talking about! I have included some of the paperwork in this image, so you get some idea of what is involved. Not many people like paperwork but for this work it is essential!
Every racquet we do has the same “paperwork”, but local customers normally don’t need racquets customized and shipped overnight! Out of town customers, your racquets are typically prepared as close to the “use by” date as possible. So these racquets were strung and tweaked this morning and shipped (via overnight) this afternoon. Most of the customization can be accomplished before stringing but final adjustments, if required, are the last thing on the list.
The “paper work” on the right is data from the ERECA Balance System, and this information is taken at each step in the customization, and at a “play ready” status. While I still rely on swing weight as the primary dynamic property I use the ERECA system for very precise static balance, total weight, and a quickly calculated swing weight.
The other “paper” is my standard Racquet Record software data that contains over forty (40) pieces of data that are a permanent record in the customer file.
It sounds like a lot of paperwork, but it is necessary to assure consistency and organization. Every racquet gets the same treatment.
So, the next time you see pictures remember there is a lot more to it than stringing, bagging, and shipping.
We have talked about this before and by now we all understand “tolerance”, especially if you drive in this area!
We recently received fifteen (15) racquets from the manufacturer (A). The initial characterization was surprising in that the “tolerance” was very tight. In fact, there was only slightly greater than 3 grams separating all of them!
Later in the day I received three (3) racquets from the manufacturer (Z) and there was fifteen (15) grams difference between them (very “loose” tolerance). These were for a single player and needed to be matched for tournament play. It is obvious, then, that more time is required to match the three (3) than to match all fifteen (15) if the others.
This is not a criticism of the manufacturers only a glimpse of why some “customization” may be required to satisfy players needs. When a client calls with specifications for a racquet they are considering I always ask where the data is from. The “header card”, “on-line communications”, “other players”, etc.
If you rely on these data it may not be close to what the racquet will actually be when it is received.
Building a “custom” racquet is exciting not only because of the work involved but from the “joy” of the finished product!
When I receive racquets similar to the state shown the first thing that happens is numbering and characterization so it can be tracked throughout the process.
The first piece of equipment I use is the Ereca Balance System. Here is why. The two (2) scale system is fast and extremely accurate. This first “pass” tells me how much work is required to get the racquets to the customers specification.
These racquets had an average deviation of 1.69 grams! Other specs were also very close. Knowing this when I start the process means I can pick almost any of the racquets with confidence that I can achieve the desired “finished” specifications.
As you know I insist on swing weight as a major racquet property but this system gets me off to a great start and saves considerable time.
Each client has a specific specification they want in terms of length, swing weight, overall weight, grip size, grip material and where any modifying material, if required, will be added.
Adding string is a big factor because of the different weights of various string. Stringing is, typically, the final step in customization if any material is under the bumper guard
Custom racquets are not only fun to build they are fun to play with!
I am very happy to have Eric Ferrazzi of Ereca Tennis visiting Racquet Quest!
Eric designs diagnostic equipment for technical tennis shops. Racquet Quest has been using some of the Ereca designs for several months with great success and acquiring better data.
It is important for us to recognize what we can do with proper equipment, and, take advantage of the technical designs of the Ereca Team.
Ereca has many other designs that are in the “evaluation process” and Racquet Quest is happy to be involved!
Now if Eric could just teach me how to cook French food…