Category Archives: Customization!
Customization. What it can do for you!
If you have been following the Racquet Quest Podcast you know how much we rely on weight to mitigate some poor shot execution or physical issues!
So, don’t be surprised if that position continues for a while! It is majorly important now that we are beginning to play (openly) again!
It is not clear to me why some players object to even discussing weight let alone add it to their racquet!
The latest podcast episode, The String Holder – Part Two, focuses on three (3) players of about the same age and skill and looks at the differences in racquet setup including weight.
If weight is so scary why do most racquets have a bunch of it hidden away from us?
This is a Tecnifibre racquet however most performance racquets will have a similar setup. Game Improvement (ultralight) racquets, typically, will not!
What you see in that groove is lead! If you flip the racquet over you will find the same thing on the other side! Lot’s of lead means lots of weight, relatively speaking!
If we wanted to reduce the weight of this racquet we could remove some or all of the weight without affecting the swing weight very much. The static balance, however, would be very different. That is why we don’t rely on “balance” as a performance metric.
In the case of this racquet, we are printing a grip pallet that will replace the original pallet but be heavier so we can remove some of the lead weight to make the new version the same weight if we wanted to. We don’t want to!
Probably the most common “customization” on tennis racquets is the addition of weight! In most cases, that is a good thing. Weight is your friend!
Weight, in this case, is confined to swing weight and of course, overall weight and the placement of that weight and the format being used. We will see two (2) options and try to decide which is the best format.
Option number one below is the most common format for adding weighted tape. You can see that the tape is narrow strips that are placed on either side of the string bed. Even though the length of the tape is different on each racquet, the swing weight is the same on all of them.
Common Weighted Tape Format
The advantage of this format is that the weighted tape can easily be removed or more added if desired without affecting the formatting.
Option number two is rarely requested, but it represents the best-looking result.
Not Easily Modified Tape Placement
However, this format requires much more time and is not easily removed or modified.
This format requires the grommet set to be removed, which, in most cases, is not a problem. In some cases, it will be a big problem! So be sure this is what you want!
The tape must be carefully trimmed between strings and removed without damaging the strings if modification is required to reduce weight. Doing this is not hard but does require a little more time. Adding weight requires removing the string and grommet set if the format is to remain the same, i.e., no narrow strips laid on top of the current tape.
Whichever option you choose will provide the performance boost you want!
Let us know which option you would choose in the comments below!
Sometimes I am surprised at how a tennis racquet will find a new life after a few years of dormancy! And of course, I am astonished at how some racquets are “finished” way before their time!
The new Head Graphene 360+ Prestige is an excellent example of a racquet taking off, and the Head Adaptive Speed is an excellent example of a racquet that was laid to rest prematurely, in my opinion!
Let’s start with the Prestige. One look says this is a racquet you want!
You may not care that this series has been a mainstay on the pro tour for over 25 years! You may not care that this racquet has a unique feel or a magnificent “cap” system.
You may not care that this racquet comes in a model to suit almost any playing style! NO…you care about the way it looks! The rest of the good stuff is just icing on the cake or racquet in this case!
Other racquets that would fit this category are the Wilson Pro Staff and Yonex VCore series.
On the other hand, a racquet that met its demise way too soon is the Head Adaptive Series! If you don’t know much about this series, it is not your fault! It was pulled way before it’s time.
The Adaptive series was just that, adaptive! The string pattern could be either 16×16 or 16×19. The length could be increased in increments of .20 inch up to a total length of 27.6 inches (701mm).
Plus, the swing weight can be increased by using the optional heavy side grommet set, and the overall weight can be increase by inserting the “heavy” butt cap!
So, what happened? I think it was just too hard to sell for those places that don’t have hands-on expertise or didn’t want to take the time to explain the benefits of this concept!
Because the grip pallet was designed to be removed, it is likely that, if not done correctly, there would be some squeaking. That is not good, but it is not a problem that should keep a great idea from being a great racquet!
We still believe this is a good idea and if you do too, and want to take a look at this great idea, we have some in stock!
When we do a racquet review we try to deal with numbers! Static and dynamic numbers to be precise. We do this so each racquet can be referred to by properties and not just by subjective comments. Make no mistake, subjective comments are good and can be used in fact to generate numbers!
Here is an explanation of the numbers and what they can mean to you.
It is well known that 5 players will have 5, or more, different “comments”, so having numbers provide a database, or history, of what works for what player style. With that information, a new client can be playing with their “perfect” racquet is a very short time instead of trying a zillion different models.
This is important because players may not be using the best racquet for them because they rely on assumptions instead of numbers! The very worst assumption is “I need a light racquet because I am just getting back in the game”. The second worst assumption is “I need a big head with a big sweet spot because I am not very good”. The third worst assumption is “I don’t need very good string because I am not very good”.
Bogus assumptions, every one of them!
As we look over our client data some things are clear and should become performance metrics;
- Total weight should be not less than 10.5 ounces (300 grams).
- Swing weight should not be less than 10.5 ounces (300 grams).
- Torsional stability should not be less than 15 units (typically grams).
With these metrics, you are off to a great start with a new racquet, or if you are beginning a new racquet search these numbers will be helpful.
I suppose you have a pretty good idea what PWR means, right? Well, you would be correct! The Head Graphene 360+ Speed PWR is just that at a calculated power value of 2297.5! Compare that to the calculated power value for the Head Graphene 360+ Speed Lite of 1838.3! Twenty percent (20%) more powerful than the Lite!
This is what a 115 square inch head size can do for a racquet! The strings are quite a bit longer and more widely spaced which contributes to power, and comfort.
This head size is normally referred to as a “game improvement” racquet and relegated to those players that were not too athletic and/or didn’t want to exert too much energy on each stroke. In other words slow and short swings.
I am not sure that is the case with this racquet! Sure it has a big head and a thick beam but it sure does feel good when picked up (first moment)!
If we were going to recommend this racquet I would suggest some weight added to the rear end. The head does not need any additional weight.
As I am working on this post I realize how much trouble it is to switch between racquet reviews for comparison so I am including a link to the Head Graphene 360+ Speed Series Comparison.
|Racquet Model||Head Graphene 360+ Speed PWR|
|Reference Tension||56 lbs - 25.4 kg|
|String||Victrex PEEK fiber Experimental 7718|
|Machine Used||True Tension Professional|
|Racquet Flex, RDC||64 - After stringing|
|Racquet Flex, FlexFour||59|
|Head Area, cm2||734.8|
|Head Area, Sq. Inch||113.9|
|Beam Width, mm, Shaft, Center, Tip||26, 26, 28|
|In Plane Stiffness, Pounds/In||550.5 Lbs/In.|
|In Plane Stiffness, Kg/cm||249.7 Kg/cm|
|Number of Main Strings||16|
|Number of Cross Strings||19|
|Main String Grid||8.56|
|Cross String Grid||11.15|
|Density (% of head filled with string)||.759
|Average Cross String Space||.532|
|Average Main String Space||.535|
|Dynamic Tension, Kp, ERT||33|
|Dynamic Tension, Lbs/in||184.57
|First Moment, Nm||.764|
|Swing Weight, Kg/cm2||306
|Swing Weight, Ounces||10.79|
|Swing Weight Calculated||342.0
|Head Points||-1.57 (negative = head heavy)|
|Head Weight, %||50.7%|
|Center of Percussion||21.3|
|Dwell Time, ms, No Swing||9.18|
|Efective Stiffness - lbs||27.4|
|K, Lb/In (SBS) RDC||153.85|