Category Archives: elbow

Weight is Your Friend!

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!

 

 

2020 is Coming Into Focus!

2019 came and went in a blur!  In a few days it will 2020 and with it will come some exciting new tennis stuff, for sure!

I am not so good at predicting things but I do it anyway!  Here are a few predictions I will make for 2020:

  1. Tennis racquets will become more expensive, but only slightly.
  2. On-line sales of tennis racquets will increase.  See this previous post.
  3. Customer satisfaction with on-line sales will decrease.
  4. Small specialty tennis shops will be the source of information, then #2, and then #3.
  5. Players will stick with a racquet longer, making customizations as needed.
  6. String and stringing will become a more important component of a racquet purchase.  See below!
  7. Tennis related injuries will continue to be a problem for the sport going forward.

    No Underage Polyester, Please!

    Thank you for thinking about the “long term” for all tennis players!

    There are no bad strings just bad applications!

    The right equipment is crucial to the long term enjoyment, and winning, of tennis!

    The local representatives I deal with are committed to our “well being” even though some may feel like they are facing “extinction”!

    An excellent example of what we are talking about just walked in! Two (2) new racquets so poorly strung it is shocking!

    The customer is having serious arm issues with an excellent racquet, with a terrible string setup! But the string setup is probably considered by many to be the ultimate combination, that is RPM Blast in the main and VS Touch in the cross! That combination is coming out in a few minutes!  No more polyester!

    The quality of the stringing is what is so wrong! Had you or I received this racquet, we would have returned it at once! Why? Because it exemplifies the attitude of so many stringers that is “who cares”!

Happy New Year!

String. What is important?

The essential function of string in your tennis racquet is to return energy to the ball as it collides with the racquet. It is evident that if there is no string or a broken one, the racquet can not do what it is intended to do, and your shot is going nowhere or worse, everywhere!

There are about thirty (30) string brands, and each brand has about ten (10) different models, and maybe three (3) different colors, so there are nine hundred (900) possible selections! Nine hundred is way too many strings!

You and we need to consolidate string data so we can make the right decision for you, your playing style, and your physical capabilities.

We test every string for elongation, creep, (stability), with a little bit of elasticity data observed. This testing returns our exclusive Power Potential© for each string, and that is the basis of our decision-making process. Naturally, the higher the elongation, the more power the string will return to the ball, and conversely, the lower the power potential, the less power that “can” be generated. You can observe this fundamental by dropping a tennis ball on a concrete floor and then on a strung tennis racquet from the same drop height and see which one bounces the highest.

I use “can” because power, to a great extent, comes from how hard you swing the racquet, which, of course, brings the prospect of overdoing it and subsequent injury! A low power string demands a more powerful swing that involves the entire arm, hips, and legs.

Low power, in the form of a stiff string, has been associated with control, therefore, the increased use of stiff strings. However, with stiffness comes another downside, and that is stability. Stiff strings typically lose tension quickly and need to be changed frequently. So here is the real problem; the string may not be broken, but it is not playing well at all. There is a difference between durability and performance! If your goal is long term performance, a stiff string is not the answer.

What, then, is the answer?

Choose a string with an elongation of 10% or higher! Oh, great! You say. How am I going to know that!

Well, beginning January 1, 2020, I will be posting the power potential of every string we have tested over the years! There are over 500 items on the current list sorted by brand. The color coding is RED if 5% or less, GREEN if 10% or higher, and BLUE for everything else. Note, however, that natural gut is included in this data and will probably not reach the 10% Power Potential© threshold, but is still the best performance string available.  This is due to the dynamic properties of the natural fibers, so, until there is a separate classification gut will be included as is.

A previous post, “What is Soft?” goes into graphical detail.

As new strings are added, some older ones may be deleted because they are no longer manufactured. However, some very old ones may remain due to their “legacy” status. This chart is a preliminary format but will get us map toward the right decision!

Click here to see all the current power potential data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

String Bed Stiffness – A Short Video

It is raining today and it felt like a good time to talk about “string bed stiffness”…so let’s go!

This quick video will make a plea to you tennis players to demand more from your racquet technician so you are getting the most from your equipment.

Thank you for watching!

Will Poor Stringing Save the Life of Polyester?

OK, here’s the deal.  I have written about this several times and each time I decided that it was a waste of time, so it goes back into a file somewhere!

The time is now that we really need to understand more about stringing as a consumer and what we can do as racquet technicians to make the life of a player better, more fun, and safer.

This a quick story to set the premise of the rest.

Several weeks ago I received a freshly strung (24 hours) racquet to perhaps make a few modifications to the racquet.  The racquet was strung by the player, a very good junior with a high ranking.  The racquet was 18×20 with a full bed of polyester at 53 pounds.  When I asked why the response was “I have always done it this way”.  Fair enough!

The string bed stiffness (SBS) using the Beer’s ERT300 was 23, the SBS using the Babolat RDC was 29, and the SBS using the FlexFour was 50.  If you are familiar with these data, you know the numbers are quite low.

The racquet had only one mis-weave and one crossover, but it was severely distorted, i.e., very wide.

For a quick comparison, a properly strung racquet would have numbers like 36, 58, and 67 respectively.

So, the “softness” of the string bed when improperly strung was something that may not transmit as much shock to the body as a racquet that was properly strung at the requested 53 pounds and has a higher SBS!

Therefore a poor stringing may save the life of polyester based string!  It may not be good for performance or racquet integrity but it seems that very few players care!

So what do we do?

For years I have been advocating for the use of a finished SBS instead of a “reference tension”.  Why?  Because each stringer and stringing machine probably produce a different result.

If a player comes to us and requests an SBS of 37 (Beers ERT300 for example), we can adjust the stringing machine to produce that SBS number.  Our machines may be set at 40 to achieve the requested 37, and another shop may have to set their machine to something different.  The object is to arrive at the finished SBS, and it is up to the racquet technician to be able to do that!  The result will be a better performing racquet that will last longer.