Category Archives: elbow
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:
- Tennis racquets will become more expensive, but only slightly.
- On-line sales of tennis racquets will increase. See this previous post.
- Customer satisfaction with on-line sales will decrease.
- Small specialty tennis shops will be the source of information, then #2, and then #3.
- Players will stick with a racquet longer, making customizations as needed.
- String and stringing will become a more important component of a racquet purchase. See below!
- Tennis related injuries will continue to be a problem for the sport going forward.
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!
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!
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!
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.
If you read the Wilson Clash 100 review there is not much to say about the Wilson Clash Tour in terms of graphics because it is exactly the same!
So we can go directly to the differences between the two models. The Tour does have the “word” tour on the racquet but little else in terms of racquet specifications and that is by design.
Typically a racquet will have some little tiny descriptions such as weight, head size, string pattern, etc. but these racquets have none of that. Wilson, with this racquet, wants the player to make all the decisions based on “feel, control, and power” and not be influenced by descriptors. As you might expect this model is a little heavier overall and in swing weight thus the “Tour” designation.
Our Wilson Clash and Clash Tour demo racquets are strung with Luxilon Natural Gut as the main string and Wilson Sensation Plus as the cross string. This combination should maximize the performance of the racquet.
Before we get to the specifications of the Tour model there is another slightly unusual design feature. The grip pallet is not molded onto the frame but is formed by the carbon fiber. This manufacturing technique does not allow for easy (seriously not easy) grip size and shape customization so be certain you get the grip size you need.
Take a look at the following data to see if you think this new concept is worth a try. Based on the feedback we are getting I would say yes, definatley!
|Racquet Model||Clash Tour|
|Reference Tension||58 lbs - 26.3 kg|
|String||Luxilon 125 Gut =M
Wilson Sensation Plus =X
|Machine Used||True Tension Professional|
|Racquet Flex, RDC||47 - After stringing|
|Racquet Flex, FlexFour||25|
|Racquet - In Plane Stiffness||317 lbs/Inch|
|Head Area, cm2||647.3|
|Head Area, Sq. Inch||100.3|
|Number of Main Strings||16|
|Number of Cross Strings||19|
|Main String Grid||7.68|
|Cross String Grid||10.44|
|Density (% of head filled with string)||.799|
|Average Cross String Space||.549|
|Average Main String Space||.480|
|Dynamic Tension, Kp, ERT||35|
|Dynamic Tension, Lbs/in||195.76|
|First Moment, Nm||.822|
|Swing Weight, Kg/cm2||329|
|Swing Weight, Ounces||11.6|
|Swing Weight Calculated||341.8|
|Head Weight, %||46.4|
|Center of Percussion||21.7|
|Dwell Time, ms||8.91|
|Efective Stiffness - lbs||24.5|