Category Archives: Evaluation

Comparing Racquets (for real)

The Racquet Quest podcast recently aired a session on comparing racquets, so, to be fair I wanted to post that same data here. If you listened to the podcast this will sound familiar.

These racquets are not random. These racquets are owned by a client that is seeking an upgrade without going overboard!

Here is the data.  Take a look then read what the client has to say about them.

3 racquetcompare

Here is what Jess has to say:

“Hey, John –
Jess definitely likes the VS more than the Rafa. She said that she gets more easy power and stability with the Rafa but she’s able to accelerate faster on the forehand side with the VS.

She also felt like the VS was more maneuverable at the net. She said that if she’s in control of the point that she can really whip her forehand for a winner. She definitely noticed the lighter swing weight and liked that.

However, she also said that sometimes it feels a little unstable – like the VS is getting pushed around a bit. For example, she noticed that the head of the racquet can twist sometimes if her opponent nails a hard ball at her.

She has more control for sure with the VS – felt like she blasted more balls out with the Rafa. Overall, she likes the racquet- just would like a little more stability.”

By the way, Jess had not seen the racquet data prior to her hitting.  So, there you have it.  I believe you can see how much numbers help us find the right performance characteristics for a racquet.

 

Let’s Compare

We publish many racquet reviews that include comprehensive data to be used to speed up the selection process for players looking to review racquets and possibly demo them.

We thought it might be fun to do a little comparison of racquets in a simple format and we are starting with this one!

When considering racquets there is one “weight” that outweighs them all and that is swing weight!  Swing weight is also described as inertia which is, in our discussions,  the term used to describe the momentum of a tennis racquet.  Once it gets going it does not want to stop which equals power (sort of F=MA)

compare

We will be adding groups of three (3) racquets whenever possible and when new racquets are introduced.

Weight is your friend!

 

 

The Elephant in the Room!

I suspect we all have heard that expression!

It means there is something that everyone tries to ignore, but it is too large to do so!

I recently read an article in Racquet Sports Industries authored by Georgetta L. Morque. The title is “Tackling Tennis Elbow.” Tennis elbow is an important topic and deserves much attention. Georgetta is writing about ways to mitigate tennis elbow after the fact.

So, here is the elephant in the room; STIFF string!

 

Let’s try to prevent tennis elbow, so it does not need to be treated!

When we say stiff, it means a string with less than 4% elongation at 60 pounds which is our testing parameter. Most strings, and for this discussion, strings exhibiting that property will be monofilament PET-based (polyester).

Fully understanding this required a lot of testing, both lab and play, for many playing styles and racquets. To make a long story short, as a racquet technologies business, we decided not to promote polyester strings for most players. That sounds silly, but why take a chance when you don’t have to!

Our success is based on helping you, the player, perform the best you can, so it does not make sense to promote something contrary to that philosophy. Probably 75% of our clients have come to us for something different, so we have a “head start.” 

So why do so many players use it or want to use it? 

We believe it is because they have not been exposed to alternative string materials. Some outstanding players at the pro level use it, so it must be good, and it is for about 10-11 games. Of coursemanufacturers and marketers of polyester string stand to make a nice profit! It is in their best interest to promote products by adding some terminology and material to make the string less stiff.

A polyester string is deficient in power and needs to be walloped, and the harder it is hit, the stiffer it becomes, which is the problem. Developing bodies can’t tolerate that level of impact for long.

Please let us know your experience with strings of any type!

 

Head Lynx Touch! Two for One?

Several weeks ago we received the first sets of Head Lynx Touch 17 gauge strings.  Yesterday we received the Lynx Touch 16 gauge version and want to share the differences…numerically!

Quickly, this string is composed of two (2) separate but “combined” filaments.  So, is this a monofilament or a multifilament?  The numbers indicate it reacts like a monofilament as we have become familiar with it.

Head Lynx Touch

Visually the string components are obvious.

The inner filament is black and the outer covering is translucent.

 

Let’s start with the 17 gauge version:

  Lynx Touch 17

The area under the heavy red lines is the “stress/strain” curve and we see that this string takes 23.5mm to reach the 50-pound mark.  This is just a number unless it is compared to other strings so it is neither good nor bad, right now!

You can see that the string will hold up to 149.8 pounds before it breaks.  This is tensile strength and may be important when considering the amount of “notching” that can occur.  The “knot” strength of this version is 132.4 pounds.

Now let’s look at the 16 gauge version:

Lynx Touch 16

The difference is subtle.  The 16 gauge version is a little stiffer (expected) and a little stronger in tension  (also expected).  The “knot” strength of this version is 133.6 pounds.

What is interesting is the “grouping” of the stress/strain cycles on both strings.  They indicate a good elasticity.  The closer to the “zero” point on unloading the better!

In our opinion, both versions of the string would be considered “stiff” and suitable for the player looking for a stiff but stable string as our creep test confirmed.

If you currently use stiff strings and would like better consistency this would definitely be a candidate ./

What’s The Difference?

As tennis players, you must constantly ask “what’s the difference” when it comes to tennis racquets and string! Well, as racquet technicians we ask the same questions!

This post is intended to showcase the differences of string in testing, not playing, however, some of the data may be noticeable to the player in certain situations.

What this graph shows us, in addition to our trying to save a tree by printing on the back of previously used paper, is that each of these stings will provide almost the same performance. This is indicated by the curve and how closely related the strings are.

Tensile Strength Comparison

The differences you do see here can be attributed to the gauge, or diameter, of the string, with the largest diameter (Tour Bite) having the highest tensile strength.  Down in the “hitting” displacement range (way below the 39.9mm!), there is very little difference.

The tensile strength can be a factor as the string begins to “notch” or otherwise come apart.  Each of the strings in this graph is monofilament so notching would be the failure mode in a racquet.