Category Archives: Inspiration

Know Your String!

Several years ago, when we were beginning to increase the use of Ashaway MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro, it was not unusual to get a call from a client saying, “my coach says I should not be using polyester!” We could not agree more, and you are not using polyester!

You are using PEEK polymer! This string material was, and still is, referred to as Zyex with polymer production capabilities of Victrex in England.

Given the appearance of MonoGut ZX, Babolat Origin, and a few other non-polyester monofilament strings, it is not easy to distinguish these from stiffer polyester material strings. So know your string!

Single strand (monofilament) strings will have a gleaming surface unless they have been through a “roughing” process. So will monofilament strings of different materials. It is hard to tell just by looking, and that is what can create some confusion on behalf of the coach and subsequently, the player. So know your string!

If your racquet technician does not put a label on the racquet that identifies the material (or string), then be sure to ask what material you are using. The material choices may be natural gut, Zyex (PEEK), Nylon, and Polyester. The string construction may be referred to as a monofilament, multi-filament, single wrap, etc. however, the material will probably be one of these four.

Know your string! If you are unsure, contact your racquet technician or “Ask John” on this site, and we will try to help.

 

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!

 

 

Racquets Taking Off …and Racquets Crashing!

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!

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Head Graphene 360+ Prestige

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.

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Head Speed Adaptive Tuning Model

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!

Racquet & Tournament Management

Management is not just for adults!  Juniors that play tournaments need to have some management skills!  During this coronavirus slow down it is a good time to learn some of these management skills.

We see many different management slip-ups such as no racquets for the tournament tomorrow!  All racquets have broken string and are at the bottom of a bag nobody wants to stick their hand into!

Juniors Management Tip #1:

Every Monday takes every racquet out of the bag.  If one or more are broken leave them out of the bag.

Juniors Management Tip #2

To get some idea of how much longer the string may last simply try to move the 5th or 6th cross string by pulling up toward the top of the racquet. If you can not pull the cross string up it is time for stringing.  If you are able to pull a cross string up pay attention to the “snap” it makes as you push it back into location.  A serious “snap” indicates a deep notch.

Monofilament strings typically fail by notching which makes it difficult to move the cross strings.  If your string is a multi-filament and looks like the picture on the left it is time to string!

Abrasion Fail Visual Test

Notching Visual Fail Test

What if neither of these conditions exists?

Every racquet in your bag should have a tag indicating when the racquet was last strung and if it has been more than one month it is time to string, period!

Just for fun you can go to our SFC function and get a good ideas as to how many times per year yu need to have your racquet strung.

I Get It! Maybe… or Maybe Not!

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;

  1. Total weight should be not less than 10.5 ounces (300 grams).
  2. Swing weight should not be less than 10.5 ounces (300 grams).
  3. 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.