Category Archives: Juniors

Year End

As this day nears the end and the year sprints to it’s conclusion it is worth the time to reflect on 2018!

This year was the busiest in the history of Racquet Quest, LLC and one of the most rewarding in terms of helping players.  Helping players is the “mission” of Racquet Quest so we appreciate the communication with clients that contribute to understanding the goal.

If you have been around Racquet Quest much you know the importance of discussions, some of which may be boring, redundant, or incredibly exciting.  It is the boring ones we want to eliminate.  We want every discussion to be exciting and helpful so beginning in 2019 we will be requesting comments, suggestions, and participation from you the readers of this and other posts.  Be assured that every comment will be treated with “care” and responses will be as meaningful as we can make them.

Racquet Quest, LLC World Headquarters

All of our clients are special and we thank each of them for letting us help their game.  Of course there are “Very Special” clients!

Brittany

Brittany Tagliareni is one very special player.  Brittany is Autistic and plays at a very high level in tournaments around the world.  I know you have read about Brittany on this site so we will not go into detail except to say Brittany has been an inspiration for me to become better in what I do each day.  Period!

We want everyone to be inspired and we hope it can lead to a healthier life and a better tennis game.  Please contrbute your inspirational story to our readers.  Here are just a few of the people that made 2018 so terrific…

Racquet Quest is looking forward to 2019 and we ask that you join us is making 2019 an incredible year for you and your tennis.

Thank you to everyone that made this year, 2018, a very special year!  I can’t wait to see what we can do in 2019!

Weight is Your Friend!

Is this instance we are talking about racquet weight. Not the few pounds we put on yesterday, Thanksgiving Day!

In the early 1990’s we made a tennis racquet which weighed slightly over 7 ounces.  Awesome, some said!  This racquet traveled along with the standard weight racquets in the line and was available for anyone to hit with.

“Hit” in this case is a misnomer because the mass of the racquet was not enough to get the ball over the net in most cases!  Instead of a “hit” it was like a light “shove”!

With out a doubt the weight of a racquet must be “usable”.  Take a look at these brief warm-up videos to see weight in action then we will find out how much these racquets weigh and the swing weight…

Sophie Hitting

This is a Wilson Blade 98 18×20 pattern.  Racquet weight is  329 grams (11.61 Oz.) with a swing weight of 332 kg/cm^2.

Next let’s take a look at a different player…

Aleks (aka GBS) Hitting

This is a Head Radical with the Pro Cap System creating a racquet that weighs 340 grams (11.99 ounces) with a swing weight of 349 kg/cm^2.

It is obvious that both payers are swinging the racquet with gusto and it should be obvious that the racquets are stable on impact and this stability is necessary for power and control.

So the next time your oppponent asks if you have “gained weight” it will because the ball is coming at them with more “heaviness”!  And you can repsond “yes!” with a smile on your face!  Just like Robert, Sophie, and Aleks!

IMG_5348

 

Turn the Head Radical Pro Into a Beast!

I am very happy to see players of every age returning to, or buying for the first time, racquets that have some weight!  Weight is your friend!  Any racquet can be “customized” to suit the needs of the player, of course.

But what do you do if you already own a Head Radical Pro?  You simply add the Head Players Cap System to your current Radical Pro.  This can be done the next time the racquet needs stringing and can be removed at the next stringing if wanted.

This is a “side by side” look at the Cap System Radical and the standard Radical.  You will need to like the color “orange”.

The Cap System can be added to many past Radical Pro racquets. The Cap System does not fit the Radical MP, unfortunately.

The image below shows the racquets and the specifications of each one.  You can see the difference between the two.  It is obvious that the major difference will be weight and swing weight.  The numbers between the two racquets are the data for the Radical Pro with the Cap System.

Turn the Head Radical into a Beast!

Jack Anthrop Scores Big in Nassau!

Congratulations to Jack for his Finalist finish in the Junkanoo Bowl in Nassau!

Jack has been playing ITF events and was a qualifier for this tournament.  Not only did he qualify, Jack went on the finals where he put in a great three (3) set effort against Harrison Gold, 6-7,6-2,5-7!

Jack Anthrop & Harrison Gold
Junkanoo Bowl

Well done, Jack!  Congratulations

Big Bag Blowout…Again!

This seems to be a semi-annual event but that’s OK!

This event is a little different though!

Every bag regardless of size is only $60.00!  This is extraordinary but we need the room.

Most bags are Head or Wilson, some are 6 racquet bags some are 12 racquet bags.  It makes no difference!

Walk in with three (3) 20’s and walk out with a bag worth twice that much!

Hurry because this event is for in-stock bags only and the supply while taking up a lot of room, is limited!

This picture is not representative of all the bags.  Call for a quick update on available bags!

This is Important!

I was just going through some older posts and came across this “E” Book post and believe it is more relevant now that when I originally posted it!

Take a look because this is important!

What is Soft…er?

What is “Best Overall Performance”?

In our “Recommended Stringing Frequency” calculator we state that this frequency is to get the best possible performance from your racquet.   But, what exactly is “best performance”?

To establish this we need to take you, the player, out of the picture for a moment and concentrate on the racquet and string setup.  the reason is simple:  no two players strike the ball the same way.

We start with “Swing Weight” which is the most important dynamic property of a racquet.  So a higher swing weight will contribute to power and stability, thus performance.

Overall weight is important because you need to be able to get the racquet to the court and out of your bag!  Heavier racquets contribute to energy, stability, and comfort.

Effective Stiffness is important because it represents the stiffness of the string bed (SBS) and the racquet stiffness (xxRA, or something like that).  This number represents the impact each time you strike the ball.  The higher the number, the stiffer, of course.

Of the four (4) things mentioned above we can control the string bed stiffness with ease.  One of the easiest methods is to string your racquet regularly to maintain the effectiveness of the elongation of the string being used.  Elongation relates to energy return in a string and while strings will stay resilient for a long time a well-worn string takes a while to return energy to the ball.

You, the player, of course, determine performance so when using the SFR you can enter a high UTR or Style rating or a low UTR or style rating if maximum performance is not required.

MonoGut ZX +ZX Pro…let’s talk about it.

If you have been around Racquet Quest for a while, you know we talk a lot about Ashaway MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro, with ZX Pro being the 17 gauge version. During this post when I use MonoGut ZX it will include the ZX Pro Version, to save pixels!

A few questions need to be answered before we begin:

1. Do you get paid to talk about Ashaway MonoGut ZX?………. No
2. Do you get Ashaway MonoGut ZX free?………. No
3. Do get to spend the summer at a lavish resort in Ashaway R.I. ………. No
4. Why do you do it, then?

The short answer is MonoGut ZX works in so many applications that it is impossible not to talk about it whenever talking about tennis racquet string, arm issues, durability, and performance!

The first thing we need to know about MonoGut ZX is that is not polyester. It is Polyetheretherketone, or PEEK, for short. MonoGut ZX can look exactly like many common polyester strings due to the monofilament format. Monofilament means it is one strand of material and is typically very smooth and shiny.

The appearance is where the similarities end. Without going into a lot of detail, the stiffness of the base material dictates the stiffness of the string, especially in monofilament formats. Every string we get is tested for “stiffness” and entered into our database. This stiffness is converted to Power Potential using proprietary software. Power Potential is easy to understand…the higher the number, the more powerful the string is.

To get to the meat of this topic, we need to know the relative values of these materials.

MonoGut ZX has a power potential of 14.62
Babolat RPM Blast has a power potential of 4.29
LaserFibre Silverline 2 has a power potential of 4.59
Luxilon ALU Power has a power potential of 4.42
Luxilon ALU Power Soft has a power potential of 5.72

There are hundreds of polyester based string, but this gives you some idea as to where they stack up vis-a-vis MonoGut ZX.

Why does this matter? Strings with very low elongation (power potential) get stiffer the harder the ball is hit! So what? So, if you have low power potential, you need to swing harder to get the ball to go as far as it needs to go especially if you are trying to hit with huge topspin.

MonoGut ZX is suited to many playing styles, racquets, and string patterns. That is why so many really good players are currently using it and winning with it.  That is why it is important that we continue to talk about MonoGut ZX!

Maybe it is time to try MonoGut ZX yourself.

Ashaway MonoGut ZX Black

Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro Natural

And Now This…

In the words of Lord Kelvin (May 1883) “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science.”

That is why every racquet we do has over fifty (50) numbers attached to the finished data. Most of these numbers will remain unknown to the client, but for us, it is imperative that we know them.

Numbers Matter!

Which leads me, again, to this very important discussion.

Every day we see a statement from tennis string manufactures claiming, or suggesting, their string is the “softest ever tested” and other claims.  What the heck is “soft” anyway?  There is a lot more to it than meets the eye so we have done significant analysis on bunches of string and can now quantify “soft” as it relates to tennis string.

What is “soft”?
In 1994 I did a presentation for the USRSA in Atlanta. What was the topic?

“Understanding String.”

It is now 2016, and we are still trying to understand string! Especially “soft” polyester based string.

In 1994 PolyStar was the only polyester based string I was familiar with. Since then there are dozens of offerings from anyone that can afford to purchase from manufacturers and market the string. If you have a desire to do it, I applaud you!

In 1989 I started testing string and calculating “power potential.” Why “power potential”? Because “modulus,” “elongation” and “elasticity” didn’t get to the bottom line of string performance quickly enough! The steps to arrive at power potential are many.

For the testing, several calculations take place including “stretching” the string as in a ball impact. The difference between the first calculation and the “stretched” calculation is the power potential!

I have calculated hundreds of power potentials but have not until now quantified “soft.”

I think now is the time!

Under the direction of Dr. Rich Zarda, we have done a tremendous amount of work on this issue so we can now distill this work into the following explanation.

So, what is a “soft” tennis string?

Strings in a tennis racquet carry the ball impact load in two ways:
1) Via the pre-load string tension placed in the strings caused by a stringing machine (and the racquet frame “holding” those tensions in place) and
2) Via additional tensions that develop in the same string caused by the elongation of the strings as they deflect with ball impact.

Both of these conditions occur simultaneously and contribute to the string bed stiffness (SBS, units of lbs./in). Racquet technicians measure SBS by applying a load to the center of a supported string bed and measuring the resulting deflection. Dividing the load by the deflection provides the SBS (lbs./in). The lower the SBS, the more power you have (power here is the ability of the ball to easily rebound from the string bed), but the less control (presumably); the higher the SBS, the less power you have but, the more control you have (presumably).

One more point about SBS: the lower the SBS, the less the load your body will feel for a given swing. But for an SBS too low (less than 50-80 lbs./in), balls will be flying off your racquet going over the fence; and for an SBS too high (greater than 200-240 lbs./in), the racquet will hit like a board with significantly less ball rebound. So the most common SBSs are between 100-200 lbs./in: a balance between control and power.

As already expressed, SBS is a function of the pulled string tension and the string elongation. Here is what is interesting: For large string elongations (for example, greater than 15%) and reasonably pulled string tensions (greater than 30-40 lbs.), SBS only depends on the pulled string tension, and it does not depend on string elongation. Additionally, for this condition, SBS, for these high elongation strings, does not change as a ball is hit with more impact.

linearity_noname

But for a string bed with low elongation strings (less than 5%) under low pulled tensions (less than 20 lbs., or tensions that have been reduced due to racquet deformation and/or string tension relaxing with time), the SBS additionally depends on the string elongation and will significantly increase, in a nonlinear ever-increasing way, for harder ball impacts.

In order to achieve a repetitive feel for a player when hitting with a racquet, it is best to have an SBS that is independent of an increasing ball impact force. This will lead to a more consistent playability of the racquet, which includes a more repetitive feel. This desired “feel” implies using high elongation strings (greater than 10%). If low elongation strings are used (less than 4%), the SBS will significantly increase as the ball impact force increases, resulting in a racquet feeling “boardy” for higher impact loads. And low elongation strings will cause un-proportionally increasing load into the body.

deflections

As you can see by the graph, elongation contributes to SBS in a big way. The red line indicates a stiff string, about 4%, and the blue line indicates a “soft” string, about 15% elongation. You can see the loads increase dramatically as the impact increases. So the harder the hit the higher the loads on the body.

So to the question asked at the start “What is a soft tennis string?” In the context of the SBS discussed above, I would suggest that a soft tennis string is one whose elongation is 10-15%, and a stiff tennis string is 4-6%. And any string under 4% should be categorized as ultra-stiff.

String elongation (soft, stiff, ultra-stiff),  stringing machine strung tension, and string pattern(s) all contribute to SBS and SBS is an important measure of how a racquet plays and should be adjusted for an individual player, stiff and ultra-stiff strings can lead to less-repeatable racquet performance and player injury.

Soft = 10 -15% Elongation                Power Potential Range = 10.0 – 16.0
Stiff = 4 – 6% Elongation                   Power Potential Range = 4.0 – 7.0
Ultra Stiff =  Less than 4%               Power Potential Range = .65 – 3.96

 

What is “Soft”?

What is “soft”?
In 1994 I did a presentation for the USRSA in Atlanta. What was the topic?

“Understanding String”.

It is now 2016 and we are still trying to understand string! Especially “soft” polyester based string.

In 1994 PolyStar was the only polyester based string I was familiar with. Since then there are dozens of offerings from anyone that can afford to purchase from manufacturers and market the string. If you have a desire to do it I applaud you!

In 1989 I started testing string and calculating “power potential”. Why “power potential”? Because “modulus”, “elongation” and “elasticity” didn’t get to the bottom line of string performance quickly enough! The steps to arrive at power potential are many.

For the testing, several calculations take place including “stretching” the string as in a ball impact. The difference between the first calculation and the “stretched” calculation is the power potential!

I have calculated hundreds of power potentials but have not until now quantified “soft”.

I think now is the time!

Dr. Rich Zarda has done a tremendous amount of work on this issue so we can now distill this work into the following explanation.

So, what is a “soft” tennis string?

Strings in a tennis racquet carry the ball impact load in two ways:
1) Via the pre-load string tension placed in the strings caused by a stringing machine (and the racquet frame “holding” those tensions in place) and
2) Via additional tensions that develop in the same string caused by the elongation of the strings as they deflect with ball impact.

Both of these conditions occur simultaneously and contribute to the string bed stiffness (SBS, units of lbs./in). Racquet technicians measure SBS by applying a load to the center of a supported string bed and measuring the resulting deflection. Dividing the load by the deflection provides the SBS (lbs./in). The lower the SBS, the more power you have (power here is the ability of the ball to easily rebound from the string bed), but the less control (presumably); the higher the SBS, the less power you have but the more control you have (presumably).

One more point about SBS: the lower the SBS, the less the load your body will feel for a given swing. But for an SBS too low (less than 50-80 lbs./in), balls will be flying off your racquet going over the fence; and for an SBS too high (greater than 200-240 lbs./in), the racquet will hit like a board with significantly less ball rebound. So the most common SBSs are between 100-200 lbs./in: a balance between control and power.

As already expressed, SBS is a function of the pulled string tension and the string elongation. Here is what is interesting: For large string elongations (for example, greater than 15%) and reasonably pulled string tensions (greater than 30-40 lbs.), SBS only depends on the pulled string tension and it does not depend on string elongation. Additionally, for this condition, SBS, for these high elongation strings, does not change as a ball is hit with more impact.

linearity_noname

But for a string bed with low elongation strings (less than 5%) under low pulled tensions (less than 20 lbs., or tensions that have been reduced due to racquet deformation and/or string tension relaxing with time), the SBS additionally depends on the string elongation and will significantly increase, in a nonlinear ever-increasing way, for harder ball impacts.

In order to achieve a repetitive feel for a player when hitting with a racquet, it is best to have a SBS that is independent of an increasing ball impact force. This will lead to a more consistent playability of the racquet, which includes a more repetitive feel. This desired “feel” implies using high elongation strings (greater than 10%). If low elongation strings are used (less than 4%), the SBS will significantly increase as the ball impact force increases, resulting in a racquet feeling “boardy” for higher impact loads. And low elongation strings will cause un-proportionally increasing load into the body.

deflections

As you can see by the graph, elongation contributes to SBS in a big way. The red line indicates a stiff string, about 4%, and the blue line indicates a “soft” string, about 15% elongation. You can see the loads increase dramatically as the impact increases. So the harder the hit the higher the loads on the body.

So to the question asked at the start “What is a soft tennis string?” In the context of the SBS discussed above, I would suggest that a soft tennis string is one whose elongation is 10-15%, and a stiff tennis string is 4-6%. And any string under 4% should be categorized as ultra-stiff.

String elongation (soft, stiff, ultra-stiff),  stringing machine strung tension, and string pattern(s) all contribute to SBS and SBS is an important measure of how a racquet plays and should be adjusted for an individual player, stiff and ultra-stiff strings can lead to less-repeatable racquet performance and player injury.

Soft = 10 -15% Elongation             Power Potential Range = 10.0 – 16.0
Stiff = 4 – 6% Elongation               Power Potential Range = 4.0 – 7.0
Ultra Stiff =  Less than 4%            Power Potential Range = .65 – 3.96

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