Category Archives: News!

Tale of the Tapes!

Probably the most common “customization” on tennis racquets is the addition of weight! In most cases, that is a good thing. Weight is your friend!

Weight, in this case, is confined to swing weight and of course, overall weight and the placement of that weight and the format being used. We will see two (2) options and try to decide which is the best format.

Option number one below is the most common format for adding weighted tape. You can see that the tape is narrow strips that are placed on either side of the string bed. Even though the length of the tape is different on each racquet, the swing weight is the same on all of them.

Common Weighted Tape Format

Common Weighted Tape Format

The advantage of this format is that the weighted tape can easily be removed or more added if desired without affecting the formatting.

Option number two is rarely requested, but it represents the best-looking result.

Not Easily Modified Tape Placement

Not Easily Modified Tape Placement

However, this format requires much more time and is not easily removed or modified.

This format requires the grommet set to be removed, which, in most cases, is not a problem. In some cases, it will be a big problem! So be sure this is what you want!

The tape must be carefully trimmed between strings and removed without damaging the strings if modification is required to reduce weight. Doing this is not hard but does require a little more time. Adding weight requires removing the string and grommet set if the format is to remain the same, i.e., no narrow strips laid on top of the current tape.

Whichever option you choose will provide the performance boost you want!

Let us know which option you would choose in the comments below!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Head Graphene 360+ Speed Lite

As you probably guessed, this is the lightest of the Speed Series, 100 square inch head size, at a weight of 281 grams (9.91 ounces)!

There are several positive features in this racquet and one is the reasonable flex (stiffness) of 63 RDC, plus the uniform string pattern that provides a consistent hitting experience needed by developing players.  This pattern should contribute to extended string life as well.

Head Graphene 360+ Speed Lite

As with all light racquets, this one can be customized as the need or desire arises, and I think that will happen more quickly than most other racquets.

This is just too light, in my opinion, for players wanting to improve all aspects of their game.  Remember, weight is your friend!  However, if you prefer a light racquet for any reason this is a top choice!

As I am working on this post I realize how much trouble it is to switch between racquet reviews for comparison so here is a link to the Head Graphene 360+ Speed Series Comparison.

 

 

 

ManufacturerHead
Racquet ModelHead Graphene 360+ Speed Lite
Reference Tension56 lbs - 25.4 kg
String
Victrex PEEK fiber Experimental 7718
Machine UsedTrue Tension Professional
Static
ASPS, RDC56
ASPS, FlexFour68.5
Racquet Flex, RDC63 - After stringing
Racquet Flex, FlexFour43
Weight, Grams281
Weight, Ounces9.91
Balance, mm345
Balance, Inch13.58
Length, Cm68.5
Length, Inch26.97
Head Width9.71
Head Length13.06
Head Area, cm2640.8
Head Area, Sq. Inch99.6
Beam Width, mm, Shaft, Center, Tip25, 25, 25
In Plane Stiffness, Pounds/In422.5 Lbs/In.
In Plane Stiffness, Kg/cm 191.6 Kg/cm
Number of Main Strings16
Number of Cross Strings19
Ratio Cross/Mains.626
Main String Grid7.30
Cross String Grid9.53
Density (% of head filled with string).710
Average Cross String Space.503
Average Main String Space.463
Dynamic
Dynamic Tension, Kp, ERT36
Dynamic Tension, Lbs/in201.4
First Moment, Nm.758
Polar Moment311
Torsional Stability18
Swing Weight, Kg/cm2293
Swing Weight, Ounces10.34
Swing Weight Calculated334.5
Power, RDC42
Control, RDC61
Manueverability, RDC91
Power, Calculated 1838.3
Head Points-0.79 (negative = head heavy)
Head Weight, %50.4%
Center of Percussion20.7
Dwell Time, ms, No Swing8.50
Efective Stiffness - lbs29.6
K, Lb/In (SBS) RDC198.31
Recoil Weight126.53
Twist Weight198.31
End Weight 98.6
Tip Weight 182.3
9 O'Clock90.5
3 O'Clock91.2
Butt Cap98.3