Category Archives: Learning

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.

 

 

 

 

 

By The Numbers

Here we go with this numbers thing, again! 

Our Racquet reviews are a bunch of numbers, but what do these numbers mean to you?

We have put together this table with a brief explanation of how each number can be used by you to understand how that property can be helpful.

If you see terms such as typical or normal, ignore them! With tennis players, there is no such thing as “typical and normal”!

If you need to be convinced, take a look at a previous post!

Please let us know if there is a number that needs more clarification or a number we are missing!

ManufacturerYonexWhat it Means
Racquet ModelYonex VCore Pro 97 HDRacquet being reviewed.
Reference Tension55 lbs - 24.9 kgStringing machine tension setting. Not, necessarily, the string bed stiffness.
String
Ashaway MonoGut ZX ProString brand name and gauge (Pro being 17Gauge)
Machine UsedTrue Tension ProfessionalStringing machine used.
Static
ASPS, RDC56The stiffness of all the strings as a unit. Normally between 30 and 65.
ASPS, FlexFour64.5The stiffness of the string bed as tested on this device.
Racquet Flex, RDC57 - After stringing50 is low (flexible) and 70 is high (very stiff). Clash 100 is 52 on this device. As is a Head Speed model.
Racquet Flex, FlexFour5035 is low (flexible) 70 is high (very stiff). Clash 100 is 26 on this device.
Racquet - In Plane Stiffness353.8 lbs/InchThis is how stiff the racquet head is across the middle. 300 is soft and 500 is very stiff. This affects the string bed stiffness.
Weight, Grams336285 is light and 360 is heavy.
315 is minimum target weight for performance.
Weight, Ounces11.85

The racquet weight in ounces, typically used in US.
Balance, mm322This is the center of gravity from the butt cap. If you put the racquet on a round rod this would be how much is hanging toward the butt cap.
Balance, Inch12.68This is the CG in ounces for US. Points head heavy or head light is part of this.
Length, Cm68.5This is the total length of the racquet and is the typical standard adult length.
Length, Inch26.968This is length in inches for the US.
Head Width, Inches9.57The inside width of the hitting area.
Head Length, Inches 12.54The inside length of the hitting area.
Head Area, cm2625.8The advertised hitting area in centimeters squared.
Head Area, Sq. Inch97.0The advertised hitting area in inches squared.
Number of Main Strings18The main strings are the vertical strings when looking at a standing racquet. Typically the longest strings.
Number of Cross Strings20The cross strings are the horizontal strings when looking at a standing
racquet. Typically shorter.
Ratio Cross/Mains.687The natural ratio of the string pattern (calculated).
Main String Grid7.25The total distance between right and left main string.
Cross String Grid10.18
The total distance between the first cross string and the last cross string.
Density (% of head filled with string).783
Average Cross String Space.509The higher this number the more the string will move. This number is used to help select the best string setup.
Average Main String Space.403The higher this number the more the string will move. This number is used to help select the best string setup.
Dynamic
Properties of a moving racquet.
Dynamic Tension, Kp, ERT37This is the stiffness of a string bed in kilograms per centimeter based on a frequency.
Dynamic Tension, Lbs/in206.94This is the above converted to pounds per inch.
First Moment, Nm.831This is how heavy the racquet feels in the hand. The higher the number the heavier the racquet will feel.
Polar Moment340This is the resistance to rotating about the center of the racquet on, say a mimes-hit. The higher the better.
Torsional Stability16This is the derived stability number. The higher the better within reason. Anything below 14 would need some help.
Swing Weight, Kg/cm2324This is the "inertia" of the racquet and probably the most important number in the review! The higher the number the more momentum through the ball but less manueverability.
Swing Weight, Ounces11.43
Swing Weight Calculated348.4This number will be larger than the previous swing weight because it is calculated from the very end of the racquet as if there is no one holding it. A very important number.
Power, RDC42
Control, RDC59
Manueverability, RDC71
Power, Calculated 1740.5This number is calculated based on racquet properties.
Head Points6.46 (negative = head heavy)This number is how positive or negative the balance is. A "point" is ⅛ of an inch so this racquet is a little over ¾ of an inch head light.
Head Weight, %47.0%
Center of Percussion21.0This is the spot on the string bed that returns a solid hit.
Dwell Time, ms8.50This is how long the ball and string are in contact with no swing. A big swing will reduce this number by about half.
Efective Stiffness - lbs28.2This number is calculated from the string bed stiffness and the racquet stiffness. Anything under 30 will be "soft" feeling and over 35 will be "harsh".
K, Lb/In179.5
Recoil Weight160.8This number is the racquets resistance to rotating backward. The higher the number the better for volleys.
Twist Weight230.8This is the racquets resistance to twisting in your hand. The higher the better.
End Weight 139.8This weight is used to calculate the precise balance of the racquet.
Tip Weight 196.2This weight is used to calculate the precise balance of the racquet.
9 O'Clock100.4
This is the weight of that position on the racquet head and is used for precise customization.
3 O'Clock99.6This is the weight of that position on the racquet head and is used for precise customization.
Butt Cap135.6This is the weight of that position on the racquet and is used for precise customization.