Category Archives: Learning

Play Like a Girl…Part Deux

If you read “Play Like a Girl,” you will have a good idea where this is headed!  This part is intended to make it possible for you to experiment without feeling “forced” so it is based on “numbers” not “feelings.”  Of course, feel is relevant to tennis players.

Two events this week make it easy to compare numbers and feeling.

  1.  A racquet came in from a tournament playing junior that had the good fortune of picking up a competitors racquet and recognize the difference immediately and wanted to try it.  His racquet is a Babolat Pure Strike 16×19 with a swing weight of 302!  The racquet he picked up has a swing weight of 341!  His revised swing weight is 325.
  2. A really good young lady is switching racquets and string setup, so there is a four (4) inch strip of 1/4″ tape on the inside of each side of the string bed in the 3 and nine o’clock position — total weight of about 5 grams, for a swing weight of 321.  During a training session, a coach said the racquet was too heavy and removed about 2 inches total of tape, maybe 1.5 grams, and everything was fine!  This player is strong enough to play with a 335 swing weight so was this a “visual” suggestion, and the process of removing tape convinced the payer that the racquet was now much lighter?

In case you don’t remember there are 28.35 grams per ounce.  So you can see that 1.5 grams is quite small!

Did you know that a dry overgrip is about 5 grams and a wet over grip can be as much as 12 grams?  The location of an overgrip (under your hand) has virtually no effect on swing weight so it generally goes unnoticed.

Unless agreed upon in advance most weight can be removed or re-located so don’t fear your friend…weight!

 

Digital Ball Pick Up!

Nope, this is not a smartphone app!  This is even better!

This digital pick up system is designed to prevent premature aging and premature bumper guard destruction!

Here’s the deal…we see way too many tennis racquets that have been rendered nearly useless because the protective bumper guard, that plastic thing that fits over the top portion of the racquet, has been totally ground away by scooping the ball up with the top of the racquet then placing the ball against your foot and dragging the ball up your leg!

A client was in yesterday with two (2) used racquets that were for sale.  At first glance racquet #, 1 looked OK but with the typical “ball scooping”

Worn Out Bumper Guard

abrasions on the top.  A quick probe did not reveal a hole in the graphite fiber so a new bumper guard would be a “cosmetic” necessity.

Racquet #2 did have a new bumper guard which was a “red flag” of sorts.  We removed the new bumper guard which exposed significant damage to the racquet to the extent that the graphite fiber was completely worn away!  Obviously, this racquet was not worth much.

The digital system eliminates this destruction of the bumper guard and benefits your flexibility.

Here goes:  when standing in front of a ball bend at the waist a little and bend the knees enough to reach the ball.  Now with the thumb and first two digits (first and second finger) grab the ball and pick it up!

What could be easier!

If you are holding a racquet you can place quite a few balls on the string bed and carry them to the ball hopper!

If you are thinking about telling your racquet technician this destruction is due to your “aggressive playing style”, forget it.  Just start using the “digital ball pick up system” so you will not be faced with this embarrassing question.

String Bed Stiffness – A Short Video

It is raining today and it felt like a good time to talk about “string bed stiffness”…so let’s go!

This quick video will make a plea to you tennis players to demand more from your racquet technician so you are getting the most from your equipment.

Thank you for watching!

Dr. Goodman visits the World Headquarters!

We were thrilled to have Dr. Brad Goodman visit the World Headquarters to produce a session for his Doc-Talk-Live program!

Dr. Goodman is a tennis player who wants to know more about equipment in an effort to protect his body and beat his opponents.  You can catch this episode here: Doc Talk Live

In addition to the session Dr, Goodman was given the opportunity to “stretch” both a very stiff string and a very “stretchy” string, something that he, and many others, have not done.  Needless to say he was amazed at the difference.

Dr, Goodman’s visit was a great opportunity to have a real conversation about tennis equipment.  Please let me have your comments!

 

Will Poor Stringing Save the Life of Polyester?

OK, here’s the deal.  I have written about this several times and each time I decided that it was a waste of time, so it goes back into a file somewhere!

The time is now that we really need to understand more about stringing as a consumer and what we can do as racquet technicians to make the life of a player better, more fun, and safer.

This a quick story to set the premise of the rest.

Several weeks ago I received a freshly strung (24 hours) racquet to perhaps make a few modifications to the racquet.  The racquet was strung by the player, a very good junior with a high ranking.  The racquet was 18×20 with a full bed of polyester at 53 pounds.  When I asked why the response was “I have always done it this way”.  Fair enough!

The string bed stiffness (SBS) using the Beer’s ERT300 was 23, the SBS using the Babolat RDC was 29, and the SBS using the FlexFour was 50.  If you are familiar with these data, you know the numbers are quite low.

The racquet had only one mis-weave and one crossover, but it was severely distorted, i.e., very wide.

For a quick comparison, a properly strung racquet would have numbers like 36, 58, and 67 respectively.

So, the “softness” of the string bed when improperly strung was something that may not transmit as much shock to the body as a racquet that was properly strung at the requested 53 pounds and has a higher SBS!

Therefore a poor stringing may save the life of polyester based string!  It may not be good for performance or racquet integrity but it seems that very few players care!

So what do we do?

For years I have been advocating for the use of a finished SBS instead of a “reference tension”.  Why?  Because each stringer and stringing machine probably produce a different result.

If a player comes to us and requests an SBS of 37 (Beers ERT300 for example), we can adjust the stringing machine to produce that SBS number.  Our machines may be set at 40 to achieve the requested 37, and another shop may have to set their machine to something different.  The object is to arrive at the finished SBS, and it is up to the racquet technician to be able to do that!  The result will be a better performing racquet that will last longer.

%d bloggers like this: