Category Archives: Tension

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.

 

 

2020 is Coming Into Focus!

2019 came and went in a blur!  In a few days it will 2020 and with it will come some exciting new tennis stuff, for sure!

I am not so good at predicting things but I do it anyway!  Here are a few predictions I will make for 2020:

  1. Tennis racquets will become more expensive, but only slightly.
  2. On-line sales of tennis racquets will increase.  See this previous post.
  3. Customer satisfaction with on-line sales will decrease.
  4. Small specialty tennis shops will be the source of information, then #2, and then #3.
  5. Players will stick with a racquet longer, making customizations as needed.
  6. String and stringing will become a more important component of a racquet purchase.  See below!
  7. Tennis related injuries will continue to be a problem for the sport going forward.

    No Underage Polyester, Please!

    Thank you for thinking about the “long term” for all tennis players!

    There are no bad strings just bad applications!

    The right equipment is crucial to the long term enjoyment, and winning, of tennis!

    The local representatives I deal with are committed to our “well being” even though some may feel like they are facing “extinction”!

    An excellent example of what we are talking about just walked in! Two (2) new racquets so poorly strung it is shocking!

    The customer is having serious arm issues with an excellent racquet, with a terrible string setup! But the string setup is probably considered by many to be the ultimate combination, that is RPM Blast in the main and VS Touch in the cross! That combination is coming out in a few minutes!  No more polyester!

    The quality of the stringing is what is so wrong! Had you or I received this racquet, we would have returned it at once! Why? Because it exemplifies the attitude of so many stringers that is “who cares”!

Happy New Year!

String. What is important?

The essential function of string in your tennis racquet is to return energy to the ball as it collides with the racquet. It is evident that if there is no string or a broken one, the racquet can not do what it is intended to do, and your shot is going nowhere or worse, everywhere!

There are about thirty (30) string brands, and each brand has about ten (10) different models, and maybe three (3) different colors, so there are nine hundred (900) possible selections! Nine hundred is way too many strings!

You and we need to consolidate string data so we can make the right decision for you, your playing style, and your physical capabilities.

We test every string for elongation, creep, (stability), with a little bit of elasticity data observed. This testing returns our exclusive Power Potential© for each string, and that is the basis of our decision-making process. Naturally, the higher the elongation, the more power the string will return to the ball, and conversely, the lower the power potential, the less power that “can” be generated. You can observe this fundamental by dropping a tennis ball on a concrete floor and then on a strung tennis racquet from the same drop height and see which one bounces the highest.

I use “can” because power, to a great extent, comes from how hard you swing the racquet, which, of course, brings the prospect of overdoing it and subsequent injury! A low power string demands a more powerful swing that involves the entire arm, hips, and legs.

Low power, in the form of a stiff string, has been associated with control, therefore, the increased use of stiff strings. However, with stiffness comes another downside, and that is stability. Stiff strings typically lose tension quickly and need to be changed frequently. So here is the real problem; the string may not be broken, but it is not playing well at all. There is a difference between durability and performance! If your goal is long term performance, a stiff string is not the answer.

What, then, is the answer?

Choose a string with an elongation of 10% or higher! Oh, great! You say. How am I going to know that!

Well, beginning January 1, 2020, I will be posting the power potential of every string we have tested over the years! There are over 500 items on the current list sorted by brand. The color coding is RED if 5% or less, GREEN if 10% or higher, and BLUE for everything else. Note, however, that natural gut is included in this data and will probably not reach the 10% Power Potential© threshold, but is still the best performance string available.  This is due to the dynamic properties of the natural fibers, so, until there is a separate classification gut will be included as is.

A previous post, “What is Soft?” goes into graphical detail.

As new strings are added, some older ones may be deleted because they are no longer manufactured. However, some very old ones may remain due to their “legacy” status. This chart is a preliminary format but will get us map toward the right decision!

Click here to see all the current power potential data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Demo a Racquet

We have what seems to be a zillion demo racquets, and there is a player for each of them, I suppose.

One of the biggest complaints against “demoing” is precisely that…too many to choose from!

This is what we recommend;

  • Start the convesation with yourself before you need to make a decision.  Allow a month before the “season” starts if you can,and start the conversation with us early on.
  • What do you want that your current racquet is not providing.
  • What is your budget.  If you are a junior what is your “sponsors” budget.
    • With these three questions you are well on the way to a painless “demoing” expreience!

Here is what we would like to have to speed up the process:

  • Bring your current racquet in “play ready condition” with you to the primary discussion.
  • Tell us what has changed physically since you selected the current racquet.
    • Injuries, including tennis elbow, shoulder and wrist issues, or a long layoff, etc.
  • What do you want the new racquet to do that the current racquet is not?
    • Power, or “POP”, Control, Comfort, Grip Size, String Issues, etc.
  • Do you have a brand preference?
  • If we can make your current racquet better will you not demo other racquets?
    • It is possible that the current racquet can be better than it is so demo it as well after some customization.
    • Tell us if this is of interest or “I want a new racquet…period!

With this information we can make the demoing process much more fun,consise, and ultimatley rewarding, and in a much shorter time period.

Our demo process is free however we believe the racquet should be “setup” just as it will be used which may require stringing and a litttle customization and there will be a charge for that if you agree.

Our huge database of racquet specifications allow a quick look at the characteristics you prefer.

We think you wil be surprised at how much fun the demo process can be!

 

 

 

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!

 

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