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View Full Version : Playing With a Wood Racquet. Good idea?


Duffclown65
08-26-2004, 06:59 PM
High school rankings are upon me and I've been practicing just about every day. I went to get a private lesson from a fella I know and asked him about his wood racquets on the wall a couple times. I asked if I could see it and he said to play with it some. Well, he said I played better with the thing. Me, still a little hessitant, took it to play with a prospect that may be a rival on the team this upcoming year.

We played a set. I used the wooden racquet and him with his Wilson ProStaff. I noticed that I wasn't thinking about power (the thing is probably 4 times smaller than my OS Prince Scream) and more about shot placement. It got me to thinking about where to serve the ball, when to go to net, and where to hit it. Well, I was down 4-5 and on 40-30, second serve. I decided to try and serve it wide and volley. Not only did I serve it wide, but to not only my astonishment, served an ace that was clearly in, leaving my opponent so flabbergasted. He hit the ball back to me, trying to say it was out, when he and I knew it was clearly in.

In the end, I won in a tiebreaker, not only beating him, but controlling his bonafide forehand and exploiting his weaknesses. My question is this. Is it a good idea to practice with a wooden racquet? I was even thinking about using it at rankings to completely demoralize some of my opponents.

Thanks for the help.

Power Game
08-26-2004, 07:29 PM
Practicing with a wooden racquet is an excellent idea. It will build strength, co-ordination and all that good stuff. Best of all it will force you to forget about power and start hitting with placement to win. One problem is hitting with lots of spin, especially on serves, is hard with the small head size.

Kobble
08-27-2004, 12:09 AM
If you beat anyone with a wood racquet it will demoralize them. Too many peole view it as an unplayable piece of crap. However, the only real stroke that suffers when I play with a wood racquet is the second serve, everything else I can play pretty normal. The wood racquet is a great destraction to many people, and can give you an edge in that area, but you better be confident to hit with it under pressure.

Camilio Pascual
08-27-2004, 04:31 AM
It's best to practice with the racquet you play with. I don't understand your reasoning, Power Game, why not have him practice placement with his regular racquet? He's going to have to eventually, why delay it? Having said that, I wish we would go back to wood racquets and outlaw all other materials, but it isn't going to happen so why waste your time?

Power Game
08-27-2004, 06:50 AM
It's best to practice with the racquet you play with. I don't understand your reasoning, Power Game, why not have him practice placement with his regular racquet? He's going to have to eventually, why delay it? Having said that, I wish we would go back to wood racquets and outlaw all other materials, but it isn't going to happen so why waste your time?

I always practice with the racquet that I am playing with during the season (college level) but off-season I see it as a good way of improving.

"why not have him practice placement with his regular racquet? He's going to have to eventually, why delay it? "

What I'm trying to say here is that our serve speed will drop dramatically with a wooden racquet, which means less aces and service winners. Sometimes with my LM prestige, I can just blast a serve or forehand (during a neutral rally) without hitting the lines and get winners. This, however, is harder to do with a woodie, you really have to hit those lines or those angles if you want winners. you can't get many points from sheer power like you can with your normal racquet. See what i'm trying to say?

joe sch
08-27-2004, 08:39 AM
Training maybe 1 day/week with a woodie is an excellent idea because as you found out, it teaches you to play smart tennis since you can not blast winners past your opponents. Playing wood will really develop touch and feel that you can not sense from graphite. It will also improve your strokes since you will need to prepare early and use longer strokes with proper shoulder & hip rotation. The smaller sweetspots/headsizes also force you to focus more on the balls. Woodies are typically atleast 1 oz heavier than most graphites so you will also be building your stroking muscles without risk of developing elbow or shoulder problems.

Also, if you dont have a woodie but do have a spare graphite, another great training aide that the old aussies used is to stringup the spare with 4 crosses & 4 mains, thus giving you a sweet spot the size of a quarter. I have done just by tensioning the strings by hand, so they dont need to be that tight, since it would not be good for the frame anyway, and hand tensioned should not hurt it. Its amazing to see how well you can do hitting with such a racket. I was able to rally from the baseline and even hit some steady volleys :)

Camilio Pascual
08-27-2004, 08:40 AM
Yes. Doing that off season makes some sense. Kind of like using a low powered players' racquet to teach somebody form before the newbie gets a Wilson Power Hammer or Prince Lightning Strike 32mm beamer?

lendl lives
08-27-2004, 11:26 AM
i think its a good idea. i remember hearing pete sampras say he would teach his kid to learn on a wood raquet. i use a babolat and am too focused sometimes on hitting with power. i've stated on other posts i'm using a tour 90 at times. with the tour 90 i get that same feeling of having to hit with placement and it helps (psychological?) to go for angles and touch shots. yesterday i played and got to everything and cause the other guy to hit hard and make mistakes. usually i never put myself in that situation. i think its good to experiment and adjust/improve your 'a' game with what you learn.

kreative
08-27-2004, 12:53 PM
wow joe, that's pretty tough w/ a 4x4 string pattern down the middle, but i guess that will totally focus you into hitting the sweetspot!

like lendl, i also play w/ a babolat, and sometimes i get carried away w/ the power game. so sometimes i hit w/ my prestige tour which helps me focus more on placement and control.

Duffclown65
08-28-2004, 11:33 AM
Thanks for the input fellas.

I figured I am going to go into rankings warming up with the woodie, and if I have that much confidence at the time, use it for in a match. My high school is not known for tennis and I know that I could still do well with the woodie.

Thanks for the input again. :)

joe sch
08-29-2004, 08:47 AM
BTW, if any of you are located in the S.Cal OC area and want to go out for a woodie hitting workout, send me an email at joesch@woodtennis.com I would prefer the level to be 5.0+ and I can bring out a nice mix of the classics for your hitting pleasure donnay borgs, dunlop maxply, bancroft borg personals, wilson jk staffs, head vilas, ... ,

ucd_ace
08-30-2004, 01:04 AM
Yeah, if you learn how to play with "touch" you have learn to do that with your regular racquet. Touch is knowing what you have to do with your racquet to deliver the intended results. Playing with a wooden racquet... many people are staunch believers that everyone should go back to playing with a wooden racquet... how many of them do that? You can start counting. If you want to play catch with an old fashion baseball glove so you know what breaking your fingers feels like, then you're on the path to the wooden racquet.

Note joe sch... asking for 5.0+... he knows who can play with woodies... 1.0's should stay away from the frustration.

I would suggest that if you're looking to find all these hidden goodies people are talking about, get a ProStaff 6.0 85.

lendl lives
09-03-2004, 11:58 AM
thanks for the post duff. i played with a wood raquet last nigh. (mcenroe signature dunlop). i loved it!!!!! i didn't feel i lost as much power as i expected on groundies. i have a bad tendency to pick my head up too early. with the wood raquet i focus on the ball much better and keep my eyes and head toward the ball through contact instead of looking to see where the ball goes. the feel of the raquet is awesome. control is awesome, too. diffiucutl vollies are a tough shot to hit though.

nobody could believe how well i was playing with it. i would highly advise others to use one to help them focus on the ball through contact.

as for serving, didn't do too much but there was a big difference in power here. still i would use as a traing tool to help keep you eye on the ball and not pull your head down too early.

great post duff.

lendl lives
09-03-2004, 11:58 AM
thanks for the post duff. i played with a wood raquet last nigh. (mcenroe signature dunlop). i loved it!!!!! i didn't feel i lost as much power as i expected on groundies. i have a bad tendency to pick my head up too early. with the wood raquet i focus on the ball much better and keep my eyes and head toward the ball through contact instead of looking to see where the ball goes. the feel of the raquet is awesome. control is awesome, too. diffiucutl vollies are a tough shot to hit though.

nobody could believe how well i was playing with it. i would highly advise others to use one to help them focus on the ball through contact.

as for serving, didn't do too much but there was a big difference in power here. still i would use as a traing tool to help keep you eye on the ball and not pull your head down too early.

great post duff.