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View Full Version : Question regarding raquet selection and T.E. - what a teaching pro told me


shrudy
10-24-2007, 11:52 PM
for about a year now, i've been using a head flexpoint radical strung at slightly higher than average weights. i've also begun developing a bit of tennis elbow, and am concerned. i queried a local teaching pro, and he told me that my head racuqet was well known for it's stiffness and that i should switch, and he recommended babolats, such as the aeroprodrive, which he said were much more flexible and weuld be better for my arm.
well after checking tw, it seems that most babolats are of similar weight and stiffness levels as my head. so would it really help me out? has anyone else had success in switching to babolat for tennis elbow prevention?
oh and im way too young to be getting te, so it's freaking me out a bit. thanks for any help.

downdaline
10-25-2007, 12:09 AM
My roomie used to use a Head LM Radical 18x20 and then he switched to a Babolat AeroPro Drive Cortex, bcos the LM was getting old and it painful to play with - he'd only play 2 hours max then had to rest for a day or 2. No such problems with the Babolat.

Eventhough i think it may be more of a string problem than a racquet problem, i would recommend the Babolat line bcos of their use of the Cortex technology, which filters out vibrations to the hand.

I tried the AeroPro Cortex racquet and yeah, it was very easy on the arm and very comfortable, but it plays a little too muted. U might want to demo it.

ps60
10-25-2007, 12:13 AM
"im way too young to be getting te"

u're never too young to get it, but if u're young, u 'll recover soon. A 13 yo girl practising with local "official" tennis org had it. She just didn't know it is IT !

i came to know TE after 20 yrs, soon after i got my Ti Radical ! coincidence ? not really.
i think Radical (MP) has a tight string like a serious racket, but it lacks the heft and SW to be one. Result is your wrist and elbow (forearm) have to take all the shock. Lacking power also makes U try to "force" it... ... and in no time, u may be with yr new friend (TE) on a daily basis.

Babolat is much stiffer than Radical, Ti.Radical actually is a very flexible frame (and hence lack power). Didn't do anything good to yr arm compared to other brand i guess.

Can't tell U which one is good ('cos u probably won't accept PK 5G :D) for avoiding TE. a more stable and more powerful frame may help. Like the nBlade, Head Instincts..., they are not too stiff but has power; enable U to play soomthly without forcing it.

BTW, avoid polyester strings. They are good friends of TE.

paulfreda
10-25-2007, 12:14 AM
Drop the tension and I think you will feel better.
It will take some getting used to but you will adjust.
If you cannot after a few weeks, then you need a more flexible frame or possibly one rated the same but with different materials that mute the vibrations.

lucu
10-25-2007, 12:26 AM
babolat aero prodrive is good for TE ? that is suprising.
my brother got his TE because of aeroprodrive

shrudy
10-25-2007, 12:37 AM
thanks for the responses so far. i need to get this figured out. i'm also playing a lot more tennis, from twice a week to 4-5 times a week now, after joining a new club. i know that doesn't help, but my thinking is if you're using proper technique and the proper racquet, you can play everyday with no tennis elbow.

so it seems like opinions so far are divided on whether the babolats help te.

keithchircop
10-25-2007, 12:42 AM
i queried a local teaching pro, and he told me that my head racuqet was well known for it's stiffness and that i should switch, and he recommended babolats, such as the aeroprodrive, which he said were much more flexible and weuld be better for my arm. well after checking tw, it seems that most babolats are of similar weight and stiffness levels as my head. so would it really help me out?

I thought teaching pros are coaches that teach at some respectable tennis academies like Bollettieri's.

BreakPoint
10-25-2007, 12:43 AM
Is the local teaching pro sponsored by Babolat? If so, I'm not surprised by his recommendation as his sponsorship requires him to promote only Babolat racquets.

BTW, Babolat racquets are notorious for causing arm problems. Actually, so are many Head racquets for that matter.

keithchircop
10-25-2007, 12:50 AM
Is the local teaching pro sponsored by Babolat? If so, I'm not surprised by his recommendation as his sponsorship requires him to promote only Babolat racquets.

So that's a teaching pro? A biased coach?

Alafter
10-25-2007, 12:53 AM
Teaching pros dont look at very detailed specs. I would say they go by how the racquet felt in their hands.

Racquets that feels comfortable in actual play do not usually is in sync with the actual specs of the racquets.

So, the babolats might have felt soft and muted in their hands, therefore they recommend them as soft hits. Possible, right?

BreakPoint
10-25-2007, 01:09 AM
So that's a teaching pro? A biased coach?
A "teaching pro" is anyone that makes money from giving tennis lessons, although many may also have some kind of certification from the USPTA.

There are a few teaching pros that post on this board.

CAM178
10-25-2007, 01:15 AM
for about a year now, i've been using a head flexpoint radical strung at slightly higher than average weights. i've also begun developing a bit of tennis elbow, and am concerned. i queried a local teaching pro, and he told me that my head racuqet was well known for it's stiffness and that i should switch, and he recommended babolats, such as the aeroprodrive, which he said were much more flexible and weuld be better for my arm.
well after checking tw, it seems that most babolats are of similar weight and stiffness levels as my head. so would it really help me out? has anyone else had success in switching to babolat for tennis elbow prevention?
oh and im way too young to be getting te, so it's freaking me out a bit. thanks for any help.

My first question: does this teaching pro rep for Babolat? No offense, but that's pretty common. Either that, or he has some deal with Babolat.

If not, it's hogwash. Tennis elbow comes from strokes, not racquets.

He said the Aerodrives are more flexible?!?!?!?!!!! What the. . . !! I have hit with the Aerodrives, and aside from my Wilson Ultra II in the 80's, I have never played with a racquet so stiff.

All of the Heads that I have hit with, in particular the Flexpoints, are just that: flexible. Too flexible for me.

You need to seek the advice of someone near you who is in the know. This guy is going to take you from tennis elbow straight to the surgical table to get reconstructive elbow surgery.

You sound young, so I am going to give you some sage (wise) advice from someone who was in your position. I was 13 when I had my first tennis elbow, and it was so bad that it took me out for a year. Essentially ended my junior and potential college career. My advice is this:
1. Change your strokes. It sounds like you are overpronating your wrist, which is thusly causing undue tension in your elbow. You are a junior, so you will not want to do it. You don't need to change it (I'm assuming the pain is coming from your forehand) much. . . just enough to where the pain starts to go away a bit.
2. You are going to have to take some time off to let this heal. By time off I mean not stopping completely. You just need to really cut back, and re-calibrate your strokes to ease the tendon pain.
3. If you like your racquet, stick with it.
4. Maybe switch to softer strings? That has caused some pain for me in the past. As a junior, I tried that crappy ProBlend, and it almost ripped my arm apart. Find something soft, and come down on tension a bit, too. You have to take some stress off of those elbow tendons. Drop down at least 2 lbs of tension, and try a softer string in the process.

If you are coming onto this board with this concern, that means that you don't believe what this pro told you. Good for you. VERY good for you. Go with your gut instinct.

Best of luck, kiddo!

bagung
10-25-2007, 01:37 AM
aeroprodrive is the stiffest racquet i have ever tried.....
use the softer string such as natural gut, heavier racquets with low flex at about 60....

keithchircop
10-25-2007, 02:02 AM
A "teaching pro" is anyone that makes money from giving tennis lessons, although many may also have some kind of certification from the USPTA.

So technically a teaching pro should be a coach with certification.

BreakPoint
10-25-2007, 02:06 AM
If not, it's hogwash. Tennis elbow comes from strokes, not racquets.

That's not entirely true. I've used the same strokes for 30 years and I've gotten tennis elbow from using the wrong racquet and also from using the wrong strings. Once I moved away from those racquets and those strings, my tennis elbow went away although my strokes never changed one bit. I also never had tennis elbow with the same strokes before using those racquets (light, stiff, and long) and those strings (poly).

BreakPoint
10-25-2007, 02:10 AM
So technically a teaching pro should be a coach with certification.
I guess technically, yes, but basically anyone can call themselves a "teaching pro".

More specifically, the term "coach" usually means someone that either only works with one or several individuals, like a pro or junior having a coach, or someone that works for a school's tennis team that manages and trains the team. Whereas, the term "teaching pro" usually means someone that's for hire by anyone and gives lessons to the general public for a fee.

0d1n
10-25-2007, 02:13 AM
The LM Radical was <at least> as comfortable for me as the Babolats I tried (pure drive and aero pro drive versions).
The Radicals can be strung lower with an elastic string and still retain control...the Babolats can NOT . You need to string them pretty high and/or with a good quality poly in order to have similar control to the Radicals => less comfort.
Note - Never played the flexpoint version, just some older versions (original ones), Ti, i. and LM.

keithchircop
10-25-2007, 02:55 AM
More specifically, the term "coach" usually means someone that either only works with one or several individuals, like a pro or junior having a coach, or someone that works for a school's tennis team that manages and trains the team. Whereas, the term "teaching pro" usually means someone that's for hire by anyone and gives lessons to the general public for a fee.

So I had it @$$ backwards. I thought anyone who gives lessons is a coach, whereas to be a "Teaching PRO" you have to be better than just that.

grass_hopper
10-25-2007, 05:54 AM
a good flex babolat is pure storm. Volkel are famous for being arm friendly, the Boris Becker line has the best technology. I played with APDC and poly string. both caused TE for me.

bubbatex
10-25-2007, 06:19 AM
So I had it @$$ backwards. I thought anyone who gives lessons is a coach, whereas to be a "Teaching PRO" you have to be better than just that.

I'm reading this thread and I feel like I am watching a Seinfeld episode.....:D

Klatu Verata Necktie
10-25-2007, 06:36 AM
That's not entirely true. I've used the same strokes for 30 years and I've gotten tennis elbow from using the wrong racquet and also from using the wrong strings. Once I moved away from those racquets and those strings, my tennis elbow went away although my strokes never changed one bit. I also never had tennis elbow with the same strokes before using those racquets (light, stiff, and long) and those strings (poly).

Agreed. If your coach approves of your strokes, then you should experiment with different arm friendly sticks before changing your technique.

Michelangelo
10-25-2007, 06:45 AM
Interesting. I've demoed both AeroPro Drive and Liquidmetal Radical (actually used the Radical for a short while), the Radical felt much more flexible than AeroPro Drive.

NoBadMojo
10-25-2007, 06:52 AM
I'm reading this thread and I feel like I am watching a Seinfeld episode.....:D

the one with Milos the Teaching Pro? The Wilson Outer Limits is the only racquet Milos will use........;O

To the OP. you dont say if you are using poly strings. if you are, poly is notorious for causing people problems. You also dont say your string tension. if you are stringing tightly that could be a problem in a frame like the radical which has a dense stringbed

LPShanet
10-25-2007, 07:16 AM
for about a year now, i've been using a head flexpoint radical strung at slightly higher than average weights. i've also begun developing a bit of tennis elbow, and am concerned. i queried a local teaching pro, and he told me that my head racuqet was well known for it's stiffness and that i should switch, and he recommended babolats, such as the aeroprodrive, which he said were much more flexible and weuld be better for my arm.
well after checking tw, it seems that most babolats are of similar weight and stiffness levels as my head. so would it really help me out? has anyone else had success in switching to babolat for tennis elbow prevention?
oh and im way too young to be getting te, so it's freaking me out a bit. thanks for any help.

What tension and string are you using? What is your playing style and level? Tennis elbow is ultimately a product of stroke mechanics, but can be brought out by a racquet that is too stiff, too light or improperly balanced for your particular strokes. It can also be caused by the string setup.

Your teaching pro was correct that a different racquet might help. He was wrong about the relative stiffnesses of the racquets. The Aeropro is actually stiffer than the Radical, even though it has a softer feeling than the numbers indicate. More important, though, is the distribution of weight in relation to your strokes.

Your pro, as with many on this board, has also made the mistake of generalizing about a brand's stiffness, which is ridiculous. Babolat makes racquets that range from fairly flexible (62 or so) to very stiff (73). There is no brand on the market that has only one flex rating, and to generalize like that is to mislead you. Head also has a wide range of flex ratings, and your current racquet is somewhere in the middle, so it's probably not the only factor in your problem.

More relevant is the fact that even though you used the racquet for a year, you've only developed the TE recently. That suggests that you changed something about either your strokes, your string setup or both. Which side of your arm/elbow is the pain on? Knowing this can help determine which stroke is causing the TE.

Kaptain Karl
10-25-2007, 07:20 AM
for about a year now, i've been using a head flexpoint radical strung at slightly higher than average weights. i've also begun developing a bit of tennis elbow, and am concerned. i queried a local teaching pro, and he told me that my head racuqet was well known for it's stiffness and that i should switch, and he recommended babolats, such as the aeroprodrive, which he said were much more flexible and weuld be better for my arm....You posted that you "queried" (asked) a TP. Did you take any lessons from him? Or did he just fire off that reply from an "Oh, by the way..." question from you?

I've always advocated the best steps for fixing Tennis Elbow are:

a) Take some lessons from a qualified TP.

b) If your technique is good, then look at your equipment...

... strings: type and tension

... frame: weight, swingweight, stiffness, suitability to your style of play


I think that TP must have been rushed or distracted when he gave you the answer you report. I don't know any good (Key word) TPs who would make such ... cavalier ... suggestions.

Find out who the best players near you use for a Teaching Pro. Take an evaluation lesson from him/her. Let that TP guide you.

Save your arm...!

- KK

BreakPoint
10-25-2007, 11:42 AM
More relevant is the fact that even though you used the racquet for a year, you've only developed the TE recently. That suggests that you changed something about either your strokes, your string setup or both. Which side of your arm/elbow is the pain on? Knowing this can help determine which stroke is causing the TE.
Actually, tennis elbow is a repetivitve injury so you can be damaging your tendons for a long time without realizing it until it finally tears. TE usually doesn't show up right away. I used the same racquet, the same strings, the same tension, the same strokes for two years before tennis elbow finally reared its ugly head. I was likely slowly damaging my elbow tendon during the whole two years but it didn't actually tear through enough to cause major pain and disability until towards the end of those two years.

ShiroRm
10-25-2007, 12:25 PM
I got TE using the aeropro drive. The pain lasted about 2 days after every match.
Did it happen because my APD hadn't cortex? Maybe.
Anyway, APD (even the cortex version) isn't a flexible racquet

TheJRK
10-25-2007, 12:51 PM
Try increasing your strength (your forearm, wrists, shoulder). Some people develop TE simply because they are weak but instead blame their equipment. It's not the only solution but getting stronger does help prevent TE. Do some actual exercises (with weights, or bands) and don't just rely on playing tennis to give you those "Popeye" forearms.

It's obvious by all the different posts that TE is not simply caused by "such and such" model racquet. For example, I've played with the Head Ti Radical since 1999 and I string my racquets at 62 lbs. Recently I started using ALU Power strings and I still string at 62 lbs. Some people may think I have a TE death wish with this combination but I feel fine.

Now who's to say, maybe I'll develop TE umpteen weeks/months/years down the road. I still won't be able to narrow down the cause of it since there could be a number of factors though. TE is just one of those tricky things to deal with. :-(

Oleg
10-25-2007, 12:59 PM
for about a year now, i've been using a head flexpoint radical strung at slightly higher than average weights. i've also begun developing a bit of tennis elbow, and am concerned. i queried a local teaching pro, and he told me that my head racuqet was well known for it's stiffness and that i should switch, and he recommended babolats, such as the aeroprodrive, which he said were much more flexible and weuld be better for my arm.
well after checking tw, it seems that most babolats are of similar weight and stiffness levels as my head. so would it really help me out? has anyone else had success in switching to babolat for tennis elbow prevention?
oh and im way too young to be getting te, so it's freaking me out a bit. thanks for any help.

Heavier frame and softer string are more important factors in terms of safer equipment. Frame stiffness is next. Correct technique is # 1 regardless.

drakulie
10-25-2007, 01:34 PM
Is the local teaching pro sponsored by Babolat? If so, I'm not surprised by his recommendation as his sponsorship requires him to promote only Babolat racquets.

BTW, Babolat racquets are notorious for causing arm problems. Actually, so are many Head racquets for that matter.

I was about to ask, and say the same things.

LPShanet
10-25-2007, 03:06 PM
Actually, tennis elbow is a repetivitve injury so you can be damaging your tendons for a long time without realizing it until it finally tears. TE usually doesn't show up right away. I used the same racquet, the same strings, the same tension, the same strokes for two years before tennis elbow finally reared its ugly head. I was likely slowly damaging my elbow tendon during the whole two years but it didn't actually tear through enough to cause major pain and disability until towards the end of those two years.

Actually that's not correct. Tennis elbow is NOT a tear of the tendon. Like most tendinitis, it's an inflammation of the tendon or of the channel in which the tendon sits. A torn tendon is a sudden and catastrophic injury and is totally separate from TE. You've had it explained incorrectly to you.

That said, most TE onset includes another factor changing, sometimes one the player is aware of, and sometimes not. It may be a change in anything from relative humidity (which affects tendon elasticity) to stroke mechanics to nutrition, but there is always a change and it won't take a year or more to feel it if you play regularly. Even though you were correct that TE is categorized as a repetitive stress injury, the amount of repetition needed to cause it is easily achieved in a month or two, and doesn't require a long period, since you repeat the action so many times every time you play. I was asking about subtle changes to the strokes because that is what you are supposed to look for first medically...the obvious cause...before you proceed to asking about climate, stress, diet, etc.

LPShanet
10-25-2007, 03:08 PM
Try increasing your strength (your forearm, wrists, shoulder). Some people develop TE simply because they are weak but instead blame their equipment. It's not the only solution but getting stronger does help prevent TE. Do some actual exercises (with weights, or bands) and don't just rely on playing tennis to give you those "Popeye" forearms.

It's obvious by all the different posts that TE is not simply caused by "such and such" model racquet. For example, I've played with the Head Ti Radical since 1999 and I string my racquets at 62 lbs. Recently I started using ALU Power strings and I still string at 62 lbs. Some people may think I have a TE death wish with this combination but I feel fine.

Now who's to say, maybe I'll develop TE umpteen weeks/months/years down the road. I still won't be able to narrow down the cause of it since there could be a number of factors though. TE is just one of those tricky things to deal with. :-(

Absolutely correct.

BreakPoint
10-25-2007, 04:12 PM
Actually that's not correct. Tennis elbow is NOT a tear of the tendon. Like most tendinitis, it's an inflammation of the tendon or of the channel in which the tendon sits. A torn tendon is a sudden and catastrophic injury and is totally separate from TE. You've had it explained incorrectly to you.

Sorry, but I believe I am correct. I've had TE myself and believe me I researched it to death when I had it.

Here are just the first 3 results I got when I just did a search on Yahoo:

Excerpts from the articles:

"Tennis elbow occurs when their is damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the elbow joint and forearm. Small tears, called micro tears, form in the tendons and muscles which control the movement of the forearm. They cause a restriction of movement, inflammation and pain. These micro tears eventually lead to the formation of scar tissue and calcium deposits. "

http://www.gadgetsreview.co.uk/causes.htm


"The damage that tennis elbow incurs consists of tiny tears in a part of the tendon and in muscle coverings. After the initial injury heals, these areas often tear again, which leads to hemorrhaging and the formation of rough, granulated tissue and calcium deposits within the surrounding tissues."

http://www.tennis-elbow.net/tenniselbow.htm


"Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is the most common injury in patients seeking medical attention for elbow pain. Exactly what causes tennis elbow is unknown, but it is thought to be due to small tears of the tendons that attach forearm muscles to the arm bone at the elbow joint."

http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/elbow/a/tenniselbow.htm

LPShanet
10-25-2007, 04:58 PM
Sorry, but I believe I am correct. I've had TE myself and believe me I researched it to death when I had it.

Here are just the first 3 results I got when I just did a search on Yahoo:

Excerpts from the articles:

"Tennis elbow occurs when their is damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the elbow joint and forearm. Small tears, called micro tears, form in the tendons and muscles which control the movement of the forearm. They cause a restriction of movement, inflammation and pain. These micro tears eventually lead to the formation of scar tissue and calcium deposits. "

http://www.gadgetsreview.co.uk/causes.htm


"The damage that tennis elbow incurs consists of tiny tears in a part of the tendon and in muscle coverings. After the initial injury heals, these areas often tear again, which leads to hemorrhaging and the formation of rough, granulated tissue and calcium deposits within the surrounding tissues."

http://www.tennis-elbow.net/tenniselbow.htm


"Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is the most common injury in patients seeking medical attention for elbow pain. Exactly what causes tennis elbow is unknown, but it is thought to be due to small tears of the tendons that attach forearm muscles to the arm bone at the elbow joint."

http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/elbow/a/tenniselbow.htm

I do believe you and understand the source of your misimpression. The use of the term tears (note that they always say "small tears" or "microscopic tears") refers to tiny damages to the tendon, much like tiny tears to muscles is perceived as soreness, but wouldn't be called a muscle tear or severing.

Medically, tearing your entire tendon, or severing it, is what is meant when you say you've "torn your tendon", as opposed to developing microscopic breaches in it, which is one of the possible causes of tennis elbow (along with inflammation and consequent structural damage to the epicondyle). This is why they tend to address it with anti-inflammatory prodecures first (ice, meds, etc.). So to say that you "cause damage for a long time and then it finally tears" is misleading. The damage you're doing all along is what the tiny tears are, and the tendon is developing those the whole time...you just don't become aware of it unless the inflammation or structural integrity breakdown reach a certain point.

p.s. By the way, your first "reference" article is from a website that reviews gadgets, and they can't even spell the word "there" correctly, so I wouldn't trust that as a medical source. Still, they, like the others, refer only to SMALL or micro tears, not sudden severing. You might try NE Journal of Medicine, JAMA or some similar authority for a better worded and complete definition. (Or you might trust my medical school training.)

BreakPoint
10-25-2007, 06:08 PM
Still, they, like the others, refer only to SMALL or micro tears, not sudden severing.
Yes, which is why I said it was from repetitve use slowly damaging my tendon with little tears over a period of two years until it got to the point that the tears became either too large or too numerous for the tendon to quickly heal itself at which point the injury became debillitating.

shrudy
10-25-2007, 09:43 PM
Hi guys,
Thanks so much for all the responses. a little more info, as requested. tension like i said is a little above average, 62 or so. i'll try lowering that. my playing style? well hard to say, but i do believe for the most part i have reasonably sound technique. I'm probably a high 3.5 to a 4.0. very simple strokes, emphasis on pulling the ball. no elaborate take back, just very simple. serve, i try to emphasize pronation, which might be contributing.
a fair amount of the pain is located on the outer part of the arm, immediately above the elbow joint. i know that's not technically te, but i said te because i also do have very minor pains on the inner section where te is normally diagnosed. when i pronate i really emphasize turing the forearm out as well as down, so my elbow locks and i come down and to the side. i think i might need to emphasize the downward motion and not so much the out to the side motion.
i dont use poly, acutally i use natural gut or multifilament so strings arent the culprit.
and yes, he does happen to sell babolat in the pro shop, i didn't want to mention that because he is actually a very honest guy, i didnt want ppl to prejudge him. i believe he believes babolat really is better for te, but i think he just might be wrong, thats all. he doesn't have an angle here.
again luckily it's nothing major and nothing close to preventing me from playing, it's just that i really feel i shouldn't have any pain whatsoever. maybe at 55, but not at 25.
thanks again for the help

herosol
10-25-2007, 10:15 PM
how ignorant.
everyone knows that head rackets or any company have more flexible rackets then babolat.

every frikkin babolat ranges in the high 60s and 70s except the Pure Storm models.

LPShanet
10-26-2007, 11:50 AM
Yes, which is why I said it was from repetitve use slowly damaging my tendon with little tears over a period of two years until it got to the point that the tears became either too large or too numerous for the tendon to quickly heal itself at which point the injury became debillitating.

Sounds like we're saying close to the same thing ultimately. I took exception with the fact that you said "until it finally tears", which isn't a totally accurate way of describing what happens, since that injury (a total tear) wouldn't be called tennis elbow and would require immediate surgery just to use the arm at all. In most of the clinical cases I've seen, there is at least a subtle change in form (sometimes just changing grip shapes or using a seemingly identical racquet that is just a few grams lighter or heavier can do this) or other small factor, that starts the player down the road to TE. And in a majority of TE cases, there isn't a visible or measurable tear, but rather an inflammation from many microscopic invisible breaches (just like the ones that cause soreness in muscles every day). And, though it's possible that in the case of the original poster the issue was there all along, in most cases we've studied, it doesn't take a full year from the inception of the problem (whatever it is) until presentation, although that is possible. More common is a presentation within weeks or months of an increase in play, equipment or form change, or even geographic move.