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View Full Version : How much does a racquet really affect play?


TennisNB
03-04-2008, 08:46 PM
Anyway so I'm relatively new to taking Tennis seriously and have found there is an entire science to this game. Now that I can see people take racquets so seriously, how much of a difference can there be in gameplay? I'm thinking the difference would only be noticeable among long time players who have mastered their swings and such and are now tweaking their gameplay, am I wrong? Right now I'm playing with a 40 dollar Head t.i Radical Elite. Are these kinds of racquets generally looked down upon or something because all the racquets that are being talked about on these forums are nowhere near 40 bucks.


Thanks,

doublefault2008
03-04-2008, 08:56 PM
A 200 dollar racket won't make you play better. It can be a major difference if you let it to be. Just pick a racket you like and stick with it. You'll do fine.

racquet_jedi
03-04-2008, 09:01 PM
"Cheaper" racquets, a.k.a. "Walmart" racquets, are generally looked down upon because of the low-end materials that are supposedly used to construct them...

$150+ racquets won't make you better, but that does not mean that it won't make some kind of difference in the way you play, whether it be a good one or a bad one...

BOZO
03-04-2008, 09:03 PM
I was beaten by Aluminium racquet with 45++ years old twice. he played like a pro.

Mansewerz
03-04-2008, 09:21 PM
A racquet will make a difference. I am still somewhat of a beginner (started last september) and i'm planning on getting a $76 racquet (LM instinct) because the investment is great, the specs are solid, and the price is unbeatable. I just need to demo it. I will grow into it as I get better. You have to get a racquet that suits your game style (i know, a problem at the beginner level, same problem for me), but you can get a racquet for $80 just as good as a $150+ racquet.

Kaptain Karl
03-04-2008, 09:25 PM
#1 ... I've never been on any kind of commission to recommend any frames.

#2 ... I've been a Teaching Pro and I am now a HS Coach. I kinda have to keep up with a good mix of the latest frames.

#3 ... In my experience the frame usually impacts one's game no more than about 5%. I *do* see rare instances where a player's frame choice is so inappropriate I'd say the racket can impact a player's game as much as 15%.

#4 ... At the Beginner level, 15% isn't much. But even at the Intermediate level, 15% can be the difference between happiness ... and frustration.

- KK

MEAC_ALLAMERICAN
03-04-2008, 09:43 PM
The question should be " How much your mind affects your play"? :)

Noveson
03-04-2008, 09:45 PM
The question should be " How much your mind affects your play"? :)

:)Great post, great post.

jelle v
03-05-2008, 04:12 AM
When you are a beginner, the racket can only have a huge influence if you chose a wrong racket, that is, a racket that is not meant for a beginner. For instance, if a beginner would buy a midsized racket, or a too heavy racket, the player would probably be hindered by the racket.

If a beginner will choose a racket that is meant for a beginner, the player will do fine with any kind of beginners racket I think.

paulfreda
03-05-2008, 04:42 AM
Would you give a beginning guitar or piano player a cheap instrument ? No because it will hinder their development. Same is true for tennis. The frame is the instrument and it makes a huge difference IMO especially if the beginner has great potential.

On the other hand an experienced player of 20 yrs can likley adjust to any frame even if it is not to his particular likeing.

jelle v
03-05-2008, 05:41 AM
Would you give a beginning guitar or piano player a cheap instrument ? No because it will hinder their development. Same is true for tennis. The frame is the instrument and it makes a huge difference IMO especially if the beginner has great potential.

On the other hand an experienced player of 20 yrs can likley adjust to any frame even if it is not to his particular likeing.

I agree with you if the beginner has talent/potential, that a more demanding racket is a good choice, but I don't think that the average beginner, will benefit from a Wilson k90 or Head Prestige, I think it would rather hinder the development of the beginner. :-|

jmverdugo
03-05-2008, 06:23 AM
I think the racket is important, how would you hit the ball without one ;), however i do think it is not as important as some people think. If you are serious about tennis your own development on the game will dictate the change of rackets and IMHO one should not change rackets as much as some people do, it is not good. Concentrate on your technique.

textbook strokes
03-05-2008, 06:30 AM
I agree with you if the beginner has talent/potential, that a more demanding racket is a good choice, but I don't think that the average beginner, will benefit from a Wilson k90 or Head Prestige, I think it would rather hinder the development of the beginner. :-|

I think paul is talking about "cheap" racquets, more than demanding or not demanding ones. Cheap racquets use bad materials and tend to vibrate a lot. Very hard to play good tennis with them.
A good beginner's stick may cost just like an advanced one, but it will make a difference for good over a k'mart.

In a more general view, is very hard to answer the original question in a definitive way. Let's say you are and intermediate player, but certain racquet allows you to serve very well, even above your average. Then you'll be an intermediate with a huge service!.
:-?

goober
03-05-2008, 06:37 AM
Would you give a beginning guitar or piano player a cheap instrument ? No because it will hinder their development. Same is true for tennis. The frame is the instrument and it makes a huge difference IMO especially if the beginner has great potential.

On the other hand an experienced player of 20 yrs can likley adjust to any frame even if it is not to his particular likeing.


Poor example-
A beginning piano or guitar player certainly can learn how to play on an inexpensive instrument. You need how to learn how to read notes and get the very basics of playing down. I am not going to buy my kid a Steinway piano when they first start out. First you have to show some proficiency. Then they must have dedication and desire. If they demonstrate this, then I would consider getting something better. I played piano through out childhood and I am starting my kids on a keyboard first.

For tennis, they are using a cheap kids racquet (23"). They are not getting anything better until they show they demonstrate they deserve something better.



.

jb193
03-05-2008, 06:38 AM
Well, I once had a very head light Prince racquet about 5 years ago and the swingweight was so low (<300 at least), I lost all depth in my groundstrokes and I started playing at a lower level. My serves were better, but since I was a baseliner all the way, this racquet really hurt my games. I would definitely say it hurt my game by 15-25%.........

ionutzakis
03-05-2008, 06:38 AM
yes, the right racquet AND strings can improve your play by 50%!

dman72
03-05-2008, 07:27 AM
I've hit with people who were trying out a bunch of frames, and with some people it does make a difference..others it makes none. One guy in particular who uses and old Hammer 6.2 95in and hits nasty slice on both sides hit with my dunlop m-fil 400 and my prince NXG's. His shots were devastating with the 400 and mediocore with the NXG, somewhere in the middle with his old racquet. He told me that he loved the way the Prince felt, but I told him his shots were not as good with it. He bought an M-fil 400. Either way, you need to find a racquet you like and stick with it. I think at the most a player should change racquets once a year, and probably even less often. The best guy I've seen play at local indoor facilities used a dunlop 200g that is probably 8 years old.

tennisinoc
03-05-2008, 07:36 AM
"If the shoe fits and is comfortable, wear it"

Forget what others think.

If you are a beginner, any racket with work. Spend your first few hundred dollars on lessons instead. That will impact your game more than any racket will.

tzinc
03-05-2008, 07:45 AM
DEMO is the key. I went from a "Wal Mart" racquet to a high end racquet and it does make somewhat of a difference.

nikdom
03-05-2008, 07:52 AM
Lessons are good to learn NOT to make the mistakes beginners typically make, but tennis, like any complex skill (playing a guitar for e.g.) takes practice.

So take a few lessons and play regularly with other beginners or slightly better players. Find public courts that have a wall and practice your strokes against it.

The racquet should be the least of your concerns right now. I started with a hand-me-down cheap Walmart Wilson. Not until after a year of playing did I actually consider the racquet as a limiting factor. Later, a roommate gave me an old player racquet and even at that time I had no idea about swingweight, head-light or head-heaviness etc.

First serious racquet was an Oversize Prince Diablo that made a difference in my game, after about 2 years of cheap racket play.

Nellie
03-05-2008, 08:05 AM
If you are going from a poorly made racquet to a nicer racquet, it would surely help your game. When on vacation once, I picked up a cheap racquet to hit around with friends and noticed how terrible it was made (one side heavier than the other, strings of vastly different tensions, pieces of the racquet shifting around, non-round head shape, etc.).

In your case, it sounds like you have a nice racquet that is a few years model old. The Ti-radicals are some of the most popular, successful racquets ever made. Changing will likely only give you a new paint job.

If you really want to spoil yourself and splurge - get nicer strings and restring more frequently (like once a month.) You will love having a more consistent string tension.

NickJ
03-05-2008, 08:10 AM
Any player can beat any other player 'on the day'. Going to extremes but for eaxample i could play a top tenner and win coz in theory I could have a complete dream of a day where every shot of ime is unreturnable and every shot of theirs is a mishit shank. Would probably never happen but that goes for the racquet too. If you're playing well, your stick shouldn't matter too much.
I remember seeing a quote from Brad Gilbert (possibly in Winning Ugly) where he says 10% of points you will win coz you're on top of your game. 10% of the points you'll lose coz you're opponents playing well. The other 80% is up for grabs! whether thats relevant to this thread i dunno, it may be, but its good avice anyway i think.

symon_say
03-05-2008, 09:01 AM
I'm a beginner and i can tell you that a cheap raquet (cheap in terms of bad quality) is bad for start cause it will make you even dificult to learn, but cant go a spend $200 on "federer's raquet" cause you want to be like him, you have to buy a cheap raquet to have a little more oportunity.

My friend and i have just start playing the first day he use a cheap 7years old aluminun prince i have and he made a lot of mistakes, but the teacher borrow him and Ncode and it did not improve his game but he certanly hit better and easier.

So take a look for a good top $80 raquet OS to start playing and when you develop more skills get a better raquet.

Josherer
03-05-2008, 02:25 PM
A racquet will make a difference. I am still somewhat of a beginner (started last september) and i'm planning on getting a $76 racquet (LM instinct) because the investment is great, the specs are solid, and the price is unbeatable. I just need to demo it. I will grow into it as I get better. You have to get a racquet that suits your game style (i know, a problem at the beginner level, same problem for me), but you can get a racquet for $80 just as good as a $150+ racquet.


Yep that's 100% true :) You should look into getting a racket that is a couple years old (but still a good racket like the LM radical) and that will be a guide to help you improve your game. Also this may sound wierd but having a nice racket will also help you physiologically becuase you know there is nothing holding you back

Happy Hitting :)

jelle v
03-05-2008, 04:08 PM
I think paul is talking about "cheap" racquets, more than demanding or not demanding ones. Cheap racquets use bad materials and tend to vibrate a lot. Very hard to play good tennis with them.
A good beginner's stick may cost just like an advanced one, but it will make a difference for good over a k'mart.



Ah well, my fault.. in that case I agree.

Mansewerz
03-05-2008, 06:56 PM
I agree with you if the beginner has talent/potential, that a more demanding racket is a good choice, but I don't think that the average beginner, will benefit from a Wilson k90 or Head Prestige, I think it would rather hinder the development of the beginner. :-|

x2. I don't see anything wrong with a 100 in or 98 in racquet tho, its what I started with. I'm liking my RDX 500 mp, but gonna go a tad lighter to the 11-11.2 oz range and demo a LM instinct soon tho, hopefully after i make teh tennis team.

Mansewerz
03-05-2008, 06:57 PM
Yep that's 100% true :) You should look into getting a racket that is a couple years old (but still a good racket like the LM radical) and that will be a guide to help you improve your game. Also this may sound wierd but having a nice racket will also help you physiologically becuase you know there is nothing holding you back

Happy Hitting :)

yup, LM radical is a great racquet to start out w/ especially with that price. lots of players here still use it and love it.

ohhgourami
03-05-2008, 07:17 PM
when i started playing, i started out with a head intelli s3 or something and it sucked. i wanted to improve but my racquet seemed to make me use bad technique. a year and a half later, i bought a head radical team and loved it for about a month and i probably went from a 2.0 to a 3.5 player. now i play with a k95 and i feel that i get a little better every single time i play with it.

i played with my old s3 and i could still hit balls very well but it has limited potential and it shock i get from it is HORRIBLE!

how much a racquet affects play can vary from situation to situation. for me, starting out with a super light OS racquet taught me bad technique which slowed down my growth. if i could do it all over again, i definitely would have started with a k95 but the k95 was not out 3 years ago. probably my salvaged PSC then.

BounceHitBounceHit
03-05-2008, 07:46 PM
The question should be " How much your mind affects your play"? :)


THIS is THE question, yes?! :)

The answer: "A bunch. A whole, GREAT BIG bunch".

CC

meowmix
03-05-2008, 08:19 PM
The racket? A bit. I'd be hard pressed to find anybody that'd be playing just as well as they are now with a Big Bubba. But for most rackets, after a short period of time, you're going to be playing about the same.

Mentally? YESSS!!! My hitting partner has a really weak mind. His game's actually pretty strong. But as soon as he screws up once, he's done. It doesn't matter what racket he uses. He's sOOO easy to pick off after his brain crashes.

tennisinoc
03-06-2008, 07:44 AM
Some of the greatest tennis players of all time used small headed wooden rackets. And to today's, you hardly see anyone on the courts using one anymore. But I guarantee, if you take one of those pros who uses a wooden racket and play against him with your $200+ kfactor/pure drive/microgel/etc., he would wipe you off the courts. That is because he knows proper form, technique, and conditioning that you don't have yet.

Racer41c
03-06-2008, 08:13 AM
Racquets are like cars. There are less expensive ones that you can still get speeding tickets in :shock:

And just because someone's driving an MG AMG v12 doesn't make them a good or bad driver.

On the other hand, a good driver in a good car = a lot of fun!

Dyne
03-07-2008, 01:56 PM
I started off playing with a Prince Classic Ti Powerline. I've been playing for about a year now and have been deciding to upgrade my racquet and use my old one as my backup. I started demoing racquets and I have to say, if you're average or above, then a racquet can affect your game.

To me, different racquets improve on different aspects of your game. Just find one that feels comfortable and something you can have fun with. Whether it be a cheap or expensive racquet, if you're comfortable with it then it's good. There are plenty of kids on my high school team who use older racquets and are good. There are a few others with more expensive, "top of the line" racquets who aren't as good.

This is probably just a repeat of what others have said, but yeah.

theone
03-07-2008, 01:59 PM
It makes a little bit of difference, depending on the racket.

I generally don't like anything very stiff, extended length, with a very dense pattern and with very low power.

PROTENNIS63
03-07-2008, 02:36 PM
racquets play a big factor. If you give Fed a 110 square inch racquet, he won't be as dominant. If you give Nadal a 90 sq. inch racquet... it won't be pretty.

mdjenders
03-07-2008, 03:01 PM
It makes a huge difference, more for some than others, but for every player and playing style, there is a particular racquet or small subset of racquets that will complement that player/style and allow him/her to play to their highest potential. Until a player finds that frame, they are missing something that could bump their game immediately.

35ft6
03-07-2008, 04:00 PM
It can affect you a lot. Depends on what you're doing though. If you're competing against somebody of the same ability, it's the difference between win and loss. Unless you're talking about going from Babolat to wood, or a K-factor to a kiddie spiderman racket, though, the difference is probably about .5 in the ntrp scale. I'm pulling that number out of my butt. But when goofing around, I've switched rackets before, and there's a drop in play for sure, but mostly only on the tougher shots, when you're on the run or you're going for extreme placement, touch, or spin.

Double Fault
03-07-2008, 06:02 PM
A racquet will make a difference. I am still somewhat of a beginner (started last september) and i'm planning on getting a $76 racquet (LM instinct) because the investment is great, the specs are solid, and the price is unbeatable. I just need to demo it. I will grow into it as I get better. You have to get a racquet that suits your game style (i know, a problem at the beginner level, same problem for me), but you can get a racquet for $80 just as good as a $150+ racquet.

I'll buy your RDX if you want to get rid of it.

don_nguyen11490
03-07-2008, 06:29 PM
I like to think of rackets like cars. You can drive any car and you can drive any car at a good speed through the course, but that oh-so-small modification you made can give you that extra 1-2 secs in lap times. It might not seem much to some, but it can mean the world to the driver.

BreakPtSi
03-07-2008, 06:53 PM
When I got into tennis, I thought I loved it, but wanted to make sure. I bought my friend's Wilson US Open for ten dollars and found my original assumption was correct. I could beat people who had been playing for years, so I looked into some better rackets. I demo'd the ksurge and it just felt so great I couldn't not get it, and have been playing great with it. Now this is a 180 dollar racket, but it fit me. If you find a good fit with something else in the higher range of rackets, it will be just fine.

Of course, no racket can make you a player you are not. But a player can be greatly improved with a more fitting stick.

k factor fan
03-09-2008, 11:55 AM
i think its mainly a psychological thing if you think you can do better with a racquet you do but thats just my thoughts

raiden031
03-09-2008, 12:17 PM
Here's my take. If a racquet is dramatically different in specs, then yes it can make a HUGE difference. For instance the difference between a PS-85 and a Triad 3 OS would be tremendous for a player who normally plays with the PS-85. That player would start overhitting their shots big time if they used a Triad. However a beginner who plays with a Triad 3 OS won't have as much trouble with a PS-85 in comparison because they don't really utilize any of the qualities of a racquet but might shank a few more because of the smaller sweetspot on the PS. So I think for less skilled players, the racquet matters less.

So when it comes down to it, the higher skill level the player, the more difference it makes because advanced players swing so hard that they rely on the control quality of the racquet to keep their balls from sailing long. Plus they are tuned to such precision shots that any small changes in racquet will alter their placement considerably. When looking at the pros, these guys are solid at everything and the difference between each player is small enough that small little things matter alot more.

Contrary to what many experts might think when recommending racquets, a beginner using a PS-85 is far less harmful than a pro playing with a Triad.

ndtennis
03-09-2008, 12:23 PM
i disagree. with the technology with within racquets it does affect the power and control of your play. Marcos Baghdatis added 10mph to his serve when he started playing with his fischer m pro