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View Full Version : Fun review of a couple players sticks


markwillplay
04-01-2008, 08:29 PM
Like many of you, I have been searching for the right stick for my game and I am beginning to think there is no perfect one. A couple things I have found out over the last year are that I like a fairly flexable stick, a fairly heavy headlight one, and also a plush sort of buttery feel. I have been around the demo block and bought and sold a bunch. Lately, I got so frustrated that I decided to just play with my POG OS 4 stripes and protect my arm....I actually play pretty well with them even though I am a serve/volley all court player and not a baseline player per say. I guess when in doubt, stick to arm friendly huge sweetspot and swing away. I am easily a 4.0 player and beat people here who claim to be 4.5. I have a fairly hard serve and can slice it or kick it. My first and 2nd serve are very close in terms of speed and overall look but of course I hit a little flatter at times on the first. I am not as consistant as they are. I tell you that so you can read my little friendly review with a grain of salt.

Tonight I played a match with my old POG 4 stripe. As usual, I served fairly well with placement and pace. I had rip control in it (trying it out) and definately felt a loss of power from other strings I have tried. Advantage of this stick is keeping the ball in and playing decent defense. I don't get tired using it any more and it is re-teaching me to let the stick do the work on serve. Having said that, I don't feel as though I can pin point my serve (hit lines) as easy with the big head. I like the way this stick volleys for the most part but I do hit a number of volleys that I think are in the sweet spot because they feel comfortable and they sit up. It is also more of a neighborhood volleying stick if you know what I mean. You can get your stick on it but you might not feel exactly where it is going compared to a smaller head. Advantage and disadvantage depending on the ability of my opponant. I love this stick and am playing as good as I ever have with it. Having said that, I remain in search of a smaller headsize as I improve....I know I am leaving winners on the court at net. In my younger days, I played with a max 200G and I still remember what hitting precise volleys feels like.

Next I played with the Donnay TW pro one int mp. I am trading or selling this stick but I had to really get out there and give it a go for the fun of it. Much to my suprise, I was very effective with it and it does have a plush feel to it when you strike the ball in the sweet spot. I really liked serving with this racquet but it is not in my wheelhouse balance wise. Even though it is supposed to be 6 pts headlight, the weight really is in the hoop. This helps with plowthrough but can feel a little awkward. Still, this stick got me thinking, maybe I should jump to this size now. I was serving much more precise with it and my one hand backhand was feeling great. There is no way....I repeat...there is no way this stick has a swingweight of 320....no way. My pogs swing much easier believe it or not. The other fellow I was playing with agreed after he tried it out. Still, I really started to find my groove with this stick and now I know there are mid- midplus sticks that have that plush buttery feel with good plow through. This stick reminded me just a bit of the C 10 pro I once owned which was heavy to swing and tired me out even though I was in great shape.......Aahhh but there is a difference in being able to run and lift weights and being able to swing a heavier racqet for a couple of matches. I absolutely believe that since I have been playing more with heavier sticks and especially my POG's over the last year, I may actually be able to play with that c10 pro now without getting tired. I think it was just too much for me at that time. I may revisit that one.....maybe.

Finally, I got to hit with my buddies head mic gel prestige pro. This racquet felt great and almost too easy to swing compared to the others. I could really swing out and keep the ball in but they were landing rather short. This is probably a great stick but compard to the others it seemed like it may get pushed around at net by real pace....and I am there an aweful lot. I like to let my stick do the work at net....yea, I figured that out too. Plow-through or stability at net is a deal breaker for me now. I have learned that from the Fischer mag tours I sold. Great serving sticks and pretty good from baseline but they killed my arm..yes the fischer killed my arm from all the jarring at net they took from every strike that wasn't right in the middle.

So for oversize, I wil play with the POGs and enjoy them. I will continue to look for that mid or mid plus that makes my serve a bit better and is solid yet manueverable at net. I think my ideal stick would be one with a small head..but that the entire head was a sweetspot..ha ha. Actually, I tried that with the speedport tour and...naaahhh. In the end that one did not work out. It did all things fairly well but none great and I think I like a little lower flex.

fuzz nation
04-02-2008, 06:16 AM
Interesting findings, amigo. I went on a ridiculously long racquet search a few years back when I became convinced that my Prostaff 6.1 Classics left me limited in an all court capacity, but they were certainly great for serve and volleying - I grew up playing a whole lot on grass. My search for softer frames was a real education and your experience sounds pretty familiar - I don't seem to be able to function with a frame that's too light. The Fischer M Speed Pro #1 SL was one bat that didn't have enough heft for me along with the LM Radical mp. I may be that once you get hooked on that stability in a frame, you just can't live without it.

Having more flex in my racquets has made it night-and-day easier for me to keep my strokes down on the court, but I still need to be able to pop a volley up at the net - a couple of frames that I've tried have been too soft and lifeless up front. The Volkl C10 Pro has been an interesting one - the flex in the hoop threw me of at first, but that racquet is a rather nice all court option that I feel like I'm still getting to know after about a year. It's definately "tunable" with different string setups and small additions of lead.

You seem to have had the same experience with the Donnay Pro One mp in that there's something odd going on there. I love the feel it provides along with its control, but I can't settle in with the balance and response of that frame yet. I'll be experimenting more with this one in the spring when I have more time outdoors.

My only experience with the POG has been with one that had a small grip for me and its strings were too loose, but I'm going to mess with this racquet more in the future, too. Typically I wouldn't look twice at an oversize frame, but there's no denying that the POG can perform in an all court role and it's certainly both soft and stable.

One frame that's very much under the radar I think is the Prince NXG mid. It's also hefty, rather flexible, and when I think of racquets where the whole stringbed seems to be a sweetspot, this is it. Despite its dense pattern, I can gererate more spin with this frame than just about anything I've ever used and it also handles really well for me despite its nearly 13 oz. heft. Right now, my best match-up for strings has been a good 17 ga. multifiber in the high 50's and despite the knocks on this frame on these boards, the NXG gives me quite good feel and terrific performance. I think you could stand to look into this one as a smaller headed alternative to the POG.

A couple of all court options that I can also mention that have a bit less of that "softer side" are the Yonex RDS 002 Tour and the Prince Hybrid Tour. I wouldn't classify either one of these as especially harsh and they seem to perform well from everywhere on the court (I secretly want a pair of those Prince HT's), but I've stockpiled enough sticks to keep me occupied for now.

markwillplay
04-02-2008, 07:07 AM
I may hit more with the Donnay. The head mic pro is very tempting a well. This thing really was easy to operate and I could not really tell how stable it was. I am also maybe wanting to demo the Bb11 mid. But since I got this Donnay on a trade and don't really have anything invested, I think I may try to play with it for a month or so just to see.. It does have a very solid feel to it...just a bit heavy to swing for some reason.

fuzz nation
04-02-2008, 07:34 PM
I used to hit with a pair of LM Prestige mids and I had to put a whole lot 'o lead on the handles to get them to a headlight balance that I prefer. If I go to work on the Donnays, I may try the same thing. Good luck with yours.

If you get curious about the NXG's, they're around 2nd hand for very low dough - I recently got a well used pair for $60.