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View Full Version : Racquets for 3.5-4.0 players


Yolkl
01-08-2005, 07:13 AM
Seems like most of the discussion here is geared toward advanced players racquets. I am interested in hearing about racquets that are being used by aspiring 3.5 and 4.0 players. Locally, I'm seeing more LM Radical & Babolat PD in the hands of of mid-level players than anything else.

loubapache
01-08-2005, 07:35 AM
I am a 4.0 player and currently using the Wilson Prostaff Tour 95 rackets and really liked them.

Before that, I was using (still use sometimes) the Prostaff ROK MID.

Since I am used to the weight of the ROK, I added a bit weight to the Tour 95 and it is a sweet racket.

Two of the best attributes of the Tour 95 are volley and serve. It is so stable on volleys and I can pick up some really low ones. The power of serve is much better than the ROK. My backhand slice is also better with the Tour 95.

The only advantage of the ROK is in the ground strokes. The ROK is a bit more stable and more accurate.

Yolkl
01-08-2005, 08:40 AM
Thanks. Some other suggestions form another thread are:
PK Laver S
Yonex RDX 30O
Any others ?

Stormwolf
01-08-2005, 09:52 AM
A three-point-five
with a pure drive
shall remain a three-point-five
for life.

- Stormwolf

kv581
01-08-2005, 09:58 AM
Racquet search for 3.5-4.0 must at least past through PD/Surge/Shark etc. and the various versions of HEAD Radical. There are other possibilities, but these should be explored somewhere along the way.

Steve H.
01-08-2005, 10:02 AM
nice poem, SW, but why do you say that?

I'm not sure where the conventional wisdom comes from that a lower-level player needs a more powerful racquet. I'm about a 4.0 on a good day, but it's not for lack of power -- I'm as likely to hit long as short, and have control problems with anything that's head-heavy or much under 12oz; after trying a bunch of frames (including POG, Radical OS and Laver S) I feel most comfortable right now with a 330g Fischer Pro 1.

ISTM that racquet choice should depend more on strength, coordination and playing style than level. Or?

JennyS
01-09-2005, 05:59 AM
A three-point-five
with a pure drive
shall remain a three-point-five
for life.

- Stormwolf

How did Andy Roddick and Carlos Moya win Slams with that stick then?

Yolkl
01-09-2005, 06:52 AM
I'm not sure where the conventional wisdom comes from that a lower-level player needs a more powerful racquet. I'm about a 4.0 on a good day, but it's not for lack of power -- I'm as likely to hit long as short, and have control problems with anything that's head-heavy or much under 12oz; after trying a bunch of frames (including POG, Radical OS and Laver S) I feel most comfortable right now with a 330g Fischer Pro 1.

ISTM that racquet choice should depend more on strength, coordination and playing style than level. Or?[/QUOTE]

Steve-good point. Strength is not my problem,keeping the ball on the court is.

Which of these frames would be best for a 3.5 with control/consistency issues: Slaz XI, VE Tour 10 MP or RDX 500MP ?

kinsella
01-09-2005, 08:54 AM
I don't buy the "racquet for 4.5 and up" advice I see some places. At 3.5 and 4.0, you have holes in your game, but there is no telling what they are. I have seen lots of 3.5 players with great strokes, but they haven't got the whole picture yet -- strategy, mental toughness, shot selection. They are losing to players with less stroke production and more game. The 3.5-4.0 players with good strokes might be perfect fits for various "players" racquets.

Conversely, I see a substantial minority of 4.5 and 5.0 players hitting with light, head heavy, oversize racquets, even Wilson Sledgehammers or Head Ti6 types.

It's been said thousands of times, but it remains true: try a variety of racquets and go with the type that works for you.

NoBadMojo
01-09-2005, 09:17 AM
butting in here...kinsella sure has this right IMO.it really is pretty simple to find a good racquet for your abilities.....buy the heaviest swingweight frame that you can swing fast for as long as your typical session lasts and buy a frame which has just enough size and design so you can hit the sweetspot on a regular basis. if you outgro this frame, that's a very good thing, and you can always buy something more demanding as your game bumps. so demo maybe 4 frames w/ the specs that work for you and pick the one you like the best and call it a day. for example someone physically fit and strong surely wouldnt need a lightweight frame. i think the manufacturers put that frames are for 4.5's and up because it suckers people into buying frames because some people seem to think they can use what the better players and pros use even if they realy are 3.o's or whatever.

Yolkl
01-09-2005, 10:23 AM
I hit with this one today and liked everything about it except for serving. It felt sluggish on the serve kinda like my old Warrior. I just couldn't get much pace on my serve. My control and accurracy greatly improved over my current raquet in all areas and it seemed to be easier to spin the ball.
The specs are;
316 SW, 1 HL,69 stiffness and 16/19 SP. It is stiffer and more head heavy than anything else that I'm considering. Looks like it might have some lead tape as well.

thejackal
01-09-2005, 11:14 AM
It depends what your style of play is. At this level a player should pretty much execute everything with relative competence. If your physical nature allows you to use a player's stick, then why not? Same thing if you're confident in your abilities and want to improve (refine your technique, avoid elbow problems etc.). On the other hand, if power is a concern, then tweeners and even more powerful rackets should be considered. I'm a 3.5 and had a i Radical. In theory it should be a good match for my level and style of play, but I needed something a bit heftier. Now I use a HPS 6.1 and the Rad leaded to 12oz.

Steve H.
01-09-2005, 11:16 AM
Which of these frames would be best for a 3.5 with control/consistency issues: Slaz XI, VE Tour 10 MP or RDX 500MP ?


My own experience is that a heavy, low-swingweight racquet helps me keep the ball in play better. The weight gives stability, while low swingweight makes it easier to meet the ball without pulling yourself off-balance. For example, I have better control with a Fischer Pro 1 (SW about 311) than I had with a Volkl C10 (about 326) even though the weight and head sizes were about the same. By that standard, the three you mention would be similar, although the Slaz has the lowest SW.

Regarding that V1 -- if there was lead tape on it, the swingweight isn't 316 any more. Maybe you should demo one without the tape and see if it's any better.

danniflava
01-09-2005, 03:19 PM
I have a question.

Being a 3.5-4.0 player looking to buy a new racquet, should I go for more powerful game improvement racquets, oversize possibly, or should I base my game on a racquet that makes me do a lot of the work?

prince
01-09-2005, 08:30 PM
Im not sure really if im a 3.5 but i use an estusa power beam pro.

other racquets i used without problems are the tour 90 , prince response ti


When i started playing - i was able to use a PS 85 and a wilson ROK .
these 2 racquets i would say really helped me a lot . after using these 2 and switching back to my regular racquet - i think made me swing better .

Stormwolf
01-09-2005, 08:58 PM
Roddick and Moya did not grow up using Pure Drives...Moya is not even using one right now (he uses a Soft Drive). Roddick used the Prince Graphite back in the day - and later an extended 95" Prince racquet. These players learned their mechanics with other sticks - now they crave more power - so they use a more powerful racquet. Are they free of control problems? Elbow problems? - No. Roddick has on many occasions been holding back on his serve to get a higher percentage - serving 120s and not 140s. Did he not at one point call a time out due to elbow pain? Clisters is suing babs for her wrist injury. I bit the bullet some time back - yes I was a Babs user - I admit it - it's not secret. What did it give me? - Sore elbow, loss of control, the whole crate. For a player to improve - the mechanics must improve - 3.5s swinging babs will inherently have poor mechanics - but the ball will go across the net anyway. Do they watch the ball on contact? - No. Do they use their legs for power? - No. Do their rallies resemble popping a baloon across the net? - Yes. Babolat needs to release something worth using - 12+ ounce weight, 60 or so flex, < 95" headsize instead of pumping out new versions of stiff-as-a-board feathers. The problem with Babs is they HAVE NOT created a good *gasp* player's racquet as of yet. Fortunately for them, they can bet on Roddick and Nadal to boost sales from the hackers and juniors of the world - other brands have made amazing frames decade(s) ago - so they resort to painting...luckily for them - not all the hackers and juniors of the world visit the TW forum :) (if they did, maybe paintjobs would dissappear :D).

goober
01-10-2005, 04:39 AM
Well I was a 3.5 player using a surge which is Wilson's version of the pure Drive. I went undefeated for 2 seasons and have moved to the 4.0s where I have about a 70% winning percentage. I have beaten 2 players that play in the 4.5s at my club and I think if I practice enough I can get to the 4.5s in a year or two. You still have to use good mechanics no matter what racquet you use. If you have a slightly more powerful racquet you have to take a shorter swing or put more spin on the ball or it isn't going in.

No elbow or wrist problems so far after 2 years of use.

NoBadMojo
01-10-2005, 04:46 AM
I find the Surge to be alot more usable for all of the shots than the PureDrive. It may have been marketed against the PureDrive, because the PD was so popular, but it really is a better all around frame as far as better supporting all the shots.

LovEnPeaCe
01-10-2005, 11:19 AM
I find the Surge to be alot more usable for all of the shots than the PureDrive. It may have been marketed against the PureDrive, because the PD was so popular, but it really is a better all around frame as far as better supporting all the shots.

I would agree. I recently tried out a babolat pure drive racquet and the stick is limited. Control suffers drastically, requiring that the player change swing mechanics, i.e. hitting more or only topspin. Volleys go high, as seen with the notorious Andy Roddick, and forehands and backhands are almost always lobs.

skittles
01-17-2005, 03:14 PM
Babolat needs to release something worth using - 12+ ounce weight, 60 or so flex, < 95" headsize instead of pumping out new versions of stiff-as-a-board feathers. The problem with Babs is they HAVE NOT created a good *gasp* player's racquet as of yet. ).


Babolat offers the Pure Control Line... I know just because i use a babolat im protecting it. Well in a way it's true... but Im using the 12+ ounces Old Cosmetics and That racket is really good. Even for a -4.0 like me. I just made a switch from a 3.5 to a lower level 4.0 a month ago,( so my instructor stated ) But most "player's rackets" are stiff anyways... also this racket brings not only control but really good power. Only reason why i get elbow problems is because i lift weights on a regular basis and play tennis almost everyday. I would like a paint job on the oldcosmetics version of PC though.

By the Bay
01-17-2005, 05:28 PM
Yolkl, when I stated out, played with 100+ sq. and most my friends and players I played with are above 4.0. When I switch to "so-called" player racquets, they all said that i'm way over my head for choosing a heavy midsize head. Guess what....in a matter of months, I beat them all. And you know something, most of them still using the same type of rac. (Bab, PD+). And the guy that started out the same level as I'm, for the last 4 meeting, my score against him is usually (6-1, 6-2...). Ask not what the racquet can do for you, but what you can do with that racquet....peace!!!

Yolkl
01-17-2005, 07:14 PM
BTB-good post. Way too much generalizing going on without delving into the central issue. That is, a 3.5 who is content being a 3.5 doesn't need a players racquet. On the other hand, a 3.5 who aspires to be a 4.0 should be using a stick that will help him develop rather than looking at the short-term winning matches. IMO its like training wheels on a bike.

By the Bay
01-17-2005, 08:34 PM
Oh...sorry, I'm currently use RDX 500 Mid. Klipper synthetic gut (white) at 60 lbs. Same level as you're 3.5-4.0 (play once a week...), for me if I find a racquet that I like (shape, cosmetics, size), somehow just makes me play better. Hope u'll find what's you're looking for....Good Luck!!!!

BLiND
01-18-2005, 01:07 AM
I'm 3.5 and I use a Prestige Mid (90")... its probably a bit unforgiving for my level, but I just really love playing with it. If I was to give advice I'd say a 95" (X1, Prestige MP etc) would be spot-on for 3.5-4.0

goober
01-18-2005, 07:57 PM
Yolkl, when I stated out, played with 100+ sq. and most my friends and players I played with are above 4.0. When I switch to "so-called" player racquets, they all said that i'm way over my head for choosing a heavy midsize head. Guess what....in a matter of months, I beat them all. And you know something, most of them still using the same type of rac. (Bab, PD+). And the guy that started out the same level as I'm, for the last 4 meeting, my score against him is usually (6-1, 6-2...). Ask not what the racquet can do for you, but what you can do with that racquet....peace!!!


The problem with a story like this is that while what you are saying may be true, there are many players in the 5.0-7.0 range that have been using 100+ inch racquets their entire playing career.

ian mercier
01-19-2005, 04:58 AM
I've moved up to 4.0 recently and have stuck with the Babolat Pure Control Zylon racquet. It doesn't get the "press" of the Pure Control or Drive frames (basically because you won't see many tour players with them), but this is a great frame. If you go back and check out the TW Review for it (back when they weren't giving 80s to every frame), it rated very high. This stick is pretty soft, swings light, but has a good balance - so it feels solid.

Just a thought (and I've tried about 30 different racquets and came back to this one).

Serve-And-Volley
01-19-2005, 05:05 AM
For a 3.5-4.0 player I would suggest the Volkl Catapult 10, the Dunlop 300G, or if you need something with a bit more weight, and not as much power, the Yonex RDX-500 Midplus are all great racquets for a player like you. I will say each racquet is a player racquet but you shouldn't have any problem controling them. So good luck on finding a new racquet.

Marius_Hancu
02-14-2005, 07:44 PM
Seems like most of the discussion here is geared toward advanced players racquets. I am interested in hearing about racquets that are being used by aspiring 3.5 and 4.0 players. Locally, I'm seeing more LM Radical & Babolat PD in the hands of of mid-level players than anything else.


Guys,

Perhaps this is too late for you,
but you might want to read the posting by Ted in:
Has anyone tried shock wave therapy for tennis elbow?
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/newreply.php
He got TE from a Pure Drive, had to go to surgery and other nasty things.

Not something you would want to wish your enemy, thus ...

AndrewD
02-14-2005, 08:50 PM
Just a quick addition to others comments. An o/s can be handy for a 3.5 but I think it very much depends on the o/s and the 3.5. I've gone to one although I know I could play well with a 95 or 98. I just get a bit more arm comfort with the o/s and a better tool to play the game I have the most fun playing -chip/charge, serve/volley, lots of spins, angles and changes of pace. Control is an issue, however, and I did find the POG OS the only oversize that would give me that. Not for everyone but, at our level, not worth totally discounting.

Otherwise, the Dunlop 300G is a nice frame that seems to suit a lot of different levels and styles at our club. Thought it was nicer than the LM Rad and easier on the arm. Volkl and Yonex can be nice but think they're an acquired taste. Wilson seemed to play quite stiff and I didnt find much in the Prince range that appealed. Have a good look around and see what you like. I found a terrible blandness in all the midplus' I demoed but hopefully you'll have more luck.

Boris
02-14-2005, 11:13 PM
For a 3.5-4.0 player I would suggest the Volkl Catapult 10, the Dunlop 300G, or if you need something with a bit more weight, and not as much power, the Yonex RDX-500 Midplus are all great racquets for a player like you. I will say each racquet is a player racquet but you shouldn't have any problem controling them. So good luck on finding a new racquet.

The Cat 10 and 300G are great sticks, the Yonex I never tried. I would say they are a good match for a 4.0, but if you have sound mechanics they'll do wonders for you. And they are both spin-friendly racquets.

monologuist
02-15-2005, 10:28 AM
I've tried just about every 3.5-4.0 racquet out there, and my favorites have been :
1. Yonex MP Tour-5
2. Wilson Surge and Surge X
3. Prokennex Heritage Laver Type S and SX
4. Prince TT Warrior OS
5. Volkl Tour 9 V-Engine

These were pretty good too and worth checking out

6. Dunlop 200g XL
7. Babolat Aeropro Drive and Plus
8. Prince Diablo MP
9. Prince Shark MP

Both the Yonex and the Dunlop are more thin-beamed, flexy, classic feeling sticks that play OK stock, but play GREAT with a little lead in the head to improve stability. The others are from the PD clone camp, although they all play suprisingly uniquely and different from the PD, the Surge and PK Laver eing the best IMO. THe Volkl is very unique and difficult to describe; maybe something between the two types of racquets I just mentioned....but I liked it very much...would love to see the extended length version come out in the US.