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View Full Version : Too Much Technology


Richard Pur
03-25-2004, 10:47 AM
This message is for Benjamin, but relates to all of us.

First of all, Ben, it's not your fault that you're trying to find the perfect racquet. And, in my opinion, your questions and discussions do spur on conversation that others benefit from. I recently have been caught up in the search for the holy grail (and my head is spinning). This message board is both good and bad in contributing in that search. It's good that you can discuss the technical aspects of these racquets with fellow tennis enthusiasts so that you can weed out many racquets. But it's bad in that there are always new entries in the competition and it seems like one's search is never over.

There are too many choices out there! Until 1997, I was playing golf with a set of 1977 Wilson Staff irons (blades), equivalent to the PS 6.0 85 in tennis in terms of required skill level. I played a good game, but then I got a brilliant idea that I needed a little help from technology and didn't want to fall behind the competition. Three sets of irons later, I'm back where I started with a new set of blades that are demanding to hit. The feeling I get when I hit a pure shot keeps me coming back. The grass is always greener on the other side, if we are true traditionalists, let's not get tempted by every new racquet that has been tweaked just a little bit from last year's model by Prince or any other company. We're just putting money in these companies' pockets.

It's been said on this message board that it's not the racquet. That is so true. I'm caught up in the same search as you Ben, and it's actually affecting my game negatively. Every week I have a new leading candidate for my replacement racquet. I practice with different demos, but when it comes to match time, I need my trusty Ultra FPK (95). If it wasn't getting to mushy, I hope to think I wouldn't be looking at all. But with all these racquets dangling in front of me, I don't think I can say that with a straight face.

Maybe we should pick the top 10 racquets (maybe for each player's level - beginner, intermediate, advanced) and only buy those. Or maybe only consider 2 or 3 racquets from each company.

It's just too much technology and marketing for financial gain. Anyway, I do enjoy these discussions and good luck Ben. BTW, I vote no to the Demo poll.

NoBadMojo
03-25-2004, 11:09 AM
richard i dont think there are too many racquets..i think there are too many people that think the racquet is gonna help aspects of their game. they are looking for a quick fix rather than to actually work on their games, do drills, and god forbid even take a lesson or two. i also think that you just can not rely on opinions of others on this board or even rely on the specs when choosing a frame or even a string..you have to try them for yourself if you are good enough to discern the difference, and know that there is no such thing as the perfect frame. diff bats perform differently in diff peoples hands even ones at similar playing levels. every time you change racquets your game goes down a level IMO (especially if you are playing advanced ball), and each racquet requires slightly different swings and timing, so you get people that keep changing racquets and they just dont improve and often put themselves at risk of injury from adjusting to something diferent.....why do you think so many of the pros have used just one frame throughout their career? they're smart..they know it will take them weeks if not months to dial in all the shots they have w. the new equipment and they may not be further ahead then when they started the whole odyssey. it's just a racquet afterall...and it's all about the archer not the arrows. in my case, i went on a hunt for a racquet that supports my strength better, but didnt wish to sacrifice any other element of my game..guess what? there is no such thing.....so when i made a change it took me a couple of months to dial in all the shots and angles that i had with my old bats...the only reason i changed because i went from playing hard court s/v ball to nothing but clay and my frame was hitting a lightweight ball on the clay..so i went heavier..this from a 54 year old 5.0+ teaching pro. i really think i could learn to play well with just about anything....almost everyone can. i am glad to have learned with wood though and to have stuck w. flexy bats with some weight to them. i've never had a hint of shoulder or elbow or wrist problems and i am old! lol .none of this is a reflection upon you of course and i am just venting...everyone! go play ball have fun..practice..get better and quit being so wrapped up in the gear! Ed

Richard Pur
03-25-2004, 11:56 AM
NoBadMojo,

I agree with everything you said. I admit that I as a 42 year old former 4.5, I may be looking for an easy out. But when I start playing a little more (for me that's twice a week due to a young family), the feel and mechanics start coming back, and that's when having the new technology doesn't matter. In fact, the more you play, the more feedback you want from your racquet, and the less you may get from the newer technology racquets (wider beam at least).

As long as the the temptation of all the different racquets is there, people in general will look for that racquet that will play for them, once again putting more money in companies' hands. However, tennis is not nearly as bad as golf club manufacturers in this respect.

Thanks for the wise words.

python
03-25-2004, 12:11 PM
Good thoughts, guys. I've been guilty of the demo spree recently myself, before I settled on the Volkl V1 Classic. Truthfully, most people I see buying new racquets in my neck of the woods are just doing it because they want something new. It's the same reason people trade in perfectly good cars or shop for new clothing in the latest fashions.

I'll agree with Benjamin in what he said in another thread. There's many worse hobbies to have.

Rabbit
03-25-2004, 12:35 PM
nobadmojo - I couldn't agree more. I especially agree with the part about growing up with wood. I think that has done more for my game than anything else. I'm 45 and started playing when I was 13/14. A lot of the younger guys (30s) are amazed that I can hit the kind of topspin I do with a Continental grip. They also are amazed that I use basically one grip for every shot. It just isn't done or taught any more. But I digress.

I will concede on major point to Benjamin and those who are hunting for a racket. It is very important to find a frame that you are comfortable with. I went through a spell about 7 years ago when I finished playing with the Hammer 5.0. I had tendonitis so bad I couldn't drink a beer left-handed and was really concerned about not playing any more. I bought a couple of Yonex RD-Tour 90s in a 4 1/2 grip. They weighed about 14 ounces each and were balanced evenly. Stuck some Fairways on them and in less than two weeks, my arm had gotten 80-90% better. I learned a lesson from that. Wilmot McCutheon has his critics, but his premise is 100% correct. A heavier, head light frame is the best for any player anywhere.

Anyway, I went through a series of frames, the RD-Tour 90, then to the ProTour 280, then back to the ProStaff, then the C9. From there, I've found the perfect racket for me and realized that I'm never going to be as good as my equipment. I've found a frame that I'm comfortable with and have gone back (4 years ago) to taking lessons. I don't take every week, or even every month. I take a lesson and then work on what I'm trying to change. Once I get that down and my results start to improve, then I'll go back and get something else fixed. It'd be nice to take weekly, but it would get expensive.

I positively agree that most folks would rather blame the frame than do the work. It's easier that way. I can understand (because it's happened to me) that sometimes when you pick a new frame up, it seems to hit better than your current frame. The truth is, it hits different than your current frame. IMO, you do a few things better with a new frame. You watch the ball better, you focus on your stroke production better, and you pay more attention in general to what you're doing. With your usual frame, you take all that for granted.

Great post, Ed....

NoBadMojo
03-25-2004, 01:04 PM
yea man rabbit..and thanks for the kind words..i dont get kind words around here. and the continental grip thing is a whole other conversation..i could banter w. you over frosty beverages about tennis anytime. i learned w. one grip (the continental) too and learned to hit every kind of shot imagineable w. it save for a top bh which i just couldnt do w. the continental. now i have several grips and really dont even know what they might be called. i think most of the all courters might say the same thing.i feel lucky to have learned the game when i did, but i put tons of work into my game too..and since we're venting this day, i gotta tell you that i dont like it that anyone can be a teaching pro...just plunk down the money and be certified..the janitor at a club i taught at who was playing tennis for 6 months became certified. when i first became a teaching pro, i had to be able to hit and demonstrate every shot and had to posess both a 1h and 2h backhand. now i see teaching pros that not only cant teach the volley, they cant even hit one......baaaaah....if i sound like an old fart, i guess i am, but i sure enjoy playing all court ball and not being stuck in the backcourt. richard, thanks for triggering all of this and for being honest and not having an ego the size of a buick :). i agree w. you about what you say about golf too, and swear to you my FPK's were very headlight! (i think you're the FPK dude?) ha Ed

Django
03-25-2004, 04:42 PM
So much of tennis is about your own confidence, which is why I've always maintained that demo'ing several racquets gives you the confidence on the court that you've done all you can to give yourself every edge possible. Call it due diligence. If you're the type who is prone to wondering whether there may be a better racquet out there, those doubts may erode your ability to play your best.

I think this same dynamic extends to string choice, tension -- even your shoes and other gear. We've all known guys w/ their favorite shirt or "lucky' cap.

That said, there's also a certain confidence that comes from playing w/ the same racquet for a while and being able to recall in tight situations all the great points/games/sets/matches you've won with it in your hand.

Bottom line -- demo away, then pick one and stick to it. (Same advice I give to bachelors, come to think of it!)

Robert Jones
03-25-2004, 07:28 PM
Very true gentlemen, much money is wasted on the search for the best stick the best putter etc. As long as you don't mind spending the cash its actually pretty fun.

Golf is definitely the worse sport for gimmicks. Some people have like 4 putters in the bag all the time.

I for one am glad I did search around for a new tennis racquet. I have a diablo MP and my game went down like a full grade for a month. I figured it must be all me. I had no control and I never really got use to it. If I were 20 again maybe I would have but I'm old man set in my ways 43 :).

I put my old strings in it and played my first match in a week. All I can say is it felt like a new stick. Played the best I had in a long time. The previous strings were way to cushy for my stroke. So equipment can help sometimes.

Deuce
03-25-2004, 10:47 PM
"I positively agree that most folks would rather blame the frame than do the work. It's easier that way. I can understand (because it's happened to me) that sometimes when you pick a new frame up, it seems to hit better than your current frame. The truth is, it hits different than your current frame. IMO, you do a few things better with a new frame. You watch the ball better, you focus on your stroke production better, and you pay more attention in general to what you're doing. With your usual frame, you take all that for granted."

Truer words never were typed on these boards, Rabbit.