View Full Version : Should I go to a tweener to get to the next level. New racquet or more lessons?

03-02-2005, 11:36 PM
Hereís my problem, no power. I am an honest 3.0-3.5 player w/a 2HBH. I have the strategy of someone better and can usually place my shots but without any power. I like to think that I am a student of the game and the physics behind it.
I play with a Chang Original Graphite Oversize that I cut down to 27.5Ē and added a heat sleeve to increase the grip size. I think it weighs 11.2 oz. The strings are LaserFibre Supreme 17ga @ 61#s. I use an eastern FH grip and hit w/moderate topspin.
My serves are well placed but no pop. I used to ace people when I played at a lower level, but now there are no free points. I canít drive people off the baseline either, unless I get something like an inside out FH that I have time for. I prefer an all court game, but I am a little impatient and go to net or go for too much too soon.

Is my current racquet choice low on power?
Would I benefit from a different racquet or should I put my money on lessons instead?

The racquets I am considering are the Volkl Cat 4 (Gen II), Cat 6, Cat 7 or Fisher GDS Rally. I prefer thinner straight-beamed racquets and it seems these were the only choices that are made that way and are weighted similar to mine and were balanced HL. These racquets are said to have medium power and are appropriate for my skill level according to TW. Any racquet I chose must be spin friendly. I tried a dense string pattern once and all my shots went long. I just couldnít put spin on the ball.

Can anyone comment on the preceding racquets?
If so, what is your game and what are the pros and cons of the frames for you?

If there is another racquet suggestion I would like to hear that as well. Thanks.

03-03-2005, 01:01 AM
As an honest 3.0-3.5 level player lacking power, you need an honest 3.0-3.5 racquet providing you the power. Go for tweeners. You can't go wrong. If you don't mind tapered beams, try Volkl Catapult V1 (or Classic V1) or Prince Turbo Shark. They are pretty good, very nice blend of control and power. If you choose to hit with the Babolat Pure Drives, you will need fast racquet head speed with good topspin and strength to bring the best out of it. Contrary to popular belief, the PDs are not for beginners or lower level players. And don't be swayed by players' racquet zealots on this board who will tell you to use racquets that you couldn't crack an egg from the baseline.

And oh yes, place your money on lessons too. That's important!

03-03-2005, 01:04 AM
If you want to get to an honest 4.5/5.0 level then you will get yourself a Prostaff 6.0 85. {use a Prestige Classic 600 myself but they are harder to find}. If you want to get to the next level then you need to use a stick that will do none of the work for you and force you to learn stroke mechanics that will enable you to generate power yourself - sort of like having to learn math without a calculator :).

03-03-2005, 03:07 AM
Start demoing:

Begin with:
Wilson Surge (nPro Surge)
Bobolat Pure drive

If these are underpowered:
Volkl Cat 4

If Overpowered:
Dunlop 300g (or newer version coming out soon)
Head LM Radical

Still too much power:
Volkl tour 10 gen 2

03-03-2005, 03:44 AM
Start by lowering the tension below 60 lb.

03-03-2005, 03:51 AM
Go for the Dunlop 300g!

SC in MA
03-03-2005, 05:17 AM
Hereís my problem, no power....The strings are LaserFibre Supreme 17ga @ 61#s. ....Based on my limited experience with LF Supreme strings (two sessions), I found that these strings to be "no power, great control" strings. In contrast, I found the LF Classic Syn Gut strings to be great in the power department. Here's a link to a thread where I spoke more about this. http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=43100

03-03-2005, 05:32 AM
Also think about trying the Yonex RDX300MP, which is a nice racquet with good power and some control and super spin. It's a lovely frame and much underrated and you can probably live with it for quite a period of improvement. It also feels substantial enough not to feel like your swinging a fly swatter.

03-03-2005, 05:41 AM
Get lessons.

Your racquet may not be the perfect racquet for your level, but it's way more than good enough. The bigger, more lasting, more satisfying improvement will come as a result of improving your game, rather than your racquet.

The only way the racquet would be a better solution to your power woes would be if you're pretty advanced in years and/or under some other kind of physical restraint that will impede natural progression of power as technique and understanding improve.

Learn and practice till you're a legit 4.0 instead of a legit 3.5, and you'll thrash 3.0's and 3.5's with a wooden bat. The Chang certainly isn't going to hold you back.

03-03-2005, 05:45 AM
I agree with lowering the tension as a starting point. What happens when you actually try to smack the ball with power?

03-03-2005, 07:27 AM
I have tried lower tension before and lost control of the ball. Everything would go "just" long. Right now if I hit it as hard as I can and it will stay in but shots like those are usually my put away shots, and are pretty flat, not much spin. During the course of a rally or serve my shots don't have much impact other than placement. I don't feel like they are heavy. Everything I hit can just be blocked back. I prefer racquets longer than the standard 27 inches.

03-03-2005, 07:29 AM
Get lessons.

What's the quickest way to get to Carnegie Hall? Practice practice practice. Same applies to tennis. Grimjack nailed it, I've been playing for 34 years and still take lessons about once a month. I do it to keep my strokes tuned and to learn more about the game. There is an unbelievable amount of work to do with footwork that club players for the most part ignore.

You'll never be as good as any racket you play with.

03-03-2005, 07:33 AM
I agree with Rabbit, and Grimjack.

Law2, perhaps you should look into your stroke mechanics to get power. Racquets only do what they intend to do if you have the basics under your belt.

You should also post a small video of yourself in the tips/instructions and have yourself evaluated.

Kaptain Karl
03-03-2005, 08:04 AM
LAW2 - It sounds like you've been playing long enough that maybe one of the more established Teaching Pros has observed your game. I strongly recommend you talk to someone like that. If they've seen you play, they may make some suggestions for a few rackets. If not ... invest in a lesson with them for the purpose of identifying whether you need a different racket ... or simply more lessons. I cannot emphasize enough how much better-off you will be, in the long run, if you do this.

A bunch of strangers on a web board are nowhere near as good as a "live" look at your game. And you are in a virtual "Holy Land" of tennis, in the Jax area. There are probably only about 50 or 60 established reputable Teaching Pros for you to choose from. (This was "sarcasm" ... intended to help you realize you are surrounded by good help.)

This is what Teaching Pros do -- help other tennis players get more enjoyment from the game. Trust me. In Jax, they have enough prospective students. They won't need to "sell you a lesson package." They'll get plenty of other students after you have been helped.

I have another reason for this suggestion. Your OP reminds me of an old saying, "It's the carpenter, not the tool." You may need lessons more than you need a different racket. Only a Teaching Pro / Coach / Instructor can tell you for sure.

Invest in at least one lesson. It's cheaper than falling into the "If I get 'X' stick next month, my game will be elevated to the next level" trap. DO NOT rush out an demo a bunch of sticks recommended by these well-intentioned "cyber friends."

End of my 2Ę.

- KK

Kaptain Karl
03-03-2005, 08:09 AM

When I *started* composing my post #14, it would have been post #7. I got interrupted a lot. (I am running a business, too.)

Since I began typing that one, you've already gotten similar advice ... repeatedly. So, what are you going to do?

- KK

03-03-2005, 08:12 AM
I would say get evaluated. Take a lesson and go through all of your strokes and see if there any mistakes or things to improve. Racquet is important too; it helps you, in a way that you feel comfortable to play with it. And USUALLY as you go up from 3.5 to 4.0 you might go to a less powerful racquet since your stroke mechanic is improved and u need less help from the racquet (I sad usually). So lesson comes first racquet is second.

03-03-2005, 08:20 AM
KK is all over this in my opinion. find a good teaching pro and invest in one lesson (like anything there are good and bad teaching pros)..in one lesson, you should leave the court with a good direction as to what gear you need and should have also be given a few (not many and not very technical) good ideas as to what you can work on to improve, along with some good advice as how to practice, and if the pro is really good , some self correcting tips, so that when you do something wrong on court, you will know what it is and be able to play some self correcting tennis based upon if your ball is going into the net, sailing long, etc.. i usally give someone an hour and a half the first time i see them if they arent just a 'feel good' lesson or dont think they know more than me :), or if i think i will see them again...a conversation before we hit the court to learn about them and what goals they have if any for tennis, an hour plus on court and then a conversation afterwards to get them on the right path..i try and make it fun..none of this can be determined on the TW board...it needs to be up close and personal. money well spent IMO.

Kaptain Karl
03-03-2005, 08:47 AM
LAW2 - Your next post should be to learn if Ed (NoBadMojo) should "happen" to be in the Jax area.


- KK

03-03-2005, 08:53 AM
Lessons would be good and lowering tension on string would be best to avoid having to switch racquets.

03-03-2005, 05:22 PM
The pros that I have taken lessons from are good but not very knowledgeable on racquets. While not sponsored it seems like Wilson has some influence were they teach. Here's what I think I am going to do.
Option 1: Ask NoBadMojo if he teaches in Jacksonville, Fl and see if heíll give me a lesson, as someone (KK) hinted to do. NBM feel free to give send me an email if youíre interested. (law2fishin***ahoo.com)
Option 2: There is a new pro shop in town that sells Volkl and I think Dunlop. Iíll get a lesson from the pro, see where I need improvement and if he recommends a racquet change.

03-03-2005, 05:39 PM
Stick with your racquet, you like it and you are used to it. Just add weight at the 12 o'clock position on the head and add weight to the handle- follow tenniswarehouse's instructions. I choose a racquet I like and customize it and I can make any racquet play well. The pros don't go changing their racquets, they customize them and have them repainted to fulfill contractual obligations. Believe me, all you need is to add weight where I told you and you should be fine. Experiment with various amounts. Trial and error is the only way so be patient.

03-03-2005, 09:26 PM
law2 i dont think anyone really answered your questions..yes, i think you should look into changing racquets and also look at changing strings. would try the racquet change first..one thing at a time. if your Changs are older and have been restrung alot chances are they are fatigued and play lifelessly, and the Chang wasnt such a powerful frame to begin with especially since you performed surgery on it :) the Volkls you mention are really nice frames, but if you are a flattish ball hitter (which you sound like?), the Catapults may give you control problems..if you can hit with spin, you wont notice them, and those frames can be set up powerfully...with the added power, you are going to need spin for control. from the Volkl line you might want to give the Tour8V-Engine a try..it;s stiffer and def more powerful than the Chang and is 1/2" longer and very easy to spin..it;s light enough for you to customize if you need and your serve should ramp up nicely compared to what you are using. while it is a 100 size the v-engine will give you the sensation you are playing an oversize....give that one a demo from TW, and if you need the name of a good teaching pro in your area, i can help you with that too.

03-04-2005, 03:45 AM
Try to find, buy, and read this book, "Competitive Tennis, Climbing the NTRP Ladder" by Brett Schwartz. Then take lessons to evaluate your game and strengthen those weaknesses. Personally watched 2 local players move from the 4.0 level to 5.0 in several years from weekly lessons and daily match play.

03-04-2005, 04:54 AM
Thanks NoBadMojo. I would be interested in knowing who you would recommend as a teaching pro. It appears as if my email address was filtered so broken out it's law2 fishing @ yahoo.com, no spaces of course. Thanks for the Volkl racquet recommendation. Can you think of a Prince or Wilson racquet to try as well?

03-04-2005, 07:01 AM
Law2 i dont know most of the Wilson or Prince frames anymore, so cant help you there, and havent hit any of the nCodes. the lesson with someone who knows racquets sounds like what you need..i'll try and email you later....i'm on Team Volkl and know that line quite well, and can always find something within the line that works well for someone, and none of their stuff, even the stiff frames, should give you a physical problem. i can suggest a teaching pro who knows Head in your area, and one who knows Wilson, and then there is me for Volkl ;)

03-04-2005, 07:54 AM
The pros that I have taken lessons from are good but not very knowledgeable on racquets. While not sponsored it seems like Wilson has some influence were they teach. Here's what I think I am going to do.
Option 1: Ask NoBadMojo if he teaches in Jacksonville, Fl and see if heíll give me a lesson, as someone (KK) hinted to do. NBM feel free to give send me an email if youíre interested. (law2fishin***ahoo.com)
Option 2: There is a new pro shop in town that sells Volkl and I think Dunlop. Iíll get a lesson from the pro, see where I need improvement and if he recommends a racquet change.

What do you mean "not very knowledgeable on racquets" ?
Prince Michael Chang is very well known racquet.
What kind of pros are these if they cannot advise on racquet?

Regards, Predrag