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View Full Version : Heavy Rackets - Strength or Technique ?


Tombhoneb
03-10-2009, 02:12 PM
I was wondering .... Players who can use heavier rackets without any problems... Is it because they are stronger or is it because they have better technique ?

Cheers.

ps. this is not a question about whether or not players, who do not have perfect technique, should use heavier rackets which might, or might not, hinder their tennis.

VGP
03-10-2009, 02:14 PM
Technique.

.....and what do you consider heavy?

matchmaker
03-10-2009, 02:25 PM
Technique and anticipation. Actually once you get the racquet on the ball you need less strenght as it will do the work for you.
You have to do the work though to set up the shot, so that phase is more taxing whereas the swing, once it is unleashed, can be more relaxed.

commieesspirit
03-10-2009, 02:29 PM
I was screwing around with my friend's wilson (12.5 oz) racket, and it felt much more controlled than my pure drive roddick (11.7 oz)

So IMO, it's based on weight distribution.

jmverdugo
03-10-2009, 02:33 PM
A little bit of both, me thinks... but most of all practice.

fuzz nation
03-10-2009, 02:35 PM
While strength probably doesn't hurt, I'd say that it takes more technique.

My sister is really busy working and raising a little dude, but doesn't get a whole lot of time to knock around these days or even do a lot of anything in terms of general conditioning. She played in college though, and has very nice, classic strokes that she churns out with her old PK Black Aces whenever she gets a little time to play. These old frames are tanks that she's had forever - I think that they weigh at least 13 oz.

I took up with some really heavy "training frames" myself a while back and found out just how lacking my technique at the baseline really was when I tried to use them for more than fifteen or twenty minutes. I was in pretty good playing shape, but I had to learn better movement and more efficient stroke mechanics to play with these logs. Now I love them, but I need to be in some decent shape to make them work well.

Ultimately though, I think that it's best to seek some degree of strength - I'm actually thinking of more general conditioning - along with some sound technique in order to be a better player in general. I've seen a few stone cold killers on the courts in recent years with solid technique and a good level of fitness who could really tear it up just fine with pretty light gear.

Tombhoneb
03-10-2009, 02:39 PM
Technique.

.....and what do you consider heavy?

For me personally, i would think 12 oz + ...

furyoku_tennis
03-10-2009, 02:54 PM
definitely technique and practice

LeeD
03-10-2009, 03:04 PM
I'm one of the skiniest, weakest, over 60 year olds around, and I play with Mfil 200 at 12.5 oz. Works fine, today 4 sets of doubs and 3 sets of singles play.

saram
03-10-2009, 03:05 PM
both--and hitting a LOT of tennis balls.

saram
03-10-2009, 03:05 PM
I'm one of the skiniest, weakest, over 60 year olds around, and I play with Mfil 200 at 12.5 oz. Works fine, today 4 sets of doubs and 3 sets of singles play.

I love it! :)

Lsmkenpo
03-10-2009, 03:22 PM
Really, I think it is more mental than physical, we are only talking about
1-2 ounces between what would be considered heavy and normal by todays standards.

The reason heavier seems more demanding is timing more than not having enough strength.

Balance of the racquet seems to be more of an issue in the swing than the overall weight IMO.

Bottle Rocket
03-10-2009, 03:56 PM
Really, I think it is more mental than physical, we are only talking about
1-2 ounces between what would be considered heavy and normal by todays standards.

The reason heavier seems more demanding is timing more than not having enough strength.

Balance of the racquet seems to be more of an issue in the swing than the overall weight IMO.

Swinging 1-2 onces is totally different than lifting or even throwing something which increases by 1-2 ounces. This is also an increase that you have to deal with over an extended period of a time in circumstances where fitness is an obvious issue.

I just completely disagree with the statement that any differences are mental. I don't think a guy who loses tremendous spin and racket speed after switching to a heavier frame is suffering a mental issue. Most of the time, I doubt its a technicial issue either. Give a baseball pitcher a bowling ball and see if he can still throw 100 mph. Make this pitcher strength train, and I bet he gets a little bit closer.

Technique.


I think this is mostly true, but I also think that the importance of strength and conditioning is ingored entirely too often. Strength and conditioning deserves more attention. I am not directing this post at you specifically VGP, but your response was typical.

I think the difference between rackets preferred by men and women on the pro tour can be looked at as an example, though not a great one. There are women using significantly lighter frames compared with many men and many of them have significantly better technique than those men. In many cases, I think their strength may be the limiting factor and influences their racket decisions. Across the board on the womens tour compared with the men tour, there is a difference in the average weight of frame.

I also think that no matter how good your timing is, you need to be in good shape to maintain your form throughout a match. I think that to say that this depends purely on technique as opposed to strength or conditioning is to overlook something significant.

Then again, the original question doesn't even make much sense. What does it mean to use a heavier racket "without any problems"? Problems being what, injury? A low level of play???

Tombhoneb
03-10-2009, 05:08 PM
Nice, well thought out post Bottle Rocket..

Then again, the original question doesn't even make much sense. What does it mean to use a heavier racket "without any problems"? Problems being what, injury? A low level of play???

I used the word 'problems' to make it wide open to any factor be it, as you stated, injury or a low level of play.

roundiesee
03-10-2009, 05:57 PM
It's definitely technique. The other side of the coin is just as intriguing. Ever wonder how such strong guys like Nadal and Roddick can use such "light" rackets? It's their technique again. Gabriella Sabatini used one of the heaviest rackets on tour; being a lady was not an issue. It's just a personal preference whether one uses light or heavy rackets, but if you have sound technique, there is no problem.

Kevo
03-10-2009, 07:36 PM
I taught a 10 yr old kid for a while who was shanking the ball all over the place with his junior racquet that maybe weighed 8oz. with the kid attached. :-) I kept telling him to swing slower and simply try to make the ball contact the center of the racquet. He was still swinging his racquet like a fly swatter. I handed him my 12oz frame and told him to try it again. It was like a night and day difference. His swing did get a tad slower, but now he was forced to focus his effort a little more.

The thing I liked about that kid was that he swung the racquet. No pushing from that kid. He is the exception though. Many people just don't swing the racquet. They have some sort of hybrid swing/push with various hitches thrown in for good measure.

So my take on the issue is that technique is much more important than strength. Strength does come into play at higher levels, and conditioning is very important if you want to play tournaments and higher level leagues. However, good technique will help you get very far, and I've only seen maybe a handful of players with excellent conditioning that did not also have fairly sound technique.

It seems that if you don't have the technique to get very far, then there isn't a lot of motivation for putting in the work on the conditioning. OTOH, I've seen quite a few really good players with poor conditioning.

tball
03-10-2009, 07:47 PM
I tried strength, but it's hopeless... There is no way you can overpower a heavy racquet. You have to learn to live with it. Once the swing has begun, there is nothing you can do. Mid-flight corrections are impossible.

Once you realize that, stop oversteering, and let "the racquet do the talking", you will have surprising results. Once the mental adjustments are made, I find it actually easier to play this way. You just throw the racquet at the ball. It feels great. You do not even squeeze the handle.

The only drawback is that there are shots which I would have attempted to recover with a lighter racquet, but which I consider a "lost cause" now. In retrospect, looking back at all my attempts to recover all those awkward shots when I used a lighter racquet, resulted in not much of a recovery at all. I usually just scramble to dink the ball back, and (depending whom I playing with), I get penalized right away.

But when the shots do go your way, a heavy racquet is a blessing.

tball
03-10-2009, 08:19 PM
As far as problems are concerned, I find it far less traumatic to play with a heavy racquet. For some reason, I get far more mis-hits when I play with a lighter one. Or maybe I just feel them more. Maybe I also have mis-hits when I play with the heavy racquet, but I do not feel them. When I have mis-hits with a light racquet, it goes straight to my arm ... and hurts !

I particularly do not like mishits on the serve. That's when the impact is most pronounced. With a heavy racquet, for whatever reason, I do not have those.

The heavy racquets I am using are a weighted dunlop @ 380g and a weighted wilson @ 360g. 11 pt / 10 pt HL respectively. Volkl DNX 10 is my light-weight racquet. I would have weighted it too, but its handle is sealed and cannot be messed with ... Maybe when the grip wears out.

Schills
03-10-2009, 08:33 PM
I was wondering .... Players who can use heavier rackets without any problems... Is it because they are stronger or is it because they have better technique ?

Cheers.

ps. this is not a question about whether or not players, who do not have perfect technique, should use heavier rackets which might, or might not, hinder their tennis.

Its both. Your tennis related muscles need a certain level of conditioning to swing a heavy frame, but that comes fairly quickly, or is there from the beginning for some people. The rest. . and most of it. . . is technique. When I was 10, and a very skinny 10 at that, I was using a racket that weighed over 13 oz. Everyone my age did the same. That wasn't heavy back then.

drake
03-10-2009, 08:50 PM
I was wondering .... Players who can use heavier rackets without any problems... Is it because they are stronger or is it because they have better technique ?

Cheers.

ps. this is not a question about whether or not players, who do not have perfect technique, should use heavier rackets which might, or might not, hinder their tennis.

Depends what your goal is. If you're a flatballer then you would let the racquet do a lot of the work requiring less technique. If you want heavy spin and pace using a demanding racquet, then technique and core strength are required.

NoNameZ
03-10-2009, 09:47 PM
i say both. the strength for the weight and technique to use the weight. "You can't have one without the other." you can...but yea we all get the point.

MrBen
03-11-2009, 01:00 AM
Probably technique. My 60 year old uncle uses a Wilson K90 with ease, but he's been playing tennis for about 20 years.

J011yroger
03-11-2009, 03:00 AM
Depends what your goal is. If you're a flatballer then you would let the racquet do a lot of the work, so more strength than technique. If you want heavy spin and pace using a demanding racquet, then technique and core strength are required.

?!?!?!?!?

J

goosala
03-11-2009, 04:55 AM
It's like the old saying goes: Practice! Practice! Practice!

EikelBeiter
03-11-2009, 05:08 AM
Seems like most of you are saying technique....

Ok, I'm using rackets at the moment of about 11 oz.
What does this mean? everyone with 12 oz. rackets have got a much better technique? Everyone with 13 oz. rackets will laugh at my pitifull technique?

Nestor plays probably with the heaviest racket on tour. Does this mean he has a much better technique than say Nadal who does not use a very heavy racket?

What i'm getting at is that I think its just a preference if someone uses a heavy or a lighter racket. I certainly hope its not technique or i must be a poor tennis player :)

Joey
03-11-2009, 05:17 AM
I would also agree that you need strength and technique. Technique you will need with any racquet but strength will depend on the weight, balance and swingweight. Technique won't help much if you can't swing the racquet for 2/3 sets against good opponents.

Rorsach
03-11-2009, 05:45 AM
Seems like most of you are saying technique....

Ok, I'm using rackets at the moment of about 11 oz.
What does this mean? everyone with 12 oz. rackets have got a much better technique? Everyone with 13 oz. rackets will laugh at my pitifull technique?

Nestor plays probably with the heaviest racket on tour. Does this mean he has a much better technique than say Nadal who does not use a very heavy racket?

What i'm getting at is that I think its just a preference if someone uses a heavy or a lighter racket. I certainly hope its not technique or i must be a poor tennis player :)

Not better technique, just different technique.

breadstick
03-11-2009, 05:54 AM
Both.

A player is never going to play well if they can't move the racquet fast enough to get those big serves and shots back.

Kevo
03-11-2009, 09:09 AM
Seems like most of you are saying technique....

Ok, I'm using rackets at the moment of about 11 oz.
What does this mean? everyone with 12 oz. rackets have got a much better technique? Everyone with 13 oz. rackets will laugh at my pitifull technique?

Nestor plays probably with the heaviest racket on tour. Does this mean he has a much better technique than say Nadal who does not use a very heavy racket?

What i'm getting at is that I think its just a preference if someone uses a heavy or a lighter racket. I certainly hope its not technique or i must be a poor tennis player :)

Your logic technique needs practice. ;-) This thread does not imply in any way that your racquet determines your level of technique. The responses only suggest that above average strength is not required to use a heavy frame effectively. Only that adequate technique is needed to use a heavy frame effectively. What frame you use is preference. You don't have to have a heavy frame to be a high level player.

EikelBeiter
03-11-2009, 09:53 AM
Your logic technique needs practice. ;-) This thread does not imply in any way that your racquet determines your level of technique. The responses only suggest that above average strength is not required to use a heavy frame effectively. Only that adequate technique is needed to use a heavy frame effectively. What frame you use is preference. You don't have to have a heavy frame to be a high level player.

Does my logic technique need practise? :)

The OP asks:

I was wondering .... Players who can use heavier rackets without any problems... Is it because they are stronger or is it because they have better technique ?


I cannot use a 13 oz racket without problems. But over 50% here responded its technique that causes a player to be able to handle a heavier racket without any problems.

Therefore i can only conclude that according to everyone who responded with "technique" that someone who can handle a 13 oz racket must have a better technique than me.

Joey
03-11-2009, 10:18 PM
I don't agree. It seems to me the majority of posters indicated that you need strength and technique.....

fuzz nation
03-12-2009, 09:11 AM
I definitely need both strength (yes, fitness) and technique together to play well with my heaviest frames. Right now I'm certainly too rusty and out of shape to use them... as I learned last weekend in a two hour workout at an indoor court.

I'd say that the technique needed for heavy frames is only different, but certainly not better or worse. After watching a local high school champion play like an absolute beast with rather light racquets a couple of years ago, it was plain to me that his technique was rather incredible - nothing I could reproduce even thought I've always liked heavier gear.

I just do a lot of my business up at the net and I've never been able to get the same confidence and performance from lighter racquets that I enjoy in my heavier ones. I have been completely schooled by opponents with lighter racquets though, because they were better players. That means that they had a better combination of fitness, technique, and tactics than I did. Not heavier racquets.

Tennis_dude ^_^
03-12-2009, 09:15 AM
yeah its both
its also a mind thing too
just tell your self you can handle it and it will work out for the best
dont believe its too heavy or else it is too heavy
and its also skill how you hit the ball

logansc
03-12-2009, 09:45 AM
I would say to use a heavy racquet its probably 33% strength vs 66% technique. My reasoning is you have to be able to get the racquet moving requiring some strength, but readiness and good technique will allow you to hit great shots.

Kevo
03-12-2009, 11:11 AM
I cannot use a 13 oz racket without problems. But over 50% here responded its technique that causes a player to be able to handle a heavier racket without any problems.

Therefore i can only conclude that according to everyone who responded with "technique" that someone who can handle a 13 oz racket must have a better technique than me.

Well, it's possible, but it's not the only conclusion. Just because technique can make a person capable of playing a heavy frame, does not mean that "only" technique is the reason a person is not capable of playing a heavy frame.

Now I'm not saying your technique is good or bad, or it's your technique that has anything to do with why you don't play well with a heavy frame. I don't have enough information to make that judgement.

In any case, without further clarification from you on why you think you can't play a heavy frame, I would say it's a good possibility you are jumping to conclusions.

EikelBeiter
03-12-2009, 02:23 PM
Right... I'd say technique has very little to do with it. I think what is most important is the playing style and just general preference towards something heavier or lighter ...