View Full Version : neophyte question: head heavy vs. heavy??

03-11-2005, 09:19 AM
i'm fairly new in here.

i know the technical difference between a head-heavy racquet and just a heavy racquet..... has to do with where the weight is....

but what is the difference between a very heavy HH vs. HL racquet????

see some people suggesting that some of moya, roddick, dent, phillipousis may play very head heavy racquets (depends on the person posting).....

do these guys actually play very HH racquets or are they just playing with heavy even balanced or slightly HL racquets????

also, i have put lead tape at 12 noon position on racquet and like the effect on the serve, but i just think throwing the engineered balance off on your racquet is risky...... putting lead tape at 9 and 3 seems to make racquet more stable, but 12 seems to make less stable.

also, if put lots of lead tape at 9/3, where should i put the other tape to make it balance??? under an overgrip or just on throat of frame.

any responses greatly appreciated???? i'd even appreciate if someone (marius?? you're very helpful!!!) can just point me to similar discussions in the past.... as i said, i'm curious about playability of heavy racquets.

i realize 12 noon could also be 12 mid-night!!!!

03-11-2005, 09:50 AM
one last question if people don't mind.

does it matter where you put the lead tape as long as you know you're making it more HL or HH????............... i'm thinking both mathematically, although maybe the swing weight would be the variable that changes, and just from a feel stand-point.

03-11-2005, 10:18 AM
The measure that addresses how heavy a racquet appears to be when swinging it is Swingweight. A head light, but heavy (12 oz) racquet might have a swingweight of 325, while a much lighter (9.5 oz), but head heavy racquet could have the same swingweight. Making that lighter racquet more head light (by putting lead near the butt) will not reduce the swingweight, but will slightly increase it.

Many pros play with a lot of lead on their racquet or with extra weight placed in the frame during custom construction -- so don't be afraid to experiment with lead to make the racquet suit you better. Pete Sampras' racquet had almost 2 oz of lead on it.

After you put lead at 3 and 9 and adjust the amount to where you like it, adding lead to restore the balance is an option. Lead on the handle will have a greater impact on volleys and serves than anywhere else. It will not, however, make the racquet easier to swing.

It does matter where you put the tape. Prince advocates a triangle weighting between 2 o'clock, 10 o'clock and the handle. Wilson and Yonex are more focused on 3 and 9. I found a different feel putting the same total lead weight at either 2 and 10, 3 and 9 or split into four sections and applied to 2, 10, 4 and 8 (sort of where Head puts silver paint on its LM models).

Customizing with lead tape is a matter of trial and error until you see a pattern emerging in your taste. You also need to revisit your choices as your game improves and as you become accustomed to the extra weight. More subtle things emerge over time, as well. Lead in one spot may help you make one shot, while impairing your ability to hit another.

I hope these observations are helpful. Good luck.

03-11-2005, 10:28 AM
kinsella, thanks....

i guess the biggest thing i'm curious about is where to put the lead tape on the throat or handle to counter-balance the lead tape at 10&2 or 3&9..... it just seems if you put the lead tape at 12 on racquet or the bottom of handle (furthest from the strings, might be the top, not sure on terminology), you can really start throwing the balance off...... i've used lots of lead tape in the past but generally to make it very head heavy. i am very curious about making and playing with a very heavy, but head-light racquet.

BTW, i'm a weak 4.0 (i can make many opponents cough up weak balls, but then have hard time putting away the point).... i do like the thump of heavier racquets but i don't know how much that is weight vs. head-heaviness.

03-11-2005, 10:30 AM

When you make a frame head heavy, you can produce more power especially on the serve. I have done a lot of experimenting and found head heavy is easier on the arm, wrist, and shoulder.

The old theory was Head Light is easier on the Arm and Shoulder, but like a golf club or baseball bat, having the weight at contact point is easier on the arm and shoulder because the head weight drives through the ball otherwise you are leading with your wrist.

Sampras had an ounce of lead tape on the head of his racket which made is serve harder.

For the non believers, try it, it worked for me.

03-11-2005, 12:30 PM
guys, thanks for the advice.... i love head-heavy racquets, but two problems (at least):

1) too many shots go long...... at least, long is so much better than into the net..... working on getting more spin on the ball.

2) when i move thru tournaments or ladders and have to play guys quite a bit better than me, i find i really need the racquet maneuvrability of head-light.

Gaines Hillix
03-11-2005, 01:48 PM
There are differences of opinion on the safety of a head heavy balance. It depends on what the base racquet was. If it was a 9 oz very stiff racquet that's different than a 12 oz racquet that was head light to start with. The former is an arm killer. The later may not be.

03-11-2005, 02:25 PM
Generally, the bio-mechanics of your wrist-arm-shoulder are not built for HH. Lots of physics and calculations, but over time it will place too much stress on those areas and in many cases causes physical problems. Also, the HL will be more maneuverable, and can give you the same amount of pop because of the weight of the frame.

Always best to balance out head weight under the grip on the handle. Best way to maintain overall balance.

03-11-2005, 02:37 PM
There is truth in all these posts. I agree that it really helps to have some mass in the head when it comes to serving. That does not, however, require "head heavy." A 12 oz head light racquet will usually have a heavier hoop than a head heavy 9 oz racquet. The swingweights may come out close, but the HL 12 oz racquet has a lot of mass in the head to drive through the ball.

Another spec that is important is flex. Unfortunately, you cannot change a racquet's flex. No amount of lead will turn a Hammer into a ProStaff.

The overall trend is that stiff, light, head heavy racquets are associated with joint problems in many people (but a lot of people do fine with them). Any time you change your racquet significantly (more than a few grams of lead) you run the risk of injury while your stroke mechanics and your body adjust to the new environment. Even moving to an "arm freindly" racquet can be a problem if it represents a significant change. Your arm needs a little time to build up to the new challenge.

Good luck with your experiments.

03-11-2005, 02:44 PM
Even moving to an "arm freindly" racquet can be a problem if it represents a significant change. Your arm needs a little time to build up to the new challenge.

Totally agree with that. I first got tennis elbow when I had switched to Pro Staff 6.0 95" (for a few weeks). This was years ago and it comes back sometimes to haunt me.