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View Full Version : Did I buy a good racquet for me?


BMF2001
07-13-2009, 06:54 AM
I played Tennis in High School and barely lettered. That was 19 years ago. Some friends and I want to start playing again so I'm not sure how long we'll last but I really want to get back into Tennis for the exercise and fun so I plan on playing regularly.

In High School my racquet was a ProKennex Black Ace. I'm not even sure if it was the right racquet for me back then and I still have it. However, I just bought a Prince O3 Shark Hybrid based on reviews I've read.

Did I do good with the Prince or is there something else better for me? I haven't used it yet so I can still take it back. Thank you!

Zielmann
07-13-2009, 07:44 AM
Unfortunately, the only way you'll know if it's good for you is to take it out and use it.

The short answer to your question: You bought a good racquet if you like it. Simple as that.

I'm sure it'll be fine, though. And if you want a change, you can always pull the Black Ace back out. I imagine that at this point, you're quite rusty, so all you really need right now is something that will allow you to get back into the game.

canadave
07-13-2009, 11:29 AM
Zielmann's advice is spot on, but if I may make another suggestion: you shouldn't buy a racquet simply based on reviews. The best thing to do is understand the various specifications that differentiate racquets (weight, balance, head size, etc), try to figure out how those various specs might affect what you want, and then demo a bunch of racquets that meet those specs (or, if you can't demo them, at least buy something based on those specs). Reviews are okay to read, and occasionally quite helpful, but I wouldn't go out and buy something solely based on a few reviews.

Incidentally, Pro Kennex just released their newly updated version of the Black Ace, available from TW (two versions actually, a 93-inch and 98-inch version). Obviously the specs are probably not exactly the same as the old Black Ace....

Anyway, as has been said, it's no big deal--the "best" racquet is one that you feel you hit well with.

BMF2001
07-13-2009, 01:10 PM
The TW write up made it sound like a good all-around choice: The Prince O3 Shark Hybrid offers excellent comfort and a very forgiving feel from all areas of the court. There's some nice power to this racquet, but not so much to make one lose control on aggressive strokes. We found plenty of grip from the stringbed, enabling us to find lots of spin and control on faster swings. At net this one offers a very maneuverable feel, some nice pop and lots of comfort. This standard length racquet offers plenty of pop and spin potential for aggressive serving. Both baseline and serve & volley players at the 3.0-4.5 level will find this one has plenty to offer.

I was thinking someone would tell me the racquet is too advanced or vice versa for my skill level or something like that and then recommend a better suited raqcquet.

I have no idea how the different specs apply to me or my game. Guess, I'll just play and see how it feels as recommended. It would just be nice to buy the right racquet from the start. Pretty hard to do considering there are so many choices.

Thank you for your replies!

canadave
07-13-2009, 05:04 PM
The TW write up made it sound like a good all-around choice: "The Prince O3 Shark Hybrid offers excellent comfort and a very forgiving feel from all areas of the court....." [yadda yadda yadda snip]


No offence to TW, but you have to bear in mind that TW is in business to sell racquets. EVERY racquet's description/review is going to sound pretty good, at the very least. As for these descriptive adjectives they use in their "reviews", like "has plenty of access to spin" or "adequate power" or "excellent comfort" or "forgiving feel".....well, first of all those words are either vague or meaningless; and second of all, almost ALL racquets have qualities that will appeal to some people and repel other people. Using this type of TW review to decide which racquet to buy is ultimately a pointless exercise (I'm sorry to report).


I was thinking someone would tell me the racquet is too advanced or vice versa for my skill level or something like that and then recommend a better suited raqcquet.
There is no such thing as a racquet "too advanced" for your skill level. There MAY be racquets that are too "basic" once you've progressed in your tennis abilities far enough (an advanced player, for instance, generally would eschew 9-ounce head-heavy racquets), but that's just a general rule.

As for beginners....again, you just need to research and learn what the various specs of a racquet mean, and how they might factor into a purchase. An example: balance. A "head light" balance means that the weight of the racquet is more in the handle. These racquets are generally more maneuverable. A "head heavy" racquet, whose weight is concentrated in the head, tends to swing more like a hammer, and doesn't require as much effort to swing powerfully. Which sounds more attractive to you? That's how you figure out which racquet might be best for you.

But bear in mind--for beginners, there is no racquet "too advanced" in any way. Children 20 years ago grew up playing on 14-ounce wooden racquets.


I have no idea how the different specs apply to me or my game. Guess, I'll just play and see how it feels as recommended. It would just be nice to buy the right racquet from the start. Pretty hard to do considering there are so many choices.

Thank you for your replies!
You're welcome....it IS tough to figure out what racquet to buy, given the vast choices available. That's why most people here HIGHLY recommend demoing several frames until you find one you like (and remember that even when demoing frames, the type of string the demo has, as well as the string's tension, will also highly influence how the racquet "feels" to you overall).

Remember--if you still want to demo racquets, you can always sell your Prince racquet if you find something more to your liking after further research.

DownTheLine
07-13-2009, 05:08 PM
I am pretty sure any stick you pick up will be fine if you haven't played in almost 20 years. Go out and play with it though.

Zielmann
07-13-2009, 06:04 PM
I actually have to disagree about the 'too advanced' issue. Back when wooden frames were in use, sure, the kids used those, and had to deal with it. But the technique used back then was very straightforward and simple. With today's long, loopy strokes, and huge spin production, it is possible to get a frame that's just too much for you.

As far as telling if it's 'not good enough' for you, there's really no way to know without you trying the frame first. If you use it, and you have troubles keeping the ball in play (assuming decent form), then it might not have quite enough control for you. But it's likely fine for you for now. It'll take some time to get back into form. And when that happens, you can go ahead and look a little further into what frame you get.

canadave
07-13-2009, 06:17 PM
I actually have to disagree about the 'too advanced' issue. Back when wooden frames were in use, sure, the kids used those, and had to deal with it. But the technique used back then was very straightforward and simple. With today's long, loopy strokes, and huge spin production, it is possible to get a frame that's just too much for you.

Well, I'll have to respectfully disagree with the disagreement :) A beginner just won't have enough form or racquet speed for a racquet's power, flex, or spin production to make the slightest difference in how the ball comes off the racquet. They're just going to push the ball over the net. I'd never look at a racquet in a beginner's hands and say, "hey, you should put that down and pick up something else, that racquet's too advanced for you to be using."

If you wish to pursue this debate further, can you elaborate on what you mean by "a frame that's just too much" for someone?

Zielmann
07-13-2009, 07:23 PM
Mostly just saying that with the way people swing today, there is such a thing as something that's too heavy. Or too small. If you're trying to learn to take a nice, full swing, but the racquet is so heavy that you can't really swing it without it slowing you down. Or it's too hard for you to keep the head up where it needs to be when swinging.

This comes from personal experience, too. I believe that my first real racquet was a bit too much for me. Sure, it worked, but I feel like I could have progressed a little faster. I had to swing as hard as I could to get the ball near the baseline. And that just isn't good form.

Now, I agree that a beginner is capable of getting the ball back over with any frame out there. But if you want to learn proper form, you need the appropriate equipment for that.

It's like if an average person were allowed to drive a race car. They'd be able to handle it around town. And possibly make it through a track. But they wouldn't be able to get full use out of it, cause they don't know how. It'd be easier to learn how to race in a supercharged Civic than a Corvette.

Il Mostro
07-13-2009, 07:31 PM
I played Tennis in High School and barely lettered. That was 19 years ago. Some friends and I want to start playing again so I'm not sure how long we'll last but I really want to get back into Tennis for the exercise and fun so I plan on playing regularly.

In High School my racquet was a ProKennex Black Ace. I'm not even sure if it was the right racquet for me back then and I still have it. However, I just bought a Prince O3 Shark Hybrid based on reviews I've read.

Did I do good with the Prince or is there something else better for me? I haven't used it yet so I can still take it back. Thank you!

I think you will be absolutely fine. Whichever racquet you would have selected for your comeback is not the one that you will eventually prefer and love. So, don't sweat it. Get your swing and footwork back and take it from there. BTW, I keep a minty Black Ace in my bag and use it in workouts and occasional matches. Sweet, sweet stick.

Best of luck to you.

klementine79
07-13-2009, 08:18 PM
It doesn't really matter what racquet you play with-- more likely than not...

you'll start off with one kind and put it away to demo-- and then purchase another kind-- because after-all, the demo money from the local shop goes towards the purchase of a new racquet-- you're hooked and the vicious cycle will start--

Then, you'll get interested in modifying your brand new racquet-- it will start off innocent-- a leather grip-- or maybe a smiley face vibration dampener-- then... the heavy stuff-- 1-2grams of lead tape... which grows into globs off 5-10grams-- next thing you know you're in your garage saturday night, with no ventilation-- shoving intoxicating goops of silicone down the shaft of your racquet

You'll log onto tennistalk every other day-- reading and participating-- you'll start to buy other brands-- write reviews-- more modifications-- you'll sell racquets just to get another non-demo hit of another-- pretty soon there is a room in your house that no one knows about except you-- filled with several different racquets, grips, strings, lead tape, weights, silicone, vibration dampeners, racquet handle shrink wraps, books, dvd's, wristbands... etc...etc...

Then, on your way to work one morning, you'll see that drug addict on the corner of the street and realize that you have more in common with him than you do with your family....

You'll get sick of yourself and sell everything.... except... that first racquet you bought...

And you will play with that first racquet and play well.

Cross Court
07-13-2009, 09:02 PM
It doesn't really matter what racquet you play with-- more likely than not...

you'll start off with one kind and put it away to demo-- and then purchase another kind-- because after-all, the demo money from the local shop goes towards the purchase of a new racquet-- you're hooked and the vicious cycle will start--

Then, you'll get interested in modifying your brand new racquet-- it will start off innocent-- a leather grip-- or maybe a smiley face vibration dampener-- then... the heavy stuff-- 1-2grams of lead tape... which grows into globs off 5-10grams-- next thing you know you're in your garage saturday night, with no ventilation-- shoving intoxicating goops of silicone down the shaft of your racquet

You'll log onto tennistalk every other day-- reading and participating-- you'll start to buy other brands-- write reviews-- more modifications-- you'll sell racquets just to get another non-demo hit of another-- pretty soon there is a room in your house that no one knows about except you-- filled with several different racquets, grips, strings, lead tape, weights, silicone, vibration dampeners, racquet handle shrink wraps, books, dvd's, wristbands... etc...etc...

Then, on your way to work one morning, you'll see that drug addict on the corner of the street and realize that you have more in common with him than you do with your family....

You'll get sick of yourself and sell everything.... except... that first racquet you bought...

And you will play with that first racquet and play well.

Oh just shut up already.

klementine79
07-13-2009, 09:04 PM
Oh just shut up already.

Denial of the double post...??????

canadave
07-13-2009, 09:06 PM
Mostly just saying that with the way people swing today, there is such a thing as something that's too heavy. Or too small. If you're trying to learn to take a nice, full swing, but the racquet is so heavy that you can't really swing it without it slowing you down. Or it's too hard for you to keep the head up where it needs to be when swinging.

This comes from personal experience, too. I believe that my first real racquet was a bit too much for me. Sure, it worked, but I feel like I could have progressed a little faster. I had to swing as hard as I could to get the ball near the baseline. And that just isn't good form.

Now, I agree that a beginner is capable of getting the ball back over with any frame out there. But if you want to learn proper form, you need the appropriate equipment for that.

It's like if an average person were allowed to drive a race car. They'd be able to handle it around town. And possibly make it through a track. But they wouldn't be able to get full use out of it, cause they don't know how. It'd be easier to learn how to race in a supercharged Civic than a Corvette.

Thanks for elaborating; your points are well taken. Interesting reading, particularly the bit about your own experiences. It's certainly a debatable point; now I'm not so sure there is a right or wrong answer.

You speak of the possibility a racquet may be too heavy or too small for a beginner...I think the issue there, though, is that there's just no way to tell WHAT kind of racquet a beginner will need and respond to, so you might as well start them with anything. Let's say the racquet you started on was too heavy (even if it wasn't that, let's just assume for sake of argument). You would say, then, that the racquet was "too much for you" and you should've started with a lighter racquet.

But it's just as possible that a different beginner starting with the same racquet would find that it's the perfect racquet for him. Maybe he's the type of person who, once he figures out his game, will wind up finding that heavy racquets are best for him. For me, I grew up on wood racquets, and I quickly wound up liking the heft; if I tried lighter racquets, they just felt wrong to me.

In other words there's no way to tell. My opinion is, give a beginner ANY racquet, see what happens, and then change it up if they find that they're having issues with it.

But that's just my opinion, and as I said it's a fascinating subject that's fully open to debate.

BMF2001
07-13-2009, 09:59 PM
Wow! I didn't think my question would get this kind of response, I was wrong.

I played for 2 hours tonight and just loved being back on the court and playing, period. My new racquet felt good and my form felt bad but as it's been said that will come back with more and more practice.

So for now I am happy with the racquet I bought and plan to use it for a while. Heck, I could have been playing with one of those old 14-ounce wooden racquets and I still would have had a blast!

Thanks again to everyone!

canadave
07-14-2009, 06:03 AM
And there you have it! That ends the argument :) Glad to hear the racquet worked for you. Hope you continue to have fun!

Zielmann
07-14-2009, 07:27 AM
You made some good points there, too. The root of it all is that racquet preference is purely individual. But on the individual scope, there is a right racquet. And there are wrong racquets. It just matters less to a beginner than somebody who has been learning the game for years.

BMF2001: I'm glad to hear that you had a good experience with the new racquet. Didn't really expect anything different. Just be patient, and your form will slowly start coming back. I'm currently fighting off losing my form. Haven't really played in three years or so. I've gone out and hit some, and I'm definitely rusty. But I feel like even hitting once or twice a month does wonders for keeping your form somewhat close to what it used to be.

The_Question
07-14-2009, 09:58 AM
I was in a similar problem as you're in now. Mid last year, I decided to get back into tennis, after I played for high school team, which was...14 years ago. I too had a PK, but it's a Full Ace (Asian release only). I tried many different racquets, which includes Prince O3 Hybird Shark. I landed pretty much back where I started, Wilson K90. To me, it's the feel of the racquet and tension it was strung.

If you like the O3 Shark and how it handles, you found yourself a new weapon to unleash on!!

theenrighthouse
07-14-2009, 01:58 PM
I've been developing issues with my dominant arm wrist lately, which I thought were perhaps due to improper technique on my forehand. But one forum member pointed out that my recent switch to babolat's aeropro drives were probably contributing a lot to this, due to its stiff and light frame. The implication, it seemed to me was, that he believed the aeropros, for example, were "too advanced" for me. Wouldn't this be a case of some rackets being unsuitable for some players? What are your thoughts on this?

Zielmann
07-14-2009, 06:14 PM
I've been developing issues with my dominant arm wrist lately, which I thought were perhaps due to improper technique on my forehand. But one forum member pointed out that my recent switch to babolat's aeropro drives were probably contributing a lot to this, due to its stiff and light frame. The implication, it seemed to me was, that he believed the aeropros, for example, were "too advanced" for me. Wouldn't this be a case of some rackets being unsuitable for some players? What are your thoughts on this?

I'd still blame improper form, though some frames can enhance the effects of poor form. Just make sure you aren't using your wrist to add power or spin. Keep it firm for everything, except serves and overheads where you need to snap your wrist.