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View Full Version : Lower racquet weight


Jim A
06-01-2011, 08:58 AM
Thinking of dropping down in my racquet weight. Playing with a Prince Speedport Tour that is about 11.7oz 325swingweight

Now that I'm playing against people who are hitting a bit harder and having less time to set up (my strokes are a bit long, but fairly quick swing speed as far as 3.5/4.0's go) I'm just hitting as clean. I'm just not strong enough to get it around later in a match.

Appears that if I drop down in weight its likely going to be between 11.2-11.4 for most racquet (Head Extreme Pro MP, Aero Storm Tour, Blade BLX 98 etc) but the swingweights are close.

Since the swingweight are the same will the lack of weight be that noticeable? I know I need to demo but just curious what others who have started to drop down in weight have noticed when making the change.

LeeD
06-01-2011, 09:09 AM
I dropped 2 oz from 12 to 10 and it's just fine.
Sometimes, playing a hard hitter a full level above me, I need to play first strike first hard shot tennis, rather than passive fetching and getting. No biggee, I prefer that style anyway.
If you allow a hard hitter to get started and grooved against your lite racket, they will run you around and push you back.
If you just block back return of serves, you hand the advantage over to them.
If you hit out and play aggressive, the lighter racket allows you to do more things, last longer, and still saves plenty of energy.
All this talk of using heavy sticks is directed at what the PROS use, against other hard hitting pros. My 4.5 competition don't and can't hit every ball hard, if I hit the first ball hard and directed well.

TennisCJC
06-01-2011, 12:38 PM
If you drop you static weight down to 11 to 11.5, keep the SW between 320 and 330. SW is as important and may be more important than static weight. I disagree that heavy rackets are only for pros. I think intermediate and above players need a racket weighing at least 10.5 oz and a SW of at least 320. I suggest you find something around 11 to 11.5 with a SW 320 or above and at least 4 pts HL. I think these specs are the best for all court play. Lower SW can not stand up to hard hit balls, do not volley well, or slice as well. In fact, any type of stroke with a slower swing speed such as returns, volleys, lobs, and slices benefit from higher SW. A higher SW is more stable and imparts more power to the ball with less swing speed. For shots with higher swing speeds such as serves and topspin groundstrokes, the higher SW will provide more power and stability on off center hits, and plenty of power on hits in the sweetspot. Also, rackets with higher SW generally have a wider and higher power zone (sweetspot). Also, the risk of injury is greatly reduced with higher SW as the weight absorbs the impact rather than your arm and there is less twisting on off center hits.

My wife is 5'4" tall, weighs 115 lbs, and is in her early 50s and she uses a racket that weighs around 11.3 oz with a SW around 330 grams. She is fit but her arms and wrist are very small and she can handle this racket easily.

You can handle a SW at or above 320 grams.

athiker
06-01-2011, 01:36 PM
I would make a conscious decision to prep earlier before switching racquets to try to cure the issue. I know when I occasionally play the son of one of the guys I generally play with (I'm in my later 40s) I have to consciously tell myself to prep quicker. I have a fairly long stroke and it is naturally geared to the guys I usually play with. This kid hits harder and with more spin so his ball jumps at me taking time away.

I just can't wait to start my backswing till the ball is nearly crossing the net and I'm set up like I sometimes can w/ other players on routine groundstrokes, I have to recognize where its going as soon as it leaves his racquet and start turning and taking my racquet back as I move to the ball.

I may have the checkpoints off but you know what I mean. Try consciously thinking about getting that racquet back as soon as you recognize fh or bh. It might even feel early and unnatural at first but I think you might be surprised at the results.

hescobal
06-01-2011, 01:52 PM
If you go down in weight, drop your string tension slightly to compensate

spaceman_spiff
06-02-2011, 02:00 AM
I think you will be disappointed with the results if you change frames. Obviously, all three frames you mentioned will feel different from your current stick, and you might end up liking one enough to switch, but that won't fix your problem.

I know it doesn't sound intuitive, but your fatigue has nothing to do with your racket. Your real problem is in your legs and technique. You're not moving your feet, transferring your body weight, and turning your core properly, and the harder hitters are exposing this weakness.

This is why I don't think you'll notice any difference if you change frames. It doesn't matter which racket you choose to use, it won't improve your footwork, technique, and fitness, so you'll still have the same problem at the end of matches. You'd be better off working on your footwork and technique.

After all, you already use a frame that's not particularly heavy and doesn't have a terribly high swingweight, and yet you already have problems with fatigue.

fuzz nation
06-03-2011, 05:48 AM
I agree with our pal spiff. If you're trading bullets with harder hitters, a switch to a lighter frame would probably make you feel as though you're trying to hit baseballs with a plastic whiffle ball bat. You could actually be feeling the fundamental need to learn quicker, more efficient stroke preparation. I don't want to talk you out of this racquet idea so much as caution you about what to expect with lighter gear.

Absolutely try out any racquets that catch your attention. The truth is most often in the test drive I think. A few years back, I was convinced that I needed to lighten up so that I could "whup" on the ball more effectively and when I tried out a LM Radical (a much lighter alternative to my old ProStaffs), I initially thought I was in heaven. It seemed like an effortless hitter, but after I got a pair of them and played for a few months, it was painfully apparent that I was missing the heft and stability in my old racquets in every single aspect of my game.

Not asserting that you need to use the gear that I use, but just giving you a sort of heads-up concerning that aspect of having "enough" of that heft in your frames so that you can hit with authority when the heat is on. I like to go to the net when I can, so my racquets typically feel okay as long as they're around 12.5 oz. with lots of head-light balance. I've tried several lighter options other than those LM Radicals, but without "enough" of that inertia in the racquet for me, there's too much of the ball pushing the frame around.

If you've haven't experimented with the balance in your current racquet, you may want to see what happens when you put some lead under your grip and make things more head-light overall. It's easy enough to remove it if you don't like it, but it can make your racquet quicker in the handling department without feeling too beefy or giving away stability in the hoop.

Rabbit
06-03-2011, 06:29 AM
I have recently stair stepped my frame weight down C10 -> Aerostorm -> EXO3 Tour Team. With a leather grip, the Prince comes in at 11 ounces (the C10 was 12.5 ounces).

I have not found want for anything since changing. It did take a little for my serve to work, but now that seems remedied as well.

Truthfully, I can find no downside to the Prince. I do not find the plastic-bat-syndrome to be true when playing against harder hitters at all. Quite the contrary, I find that I am able to meet the ball better. The Prince's lighter weight and more even balance are a Godsend to my 52-year old timing.

The Prince's flex is also quite arm friendly and the string pattern is user friendly as well.

I say give it a chance, demo and see what you think.

spaceman_spiff
06-03-2011, 08:05 AM
I agree with our pal spiff. If you're trading bullets with harder hitters, a switch to a lighter frame would probably make you feel as though you're trying to hit baseballs with a plastic whiffle ball bat. You could actually be feeling the fundamental need to learn quicker, more efficient stroke preparation. I don't want to talk you out of this racquet idea so much as caution you about what to expect with lighter gear.

Absolutely try out any racquets that catch your attention. The truth is most often in the test drive I think. A few years back, I was convinced that I needed to lighten up so that I could "whup" on the ball more effectively and when I tried out a LM Radical (a much lighter alternative to my old ProStaffs), I initially thought I was in heaven. It seemed like an effortless hitter, but after I got a pair of them and played for a few months, it was painfully apparent that I was missing the heft and stability in my old racquets in every single aspect of my game.

Not asserting that you need to use the gear that I use, but just giving you a sort of heads-up concerning that aspect of having "enough" of that heft in your frames so that you can hit with authority when the heat is on. I like to go to the net when I can, so my racquets typically feel okay as long as they're around 12.5 oz. with lots of head-light balance. I've tried several lighter options other than those LM Radicals, but without "enough" of that inertia in the racquet for me, there's too much of the ball pushing the frame around.

If you've haven't experimented with the balance in your current racquet, you may want to see what happens when you put some lead under your grip and make things more head-light overall. It's easy enough to remove it if you don't like it, but it can make your racquet quicker in the handling department without feeling too beefy or giving away stability in the hoop.

I have recently stair stepped my frame weight down C10 -> Aerostorm -> EXO3 Tour Team. With a leather grip, the Prince comes in at 11 ounces (the C10 was 12.5 ounces).

I have not found want for anything since changing. It did take a little for my serve to work, but now that seems remedied as well.

Truthfully, I can find no downside to the Prince. I do not find the plastic-bat-syndrome to be true when playing against harder hitters at all. Quite the contrary, I find that I am able to meet the ball better. The Prince's lighter weight and more even balance are a Godsend to my 52-year old timing.

The Prince's flex is also quite arm friendly and the string pattern is user friendly as well.

I say give it a chance, demo and see what you think.

The point I'm trying to make is that, if the weight of the racket was the real problem for the OP, he would see it straight away in the first set (most likely in the first game).

But the fact that he can swing his frame relatively fast and simply starts to feel fatigued later in the match indicates that the problem lies elsewhere (his footwork/fitness). Because of that, I don't think he's going to have different results regardless of how heavy or light his frame is (within a reasonable range obviously).

Now, if he was having problems with his timing, then I would understand the desire to switch. But late-match fatigue almost always indicates an issue with footwork and/or fitness, and neither of those is improved by switching frames. Like I said before, he might end up finding a frame he likes more than the Speedport, but that won't fix the problem.

fuzz nation
06-03-2011, 11:22 AM
Agree with you entirely, spiff. I think that I focused more on racquets with my post just because of the section we're in, but I also believe that our OP has to review the habits that determine his setup and swing timing.

It's awful when I lose all confidence in the specific frame I'm using, but I think that it's easier to put the spotlight of scrutiny on the racquet I'm using instead of how well I'm managing my legs and movement. Jim, you're certainly free to shop around and use any racquet you really enjoy, but keep in mind that even a 12+ oz. racquet shouldn't be a major chore to use for healthy slugging just so long as you can move to your strike zone and get that swing started without unnecessary delay. Learn to rush that first move toward the ball and you won't need to rush your swing to catch up to it.

gramdacious
06-03-2011, 11:50 AM
It's awful when I lose all confidence in the specific frame I'm using, but I think that it's easier to put the spotlight of scrutiny on the racquet I'm using instead of how well I'm managing my legs and movement.

totally agree. Once the movement goes all else usually does as well making the racquet almost irrelevant.