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View Full Version : Post Op Recovery Racquet Question


140.6
01-13-2012, 08:44 AM
Ok, short story I had a biceps tenodesis (biceps tendon reattachment near the head of the humerus) surgery on December 9th. Fortunately, I did not need any rotator cuff work done at the same time. The first time I will be freed up to "hit" will be early-to-mid-March. Probably won't be able to start serving until early-to-mid-April.

So the question is should I stick with my current sticks (Prostaff 6.0 with Wilson Nat Gut at 68lbs) or go for something a little lighter during recovery and then switch back? Pretty sure that I will need to drop the tension in whatever I play with for the short term. Comments/recommendations appreciated. Thanks.

6-2/6-4/6-0
01-13-2012, 10:45 AM
The thing that I would worry about more than the stress of swinging a racket that is a little heavier, would be the shock that is passed on to your arm by a lighter racket. A larger, more forgiving head might be a benefit during this period, but in terms of going for a light stick, I would tend to say building up your playing time gradually and conservatively would be more beneficial than using a lighter racket that will not meet the ball with as much force as the heavier stick at a given swing speed (which will probably be a bit lower than normal as you are building up strength again).

I had both shoulders rebuilt a number of years ago, and coming back, I felt better off with a compliant racket that was heavy and stood up to the impact of the ball than I did testing out lighter sticks with bigger heads that were supposed to 'assist' me a little more.

140.6
01-13-2012, 11:14 AM
The thing that I would worry about more than the stress of swinging a racket that is a little heavier, would be the shock that is passed on to your arm by a lighter racket. A larger, more forgiving head might be a benefit during this period, but in terms of going for a light stick, I would tend to say building up your playing time gradually and conservatively would be more beneficial than using a lighter racket that will not meet the ball with as much force as the heavier stick at a given swing speed (which will probably be a bit lower than normal as you are building up strength again).

I had both shoulders rebuilt a number of years ago, and coming back, I felt better off with a compliant racket that was heavy and stood up to the impact of the ball than I did testing out lighter sticks with bigger heads that were supposed to 'assist' me a little more.

Thanks. It occurred to me that the solid-stand-up-to-impact racquets and lighter racquets are pretty much mutually exclusive.

And you bring up another interesting point in that my swing speed will definitely be off (read slower) when I start back and the Prostaff already has a pretty low swing weight. The more I think about it the more just lowering the tension to mid-range and, doing as you suggested, taking it easy/slow coming back is probably going to be best.

On a side note I have to say this is really frustrating how slow the rehab is, it seems like it is even slower than the ACL reconstruction rehab I did some twenty years ago.

Readers
01-13-2012, 11:29 AM
IMO stiffness is more important.

I think vintage has a line that's super soft, with 40-50 RA. You might want to use them until you are 100% recovered.

TennisMaverick
01-13-2012, 02:24 PM
Ok, short story I had a biceps tenodesis (biceps tendon reattachment near the head of the humerus) surgery on December 9th. Fortunately, I did not need any rotator cuff work done at the same time. The first time I will be freed up to "hit" will be early-to-mid-March. Probably won't be able to start serving until early-to-mid-April.

So the question is should I stick with my current sticks (Prostaff 6.0 with Wilson Nat Gut at 68lbs) or go for something a little lighter during recovery and then switch back? Pretty sure that I will need to drop the tension in whatever I play with for the short term. Comments/recommendations appreciated. Thanks.

The heaviest that you can handle is what you should use, so that it will do the work for you, and absorb the impact of the ball. You did not say your level of play, but frequently, real small head size users would make their life easier if they used a larger, more forgiving head. For you, even moving to a PB 10 Mid would be much more forgiving. The Wilson Pro Staffs have very small sweet spots. Even if you played at a 6.0 or higher, after not being on-court for so long, your tracking skills, reflexes, eye's accommodation ability, spacial judgement on the court, general conditioning, read and reacting skills, etc., will all be highly compromised, and you will mishit. A lot. If you stick with your current frame, drop the tension at least 10 lbs. This will help your arm, increase the size of the sweet spot, and make-up for what will have to be a slower, compromised swing.

140.6
01-13-2012, 04:31 PM
The heaviest that you can handle is what you should use, so that it will do the work for you, and absorb the impact of the ball. You did not say your level of play, but frequently, real small head size users would make their life easier if they used a larger, more forgiving head. For you, even moving to a PB 10 Mid would be much more forgiving. The Wilson Pro Staffs have very small sweet spots. Even if you played at a 6.0 or higher, after not being on-court for so long, your tracking skills, reflexes, eye's accommodation ability, spacial judgement on the court, general conditioning, read and reacting skills, etc., will all be highly compromised, and you will mishit. A lot. If you stick with your current frame, drop the tension at least 10 lbs. This will help your arm, increase the size of the sweet spot, and make-up for what will have to be a slower, compromised swing.

Thanks, I appreciate the help and you confirmed what I thought would be the minimum I needed to do, drop the tension in to the mid 50s.

As to my level of play I can certainly tell you I am not nor have I ever been 6.0 or higher. And I have not played USTA sanctioned leagues or tournaments since I was in college. If I had to guess based on the ratings and the fact that I played DI tennis I am probably 4.5-5.0. The problem with "today's" racquets for me is that they don't feel as solid as the PS85 which I played with in college.

I have demoed racquets from Babolat, Head, Prince and Wilson (specifically, Pure Storm Ltd, Pure Storm, Prestige Pro, Prestige MP, Rebel, POG, Tour Diablo, KPS88, BLX Six-One Tour, BLX Six-One 95 16-18 and 18-20). All of these racquets were nice racquets and some were better suited for my game then others but none of them seemed to fit like the Pro Staffs.

Spec wise the new Head IG Prestige Pro is pretty close, a little too head heavy and little too stiff. I can fix the balance but not the stiffness. The IG Prestige MP might work with some modification. However, these are hollow frames and my guess is they feel "brassy" like the YT Prestiges did, at least to me. Maybe the new BLX PS95 will be an option but not without some pretty serious modifications.

If I had to describe my game it would lean very heavily toward serve and volley. I have very classically trained strokes with a continental forehand and two handed backhand, I hit a very flat ball and the difference between my game and the (much) younger guys I am playing with is that their games are much more spin oriented. I guess its just a generational thing in terms of how we all have learned how to play the game.

Sorry for the long reply and thanks again.

TennisMaverick
01-13-2012, 04:53 PM
Thanks, I appreciate the help and you confirmed what I thought would be the minimum I needed to do, drop the tension in to the mid 50s.

As to my level of play I can certainly tell you I am not nor have I ever been 6.0 or higher. And I have not played USTA sanctioned leagues or tournaments since I was in college. If I had to guess based on the ratings and the fact that I played DI tennis I am probably 4.5-5.0. The problem with "today's" racquets for me is that they don't feel as solid as the PS85 which I played with in college.

I have demoed racquets from Babolat, Head, Prince and Wilson (specifically, Pure Storm Ltd, Pure Storm, Prestige Pro, Prestige MP, Rebel, POG, Tour Diablo, KPS88, BLX Six-One Tour, BLX Six-One 95 16-18 and 18-20). All of these racquets were nice racquets and some were better suited for my game then others but none of them seemed to fit like the Pro Staffs.

Spec wise the new Head IG Prestige Pro is pretty close, a little too head heavy and little too stiff. I can fix the balance but not the stiffness. The IG Prestige MP might work with some modification. However, these are hollow frames and my guess is they feel "brassy" like the YT Prestiges did, at least to me. Maybe the new BLX PS95 will be an option but not without some pretty serious modifications.

If I had to describe my game it would lean very heavily toward serve and volley. I have very classically trained strokes with a continental forehand and two handed backhand, I hit a very flat ball and the difference between my game and the (much) younger guys I am playing with is that their games are much more spin oriented. I guess its just a generational thing in terms of how we all have learned how to play the game.

Sorry for the long reply and thanks again.

If you played DI for a solid team, you would be considered at least a 5.5 BITD.

It is interesting how many players gravitated to the 85in2 Pro Staff during the '90's, which obviously had much to do with Sampras and Courier. I say interesting, because when the stick came out in like in '85, all of us were using smaller heads, and didn't like the PS 85in2 because the sweet spot was the size of a quarter, much smaller than the Kneissl and Dunlops, the Babs of the time. The 6.0, was specifically designed for old school type players, as a transition frame from smaller heads, and was very successful in doing so. I can understand why it works for you and why you are having difficulty replicating the 6.0 type feel.

One of your issues is that your sticks have to be real old. They have definitely lost their crispness. Those dead frames are adding to your arm issues, and why you have to string them so tight. The closest frames to your old traditional graphite 6.0s is the C10 Pro. BITD, some of my players for whatever stupid irresponsible reasons, needed to borrow sticks for a match, and C10 Pro and Wilson 6.0 users interchanged their frames. If you want the traditional feel in a 16x19, demo one. They will never stop making this model. If you switch to a modern frame, again, I would recommend the PB 10 Mid, as it should be a fairly seamless transition.

Tim
01-13-2012, 05:06 PM
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140.6
01-13-2012, 05:15 PM
If you played DI for a solid team, you would be considered at least a 5.5 BITD.

It is interesting how many players gravitated to the 85in2 Pro Staff during the '90's, which obviously had much to do with Sampras and Courier. I say interesting, because when the stick came out in like in '85, all of us were using smaller heads, and didn't like the PS 85in2 because the sweet spot was the size of a quarter, much smaller than the Kneissl and Dunlops, the Babs of the time. The 6.0, was specifically designed for old school type players, as a transition frame from smaller heads, and was very successful in doing so. I can understand why it works for you and why you are having difficulty replicating the 6.0 type feel.

One of your issues is that your sticks have to be real old. They have definitely lost their crispness. Those dead frames are adding to your arm issues, and why you have to string them so tight. The closest frames to your old traditional graphite 6.0s is the C10 Pro. BITD, some of my players for whatever stupid irresponsible reasons, needed to borrow sticks for a match, and C10 Pro and Wilson 6.0 users interchanged their frames. If you want the traditional feel in a 16x19, demo one. They will never stop making this model. If you switch to a modern frame, again, I would recommend the PB 10 Mid, as it should be a fairly seamless transition.

Well, I have a hard time believing that I am playing at a 5.5 level with a 20+ year break from the sport but I could see 5.0 on a good day.

It's funny you mention the mid-80s because I was playing with the Wilson Ultra 2 Mid (85 sq in) until they were discontinued in about 87-88 when I switched to the Prostaffs. I might not have been clear earlier but my Prostaffs are the current reissued version and were purchased in July of 2011. I string them that tight to reign in power level, which may actually sound funny as most would not consider it an overly powerful frame.

Thanks again for the suggestion on the PB 10, I'll give it a try when I can get back on the court.

Captain Haddock
01-13-2012, 05:33 PM
I don't know about the new Prestige Pro, but the previous one (YouTek version) was not very arm friendly and made my elbow sore every time I tried to use it (and I have played for over 30 years with over 12 oz, thin-beamed frames).

The Prince O3 Tour / Ozone Tour / EXO Tour is a really dampened, pillowy frame that transfers zero shock to the arm (unfortunately, it also transfers zero feel). Have you considered the EXO3 Graphite 93? It's an excellent racquet.

TennisMaverick
01-13-2012, 05:40 PM
Well, I have a hard time believing that I am playing at a 5.5 level with a 20+ year break from the sport but I could see 5.0 on a good day.

It's funny you mention the mid-80s because I was playing with the Wilson Ultra 2 Mid (85 sq in) until they were discontinued in about 87-88 when I switched to the Prostaffs. I might not have been clear earlier but my Prostaffs are the current reissued version and were purchased in July of 2011. I string them that tight to reign in power level, which may actually sound funny as most would not consider it an overly powerful frame.

Thanks again for the suggestion on the PB 10, I'll give it a try when I can get back on the court.

OK...I blew it! I was under the impression that you were using the Edberg frame....my bad! Then take my Volkl recommendations and throw them out the window. Finding a replacement for the PSC 85in2, is nearly impossible. Perhaps the Donnay X-Dual Core Gold 94? Go back to dropping tension.

You don't lose what you earned just because you aged. Your resume is who you are. I'm 54, but the fact that I cannot play at my BITD 6.5 level, doesn't mean that I wasn't 6.5. Rod Laver is still a 7.0, he is just a 7.0 75-year old.

When that Ultra Mid came-out, it was early '82. I was using the Wilson Ultra PWS, when Wilson told me that they were discontinuing it because Steffi was going to an 85in2 and needed me to switch. That forced me to go to Kneissl, because BITD, 85in2 was HUGE. Then, 2 months later, Wilson reconsidered and wanted to continue the Ultra PWS, but after a week of getting accustomed to the Kneissl, I actually played better. So you never know; make a switch that you are forced to do, and you may play better!

roundiesee
01-13-2012, 06:17 PM
Thanks, I appreciate the help and you confirmed what I thought would be the minimum I needed to do, drop the tension in to the mid 50s.

As to my level of play I can certainly tell you I am not nor have I ever been 6.0 or higher. And I have not played USTA sanctioned leagues or tournaments since I was in college. If I had to guess based on the ratings and the fact that I played DI tennis I am probably 4.5-5.0. The problem with "today's" racquets for me is that they don't feel as solid as the PS85 which I played with in college.

I have demoed racquets from Babolat, Head, Prince and Wilson (specifically, Pure Storm Ltd, Pure Storm, Prestige Pro, Prestige MP, Rebel, POG, Tour Diablo, KPS88, BLX Six-One Tour, BLX Six-One 95 16-18 and 18-20). All of these racquets were nice racquets and some were better suited for my game then others but none of them seemed to fit like the Pro Staffs.

Spec wise the new Head IG Prestige Pro is pretty close, a little too head heavy and little too stiff. I can fix the balance but not the stiffness. The IG Prestige MP might work with some modification. However, these are hollow frames and my guess is they feel "brassy" like the YT Prestiges did, at least to me. Maybe the new BLX PS95 will be an option but not without some pretty serious modifications.

If I had to describe my game it would lean very heavily toward serve and volley. I have very classically trained strokes with a continental forehand and two handed backhand, I hit a very flat ball and the difference between my game and the (much) younger guys I am playing with is that their games are much more spin oriented. I guess its just a generational thing in terms of how we all have learned how to play the game.

Sorry for the long reply and thanks again.

Sorry, I am a bit puzzled by the inclusion of the above 2 as not being as "solid" as a "prostaff"; I would have thought both the KPS88 and the BLX 90 were very soild rackets with the typical "prostaff" feel?

140.6
01-14-2012, 04:04 AM
Sorry, I am a bit puzzled by the inclusion of the above 2 as not being as "solid" as a "prostaff"; I would have thought both the KPS88 and the BLX 90 were very soild rackets with the typical "prostaff" feel?

Poor choice of words in describing the BLX 6.1 Tour and KPS88, they both have a similar solid feel but are spec wise very different frames. I should not have lumped all of those racquets together and then said they are not as solid as the PS85. I should have been more specific.

140.6
01-14-2012, 04:10 AM
When that Ultra Mid came-out, it was early '82. I was using the Wilson Ultra PWS, when Wilson told me that they were discontinuing it because Steffi was going to an 85in2 and needed me to switch. That forced me to go to Kneissl, because BITD, 85in2 was HUGE. Then, 2 months later, Wilson reconsidered and wanted to continue the Ultra PWS, but after a week of getting accustomed to the Kneissl, I actually played better. So you never know; make a switch that you are forced to do, and you may play better!

I swear, it might just be nostalgia, that the Ultra 2 Mid was my favorite racquet of all time. I remember having to switch to the PS85 and it was not as easy a transition as you would have thought. Any way thanks for the help, I'll just take my rehab a day at a time and see how things go.

TennisMaverick
01-14-2012, 04:16 AM
I swear, it might just be nostalgia, that the Ultra 2 Mid was my favorite racquet of all time. I remember having to switch to the PS85 and it was not as easy a transition as you would have thought. Any way thanks for the help, I'll just take my rehab a day at a time and see how things go.

I agree. IMPO, the Ultra 2 Mid was a better frame than the PSC 85in2.

fuzz nation
01-14-2012, 07:56 AM
My thought on trying to make a healthy comeback is more based in the sort of tennis you play instead of the specific gear you play with out there. If you're swinging your familiar racquet, that's more or less your personal reference point I think. To some degree, you've probably got a rather good ability to use it without having to consciously focus on it much at all.

Since you're coming back from that surgery though, you're obviously going to have to meter yourself through your early outings and stay away from playing up in top gear. I've found that it's easier to do that on the practice grinder than when I'm playing for points in some sort of competitive setting. In those practice sessions, I can keep much more of my mind's eye looking at what I'm doing and even through the course of an extended workout, I can more easily resist going for too much.

Not the same when playing for points, at least for me. That's when I'm using whatever I already know and can play more unconsciously when trying to earn a point. Most of my focus there is on my opponents and their shots. THAT'S when it's a lot tougher to resist overdoing it in my opinion. I've also tried playing with especially heavy "training racquets" to help with pushing me toward better footwork and swing timing. They can be nicely demanding on the practice courts, but I've actually hurt myself using them in match play when I wasn't using them enough to be familiar with them.

Use the gear that your muscle memory is already built around, but stick with practice mode for a while so that you can better monitor and meter your exertion. If you really feel as though you need a less hefty option while you're on the comeback trail, keep things grounded in reality. A different racquet that's only a few tenths of an ounce lighter may seem a lot more manageable, but I still won't be a magic crutch that allows you to go full speed right away.

Sorry for mastering the obvious, but rushing a recovery is tricky business. For the record, I like the Volkl C10 a whole lot and if you think you need a manageable softy to help you along, that one could be worth a try. Mine have some lead on the handles for more HL balance and they've been wonderful all-court performers for me.

140.6
01-14-2012, 11:11 AM
My thought on trying to make a healthy comeback is more based in the sort of tennis you play instead of the specific gear you play with out there. If you're swinging your familiar racquet, that's more or less your personal reference point I think. To some degree, you've probably got a rather good ability to use it without having to consciously focus on it much at all.

Since you're coming back from that surgery though, you're obviously going to have to meter yourself through your early outings and stay away from playing up in top gear. I've found that it's easier to do that on the practice grinder than when I'm playing for points in some sort of competitive setting. In those practice sessions, I can keep much more of my mind's eye looking at what I'm doing and even through the course of an extended workout, I can more easily resist going for too much.

Not the same when playing for points, at least for me. That's when I'm using whatever I already know and can play more unconsciously when trying to earn a point. Most of my focus there is on my opponents and their shots. THAT'S when it's a lot tougher to resist overdoing it in my opinion. I've also tried playing with especially heavy "training racquets" to help with pushing me toward better footwork and swing timing. They can be nicely demanding on the practice courts, but I've actually hurt myself using them in match play when I wasn't using them enough to be familiar with them.

Use the gear that your muscle memory is already built around, but stick with practice mode for a while so that you can better monitor and meter your exertion. If you really feel as though you need a less hefty option while you're on the comeback trail, keep things grounded in reality. A different racquet that's only a few tenths of an ounce lighter may seem a lot more manageable, but I still won't be a magic crutch that allows you to go full speed right away.

Sorry for mastering the obvious, but rushing a recovery is tricky business. For the record, I like the Volkl C10 a whole lot and if you think you need a manageable softy to help you along, that one could be worth a try. Mine have some lead on the handles for more HL balance and they've been wonderful all-court performers for me.

Fuzz, thanks. Believe it or not "mastering the obvious" is not necessary a bad thing, especially for someone like me. I tend to be "type A" in everything I do and for that reason, among others, I have to constantly remind myself that this repair and rehab will take a while and I will be healthier for it.

And you are absolutely correct that my early forays back the court will be in practice mode only. We'll see how dropping the tension in my current sticks works out and go from there.