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View Full Version : Time to get a lighter racquet?


Gasolina
01-23-2012, 05:11 PM
I'm a 4.0 and my racquet is in my sig. I played against a 5.0 tonight and got my *** handed to me. All my backhands were late and I was spraying most my errors to the court on the left. Made a lot of errors when he served out wide to my backhand again.

After the match my arm was so sore and it got me thinking, do I really have any business using a 11.9 ounce racquet? Sure when i play with my co-4.0-4.5ers the heavier racquet gives me a lot of power and spin. But is it all just a fallacy?

LeeD
01-23-2012, 05:21 PM
It's never clearcut.
I'm about the same level, and when I lose to 5.0's, feel generally the same.
Surprisingly, it's not the racket! Against better players, you need to hit better shots so they don't hit their best shots against you. If you can do that with your current racket, you might be 5.0.
If you start with a lighter racket, until you compensate, you are mostly hitting weaker, less effective shots that might land short more often, leading to MORE PROBLEMS.
So what to do?
I often play with tournament 3.5's, recently promoted 3.5's, and some 4.5's, at least more often than finding a lonely 5.0 to play against. I need to beat those two first level players, much more importantly than hitting great shots against a 5.0. For me, a lighter racket allows me to thrash lesser players easily, while possibly making it harder for me to stay even with the 4.5's and ups. Well, I'm a 4.0! Using Federer's racket, or DanicaPatricks NASCAR, will not make me a better player or driver, not at my level.
OTOH, maybe you are young, strong, uninjured, and can wield a 12 oz racket? I'm old, weak, very injured, and seem sluggish on reflex shots with a 12 oz racket.

fgs
01-23-2012, 06:00 PM
your problem is not the racquet but your timing! you are simply not used to the pace of this level. you would need to hit from time to time with someone at this level and you would get your timing right.
the pain came from constantly hitting late which is very jarring on the joints.

rdis10093
01-23-2012, 06:06 PM
even if you used a lighter racquet, that big of a differce in ntrp would still be a beatdown

Maui19
01-23-2012, 06:27 PM
The two pros at my club are really good players (5.5+) and both use surprisingly light racquets.

LeeD
01-23-2012, 06:36 PM
I'd imagine, a teaching pro would choose to wield the racket that they are pushing (with the blessing of the racket manufacturer), is light enough to use for feeding, and something that looks clean and classy.

Ducker
01-23-2012, 06:41 PM
good question here. im at 4.5 pushing close to 5.0. I can hang with my 5.0 hitting partner but always lose. The games are very very close and often he comes back to win. Sometimes I wonder if I should add a bit of weight to my racquet. My current racquet is 11.5. I am 5'11 160lbs. good shape, work out on off tennis days.

LeeD
01-23-2012, 06:52 PM
Who can really tell?
Heavier racket hits harder IF you can swing it repeatedly, and hit through the ball.
Lighter racket might add more spin if you swing it faster, and brush the ball more.
Serves, heavier tends to be more consistent, while lighter can be faster AND slower, depending on mishits.
Second serves tend to favor lighter rackets, for my game and body.
To you need more spin, or do you need more plowthru?
Is hitting heavier going to help your game, or is hitting more accurately with ease going to help your game?
Do you tend to first strike, or do you counterpunch.
And in the end, your weapon of choice, a 7.63NATO or a 5.56 US round?

Thepowerofchoice
01-23-2012, 07:01 PM
your problem is not the racquet but your timing! you are simply not used to the pace of this level. you would need to hit from time to time with someone at this level and you would get your timing right.
the pain came from constantly hitting late which is very jarring on the joints.

To Op, there is your answer right here^^^. Going lighter "may" helps you get a few extra ball back (may be not). But IMO going lighter may ended up hurting your game overall.

blackfrido
01-23-2012, 07:24 PM
I'm a 4.0 and my racquet is in my sig. I played against a 5.0 tonight and got my *** handed to me. All my backhands were late and I was spraying most my errors to the court on the left. Made a lot of errors when he served out wide to my backhand again.

After the match my arm was so sore and it got me thinking, do I really have any business using a 11.9 ounce racquet? Sure when i play with my co-4.0-4.5ers the heavier racquet gives me a lot of power and spin. But is it all just a fallacy?

Hey Gas, I play the same racquet as you play......the only thing that comes to my mind is; play with fellows at your level or work on improving your game. I'm like you are a 4.0/4.5 player and even playing players at my own level sometimes in long matches I end with my arm in sore.
I think this racquet is a little demanding, but I like it. It's very solid.

KenC
01-23-2012, 11:46 PM
Heavy racquets aren't just for developing more power as you get better, they also are necessary for stability against harder hitting opponents. Grab a Dunlop 500 and a hard hitter will knock the racquet right out of your hand.

I continue to say on this board to no avail, but there is no racquet in the universe that will help you play better against a 5.0. It's all you. You didn't lose because your racquet is too heavy, you lost because you played a better player. The only way to beat better players is to become an even better player. Buying a new, lighter racquet won't magically make you a better player. Quite the opposite.

Chyeaah
01-23-2012, 11:48 PM
^ unless he can't handle the weight of his current racquet.

Heavier racquets give you more power and less spin i believe. You should stick to your current racquet.

tennisinoc
01-24-2012, 12:03 AM
your problem is not the racquet but your timing! you are simply not used to the pace of this level. you would need to hit from time to time with someone at this level and you would get your timing right.
the pain came from constantly hitting late which is very jarring on the joints.

I completly agree with this. As you move up
levels the pace of the game increases so your timing is off.
This is why your backhand was late and explains your sprayed shots.
Plus better footwork is crucial at higher levels to keep up
with the better shots and ball placement.

Gasolina
01-24-2012, 06:54 AM
Thanks for the comments guys. I didn't get to check back on this thread as I was icing my arm and had to take care of the little one.

More info about me. Just turned 30, but I've only played tennis for 3 years. So I play a modern game, relying on topspin and short balls to put away. One of my favorite shots is the DTL backhand which was non-existent yesterday.

I think all of you hit the nail in the head. It's just the guy was too good for me and the pace on his shots, especially on my backhand, was something I wasn't accustomed to.

The reason I was using the RQiS 1 Tour in the first place was the adage of "go as heavy as you can" mentality. Once I tried going over 12 ounces and my arm paid for it. So I'm dead set at just under 12 ounces.

bluetrain4
01-24-2012, 11:30 AM
It may help, and there is a time to switch frames for any number of reasons, whether it be heavier, lighter, more flexible, etc.

But, basing a frame switch on getting whooped by a substantially better player isn't really a good choice. Maybe a more powerful, more manueverable frame would have let you get a few more balls back, let you get a big serve in here or there. But, if he's a 5.0 and you're a 4.0, you were going to get whooped anyway and you'd probably still be late on a lot of shots.

Gasolina
01-24-2012, 12:00 PM
It may help, and there is a time to switch frames for any number of reasons, whether it be heavier, lighter, more flexible, etc.

But, basing a frame switch on getting whooped by a substantially better player isn't really a good choice. Maybe a more powerful, more manueverable frame would have let you get a few more balls back, let you get a big serve in here or there. But, if he's a 5.0 and you're a 4.0, you were going to get whooped anyway and you'd probably still be late on a lot of shots.
True, but as a recreational player, wouldn't I be better off with a slightly lighter racquet (thinking of removing all the lead in my XL 95)? I mean, I'm not going to get any stronger, might as well go down in weight so at least I'd have a chance?

Don't know if I'm explaining it correctly. I was thinking maybe the weight of the racquet is holding me back. If I stcik with a lower racquet, I could still work on my timing, proper forehand mechanics, and anticipation... I might not be able to work on those while lugging around that 12 ouncer.

Ducker
01-24-2012, 12:13 PM
Unless you try you will never truely know. So I say do it.

But what makes you think you wont get any stronger. If I were you. Id be in the gym doing forearm exercises so that I could manuever the 12oz. Just playing with the 12oz racquet day in and day out will make you stronger.

Only peice of advice that I can give you is the things worth having are worth waiting for. If you want to beat or hang with this 5.0 player your going to put the work in and possible stick it out with the 12oz. Get in the gym and make it so you can.

Ducker
01-24-2012, 12:16 PM
To add a bit more.

Going ligher might allow you to block/whip/flick back a few extra balls here or there.

But on the other side of the coin how fulfilling would it be for you to be able to consistantly hit a heavy ball that even your 5.0 partner is having trouble with. Making him feel how you felt. Making him question wether is racquet is light or heavy enough.

Bedrock
01-24-2012, 12:32 PM
1111111111111111111111111

Bedrock
01-24-2012, 12:33 PM
Did you Gazolina play against left-handed ?

kaiser
01-24-2012, 02:32 PM
Try whatever you like, but do keep things in perspective. Dropping from 12 to e.g. 11 oz can make a significant difference in the effective hitting weight (plowthrough) of your racket relative to the weight of the ball (up to 50%!). However, relative to the weight of your hand and arm and the strength of your muscles, 1 oz is a very small amount that a little exercise should easily take care of. Remember that in order to swing your racket you first have to swing your hand/arm/shoulder and if you need to swing that whole chain a little faster to make up for the loss in plowthrough, that could easily cost you more strength and endurance than you gain from swinging a slightly lighter racket. I mean, 'lugging a 12 oz racket', give me a break...

LeeD
01-24-2012, 03:01 PM
Not sure if "plowthru" is relevant at lower playing levels and modern strokes. If the incoming ball is by say....DelPo, yes, it's important.
A really lightweight racket CAN hit hard, if the incoming ball is not incoming hard.
I can "crush" sitters than come slow and short.
I can't sustain depth and spin if the incoming ball is hit hard and placed decently.
That's with a 10 oz racket, coming off a 12.
Remember, the lighter racket is not only easier to swing, it's inherently more powerful due to increased stiffness and larger head size.

fuzz nation
01-24-2012, 03:17 PM
True, but as a recreational player, wouldn't I be better off with a slightly lighter racquet (thinking of removing all the lead in my XL 95)? I mean, I'm not going to get any stronger, might as well go down in weight so at least I'd have a chance?

Don't know if I'm explaining it correctly. I was thinking maybe the weight of the racquet is holding me back. If I stcik with a lower racquet, I could still work on my timing, proper forehand mechanics, and anticipation... I might not be able to work on those while lugging around that 12 ouncer.

I hear you on this general issue and although it's tough to know exactly what's going on with your game in particular, I'll offer a few considerations. Keep in mind that this is coming through the lens of my personal experience - your story just has a familiar ring to it.

First, let's talk about that racquet (the RQiS 1 Tour). I have one of those frames myself and for the sake of comparison, that Yonex is lighter than the gear I'm used to swinging - and I'm no gorilla. While I don't think that the heft of that frame is unreasonable, it's also one of the more mellow (my lingo for LOW powered) racquets I've used that's semi-current. You look like you have yours strung up with a co-poly, so while you've got a super spin-happy rig going on there, it's also not giving you much for free power.

As un-lively as that racquet is in relative terms, you may be over-swinging just to generate decent shots with it. If you can afford to try a more resilient string setup, you may get more zip in your game with less effort. Since I like frames more in the neighborhood of 12.5 oz., I loved the difference I found with that Yonex when I put some 3/9 o'clock lead tape on the hoop. While the inherent softness was still there, the racquet also gained what felt to me like much needed stability and plow-through. Before adding the lead, it was almost like trying to hit a baseball with a whiffle ball bat (for me).

A lighter racquet will swing slightly quicker for you tomorrow and maybe even next week, but unless you address your preparation and stroke timing, a lighter racquet may actually let you get away with more delayed preparation. Without serious coaching and dedication toward altering your swing timing, you might not improve your habits if your racquet lets you get away with being late.

A few years back, I put in some serious work on rebuilding my game so that I could keep up with harder hitters, too. Part of my process included using soft and especially heavy "training racquets" on the practice courts. These forced me to employ both a proper kinetic chain and advanced timing or else I simply couldn't use them for more than 15-20 minutes without exhausting my arm. While this method isn't for everyone, it plainly steered me away from "arming" the ball as I built better stroke habits.

So my impulse is to say that while "it's not the racquet, but proper technique" that will ultimately help you learn to keep up with harder hitters, I'm also leery of the idea of going lighter. It could compound your problems in the long term unless you're putting in some serious work toward re-tooling your game.

LeeD
01-24-2012, 03:21 PM
Problem here is the thought process of ...the pros use this, so must I.
I see no advantage of a 12 oz racket over a 10 when the incoming ball is slow and hit with little spin. Since I"m 4.0, and generally play between 3.5 and 4.5 opponent's, the incoming ball is seldom fast.
I see some advantage in 12+ oz rackets when I"m playing 5.0 or better players. I will lose there no matter what racket I use.
I can beat lower level players more easily with a lightweight racket. A heavier racket tends to punish me when I'm not "on".
Being old and a fart, I often am not "on".

daved
01-24-2012, 11:35 PM
2 thoughts:

1. My experience:

I'm in approximately the same boat as you. I'm older (47) but also started playing only 2-3 years ago and this year I am on 3.5 and 4.0 teams, playing singles. I am fit but skinny (5'11", 155 lbs.).

The POG OS was my first racquet. I easily had a winning season in 3.5 singles with that racquet in my first year of play.

Last year I decided I would change my game. I bought two LM Radical MPs. Leaded them up a bit but nowhere near stock POG OS. Losing season. Hit off the court by the better players.

I'm going back to the POG OS this year.


2. Gabriela Sabatini

She played with a 400g+ racquet (first a Prince Woodie and then a leaded-up POG OS).

You know, right, that even as a spindly 14 year-old she could have kicked our butts, right?

Strength doesn't have anything to do with it. At our level we are occasionally good enough to delude ourselves into thinking we're OK players. We are not. Pros (even skinny 14 year-old girl pros) do so many little things better than we do that the racquet has little to do with it.

KenC
01-25-2012, 12:33 AM
.... I'll offer a few considerations....

Fuzz, I am scared of what this board would be without your considerations and overall tennis wisdom.

Gasolina, I would take your frustration and match it with determination and find a really good "hitting coach" to bring you through this stage. I was blocked at the 4.5 level and got a good hitting coach who was a 5.5 and training with him brought me up to 5.0. Everyone at the 4.5 level has a hard time beating 5.0 players at first just because they are obviously better. Over time and with the right approach you too will become one of those 5.0s and only lose half of the time to them. Your next problem will be good 5.5s.

Maui19
01-25-2012, 02:59 AM
I'd imagine, a teaching pro would choose to wield the racket that they are pushing (with the blessing of the racket manufacturer), is light enough to use for feeding, and something that looks clean and classy.

Not so. Neither "pushes" a particular racquet. They both play in local pro leagues and they demoed several new racquets--and they were just killing it when they were demoing. Their overriding concern is how the racquet performs when they are hitting out (which they both tend to do when giving lessons to our better players).

spaceman_spiff
01-25-2012, 03:11 AM
I see no advantage of a 12 oz racket over a 10 when the incoming ball is slow and hit with little spin.

I'll give you a perfectly good reason. All things being equal, a higher swingweight will generate more power with a slower swing speed.

Most lower-level players don't have the footwork, timing, and technique to hit consistently with high swing speeds. For the most part, the faster they try to swing, the more mistakes they make. So, using a lighter (i.e., lower swingweight) frame would lead to even more mistakes. It's the whole reason pushers (with slow, smooth strokes) beat "hitters" (high swing speeds) so often at the lower levels.

Higher swingweights that allow for slower, smoother swings will usually lead to more consistent shots once the player adjusts to the new power level and stops trying to over swing. Since most people don't like a very head-heavy balance (like you get with game-improvement frames), you end up with frames around 12 oz with a high swingweight and head-light balance.

un6a
01-25-2012, 04:46 AM
I'm a 4.0 and my racquet is in my sig. I played against a 5.0 tonight and got my *** handed to me. All my backhands were late and I was spraying most my errors to the court on the left. Made a lot of errors when he served out wide to my backhand again.

After the match my arm was so sore and it got me thinking, do I really have any business using a 11.9 ounce racquet? Sure when i play with my co-4.0-4.5ers the heavier racquet gives me a lot of power and spin. But is it all just a fallacy?

Thare are chances that lighter racquet will fit your style of play better and help your game, but maybe not and only way to get better results is improve your techniqe. You will never kow until you try it and no one here can tell you the truth, because racquet weight is really personal thing. It depnds mainly on your strenght, playing style and hitting technique.

trilix
01-25-2012, 07:24 AM
Heavy racquets aren't just for developing more power as you get better, they also are necessary for stability against harder hitting opponents. Grab a Dunlop 500 and a hard hitter will knock the racquet right out of your hand.

I continue to say on this board to no avail, but there is no racquet in the universe that will help you play better against a 5.0. It's all you. You didn't lose because your racquet is too heavy, you lost because you played a better player. The only way to beat better players is to become an even better player. Buying a new, lighter racquet won't magically make you a better player. Quite the opposite.

Totally true

TennisCJC
01-25-2012, 08:19 AM
Try whatever you like, but do keep things in perspective. Dropping from 12 to e.g. 11 oz can make a significant difference in the effective hitting weight (plowthrough) of your racket relative to the weight of the ball (up to 50%!). However, relative to the weight of your hand and arm and the strength of your muscles, 1 oz is a very small amount that a little exercise should easily take care of. Remember that in order to swing your racket you first have to swing your hand/arm/shoulder and if you need to swing that whole chain a little faster to make up for the loss in plowthrough, that could easily cost you more strength and endurance than you gain from swinging a slightly lighter racket. I mean, 'lugging a 12 oz racket', give me a break...

^^^^ Yes, agree ^^^^

Drop from 12 to 11 oz is not worth the loss of power and stability unless you get an 11 oz racket with a 330+ swing weight to maintain power and stability. This usually implies you need to go more toward and even balance on 11 oz racket to maintain decent SW. I prefer 4+ points HL.

11.9 oz racket is not that heavy. I am 55 yo and play a customized 12 oz racket, 5 HL, swing weight approximately 335+. I tried the same racket with a slightly lower weight and swing weight and did not play as well. It is MUCH, MUCH better at the higher weight/swingweight. I play roughly 4.0-4.5 level singles and doubles.

Any adult male without a significant injury can easily handle a 11.5-12.5 oz racket. I know guys older than me playing blx 6.1 95 with is 12.3+ oz.

My 5'4", 115 lb wife plays a swing weight around 335 and handles it with no problems.

fgs
01-25-2012, 10:19 AM
the main problem of the op actually is not weight but being pressured by the pace of the better opponent.
lighter sticks would get you even more out of balance on the shots. i happened to play a similarly balanced stick with mine, but just 15grams lighter. same string set-up, same opponent - not only did i have a truly hard time, but because i tended to overswing in order to get some oomph on those shots, my shoulder started sending signals. went back to my regular sticks and enjoyed the rest of the hitting session.

Devilito
01-25-2012, 10:26 AM
I'm weak, out of shape, have poor timing and technique on my shots. Instead of actually fixing all these problems with my game, what racquet should i switch to that will be like a magic wand and make me play better?
.......fixed

Power Player
01-25-2012, 10:44 AM
I'll give you a perfectly good reason. All things being equal, a higher swingweight will generate more power with a slower swing speed.

Most lower-level players don't have the footwork, timing, and technique to hit consistently with high swing speeds. For the most part, the faster they try to swing, the more mistakes they make. So, using a lighter (i.e., lower swingweight) frame would lead to even more mistakes. It's the whole reason pushers (with slow, smooth strokes) beat "hitters" (high swing speeds) so often at the lower levels.

Higher swingweights that allow for slower, smoother swings will usually lead to more consistent shots once the player adjusts to the new power level and stops trying to over swing. Since most people don't like a very head-heavy balance (like you get with game-improvement frames), you end up with frames around 12 oz with a high swingweight and head-light balance.


This is a great post. I use a 12.5 ounce stick now and can swing easy and just crush the ball with pace. Swinging super fast only causes errors usually. With lighter sticks I can swing with incredible racquet head speed, but it causes too many mistakes. I still get very good head speed with my current stick, but it keeps me in control. I still have to break the habit of swinging really fast from my light racquet days, but the heavier stick really helps.

OP, you got rocked because you played 2 levels up and your timing is not good. If you can't get good timing with an 11.9 ounce stick, you need to lift some weights or just spend time on a ball machine hitting out in front. Also whats your footwork like? Are you turned as soon as the ball crosses the net or turning when it bounces?

Gasolina
01-25-2012, 11:19 AM
@Devilito - I'm not looking for a special "magic wand" like the way you put it. I'm just questioning if my racquet selection view of going "as heavy as you can" is really the best for me.

But I do get your point. Getting back to a lighter racquet is not a one step back two steps forward thing. I just really need to fix my game and get over this hump.

fuzz nation
01-25-2012, 11:41 AM
Fuzz, I am scared of what this board would be without your considerations and overall tennis wisdom.

Gasolina, I would take your frustration and match it with determination and find a really good "hitting coach" to bring you through this stage. I was blocked at the 4.5 level and got a good hitting coach who was a 5.5 and training with him brought me up to 5.0. Everyone at the 4.5 level has a hard time beating 5.0 players at first just because they are obviously better. Over time and with the right approach you too will become one of those 5.0s and only lose half of the time to them. Your next problem will be good 5.5s.

No lie Ken - I was going to just quote your first post and say "listen to this", but then I got to rambling... like I do... all too often.

You da man!!!

KenC
01-26-2012, 12:19 AM
No lie Ken - I was going to just quote your first post and say "listen to this", but then I got to rambling... like I do... all too often.

You da man!!!

Oh, this is the first time I disagree with one of your posts! Why? Because You Da' Man! Not me. No one listens to me, but they listen to you.

Gasolina, I think the passage from say 4.5 to 5.0 and above actually doesn't have much to do with racquets, topspin, power and all the common discussion points we see here. In fact, it doesn't even have much to do with stroke mechanics either. Why? Well, you can't get to 4.5 without decent stroke mechanics, good power and spin. What takes someone to the next level is all the other stuff that we ignored in order to get good stroke mechanics, topspin and power. I'm talking about great footwork, developing a mental edge that helps to stay calm and focused, better physical fitness and endurance, and much deeper strategy than "just keep hitting to his backhand until he makes an error."

I would start off right away with a serious analysis of your footwork. Do you split step before every ball? Does your footwork enable you to get to hard hit balls with enough time for good preparation? Do you quickly recover to the spot that best covers his available responses? Are you fast in the vertical movements, as in up and back? Can you cover more court than you do now?

You Can't Be Serious
01-26-2012, 03:48 AM
Thanks for the comments guys. I didn't get to check back on this thread as I was icing my arm and had to take care of the little one.

More info about me. Just turned 30, but I've only played tennis for 3 years. So I play a modern game, relying on topspin and short balls to put away. One of my favorite shots is the DTL backhand which was non-existent yesterday.

I think all of you hit the nail in the head. It's just the guy was too good for me and the pace on his shots, especially on my backhand, was something I wasn't accustomed to.

The reason I was using the RQiS 1 Tour in the first place was the adage of "go as heavy as you can" mentality. Once I tried going over 12 ounces and my arm paid for it. So I'm dead set at just under 12 ounces.

Try the EzoneXI. Perhaps you won't need so much ice after playing.