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View Full Version : Guidelines for matching rackets with swings


vin
02-27-2006, 08:57 AM
It seems to me that most of the fighting over racket types is based on people arguing their opinions with different circumstances in mind. Maybe it will be helpful to discuss the characteristics of certain swing types and how they relate to racket choices. It will probably be a wasted effort, but it's sad to see how the board is degrading (or remaining at a poor state), so I figured I'd give it a try. I have to agree with Marius that this board needs a FAQ!

Groundstrokes:

Flat hitters: Since the racket head goes through the ball more, it is typically easier to time contact and hit the sweet spot. A player with this type of swing may be more likely to have success with a heavier racket. This may apply even more to flat ball hitters that don't rotate the racket head through the ball as much (less whippy). A higher swingweight may not slow them down as much and they may need the extra mass in the head implied by a higher swingweight to generate good power. If the player is a good ball striker who reliably hits the sweetspot, they may notice some benefits from a smaller headsize as well.

With a heavier racket, this type of player must also consider what type of ball they typically have to deal with at their playing level. With the added pace and spin often seen in today's game, the heavier weight and/or smaller headsize may make it more difficult for them to get the racket around on time. They may also have trouble making the fine adjustments needed to hit the sweetspot reliably.

Since this player doesn't have the luxury of spin to help keep the ball in the court, they have to find the balance between a powerful racket that will send balls long, and a control racket that will produce short balls on off centered hits. For some, the short ball is a welcome punishment and reminder that they are not playing well. Others have no desire to be punished like that, but are still aware if they make a mistake. Then there's the people who are just plain lazy and are happy about the racket letting them get away with mistakes.

Spin hitters: With the racket head going up as it goes forward, it becomes more of a challenge to time contact and to hit the sweetspot. Because the up part takes away from the forward part, you typically need more racket speed to generate pace, and this adds to the challange. For this type of player, a lighter racket with a bigger head size will typically make that challenge more reasonable.

If you're a spin hitter with whippy strokes, chances are that timing and finding the sweetspot will be even more of a challenge making the easier to use rackets a more likely fit.

The heavier rackets will potentially supply more pace and spin when swung at the same speed, but the player who chooses this option will have to pay attention to see if the added challenge is causing them more mishits and instances of hitting late and what the overall effect on there game is. The added weight may also make it more difficult to generate the same amount of spin.

Most think it is pretty much suicide for this type of player to play with a small headsize given the added difficulty in finding the sweetspot and the susceptibility of giving up short balls, but you can't leave out the purists who strive for perfection. One person's torture is another's enjoyment. :)

Serves:

Since you're hitting the ball from a toss that you execute yourself, timing and finding the sweetspot is not as much of an issue as it is with groundstrokes. Although, players who serve with spin more often will still have additional challenge. I think the key thing to watch for is your arm getting tired or your serve motion starting to feel sloppy. Although, if you can meet the demands of a racket with your groundstrokes, chances are you'll be able to handle serving with it as well. (just my opinion)

Volleys:

The only thing that I can say here is that you need a racket that is light and maneuverable enough to get the racket on the ball. You may also want a less powerful racket to be able to execute touch volleys, but not so low powered that there's no punch to your put away volleys. Maybe some of the net rushers here can add to this.

Improvement:

Some people think that demanding (heavy and/or small headsize) frames can help improve your game and some think that it can hurt. Both sides of the argument have been faught to death, so if you're curious, try it, but pay close attention to the effects on your game and your enjoyment of it. To paraphrase Rick Macci, good players experiment!

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I'd tried to fit everyone's opinions in the same guidelines to show that most opinions fit somewhere. The point is that the people looking for advice should be informed of all the options and their pros and cons to be able to relate those options to themselves to make what will hopefully be an appropriate choice for them.

If anyone cares to add or disagree, feel free. In fact, I encourage that since I'm not here to try and make myself sound knowledgable or to enforce my opinions on others. I just like talking about tennis and my hope here is for people to see an unbiased view of both the pros and cons of many of the opinions given on this board. That way, maybe we can progress to conversations that are actually interesting. :)

oldguysrule
02-27-2006, 10:05 AM
That makes sense to me. Thanks for taking the time to break it down. I thought you did a good job with the pros and cons.

arnz
02-27-2006, 10:38 AM
Yeah Nice job of putting down the general guidelines...and I noticed you avoided saying stuff like "you can't put spin on a ball with a small head racquet" rather, it may lead to more mishits for "some people" because of the more upward rather than forward motion, and you also noted that some people actually like knowing they are mishitting ;)

loubapache
02-27-2006, 10:48 AM
Great post, vin.

<<
To paraphrase Rick Macci, good players experiment!
>>

On this topic, Rick Macci came to our university last year and gave a seminar on "The modern Game." He used a LMP MP in his demos.

In his opinion, a racquet with a larger head is more suitable for the modern game (more spin hit with more open stance). He cited his formal pupils, Roddick and the Williams sisters, repeatedly in his talk.

This is in direct support of your post.

Proud Pusher
02-27-2006, 10:49 AM
Well done Vin! Finally an unbiased thread which the average recreational
player can understand and get out there and demo!!!

Ken