View Full Version : 16 X 19 vs. 18 X 20 ?

fuzzy balls
03-02-2004, 03:13 PM
I'd like some feedback on spin potential and "feel" comparing 16x19 and 18x20 string pattern sticks....from 93,95 and 98 head sizes.Thanks,guys.

03-02-2004, 04:08 PM
I'm using a Head Pro Tour 280 (18x20 string pattern, 97 square inch head size). Not much spin potential, but offers great feel (partly due to the flex on this racquet), and great directional control. You have to take a huge swing at the ball to get the heaters really going. Not a good serving racquet either, but good feel and good control.

03-02-2004, 04:17 PM
I feel that western players would benefit from 18x20 pattern. More control and less string breakage.

03-02-2004, 04:27 PM
I'm a PT280 guy, too.

I think 16x19's make it a little easier to generate spin, but I don't think saying the spin potential of that pattern is vastly superior would be accurate. If you can generate good head speed, and swing with proper mechanics (assuming those mechanics are designed with the intention of producing prodigious amounts of spin), the 18x20 allows for more than ample spin production. The 16x19 may offer a touch more spin potential on the high end, but IMO there's a point of diminishing returns for spin anyway. Once you're hitting with enough, you're hitting with enough, if you get me.

The big benefit for me, w/r/t the 18x20 pattern, is that all else being equal it prolongs string life. Or thought of another way, it allows thinner gauges of string without increasing breakage frequency.

I can't really speak as to "feel." I tend to hang out on the baseline and smack every ball as hard as I can. Feel's not a big issue in my game.

03-02-2004, 06:10 PM
Please also note that simply knowing the headsize and the string pattern tells you virtually nothing about how dense or open the pattern actually is. Some racquets have the mains start very near the side part of the frame, some have a big gap. Some sticks use 'dynamic' patterns, where the mains become closer together near the centre of the racquet, while others have all mains evenly spaced.

The only way to ascertain how dense or open the pattern in fact is is to actually look at the strung racquet.

rich s
03-02-2004, 06:51 PM
In my opinion a 98in head or smaller with an 18x20 pattern feels boardlike. You only feel the frame because the string pattern is so dense and correspondingly stiff. with a 16x19 pattern on the same sized head the feel from the strings is somewhat more than the 18x20 pattern but still not as comfortable as I would like.

I prefer a 102in head. in my opinion the string bed and the frame contribute equally to the feel. In a 98 or smaller head all you feel is frame and in oversized heads all you feel are the trampolining strings.

My experience is that stroke mechanics and head speed factor more into spin production than pattern density.

my $.02

03-02-2004, 07:48 PM
Kalin is right on, many factors come into play. Dynamic patterns throw the results off.

03-03-2004, 05:40 AM
I've wrestled with this thought also and have concluded that with a full swing and a heavy racquet, string pattern doesn't have much impact on spin. I can hit the same amount of spin with my rok that I can with most open pattern racquets. Frames like the babolats are the obvious exception.


03-03-2004, 06:10 AM
Fuzzy balls, In general even if you account for the 'progressive'/non-identical spacing of mains or crosses; all other things being equal 16X19 will make spin easier to impart than a 18x20 pattern. Most racquets with a 16x19 pattern tend to have the strings further apart than a 18x20 racquet. There are exceptions but they are only exceptions. Swing speed makes a big difference so your slowest strokes will be most adversely affected by a denser pattern than your fastest strokes. For me the following applies:

FH and BH ground strokes - I can generate most racquet speed(alot) on these strokes so even a 18x20 gives enough spin when I want but I must add 16x19 gives me the option to confidently hit loopy shoulder high(5'-6' feet) bouncing topspin against opponents who don't like topspin or as a tactical option to keep them pinned back on or behind the baseline.

Slice - No way can I hit the slice with the same power or headspeed as a FH/BH ground stroke so the string bed achieves less bite. Consequently my slices from 18x20 and 16x20 patterns are easily returned but when using a 16x19/18 pattern my slices are a real weapon.

Serve - My topspin serve really suffers with 18x20 and 16x20 patterns. So much so they sit up nicely for the returner to rip. When my serve mechanics are perfect I get good kick but most of the time my serve isn't pro level so for me denser patterns take away my kick-serve. For flat serves 18x20/16x20 patterns are very accurate.

Racquet flex also makes a big difference and a flexible 18x20 racquet may be as spin friendly as a stiffer 16x19 racquet.

If you have perfect form every time, string patterns may not make much difference but for me 16x19/18 helps me out more when i'm 'off'.

FB, these are just my experiences based on my own level of play and there are no hard rules just guidelines which are generally true.

03-03-2004, 06:57 AM
I use and 18 X 20 in a 98 sq inch racquet. My stroke determines the amount of spin I get. I would much rather be accurate than overly concerned about spin. As you know, string gauge and tension are also very important factors.

Hawaii 5.0
03-04-2004, 03:41 AM
Dense string patterns offer greater directional control, but no less spin potential.As you can see many pro's and advanced used dense patterns and get plenty of spin, sure it will be more demanding to achieve, but potentially it doesn't limit it.Dense patterns produce a mroe uniform spin that is more controlled and predictable.

03-04-2004, 08:01 AM
I agree, it depends how good you are and for me as I wrote above on some strokes 18x20 kills my spin. I just don't have the game for 18x20. It needs less ability to generate spin with open string patterns but string longevity is shortened.

fuzzy balls
03-12-2004, 01:31 PM
Hey Rich,interesting outlook,but a lot of "one handed backhand" guys have told me it's hard to play with a head bigger than 98......your thoughts?