View Full Version : Head light verses Head Heavy Revisited

07-10-2004, 03:25 AM
On Page 73 of the Aug Issue of Tennis Magazine, Trend spotting mentioned many of the pro’s are switching from head light rackets to head heavy rackets. Seems the lighter head heavy rackets have more power than the heavy head light rackets.
Pro mentioned were Roddick, Kim Clijsters, and Ferrero. Times are a changing; More power is generated from a head heavy racket than a head light racket.
The article goes on to say adding lead tape to the heads of rackets to makes them more powerful. instead of adding lead in the grip which makes them heavier.
I use a 4 point head light racket and arm and shoulder prolbems are gone. To me, head light frames put to much pressure on the wrist and shoulder which is contrary to many posting.

07-11-2004, 02:06 AM
It must be your technique that stresses out your shoulder and wrist. Either that or using a light racquet. When I swing I swing mainly with my legs and twisting my torso, my arms / wrist / shoulder are loose to generate speed, a very loopy swing... and since my swing is fast it makes sense to have a light head to keep the ball in play, but at the same time I need a frame with just enough weight in the head to drive through heavy and fast balls. A head light racquet and adding weight till I'm confortable has been the way for me.

Steve Huff
07-11-2004, 07:33 AM
It's odd that this is happening since the same players are decreasing their power by using polyester strings instead of natural gut. I'm sure it has mostly to do with what they've grown up with and are used to playing with. In a decade or so, you could see the top women using rackets like the Prince ThunderRip for all I know. Eventually the trend will reverse again.

Gaines Hillix
07-11-2004, 07:40 AM
Tennis has become more of a power game, no question. The dilema is controlling it. The players are so strong and the racquets so powerful, half the players on tour are using poly based strings instead of gut to be able to control it. Here is a summary of what strings were used in the recent Wimbledon tournament;

Strings: 15% all gut, 30% gut poly hybrids, 50% all lux poly, 5% non poly synthetics.

But, the best player, Roger Federer, is still more of an all court finese player, so it's not all about power.

07-11-2004, 11:23 AM
This is interesting timing!

For the last few months, I've been playing with a Volkl Tour 10 V Engine, which is considerable head light and 12.2 ounces. Prior to this I was using a Wilson ROK with 20g of tape on the head (yes, 20g). With the tape, it weights about ~12.5 ounces.

In a match today, I broke strings on both my Volks leaving only one of my ROKs to play with. I was not trying for pace and trying to keep a controlled swing. Once I switched to the ROK it seemed easier to hit the ball solidly and I was hitting my serves significantly faster.

In a way this is frustrating because I thought I had finally figured out what I wanted in a racquet. I abandoned the weighted ROK because of shoulder problems, but have since become more disciplined about not muscling the ball. But now I wonder if I should be experimenting with having more weight in the head.

07-11-2004, 11:25 AM
Oh yeah .. I've heard more than once that Pete Sampras had the entire head of his racquet wrapped in lead tape ... TWICE AROUND!

If he's able to swing a club like that and not destory his shoulder, maybe there is hope that a head heavy racquet can be safe?

Gaines Hillix
07-11-2004, 01:19 PM
Pete had about an oz. of of weight added to the hoop and another oz. in the handle of his PS 6.0 85s. There was a chat on the old board with his personal stringer. It's full of good stuff.

David Pavlich
07-11-2004, 01:51 PM
Oh yeah .. I've heard more than once that Pete Sampras had the entire head of his racquet wrapped in lead tape ... TWICE AROUND!

If he's able to swing a club like that and not destory his shoulder, maybe there is hope that a head heavy racquet can be safe?

Pete didn't have shoulder problems because his service motion was THE most fluid serve on the tour. He could serve 1000 balls a day and may get tired, but his shoulder would never get sore.

Todd Martin is very much the same. While Todd had other injury problems, his shoulder never bothered him because of his very fluid serve.

I wonder about Roddick's shoulder longevity. No fluid there at all.


07-11-2004, 09:44 PM
I remember hearing about Sampras' shoulder acting up around the mid-to-late 90's. I'm sure it was more serious than stated, how much so, I don't know. He just didn't want to have an excuse.

07-12-2004, 04:54 AM
Don't most of the pros add a significant amount weight to their frames? And wouldn't this result in a lot of weight at the head regardless of the balance point (as long as they don't add all the lead to the handle)? I'd think that even a head light racquet with a heavy head would still produce additional power.

Kick Serve
07-12-2004, 07:32 AM
The average weight of pros racquets on the men's tour is around 360 grams. Most are even balanced to head-heavy. (Philippoussis hits with a head-heavy racquet weighing 400 grams!) It's all about the swing speed. If you're strong enough and can maintain proper technique and swing speed then more swingweight will increase spin, power and stability. Both weight and balance point dictate the swingweight of a racquet. How a person reaches that optimum swingweight is a personal preference.

07-12-2004, 08:04 AM
Moya is a great example of this. He can create really fast swing speeds(and tremendous results) if he has the time to really get that head heavy axe moving.

Gaines Hillix
07-12-2004, 08:13 AM
vin, racquets are head light or heavy to different degrees, no question. Many racquets have a more even balance point. Prince has been well known for making frames that were oriented toward the recreational player that were still relatively arm friendly with balance points that were just slightly head light or evenly balanced. On the other hand, making a racquet that is extremely head light allows more room for adding weight to increase power without making its balance point head heavy with a correspondingly high swingweight.

07-12-2004, 08:37 AM
you would find that <in general> baseliners prefer more mass in the head and s.v and all courters prefer headlight. head heavy just isnt as manueverable or conducive to all court play. pros hit a bazillion balls and are young and not as subjected to physical probs as the normal hack or club player. but who knows what this stiff and head heavy stuff will do to them down the road. in another thread, it was reported that laver developed tennis elbow later in his career after switching from wood to metal and nobody can dispute that lavers arms wasnt in amazing shape w. his popeye forearm and that his strokes werent well produced. i really believe that flexy and headlight w. some mass are the keys to playing w.o pain as you get older. my .o2. ed

07-12-2004, 08:48 AM
Interesting discussions. I wonder if they make head heavy or head light Golf drivers. Seems Head heavy would be the way to go.
I have tested both ways, and for me the head heavy racket produces more power. Head light you have to generate more racket head speed just to equal the power of the head heavy racket. Slowing down your swing creates more control and with a head heavy racket the same power. Also serves are harder with extra weigh in the head of the racket.

I see why the trends in Tennis Mag makes since.

07-12-2004, 09:32 AM
I have been playing a head-heavy (lead taped) PS 6.6 (365g in total) for the last 10 years and recently switching to a Tour 90 (360g strung) and I needed to add some more weight at the tip of the frame to make it a bit more even balance or head heavy.

I can generate pretty good head speed with my kicker and top spin drives with a headlight racket, but I can't serve a single flat serve with it. Headlight racket just doesn't give me the snap I need.

a verrry large duck
07-12-2004, 10:27 AM
To me heavier to the head side has always DECREASED power for me. Simple as me not being able to thrust upward on the shots as authoritatively (is that a word?) as I normally do. Now I've flung around really light sticks and the problem I have with them is they swing TOO fast and I can't control where the ball flies. So my opinion is all these string changes, and head balance deal, as steve pointed out above is all just to adjust to the proper power and control level for each individual player. With each individuals natural swing and strenth, there is an optimum weight, balance, and string job to tamper or increase power as needed. I doubt we'll go back to 14+ oz sticks balanced evenly as in the old days though as the norm. It's just too tough to develop an all around game with that imho.