Applying Tourna Power Strips to BLX Pro Staff 90

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by WilsonWand12, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    I just ordered some lead strips to place in the head of my racquet at 3 and 9 o'clock for more torsional stability. Too many times on slices and backhands I've felt the racquet head rotate in my hand, so I believe this is the best way to handle it. Not only that, I need more punch in my return of serves. This is the absolute weakest part of my game because too many of my shots just fall dead because the serve is too heavy. To all of those that experimented with this setup before, how many lead strips did you apply to these positions? And was counterbalancing necessary because the head became too heavy? Open ears to all answers!
     
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  2. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Sounds like you're forcing yourself to play with the 90. Why not try the 6.1 95 instead? It really sounds like the lack of power is your problem, and I assure you, lead tape will help to some degree, but not by much. As far as stability goes, do you think it's your timing and technique more than anything? Racquets don't come anymore stable than the Pro Staffs.

    Alright if you must know, I have lead tape on my BLX90. Not because I want more power out of, instead, I've done all that I can to take power out of it. I have lead tape on my frames because I like them to be heavier, and my sweet spot is naturally higher up. So I've got lead tape at 3, 9, and 12 o'clock. I like the stock balance so I counter balanced the lead tape with an extra overgrip. And it works out great because I'm slightly larger than a 3/8, but not quite 1/2.
     
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  3. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    What? More torsional stability from the Ps90? Maybe you're not striking the middle of the string-bed consisitently enough? Just a thought.

    This racquet is a tank!

    Check your grip size, if it's too small, you will experience some twisting in the hand.

    Also check your strings and tension. String your crosses lower than the mains to expand the sweetspot and get a soft multi or gut in there as a main. To add some punch to returns and ground-strokes.

    Adding more weight to this frame will only make it more sluggish and less powerful in terms of racquet head speed.
     
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  4. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    I have a large grip, I use Prince Premier Attack 16, and I can admit that my technique isn't 100% solid, but too many times I made contact with the serve and couldn't put it over the net. I only thought adding weight would help. And I used to use the 95, but it didn't have enough weight to it. I can understand it becoming more sluggish, what I'm afraid would happen to it, but would the added weight not mean I can arm my shots less and just use the weight of the racquet to hit through the ball?
     
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  5. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    :confused: I'm talking about the 6.1 95, the weight difference between the 6.1 95 and the Pro Staff 90 is negligible. I am NOT talking about the 11.5oz BLX Pro Staff 95. If you were referring to the ~12+oz 6.1 95, again, frames don't get any more meaty and stable than it.

    Dumping serves into the net is 99.3875% player's fault, not the equipment. If you're spiking the ball into the ground, adding weight isn't going to help. Assuming all else being equal, you're just going to spike the ball into the ground with more weight behind it.

    You can arm your shots less if you just use more legs and core. Again it's coming down to technique and timing, I don't see how the equipment is even part of the discussion.
     
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  6. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

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    Lead tape is one option, but it depends on what's going on. Are the returns heavy returns into the net, or dinks into the net? Critical difference, and that'll determine how to fix it.

    If they're soft dinks, you need more power and lead tape will help. If they're rips into the net, you need tighter strings. Tighter strings promote a higher launch angle, meaning the ball deflects higher
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
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  7. ramos77

    ramos77 Semi-Pro

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    as above, it's already a solid racquet. adding weight will mess your up your timing on returns.

    I bet it's your technique, strings and string tension.

    What tension are you running? The PS90 works best with a hybrid of natural gut mains, and poly crosses IMO.

    Try taking the returns earlier? and work on timing, hitting the ball out in front?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
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  8. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    All good advice. I'm always conscious of my toss, grip and legs on serve and on return, I choke up on the grip some and shorten my back swing. Little things but with a racquet such as this, the little things make big differences.

    I'm not trying to talk-down to you or portray a 'holier than thou' attitude, the complete opposite.... but may I ask your level? or experience? How long have you been playing with this racquet and what were you playing with before?

    I'm just curious because I recently picked up a PS90 as well, made some changes to the stick. Went lighter as I found the weight coupled with the stiffness made this racquet pretty powerful, in terms of what I'm used to.

    Took an or hour or so to adjust but I'm really liking it so far. A nice change of pace.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
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  9. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    Say Chin, I meant when I hit the return of serve, not my serve.

    UCSF2012, Wow, I never knew that about strings and tension. And it's mostly a mid-paced ball/fast ball into the net or too long. And I have my racquets strung up at 55 and 58 with the PPA.

    Ramos, technique more than likely does have a huge role in it, but I do take the returns out in front since that's my natural contact point. And I really, really want to try a natural gut hybrid with this racquet because I have heard how it performs better with that string set up. Could you explain to me why that is if you know?

    klementine, I'm currently a 3.5 player, been playing for two years, just switched to the 90 this year in February. It's a fantastic racquet, and I'm aware that my technique needs to improve, but I just wanted something to help keep the racquet head stable on off-center hits.
     
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  10. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Maybe I can try to give you some insight, as I am using a gut/hybrid and a strong advocate of gut use.

    Believe it or not, the theory is that the dwell time and elasticity of gut can give you a ton of spin. Along with gut's inherit qualities of touch, power, and comfort.

    The poly crosses does two things in my opinion:
    1) Stiffen up the stringbed just a tad for those who thinks full gut is way too soft, and takes away some of the power from the gut.
    2) Here's another theory: The slick/smooth poly crosses provide a slick/smooth surface for the gut mains to glide and snap back, enhancing its spin potential.

    I'm one of those people who thinks full bed of gut gives me too much power and it's a bit too soft to my liking. So, I'm using gut/poly because I value the comfort, touch, playability throughout the life of the gut. While the poly firms up the stringbed just a tad where it becomes perfect for me.

    Also, I'm actually glad to hear a 3.5 using the 90. Don't let haters like me tell you the 90 is too much. If you're willing to learn and practice with it, then you're in good shape as far as advancing goes. The frame reinforces good technique, timing, and fitness.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
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  11. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    I've messed around with customization quite a bit with my PK Ki 5x. I've tried lead at 3 and 9, lead 12, lead at 3, 9, 12, lead in the butt cap, and all kinds of combinations of weight between 2-8 grams at each spot. Ironically, I've now settled on no lead and just a strip of racquet head tape over the bumper guard. My racquet is already quite heavy as it is, and adding weight took my swingweight to over 400 in some cases. Now it's down to 351, which is more manageable for me. While I did notice some benefits in stability with the weights, I found that for me, it wasn't worth the sacrifice in maneuverability. Of course, that doesn't mean it won't work for you, but you might want to track how much your swingweight is increasing because the increase could be quite alarming with your heavy racquet.

    TW has some useful customization worksheets and swingtool calculators:

    http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/customizationReverse.php

    http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/swingweight_calc.php

    If you have an iPhone, there's an app called SwingTool that's even more accurate because you can use your phone's camera to measure the swingtime instead of using your eye and a stopwatch. If you do this, you'll also need a scale, which you can get from a place like Amazon for cheap that measures down to tenths of a grams.

    Oh, and don't forget to account for every accessory you add to your racquet including: overgrips, vibration dampeners, racquet head tape, etc. They all make a difference.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
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  12. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    At first glance, a 3.5 shouldn't be using a 90 but then again, why not? The learning curve is definitely steeper and you may lose more now vs. your peers, but in the long term I think the fruits of your desire will come to bear.

    Try your lead tapes, but keep your hopes low. Improvement takes hard work and patience, some times taking two steps back to go forth. Tennis is not a quick fix sport.
     
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  13. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    If the serve comes at you hard, you should be able to return it deeper in the court with less effort. With the heavy stable PS 90, you shouldn't be swinging at serve returns, you should be blocking them. You need to learn to get your body weight into the shot and with a minimal swing you should be able to strike the ball in the strings pretty consitently.
     
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  14. effortless

    effortless Rookie

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    I don't think any of your problems are coming from lack of torsional stability. If i were you i would focus on technique more. I have used the tour 90s extensively as a 5.0 player and never had a problem with torsional stability. This racquet has more torsional stability than any 3.5 player needs.

    In saying all of that, a bit of extra weight in the head for added power may or may not help your game. Think of it this way, your racquet will be even harder to swing than it already is and i'm assuming you wish you could swing your racquet even faster. On the flip side you will have more easy power from your racquet and won't have to swing as fast.

    You might benefit from this added power temporarily. However, my gut feeling is that a player of your level will benefit from a more maneouverable racquet in the long run. A more manoeuvrable racquet will allow you to work on having a wider variety of shots. It will give you the ability to manipulate the racquet easier and help your technique as a result.

    Maybe you could try a lower tension, easy power string first. Try natural gut at about #50 if you can afford it.
     
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  15. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Give the "Federer set-up is best" nonsense a break. That set-up works well for him. There is no evidence it would work best for everyone nor that it's inherently the best set up.

    Fwiw, I've tried gut/poly in my PS85s and couldn't get it to work for me. But using a poly/syn-gut combo (at 1/3 of the price too) I have found the magic combo of spin, power, control and feel.
     
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  16. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    This ^ is what the original poster should take on-board.

    Forget the whole gut/poly discussion completely. Half the people who post about this sort of stuff are lower than average players who spend way too much time focussing on the frame, strings, tension, balance and if their clothes match.

    If you simplify the original poster's issue you should get: when you have an issue with your strokes, work on your strokes. Worry about the racquet another time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
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  17. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    ^And that's the point.

    Equipment is important in one respect. Development. As long as your current racquet isn't impeding your development, no problem. But your equipment will not help/advance development, you do that, it just can't get in the way.

    If you can't develop properly because either your racquet is too stiff, too heavy, etc.,then it's time to move on.

    I know how you feel OP, the PS90 and all the tour90's are fantastic feeling frames but they're not for everybody.

    Demo a bunch of frames. Pick one and go. You might like the 90 but there might be a frame out there that won't hinder development so much.
     
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  18. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    Say Chi, thanks for explaining. And yes, I love the 90 and will not separate from it! I feel it is teaching me proper mechanics, and Lord knows I need to learn them!

    Ramon, thanks for the suggestions! In regards to the customizing of the racquet, I definitely want to experiment a little with the weight, but as you indicated, the loss in maneuverability may be unfavorable. And thanks for the links! I'll look into them!

    Sanders001, that's what I'm hoping for is long term success! And yes, I have been getting creamed by opponents lately, but I believe it will pay out in the end. Anyone that says the 90 is not a racquet for beginners doesn't have an open mind. Lol
     
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  19. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    I guarantee you this is why I have been missing so many returns! I take full swings thinking that's how I need to keep the ball deep, and I guess I'm just swiping the back of the ball and dudding it into the net. If I need to block the ball back using my body weight, then that's what I will focus on more. No more swinging.
     
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  20. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    Bobby, I understand what you mean, but I felt like for the longest time I didn't spend ENOUGH time trying to assess my equipment and always blamed it on my strokes. That's why I'm currently undergoing reevaluations, but I will never stop analyzing and fixing my strokes.

    Klementine79, I understand the 90 is not for everyone, but it is for me. I'm not switching frames for anything. A Prince-sponsored coach told me I should switch to a Redondo or something like it because it would be better for my game in the long run, but I don't believe that. I feel like I can develop with this racquet all the same and be just as good. From the first moment I used it I knew it was the right racquet for me.
     
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  21. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    That works good. But if the server across the net has a any competency, he/she will crush it back.

    I've learned the best solution for returning hard and fast serves is to choke up on the grip a bit, shorten your back-swing and unload on them. Takes some practice, but then the server will understand that pace doesn't effect you and will concentrate on placement, taking him/her out of their comfort zone and you will be dictating the points, even on their serve.

    It's all about using those milliseconds you've got to return a hard serve and making the most out of time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
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  22. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    That's the spirit. Go for it.

    It will all fall together one day and it won't matter which racquet you have in your hand. Only the one you're most comfortable with.
     
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  23. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    I love when my 3.5 opponents use the tour 90
     
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  24. Matchball

    Matchball Semi-Pro

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    A bit off-topic, but I always wanted to say this.

    I think that the best racquet for a 3.5-4.0 player who wants to break into more player like frames is the Pure Storm Ltd. Tons of control and maneuverability that incite you to swing freely, yet the relative lack of power (and torsional stability) force you to work well every shot.

    You simply can't afford not using full swings and correct body movement (base support from the legs) - in my eyes it's the best "tweener player's" frame.

    (all this assuming you don't put any lead on the stick).
     
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  25. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    Ha ha ha hahaha....... or as they say in russia.. xaxax xa xa xaxaxa xa
     
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  26. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I love when my 5.0 opponents use the 90. I haven't beat one yet...

    -Fuji
     
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  27. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    That's a different story.
     
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  28. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    LOL! Not really. All those posers at 5.0 using their super old school rackets. So many Prestige Mids and Tour 90's. Obviously they don't know how good modern technology is!

    :evil: :lol:

    -Fuji
     
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  29. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    Klementine79: Agreed! And I'm very comfortable with the 90! And thanks for the tip! I'll practice choking up on the grip and shorting the backswing come next practice session. My friend and I are going to play two sets, and he's going to be serving the entire time, lol.

    Larrysummers: Laugh now, but we will rise up to beat you! Lol

    Matchball: I just recently stated that the Pure Storm is probably the only Babolat racquet I would ever purchase if I had to, and I've definitely looked at them with interest before. Not pass demoing them in the future, but it would take a lot for me to make a switch. But I support your belief, given the specs of the racquet, that it could be promising for beginners.

    Fuji: Very nice! There was a gentleman that played in a recent charity tournament where I'm from in the 4.5 division. He used a 90 as well, and I do believe he won. Great player, amazing forehand! I wish I could have watched more, but I had my own match to contend with.
     
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  30. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    there are a lot better choices out there for 3.5 players. 4.5 and 5.0 players are "pretty good"
    i know, 90s are awesome to hit with. in high school i played with the rds mid, and old mid sized prokennex frame, and some other 95s. I was decent, won a couple ribbons and metals here and there.
    I just think that "tweeners" are better than player rackets when you are seriously competing. When i play against a girl or the high school kids ill use the prestige mid, cuz i can. But when im playing with my normal group, i whip out the tweener.
     
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  31. Matchball

    Matchball Semi-Pro

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    :) The only Babo I like, too !

    Just for the record, I really felt like bringing this up here, in this context, because of some comments made; never implied you should make a switch and I also think PST ltd. suffers a bit from torsional stability. Stick with what makes you feel better, because tennis should be fun and this is the only factor that should dictate your choices. I also go for feel and this is why I mostly play with mid frames.

    Now, if one plays competitively, or for money or something, consistency should be no1 in his/her books.

    Solid returns are one of my strong points in the game. A good tip I could offer is that you should work with anticipating your opponents shot and remember to do the split step with your feet (bend your knees and lower your body, too).
     
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  32. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    I have issues staying low on my returns, so thank you for pointing that out. I'm a hefty guy, so I suppose my knees would rather not try to support more than it has to, but I can force it!
     
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  33. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    Sorry, I could have fit this on my other post, but I agree! All that matters is what feels great to that player, and I believe if that's the case, the player will grow into the racquet.

    But only Ramon really answered my initial questions. I asked had anyone played around with the lead tape and if they did, did they counterbalance by putting lead in the handle, or did they just leave it head-heavier.
     
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  34. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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  35. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    I have a 90 and a K-95. I can't believe you have problems with slice and backhands with the 90. You must be a monster player, I've never seen anything with more plough-through then the 90, weight isn't needed, but perhaps, I don't know man, spin it and follow through, the 90 is the best, POWER AND CONTROL, I can kill it with this racquet, perhaps it's your strings, what strings do you use? The 95 allows in my opinion for more spin, but the 90 jams it over faster.
     
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  36. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    Say Chin: Hahaha! So sorry! I just forgot to mention you! No hard feelings though, right? :) I was just expecting more answers on that question in general.

    Mick3391: I can produce some solid shots, yes, but I'm no monster. The people I play against, however, can really abuse a tennis ball!
     
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  37. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    You've crossed the point of no return already. Damage's been done!
     
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  38. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    There was a pretty good thread on the topic of lead weight placement that I saved:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=309803

    I don't necessarily agree with everything on it, but generally, I thought it was a good guide for the different strategies behind weight placement.

    I don't have lead on my racquet right now, but to me that doesn't mean my racquet isn't customized. My racquet head tape weighs about 4 grams, my vibration dampener weighs 1.5 grams, and my overgrip weighs 5 grams. That would actually add up to a lot of lead tape.
     
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  39. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    Say Chin: It's never too late to change the past!

    Ramon: Thanks for the link! I'm gonna read up on it and see if there's anything I can pick up from it. And I never really thought of shock absorbers and overgrips adding more weight to a racquet. I guess that's why mine was so head-light, because I have to put another replacement grip on mine...whoops...

    And here's an update from my experiment today with the lead tape, two strips on the 3 o'clock position and two in the 9 o'clock position on both racquets. The stick was EXTREMELY solid! I felt like there couldn't have been a ball my opponent could have hit that I couldn't return. The best aspects with this setup were the volleys! Perfect control, easy power, solid response. I loved it! Backhands were my close second favorite! I was no longer afraid I was going to get pushed around by a heavy forehand. Also effortless power. This, however, was my downfall on the forehand side. It was WAY too powerful on the forehand side. Even my spin couldn't keep the shots in. But the most evident issue was the pain. I couldn't ignore the horrible feedback my arm was getting. It hurt to serve and my forehands were getting increasing uncomfortable.

    Consequently, I decided to move the strips of lead from the 3 and 9 o'clock positions to the 4 and 8 o'clock positions, and on one of the racquets, I removed a strip from either side. Now one racquet has a total of four strips of tape, and the other two. The difference was immediately noticeable for me because the pain had greatly subsided, the maneuverability (which at first I did not think was an issue) improved, and the head-heavy "feeling" was lessened. Both racquets performed pleasantly because they still had added power and a more solid feel, groundstrokes were fairly consistent in depth and control (no more fly balls), but one setup stood out much more than the other. The racquet with four strips of lead excelled on serves! I'm not sure if it was psychological or what, but I had never hit such repeated consistent serves. I tried the lighter racquet, and even though I didn't always make the cleanest hits, results varied greatly. But even on mishits, the heavier racquet helped put the ball in. Of course my experiment today was not long enough for me to be satisfied, so I am going to give them another try Wednesday, but so far, I am DEFINITELY leaving the lead tape where they are currently positioned! I just need to confirm how much tape to use and what will feel better over the long run.
     
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  40. JohnB

    JohnB Rookie

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    I know you made up your mind about the locations, but here's another option I would certainly try. I would put 1 á 1.5 strip at 3 and 1 á 1.5 strip at 9. Then counterbalance until you find a nice static weight and balance.
     
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